Anwar’s column-NL


“No, grandmother, you do not have to brag me meat, because I’m a vegetarian.” I sometimes imagine that I would say that in my family. My grandmother would sell me a blow. Then I would still eat the meat with a bowed head.
Being a vegetarian does not actually exist in Syria. There are people who do not eat meat, but they do that for example because they are not allowed by the doctor or their diet. Syrian people often cook vegetarian, but they do so because there is no meat in the recipe. Not because they think about the life of the animals.
In the Netherlands I speak a lot of people who do not eat meat. I even met someone who did not want my home baked cake, because milk was used. ,,Milk? What is sad about that?”, I asked. That was pathetic, because that cow did not necessarily want to give milk itself. I assured her that I personally knew this cow and that she had given me the milk with full conviction and pleasure. She did not believe that and did not want a cake.
I find it sad, because now she is mainly dependent on fruit and vegetables in the Netherlands. And sorry, but those are just not that good here. There is little taste. I think that is not surprising, when you consider that food sometimes even comes from a laboratory. For example, lemons and grapes without kernels exist in the Netherlands. Conceived in a computer, tested in a laboratory. If I hear so, I can imagine that the taste has lost somewhere along the way.

As is often the case when you think back to something; it gets better and better in your head. The oranges from Syria are in my head from month to month sweeter. Just like the tomatoes getting juicier and the cucumbers more crispy. A little while longer and I even long for okra, a vegetable that is quite unknown in the Netherlands, which -in the past- I used to refuse to eat.

Miss Meghan-US/UK

From today’s Dutch newspaper “De Gelderlander”

‘Meghan Markle is worth gold for British monarchy’


It is a great love, says Andrew Morton about Meghan Markle and Prince Harry. Today his biography Meghan – A Hollywood Princess appears.

In 1992, royalty writer Andrew Morton had already shaken Buckingham Palace to its foundations with his biography Diana: Her True Story, in which he explained the painful marriage history of her and Prince Charles. That book – as it turned out after the death of Diana – was written with her cooperation. That is not the case with Meghan – A Hollywood Princess: Meghan Markle refused to talk. Instead, Morton spoke with former classmates, old friends, acquaintances, and relatives of Markle. The result is a book about an intelligent, charming and progressive world improver who blows a fresh wind through the conservative British royal family.

What does Meghan bring about in the palace? ,,I think she is an asset. It brings new energy, a different perspective: it is worth gold for the royal family. Meghan is smart: she knows that the British monarchy has been around for 1,000 years, so she will not want to make a huge difference in the beginning. But she has an opinion, and is not afraid to let it be heard. She previously had a widely read blog, in which she wrote about food and wine, but also about women’s rights and racial segregation. She supported Hillary Clinton during the presidential election, was very critical of Donald Trump and other politicians. It will be interesting to see how she will combine this with her new role.”

m3What surprised you the most? “How enormously activist Meghan was at a very young age. When she was 10 she walked in a demonstration against the Gulf War. A year later she wrote a letter to Proctor & Gamble because she felt that their advertising for wax tablets was sexist. A month later that commercial had changed. She wrote letters to champions of women’s rights. She did volunteer work in soup kitchens. All when she was very young.”

Do you see similarities with Princess Diana? “Diana was more of a caring type, committed to disabled and sick, while Meghan is more politically activist. But they have in common that they both have a lot of empathy for others. They are women who are programmed to give more than to take. Meghan comes to the royal family at a key moment in history. Everyone thinks seriously about what will happen to our country after the Queen dies. Where does Britain stand after the brexit? We live in a world full of changes and challenges. I think we need our monarchy more than ever today. And Meghan and Harry will play a big part in that.”

In your book people call Meghan a ‘social climber’. “Yes. Former friends say: “Meghan always surrounds itself with the right people. When Meghan is done with you, she’s done with you and continues with her life. “She left her friends in Los Angeles when she moved to Toronto. Now that another period in her life has arrived and she lives in London, it becomes interesting how much contact she keeps with her friends from Toronto. She can be a bit calculated. If she had not become an actress, she would have become a good politician, diplomat or journalist. She is an excellent networker.”


Have you also spoken to ex-boyfriends? “Yes, they were all very flattering about her. She found her very sweet, she was very popular at school. When she was 18 years old, she already had a fanclub of boys from the neighborhood. She made her appearance in a play by the local theater association, a Greek tragedy. Normally it did not attract much attention. But when she played in it, it was completely sold out. The organization had to say to its fans that they were not allowed to applaud or whistle when she came on stage.”

Is Meghan still friends with your sources? Are they invited to the marriage on May 19th? “Some friends do. But her half-sister, Samantha, is still waiting for an invitation. Half brother Tom says he has given up hope. I did not speak to her parents, they will come. It is interesting that there are more celebrities than members of her family. It is a broken family: even before Harry and Meghan met, they were not very close.”

m0Meghan has already been separated. How long do you think this marriage will last? ,,I sincerely believe that this is a great love. People will say in 100 years that they were meant for each other. 24 hours after their first date, she agreed to a vacation with Harry to Botswana. What should they have thought at Buckingham Palace then? I think they raised their eyebrows, and thought: this is the fourth girl Harry takes with him on safari. But I recently spoke with people in the palace, and they all said the same thing: Harry is crazy about Meghan, is very in love. He is cheerful, laughs all the time. This time it is real love.”

Bombing survivor-UK

Royal wedding guest list: 12-year-old Manchester bombing survivor gives away spare ticket

harry-meghan4A 12-year-old girl caught up in the Manchester Arena bombing has received an invitation to the royal wedding, and is taking the grandmother of a teenager who died in the attack. Amelia Thompson was allocated a pair of tickets to the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle on May 19. She asked her mother to forfeit her chance to attend and instead let the second ticket go to Sharon Goodman. Mrs Goodman’s 15-year-old granddaughter, Olivia Campbell-Hardy, was killed in the terror attack last year. Amelia’s mother, Lisa Newton, said she did not mind giving up her ticket. “It just feels right, the right thing to do,” she said. “Sharon’s looking forward to it and that’s what matters. “We’ll spend a few days together down there. I’ll go with Amelia as far as I can then I’ll be standing at the streetside like everyone else, waving. “I’m experiencing it through Amelia going and I think it’s just nice that somebody who’s really struggling and has lost so much can go and experience it and, hopefully, put a smile on her face.”

Amelia Thompson and Lisa Newton

Ms Newton nominated Amelia for a place among the 2,640 members of the public who will be allowed into the grounds of Windsor Castle to see the royal couple arrive at St George’s Chapel. In addition to living with the trauma of the attack, which claimed 22 lives, Amelia had to cope with the death of her uncle and the ill health of her father, who has suffered two heart attacks. She was left with damaged vocal cords from screaming at the horror of what she witnessed at Manchester Arena. Ms Newton said Amelia has overcome her difficulties with the help of counselling and her beloved horse, Viktor, and has helped to fundraise for victims and their families. “I’m just so proud of her. That’s all I can say as a mum. I love her to bits and she’s been inspirational,” she said. Amelia, from Dronfield Woodhouse, near Sheffield, had no idea that her mother had nominated her. “I was speechless. I can’t get my head around it. I’m so excited to go,” she said, adding that the only official guidance so far is to “dress for a posh wedding”. She is looking forward to shopping for a dress. “I just quite enjoy looking all nice and fancy,” she said, joking that she grew up as a “Disney Princess” girl. Her mother, who kept the nomination secret, said: “She knew nothing at all. She thought it was a joke. Now she can tell people, I think she’ll be shouting it from the rooftops.” The family struck up a friendship with Mrs Goodman after meeting at a fundraising photoshoot.

St George's Chapel, Windsor

Mrs Goodman said it was “an absolute privilege” to be asked to accompany Amelia to the wedding. “I’ve formed a bond with Amelia and so have other relatives. She’s just a pleasant, beautiful young lady. And courageous. It’s just a privilege really, it’s an honour,” she said. She described Ms Newton’s gesture in giving up her chance to attend the wedding as typical of her selflessness. “Lisa is such a warm, lovely person. She is a strong lady who’s not just helped us but has helped other families.” Mrs Goodman said it had been difficult to carry on following the death of her granddaughter, but she was looking forward to getting dressed up for the wedding. She and her husband, Steve, have set up a fund in Olivia’s memory which Amelia has helped support. Liv’s Trust CUO helps under-25s in Greater Manchester with their music and dance ambitions. Amelia said she would love to have a third ticket to give to another friend, Harriet Taylor. Ms Taylor’s mother, Jane Tweddle, also died at the Arena. Amelia hopes to take some kind of memorial to Windsor to represent the 22 people who died. Kensington Palace has announced that there will be no official list of political leaders or foreign dignitaries on the guest list, meaning neither Theresa May nor Donald Trump will be attending.

Wedding guests-UK

Royal wedding guest list: Theresa May and Donald Trump are not invited

harry-meghan2Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have not invited Prime Minister Theresa May or US President Donald Trump to the royal wedding. The couple will not have an official list of political leaders on the guest list when they marry on May 19th. Former US President Barack Obama has also missed out on an invitation, sources said. A Kensington Palace spokesman said: “It has been decided that an official list of political leaders –  both UK and international – is not required for Prince Harry and Ms Markle’s wedding. “Her Majesty’s Government was consulted on this decision, which was taken by The Royal Household.” Royal sources said the guest list will be restricted to those who have a direct relationship with the couple, and was taken both because St George’s Chapel is relatively small, and because the prince is not in the direct line of succession. Some members of the public have received an invitation to wait in the grounds outside the chapel to watch the bride and groom and their wedding guests arrive and leave.

They include:

  • Philip Gillespie, 30, from Ballymena; 
  • Rosie Ginday, 34, from Birmingham; 
  • Pamela Amomneze, 52, from Haringey;
  • Amelia Thompson, 12, from Dronfield Woodhouse;

In total, 2,640 people will fill the grounds. They include charity workers, pupils from two local schools and 500 members of The Royal Household.

HRH William & Catherine-UK

The Duchess of Cambridge and the art of the ‘going home’ look


Sometime this month, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will stand on the steps of the Lindo Wing and present baby Cambridge number three to the world.  There are a few things which are bound to happen at this point: the nation will rejoice at the new royal cuteness, names and potential godparents will be mooted, George and Charlotte will be adorable visiting to their new sibling- and we will all marvel at how on earth Kate manages to look so good just hours after giving birth. The art of the ‘coming home’ look is a relatively new one for the royals. Wedding dresses, diplomatic tour outfits and ballgowns have all been finely honed over the past two centuries, but until the birth of Prince William in 1982, babies were delivered in the privacy of royal palaces with no need to pose for pictures until they were at least a few weeks old. The first images of then-Princess Elizabeth gazing lovingly at little Prince Charles were published a month after his birth, offering plenty of time for recovery and beautifying. 0There was no such luxury for Princess Diana when she left hospital, bump still visible, the day after giving birth to William and, two years later, Harry. Similarly, Kate faced the world’s cameras little more than 24 hours after George’s delivery and a mere ten hours after Charlotte’s, so we can likely expect a similar modus operandi with baby number three. As with most royal style choices, these outfits become imbued with meaning beyond their immediate function of being something to wear to get from hospital room to the comfort of home. While most new mums choose the stretchiest leggings and roomiest jumpers they can find for the journey, Diana and Kate have used their outfits to signal something about their public image. In the mid-eighties, maternity style was all about voluminous, billowing shapes which acted as tent-like bump coverings- concealing rather than accentuating. While expecting William, Diana turned to childrenswear designer Catherine Walker (who would go on to become her most trusted dressmaker) to make her a few simple dresses- one was a turquoise polka dot style with a bow at the neckline and puff sleeves. She first wore it to a polo match but it became a going home look which conjured all the romance which might be expected at such a moment in the narrative of a fairytale princess (as Diana was then considered). She looked laidback and girlish, with many newspapers remarking on her ‘radiant’ appearence. For Harry’s homecoming, the look was more serious. Her red Jan Van Velden coat and shirt dress was devoid of soft, pretty details, its pussy bow seeming more businesslike than feminine and the wide shoulders more power dressing than princess. This was the beginning of her so-called ‘Dynasty Di’ period, when Diana’s fashion choices began to be more confident and bold, often setting trends rather than simply following them. Fast forward more than thirty years, and for the Duchess of Cambridge fashion considerations are even more complex. The images of her leaving hospital have been beamed around the world in an instant with hundreds of cameras catching her every angle. For both her births, she has commissioned bespoke dresses by Jenny Packham, one of her favourite designers. It seems likely that we can expect another new outfit for the birth of baby number three. When Kate emerged with Prince George, wearing a pale blue polka dot dress, immediate comparisons were drawn with the outfit worn by Diana to present William to the world. It was a sensitive sartorial tribute at a moment when her absence was keenly felt. 3Although the duchess’s style squad- stylist Natasha Archer and hairdresser Amanda Cook Tucker- were pictured arriving at the hospital, the results of their work were soft and subtle; Kate’s hair was styled in natural, loose waves, her make-up was minimal and she wore comfortable wedges rather than heels. With Princess Charlotte’s birth is was a different story. Although the chosen Jenny Packham dress was as pretty and loose as the first with its buttercup print, many commented on the choice of white as particularly brave. Kate paired the look with her beloved beige heels this time while her hair and make-up was more glamorous- bouncing curls and lashings of eyeliner. ‘Fresh as breeze’ and ‘stunning appearance’ were The Telegraph’s Gordon Rayner’s summation of the look. If the post-George look was ‘relatable(ish) and relaxed new mum’, then the message post-Charlotte was that of a consummate professional royal. Once she adds baby number three to her brood, Kate would be forgiven a maternity jeans and jersey top ensemble- something tells us that’s a rather unlikely scenario, however.

HRH William & Catherine-UK

Barrier erected outside Lindo Wing and parking restrictions begin as ‘Royal Baby Watch’ officially begins

prince-george-duke-of-cambridgeIt’s official – Royal Baby Watch has begun, with parking restrictions in place outside the Lindo Wing of St Mary’s Hospital in London in preparation for the Duchess of Cambridge to have her third child. Crowd barriers are set up on the street outside to accommodate the television crews, journalists and photographers who will be present as she goes into labour. The baby is due to be born in mid-to-late April, and The Duchess has recently been seen in Norfolk, shopping in Waitrose. She had her first two children, Prince George and Princess Charlotte, at the Lindo Wing, and although there were rumours she may have a home birth this time, it is now clear she will be delivering the third child in the same place as its siblings. By choosing the exclusive hospital wing, she is following in the footsteps of the late Princess Diana, who had both her children, Princes Harry and William, there.

Eager fans, who often gather near the hospital before a Royal Baby is born, will have to wait until the birth to find out the gender of the child; the Duke and Duchess have asked for it to remain a surprise. The Duchess will be looked after by a team of leading medical professionals during her stay, which will be lead by Alan Farthing, the Queen’s surgeon-gynaecologist, and Guy Thorpe-Beeston, surgeon-gynaecologist to the royal household. Both of them helped to deliver Prince George and Princess Afbeeldingsresultaat voor baby watch duchess of cambridgeCharlotte. In the Lindo Wing, The Duchess will again be given a bespoke experience akin to a five-star hotel with en suite rooms available “providing a modern, homely environment in which to start your new or expanded family life”, the unit’s website states. Deluxe rooms and suites are also available. The latest price list, from July last year to March, states that a standard room package, including a one-night stay, costs from £5,900, while a deluxe package is £6,275 – with an extra night priced at more than £1,000 for both options. The price of a suite of two rooms, with one used as a living room, is available on application but five years ago it cost £6,265 for a one-night stay. With standard and deluxe care packages rising by around £1,000 since the birth of their first child, William and Kate could spend close to £7,500 for a suite. Each room has a satellite TV with major international channels, radio, bedside phone, fridge, free wi-fi and a choice of daily newspapers. All meals are freshly prepared in a dedicated kitchen and there is even an afternoon tea service, for parents to celebrate their new arrival, the website suggests.


HRH Harry & Miss Meghan-UK

Harry and Meghan ask for donations instead of wedding gifts and name seven charities to benefit

harry-meghan5Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have named seven charities they have chosen to benefit from financial donations in lieu of wedding gifts. Many of them are small, little known organisations, including a Bristol-based children’s HIV charity with just four part-time employees and a charity for bereaved Armed Forces children. The only foreign charity chosen is the Myna Mahila Foundation, which supports women in Mumbai’s urban slums and which Ms Markle visited last year before writing about the experience for Time magazine. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have asked for charity donations in lieu of wedding giftsKensington Palace said the couple, who will wed on May 19, did not have any formal relationships with the seven charities but wanted to chose those which represent a range of issues they are passionate about. In asking guests and well-wishers to donate money rather than give them presents, the Prince and Ms Markle follow in the footsteps of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, who asked for money to be donated to their own charitable fund, which supported 26 charities of their choice, when they got married, raising more than £1million. One of the charities chosen by the couple is the Children’s HIV Association (CHIVA) which supports more than 1,000 UK children growing up with HIV and their families. A spokeswoman told the Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have asked for charity donations in lieu of wedding giftsTelegraph: “We only found out a couple of weeks ago that we have been chosen, it’s a huge honour and will make a huge difference to us. “We are a very small charity so it’s a massive deal.” She said Prince Harry had been aware of their work since members of their youth committee spoke to him at the International AIDS Conference in Durban in 2016 and that a group had subsequently met him at Kensington Palace. Another one of the chosen charities is Scotty’s Little Soldiers, inspired by the experience of war widow Nikki Scott, which supports children who have lost a parent while serving in the British Armed Forces. Mrs Scott, who met the Prince at Buckingham Palace last year, said: “I know that the Armed Forces and looking after the children our heroes have left behind is close to his heart.” She said to have been personally chosen by the couple was an “incredible honour” and that she was extremely grateful. The Myna Mahila Foundation is a charity which empowers women in Mumbai by providing them with a trusted network offering professional and personal support. It focuses on taboos surrounding menstrual hygiene by providing women access to low cost sanitary pads and information. Suhani Jalota, who founded tA shopkeeper holds wedding souvenirs in a gift shop in Windsorhe organisation in 2015, said: “Myna Mahila Foundation is delighted to be a part of this special occasion for Ms Meghan Markle and Prince Harry. “This support will enable us to expand our reach into more urban slums in Mumbai, empowering local women through access to menstrual hygiene products and employment opportunities.” Crisis, the national charity for homeless people, also welcomed being chosen by the couple, who will marry at St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle. There has been a furore over the treatment of homeless people in Windsor after Tory councillor Simon Dudley called on Afbeeldingsresultaat voor homeless people in Windsorpolice to clear rough sleepers from the town before the event. Jon Sparkes, chief executive of Crisis, said: “We are hugely grateful that Prince Harry and Ms Markle are asking the public to support Crisis as they celebrate their wedding. “Homelessness is one of the most urgent issues of our time, but at Crisis we know what it takes to end it. “Donations will help us to support more people to leave homelessness behind through our housing, employment, education and advice services across the country, and to campaign for the changes needed to solve the homelessness crisis once and for all.” The other three charities chosen by the couple are StreetGames, which uses sport to change young people’s lives, Surfers Against Sewage, a national marine conservation and campaigning charity currently focused on tackling plastic pollution and The Wilderness Foundation UK, which promotes the benefits and enjoyment of wild nature.

Skirts @ school-UK

Boys to be allowed to wear skirts at leading boarding school

Boys will be allowed to wear skirts at one of the country’s leading boarding schools. The headteacher of Uppingham School in Rutland, whose alumni include Stephen Fry and celebrity chef Rick Stein, said any boy asking to do so would find a sympathetic ear. Richard Maloney, who joined the Uppingham in September 2016, said: “I would hope that any pupil could come to me and say, ‘This is who we are, this is how we wish to express ourselves. We want to wear these clothes’, and we would probably allow that.”

boys skirts 

Mr Maloney told The Sunday Times that last year during inclusivity week, one boy had decided to wear a long skirt for a few days to make a point. It comes as television doctor Christian Jessen, who spent three years at Uppingham, said he would “probably” have worn a skirt for its shock value had he been permitted to do so. Dr Jessen said neutral uniforms would help move away from gender stereotypes, but warned against early medical intervention in the case of children who were experimenting with gender in adolescence. The £36,000-a-year public school admitted its first female student as a day-girl in 1973 and is now fully co-educational. Unlike a growing number of public and state schools which have introduced “gender neutral” uniforms Uppingham still has separate uniforms for its male and female pupils.

Uppingham School

Boys wear charcoal trousers, white shirts and black jumpers. Girls wear grey skirts, white shirts, and cerise jumpers.  Both wear black blazers. Gareth Doodes, head-teacher of Devon College, welcomed the news but warned the school ethos was more important. “I think it’s about more than one statement, it’s the entire culture,” he said. “It’s about ensuring that a school is pastorally calibrated to ensure a child feels confident to wear the uniform of another sex.” Mr Doodes said Dover, which has 300 pupils between three and 18 years old, had no plans to introduce gender neutral uniforms but had worked to create an environment in which clothing choice was not seen as exclusive or divisive. He added: “I don’t think it’s about gender neutrality, but rather, allowing pupils to express themselves fully in an environment with is safe and supportive.” One pupil at Dover has been permitted, with the consent of the pupil’s parents, to wear the uniform of the opposite sex.

Last year alumni of the £20,000-a-year Highgate school in North London reacted with outrage when the school drew up a mix-and-match uniform policy allowing boys to wear skirts. One letter to the headteacher objected to “this preposterous proposal.” The school allows children to request staff address them by a name of the opposite gender, which around half a dozen have done. One boy has also been allowed to wear a dress to school. Other private schools have policies to deal with children questioning their gender identity. St Paul’s Girls’ School allows female pupils to be called by boys’ names and wear boys’ clothes. And Brighton College also replaced its uniform, which had been in place for 170 years, for a gender-neutral one. In 2016 around 80 state schools were allowing pupils to wear clothes of the opposite gender. Last year retailer John Lewis said it was removing girls and boys labels in its clothing as part of the fight against gender stereotyping.

Wedding & Royalty-UK

Queen admits she’s difficult to buy for – and reveals people always get her plants

ERAs any head of state or political leader knows only too well, buying a present for a woman who has everything can prove a little difficult. But now the Queen has revealed that she sympathises with dignitaries who have faced this tricky diplomatic conundrum. In a television interview with Sir David Attenborough she explains how people often opt for the tried and trusted gift of the humble plant, albeit invariably rare and new varieties. As the veteran naturalist and Queen Elizabeth II stroll through the gardens of Buckingham Palace talking about her plans 201708311431Horst_Veld-O1to create a global network of forests, she says:  “I’ve been quite difficult to give presents to, so they’ve said, ‘Oh, let’s give her a plant.'” However, the pair, both 91, are filmed laughing after spotting a forlorn looking sapling that has keeled over, at odds with the otherwise impeccably kept gardens. The Queen jokes: “That one we won’t look at. Someone sat on it, I think.” Discussing a mulberry tree planted in the early 1600s by James I with the aim of attracting silk worms, the Queen says: “They chose the wrong variety and so the silk worms didn’t produce anything, which was a great disappointment to him, I believe.”

Scan_20170919 (1)The trailer for the ITV programme, called The Queen’s Green Planet, shows the pair discussing her forest project intended to help tackle climate change. The Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy aims to create a network of forest conservation projects across the 53 Commonwealth countries to mark Her Majesty’s lifetime of service. The monarch says she hopes the scheme could “change the climate again”, which Sir David claims would be a “wonderful legacy”. The documentary also shows Prince Harry planting trees in the Caribbean, and Prince William and his family in Canada’s Great Bear Rainforest. Paying tribute to his grandmother’s commitment to environmental causes, Prince Harry says: “I think I’m closing in on my half century of trees planted, but I reckon the Queen is up in the thousands.” The programme also features the American actress Angelina Jolie, who is filmed working on a conservation scheme she is running with the Namibian government. In one exert the actress described the Queen as “this lovely lady who cares about the future.” A spokeswoman for ITV said: “In a rare opportunity to see the Queen talking informally to Sir David, the conversation ranges from climate 20170404_114158change, to conkers and birthday gifts. “In the often humorous exchange, the Queen reveals her passion for nature and how the garden’s history is intertwined with that of her family, charting the lives of her children but also delving into the past of her great-great-grandparents Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.” In the past, the Queen has received many gifts connected to horses during state visits. An exhibition of state gifts last year showed how official gifts from Mongolia, Mexico and Slovenia all had an equestrian theme. The forest project was originally conceived by Frank Field, the veteran Labour MP. He claimed that repeated attempts to get previous governments to back a conservation project aimed at linking forest projects across the Commonwealth failed. He said “the Queen jumped at it,” adding how she recognised it had the potential to provide a “new politics” for the Commonwealth.