Harry and William make FaceTime peace
Has peace broken out just in time?
Prince Harry and Prince William are back on “buddy terms” after holding regular video calls to heal their broken relationship, according to a report Sunday. The Mirror reports that the weekly calls between the brothers have restored “some form of normality,” and says that it was William who initiated the calls in an attempt to ease tension before they come together for the Jubilee.
The Mirror says they have been joined on video calls by their children—but not their wives.
A source said: “The brothers needed time for everything to settle down. The family, including William, had been disappointed in the way Harry and Meghan chose to leave the royal family. But now there is a strong feeling that what happened is in the past and that they have moved on...It seems that the two of them have healed the rift and are very much back on their old buddy terms. Meghan’s distance from Kate has also helped heal the friction between the two men.”
The queen will be pleased: the Daily Mail reported a source saying Saturday that she wants the jubilee to be “an occasion in which the country, including her own family, comes together,” with an “insider” adding: “Her Majesty is typically very keen that the Platinum Jubilee be a celebration not of herself and her own longevity, but of the institution of the monarchy and the people that support and sustain it. It is also a chance for people to come together after a very difficult period for this country. She doesn’t want anything to overshadow it—and that includes any family issues.”
In other words: Behave, children!
Decoding Harry and Meghan’s Jubilee plans
Harry and Meghan have given their word that they will stick to the script during their visit to the U.K. so as to avoid overshadowing the celebrations for the queen, the Telegraph reported this week. The paper says they have promised to not conduct any “surprise” or unauthorized events, and will only attend the official public engagements to which they have been invited.
However the Telegraph adds that organizers are frustrated that they have not been given more detail about Harry and Meghan’s plans. The deep-seated nature of the mistrust is graphically illustrated, however, by the comment of one source who said: “We’ll see,” when asked about Harry and Meghan’s alleged intention to participate in official events only.
One issue that all sides need to navigate is how to mark Lilibet’s first birthday on Saturday, slap bang in the middle of the celebrations, in such a way that Meghan and Harry do not feel slighted, but the royals do not feel the jubilee is being overshadowed.
It’s a tricky question, especially given that the queen has never met Lilibet, who is named after the queen, before. Should, for example, a congratulatory tweet be sent on Saturday morning?
The Mirror reports that part of the solution is for a small birthday party to be held at Frogmore Cottage, Harry and Meghan’s British home that they have kept. Sadly, though, William and Kate aren’t expected to make the party (ehem, pesky prior engagements).
Queen “pacing herself” for Platinum Jubilee
The queen is “pacing herself” so she can attend as many Platinum Jubilee events as possible—though this may mean it is “increasingly unlikely” that she will attend the Epsom Derby horse race this Saturday. A source tells the Sunday Times that Princess Anne and her family will represent the queen at the event.
The queen is expected to appear on the Buckingham Palace balcony twice on the day of Trooping the Color, the Sunday Times reports—once to “watch the troops marching back towards the palace after the parade, and then again alongside working members of the royal family for the traditional RAF fly-past.” She may also appear at the ceremony itself for a short period, before other senior royals take center stage. Royal sources told the Times that “there is a hope rather than an expectation” that the queen will appear on the balcony on Sunday afternoon for the finale of the “carnival-style” Platinum Pageant.
The paper also confirms Harry and Meghan will bring Archie, 3 (last in the U.K. aged 6 months in November 2019) and Lilibet, now 6 months herself, to meet the queen. If so, it will be the first time that the queen has met her namesake, but it is not known if a Netflix camera crew will be following their every move for a documentary the couple are believed to be making. And if there is a Netflix camera crew following them, will the Palace have to lay down the law about where they can film and where they cannot?
Meanwhile, the queen is preparing for the jubilee in typically cool style; she has apparently repaired to her Scottish mansion of Balmoral to psychologically ready herself. The BBC says she arrived at Balmoral on Thursday, and that it is her first trip there for almost a year.
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Is Meghan set to reconcile with her father?
Meghan Markle has reached out to her father to reconcile, in the wake of his stroke five days ago that left him unable to speak.
The Mirror reports an insider as saying: “Despite their estrangement, Meghan is concerned. She wants to know if there is any way to contact her father privately, without other family knowing about it or having to get involved.”
That would particularly refer to her half-sister Samantha, who has made no secret of her antipathy to Meghan. “Meghan can’t contact her half-siblings because she believes they have their own agendas,” the Mirror source said. “If she can contact their dad, she wants it to be totally private. It won’t involve Netflix, it won’t involve any photographs and it must not involve any tip-offs to the paparazzi.”
Meanwhile, Thomas Markle, Meghan Markle’s father, has left hospital, telling the Mail: “I feel hugely grateful and know how lucky I am to be alive. I want to thank everyone, especially the wonderful doctors and nurses who saved my life. They are angels. I have been deeply moved by loving messages I’ve received from all over the world. People have been so kind. I can’t speak right now, but I am working hard and will thank people properly when I can.”
As reported by the Sun, Markle told royal author Tom Bower that a few days before his stroke, “I’ve just fallen. Thankfully, some good people picked me up from the pavement. I’m going to head home.”
He will now not come to the U.K. where had been set to commentate on the queen’s Platinum Jubilee (and no doubt be encouraged to be as rude about his estranged daughter as possible) by right wing TV channel, GB News.
Only able to speak a few words, he wrote on a board to the Mail: “I wanted to come to pay my respects to the Queen. I wish her a happy Jubilee and many more years.”
He added: “I have lots of hard work to do and will do it. I want to get well. I’m so lucky to have had amazing care and love. Thank you everyone.”
Rain, rain, go away
The jubilee celebrations will culminate next Sunday with a procession through London telling the story of the queen’s reign known as the jubilee pageant. It is being masterminded by producer Adrian Evans, 64, whose previous claim to fame was the disastrous, rain soaked river pageant of 2012 which lasted for over three hours and resulted in Prince Philip being carted off to hospital with a chill.
Evans tries gallantly to apply a positive spin to that traumatic national memory in an interview with the Telegraph: “The weather that day became something intrinsically British. We couldn’t have planned it better because the lasting image was of those wonderful singers, rain pouring down, mascara running down their faces, singing Land of Hope and Glory.”
Maybe for him that was the lasting impression, but the Royalist’s lasting memory of the day was of the Sky News outside broadcast tent physically collapsing under the weight of rain collected in the roof and soaking all their equipment. The team gallantly kept coverage rolling.
Princess Charlene attends F1 in Monte Carlo
After giving an in-depth interview to Monaco Matin this week in which she freely admitted she was “fragile” and had walked a “painful path” over the past year, for the course of much of which she has been physically separated from her family and repeatedly hospitalized, Princess Charlene of Monaco was at her husband Prince Albert’s side Saturday at motor racing’s big day, the Formula 1 in Monte Carlo.
Pictures in the Daily Mail showed that Charlene, 44, and Albert, 64, put on a professional show, but questions about the Princess’s well being will no doubt continue to circulate. Charlene this week told Monaco Matin that rumors of a divorce or her moving to Switzerland were wide of the mark, saying: “I still find it regrettable that certain media peddle such rumors about my life, my relationship… Like everyone else, we are human beings, and like all human beings we have emotions, weaknesses, only our family is exposed to the media and the slightest weakness is relayed.”
This week in royal history
Well, as you may have gathered by now, it is the Platinum Jubilee, meaning that this week, from June 2 to 5, the queen is marking 70 years on the throne. Of course, royal fact checkers know that although the queen inherited the throne in February 1952 upon her father’s death, the coronation did not happen for another 16 months, finally taking place on June 2, 1953. It poured with rain, naturally.
If reports that Harry has reconciled with his brother are accurate, can he use the events of next weekend to patch things up with Charles too?
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