0670 – Royalty

Harry and Meghan to ‘split’ from charity foundation shared with Cambridges

Princes William and Harry and their wives are to work together on ‘one off’ charitable projects, amid mounting specu-lation the Sussexes are to split from the foundation the couples set up together. In a sign of a further distancing between the two royal households Prince Harry and his wife Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, are set to work on their own separate projects, while occasionally coming together for shared initiatives. It comes after it was announced the two households of the Sussexes and Cambridges are to be run separately, following Prince Harry and Meghan’s move of their family home from Kensington Palace to Windsor. The separation of the two households led to a review of the way the Royal Foundation, launched in 2009, operates, with an announcement expected later this month [June]. But palace sources have indicated that both couples are set to go their own way when pursuing their philanthropic and social activism interests. A source said: “They are all excited about what the future holds for what they can achieve with their charitable activity. “But they are also looking forward to working together on big one off projects such as mental health issues.” When the Royal Foundation charity was set up by Prince William and Prince Harry in 2009 it was heralded as a sign of the close emotional and working relationship between the two brothers. With their two wives coming on board over the following years the foundation became one of the most glamorous organisations in the charitable sector. Last year ‘the Fab Four’, as they were known to their fans, attended a Q&A forum about their work under the slogan Making A Difference Together. During the session Tina Daheley, the host, asked if they ever had disagreements. William replied “Oh yes”. When she Daheley asked how they resolved their last disagreement, the princes responded: “Is it resolved? We don’t know!” Prince Harry added: “It’s really good we’ve got four different personalities and we’ve all got that same passion to want to make a difference. Those different opinions work really well.” But it is now understood that the two royal couples have different ideas about what causes to focus on and how to pursue them, with one source telling The Sun: “Meghan and Harry want to do things differently to William and Kate.” A board meeting on June 19 is expected to confirm that the Royal Foundation members will split. Its work revolves around six main themes of mental health, wildlife conservation, young people and the welfare of the armed forces and their families. A spokesman for the foundation said: “The work to prepare both couples for their future roles will of course have implications for how they manage their charitable and philanthropic activity into the future. “We are not going to prejudge the outcome of the review, but we will be able to announce it publicly once all aspects are concluded.” The spokesman added: “The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are committed to the work they are carrying out through The Royal Foundation and are proud of what they have achieved together.”

0660 – Royalty

Baby Archie Harrison: Duke and Duchess of Sussex announce royal baby boy’s name – but no title

After months of speculation about the royal baby’s name – we finally have the answer. The Duke and Duchess’ boy is called Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor. But the newborn will not be given a courtesy title after his parents decided they would like him to be known simply as Archie. The baby will have the title “master” for formal correspondence while a child, instead of being an earl or a lord. The Sussexes could have chosen to give him the title of Earl of Dumbarton, one of the Duke’s subsidiary titles available to his firstborn boy. They could also have opted for Lord Archie Mountbatten-Windsor to ensure gender equality with any future sister. But he will be known as Master Archie Mountbatten-Windsor, as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex take their first steps toward giving the seventh-in-line to the throne the most normal upbringing they can muster.

Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor is introduced to the world for the first timeA spokesman for Buckingham Palace said that, while there were titles that Their Royal Highnesses the Duke and Duchess of Sussex could apply to their son, “they have chosen not to give him a courtesy title at this time”. This could be revisited when the Prince of Wales one day becomes king, under a 1917 convention allowing the grandchildren of the monarch to be known as HRH Prince or Princess. He will also be entitled to succeed Prince Harry as the Duke of Sussex. The Duke and Duchess’s decision is understood to be their own, with the Queen happy to allow them free choice over their children’s names. The Duke has previously spoken frankly about the difficulties he experienced while growing up as a member of the Royal family, with the title carrying responsibility as well as rights.

In 2015, he disclosed he had once felt so disillusioned he “wanted out”, considering giving up his title before conceding he could use it for good. Being in the Army as Captain Wales or simply “Harry”, he has said, was the “best escape I’ve ever had”. He has since appeared to embrace the benefits of his royal platform, using his position to further an array of charitable causes on the world stage. The Sussexes’ decision also reflects the choice made by Prince Harry’s aunt, the Princess Royal, whose children were known from birth as Peter and Zara Phillips. Zara, now Mrs Tindall, has embraced the freedom, which has required her and her brother to forge their own professional paths and enabled her to earn a living via sponsorship as a sportswoman. “I’ve been very lucky,” she has said in an interview. “My parents didn’t give us titles so we’ve been able to have a slightly more normal upbringing. “As soon as you’ve got a title, it’s difficult to shed it. My brother and I have been very lucky like that, being able to find our own way.”

As Archie Mountbatten-Windsor, Baby Sussex is free to do the same, joining his parents on the global platform they have cultivated. By actively announcing the decision to eschew all titles, the Duke and Duchess have also neatly avoided the inevitable comparisons with the Cambridge children, who were all named HRH Prince or Princess at birth. Some had feared the Earl of Dumbarton title would prove confusing for fans of the Sussexes around the world, who could perceive it as a snub owing to the disparity in rank. While unlikely to have been a primary consideration for the couple, the lack of a traditional British title will also serve to simplify matters for the American media which already persists in referring to “Duchess Meghan” and may have used “Earl Archie” for ease. The Duke of Edinburgh, who met Archie at Windsor Castle on Wednesday, may have been pleased to learn that he is taking the surname Mountbatten-Windsor after he famously insisted his descendants bear the family name. He joins Lady Louise Mountbatten-Windsor, the daughter of the Earl and Countess of Wessex, in the style. Penny Junor, a royal biographer, said: “It’s exactly what I would have expected from Harry. He would have dearly liked to have been a normal boy growing up and found his title very difficult.”

0659 – Royalty

Royal baby Sussex: Harry’s reaction was unbuttoned, excited and gloriously himself. I know he will make a wonderful father

It was just after 2pm when the “It’s a Boy” announcement came on Instagram, swiftly followed by a beaming Prince Harry speaking to cameras outside some stables near Windsor Castle. It was classic Harry: unbuttoned, excited, gloriously himself. No formalities here. He was almost boyish himself in his enthusiasm, and here was a reminder of why the public love him so much, why we feel so invested in his story. “I’m very excited to announce that Meghan and myself had a baby boy earlier this morning, a very healthy boy.” His happiness almost radiated through the TV. “Mother and baby are doing incredibly well. It’s been the most amazing experience I could ever have possibly imagined.” And then came the moment that cemented his position as prince of all our hearts – the recognition of the awesomeness and amazingness of childbirth. “How any woman does what they do is beyond comprehension,” he almost gasped. “But we’re both absolutely thrilled and so grateful to all the love and support from everybody out there. It’s been amazing, so we just wanted to share this with everybody… “As every father and parent will ever say, you know, your baby is absolutely amazing, but this little thing is absolutely to-die-for, so I’m just over the moon.” The television and radio talk shows had frothed themselves into a rage in the last week, caterwauling about the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s insistence on having a private birth, as if this might mean we wouldn’t get news of the new baby until it set off for university at 18.

0655 – Royalty

Welcome to Frogmore Cottage, Meghan: a locals’ guide to fitting in with the Thames Valley Toffs

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are just days away from welcoming their first child and they have now moved into their new home, Frogmore Cottage, on the grounds of the Windsor Estate. Here we look at what life will be like for Harry and Meghan as they start their new life in Berkshire with royal baby Sussex. So, the Sussexes have made the Big Move out of London. Whether this is a result of the rumoured froideur with the Cambridges, or simply that they want more space, it is only natural for the newlyweds to want to do their own thing – this is, after all, exactly what Wills and Kate did when they shot off to Amner Hall, their Queen Anne country house in Norfolk, following the birth of Prince George. The Sussexes have made a very different lifestyle choice, however, by opting to settle in the Stockbroker Belt, only an hour from Kensington Palace, where both are keeping offices.

The move to the Thames Valley is perhaps more forward thinking than fleeing to the provinces: Meghan and Harry could make Frogmore Cottage their forever home, commuting to their day jobs and never needing to uproot again. Not only is the area blissfully accessible but they also have connections to it – Harry boarded at Ludgrove in nearby Wokingham from the age of eight and then at Eton, just across the river. And of course, the pair had their engagement photos taken in Frogmore’s grounds, returning there for their wedding reception, after the ceremony at Windsor Castle. Sue Barnes of Lavender Green Flowers, a Windsor local who regularly does the flowers at events at the Royal palaces, believes the area is the perfect fit for the Sussexes. “Windsor is the most homely of all the Royal palaces, and people here feel hugely protective over the family,” she says. “They will be well looked after.” Plus, this part of Berkshire offers the best of everything, she adds. “When you’ve spent a day in the Big Smoke, it really feels like coming home – you can pull up the drawbridge and enjoy being together.” Which is, presumably, precisely what the Duke and Duchess are planning to do.

The house

Frogmore Cottage sounds decidedly modest – which it is, compared to Amner Hall, which has a swimming pool, tennis court and 10 bedrooms. Yet Harry and Meghan’s new digs – originally a gardener’s cottage and then used to house Queen Charlotte’s unmarried daughters – are a considerable notch up from Nottingham Cottage, where they’ve been housed at KP. Set in complete privacy in the undulating landscape of Frogmore Park, itself part of the Norman hunting forest of Windsor Great Park, Harry and Meghan will be able to enjoy more privacy than they have ever had in London. The cottage is white-painted and gabled, with an understated “private” sign on the gate; and now that the Sussexes have souped it up, it is a modern family home with at least five bedrooms and all the usual Home Counties creature comforts, such as open plan living spaces, a wine cellar and gym – and, of course, a nursery large enough to house all Baby Sussex’s official gifts (Prince George received 774). The couple is also rumoured to be creating a granny annexe for Meghan’s mother, Doria, who is expected to make regular visits from America once her grandchild arrives.

The locale

Outside the Arcadian tranquility of the Frogmore Estate, the Windsor area is awash with fancy hotels, golf courses and polo clubs – perfect for Harry, who is no longer allowed to participate in field sports. This corner of Berkshire is not dissimilar, according to Barnes, from the Cattle graze on the Queen's Windsor estate outside the New York, a highly accessible playground for those who enjoy the high life. While some (Kate perhaps?) might argue that this is not real countryside compared to Norfolk or Anglesey, where the Cambridges lived as newlyweds, Barnes insists that the area is perfectly rural. “You do get a bit of plane noise but you get used to it. It’s smart country – but proper country.” Indeed the Queen’s 3000-acre farm has 200 pedigree Jersey milking cows, a pedigree Sussex beef herd, 140 breeding sows and 1500 Lohmann Brown hens. “Wherever you look there are farms and Pony Clubs and landed families that have lived here for generations,” Barnes says. “That’s why it’s always been so popular.” And, presumably, why it has become so expensive – those aspiring to join the Thames Valley Toffs will be disappointed to discover that £2 million (the price of a Georgian rectory and 100 acres in Norfolk) buys nothing more than a four-bedroom mock Tudor, here.

The locals

There will be no stilted dinner parties in freezing ancestral piles for the Sussexes. The Home Countries set is altogether flashier than the Turnip Toffs of Norfolk – as Kate knows this only too well, having grown up 15 miles away at Bucklebury. (In fact, the Cambridges were tempted to move out west themselves, in 2011 reportedly looking round Kingston Lisle Park, which used to belong to Prince Harry’s godmother, Laura Lonsdale.)  Meghan can look forward to film screenings in the private cinema (complete with popcorn machine) at George and Amal Clooney’s £20 million pile near Sonning, and lavish parties chez Elton John, who has a house in Old Windsor and holds Gatsby-esque balls with Oligrachs and sports stars on the Wentworth Estate. The area is surrounded by landed families: there are the Oppenheimers at Waltham Place near Maidenhead, which they run as a biodynamic and organic farm, and the Benyons at Englefield on the other side of Reading, where Pippa Middleton married James Matthews. And then there are the Phillimores and Schwarzenbachs at Henley, who host enviable garden parties. The area is increasingly attracting young guns from the Gloucestershire set, who are now embracing a Staines postcode. “It suits young parents,” says a source, “they can make big bucks in the City, yet still be back home for bath time.”

Sentebale Polo CupThe lifestyle

Much of the local social scene revolves around polo, with regular play-offs at Guards Polo Club and the Royal Berkshire Polo Ground, where in June, Meghan cheered Harry on in the Sentebale Polo Cup. Golf is another big feature; Harry can work on his handicap at Sunningdale and Wentworth, while Meghan, like every other local golf widow in Henley-shire, heads to one of the area’s five star spas – Clivedon, perhaps, or Coworth Park, where she stayed before her wedding, and which is more opulent than the Hurlingham Club in London where Kate has her tennis lessons. There is no Bond Street equivalent in Windsor – no bother when Knightsbridge is near enough – but as a keen chef Meghan will enjoy having the Windsor Farm shop down the road, which sells fresh produce from the Royal farm.

0647 – Royalty

Meghan Markle home birth: Will Meghan give birth at Frogmore Cottage?

Meghan Markle, 37, and Prince Harry, 34, have taken the “personal decision” of keeping their birthing arrangements for the royal baby under wraps. And it seems that decision has fuelled rumours the former actress has opted for a home birth in order to keep the magical experience private. Buckingham Palace said in a statement: “The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are very grateful for the goodwill they have received from people throughout the United Kingdom and around the world as they prepare to welcome their baby. Their Royal Highnesses have taken a personal decision to keep the plans around the arrival of their baby private. The Duke and Duchess look forward to sharing the exciting news with everyone once they have had an opportunity to celebrate privately as a new family.” Bookmakers have slashed the odds on the Duke and Duchess of Sussex opting for a home birth at Frogmore Cottage in Windsor from 5/1 to 7/4 following the palace announcement. Alex Apati of Ladbrokes said: “Harry and Meghan want all things Royal Baby to be kept private, and you can’t get much more private than a home birth – so we’ve taken the scissors to the odds of exactly that happening as a result.” A home birth led by a midwife is believed to be the “favoured choice” of the royal couple, a source told the Daily Mail. But the same source added Meghan and Harry not had totally ruled out a hospital delivery, however.

Meghan Markle and Prince HarryHarry and Meghan’s child will be seventh-in-line to the throne once he or she is born, meaning there is less pressure on their arrangements. At present, an announcement is expected to be made once the Duchess has gone into labour. A second one should then follow after the arrival of the newborn. This will include details of the baby’s weight, gender and place of birth. Meghan and Harry are believed to want to escape the media spotlight and royal photocall that accompanied all three births of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Kate posed outside the Lindo Wing at St Mary’s Hospital in London with blowdried hair and immaculate makeup hours after giving birth to Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis. Harry and William’s mother Princess Diana also participated in the same tradition after having both her sons inside the west London hospital.

There is still a strong chance Meghan might opt for a birth at a hospital but one located much nearer to her home than the Lindo Wing. The most obvious choice is the Mulberry Centre at the NHS-run Frimley Park Hospital in Surrey. Frimley Park is located 15 miles away from Frogmore Cottage, compared to a 23-mile journey to St Mary’s. Ladbrokes has current odds of 4/1 for St Mary’s and 8/1 for The Portland Hospital.

0636 – Royalty

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.

0625 – Royalty

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.

0624 – Royalty

‘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.

0621 – Royalty

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.”

0618 – Royalty

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.