9:44am PDT, Jun 22, 2020
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Duchess Kate snaps playful birthday portraits of Prince William and their kids
Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis piled on top of dad Prince William in this additional photo taken by Duchess Kate in Norfolk, England, in early June and released by Kensington Palace to mark the Duke of Cambridge’s 38th birthday on June 21, which fell on Father’s Day.
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New book about Prince William and Prince Harry’s fractured relationship due in October
On June 20, Us Weekly and People magazines revealed that a bittersweet new book on siblings Prince William and Prince Harry is set to be released in October. Written by royal historian Robert Lacey — the royal consultant on Netflix’s “The Crown” — “Battle of Brothers: William and Harry — the Friendship and the Feuds” is expected to examine the princes’ complicated relationship as well as their wives’ roles in their ups and downs. “I have been astonished and sometimes moved to tears by the fresh details and insights I have discovered in researching this story of family conflict. It has been both enthralling and painful to trace this drama through the memories of close witnesses and some of the people most intimately involved,” the author said in a press release, adding, “These two brothers — once inseparable and now separated by much more than mere distance — have been acting out the contradictions that go back into their childhoods and even before that: into their parents’ ill-fated marriage. We have seen conflicts between heir and spare in every recent generation of the royal family — but nothing so profound as this.”
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Spain’s royal family attends first public event together as COVID-19 lockdowns ease
Spain’s King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia have been conducting occasional official business — while social distancing and wearing masks — for weeks. But on June 19, they made headlines when they brought their daughters, Crown Princess Leonor and Infanta Sofia, to a contemporary flamenco performance at the Teatros del Canal in Madrid — their first official family outing outside of palace grounds since the COVID-19 pandemic began, Royal Central reported. The monarch and his family chose the event as they wanted to show their support for Spain’s newly reopened cultural sector.
Duke and Duchess of Cambridge resume public engagements as COVID-19 lockdowns lift in England
On June 18, as coronavirus lockdowns in England began to lift and non-essential shops began to reopen, Duchess Kate stepped out for her first public engagement since quarantine began on March 23. After months of doing Zoom calls and video chats from home, she visited Fakenham Garden Centre near her family’s country home, Anmer Hall, to hear about measures the business has implemented to ensure customers are able to visit and shop safely. The next day, Prince William stepped out to visit Smiths the Bakers, which has served the queen’s Sandringham estate and the community near his country home for 50 years. HELLO! reported that he purchased some treats for his family there and told the owners — who had to close the shop for 11 weeks — “I’ve done a little bit of baking [during lockdown]. The children have been attacking the kitchen and it’s just been an explosion of flour and chocolate everywhere. Catherine’s been doing quite a bit of baking.”
Sweden’s Crown Princess Victoria marks 10-year wedding anniversary
On June 19, Sweden’s Crown Princess Victoria and husband Prince Daniel celebrated their 10-year wedding anniversary. To mark the occasion, the Swedish Royal Court released some gorgeous new portraits of the future queen and her love, the former Daniel Westling, taken by photographer Elisabeth Toll — including this one snapped at Gustav III’s pavilion near the couple’s home, Haga Palace. See more on the royal family’s Instagram page here.
Kristen Stewart to play Princess Diana in new film
On June 17, Deadline broke the news that “Twilight Saga” franchise and indie film actress Kristen Stewart will star as Princess Diana in a new movie from director Pablo Larraín, who’s perhaps best known for directing Natalie Portman in “Jackie,” the 2016 biographical drama about former first lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. The Diana movie — which features a script by “Peaky Blinders” creator-writer Steven Knight — is to be called “Spencer” and, as Deadline explains, “covers a critical weekend in the early ’90s, when Diana decided her marriage to Prince Charles wasn’t working, and that she needed to veer from a path that put her in line to one day be queen.” The project, which will film in early 2021, will chronicle one of the late Princes of Wales’ final Christmas holidays as a member of the House of Windsor at the queen’s Sandringham estate in Norfolk, England.
Queen Elizabeth II enjoys a scaled down and socially distanced Trooping the Colour
Britain’s annual Trooping the Colour — the official birthday celebration of the U.K. sovereign — is usually a big, public spectacle held in London every June that’s marked by a grand military parade and a photo opp featuring dozens of royal family members gathered on the balcony of Buckingham Palace. But in 2020, things looked much different due to the coronavirus pandemic. This year, Queen Elizabeth II celebrated with a scaled back, socially distanced ceremony on June 13 featuring royal salutes from the 1st Battalion Welsh Guards in the quadrangle at Windsor Castle, where she’s been quarantining during the global health crisis.
Sweden’s Prince Carl Philip marks fifth wedding anniversary
On June 13, Sweden’s Prince Carl Philip and Princess Sofia shared a slideshow of personal and previously unseen photos from their 2015 nuptials to mark the five-year anniversary of their wedding at the chapel in Stockholm’s Royal Palace. See all the gorgeous images the parents of two shared here. Fun fact: Carl Philip’s siblings and parents also all married in June! Big sister Crown Princess Victoria wed on June 19, 2010, while little sister Princess Madeleine married on June 8, 2013. Sweden’s King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia tied the knot on June 19, 1976.
Lady Colin Campbell teases unauthorized new book on Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan
Lady Colin Campbell — the ex-wife of Lord Colin Ivar Campbell, the younger son of the 11th Duke of Argyll — is back with another book about the U.K.’s royal family. On July 28, the Jamaica-born British socialite (who also penned “Diana in Private,” the New York Times bestseller about the late Princess of Wales) will release “Harry & Meghan: The Real Story,” which is being billed as “the first behind-the-scenes, authoritative account of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s marriage.” She kicked off a publicity run for the book, which was penned without the couple’s cooperation, in an interview with Daily Star Online on June 12 in which she claimed that cracks in Meghan’s relationship with Harry’s family began to show just four days after their 2018 wedding. “I was emotionally invested in Meghan’s success. But it quickly became apparent the ride may not be as smooth as everybody had hoped,” the aristocrat said. “I can’t repeat [the story right now] exactly, it’s in the book, but what I can say is, something happened at the very first garden party at Buckingham Palace to celebrate Prince Charles’ 70th birthday and all of his charity work [a few days after the royal wedding]. Something happened there on the Tuesday, and I was told about it on the Wednesday evening at dinner by a household name with impeccable palace connections. We were all absolutely gobsmacked and astonished — we all thought this doesn’t bode well. It was not a good harbinger. We were all hoping against hope the information was wrong, but of course it was accurate.”
Britain’s Prince Philip turns 99
Prince Philip celebrated his 99th birthday on June 10. The palace released this photo of the Duke of Edinburgh and wife Queen Elizabeth II posing together 10 earlier in the quadrangle of Windsor Castle, where they’ve been hunkered down with a reduced staff amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Lawyers for Britain’s Prince Andrew spar with U.S. federal prosecutors in Jeffrey Epstein sex trafficking probe
On June 8, ABC News reported that U.S. federal prosecutors had formally requested help securing witness testimony from Prince Andrew through a Mutual Legal Assistance treaty with the British Home Office — not Buckingham Palace — as part of a criminal investigation into alleged co-conspirators of convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, the royal’s former friend who died by suicide while in federal custody in 2019. The news sparked a back-and-forth between Andrew’s legal team and American authorities, who in January publicly accused Andrew of failing to cooperate despite his public assurances that he would assist in their investigation. As reported by ITV, The Duke of York’s legal team said in a statement that the royal “has on at least three occasions this year offered his assistance as a witness to the [Department of Justice]. Unfortunately, the DOJ has reacted to the first two offers by breaching their own confidentiality rules and claiming that the duke has offered zero cooperation. In doing so, they are perhaps seeking publicity rather than accepting the assistance proffered.” That didn’t sit well with the lawyer leading the probe, Geoffrey Berman, who responded with a statement of his own: “Today, Prince Andrew yet again sought to falsely portray himself to the public as eager and willing to cooperate with an ongoing federal criminal investigation into sex trafficking and related offences committed by Jeffrey Epstein and his associates, even though the prince has not given an interview to federal authorities, has repeatedly declined our request to schedule such an interview and nearly four months ago informed us unequivocally — through the very same counsel who issued today’s release — that he would not come in for such an interview. If Prince Andrew is, in fact, serious about cooperating with the ongoing federal investigation, our doors remain open and we await word of when we should expect him.”
Sweden’s royal family celebrates National Day
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, Sweden’s royal family marked the country’s annual National Day on June 6 a little differently this year by having a much more low-key celebration. But they still showed national pride by releasing some photos of themselves wearing traditional attire. King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia, who’ve been living at Stenhammar Palace in Sörmland since the global health crisis exploded, temporarily returned to the Royal Palace in Stockholm for the occasion and posed for photos. The king also gave a speech. Crown Princess Victoria released pictures of herself and her two kids with husband Prince Daniel wearing the folk outfits of their respective duchies. As reported by Royal Central, the future queen wore the Vadsbro costume from Västergötland; Estelle wore a new summer costume from the Skedevi parish in Östergötland; and Oscar wore a suit from Ingelstad herd from Skåne. Victoria’s sister, Princess Madeleine also shared some national pride even though she lives in Florida with her husband and kids: She posted an Instagram photo of her kids holding Swedish flags.
Prince Edward’s children will likely work for a living, their mother reveals
In a June 6 interview with Britain’s The Times, Sophie, Countess of Wessex — the wife of Queen Elizabeth II’s youngest child, Prince Edward — revealed that their two children, Lady Louise Windsor and James, Viscount Severn — likely won’t follow in their footsteps by taking on full-time official duties for the monarchy. “We try to bring them up with the understanding they are very likely to have to work for a living,” Sophie said. “Hence we made the decision not to use HRH titles. They have them and can decide to use them from 18, but I think it’s highly unlikely.” She added that she hopes Louise “goes to university. I wouldn’t force her, but if she wants to. She’s quite clever, so I think probably … whereas James, I don’t know [yet].” She also said she and Edward try to make the children’s lives as normal as possible despite their royal status. “They go to a regular school … They go to friends’ [houses] for sleepovers and parties. At weekends we do lots of dog walking and stay with friends,” she said. “I guess not everyone’s grandparents live in a castle, but where you are going is not the important part, or who they are. When they are with the queen, she is their grandmother.”
Prince Andrew and Fergie put Swiss chalet on the market amid reported money woes
On June 6, reports revealed that Britain’s Prince Andrew and his ex-wife Sarah, Duchess of York, have put the seven-bedroom chalet they co-own in skiing hotspot Verbier, Switzerland, on the market for £18.3 (about $22.5 million), which is what it’s believed they paid for it six years ago. According to The Mail on Sunday, the luxury lodge is being sold to repay a debt of more than $8 million to the property’s former owner, French socialite Isabelle de Rouvre. The exes — who still live together in Andrew’s home in Windsor, England — have reportedly encountered financial difficulties since the Duke of York was forced to step down as a senior working royal in late 2019 in the wake of a devastating TV interview he gave about his friendship with Jeffrey Epstein and claims that the royal was involved in a sex trafficking ring allegedly run by the convicted pedophile, who died by suicide in 2019.
Bhutan’s queen celebrates 30th birthday
Bhutan’s Queen Jetsun Pema celebrated her 30th birthday on June 4. Days earlier, her husband, King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, shared a series of photos on his official Facebook account debuting their second son, who was born in March, to celebrate Her Majesty The Gyaltsuen’s birthday. “To commemorate the 30th Birth Anniversary of Her Majesty The Gyaltsuen on the 4th of June, it is our privilege to share a wonderful collection of photographs of the Royal Family,” he wrote. One day before her birthday, the king took to Facebook again to share a portrait of Jetsun alongside a loving message of tribute.
Norway’s Princess Martha Louise says her interracial romance has opened her eyes to racism
Princess Martha Louise of Norway went public with her relationship with author Shaman Durek in 2019. In a June 4 Instagram post that she shared on both her royal and personal pages in the wake of protests sparked by the May killing of a black man, George Floyd, in Minneapolis at the hands of white police officers, the European princess opened up about global racism and her interracial romance. “Being @shamandurek’s girlfriend has given me a crash course in how white supremacy is at play and the way I have consciously and subconsciously thought of and acted towards black people. How I have taken my rights for granted – never looked properly at what racism really is, because it has been comfortable for me that the system is in place,” she began the lengthy post. “I am not proud of it, but I realize I need to grow into understanding this deeply rooted system to be able to be part of the dismantling of it. I, as a white person, need to grow, educate myself and become better and move from being against racism to being anti-racist.” Read her full post here.
Duchess Meghan delivers surprise speech to 2020 graduates of her L.A. high school
Duchess Meghan surprised graduates at her alma mater, Los Angeles’s Immaculate Heart High School, with a virtual speech at the end of their online commencement ceremony on June 3. In her five-minute address, she personally and directly addressed something that other members of Britain’s royal family have not: the Black Lives Matter movement. According to Queen Elizabeth II’s former press secretary Dickie Arbiter, “had Meghan and [husband Prince] Harry still been in the U.K. and working members of the royal family, that speech couldn’t have happened,” he told Newsweek, due to the royal family’s policy of avoiding most political issues. Despite the subject being widely considered a human rights issue, according to Dickie, as far as the monarch is concerned, “It’s highly politicized.” Meghan told graduates in part, “I’ve been planning on saying a few words to you for your graduation, and as we all have seen over the past few weeks, what is happening in our country and in our state and in our hometown of L.A. has been absolutely devastating,” she said, as reported by Harper’s Bazaar (watch it here). “And I wasn’t sure what I could say to you. I wanted to say the right thing. And I was really nervous that I wouldn’t or that it would get picked apart, and I realized, the only wrong thing to say is to say nothing. Because George Floyd’s life mattered, and Breonna Taylor’s life mattered, and Philando Castile’s life mattered, and Tamir Rice’s life mattered, and so did so many other people whose names we know and whose names we don’t know.” Meghan spoke about her personal memories of the 1992 Los Angeles riots, shared some wisdom she received from a teacher at the high school and urged graduates to vote. “You are going to have empathy for those who don’t see the world through the same lens that you do, because with as diverse, vibrant, and open-minded as I know the teachings at Immaculate Heart are,” she said, “I know you know that black lives matter. You are equipped, you are ready, we need you, and you’re prepared.”
Queen Elizabeth II marks coronation anniversary
On June 2, Queen Elizabeth II celebrated the 67th anniversary of her coronation at London’s Westminster Abbey in 1953. The palace took to social media to mark the occasion, sharing one of Cecil Beaton’s portraits of the monarch in her coronation finery and crown as well as fun facts about the day including how the solemn religious ceremony lasted nearly three hours and how the service has remained unchanged for nearly 1,000 years. The palace pointed out that Prince Charles, who was 4 at the time, was the first royal British child to witness his mother’s coronation as sovereign (at 2, Princess Anne was deemed too young to attend). They even shared the names of the eight gray horses that pulled Her Majesty’s gold state coach that day: Cunningham, Tovey, Noah, Tedder, Eisenhower, Snow White, Tipperary and McCreery.