£32 million wedding-UK

Inside Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s £32 million wedding

 A flurry of flowers worth more than £110,000 scattered across Windsor, piles of sausage rolls stacked high on silver platters coming to £26,000, and a cool £1 million on a counter-drone system… These are just some of the items that may contribute to the £32 million estimated price tag for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding. Wedding planning company Bridebook has calculated that the soon-to-be newlyweds’ big day, which is taking place in Windsor on May 19, is such that it would earn the couple a place on the list of the top 10 most expensive weddings of all time – ahead of William and Kate’s (estimated to have cost £20 million). It would be behind Charles and Diana’s, though,which is estimated to have cost £84 million; official figures for royal weddings are never released. Bridebook, which is planning the upcoming marriage between Millie Mackintosh and Hugo Taylor, says the bulk of the royal costs will be spent on security, with Meghan’s dress, the flowers, catering and drinks coming in at nearly a million pounds.


But what does a £32 million wedding look like?

To start with, the leafy town of Windsor will be locked down for the day, with a heavy police presence, crowd control and restrictions placed on shops and restaurants. The security measures, which may include snipers, undercover police and military technologies such as a counter-drone system, could cost the nation as much as £30 million, according to Bridebook (though other estimates round it down to nearer £24 million). The security cost is expected to be higher than that for hm1William and Kate’s wedding – even though theirs was larger, and held in London – due to the ongoing terrorist threat level. Harry’s military background as well as the amount of racist comments directed at Markle is believed to have increased the security quotient. Which means after the event has been locked down, Harry and Meghan will have a rather modest-looking £2 million for the wedding itself. According to high-end wedding planners, Quintessentially, you can still put on a pretty decent bash, complete with luxurious invitations to a beautiful wedding breakfast for 600 guests. Bridebook’s breakdown of the wedding cost includes £90,000 for 20 silver-plated trumpets that will announce the event, £50,000 on the lemon elderflower cake from Violet Bakery in east London, and £110,000 on flowers to adorn the aisles of St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle and St George’s Great Hall, where the first reception will be held. The glass marquee that will be the centrepiece for the evening reception in the grounds of Frogmore House meghancan cost around £300,000 to hire. The company says Harry and Meghan could also be forking out £26,000 on sausage rolls and hot tea for the 2,640 members of the public who have been invited into the ground of Windsor for the big day. One of the biggest costs, according to the company’s estimates, will be Meghan’s dress, which which designer Ralph and Russo is rumoured to be making and could be worth between £300,000 and £400,000. But royal expert Katie Nicholl, author of Harry: Life, Loss and Love, says such figures are “wildly inaccurate”. “Meghan is very mindful of wanting to send the right message with her gown,” says Nicholl. “It’s going to be iconic and fit the backdrop of Windsor Castle, but it would send off the wrong message to wear a dress that in cost alone would upstage Kate’s.” Kate wore a Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen dress rumoured to have cost £250,000. That isn’t to say Meghan’s dress won’t be a spectacle. “Ralph and Russo are famous for their showstopping, elaborate and incredibly beautiful handmade couture gowns,” says Nicholl, adding that it will likely be paired with a tiara on loan from the Queen and an item of jewelry from Dharryiana’s personal collection. Jessica Seal, director of weddings and private events at high-end planners Quintessentially, adds: “As Meghan is quite cool and understated, she might pay in the £60,000 range for her dress.” She is then expected to change into a second dress for the evening. The budget for Harry and Meghan’s big day is a far cry from some of the world’s most luxurious weddings. The 2017 marriage of Russian oligarch Aleksey Shapovalov to Ksenia Tsaritsina, in Moscow, was described as one of the most lavish ever, and featured an eight-tier “floating” cake, a £7.7 million, 70-carat diamond ring, two dresses and a performance from Eurovision runner-up Polina Gagarina. Such extravagance wouldn’t be in keeping with what we know about Harry and Meghan. Mark Niemierko, who has planned weddings attended by royalty, says the couple will probably lean more towards low-key than lavish. “I know the royal family, and they don’t spend money,” says Niemierko. “Everyone thinks the royals are like the Kardashians, but they’re the total opposite. They find it crass to be over-the-top.” Rather than spending extortionate amounts on the dress, jewelry and flowers, Niemierko says Harry and Meghan will opt for understated options. Aside from the cost of Meghan’s dress and the wedding security – which will most likely be paid for by the bride’s family and out of the public purse, respectively – Niemierko expects Prince Charles will spend just £500,000 on behalf of the royal Frogmore Housepair. One of the biggest expenses, he says, will be the evening party. “The dinner-and-dancing part will be the real celebration,” says Niemierko. “The Queen will most likely not be present, so everyone can let their hair down and have some fun.” The costs of night-time festivities can easily rack up, he explains. Lighting, sound and bespoke bar designs are pricey, while small touches, such as mirrorballs, have been known to cost £11,000 alone. The other question is whether a famous musical act is to perform. Kate and William held their evening party in the throne room at Buckingham Palace, which was converted into a nightclub for the occasion. This would have cost around £50,000, says Niemierko, while an act such as Ellie Goulding can command around £100,000 for a one-off performance. But, Niemierko anticipates, “they’re not going to go mad”. “With Meghan there, I think Harry might toe the line. All of Harry’s friends are married now, and William’s a father.” “There was a rumour that the Spice Girls might play, but that would cost an average Joe a fortune – about £1 million for each band member.” That said, because of the historic nature of the event – and the global coverage it will receive – the wedding singers would likely drop their price. The same goes for dressmakers, florists, caterers and designers: “The royals get a lot more for their money because people are happy to do things for free,” says Niemierko. So perhaps it won’t leave quite such a dent in the families’ pockets, after all.

Clarinet soloist and lawyer-NL

Arno Stoffelsma about orchestras and judgments

Afbeeldingsresultaat voor Arno Stoffelsma

He has a special hobby. Or combines two surprising careers. This inhabitant of Arnheim has a (more or less) hidden talent. In the first edition Arno Stoffelsma (b. 1982), first clarinet player at Het Gelders Orkest and legal assistant at Dirkzwager. A super musical jurist. Or a legally trained musician. It depends on how you look at it. Arno Stoffelsma at least mixes two special careers. All credits for his employer Dirkzwager. Because that’s how he succeeds in successfully combining both professions. When you look at his agenda, you become almost tired. Because Arno Stoffelsma almost literally flies back and forth between the concert hall of Musis (concert hall in Arnheim) and Dirkzwager Lawyers & Notaries. One time with his clarinet under his arm, the other time with a briefcase full of files and legal texts. “I’m never mistaken. I do not accidentally pick up my clarinet in the office and do not make any contracts during the rehearsal pause of Het Gelders Orkest. For that it is much too different worlds. But I am very happy that they have come together in Arnheim for three and a half years. “

Clarinet lesson at home
Afbeeldingsresultaat voor Arno StoffelsmaArno has been playing the clarinet since he was seven years old. That may not be surprising with a clarinet player as a mother and a father who is a hobby horn player. “At home only classical music was recorded; we were really brought up with that. My brother and I were both encouraged to also play an instrument. I received clarinet lessons from my mother for four and a half years. Then I really went the ‘level music school’ and went looking for another music teacher. That was Herman Braune, clarinet teacher at the Amsterdam Conservatory. “


Arno had talent, that much was certain. At the age of twelve he was selected for the Young Talent class at that same Conservatory. “The clarinet is also physically good with me. With other people, playing after 5 minutes is already tickling, but I can keep up with that from an early age. And it makes a big difference that my mother immediately corrected me at home if I did something wrong. The flaming of wrong habits takes a lot more time and energy than the learning of new ones. I studied at least two hours of clarinet every day. The better you become, the more fun it is to play. That works extra stimulating. “

When he was sixteen, Arno was selected for the Netherlands Youth Orchestra, with whom he soon toured Japan. Later the European Youth Orchestra followed, under the direction of famous conductors such as Bernhard Haitink and Herbert Blomstedt. Arno: “Maybe I have jumped too young. At the age of 21, before I had a bachelor’s degree from the Conservatory, I got my first job at the Concertgebouw Orchestra. A dream job, of course, especially for someone without a notable professional experience. After that I worked as a freelancer for several years at various orchestras in the Netherlands and abroad, until I ended up at Het Gelders Orkest (HGO) in 2007. They call it ‘a warm bath’, and that’s what it is. I’m really enjoying it. Especially now that we are allowed to play in these beautiful new rooms of Musis. De Muzenzaal has been restored very cleverly to its former glory. The renovation has succeeded very nicely anyway, especially the Park Hall with all that glass and green. It is very special to be able to play in daylight and not in a closed box, which is the most concert halls. “

Afbeeldingsresultaat voor HGO

Role of law
Five years ago, that passion for classical music was the prelude to a new profession: a law school. “I find it interesting to think about legal issues and about the role of law in our society. And it has practical advantages: you can study law very well in your own time.” Arno graduated from the VU in Amsterdam where he still lives. He recently completed his Masters in Law at the Open University. For three and a half years Arno has been part-time legal assistant at Dirkzwager at Velperweg (Arnheim), where he has the freedom to work between the tight rehearsal schedule and the performances of HGO. As is known, the Arnheim law firm is very fond of the fine arts.

Flying hours
Arno, philosophizing: “Law and musicians may have similarities. You try to take someone else with you, to convince them. Sometimes quite literally, in a plea for the good cause or a client, the other time on the concert stage. Furthermore, of course, everything applies: if you stick to it, it will bear fruit. Making flying hours and going for it.” “Learning wrong habits takes much more time than learning new ones”

Tip from Arno:

Mozart’s Concert for clarinet and orchestra is a great opportunity for Het Gelders Orkest to show Zutphen, Nimwegen, Arnheim and Doetinchem the velvety tone of the clarinet.

From the explanation in the concert program:

We do not know how long Mozart worked at his clarinet concert, but everything indicates that the score was quickly on paper. A first version of the first part had been in a drawer for a while (written for bassethorn), so that a revision would suffice here. The concert is a wonder of a simplicity, grace and allure. It proves that Mozart’s music was by no means the vehicle of his emotional life: no trace of oppressive living conditions or psychological unrest. His Concert for clarinet and orchestra arises in these last months of his life. Mozart writes it for his friend Anton Stadler, who according to him can imitate the human voice with his instrument. Solo clarinettist Arno Stoffelsma performs with his velvety tone in Stadler’s footsteps.

HM Elizabeth II-UK

The Queen’s Green Planet: the monarch’s ambitious plan to turn the Commonwealth into a forest


To her long list of achievements, the Queen can now add stand-up comedy – or, more accurately, stand-up-and-walk-around-a-bit comedy. In a new ITV documentary, The Queen’s Green Planet, the Queen strolls through the gardens of Buckingham Palace with Sir David Attenborough, and early clips released ahead of the broadcast have shown the pair cracking jokes to amuse one another. “The comic timing of our two remarkably playful contributors made the most welcome surprise,” producer Nathaniel Lippiett told Broadcast Now. “The pair sparked off each other, making jokes and sharing stories as they wandered among the trees.” Despite the light tone, the documentary has a serious environmental purpose behind it: promoting The Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy, a project launched in 2015 to preserve indigenous forests around the world, and to advance sustainable forestry. The documentary will see Prince Harry travel to the Caribbean to plant trees for the Commonwealth Canopy, while the Duke of Cambridge visits the Great Bear Rainforest in Canada.

Since the project began, around 35 countries have dedicated forestry projects to the scheme. Speaking in Malta in 2015, the Queen said she had been “especially touched” by their endeavours. “This and other initiatives are a practical demonstration of the ERpower of the Commonwealth, working as a group, to effect real change for generations to come,” she said. The project has found one of its most high-profile supporters in Angelina Jolie, who travelled to Namibia last summer with her six children – Jolie piloting an airplane across the Namib desert herself – to open a nursery of saplings to replace the desert’s dying trees. “The means so much and will mean so much to so many people,” said Jolie, who has been involved with conservation work in Namibia for several years, having first visited the country in 2003.

In the documentary, the Oscar-winning actress explains why she chose to get involved. “You know when you sit up at night in a tent with your kids and they say, ‘Why does the Queen of England care about planting trees in Africa?’ And to be able to explain that to them is a really nice way of being able to explain… the world at large and what should matter and why,” she said.. “You say to the kids, ‘You know, really, you don’t know her, you can’t understand all that it means to be a queen… She’s just this really lovely lady who really cares about people around the world, and she really cares about the future, and she wants your grandkids and her grandkids to be able to be running around, enjoying nature and other cultures’… She thinks that really matters, and I agree with her.”

For more information about the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy, visit: 


HRH Philip-UK

Duke of Edinburgh waves as he leaves hospital 11 days after hip operation

The Duke of Edinburgh has left hospital after 11 days following his successful hip operation. Prince Philip, 96, left the private King Edward VII hospital at midday on Friday and waved from the passenger seat of a Land Rover Discovery as he was driven past the front entrance of the hospital, having left through another exit. Buckingham Palace said he will continue his recovery at Windsor, adding: “His Royal Highness would like to convey his appreciation for the messages of good wishes he has received.” On Thursday he was visited by his daughter, the Princess Royal, who said he was “on good form”. Anne, whose visit lasted around 50 minutes, is believed to be the first and only Royal to visit Philip in the central London hospital. The Queen also gave an update, telling a well-wisher in Windsor “he said he’s getting on very well” when asked about Philip’s recovery. The duke will have already begun his rehabilitation moving with the aid of a stick or crutches, and will face weeks of more aftercare as he learns to walk again on his new hip. For about a month before the operation the duke had complained about trouble with the joint but medical experts have said a few weeks after a hip replacement patients are usually back to their normal lifestyle, free from pain.

The Queen Mother underwent two successful hip replacement operations in the 1990s, first a planned procedure when aged 95 then later an emergency operation when 97 following a fall.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding is on May 19 and the major family occasion is likely to be the first public appearance by the Queen’s consort.

HRH Harry-UK

Harry’s gang: Who’s who in the Prince’s inner circle – and will Meghan Markle fit in?

harryPrince Harry is just weeks away from marrying American actress Meghan Markle in what will be the wedding of the year. Fifth in line to the throne Harry, 33, has been dating the 36-year-old star, who found fame in the US legal drama Suits, since the summer of 2016. Their whirlwind romance blossomed when they met through mutual friends and the happy couple announced their engagement in November. Ms Markle has presumably met a number of the Prince’s friends since she moved in with him last year, so who will be at the royal wedding, and who is ‘in’ with Harry’s crowd?

Harry’s oldest chums


Tom Inskip and Lara Hughes-Young

Tom Inskip and Lara Hughes-YoungHarry, 32, and renowned party animal Tom Inskip, have been friends since they were pupils at Eton together and are said to be inseparable, with Inskip consistently seen by his side over the years. When the Prince disgraced himself playing naked in a pool in Las Vegas? Skippy was by his side. He was also there when the royal jumped into a nightclub swimming pool in Croatia fully clothed in 2011 and when he was pictured throwing snowballs from a hotel balcony in the same year. Harry was rumoured to be best man at his Jamaican wedding earlier this year. Lara Hughes-Young, Inskip’s flame haired bride, has reportedly been singing Meghan’s praises since they met last year.

Arthur LandonArthur Landon

One of the richest young men in Britain (he inherited £500 million when his father died) Landon is the son of the infamous ‘White Sultan’ Brigadier Tim Landon, who is said to have made his fortune after orchestrating a coup in Oman. Arthur was in Vegas with the Prince, when a naked picture of him was sold after a party in their hotel room, an incident that Landon said put a “dampener” on the rest of the trip.

Prince Harry with Jake Warren at AscotJake Warren

A friend from Eton, and son of the Queen’s racing manager,  Jake Warren could well be there to watch his old school chum tie the knot. He was also one of Princess Diana’s 17 godchildren and could provide Meghan with an invaluable line to the royal family – or some advice, at the very least.

Guy PellyGuy Pelly

London bar owner and another of Harry’s oldest friends. A former party pal of the Prince, he could probably reveal some-thing to Meghan of her fiancee’s past mischief.

Adam BidwellAdam Bidwell

A keen rugby player, Bidwell – a stockbroker – was also on the ill-feted Vegas trip. He is the former boyfriend of singer Katherine Jenkins.





Over the Andes mountains-NL


Stef Biemans (b. 1978 in Nimwegen) is a Dutch presenter who lives in Nicaragua. Biemans has been known since 2007 on Nicaraguan television with the program Aventados, where he and his brother-in-law and a small video camera hitchhike through the country. For the Dutch broadcast company VPRO he worked since 2007 as director and presenter of the award-winning Villa Achterwerk Stef Biemans tijdens de aflevering over Ecuador.program “Letters from Nicaragua”, in which he answers children questions about his life in Nicaragua. In 2010 he made the step to the Metropolis program. He is also presenter and creator of Metrópolis Nicaragua, the Nicaraguan version of Metropolis TV. He also presents a program for the VPRO/ZAPP (a Dutch Children TV station) titled “Stefpacking”, in which the lives of children in various cultures are discussed. In 2014, the VPRO broadcasted its five-part documentary series “Amor with a mustache” about love in Central and South American countries. In 2018, a new documentary series about “The back of the Andes” started in which Biemans looks in 6 episodes in 6 South American countries how the continent is changing.