Prince Andrew’s “intense talks” with the queen
Prince Andrew and Queen Elizabeth have been having “intense talks” at Balmoral, according to the Sun on Sunday. Poor woman! Can’t she just be left alone to watch the carpet of purple heather on the moors sway in the breeze, or a passing cloud of midges, or some salmon leaping? No, for “three days” and “alone,” poor Brenda has been stuck with her son wondering what to do after being stripped of his titles in the wake of the Jeffrey Epstein/Virginia Giuffre scandal.
The subject of these talks? Andrew’s future. The Sun makes the point that the queen already nixed his request to get his royal titles back; he now “wants a new position to see out his days,” knowing that Prince Charles and Prince William likely do not envision any kind of public role for him.
A friend of Andrew’s told the paper: “He is a 62-year-old man and knows that he can’t spend the rest of his days sitting around at Royal Lodge in Windsor, walking his dogs and riding horses. He’s thinking about what he can do. He has had discussions with the Queen about what he can do with his life. But there are also wider family discussions.”
Another source said: “He knows he let his mother down badly but he hasn’t been convicted of a crime. He wants to try to establish a route back. He’s hoping the Queen can influence Prince Charles and Prince William, who see no way back for him. He wanted a few days alone with his mother to talk about his future.”
A new prime minister and Andrew whining away: would somebody just let the queen have her jam sandwich (see below) in peace?
The Sun’s final line—“A spokesman for Andrew did not want to comment”—summons up images of those old Hamlet cigar ads, where somebody in a challenging situation would seek comfort in striking a match, and lighting that brand of cigar as whatever chaos swirled around them.
Diana anniversary brings crash talk
The 25th anniversary of the death of Princess Diana is fast approaching, so prepare for a tsunami of shows exploring the circumstances of her death. Although the crash has been officially ruled an accident multiple times, caused primarily by a drunk, speeding driver, the subculture of those who believe the crash occurred under suspicious circumstances continues to flourish.
The Daily Beast’s Marlow Stern conducted an excellent interview with Sir John Stevens, the retired police officer who headed up Operation Paget, the inquiry into Diana’s death, who is a leading contributor to The Diana Investigations, a new docuseries on Discovery+. Marlow’s interview with Stevens is essential reading, for all Diana-skeptics, but his last word bears repeating.
In response to Marlow’s suggestion that Diana would have survived had she been wearing a seatbelt, Stevens says: “You’re absolutely right. There are a large number of issues to this kind of crash, and if you pulled away one aspect of this crash—one link in the chain—it would not happen. And it has been proven that if they’d worn their seatbelts they would have survived, even with the desperate condition of that car. That’s what the experts say.”
Interestingly, Andrew Morton, the biographer who wrote the definitive Diana book Diana: Her True Story told The Royalist the same thing a few weeks back, saying: “If she had been wearing a seatbelt, she would be alive today.”
In an interview with the Telegraph, Stevens said Martin Bashir should have been interviewed by police investigating Diana’s death. He said: “Had we known about Bashir before the conclusions of the inquiry we would have definitely gone to interview him, possibly under caution. We would have interviewed him in a shot.
“Why didn’t he come forward? We didn’t see him and when you think about it, that’s inexcusable. He must have followed it. And of course, he’d have known how culpable he was in terms of her state of mind.”
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The queen’s daily jam sandwich
Ah, now we know why Queen Elizabeth and Paddington Bear vibed so intensely in that charming Platinum Jubilee video. He loves marmalade sandwiches, while the queen, her former chef revealed, has had a daily jam sandwich every day since she was 5. Darren McGrady revealed the sweet secret this week.
It’s called a “jam penny,” and it’s basically “just bread and jam with a little butter, usually strawberry jam… We’d make the jam at Balmoral Castle with gorgeous Scottish strawberries from the gardens.” The sandwiches, cut into circles, “were called pennies, after the size of the old English penny,” McGrady said.
The queen’s youngest son Prince Edward and his wife Sophie have made being relatable into an art form, but it still comes as something of a surprise to learn that their eldest kid, Lady Louise Windsor, has a summer job at her local garden center (wage £6.83, or $8, an hour).
It’s a pre-college earner for Lady Louise, who is off to Prince William’s alma mater St Andrew’s in Scotland to continue her studies in the fall.
One shopper told the Sun: “I couldn’t believe it was Lady Louise—I had to look twice. She is a really modest and sweet young woman who is polite and attentive to customers. She seemed to be loving the job. You’d never imagine the queen’s granddaughter would take on a role working behind a till.”
Yet more incognito royal action!
More unexpected royal job news: the Telegraph has an interview with the Duchess of Kent, not to be confused with the terribly grand Princess Michael of Kent. The duchess, known as Katharine, spent 13 years teaching music at a primary school in Hull from the early 1990s on.
She tells the Telegraph: “I was just known as Mrs Kent, only the head knew who I was. The parents didn’t know … No one ever noticed. There was no publicity about it at all, it just seemed to work.” Her work had the queen’s full support; she says that the queen told her, “Yes, go and do it,” when she asked for permission. She married Prince Edward, Duke of Kent, who is the Queen’s cousin, in 1961. The 89-year old also tells Camilla Tominey that she enjoys rap, singling out Eminem and Ice Cube as artists she likes.
This week in royal history
The eternally fabulous-tragic-grand-colorful Princess Margaret was born on August 30, 1930. She died, aged 71, on February 9, 2002.
Entering the run-up the week of the 25th anniversary of Princess Diana’s death, expect more discussions and musings on what happened in the tunnel in Paris, and more Diana talk in general. The big question: what will William, Harry, and the rest of the royals have to say—if anything on or before August 31?
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