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Put 15 minutes on the clock, please
Attentive readers will recall that on Friday last week The Daily Beast reported that it was “highly unlikely” that Queen Elizabeth would “attend a rumored first birthday party for her great-grand-daughter Lilibet at Frogmore Cottage on Saturday.”
Now it turns out that not only did the queen not attend the party but that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were only given a “formal” 15-minute audience with the monarch to introduce their baby Lilibet to her great-grandmother.
A source told the Sun: “It was a quick in and out job. It was all quite formal.” The palace has declined to comment. However, the claim chimes with the messaging the Royalist heard repeatedly over the Jubilee weekend: that it was all about glorifying and venerating the queen, and what Harry, Meghan or anyone else wanted was an entirely secondary matter.
No photographs have emerged of Lilibet with her grandmother, lending increasing credence to the extraordinary claims that the palace effectively banned Harry and Meghan taking such a picture out of fears they would exploit it to boost their royal credentials.
It certainly seems to have been a weekend that was not marked by any grand gestures of reconciliation. The Sunday Times, for example, confirms rumors that have been circulating that William and Harry “spent no private time together over the jubilee, and the broken relationship is not on the brink of being patched up any time soon.” A friend, speaking about the way Harry and Meghan quit their royal roles and subsequent actions said William is “still deeply upset about it and feels let down, but he’s moved on.”
As royal analyst and former royal editor of the SunDuncan Larcombe memorably told The Daily Beast this week, “The royal family looked like they were offering an olive branch, but it turned out to be a baseball bat.”
Queen was “overwhelmed” during Jubilee finale
Queen Elizabeth was left “tearful and overwhelmed with emotion” during the finale of the platinum jubilee celebrations, the Daily Mail reports. However, she almost didn’t appear on the Buckingham Palace balcony. A source told the Mail: “The queen only decided that she would go to London about three hours before the balcony appearance. She was not feeling brilliant but the Prince of Wales had called her and told her she really ought to come if she could. He told her there were so many people desperate to see her and he convinced her to come.”
When she got there and realized the scale of the public feeling towards her, “The Queen was totally overwhelmed by the number of people waiting to see her— she had tears in her eyes before she stepped out on the balcony,” a source said.
We should expect to see less and less of the queen, a source indicated. “Over time, the Queen will revert to becoming a more virtual Queen with digital appearances and video calls.”
Cambridges will move to Windsor home
The irony of Prince William selling homeless newspaper The Big Issue this week was not lost on The Daily Beast which headlined its story on the matter, “Prince William—Who Has 3 Houses—Cosplays as Homeless Man for Charity.”
Well, now it turns out that long circulating rumors that William and Kate will actually move to Windsor are true, with The Sunday Times’ always well-sourced Roya Nikkhah reporting that the move will happen in time for the new academic year, with the couple moving to a house on the Windsor estate before taking on Windsor Castle itself in, as the queen would put it, “the fullness of times.”
Royal reporter Robert Jobson tweeted Sunday that the move goes against much of what was stated when the vastly expensive renovations of Kensington Palace were being carried out.
William’s “profound sadness” at the reality of succession
Nikkhah’s extensive analysis of William as he turns 40 in The Sunday Times, mentioned above, is essential reading. It quotes a “close aide” as saying that William, who has looked decidedly pensive at recent royal engagements, is not particularly looking forward to the next chapter of royal life.
“There is a sense of the future accelerating towards him, which is tinged with profound sadness—though he would never say it publicly—because of the implication that his grandmother would no longer be around, the added pressures on his father and his family being under even more scrutiny.”
In the wake of Prince Louis’ scene-stealing role at the jubilee, the report adds commentary from a source saying that William and Kate “appreciate the children have a big role in public life and they felt the jubilee was an appropriate moment for them to be visible, bringing an added nice dynamic which we didn’t all expect.”
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Prince Andrew is off to Scotland. maybe
There is an old royal tradition of sending troublesome family members far, far away. Edward VIII got sent to the Bahamas then Paris to keep him out of sight after his abdication, for example. Now it appears Prince Andrew could be packed off to the chillier and more penitent Scotland.
The disgraced duke—who on Monday will make what could be one of his final ever public appearances at the annual Order of the Garter gathering, which the queen is not expected to attend—is the subject of palace intrigue to find him a new role.
A senior palace source told the Daily Mail: “Clearly at some point soon, thought will have to be given as to how to support the duke as, away from the public gaze, he seeks slowly to rebuild his life in a different direction.”
the Mail says that while Andrew is “determined to keep his Royal Lodge estate” in Windsor “one option could be for him to rebuild his life in Scotland.” The careful juxtaposition of the two completely antithetical concepts suggests that perhaps the first Prince Andrew will have heard of his plan is, like everyone else, when he opens the newspaper.
The palace source added: “There is, of course, a real awareness and sensitivity to public feelings. There is also recognition that the task of starting to support him as he begins to rebuild his life will be the first step on a long road and one that should not be played out every day in the glare of the public spotlight.”
In other words, clear off, matey.
Andrew an “absolute fool,” former owner of his chalet says
News of the discussions on Andrew’s future comes as he was branded an “absolute fool” by the French socialite Isabelle de Rouvre, who unwisely allowed him to defer payment of several million euros after he bought her ski chalet in Verbier—and subsequently had a nightmare getting the money off him.
De Rouvre was speaking to the telegraph after reports emerged of another couple, who are Swiss, being caught up in a legal wrangle over an alleged Andrew debt of around $2m. They reportedly put a block on the sale of the chalet, which may explain why it has been dragged out so long. Removal vans were finally spotted there last week.
Ms de Rouvre, whose own money was finally repaid this year, said the Duke and Duchess of York “are so crazy,” adding: “He is an absolute fool and I just cannot understand how he goes about his life. I am lucky that a deal was made and it is the end of the matter for me. I am fed up with the whole thing… I do not understand how he operates and I feel very sorry for people who are involved with him in business.”
This week in royal history
Happy fourth birthday to Lena Tindall, Zara Phillips and Mike Tindall’s daughter this June 18!
Why is Prince Andrew attending the Order of the Garter Monday? Do the queen and her royal advisers really think the public wants to see Prince Andrew return to public life?
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