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.”

0664 – Royalty

An artists impression of the Duchess of Cambridge's Chelsea Flower Show garden

This week, Kensington Palace released previously unseen images of the Duchess of Cambridge putting the finishing touches on her designs for her debut Chelsea Flower Show garden. Over the past few months, Kate has been working with the Royal Horticultural Society and award-winning landscape architects Andrée Davies and Adam White to design a woodland wilderness “Back to Nature” garden for families with children. Until now, the details have been kept under wraps – shrouding the most eagerly anticipated attraction of the 2019 show in mystery ahead of its grand unveiling next week. However, we know that the garden is designed to “inspire families to get outside and explore nature together”, and to promote the benefits the natural world brings to mental and physical well-being. And we can now reveal that among the many child-friendly, playful features, the 37-year-old’s magical garden is set to boast both a stream and Enid Blyton-esque, high-platform tree house, clad in stag horn oak and whimsically reminiscent of a bird’s nest. The pictures here show just how hands-on Kate’s creative input has been into the garden, which will also feature a swing seat, a campfire and a rustic den, similar to one used by her own children Prince George (5), Princess Charlotte (4) and Prince Louis (1) in the grounds of Anmer Hall, their beloved countryside home in remote north Norfolk.

When she and Prince William were based there permanently, they planted extra trees, saplings and shrubs to create a natural retreat from the outside world, and in many ways, this is to be a garden shaped by the Duchess’s own first-hand experiences of the joys of playing outside and escaping into nature. Lift the tree stumps, stepping stones and a hollow logs we now know that she will present next week for children to play on at Chelsea, and you will likely find not just ants, worms and woodlice, but an insight into the Duchess’s family values and the causes that make her tick. The Duchess of Cambridge is understood to have been a “tomboy” as a child, has always spoken fondly about her childhood, saying she used to love spending time outside with her parents Carole and Michael Middleton and her siblings Pippa and James in the village of Bucklebury in Berkshire, where you will find the Bucklebury Farm & Deer Safari Park and the pretty River Pang, a gently tinkling chalk stream. And outdoor playtime is exactly what Kate and Prince William want for their own children, too. “As a mother, it is the simple family moments like playing outside together that I cherish,” she wrote in an open letter to support Children’s Hospice Week. It’s no coincidence that the day care she chose for Prince George in Norfolk was a modest Montessori nursery, Westacre, where the emphasis was on “free play”, often outdoors, getting stuck in and getting messy.

The Duke and Duchess of CambridgeRecently, the Duchess also got stuck into the RHS Campaign for School Gardening, helping a group of children to plant spring-flowering bulbs, including daffodils and snake’s head fritillaries. According to Kensington Palace, Kate’s ‘Back to Nature’ garden “hopes to trigger memories of time spent in nature” – but it’s not only nostalgia for an idyllic childhood driving Kate’s appreciation of the fun to be had in green spaces, but also her ongoing campaigning for mental health awareness. Kate is seen as the driving force behind Heads Together, an ongoing campaign she fronts with her husband Prince William and her brother-in-law Prince Harry, who opened up to The Telegraph’s Bryony Gordon last year about his own battles with mental health issues as part of their #oktosay campaign. Fresh air, exercise and natural surroundings contribute to both mental and physical health, which the young royals believe are of equal importance. The benefits are proven, and the effects can be immediate: one recent study even found that birdsong can boost mental well-being for up to four hours.  This week, Prince William launched a new ‘Head’s Up” men’s mental health campaign at Wembley Stadium with the Football Association president. Both Kate and William have worked continuously to end the stigma around mental health and “open up the conversation” as a whole. Kate’s focus has increasingly been on children’s mental health, in particular. In February, she visited a number of school’s for Children’s Mental Health Week. “Childhood is an incredibly important moment in our lives,” she said at the time. “It is the time when we explore our personalities, discover the potential that lies within us and learn how to be ourselves. Our experience of the world at this early stage helps to shape who we become as adults, how we begin to feel comfortable in our own skin.” Earlier this month, she also gave a heartfelt speech at the opening of a new children’s mental health centre, the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families in King’s Cross.  “We are all here today because we care so much about transforming the mental health of children, young people and their families. I have learnt so much about early childhood development and the importance of support from parents,” she said. In her Chelsea garden, interaction with the natural environment will be encouraged through the garden’s “multi-sensory” green and blue plant scheme to offer serenity away from screens and stress, set within a bosky environment traversed with paths. This in itself is revealing of Kate’s concern over the impact of technology on modern childhoods. Apparently, during early discussions between the landscape designers, it emerged that she had been reading Last Child in the Woods, the 2005 book in which author Richard Louv first coined the phrase “nature deficit disorder” (£10.99, Waterstones).

In the book, Louv attributes such ills as the rises in childhood obesity, attention disorders, and depression to this deficit – but also offers practical solutions, many of which can be found just beyond the doorstep. Since its first publication, Louv has launched a growing “Leave No Child Inside” movement, and has published updated research confirming that direct exposure to nature is essential for the physical and emotional health of children and adults. According to the palace, the Back to Nature garden “seeks to recapture for adults the sense of wonder and magic that they enjoyed as children, in addition to kindling excitement and a passion for nature in future generations.” Like Anmer Hall, her garden will offer rural respite from urban living as well as an antidote to increasingly sedentary, indoor lifestyles. “The challenge we all have is to make it feel like visitors are in the middle of a woodland,” said Adam White of the design, which the Duchess suggested should incorporate elements of forest bathing, the Japanese practise of immersing yourself among trees for wellbeing, otherwise known as shinrin-yoku.

In many ways, Kate is following in the footsteps of her father-in-law Prince Charles in this respect. A passionate gardener who has long campaigned for environmental causes, Charles has also previously exhibited at Chelsea, designing two gardens in 2001 and 2002, and winning silver both times. Notably, he worked with garden designer Jinny Bloom to create a “Healing Garden”, which featured 125 varieties of medicinal herbs, shrubs and kitchen plants to help with everything from bruises to stress. While cynics may see the Duchess’s debut as a cleverly plotted marketing exercise executed by the Firm, surely anything that aims to get us away from computer screens and paddling in streams or climbing trees again for a dose of “nature medicine” can be no bad thing.

0652 – Royalty

Inside a royal rift: what’s really going on with William and Harry?

Inside a royal rift: what's really going on with William and Harry?

When they were boys, Prince William and Prince Harry were travelling to Highgrove with their mother, when they began bickering in the back of the car. An increasingly irritated Diana, Princess of Wales, finally snapped and told the squabbling pair that they would return to Palace if they did not stop misbehaving. It was Harry who piped up first. “I don’t care what you do,” he retorted, in front of nanny Olga Powell and Ken Wharfe, the princess’s bodyguard. “I’m not going to be king so I will be able to do whatever I like!” exclaimed the mischievous youngster. “All the adults in the car looked at each other and thought, where the hell did that come from?” Wharfe has recalled. “There was a sense that from a very young age Harry thought he could do whatever he wanted, while his brother had to shoulder all the responsibility.” Fast forward 30 years and the once inseparable royal brothers are forging separate paths. William, 36, is preparing to realise his fate as the next Prince of Wales and future king, while a newly married Harry, 34, is carving out the latest phase in his role as the ‘spare’.

Much has been written about a supposed rivalry between the siblings, as they set out on the next chapter in their royal lives. Indeed, to onlookers, their appearance alongside the Queen at an Easter service at St George’s Chapel Windsor on Sunday – also the occasion of the monarch’s 93rd birthday – appeared somewhat strained. It coincided with reports that Harry and Meghan, 37, plan to live abroad, in Africa, following the birth of their first child – due any day now. In what should be a momentus week for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, with the pitter patter of tiny feet fast approaching, the headlines are once again rife with reports of rifts and tensions at the heart of the House of Windsor. Eyebrows were raised when the @RoyalSussex Instagram feed released seven previously unseen wildlife photographs, taken by Harry, just hours before the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge published new images – taken by Kate – to mark Prince Louis’ first birthday on Tuesday. Just a happy coincidence? Or an ominous sign of the kind of oneupmanship Diana was determined to avoid when she insisted on bringing up her two sons as equals? The late princess made no secret of the fact that she lavished attention on Harry to make sure he didn’t feel overshadowed by William. “I have to,” she once told a friend. “Charles and I worked so hard to ensure both boys receive equal amounts of our time and love; others in the family seem to concentrate on William.”

As a child, Harry reportedly complained to his mother “it’s not fair” that William was “made a fuss over” when visiting their great-grandmother – so much so that Diana was forced to confront the Queen Mother over her alleged favouritism. The friend added that Harry used to love it when he was alone with Diana at Kensington Palace. “Once, when home ill from boarding school, he gleefully told one of Diana’s friends: ‘I have got Mummy to myself… and I don’t have to share her with William!’” No wonder then that a source close to both Princes recently told The Telegraph: “Harry has always complained about being sidelined by William, but now I think they see this split as an opportunity to really spread their wings.”

Explaining the recent separation of powers – which has seen Harry and Meghan move their court from Kensington to Buckingham Palace, following the £3 million renovation of their new Windsor home Frogmore Cottage – the source added: “There is a sense that sometimes the Sussexes think the world is against them.” Hence why they are reportedly planning a long stint abroad? Although reports of them living overseas for several years appear wide of the mark, Buckingham Palace has not denied speculation that they are eyeing up a bespoke international role for the next stage of their work in the Firm.

As president and vice-president of the Queen’s Commonwealth Trust, the royal couple are determined to make a positive impact on the world in a bid to harness their star power. But where would such a lengthy secondment leave the Cambridges, Prince Charles, now aged 70, the 93-year-old monarch and Prince Philip, who turns 98 in June? As one insider put it: “In the old days the Queen would have put her foot down. But at her age, and with the Duke of Edinburgh now retired from public life, they haven’t really got the energy to put up a fight.”

The Telegraph understands that Kensington Palace was left ‘bemused’ by reports that William’s private secretary Simon Case would play a As they set out on the next chapter in their royal lives, much has been written about a supposed rivalry between Prince William and Prince Harry‘pivotal role’ in negotiating the proposal, along with Sir David Manning, the princes’ former special advisor, and the Queen’s former private secretary Lord Geidt, who is chairman of the Commonwealth Trust. A source close to the Cambridges said: “In the end this is what the Duke and the Duchess of Sussex want – they commissioned the work and something for them to work through with Buckingham Palace and Clarence House [Prince Charles’s office]. “Although William will have views, he is not the decision maker.” Another source was keen to scotch rumours of a serious fall out between the siblings, pointing out that they were both “laughing and joking” outside the church on Easter Sunday and revealing that they sat next to each other in the pews. “It was the Queen’s birthday,” added the insider. “Everyone was in good spirits”.

And what of that unfortunate photo clash? According to insiders, the Sussexes’ new PR guru Sara Latham had not expected the Instagramming of Harry’s amateur photography to have quite such an impact on Earth Day – although having reached one million followers in a record-breaking five hours and 45 minutes, they were always likely to make a splash. Suffice to say feathers were severely ruffled at Kensington Palace. Likewise, the Sussexes ‘freelancing’ on the issue of mental health – which seen Harry join forces with Oprah Winfrey for an Apple TV documentary on the subject – has not gone unnoticed, not least as the original seeds for the Heads Together campaign were sown by the Duchess of Cambridge, 37. News of Harry and Meghan’s planned secondment undoubtedly piles more pressure on the Cambridges’ to ‘step up’ at a time when they are desperately trying to get the balance right between their private lives and public duty. Kate’s private secretary, Catherine Quinn, reportedly wrote to a Lord Lieutenant who had requested a royal visit by the Duchess, saying that she was being increasingly “selective” when planning engagements in a bid to be as hands-on as possible with her three young children. That delicate balancing act was in evidence on Tuesday, when William spent the morning having a family birthday breakfast with little Louis, before flying out to New Zealand in the afternoon to represent the Queen at meetings with those affected by last month’s Christchurch mosque shooting.

As William increasingly finds himself standing in for Her Majesty, will Harry – once his brother in arms – still be around to fill the void?

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.

0634 – Royalty

Prince Charles, William and Harry take on rare engagement as a trio: a night out to watch Sir David Attenborough’s new Netflix show

The Prince of Wales and his sons, William and Harry, are to team up for a family Netflix viewing session, as they lend their support to Sir David Attenborough’s new documentary. The trio will attend the premiere of Netflix’s Our Planet at the Natural History Museum on April 4, in a rare family outing for the Prince with both his sons. The Duke of Cambridge has already been involved in the show, interviewing Sir David about the environment on stage in Davos in an event which saw clips of nature footage screened. The event will highlight the topic close to the hearts of all three men, with each of the Princes regularly speaking about their concerns about the future of the planet. Although they appear together in family events, including the recent Commonwealth Day and Buckingham Palace reception celebrating the 50th anniversary of the investiture of the Prince of Wales, this will be a rare public engagement starring just the Prince of Wales, Duke of Cambridge and Duke of Sussex. A spokesman said the night would see the princess “continuing to use their unique positions to help highlight the threat of climate change and the multi-generational effort required to maintain our natural environment”. In 2014, they appeared together at the Illegal Wildlife Trade Conference at Lancaster House, where Prince Charles warned: “There is not a moment to lose if we are to save the species whose loss will not only diminish us all, but also expose their abandoned habitat to ever greater risk of destruction, with dire consequences for humanity.” The Duke of Cambridge has since focused on the illegal wildlife trade, speaking, writing and holding meetings to combat the global problem of the continued sale of ivory. The Duke of has recently turned his sights to the environment more broadly, imploring young people to save the planet. In a speech made during his tour of Australia, he acknowledged the dedication of the Prince of Wales’s campaigns on plastics and climate change. “My father and others have been speaking about the environment for decades – not basing it on fallacy or new-age hypothesis, but rooted in science and facts, and the sobering awareness of our environmental vulnerability,” the duke said. “And while those speeches would sometimes fall on deaf ears, he and others were unrelenting in their commitment to preserve the most valuable resource we have – our planet.” It will not be the first time senior members of the Royal Family support the work of Sir David. His working relationship with the Queen dates back decades, recently culminating in a documentary about trees. The Duke of Edinburgh supported his 2015 programme about the Great Barrier Reef, while the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have attended screenings of his documentaries at the Natural History Museum. In an on-stage interview at Davos, the Duke of Cambridge and Sir David highlighted the environmental issues facing this generation as showcased in Our Planet.  “Care for the natural world,” Sir David told an audience. “Not only care for the natural world but treat it with a degree of respect and reverence.”

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.

0609 – Royalty

Sandhurst cadets charged with battery against trainee after reports of water-boarding

The Royal Military Police launched an investigation after the alleged incident last year at the Royal Military Academy in Camberley, Surrey Sandhurst cadets have been charged with battery against a trainee army officer after prosecutors investigated reports of waterboarding. The Royal Military Police (RMP) launched an investigation after the alleged incident on August 7, 2018, at the famous Royal Military Academy in Camberley, Surrey. The Service Prosecution Authority today charged the two cadets, who will appear at Bulford Military Court near Salisbury, Wilts on Feb 26. They were alleged at the time to have pinned down the victim before pouring water over a cloth covering his face, in an act that was said to induce the feeling of drowning, but have instead been handed a lesser charge of battery. The Telegraph understands that the incident did not take place during training. The cadets involved are understood to be in the same all-male platoon and no instructors were involved. The three cadets involved were moved on to different platoons as the allegations were investigated. An Army spokesman said: “Following an RMP investigation two service personnel have been charged with battery in relation to an incident at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. This case is now with the Service Prosecuting Authority”. Speaking at the time of the alleged incident Brigadier Bill Wright, Deputy Commander  of the Royal Military Academy, said: “The Army and I expect the highest standards of behaviour at Sandhurst; anyone found to have fallen short is dealt with robustly, including dismissal, if appropriate.” All British Army officers are trained at the Royal Military Academy Sandhust on a year-long commissioning course. Both the Duke of Cambridge and Duke of Sussex are former graduates, with saying that although he felt he had been “treated like dirt”, he had enjoyed the experience.

0602 – Royalty

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.

0590 – Royalty

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.

0572 – Royalty

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.