Royalty#102

Buckingham Palace has a way of dealing with family feuds… and ‘emotional’ royals never fare well

The Royal family watch a military fly-past to mark the centenary of the Royal Air Force

As Tolstoy famously opined: “Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” It’s a jolt to consider that the royal family are actually just like us – unhappy in their own way. We want to buy into the archetypal myth of the fairy tale: that the palaces, privilege and pomp lend themselves to living happily ever after. Tonight’s documentary, The Royal Family At War, debunks this myth: navigating the marriage break-up between Prince Charles and Diana,Princess of Wales in 1996; revisiting the abdication crisis of 1936, when Edward VIII renounced the throne to marry Wallis Simpson, and the current rumoured feud between the Duchesses of Cambridge and Sussex.  Members of the royal family may marry for love – “whatever in love means”, as Prince Charles questioned in his engagement interview to Lady Diana Spencer in 1981 – but history and tradition regularly conspire against them. Monarchy depends on continuity, conformity and the cult of the court. Familial conflict is not part of the regal code. The big business of The Firm requires that it operates as a diplomatic, rational machine. What is not tolerated, far less understood, is emotion. Those that heed the unspoken creed – duty over emotion – fare well. This week, unflappable Kate, who undertook her first public engagement with the Queen, fully cemented her position as a failsafe support to the monarch. Smiling and relaxed, her sunny self-assuredness must have been a balm to courtiers prickly over rumours of her rift with Meghan.

The news that Queen allegedly vetoed the Sussexes’ plan to set up a separate court and be “entirely independent” underlines the essence of a constitutional monarchy. This is an institutional structure to support the monarch, which doesn’t allow for that kind of rogue independence. The fact that William and Harry are splitting courts, as Meghan and Harry move from Kensington Palace to Frogmore Cottage next month,is unsettling enough with its potential for further rifts and rivalry.  History shows that the more colourful, excitable characters in the royal family who try to steer their own course tend not to reign triumphant. Consider the fates of Edward VIII, Princess Diana and Sarah, Duchess of York: all anathema to the British old school, stiff upper lip modus operandi. Which makes me anxious for Meghan and Harry.

The sixth-in-line to the throne is clearly more volatile and openly expressive than his elder brother, while Meghan has the double impediment of being not just emotional but an outsider. Worse, an American outsider who must quickly learn that the British way of coping can appear game-playing and manipulative; what is unsaid is often more significant than what is. Like her predecessor, American divorcée Wallis Simpson, of whom her friend, Nicky Haslam said: “To be an American was against her then, almost more than the divorce.” Fortunately, The Firm has modernised in part, and it seen as an advantage to our special relationship that Meghan has become a part of British royalty. Her gushingly demonstrative nature, however, penning positive affirmations on bananas and describing the feeling of her baby moving as the “embryonic kick of feminism,” must be raising eyebrows sky high in Court.  Hopefully, after the unfortunate loss of three palace aides, Meghan is now astute to the fact that it is the courtiers who hold real sway. The Men in Grey, as Diana called them, have successfully ensured the survival of the House of Windsor. As Queen Mary’s biographer, James Pope Hennessy, warned: “it is courtiers who make royalty frightened and frightening.” They maintain control by undermining power with gossip and setting up rivalry between courts. Clarence House took on Kensington Palace during Charles and Diana’s acrimonious divorce in 1996.

As early as in 1932, Edward’s equerry, John Aird, railed against the courtiers at York House who were briefing King George V against his son, lamenting “all the nasty gossip, which is very wrong of them and does no good.” At the time of the abdication, Wallis Simpson had realised that the courtiers wield tremendous influence, writing: “I became obsessed with the notion that a calculated and organised effort to discredit and destroy me had been set afoot.” She was right. The mantra for an effective monarchy may be duty over emotion but sadly, this is antithetical to harmonious family life. As Edward VIII said of his childhood, “Christmas at Sandringham was Dickens in a Cartier setting.” He considered his upbringing to be devoid of emotion; his mother, Queen Mary, could never understand nor forgive him for what she saw as the greatest dereliction of his duty when he abdicated. She wrote to her son in July 1938: “All my life I have put my Country before anything else, and I simply cannot change now.”

The Queen has followed suit and is a brilliant monarch, though fallible mother. Like the savvy Duchesses of Cornwall and Cambridge, she has never openly bleated about her position, nor given friends the green light to mutter to the media. Camilla, a true blue blood, has kept her feelings tightly and admirably to herself. From being a reviled figure at the time of the Wales’ divorce in 1996, who could have been crushed by the avalanche of opprobrium, she has become the nation’s favourite grandmother, proving herself to be the mainstay of Prince Charles’s happiness and an ideal consort.

Having written books about two controversial royal women, Princess Diana and Wallis Simpson, it is clear to me that emotion is the enemy of monarchical longevity. Drawing attention to fragility is viewed as nauseating weakness, while openly addressing conflict is simply bad manners. Diana became the victim of her emotional life. Ill-equipped to cope with her outbursts, such as confronting Camilla at a party at Annabel Goldsmith’s about her affair with Charles, the Palace found her irrational and difficult to deal with.  The same could be said of Edward VIII. After the abdication, his torment that his wife would not be received by his family, nor given the HRH title, caused him to further alienate himself. His obsessive and pushy tendencies regularly undid whatever miniscule steps had been made towards familial rapprochement. “If you gave the Duke of Windsor an inch, he took a mile,” said royal biographer Hugo Vickers. “He could be hugely whiney, especially to Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth.” If only the Duke of Windsor had been as patient and strategic as Camilla has been. I believe that eventually he could have returned to live in Britain with his Duchess, which he longed for. In terms of true grit of character, Wallis understood – and ironically had the requisite inner discipline to survive – court life. After the abdication, when she received trays of vicious hate mail each morning, she schooled herself to control her inner world. She developed an implacable façade to conceal the extent of her suffering. Unlike her husband, she predicted that the conflict with the royal family was unlikely to abate. During the Second World War, she wrote: “We had two wars to deal with – the big and still leisurely war – in which everybody was caught up, and the little cold war with the Palace, in which no quarter was given.” And never was.

Royalty#99

Queen speaks of ‘greater confidence and optimism’ thanks to stable links with Commonwealth on 70th anniversary

The Queen has spoken of the “greater confidence and optimism” Britain can have thanks to its stable links with the Commonwealth, as she marks the 70th anniversary of the “family of nations”. In a message delivered ahead of Commonwealth Day on Monday, the Queen has given thanks for the ” networks of cooperation and mutual support to which we contribute, and on which we draw”. Saying the “enduring commitment” of the 53 countries is intangible, she added that nevertheless “its impact is very real”. In what is scheduled to be her last Commonwealth Day message before Brexit on March 29th, the Queen emphasised the element of “belonging” in a modern, connected organisation.

On Monday, she will be joined by members of her family including the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex for a Westminster Abbey service celebrating its 70th anniversary with music from Clean Bandit and tenor Alfie Boe, and a reflection by Lewis Pugh on ocean conservation. This year, the Queen’s message contains a plea to protect the planet, following her Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy tree project and a new focus on the ocean environment. “Com-monwealth Day has a special significance this year as we mark the 70th anniversary of the London Declaration, when nations of the Commonwealth agreed to move forward together as free and equal members,” the Queen said. “The vision and sense of connection that inspired the signatories has stood the test of time, and the Commonwealth continues to grow, adapting to address contemporary needs. “Today, many millions of people around the world are drawn together because of the collective values shared by the Commonwealth. “In April last year, I welcomed the leaders of our 53 nations to Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, and we all witnessed how the  Commonwealth vision offers hope, and inspires us to find ways of protecting our planet,  and our people. “We are able to look to the future with greater confidence and optimism as a result  of the links that we share, and thanks to the networks of cooperation and mutual support to which we contribute, and on which we draw. “With enduring commitment through times of great change, successive generations have demonstrated that whilst the goodwill for which the Commonwealth is renowned may be intangible, its impact is very real. “We experience this as people of all backgrounds continue to find new ways of expressing through action the value of belonging in a connected Commonwealth. “I hope and trust that many more will commit to doing so this Commonwealth Day.”

The Commonwealth Day service will be broadcast live on BBC One and across the BBC World Service. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, who lived in Canada while filming her television show Suits, will spend part of the day with young people at Canada House making  maple taffy and watching dance performances. Later on Monday evening, the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall will be guests of the Commonwealth Secretary-General at a reception at Marlborough House.

Royalty#98

‘Megbot’ army linked to Russian conspiracy theories tweeting ‘obsessive’ support for Duchess, says report

Suspicious “bot-like” Twitter accounts and handles linked to Russian conspiracy theories have been “obsessively” tweeting about the Duchess of Sussex, an investigation has found. Analysis of accounts interconnected into a “Meghan Markle” Twitter community found around 1,000 “highly-connected” accounts which have tweeted more than two and half million times since September. One account with the second highest number of pro-Meghan followers, which also tweets about US politics from a pro-Democratic perspec-tive, appears to indicate “bot-like activity” while the fourth most shared account frequently tweets from Russia Today and has questioned Sergei Skripal’s near-fatal Novichok poisoning. The research by 89up, the consultancy firm which carried out an analysis of Facebook data for a DCMS select committee report, published last month, found an “unusually high reach” for the narrow interconnected group of Meghan fans. It comes as Meghan joined a panel of female leaders for International Women’s Day on Friday, saying men should embrace the idea they can be both masculine and feminist, declaring: “Hashtags are not enough” to bring about real change. Insisting men must not feel threatened by women walking alongside them as equals, she joked about feeling the “embryonic kicking of feminism” from inside her growing baby bump and said making men including her husband Prince Harry a part of the conversation was the only way to make progress.

Having been announced earlier as the new vice-president of the Queen’s Commonwealth Trust, the duchess spoke at length about the challenges facing women in developing countries and, when asked about extra hurdles faced by women of colour, acknowledged there could be “an added layer of race [or] social demographic” in their treatment. Last week, Kensington Palace published rules for followers of its social media channels on Monday, warning that anyone who posts offensive comments will be blocked or reported to the police in the wake of escalating abuse of both Meghan and the Duchess of Cambridge. On Friday, research by Hope Not Hate and CNN revealed that out of 5,200 abusive tweets directed at Meghan in January and February, 3,600 came from the same small cohort of trolls. Now a new report suggests a similar degree of collusion between some of the duchess’s most “obsessive” champions.

89up, which has previously worked for the pro-Remain Best for Britain group, found a network of 1,103 “highly-connected” Twitter accounts had tweeted 2,555,070 times in the past six months with a potential reach of one billion Twitter impressions.  “This is an unusually high reach for a narrow interconnected group,” said the report by 89up, which used the search terms like “Duchess of Sussex” and #MeghanMarkle” to locate the tweets. While very few of the larger of the Twitter accounts in this community were found to be entirely automated, “many have unusual features, suggesting there could be collusion or automation behind some of the accounts,” said the report. It also found evidence of “coordinated attacks” on royal correspondents who have written negative stories about Meghan, with one journalist targeted with over 7,000 posts. Josh Feldberg, Director of Digital at 89up said: “There is highly suspicious activity on Twitter around search terms linked to the Duchess of Sussex. It is unclear the extent to which this content is automated, but the prevalence of strange Twitter usernames and the overlap between accounts that tweet primarily about politics but also tweet extensively about the duchess, could point to an orchestrated campaign to manipulate public opinion by an organisation or state.

Image result for twitter logo“It is not impossible that there is just a fanatical community of people online who are tweeting all day content about the duchess, but the scale of the community and the amount of content they are sharing should make us suspicious.” 89up undertook an analysis of the network of accounts interconnected into a “Meghan Markle” Twitter community using prominent accounts including ‘PositivelyMegh1′, DuchessOnDuty’ and ‘Sussex__Archive’. The Twitter Image result for twitter logoaccount that has tweeted the most about the Duchess is tvfan00 which has tweeted over 80,000 times in the 3 years since it was set up. The account with the second highest number of followers linked to PositivelyMegh1 is jaydoll51, which also tweets about left wing US politics and predominantly Image result for twitter logo other accounts (an indicator of ‘bot like activity’, according to the report). This account is linked by a follower relationship to other accounts with ‘bot-like characteristics’ that retweet content about Markle consistently. The fourth most shared account tweeting positive posts about the duchess, Lewisno1fan, posted no fewer than 1,596 tweets about Meghan in the last year. In recent weeks, the account has been downplaying the anti-Semitism crisis in the Labour party, defending suspended Labour MP Chris Williamson, as well as sharing tweets from Russia Today and Skripal conspiracy theories.

Royalty#97

Duchess of Sussex makes surprise appearance at Prince Harry’s speech to students

The Duke of Sussex has urged the “greatest generation” of young people not to feel frustrated with their elders who seem “like they don’t care”, as he brings his wife onstage for a “surprise” appearance in front of screaming fans. The Duke told youngsters at the annual WE Day conference they were the “most engaged generation in history”, as he quoted the Duchess’ favourite mantra from Martin Luther King. After delivering the speech, he told an audience of thousands that he would “try and drag” his wife on stage, before the couple stood with their arms around each other and told them: “Guys, I am with you. We are with you. Get to work.” In an address based on tackling two “absolutely crucial” causes the Duke identified as mental health and saving the planet, he urged youngsters to be “mindful” of their own feelings and surroundings. “To be amongst all of you progressive, motivated, open minded, change-makers, is what gives me hope for the future,” he said.  “Your optimism is inspiring – you see opportunities where other people see challenges; you seek solutions when others just focus on problems. “You are the most engaged generation in history. You care about values, doing the right thing, and championing the causes that will shape your future.

“You don’t judge someone based on how they look, where they’re from, or how they identify. “In this room, you see the world for what it is – vibrant, colourful, mixed and full of promise. “That is who you are, and that is what makes me feel proud to stand in your presence as you tackle the world’s greatest issues.” Saying he knows “it can feel challenging sometimes” he added it is “your role is to shine the light”. “You aren’t always going to agree, you may find yourselves frustrated with the older generation when it seems like they don’t care,” he said, “But try to remove that judgment. “Try to remember that not everyone sees the world the way you do, but that doesn’t mean they don’t care.” The Duke, who has regularly shared his concerns about social media, also urged his audience to have “less screen time, more face to face time”. “Every day you are inundated with an overexposure of advertising and mainstream media, social media and endless comparisons, distorting the truth, and trying to manipulate the power of positive thinking,” he said: “But you don’t let them sway you. “Because you don’t need to hide behind your device to share your voice. You confidently voice your opinions because you can embrace them proudly.

“As my wife often reminds me with one of her favourite quotes by Martin Luther King Jr. – ‘Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that’.” Ending his address with a to-do list, the Duke, who is now a Commonwealth youth ambassador, told them: “Be braver, be stronger, be kind to each other, be kind to yourselves, have less screen time, and more face to face time, exceed expectations, eliminate plastics, conserve water, protect wildlife and their unique habitat, keep empathy alive, ask your friends how they are doing and listen to the answer, be honest, take risks, change your thoughts and change the world.

“Dare to be the greatest generation of all time.”

Royalty#95

Royal baby 2019: The Duchess of Sussex’s due date, possible names, and all the latest news

The Duchess of Sussex once described motherhood as being on her “bucket list”, while the Duke of Sussex has frequently confessed he would love to have children. And now the newlyweds, who married in Windsor last May, are just weeks away from welcoming their first child. As the nation waits for the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh’s eighth grandchild to arrive, here’s everything we know about royal babySussex.

When is the Royal baby due?

Although Kensington Palace has only said the royal baby is due in the spring, six-month pregnant Meghan let slip during an engagement in Birkenhead earlier this year that she is due at the end of April or early May. The couple announced their pregnancy to family and friends at Princess Eugenie’s wedding in October, just days before their royal tour of Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and Tonga. This means he or she could easily be born on the same day as great-grandmother the Queen, who will celebrate turning 93 on April 21. If the couple do know the gender, they’re keeping it very quiet. They recently said they’d be “thrilled” with a baby boy or girl.

Where will the Duchess of Sussex give birth?

No one knows for sure, but staff at the Lindo Wing at St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington, London, have been advised not to take holiday in the spring, sparking speculation the Duchess plans to give birth there. Contrary to earlier reports the former American actress plans to give birth on the NHS, she may instead follow in the footsteps of the Duchess of Cambridge, who had her three children at the same private maternity unit. Princess Diana also.

Giving birth in the Lindo Wing

The £6,000-a-night Lindo wing offers a “five-star” birthing experience with expectant mothers accommodated in spacious private rooms with en-suite bathrooms. Patients are invited to pick their meals from lavish a la carte menus – including a wine and champagne list – and are offered a celebratory post-labour afternoon tea. The first night in Lindo wing costs £5,900 for the normal delivery package and then every additional night is charged at £1,175. Patients can pay extra for a deluxe package, where the rooms are slightly bigger, which costs £6,275 for the first 24 hours and £1,550 for extra nights.

What will the royal baby be called?

There will be much suspense as to what the Duke and Duchess of Sussex will call their baby. The youngster will be born into the British royal family, where tradition is an intrinsic part of the Windsors’ lives. If they go classic, something like Alice, Mary, Elizabeth or Victoria for a girl, and Philip, Frederick, Charles, Arthur, Edward or James for a boy are possibilities. But the pair are also forward-thinking royals, and the duchess has her own American upbringing to draw on. Canadian-born Autumn Phillips, and husband Peter Phillips, opted for a non-traditional name for their daughter Savannah – the Queen’s first great-grandchild – in 2010. In the US, the most popular name for a baby girl is Emma and Liam for a baby boy. In the UK, the most popular name for a girl born in 2017 was Olivia, and for a boy Oliver. In short, it’s anyone’s guess.

 

Where will the baby fall in the line of succession?

Seventh in line, which means it’s highly unlikely the child will ever be monarch. The baby will have three cousins: Prince George – a future king – and Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis, who are further up the line of succession, so it is a safe bet that the throne will stay on the Cambridge side of the family. The baby will bump Harry’s uncle, the Duke of York, into eighth place in the line of succession. His daughter’s Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie move into ninth and 10th place, and Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex – the Queen’s youngest son – drops out of the top 10 for the first time to 11th in line.

What title will the new royal baby have?

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s baby will not be a prince nor a princess unless the Queen steps in. King George V – Harry’s great great grandfather – limited titles within the royal family in 1917. This means the couple’s first born, as a great-grandchild of the sovereign, is too far down the line of succession to be an HRH. George V declared that: “the grandchildren of the sons of any such Sovereign in the direct male line (save only the eldest living son of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales) shall have and enjoy in all occasions the style and title enjoyed by the children of Dukes of these Our Realms.” The eldest son and heir apparent of a duke can use one of his father’s lesser grade peerage titles by courtesy, according to Debrett’s. So a first son of Harry’s would become Earl of Dumbarton – one of the subsidiary titles Harry received from the Queen on the morning of his wedding. A daughter would be Lady (first name) Mountbatten-Windsor, and any subsequent sons Lord (first name) Mounbatten-Windsor.

Will the baby have dual citizenship?

The Duke and Duchess could apply for their child to have dual US-UK citizenship. The Duchess is in the process of becoming a British citizen – but it is not known whether she will hold dual nationality, and at present is still a US citizen. According to the American Embassy in the UK, a child born outside of the US and in wedlock to a US citizen parent and a non US citizen parent, may acquire US citizenship at birth if the US parent lived in America for five years – two of which were after the age of 14.

Where will the family live?

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are due to move into Frogmore Cottage in the grounds of Windsor Castle this year, however the property is still under-going extensive refurbishment. Since 2017, the couple have been living at Nottingham Cottage, in the grounds of Kensington Palace near the Duke of Cambridge and his family, but the move means they will be 20 miles away from them.

Royalty#94

How Meghan showed the world (and the Royal family…) who’s really boss

Five days and an estimated £325,000 later, the Duchess of Sussex has returned from what can only be described the mother of all baby showers. Occupying the most expensive and largest hotel suite in America on New York’s swanky Upper East side, the celebrations included a performance by Kanye West’s favourite harpist, a candy floss machine and £150 steaks. What had been billed as a “private, low key” affair appeared to take on a life of its own after “sources close to the duchess” tipped off American magazines that they would be descending on The Mark – which unashamedly describes itself as “NYC’s most boldly lavish hotel”. Tennis star Serena Williams was already in situ ahead of Wednesday’s afternoon soirée in the £57,000 a night penthouse suite; a two-floor set of rooms boasting five bedrooms, two bars, a conservatory, a library and a terrace so large it hosts small weddings. The seven-time Wimbledon winner, worth a rumoured £140 million, is thought to have footed the bill (no word yet on whether she wangled any freebies or a discount in return for the global publicity). Designed by Valentino’s favourite interiors man Jacques Grange, with ebony fittings and fine Italian linens, Meghan spent six nights in a more modest, two-bedroom suite on the 10th floor at a cost of £15,312 a night in what was described as her “last hurrah” before joining the royal matriarchy. Us more reserved Brits may well baulk at such lavish fare, not least the ‘tupperware Queen,’ who has always taken a distinctly understated approach to wealth. Indeed, the glitzy bash has drawn unfavourable comparisons to the heady days of Marie Antionette; not to mention the palace versus planet conundrum, in which royals espouse our need to preserve the environment while enlarging our carbon footprint by taking regular flights by private jet around the world that have previously hampered Prince Charles’s conservationist credentials. Can Meghan really claim to be a eco-royal and ardent philanthropist while zipping across the globe on hundreds-of-thousand dollar trips?  HM’s subjects tend to prefer their royals to be a cut above showbusiness, which could prove tricky for Meghan, who had carved out a successful career in the glare of flashing paparazzi bulbs. Having so far proved to be a model royal on official engagements, genuinely engaging with people in a thoughtful way, the duchess will not want the trappings of her celebrity to overshadow her commendable charitable commitments. The 37-year-old royal had originally appeared incognito – wearing a flap gap pulled over her head and her hair covering her face – when she was first photographed in the city on Monday, having flown in on a private jet three days earlier. But it was not long before press pens were erected outside the five-star hotel on Madison Avenue as guests started arriving as thick and fast as the gifts – with luxury luggage turning up in the foyer along with pink roses and a Babyletto crib. Eagle-eyed royal watchers were swift to point out that the suitcases from Away appeared to be the same brand as the silver bag Meghan’s former Suits co-star Abigail Spencer was conspicuously holding when she posted an Instagram selfie en route to the festivities, captioned: “On the road again”. A special Clooney arrived in a red jumpsuit as the snow started to fall, along with Meghan’s stylist friends Misha Nonoo and Jessica Mulroney – thought to have been the mastermind behind the out-of-this world affair until it was suddenly briefed that Serena was in fact picking up the tab (Amal apparently covered the cost of Meghan’s private jet back to Blighty). Oprah Winfrey’s best friend Gayle King was also in attendance, along with Meghan’s make-up artist Daniel Martin and her hairstylist Serge Normant. Taking centre stage in oversized sunglasses and an ever growing bump was seven and a half months pregnant Meghan, accompanied only by her royal bodyguards and seemingly no members of the Kensington Palace household staff in tow. So was this the former actress’s way of the reminding the world that she is still very much in control of her own media image? The absence of any palace press officers at what was one of the biggest royal media spectacles of the year has naturally raised eyebrows – not least following reports that William and Harry are to split their households before their move to Frogmore Cottage in Windsor and the birth of baby Sussex in the spring. Last week, Kensington Palace’s communications chief Jason Knauf was forced to deny rumours he will now concentrate only on William and Kate, leaving his deputy Christian Jones to focus on Harry and Meghan amid talk of “tensions” within the household. It comes after five of Meghan’s closest friends – some of whom are thought to have been present at the baby shower – gave intimate interviews with People magazine in the US to “set the record straight” over her troubled relationship with her father Thomas Markle. The cover story, understood to have been tacitly approved by the Duchess without Kensington Palace’s prior knowledge, was considered by some a PR own goal in prompting Mr Markle to release excerpts from a handwritten letter Meghan wrote to him last August. Mr Markle described the letter from his daughter as being not the ‘olive branch’ he hoped for but a ‘dagger to the heart’. Comparisons have inevitably been made to the way Princess Diana kept her closest aides in the dark over her incendiary Panorama interview in 1995, which led to the resignation of her principal adviser. Last week, George Clooney waded into the debate, claiming that Meghan was being “chased, pursued and vilified” like Diana, warning: “We’ve seen how that ends”. While some have questioned the wisdom of Meghan having such a public baby shower amid criticism that her privacy is being invaded by the press, others insist that she is perfectly entitled to celebrate however she wants, especially on home turf. As one royal observer described it: “Here was the old Meg, doing the kind of things she used to do, but just on steroids. It could have only happened in America. There’s no way we would have seen anything like that here in the UK.” It is perhaps worth remembering that when the Duchess of Cambridge’s sister Pippa threw her a baby shower before Prince George was born in 2013, it was held in the confines of the Middleton family home in Bucklebury. While it is understood a party planner was involved, with guests given goodies bags packed with White Company and Jo Malone fare, there was certainly no press pack waiting outside. But unlike Kate’s closest friends, many in Meghan’s inner circle have public profiles to promote – which could go some way to explaining why some of the high-profile guests could not resist a bit of product placement. Even Meghan was at it, wearing a baseball cap to promote Spencer’s new show, Rectify. Her Tamara Mellon boots were perhaps a nod to the presence of the Jimmy Choo co-founder’s publicist Celine Khavarani, who was also at the party. Meanwhile Serena was busy posting images of herself wearing her own clothing range from the bathroom of The Mark and seizing the moment to announce that she is joining online retailer Poshmark’s board of directors. What’s certain is that Meghan appears keen to maintain her own profile in the States. As Sara Nathan, Page Six Features Editor explained, there was no escaping the coverage across the pond: “It was crazy outside the Mark hotel – they had to erect crash barriers for all the fans and photographers – people truly adore her here. She’s their American Duchess. The Americans truly love the royals – and they love that one of their own has joined the family.” That her global appeal is flourishing is no bad thing. But perhaps Meghan might like to make her travel plans a little less Hollywood, and a little more humble, in future.

Royalty#90

Duchess of Sussex writes messages of support on bananas for sex workers

Messages of support written by the Duchess of Sussex 
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex also visited the Old Vic theatre

The Duchess of Sussex has written personal messages of empowerment and support for vulnerable sex workers on a series of bananas to be delivered to them on the streets. The Duchess, who visited a charity which helps women break free from sex work, homelessness and addiction, resolved to send a personal, handwritten message to those in need. During a tour of the kitchen at One25, a charity in Bristol, she was seized with inspiration, asking for a felt tipped pen to draw hearts and notes, including the words: “You are strong”, “You are loved”, “You are brave”, “You are special”. The fruit, which is part of a food parcel for sex workers, was due to be delivered by van, along with blankets, condoms, hot water bottles and advice from the charity’s experts, to women on the streets. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex visited the charity during a day-long outing to a snowy Bristol, in which they delivered a series of heartfelt messages on subjects form the arts to mental health and grief. At One25, who had asked for the visit to be kept a secret until after the royal couple had left to protect the vulnerable women, they met volunteers, donors, service users and were given a tour of an outreach van which tours the red light district five nights a week. In the kitchen, as they were shown the food bags being prepared, the Duchess said: “Oh actually do you have a Sharpie marker? I have an idea. “I saw this project this woman had started somewhere in the States on a school lunch programme. On each of the bananas she wrote an affirmation, to make the kids feel really, like, empowered. It was the most incredible idea – this small gesture.” Declaring “I am in charge of the banana messaging!”, she wrote a series of short phrases and decorated the fruit with hearts. It is not the first time the duchess has used bananas to send a message.  Shortly after she began dating Prince Harry’s, she uploaded a photograph of two bananas ‘spooning’, and more recently baked banana bread for farmers during a tour of The Duke of Sussex at the Bristol boxing club. One charity volunteer called Sam, who is a former sex worker, said: “I can imagine being on the van, and [ hearing] ‘Meghan wrote this thing, and what?’ I think they might not eat it. I think that banana would be at home until it is rotten. Because I would do the same.” Anna Smith, the charity’s chief executive, told the couple: “The of our women is often very much misunderstood, and they are stigmatised and hidden from the world.” As she spoke, the duchess spotted that Sam was looking nervous at the prospect of having to talk to the group. She told her: “Sometimes it is the lead-up that makes it more nerve-racking. You go first! It’s like ripping a bandaid off.” Prince Harry, speaking of how vulnerable women can be coerced, said: “When you were being groomed at such a young age, and this is the only thing you know, you completely lose faith in society. You lose trust in every man, and probably everyone else around you. From a mental health perspective you are broken.” They were not the only words of comfort offered by the Duke. In a separate charity visit to Empire Fighting Duchess of Sussex prepares food parcels to go in the charity outreach van and writes personalised messages on fruit in the charity kitchenChance, a boxing club which helps vulnerable youngsters, he cleared a room to comfort a teenage boy who became emotional talking about the death of his father. The Duke of Sussex, who lost his own mother when he was 12 and he previously spoken of how boxing helped his mental health, spent 10 minutes talking privately to 15-year-old Iestyn about processing his grief, telling him: “The same thing happened to me.” The day was completed with a trip to refurbished Bristol Old Vic, where the Duchess made a heartfelt plea for the creative arts. “There’s so much of the emphasis in after school clubs on sport,” she said. “Channeling the energy you have into the creative arts and theatre and all of that is equally as important. “Sport isn’t for everyone, just as theatre isn’t for everyone. “You can know that there’s a place [here] where you can find community, and sort of explore self discovery and other things you might be thinking about.” The Duke told youngsters of drama: “It’s more than a hobby isn’t it? It runs in your blood.” The Duke and Duchess traveled by train, and undertook a walkabout despite the snow-lined streets. Meeting nursery school children, they appeared to be preparing for their impending parenthood as the Duke asked a woman supervising toddlers: “How do you keep them under control?”

Royalty#89

The Duke of Sussex pips the Queen to take ‘Most Popular Royal’ crown, according to survey

Prince Harry at a dedication of the Colo-i-Suva forest to the Queen's Commonwealth Canopy in Suva

Prince Harry is the most popular royal, according to a new You Gov survey. The Duke of Sussex beats the Queen to first place, with 77 per cent of the public having a positive opinion about the father-to-be, ahead of 74 per cent for the monarch. Prince William is in third place with 73 per cent. The Duchess of Cambridge is the second most popular woman in the Royal Family, with 64 per cent, while the Duchess of Sussex came sixth with an approval rating of 55 per cent – a percentage point less than 97-year-old Prince Philip, in fifth. Kate proved more popular with both men and woman than Meghan, with 72 per cent of women and 55 per cent of men approving compared to 61 per cent and 50 per cent for the former American actress. Baby boomers prefer Princess Anne to both of the younger Duchesses, with 68 per cent of over 55s approving compared to 64 per cent for Kate and 51 per cent for Meghan. While William’s wife may be more popular than Harry’s, the The Duchess of Sussex and Queen Elizabeth II laugh during their first engagement together in June, where they attended a ceremony to open the new Mersey Gateway bridge.’ own popula-rity is not based on their rank in the royal pecking order with the Duke of Sussex proving more popular than his older brother. Eighty six per cent of women and 69 per cent of men approved of Harry, with just seven per cent of having a negative opinion of either Harry or William, compared to nine per cent who disapproved of the Queen and Kate, and 10 per cent who didn’t like Meghan. While Harry was the most popular royal among women, the Queen was the most popular among men, with 71 per cent approving. Both princes were much more popular than their father, Prince Charles, who marks his 70th birthday on Wednesday. Almost half of the nation (48 per cent) said they had a positive opinion of the heir to the throne, putting him in seventh place overall. A further 20 per cent have a negative view of him, while 30 per cent have a neutral view. Charles’s wife Camilla is far less popular than he is. Only 29 per cent of Brits have a favourable view of the Duchess of Cornwall, putting her 10th on the list of 15. The 36 per cent of people who say they dislike her is the joint-highest of any member of the royal family – putting her popularity on a par with her brother in law, Prince Andrew. Princess Anne came eighth on 47 per cent, followed by her daughter Zara Phillips on  43 per cent. The Countess of Wessex came 11th in the popularity poll on 28 per cent followed by her husband Prince Edward on 27 per cent. Sophie Wessex proved to be the least famous royal with only 74 per cent of the public having heard of her compared to 99 per cent who recognised Prince William – regarded as the “most famous” royal of all. Princess Beatrice proved slightly more popular than her younger sister Princess Eugenie on 25 per cent and 24 per cent respectively while the Duke of York came bottom of the league in 15th place with an approval rating of 22 per cent.

Royalty#87

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have arrived in a snow covered Bristol for a day of royal engagements which will begin with the couple meeting the public in the heart of the city.

The royal couple will also tour the Bristol Old Vic theatre and travel to the Empire Fighting Chance, a charity using boxing to support children failing at school. There were fears the visit may be called off because of the Arctic conditions, but organisers of the couple’s first engagement – a visit to the Old Vic, which is undergoing a multimillion-pound restoration – said they were still expecting the duke and duchess. A Bristol Old Vic spokeswoman said: “We are still going ahead so far, there have been no messages to say otherwise.” The Duke and Duchess will be taken on a guided tour of the revamped theatre, which has been entertaining audiences for more than 250 years. During the day the couple will also meet well-wishers on a walkabout and travel to Empire Fighting Chance, a charity using boxing to support children failing at school and in danger of drifting into a life of unemployment or even crime. The Bristol Old Vic was built in 1766 and has a unique place in British theatre history, having nurtured the talents of countless famous actors from Daniel Day-Lewis and Greta Scacchi to Peter O’Toole and Jeremy Irons. Stirling Prize-winning architects Haworth Tompkins led the theatre’s redesign, which Duchess of Sussex arrives in Bristol as the snow continues to fall a full-height timber and glass-fronted foyer that reveals the original audito-rium facade to the street for the first time. The internal layout has been trans-formed, with the restoration of the Georgian Coopers’ Hall, a new studio theatre created in the old barrel vaults and mezzanine galleries. The project is the second stage of a 10-year, £26 million programme to completely overhaul and safeguard the future of the theatre. During the visit, the duke and duchess will drop in on a workshop attended by local schoolchildren, which is part of Bristol Old Vic’s outreach .

Royalty#86

Duchess of Sussex ‘planning to give birth on Lindo Wing’ as staff are advised not to take holiday

Staff at the Lindo Wing have been advised not to take holiday in the spring, sparking speculation the Duchess of Sussex plans to have their baby there. Contrary to reports the former American actress plans to give birth on the NHS, she may instead follow in the footsteps of the Duchess of Cambridge, who had her three children at the private maternity unit at St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington. A source told the Telegraph: “Staff at the Lindo Wing have been asked not to take holiday in April. Everyone thinks it’s got something to do with the royal baby but no one is confirming anything.” Although Kensington Palace has only said the royal baby is due in the spring, six-month pregnant Meghan let slip during an engagement in Birkenhead that the baby is due at the end of April or early May. The £6,000-a-night Lindo wing offers a “five-star” birthing experience with expectant mothers accommodated in spacious private rooms with en-suite bathrooms. Patients are invited to pick their meals from lavish a la carte menus – including a wine and champagne list – and are offered a celebratory post-labour afternoon tea. William and Kate praised the staff there following the births of Prince George, 5, Princess Charlotte, 3 and nine-month-old Prince Louis. William and Harry were also born there. The first night in Lindo wing costs £5,900 for the normal delivery package and then every additional night is charged at £1,175. Patients can pay extra for a deluxe package, where the rooms are slightly bigger, which costs £6,275 for the first 24 hours and £1,550 for extra nights. In what was billed as a “snub” to Kate, it had been reported that Meghan, 37, planned to give birth on the NHS at Frimley Park Hospital in Surrey, because it is seven miles closer than the Lindo Wing to Frogmore Cottage in Windsor, where the Sussexes are due to move in the New Year. The hospital does have a royal connection – Sophie, the Countess of Wessex, gave birth to her daughter Lady Louise Windsor there in 2003 after undergoing an emergency cesarean section. Her son, James, Viscount Severn was also born there in 2007. It is not as luxurious as the Lindo Wing. The large labour ward does not offer private care for maternity patients although private postnatal rooms are available at £100-a-night, without en suite facilities. There are 14 labour rooms available on the general ward, saw 5,350 births from April 2016 to April 2017. Alternatively Meghan could opt for one of the four birthing rooms in The Mulberry Birth Centre, which is more of a “homely environment” where the focus is on “birth without medical intervention”. The rooms have mood-changing lights and a birthing pool is available. Active birthing is encouraged, and rooms come with a bed, chair, a bean bag and an exercise ball available to assist labour. In 2014, Sophie opened the new neonatal unit at Frimley Park Hospital and welled up as she thanked staff for helping her through an ectopic pregnancy which resulted in her losing her first child in 2002. The Countess then almost died giving birth to Louise due to blood loss. Another option for Meghan is London’s Portland Hospital for Women and Children where the Duchess of York gave birth to her daughters, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie. With celebrity clients including Victoria Beckham, the Portland has gained a reputation for being a hospital for pregnant women who are “too posh to push”. The most basic maternity package there starts at £8,000. Kensington Palace declined to comment. Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, which is responsible for the Lindo Wing, did not respond to a request for comment.

Royalty#85

The Queen’s children help to carry the load with 675 days of royal duties

The grandchildren of the Queen and their spouses are expected to take on great duties in the next year
 

 

The Queen’s children have shouldered the greatest burden of Royal duties this year, analysis of palace statistics has shown, as three generations of working royals settle in to their new responsibilities. The Prince of Wales, Duke of York, Earl of Wessex and Princess Royal have undertaken official duties on a combined 675 days in 2018, significantly more than the younger generation. Analysis of the Court Circular, the official list of royal engagements which are published in the Telegraph, shows that Princess Anne worked more than 180 separate days making her the hardest working royal, followed by her siblings. The Duke of Cambridge is recorded on at least 120 days, while the Duke of Sussex is down for just over 90. Both are understood to have done around 20 per cent more engagements than they did last year. While the Duchesses of Cambridge and Sussex provided much of the public face of the Royal Family thanks to global press interest, their total recorded working days were 100, compared with the total 218 carried out by their husbands. The analysis of how the Royal Family is dividing its work is particularly striking thanks to the addition of the Duchess of Sussex to “Team Windsor”, with the Queen now having two full generations of Members Of The Royal Family Attend Events To Mark The Centenary Of The RAF adults – her children and grandchildren and their partners – to help her. While the four siblings of Princes Charles, Edward and Andrew and Princess Anne still do many of the “traditional” duties, from plaque unveiling to community lunches and charity visits, the younger royals have tended to swap that quantity for fewer, more involved projects on key topics such as mental health, sport or support for Grenfell Tower survivors. The Duchess of Cambridge’s duties were obviously reduced following the birth of Prince Louis in April, taking maternity leave until September. Despite attending several events with Prince Harry ahead of her wedding, the Duchess of Sussex was added the Court Circular in May. Next year, the on-record work of both Duchesses is likely to increase significantly, with Catherine focusing on child development, and Meghan’s private meetings translating into a much-anticipated announcement of her patronages. The Earl of Wessex, Prince Edward, who did at least 170 days of royal work having taken on his father’s role overseeing the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award scheme. He also regularly attending events at the University of Bath where he is Chancellor, opens business and supports British sporting initiatives. The Prince of Wales performed more than 160 days of duties, increasingly stepping in to perform investitures and receive overseas visitors in support of the Queen. He is well known for working privately every day – Prince Harry recently said of his father: “The man never stops.” The Duke of York worked more than 140 days, often promoting British businesses at events abroad – he was in Australia and Vietnam this year – and receiving dignitaries in London. However, the Queen carried out more than 120 days of duties, meeting heads of state, including President Trump, visiting charities and welcoming dignitaries to the UK. The Duke of Edinburgh, who is now retired at the age of 97, kept his hand in with six recorded official engagements in 2018, most notably his grandson’s summer wedding, as well as meeting senior military personnel. While key events of the Royal year have been personal, it has also seen new work commitments. The Duke of Cambridge made a landmark visit to Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, the Sussexes began their work in the Commonwealth with a successful tour of Australia, Fiji, Tonga and New Zealand, and the Prince of Wales used a tour of the Gambia, Ghana and Nigeria to further his case for the environment and acknowledge Britain’s role in the slave trade. While the analysis of Court Circular reports shows roughly how many days each member of the Royal Family attended an official engagement, it does not reflect the number of separate engagements they had in that day. It also does not measure the wider public impact of each day’s work or the extent of arrangements to prepare for them, with some appearances from the Cambridges and Sussexes requiring heavier security and planning due to the crowds attending. The Royal Family will finish their working year at Sandringham for Christmas this week. The four young in-laws will join the extended family on their annual public walk to St Mary Magdalene Church, where they were last year photographed together for the first time.

Royalty#82

Duke of Edinburgh, Duke and Duchess of Sussex and Cambridges arrive at Queen’s annual Christmas lunch

The Duke of Edinburgh was among the first members of the Royal family to arrive for the Queen’s annual Christmas lunch. Prince Philip was pictured sitting in the front passenger seat of a car arriving at the lunch, which is an annual fixture in the royal calendar with the Queen inviting large numbers of her family to her official London home before the festive break. The Duke of Sussex was seen behind the wheel of a with his wife, who is expecting their first child in the spring, sitting  beside him. The Duchess of Cambridge was also seen arriving for the festive royal lunch sitting in the front seat of a car with the Duke behind the wheel. She waived to the crowds and sitting behind her could be seen Prince George with his nanny Maria Teresa Turrion Borrallo. Also spotted arriving at the palace gates was the Princess Royal and her husband Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence, Autumn Phillips, the wife of the Queen’s grandson Peter Phillips, Mike and Zara Tindall and the Countess of Wessex alongside her daughter Lady Louise Windsor. The Duke of York was another guest seen driving himself to the event and his daughter Princess Beatrice arrive separately.

Royalty#81

Duchess of Sussex could work with British theatres amid fears ‘royal’ titles are putting off new audiences

Meghan Markle in character on the set of Suits

When the heads of both the Royal National Theatre and Royal Opera House raised concerns about having the world “Royal” in their titles, it seemed the world of stage could be turning away from its association with the monarchy for fear of putting off new younger audiences.

News of a private meeting between the Duchess of Sussex and Rufus Norris, the artistic director of the National Theatre, has inspired hopes that the Duchess may take on a patronage in the theatre world, in a boost for the industry’s drive for inclusion. Doing so would mix the Duchess’ former career as an actress with her new role as a working royal, with directors saying her background could help bring in diverse new communities to arts organisations. Norris, who has been the director of the National Theatre since 2015, is a staunch advocate for broadening theatre audiences, pledging to increase diversity on stage and off as well as promising a 50-50 gender balance. The Duchess has twice undertaken public engagements relating to the theatre in the last month: attending the Royal Variety Performance with her husband, and making a solo visit to a care home for retired actors. In the new year, she is due to announce her patronages, expected to name a number of organisations she will build a lifelong relationship with. At least one will be handed over to her by the Queen, it has been reported. Palace aides have previously emphasised how the Duchess has been at work behind the scenes, claiming she has been undertaking numerous and regular private meetings to establish how she could best make a difference to charities in Britain and the Commonwealth. Last week, the official record of the Royal Family’s work reported: “The Duchess of Sussex today received Mr Rufus Norris (Artistic Director, the National Theatre).” She is also known to have met with representative from the Campaign for Female Education, which works to empower young women in Africa, and the Association of Commonwealth Universities. The Duchess of Cambridge already holds patronages in the visual arts, at the V&A and National Portrait Gallery, while the Prince of Wales is the patron of the Georgian Theatre Royal, the Mariinsky Theatre Trust, the Theatre Royal Bath and Unicorn Theatre for Children. The Queen herself is patron of the Royal National Theatre and Royal Shakespeare Theatre. Earlier this year, Rufus Norris suggested the National Theatre had deliberated eschewed the “Royal” from its title for fear of putting new audiences off. “This country is still very class divided and anything that adds to that perception, that this place is not open to everybody, could be a downfall,” he said. “I fear that for some people that [the ‘Royal’ prefix] adds to that perception.” Alex Beard, the chief executive of the Royal Opera House, shared similar sentiments in September, telling a newspaper that the “royals are by definition ‘other’” and that the use of the word could be “a bit off-putting”. Alex Clifton, artistic director of Storyhouse, which the Duchess of Sussex visited with the Queen during a visit to Chester in June, said yesterday that “any arts organisations would really benefit from having her on board as an advocate”. “As an artist and actor herself, she understands the practice and can speak with authority,” he said. “She’s an accessible, dynamic, modern-facing presence: it’s impossible to overstate the impact that someone with her authority can have on people’s lives. “As an industry we speak very easily and confidently to existing audiences. The challenge is to reach new, more diverse, more traditionally marginalised communities. “The Duchess provides extraordinary leverage into a massive range of communities. She’s a really powerful voice and can help any theatre achieve more of its mission, in terms of telling stories to as many and as broad a range of people as possible.”

A spokesman for the National Theatre said they would not comment on private meetings.

Royalty#80

Joke gifts and afternoon tea: how the Sussexes and Cambridges will spend their frost-free Christmas

Anmer Hall, Norfolk, Britain
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How fitting that Prince Charles is to deliver a “reflection” on forgiveness and reconciliation at Westminster Abbey on Tuesday. The trivial matter of his offspring’s domestic disharmony will no doubt be far from the heir to the throne’s mind as he takes to the pulpit to deliver what promises to be a heartfelt speech on Christian persecution in the Middle East. But in this time of peace and goodwill, the so-called Fab Four would be wise to “reflect” on the central theme of the future king’s message. For if anyone understands the consequence of family friction it is Charles, whose difficult relationship with his parents, his brother Prince Andrew and indeed his ex-wife have been well documented. Not that a comparison to the so-called War of the Wales is merited in relation to recent reports concerning a froideur between the Duchess of Cambridge and the Duchess of Sussex. As the Telegraph reported last week, while a postnatal Kate was left in tears following a bridesmaids fitting with Princess Charlotte in the build-up to May’s royal wedding, reports of a “ghastly row” with Meghan last Christmas appear wide of the mark. Now the royals’ Christmas is already looking far less frosty than had been billed after palace sources confirmed that the Cambridges and the Sussexeswill spend Christmas together at Sandringham. The Telegraph can further reveal that the couples are both expected to stay at Anmer Hall, William and Kate’s Norfolk bolthole on the Queen’s Sandringham estate, suggesting that any feud is fast fizzling out. An insider said: “Harry and Meghan really enjoyed staying at Anmer Hall last year, especially spending quality time with Prince George and Princess Charlotte and there’s no reason why they won’t want to do the same this year, especially as Meghan is going to be heavily pregnant. It’s the best of both worlds in that they can take part in all the festivities at the big house, while retreating into their own space when needed. There would be total astonishment if Harry and Meghan don’t stay with William and Kate.” Another source said: “No one is going to be kicking up a fuss about Christmas. Both couples know how important it is to HM and Prince Philip for the whole family to be together. Now they are in their 90s, the festivities tend to revolve around the Queen and the Duke spending as much time as possible with their grandchildren and great-grandchildren.” There is also a practical reason why the Sussexes may want to spend a second year running with Kate and William: space. Sandringham House is small by royal standards and its quarters are said to be “cramped”, with sources likening Christmas guests to being “packed in like sardines”. With more than 30 attendees this year thanks to many of the younger royals starting their own families, some will be told they have to share bedrooms, move to cottages on the estate or even sleep in servants’ quarters. Much like the Victorian splendour of the house itself, the traditions of the royal Christmas have changed little since Sandringham first became the private home of Edward VII, then Prince of Wales, in 1862. First, guests are told what time they should arrive at Sandringham — most junior royals first, most senior last — with everyone expected to be changed into suitable outfits for afternoon tea in the White Drawing Room at 4pm. The Queen then invites her great grandchildren to add the final decorations to the Christmas tree as the royals enjoy home-baked scones and a cup of Earl Grey. This is the moment they also exchange presents — not on Christmas Day, which the Queen regards as a religious festival. Trestle tables are laid out in the nearby Red Drawing Room, with sections marked off with tape showing where each family member’s gifts should be placed — again, laid out in order of precedence.

Royalty#79

Palace fears for Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s safety after BBC publicises ‘neo-Nazi propaganda’ calling for Harry to be shot

The BBC has been accused of compromising the safety of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex after it shared neo-Nazi propaganda calling for the death of “race traitors” on its website. An image, featuring the Duke and published uncensored in an online news story, has now been taken down from the BBC website after a direct complaint from the Royal Household.

Prince Harry and Prince William, who has recently campaigned for online safety, are both aware of the picture and understood to be very concerned about its content, with aides deeply worried about the security implications. The image, a poster in stark red and black, shows the Duke of Sussex with a gun pointed to his head, a swastika, and the words: “See ya later, race traitor”. It was published on the BBC News website as part of an investigation into a far-Right underground group called the Sonnenkrieg Division headlined “British Neo-Nazis suggest Prince Harry should be shot”. Three people were arrested over the incident, with properties in Bath, Leeds, London and Portsmouth being searched. On Friday, police confirmed an 18-year-old man from Portsmouth had been charged with five offences related to encouraging terrorism and three offences relating to dissemination of terrorist publications under the Terrorism Act. A 17-year-old boy from London has been charged with five offences related to encouraging terrorism, while a 21-year-old man from Bath, has been released on bail pending further enquiries.

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The image has now been shared widely around the world, being reproduced on websites and in several tabloid newspapers on Friday. It was taken down “several days” after it was put up by the BBC,  with a spokesman saying it had “served its purpose in highlighting the nature of the group”. A palace aide confirmed that the image was removed following complaints from the Royal Household amid “very real concerns about the security impact of the decision to publish”. There will now be “ongoing conversations to clarify what happened,” he said. Staff are now consulting with social media companies to find and remove the image in an attempt to stop it spreading further. “This is propaganda that was designed to spread online,” a source said, pointing out that other extremist material, such as that produced by Isil, would not be published on a mainstream news website. “That is what they [those who made it] wanted to happen, and it has now been more successful than they could ever have imagined.”

It comes less than a month after the Duke of Cambridge chose the BBC as a venue for a landmark speech about the unforeseen consequences of the internet, in which he was unusually critical of web giants for their lack of action over its dark side. He warned that internet platforms were being used “to organise violence”, to spread “misinformation and conspiracy to pollute the public sphere” and “normalise speech that is filled with bile and hate”. A spokesman for BBC News said: “This image was used in a report of a long-running BBC investigation into a group of British neo-nazis. “We used the image after careful editorial consideration, and added an online warning to audiences given the sensitivities around the story. “Since our online story is now several days old, we have removed the image as we feel it has served its purpose in highlighting the nature of the group.” It is not the first time the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have endured threats relating to race. In February of this year, it was reported that a package containing a white powder and “malicious communications” was sent to St James’s Palace, allegedly intended for Meghan Markle. No arrests have yet been made over the incident, with police treating the message as a “racist hate crime”.

Thomas Markle

Thomas Markle claims Duchess of Sussex has cut him off as he says daughter’s mobile phone has been disconnected

m1Thomas Markle, the father of the Duchess of Sussex, has claimed he has not spoken to his daughter for more than ten weeks, and that the number he used to contact her on has been “cut off.” He told The Mail on Sunday: “I’m really hurt that she’s cut me off completely. I used to have a phone number and text number for her personal aides at the Palace, but after I said a few critical words about the Royal Family changing Meghan, they cut me off. “Those numbers were disconnected, they no longer work. I have no way of contacting my daughter.” The 73-year-old said he worries he has been frozen out of the family, and thinks he will not get to meet any children Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have. He said: “What’s sad is that some time in the next year Meghan and Harry will have a baby and I’ll be a grandfather, and if we’re not speaking I won’t see my grandchild.” He believes he has been cut off from the Royal Family because of staged paparazzi photos which emerged in the weeks before the Royal Wedding, and for the Thomas Markle Snr and Meghan Marklestatements he made to the press afterwards. Mr Markle, who lives in Mexico, made headlines around the globe last month when he gave an explosive interview to Good Morning Britain.  He claimed that Prince Harry had once told him to “give Donald Trump a chance”, and also alleged the sixth-in-line to the throne had seemed “open” to the idea of Brexit. Mr Markle used the interview as an opportunity to apologise for his  about his own actions before the wedding, saying:  “I accept full responsibility. I can say I’m sorry for those things for the rest of my life, but I’m paying for those things for the rest of my life. “But as long as they’re happy and have a great life and have some beautiful children and do good things in the world, I’m can’t ask for more.”

Royalty#72

Meghan at 37 – and why it’s a crucial age for Royal women

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The Duchess of Sussex is 37 today

Among rock stars, there is something called the ‘27 Club’. Its members are the poor souls who, for various reasons, never make it to 28. They include Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Kurt Cobain and Amy Winehouse. Within the Royal family, there is also something of a 37 club – though, mercifully, for very different reasons. As the Duchess of Sussex, who turns 37 today, will be glad to learn, it’s the age at which female members of the Royal family are finally able to relax. The path of a Royal woman is not easy. Your late teens, 20s and even early 30s will be a maelstrom of insecurities and anxieties, made worse by unflattering pap shots and intrusions into your love life. But by the time you hit 37, you generally have your ducks in order and life is about to get a lot easier. Take Zara Tindall, who, aged 37, has just given birth to her second daughter, Lena. She recently told a newspaper she had had two miscarriages between the births of Lena and her first child, Mia, in 2014. Heart-breaking, and enough to make her beat a retreat from public life. Now she is back in the riding saddle, with a husband, two children and a home on the Gatcombe Estate. Sorted, as those maddening train station announcements like to say. The Duchess of Sussex has spoken of her keeneess to start a family, and 37 is an age at which Royal women often give birth. Queen Victoria was a month shy of 38 when she had Princess Beatrice, her ninth and final child, in 1857. As was our own Queen when she gave birth to her fourth and final child, Prince Edward, in 1964. It’s hard to deny there would be a neat symmetry for the Duchess of Cambridge – who was 36 when she gave birth to Prince Louis in April – if, like the Queen, she were to have a fourth aged 37. There’s also something symbolic about the number 37 for Royal women. Victoria became Queen in 1837, only a month after turning 18, and went on to reign for 64 years. nother long-timer, The Queen Mother, was crowned in 1937 – also becoming the last Empress of India – and turned 37 a few months later. Incidentally, she shares a birthday with Meghan, and would have been 118-years-old today. Princess Anne, the most senior female Royal by blood after the Queen, was only awarded the substantive title of Princess Royal the year she turned 37. Why did the Queen wait so long to grant it? After all, it had been available since the death of the previous Princess Royal, Mary, Countess of Harewood, who died in 1966 (she was the eldest daughter of George V, younger sister of both Edward VIII and George VI, who married Henry Lascelles, Earl of Harewood). It is possible that the title didn’t pass to Anne sooner as Princess Margaret was, in theory, also entitled to it. But she has certainly earned it in the years since, becoming the hardest working Royal: last year she clocked up more days’ service than anyone, and she is on course to do the same again this year. So what is 37 likely to look like for Meghan?

Diana And Charles in Germany
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For most Royal women, it is a period of domesticity. Princess Anne was not doing nearly as much work when she was 37. She was still married to Captain Mark Phillips and had two small children, though she did join the International Olympic Committee at that age. Princess Margaret was also in a period of relative calm at that age. It was 1967, she had two young children and her marriage to Lord Snowdon was going well – so well that she allowed him to take that notorious portrait of her, in which she appears to be naked. The Queen was pregnant with Prince Edward for most of her 38th year, though as fans of The Crown will recall, she wasn’t exactly able to enjoy her maternity leave: Harold Macmillan was gravely ill for much of 1963, which required her to appoint a new prime minister, Alec Douglas-Home, in October of that year. She was also 37 during the turbulent events of the Profumo affair and the JFK assassination. Indeed, 37 hasn’t always been a good year historically for Royal women. Queen Elizabeth I was 37 when she learned of the plot to kill her by a Florentine banker, Rodolfo Ridolfi, and replace her with the Catholic Mary, Queen of Scots. This led to the execution of Mary’s suitor, the Duke of Norfolk, and years later, that of Mary herself. In more recent times, though no less sensationally, Sarah, Duchess of York, was stripped of her HRH title in 1996, shortly before her 37th birthday. This was easily the most hurtful part of her divorce from Prince Andrew that year. Alone among Royal women, she probably doesn’t look back at 37 with much love. Which leads us to the most significant Royal we have yet to consider. For Diana, Princess of Wales, 37 was an age she would never know. It was two months after her 36th birthday when she died in that Paris car crash, nearly 21 years ago. Looking back, it’s almost incredible to consider how much she packed in to so short a life, and what a lasting effect she had – and yet, in many ways, she remains the benchmark for Royal brides, up to whom we hold Meghan and Kate as comparisons. Prince Harry has said he thinks of his mother every day. “Depending on what I’m doing, I wonder what it would be like if she was here, and what she would say, and how she would be making everybody else laugh. Who knows what the situation would be, what the world would be like, if she were still around?” Today, as he and Meghan celebrate her turning 37, Diana will doubtless be more present than ever. The good news is that Harry is finally sorted, and that for Meghan, 37 could be a year of peace and joy that Diana never had.

Royalty#70

Duke and Duchess of Sussex consider major US tour next year

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The Duke and Duchess of Sussex could make their first visit to America as early as next year, as aides consider a Royal stop-off at Meghan Markle’s former home. The couple, who will undergo their first major tour to Australia, New Zealand, Tonga and Fiji this autumn, are understood to be working towards a trip across the Atlantic next year. While no plans have yet been finalised, with staff concentrating on the South Pacific tour before any details of an American trip can be discussed, sources said it had been pencilled in for 2019. The Duke has visited America before, including trips for his Invictus Games in Florida, holidays and an official tour in 2013. The Duchess was born in California, living in the US until she moved to Toronto, Canada, to work on the Netflix legal drama Suits. Her mother Doria still lives there, with her father Thomas, who missed her wedding and has undertaken a string of unflattering interviews about her, based across the border in Mexico. The The Sussex at a Commonwealth youth event this monthtrip, which like all Royal tours would be organised by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, would leave the Duke and Duchess facing questions over whether they would meet President Trump and the First Lady. They did not spend time with the American couple during their non-State visit to the UK this month, with the Duchess previously calling the president “divisive” and “misogynistic”. The Duke has a famously friendly relationship with Barack and Michelle Obama, and has been photographed with them on several occasions. A trip to America would likely see the Sussexes attempt to avoid politics altogether, focusing instead on favourite causes including young people, sports, technology and military veterans. The couple are likely to spend time in New York, Washington DC and California, US Weekly magazine reported, quoting a source saying: “They are so excited…Meghan is looking forward to introducing Harry to everything she loves about the U.S.” The US is understood to be one of several destinations being considered by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office for 2019 tours, with plans for Royal visits often changing at the last minute. If a trip to the US were to go ahead, it would likely be aimed at further securing the “special relationship” with a Royal charm offensive and a show of so-called “soft power”. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge made a short visit to America in 2011, tied into a long Commonwealth tour to Canada when they were newlyweds.

A spokesman for Kensington Palace declined to comment.

Barack Obama and Prince Harry in Toronto

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Duke and Duchess of Sussex join the Queen at Royal Ascot

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The Duchess of Sussex has made her debut at Royal Ascot, joining the Queen for her favourite event of the season as she channeled the monochrome style of My Fair Lady. The Duchess, in a white and black hat and dress, accompanied her husband in an Ascot carriage for her first outing to the Royal Enclosure, before presenting a trophy to race winner Frankie Dettori. While she appeared to have taken style inspiration from the Jockey Frankie Dettori is presented with the trophy by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex after winning the St James's Palace Stakes on Without Parole during day one of Royal Ascot at Ascot Racecourse. outfits of Audrey Hepburn’s Eliza Doolittle, she suffered no similar etiquette mishaps, mingling with seasoned race-goers and engaged in cheerful conversation with the Queen. The Queen, in bright yellow, led her family in the opening day of Royal Ascot, joined by the Prince of Wales, Duchess of Cornwall, Princess Royal and Duke of York with his daughters. The Duke of Cambridge was elsewhere, undertaking engagements focusing on male mental health and technological innovation in Liverpool, while the Duchess remained out of sight with her three children. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex arrived in the third carriage of the tradition Royal procession, along with the Earl and Countess of Wessex. They would have had much to talk about, as the newlywed Sussexes celebrated the “one month anniversary” of their wedding and the Wessexes marked 19 years to the day since their own Windsor Castle nuptials. In an unmistakable sign of The Queen wearing yellow for the first day of Royal Ascotwelcome into the Royal family, the Duke and Duchess were tasked with presenting the trophy for the St James’s Palace Stakes, won by Favourite Without Parole ridden by Frankie Dettori and trained by John Gosden. The Duchess of Sussex wore an embellished white shirt dress from Givenchy, the fashion house that designed her wedding gown, with a striking hat by Royal favourite Philip Treacy. Fitting in with the strict dress code of the Royal Enclosure, the Duchess’ colour scheme was reminiscent of the 1964 My Fair Lady film, in which a beautiful cockney flower seller mingles with high society at Ascot before being unmasked by her coarse shouts of encouragement at the horses.

Royalty#61

Meghan Markle’s firsts: How the  Duchess of Sussex is smashing the royal glass ceiling

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The Royal family has welcomed the Duchess of Sussex into its fold with the knowledge – and acceptance – of her plans to break from tradition. An American divorcee and former Hollywood actress, Meghan Markle was never going to be a stereotypical British princess. She could have buried these roots and slipped into a customary cocktail dress, ready to refashion herself as a royal. But the Duchess hasn’t tried to cover up her identity as a celebrity in her own right, and has openly said she plans to use her platform to promote her views.  Her new in-laws have shown a willingness to not only embrace her, but to let her help them modernise and break some of their own centuries-old traditions. Perhaps she has fought them behind closed doors. Or, maybe, she is the breath of fresh air the Windsors were waiting for. Whatever the reason, here are some of the ways Meghan has broken through the royal glass ceiling…

Harry and Meghan at the Invictus Games

1. Dress codes Unless you’re hot on royal dress codes, you might not notice every time the Duchess breaks them. But she has opted to favour her own style over royal tradition on various high profile occasions. Traditionally, royal women are expected to opt for smart but reserved dresses. The Duchess of Sussex has cut her own path here. In her first official appearance alongside Prince Harry at the Invictus Games in Canada, she wore a white shirt and jeans with a tear on the knee.

Markle has been known to hug members of the public despite royal protocol saying she shouldn't

2. She wears her heart on her sleeve  Another code the Duchess is rewriting is how to greet the public. Conventionally, the Royal family does not hug them, nor take selfies or sign autographs. But Meghan, already well acquainted with fans of her own on the red carpet, has continued to embrace people when she greets them and write messages for them on memorabilia. Her reported excuse? “I’m American. We hug.” The Royal family has also shown it is willing to let Meghan define the tone and style with which she presents herself to the country. As such, her biography on its official website breaks with tradition and offers a personal, rather than issue-based, message from the Duchess. “I am proud to be a woman and a feminist,” she says.

Queen at the Royal Train

3. Travel arrangements The Duchess hasn’t ostracised herself by breaking with protocol, but has actually helped to refashion royal traditions. Three weeks after her wedding to Harry, she has been invited to travel with the Queen on the Royal Train. Normally the reserve of the monarch and her closest set, Meghan will join Her Majesty on her favoured mode of transport for an overnight journey to Cheshire. Until now, only Prince Philip, Prince Charles and Camilla were entitled to ride on the train. Prince Harry, his brother and the Duchess of Cambridge are yet to receive such an honour.

Full steam ahead…

4. Christmas at Sandringham Meghan enjoyed a position of privilege before she had officially joined the Firm. In 2017, the Queen invited her to Sandringham for Christmas Day, where she attended the family’s private lunch and church service. She was also officially welcomed into the familyduring the annual Queen’s speech. Before, guests had only been added to the Christmas list at Sandringham once they had married into the family. Meghan’s inclusion in the festivities turned out to be a sign of the relaxation of conventions to follow.

Royal wedding photo

5. Wedding rules There are few occasions as steeped in tradition as a royal wedding. But this didn’t phase Meghan, who was eager to put her own stamp on the day. The first sign of change was the cake. Royal weddings tend to feature a classic fruit cake, but the Duke and Duchess of Sussex went for a lemon and elderflower sponge. The next was the announcement that she would give a speech at the reception. And another personal touch on the day was the sermon from American pastor Michael Curry, which for many stole the show. Be in no doubt – these small breaks with protocol were akin to earthquakes in royal circles.

Royalty#60

Pearls of approval: the Duchess of Sussex’s new earrings were a gift from the Queen

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The Duchess of Sussex and the Queen appeared to be getting along famously on the Duchess’ first royal engagement without her husband. They were pictured talking and laughing as they watched a ceremony to mark the opening of the new Mersey Gateway bridge in Cheshire. The Queen’s fondness for her grandson’s new wife was also evident in the pearl and diamond earrings the Duchess wore, which Buckingham Palace later revealed were a gift from the royal collection. The earrings had been incorrectly attributed to Birks, the Canadian jewellery brand that the Duchess has worn on numerous occasions. She wore Birks opal stud earrings when her engagement to Prince Harry was announced, and has been pictured in the brand’s delicate diamond-studded pieces several times. Her mother Doria Ragland also wore Birks to the royal wedding.

meghan markle the queen cheshire

But the pearl earrings the Duchess wore in Cheshire carry much greater significance. As the Duchess’ first gift from the Queen, they have been taken as a symbol of her acceptance into the royal family. Although it is not known when the Queen gave them to her, it is fitting that the Duchess chose to wear them for their first joint engagement. The understated earrings were a timeless choice of accessory and perfectly complemented the Duchess’ demure Givenchy dress. The Queen herself also wore a larger pair of meghan markle diana's ringpearl earrings, while the style is also a favourite of the Duchess of Cambridge, who often wears her classic pearl drops. The late Princess Diana was also famed for her love of pearls. This is not the first time the former actress has worn pieces from the royal collection. On her wedding day in May, she wore the Queen Mary diamond bandeau tiara, which she borrowed from the Queen. Made in 1932 to accommodate a diamond brooch that Queen Mary (the Queen’s grandmother) had been given as a wedding gift in 1893, the tiara was subsequently returned to the Queen’s collection. The Duchess did receive a permanent addition to her jewellery collection on her wedding day in the form of the large Asprey aquamarine cocktail ring that belonged to Princess Diana. Prince Harry gave it to his bride as a wedding gift, and she wore it as a “something blue” addition to her Stella McCartney gown as the couple made their way to their evening reception.

Duchess of Sussex brings out Queen’s inner-child: Body language expert analyses their first joint trip

The Duchess of Sussex showed her nerves on her first joint engagement with the Queen, but there was genuine warmth between the monarch and Meghan, a body language expert said. Judi James said the head of state and the former Suits star giggled together like teenagers at one point as they enjoyed their day out in Cheshire. The Queen and Duchess travelled to Cheshire on the Royal train, leaving Euston at 11pm on Wednesday and spending the night in a discreet siding en route before pulling into Runcorn station at 10.35am for the Duchess’ first trip to the north of England.  Greeted by the Lord Lieutenant of Cheshire, the Duchess lingered behind the Queen, appearing slightly nervous as she watched for instructions about where to go.  After a moment of confusion at their waiting car, as both politely waited for the other to get in, the Duchess asked her grandmother-in-law “what is your preference?” before being told: “You go first.”

The Queen is greeted at Runcorn station with the Duchess standing behind her

The Queen wore a green outfit by Stewart Parvin, choosing a colour some onlookers interpreted as a gesture of support on the anniversary of the Grenfell Tower disaster.  Their first engagement was a ceremony marking the opening of the new £1.86 billion Mersey Gateway bridge. It saw the pair deep in conversation, laughing and gesturing as they watched a seven-minute-long dance performance by children and enjoyed one another’s company.  Ms James said: “The Queen doesn’t indulge in worries and she didn’t spend a lot of time checking on Meghan, but instead let her get on with it. “But when she did glance at her, it was with a beaming smile and approval.” She added: The Duchess of Sussex leans in to seemingly share a joke with the Queen“The Queen was the happiest I’ve seen her in a long time. They looked like naughty teenagers giggling together at one point.” Next on their itinerary was Storyhouse, a cultural hub in the centre of town.   The Queen and Duchess led crowds in a minute’s silence to mark the first anniversary of the Grenfell Tower disaster, solemnly bowing their heads. They then watched more performances, learned about “digital buddies” who were teaching their elders to use technology more efficiently, and took to the streets to meet thousands of well-wishers.  Ms James described the monarch as having young body language for a woman of 92. “She looked positively girlish. When she smiles you can see the young princess coming out. She’s got a beautiful childlike smile and her little hands were formed into fists at one point. Perhaps Meghan did bring a little bit more of that out in her. “We saw displays which showed the pair genuinely having fun.” The Duchess of Sussex had her guard up in the morning, showing signs of anxiousness – not least when there as confusion over who was meant to get in the royal Bentley first. “Meghan was still being very careful. She sat with her legs crossed at the ankles and was clearly seeking approval,” said Ms James. The newlywed Duchess, who married the Duke of Sussex in a star-studded ceremony in Windsor last month, was nervous, repeatedly touching her hair. Ms James suggested: “Meghan did so many self-checking gestures of anxiety which is interesting in such a confident woman. “She walked up the aisle on her own without batting an eyelid.” The duchess’s outfit – a beige Givenchy dress with caped shoulders – may have not been the ideal choice, Ms James said. “I think her outfit did her no favours. The caped shoulders restricted her arms and she lost some of her more natural movements.” But the Duchess soon eased into the day, and was a natural with the crowds who had gathered to catch a glimpse of her and her grandmother-in-law. The rapport between the pair was obvious, with the Duchess leaning in and talking to the Queen, producing what appeared to be fits of laughter from the 92-year-old. Ms James said the Queen was similarly beaming with smiles when she carried out her first joint engagement with the Duchess of Cambridge. They wrapped up their tour with lunch as guests of Cheshire West and Chester Council.

Royalty#56

Duke and Duchess of Sussex make first appearance as a married couple at Prince Charles’ 70th birthday party

The Duke of Sussex has paid tribute to his father, the Prince of Wales, in an affectionate speech in which he teased him about royal life. The Duke told a garden party full of charity guests that they may view the Prince’s enthusiastic handwritten letters with “joy and perhaps trepidation”, ribbing him for celebrating his birthday six months early with the words: “How very Royal!” Wearing a cream dress from British label Goat and Philip Treacey hat, the Duchess appeared to have conformed quickly to the style of Royal women, choosing long sleeves and nude tights for a look noticeably more demure than before her wedding day. Joining her first public engagement as a member of the Royal family, she appeared to get on famously with the Duchess of Cornwall, both failing to suppress their laughter when the Duke’s speech was interrupted by a bee. Losing his place half way through, the Duke had waved his hand to swat it away from his ear, telling the crowd: “That bee really got me.” The Duke and Duchess attended their first engagement since the wedding on Saturday to support the Prince at a Buckingham Palace garden party to celebrate his charity work ahead of his 70th birthday. Perhaps mindful of overshadowing him, the couple posed for photographs and spoke to four small groups of people before making a quiet exit. As people congratulated them on their wedding, both politely said “thank you” before moving the conversation on to talk about guests’ charity work. One woman, Sophie Rogers, 26, gave the Duchess what appears to be her first gift as Her Royal Highness: a handmade crystal necklace from her own studio, High Vibe Designs. Ms Rogers had received a grant from The Prince’s Trust two years ago, going on to start her own successful business. “Oh how sweet, thank you,” said the Duchess. “I was just admiring your necklace, it’s beautiful.” Addressing his “Pa” in the only speech of the afternoon, the Duke said: “It really is amazing to see so many of you here today for this family celebration. “I say ‘family’ because this is a chance for us to honour The Prince of Wales’s work over the last forty plus years, with all of his charities, patronages and military associations – and, as you all know, my father views all of your organisations like an extended family.” Telling his father he had been struck by the “long list” of guests invited, and the range of charities the Prince had worked with, he asked 6,000 assembled guests: “Who amongst you has not known the joy, and perhaps trepidation at receiving a handwritten note in response to some news shared from your organisation, urging you on and asking for more to be done to address this issue or that?” “Who has not come away from a meeting with my father, their head spinning with a dozen new ideas which he wants to get underway urgently, having met a group of people or read something that has fired his imagination and started the flow of ideas.” “His enthusiasm and energy are truly infectious; it has certainly inspired William and I to get involved in issues we care passionately about and to do whatever we can to make a difference.” “In fact, many of the issues William and I now work on are subjects we were introduced to by our father growing up.” Acknowledging the Prince’s instructions that the party should “not be about him”, the Duke added: “So, Pa, while I know that you’ve asked that today not be about you, you must forgive me if I don’t listen to you – much like when I was younger – and instead, I ask everyone here to say a huge thank you to you, for your incredible work over nearly 50 years.” “Work that has given self-confidence and opportunity to thousands of young people who might not have had the best start in life; Or to champion causes like climate change long before almost anyone else was talking about it; and above all, for your vision and ability to bring people together to make change happen.” “You have inspired William and I, and looking out here today, it is clear to see that we are not alone.” “His passion and dedication are remarkable and seeing so many of you here today, I cannot fail but to be in awe of the drive he has had for so many years, to contribute to the enrichment of society both in this country and around the world.” “You have created an incredible body of work that has, and will continue to make such a huge difference to so many people’s lives both here and around the world.” “With that, Ladies and Gentlemen, please can I ask you to join me in wishing The Prince of Wales a very Happy Birthday – six months ahead of his 70th.” “How very Royal.”

After finishing the speech, father and son embraced with a kiss on both cheeks, before the four members of the Royal family walked down the steps of Buckingham Palace into the garden to pose for a photograph with charity leaders. The two Duchesses appeared to get on famously, making eye contact and laughing as they were arranged in suitably smart fashion for a photograph. When Meghan embarked on meeting some charity representatives, she extended her hand to shake before most had a chance to curtsey to her in her new position as HRH. “I knew I was going to curtsey by she shook my hand,” said Diana Langson, from 2nd Battalion Irish Regiment of Canada. “They were both so friendly and so kind and genuine when they spoke.” “We offered them congratulations on the wedding and they just said thank you. They’re probably tired of talking about it!” “It has been a phenomenal day, and the opportunity to meet them all is overwhelming.”

The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall went on to mingle with guests for another hour, treated to a performance of The Goons’ Ying Tong Song by a ukulele orchestra. More than 6,000 people were expected at the garden party, all from the charities and military associations most closely linked with the Prince, on the grounds of Buckingham Palace, for music, speeches and a customary cup of tea. The Duchess of Cornwall attended the garden party at her husband’s side, as he was hailed for his lifetime of work dedicated to the charity sector. The Prince will actually turn 70 on November 14, with this an early public celebration of the milestone. He is expected to have a private party for family and friends closer to the day. The attendance of  the Duke and Duchess of Sussex reflects both the shared interest of father and son of much of their charity work and the growing bond between the Duchess and her new family. The Duchess, who asked her father-in-law to accompany up part of the aisle for the St George’s Chapel service, is said to have found much common ground with him in a series of private family gatherings. She is likely to have been particularly touched by his chivalry towards her mother, Doria Ragland, during the wedding, where he was seen to reach out his hand to her in the chapel and offer his arm as they walked down the stairs. The Duke, too, has offered an increasingly public insight into his relationship with his father this year, beginning with a interview on the Today programme when Prince Harry acted as guest editor, and continuing with  a joint appearance at a conservation conference. At the wedding on Saturday, the groom was seen to say “thank you, Pa”, as his father walked Meghan Markle to the altar. Today, the Prince of Wales’ 70th Birthday Patronage Celebration will see the Royal family joined by members of the public from 386 of The Prince of Wales’ patronages and 20 of his military affiliations. A number of guests from the emergency services – police, fire, ambulance, mountain rescue, and RNLI – with 100 cadets from Youth United helping out on the day. One cadet who was present at the Manchester Arena during the bombing last year will also be there, on the anniversary of the attack. Guests will be treated to musical performances from the Band of the Welsh Guards, the mixed voice Borough Welsh Choir, the Caldicot Male Voice Choir, the National Youth Pipe Band and a gospel choir.

Nimwegen#82

SWEET MEMORIES: 19 MAY 2018. HRH HARRY, PRINCE OF WALES, DUKE OF SUSSEX, HRH MEGHAN, PRINCESS OF WALES, DUCHESS OF SUSSEX.

Royalty#55

Meghan Markle reportedly broke with tradition and thanked Prince Charles in her speech at the wedding reception on Saturday evening, while Prince Harry’s father moved the crowd to tears. At the Frogmore House reception, away from the world’s eye, it was just the Duke and  the Duke and Duchess of Sussex shows the Duke and Duchess pictured together on the East Terrace of Windsor Castle. of Sussex and a few hundred of their closest friends. There were reports Prince William gave a “naughty” best man’s speech, and the crowd partied to tunes spun by DJ Sam Totolee, who also performed at Pippa Middleton’s wedding. After the speeches and the dancing, guests were reportedly treated to candyfloss and burgers as a midnight snack. Here are all the rumours and confirmed details about the speeches Prince Harry, Meghan Markle and Prince Charles gave to the crowd.

Meghan Markle broke with tradition

As expected, the feminist Duchess made the non-traditional choice of giving a speech at her own wedding, thanking the Royal Family. According to the Daily Mail, she is “thought to have thanked the Royal Family for welcoming her in.” She also said: “I have found my Prince”, according to reports in The Sun, and thanked friends for supporting her during an emotionally difficult few weeks.

Markle and Prince Harry, leaving Windsor Castle after their wedding to attend an evening reception at Frogmore House, hosted by the Prince of Wales.  The bride's evening dress is designed by Stella McCartney and is a bespoke lily white high neck gown made of silk crepe.Prince Harry: ‘The cat that got the cream’

Prince Harry, looking like “the cat that got the cream,” gave a heartfelt, “off the cuff” speech in which he made it clear he was the happiest man in the world. According to the Daily Mirror, he told friends: “You are the people that make me ‘me’ in my Harry life, which as you know is the backbone to Prince Harry. “Now I’m going to hand over to my far better half…” According to reports, he praised Ms Markle for dealing with the pressure from the press and her father pulling out of the wedding because of a heart condition. He is said to have applauded his wife’s cool-headedness, and allegedly declared Meghan had “navigated everything with such grace,” and added that: “We make such a great team.” The Prince also reportedly declared: “I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life with you.”

Not a dry eye in the house as Prince Charles praises his son

Prince Charles gave a moving speech to the 600 gathered guests, welcoming the new Duchess into the family and giving details about Prince Harry’s childhood. Talking about the man his son had become, he said: “My darling old Harry, I’m so happy for you.” “Some people were even crying,”Suhani Jalota, founder of the Myna Mahila Foundation told E! online. “I think it was just a very, really nice atmosphere to be in Doria Ragland, mother of the bride, walks with the Prince of Wales after the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in Windsorwhere everybody felt really loved.” She said his speech was about “how Harry was as a child and growing up.” In addition, she said it included details about the newlyweds “and how beautiful they are together.” “So, I think it was just about their personalities and how they gel really well together,” she added. The Prince described how moving it was, at this point in his life, to watch his little boy move on. A little boy, whom he had winded so often as a baby and whom, he joked, might still have a bit of wind today. Guests described how warmly he welcomed Meghan Markle and her mother, Doria Ragland, to Windsor and into his family. Frequently, throughout the course of the reception, he was spotted with his arm around Mrs Ragland.

Prince William’s ‘naughty’ speech

dg1Perhaps pleased to have a chance to be the cheeky brother for once, Prince William is said to have been playful in his speech at the reception. He reportedly said the Duchess is “the best thing that had ever happened to Haz”. One party source told The Express: “William managed to strike the right balance between hilarious and solemn. They said: “He did mention their late mother, Princess Diana, and said she would have been proud of her younger son. “He said he was proud of Harry too and welcomed Meghan as the sister he never had.” His speech was made as a comedy duo with Prince Harry’s best friend, Charlie van Straubenzee, according to a guest. The source told the tabloid that their performance was “hilarious”. “They teased Harry about his growing bald patch, and Wills said it would become as bad as his. “It was some bash.” According to the Daily Mirror, Prince William played a prank on his brother, attaching a ladder to the couple’s car. An insider told the tabloid: “Apparently Harry fell off a ladder recently while changing a light bulb for Meghan and hurt his arm. So William tied a ladder to the back of the car, which nearly floored a few people.”

Royalty#54

Harry and Meghan to visit Canada on honeymoon, reports suggest

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The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are to spend their honeymoon at the Royal family’s favourite Canadian cabin, according to US reports. Harry and Meghan will travel to the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge in Alberta, Canada, for their first holiday as a married couple, TMZ reported. The lodge they are set to be staying in is the 6,000 square foot Outlook Cabin, which has previously hosted the Queen and Prince Philip in 2005 as well as the Queen Mother, who visited in 1939 with King George VI. The £2,000-a-night lodge comes with a conservatory and veranda, private parking, a terrace with a barbecue, six bedrooms and six bathrooms. It was rebuilt following the exact floorplan of the original, after being destroyed in a fire in 2000. The resort’s brochure says the cabin “exudes the elegance and grandeur that has welcomed King George VI and Queen Elizabeth in 1939 as well as Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip in 2005.”

The historic Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge at dusk from across Lac Beauvert

The cabin is nicknamed “the Royal retreat” and can cost from around £2,000 up to around £5,000 a night, according to online booking websites. It adds: “Supreme comfort is present in every detail of the comfortable bedrooms, enclosed verandas and two majestic stone fireplaces that warms both the dining room and great room – the perfect place to entertain family & friends or celebrate a special occasion.” There had previously been suggestions that the couple would opt for an African destination for their honeymoon, given both Harry and Meghan’s interest and experience in charity work on the continent. They took a romantic holiday in Botswana shortly after they first met in the summer of 2016, before visiting southern Africa again the following year. However, the Duchess has a longstanding connection with Canada, having lived in Toronto for several years while filming the series Suits.

A spokesman for the Royals declined to comment.

Royalty#53

Duchess of Sussex chooses songbird and sunshine to represent Californian roots in new coat of arms – but her family won’t get one

The Duchess of Sussex's coat of arms

The Duchess of Sussex has been granted her own coat of arms by the Queen, as she chooses the blue skies of California and a songbird emblem of communication to represent her in married life. The Duchess, who helped to design the image, holds the coat of arms in her own right with no input from her father, who as an American does not have his own coat of arms. Instead, she has chosen her own symbols, with a white songbird as her “supporter” to stand opposite the lion representing her husband and his family. Just as her presence brought American emblems to the vellum of the Instrument of Consent before her marriage, the coat of arms is infused with transatlantic symbols. The Duke is represented with his own coat of arms on the left-hand side, granted on his 18th birthday, which includes both his Royal family lineage and the small, red escallops of his mother’s family. The decision to grant the Duchess a coat of arms in her own right follows a model set by the Duchess of Gloucester when she married into the Royal Family in 1972 after being born in Denmark. More usually, the coat of arms belonging to a Royal bride impale the emblem of her own family with that of her husband to form a new image.

Prince Harry's coat of arms

In 2011, the Middleton family was granted its own coat of arms before Catherine Middleton married Prince William, incorporating the three acorns of the Middleton children with a golden chevron representing her mother’s maiden name of Goldsmith.  A spokesman for Kensington Palace said the Duchess of Sussex’s coat of arms was “both personal and representative”, and had involved the newlywed working closely with experts at the College of Arms over its design. The choice of symbols suggests both the Duchess’s pride in her American roots and her hope to continue to speak freely within the parameters of her new royal life. ​“The blue background of the shield represents the Pacific Ocean off the California coast, while the two golden rays across the shield are symbolic of the sunshine of The Duchess’s home state,” the spokesman said. “The three quills represent communication and the power of words. “Beneath the shield on the grass sits a collection of golden poppies, California’s state flower, and wintersweet, which grows at Kensington Palace.” While most royal brides have two “supporters of the shield” represented on their coats of arms, one from their husband and one relating to themselves, the Duchess has a “songbird with wings elevated as if flying and an open beak, which with the quill represents the power of communication”.

A coronet has also been assigned, composed of two crosses patée, four fleurs-de-lys and two strawberry leaves. The design of the Duchess’ arms was agreed and approved by the Queen and Thomas Woodcock, Garter King of Arms and Senior Herald in England, who is based at the College of Arms in London. Mr Woodcock said: “The Duchess of Sussex took a great interest in the design. Good heraldic design is nearly always simple and the Arms of The Duchess of Sussex stand well beside the historic beauty of the quartered British Royal Arms. “Heraldry as a means of identification has flourished in Europe for almost nine hundred years and is associated with both individual people and great corporate bodies such as Cities, Universities and for instance the Livery Companies in the City of London. “

The Markle family has previously complained bitterly of a “snub” after Thomas Markle, the Duchess’s father who was unable to attend her wedding, was not given his own coat of arms. Samantha Grant, the Duchess’s estranged half sister, declared it “really stripping him of an honor”, delivering a “huge insult”. In fact, Mr Markle’s American citizenship meant that he could only be granted an honorary coat of arms, had he applied for one and been able to prove descent from a subject of the British Crown. Even then, a source suggested, it could not have been used by the Duchess by virtue of being honorary.

Royalty#52

His Royal Housemates: Who’s who in Harry’s Kensington Palace crew?

Diana saw it as ‘more prison than palace’, while the Duke of Windsor called it ‘the aunt heap’. Now Kensington Palace – or KP as it is more commonly known in the family – is entering a new incarnation as the most glamorous commune in Britain. After the arrival of Princess Eugenie and her fiancée Jack Brooksbank last week, it is now home to 15 members of the Royal family, ranging in age from 1 week to 80 years old. In the years after the death of Diana in 1997 and Princess Margaret in 2002, this sprawling 17th-century mansion became a fusty repository for minor Royals clinging to grandeur, while squabbling over rents. Today, however, it is buzzing with young Royals and arguably the most desirable address in England, with the Cambridge brood in Apartment 1A, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in Nottingham Cottage, and Eugenie and Jack practically next door in Ivy Cottage. It is in marked contrast to the picture of KP painted in a Vanity Fair article earlier this month, by a former boyfriend of Lady Gabriella Windsor, daughter of Prince and Princess Michael of Kent, who described it as ‘something between a military hospital and an old people’s home’, adding ‘until Will and Kate arrived to liven up the place, Kensington Palace was wildly depressing.’ Many of his stories have been dismissed as apocryphal, but it should be noted that some Royals have spent decades living in KP without interacting with their fellow inmates. Researching his recent biography of Princess Margaret, Craig Brown discovered that she never uttered a word to Princess Michael in all the years they lived there together. Little wonder, then, that this has been heralded as a new golden age for KP. Its occupants are discovering what many stately home owners have found in recent years: that there is nothing jollier than to stuff the outhouses with amusing companions. Country house communes have sprung up all over Britain – at Lord Gage’s Firle Park in Sussex, and on the Cornbury, Blenheim and Great Tew estates in Oxfordshire. Here, pals from London rent cottages in clusters, creating a ready-made social scene for the occupants of the big house.  So will the new KP crew bring with it a party atmosphere? Or will it be like many London communities, where neighbours don’t see one another from one month to the next? As Eugenie and Jack start puzzling over their Ikea flat-packs, here’s a guide to what they should expect of life at KP…

Apartment 1The Gloucesters. 

The Duke of Gloucester is the longest serving inhabitant of Kensington PalaceThe longest serving KP inhabitant is The Duke of Gloucester, 73, second cousin to the Queen. He moved into the second biggest apartment, which occupies the south-west wing, after getting married in 1972. He and Birgitte, Duchess of Gloucester, raised their three children in the 21-room residence. Princess Michael of Kent has described it as a “lovely big apartment”, and it has its own south-facing walled garden. There have been repairs to the roof and windows in recent months, prompting speculation the Gloucesters may be booted out to make way for Harry and Meghan – a rumour that originated with Princess Michael of Kent in 2014, when she told Tatler that the Gloucesters could well move now that their children have left home. So far they show no sign of budging. Most likely to: Be called upon as emergency baby-sitters by the Cambridges next door. 

Apartment 1AThe Cambridges.

Despite sounding like a bodged garage conversion, Apartment 1A is the grandest of all the private residences. Occupying a big chunk of the south wing overlooking Kensington Gardens, it spreads over four-stories, and has two kitchens and a nursery. Formerly home to Princess Margaret, it underwent a £4.5 million refurb prior to the Cambridges moving in last year; with walls knocked down to reduce the room count from 30 to 22. They also spruced up the interiors in an attempt to make it feel more like a family home and it obviously worked, with William complaining that his brother kept “scrounging all my food.” Though eyebrows were raised at their choice of ‘greige’ swag curtains and the drawing room centre-piece – a large octagonal cream pouffe. Most likely to: Clog the bins with nappies. 

Apartment 10: Prince and Princess Michael of Kent.

Princess Michael of Kent was caught up in a revelation which showed that the couple pay £67-a-week for their seven bedroom apartmentAdding colour and controversy to the Royal family since 1978, Princess Michael of Kent has struggled to shake off her Marie Antoinette image since it emerged she and her husband were living practically rent-free at KP. The revelation, in 2001, that they were paying £67-a-week rent for their seven-bedroom, nine-reception room apartment – less than the price of a council house – led to a shake-up of the running of KP. It was decided the Queen should charge market rents, though between 2002 and 2010 she personally footed the Kents’ £10,000-a-month bill. In 2006, they reluctantly sold their country house in Gloucestershire, Nether Lypiatt, for £5.75m, and since 2010 have been paying the KP rent themselves. Most likely to: Hog the communal Bentley.

Nottingham Cottage: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.

It was over a roast chicken at ‘Nott Cott’ that Prince Harry got down on one knee. The two-bedroom cottage, across a courtyard to the north of the main building, has been key to his romance with Meghan. It has a bolt-hole away from the glare of the outside world, where they have got to know each over Netflix-filled evenings. Private and self-contained, with access to the gardens and 24-hour security, it has proved the perfect Royal starter home – William and Kate spent the early years of their marriage here. Harry has installed a hammock in the garden, though the cottage’s rustic charms may wear thin once the couple embark on family life – not to mention the lack of wardrobe space. Reports that the Queen is to gift them York Cottage on the Sandringham estate as their country pad might, then, come as welcome news to the pair. Most likely to: Raid the Cambridges’ fridge.

Wren House: The Duke and Duchess of Kent.

Duke And Duchess Of Kent Attending A National Service Of Thanksgiving At St Paul's Cathedral In LondonUntil recently, the Kents had a blissful existence in a quiet backwater of KP, out by the garages and away from everyone else. Now the Duke, who at 82 is the oldest resident on-site, finds himself sandwiched between party-loving Prince Harry and his old clubbing pal Princess Eugenie. The Duke’s mother, Princess Marina, the widow of the Queen’s uncle, lived for years in Apartment 1 and was the eldest resident of KP when she died there, aged 102 in 1968. The Kents previously occupied Anmer Hall in Norfolk, now the Cambridges’ country home, but retired to KP after their children grew up and left home. Most likely to: Ask for the music to be turned down.

Ivy Cottage: Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank.

Eugenie moved into Ivy Cottage last week, two years after the plan was first mooted. The hold-up was caused by the discovery of damp in the basement, which has now been treated, and there was some argy-bargy over who would be paying for the work. Eugenie previously shared a four-bed apartment in St. James’s Palace with her sister Princess Beatrice, but since going steady with fiancé Jack Brooksbank had been casting round for a home of her own. Eugenie and Harry are close friends and she was one of the first people to meet Meghan. Like her cousin, she is also getting married in St. George’s Chapel, Windsor, in October. Expect a lot of late-night wedmin chat.

Most likely to: Have Fergie helicoptering-in unannounced.

Royalty#51

What time is the Royal Wedding? Full schedule and timings of Harry and Meghan’s big day

The wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle is almost here, which means the final preparations for the big day will no doubt be being tweaked and polished as you read. The ceremony, which takes place on May 19, will be held in Windsor and includes two wedding receptions and a carriage procession as well as the service. Prince Harry and Ms Markle have broken tradition by choosing to hold their wedding on a Saturday, as royal weddings usually take place during the week. The wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge was held on a Friday and the wedding of the Prince of Wales and Diana, Princess of Wales was held on a Wednesday; on both occasions the public were given an extra bank holiday. While Downing Street have said there are no plans to give Britons a day off for this year’s royal nuptials, pubs and bars will be allowed to stay open until 1am on Friday May 18 and the day of the wedding itself. Amber Rudd, the former Home Secretary, opened a consultation on the plans in January. She said: “The Royal wedding will be a time of national celebration, and we want everyone to be able to make the most of such an historic occasion. “I hope that this relaxation of the licensing hours will allow people to extend their festivities and come together to mark what will be a very special moment for the country.” Here is everything you need to know about how the big day will unfold.

The service

The service will take place at St George’s Chapel in the grounds of Windsor Castle, which last hosted a royal wedding in May 2008 when Peter Phillips – son of The Princess Royal – married Autumn Kelly. Prince Edward also wed Sophie, the Countess of Wessex, there in June 1999; plus Prince Harry was christened there in 1984 by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Robert Runcie. Members of the public who have been invited to watch from the grounds of Windsor Castle will  begin to arrive from 9am. Guests will arrive between 9:30am and 11am; they will arrive at the castle’s Round Tower by coach and enter the chapel through the south door. At 11:20am, members of the Royal Family will arrive and enter the chapel through the Galilee Porch. Some will arrive in state car from the Royal Mews, including Bentleys, Rolls-Royces and Daimlers. Prince Harry and his brother and best man the Duke of Cambridge are expected to arrive at the chapel’s west steps at 11:45am. It is assumed they will enter the grounds on foot, giving Prince Harry the opportunity to walk past the crowds in the grounds. He will pass 200 representatives from charities he is associated with, who are expected to gather in the horseshoe cloister at the bottom of the steps. The Queen will be the final member of the Royal Family to arrive for the service, and is expected at 11:55am. The service will begin at 12pm, with Ms Markle due to arrive at the chapel’s west A view of the Quire in St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle, where Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will have their wedding servicesteps at 11:59am. She has chosen her mother, Doria, to travel with her to the wedding, travelling from their overnight accommodation to St George’s Chapel by car. The decision breaks with UK tradition, which usually sees the bride travel with her father before he gives her away in the wedding ceremony. Instead, Ms Markle wanted to include both parents in her wedding day. When the car stops at the castle, her mother will exchange places with the bridesmaids and pageboys. Ms Ragland will enter the chapel by the Galilee Porch. Meghan’s father will meet her at the chapel’s west door, before walking her down the aisle. The traditional ceremony will be conducted by the Dean of Windsor, The Rt Revd. David Conner while the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, will officiate as the couple make their marriage vows. Under the guidance of Harry’s private secretary, Edward Lane Fox, the Lord Chamberlain’s Office is dealing with the ceremonial aspects of the day. It is assumed that Ms Markle is unlikely to opt to obey the prince and will probably choose the Series One (1966) Book of Common Prayer ceremony, just as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge did. This allows the bride to drop the phrases “obey him” and “serve him” from the religious proceedings. Harry must decide whether to wear a wedding ring; William does not wear one. The regiments Prince Harry served with in Afghanistan will also have a “special place” during the ceremony. Household Cavalry troopers will line the staircase at St George’s Chapel, while streets within the precincts of the castle will be lined by members of the Windsor Castle Guard from 1st Battalion Irish Guards, and by Armed Forces personnel from the Royal Navy Small Ships and Diving, which has the Prince as Commodore-in-Chief, and the Royal Marines, where he is Captain General. The 3 Regiment Army Air Corps, where Prince Harry served as an Apache Pilot in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, will also be represented, as well as The Royal Gurkha Rifles, his comrades in Afghanistan in 2007, and RAF Honington, where he is Honorary Air Commandant.

The procession

The Ascot Landau open carriage stands in the Royal Mews at Buckingham Palace in LondonThe service will end at 1pm and the newlyweds will leave the chapel at the west steps, before leaving the castle by carriage. Prince Harry and Ms Markle will be driven for two miles along Castle Hill, the High Street and into Windsor town centre before returning along the beautiful, tree-lined Long Walk for their reception. Kensington Palace has said: “Prince Harry and Ms Markle are very much looking forward to this short journey which they hope will be a memorable moment for everyone who has gathered together in Windsor to enjoy the atmosphere of this special day.” While we don’t know for sure how long the procession will take, a similar procession in 1999 by Edward and Sophie took 15 minutes. The best photo opportunity will be the West Steps of St George’s Chapel, when the bride and groom and their families emerge after the service. If you are lucky enough to be in Windsor on the day, head for the grass of the Horseshoe Cloisters opposite those steps for the view. The newlyweds will make their journey through Windsor in an open-topped Ascot Landau carriage, Kensington Palace has confirmed. It is the same carriage Prince Harry used in the procession at the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton, when he was surrounded by small bridesmaids and page boys. Crown Equerry Colonel Toby Browne, who runs the royal mews where the carriage was selected, said: “The fair weather option, the Ascot Landau, it was selected because it’s a wonderfully bright, small, lovely carriage. Very easy for people to see, the passengers can sit up quite high – so there’s lots of visibility for everybody. “It was built in 1883, it’s one of five that we have, most of them are down in Windsor, we always keep one in London for occasions.” If it rains on the wedding day, the wet weather option is the Scottish State Coach. Built in 1830, a new top was created in 1969 with large windows and a partial glass roof, to allow spectators to see the passengers. Six horses, Windsor Greys, will be included the procession ride. A team of four, Milford Haven, Plymouth and father and son Storm and Tyrone, will pull the Landau and two others – Sir Basil and Londonderry – will be outriders. All have been involved in high profile events before, including the Spanish state visit last year, Royal Ascot, Trooping the Colour, the State Opening of Parliament and the Lord Mayor’s Show.

The receptions

They will be waved off by members of both families and the congregation will leave the chapel to see the newlyweds leave, before going to St George’s Hall for the lunchtime reception hosted by the Queen. While Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are touring Windsor, guests from the congregation will wait for the happy couple in St George’s Hall to celebrate the first of the day’s two receptions. This will be hosted by the Queen, will take place during the afternoon and will be attended by all guests who were invited to the service. Invitations have been posted to 600 lucky guests; royal sources have said the guest list has been restricted to those who have a direct relationship with the couple, 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. From 7pm, a select 200 close friends will attend an after party hosted by the Prince of Wales at Frogmore House, Windsor. Half a mile away from Windsor Castle, the 17th century Grade I country house is owned by the Crown Estate and is part of the Frogmore Estate on the ground of the Home Park. Prince Harry and Ms Markle’s engagement photos were taken in the grounds of Frogmore House. The images were taken by photographer Alexi Lubomirski, who has also been chosen to take the photographs on the wedding day. Lubomirski, the British-born son of Peruvian-English mother and a Polish-French father, also happens to be a Prince himself: his full title is His Serene Highness Prince Alexi Lubomirski. It is expected that member of the Royal family, Ms Markle’s family and intimate friends of both the newlyweds will be at the evening reception – although Princess Charlotte and Prince George will no doubt have been put to bed after their big day in the limelight.

Will Prince William be at the FA Cup?

It has been announced that Prince William will be Prince Harry’s best man. The decision means the Duke, who is President of the Football Association, will not attend the FA Cup final, which is happening on the same day as the wedding. Scheduled to start at 17:15, the FA Cup final will see Chelsea and Manchester United go head to head for the title. Windsor Castle is about an hour’s drive from Wembley Stadium, which would have taken the Duke of Cambridge away from the proceedings for at least two hours. Asked how he felt about being chosen as Prince Harry’s best man, the Duke said: “It feels great. [I am] thrilled and delighted obviously. Revenge is sweet. I’ll be looking forward to it.” The Duke’s own stag do is reported to have been held on a Devon estate, Hartland Abbey, where he and close friends indulged in drinking, clay pigeon shooting, surfing and games.

Prince Harry went on to tease his brother mercilessly during a none-the-less heartfelt best man’s speech at the wedding reception, allegedly wearing a fez, mimicking the lovestruck conversations between a young Kate and William, and ridiculing his bald spot.

Stewart-Wilson#81

The voyage of a coin:

|||| From Royal Mint ||||

|||| by Royal Mail ||||

|||| delivered at Quince Cottage, North Curry ||||