Queen Elizabeth II Approves Brexit Bill

Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II attends the Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey in London on March 11, 2019.  Richard Pohle / POOL / AFP

 

Queen Elizabeth II gave her formal assent Thursday for Britain to end its decades-long involvement in the European Union and seek a more independent but uncertain future at the end of the month.

The head of state’s ceremonial approval of the withdrawal legislation allows Britain to leave its closest neighbours and trading partners after years of bickering and three delays.

Two top EU officials in Brussels are expected to sign the separation treaty on Friday and Prime Minister Boris Johnson — the pro-Brexit figurehead of Britain’s seismic 2016 referendum — will put his name on it in the coming days.

“At times it felt like we would never cross the Brexit finish line, but we’ve done it,” Johnson said after both houses of the British parliament ratified the withdrawal bill on Wednesday.

“Now we can put the rancour and division of the past three years behind us and focus on delivering a bright, exciting future.”

The January 31 split caps a remarkable political comeback for Johnson at one of the most difficult points in Britain’s post-war history.

He quit former prime minister Theresa May’s government in 2018 in protest at what he viewed as her pro-European separation terms.

Johnson returned as May’s successor in July last year and has since managed to negotiate his own deal with Brussels and regain the government’s control of parliament in a risky early election last month.

The rest was a formality. Lawmakers barely debated the withdrawal agreement before passing it — even though critics called it worse for Britain than the one reached by May.

Johnson will celebrate his victory by issuing commemorative coins and chairing a special cabinet meeting in England’s pro-Brexit north on January 31.

 ‘Absolute priority’ 

Johnson will now be responsible for defining the terms on which Britain trades and shares everything from data to fishing waters with the remaining 27 EU member states.

The formal talks are not expected to begin until March but the war of words is already intense.

Johnson rejects EU arguments that the end-of-year negotiations deadline is too short to reach a comprehensive deal.

The UK government is also demanding the post-Brexit right to set its own rules on politically sensitive issues such as environmental standards and workers’ rights.

EU officials say this will give Britain an unfair advantage and are threatening to retaliate with tariffs and quotas that could hit the UK auto and pharmaceutical industries especially hard.

European Central Bank chief Christine Lagarde said the bloc’s financial system was ready for the next stage.

“There can always be a risk somewhere,” she said in Frankfurt. “But I think in good conscience we have covered everything that we thought was necessary.”

Some analysts believe Johnson is prepared to pay the price of short-term economic damage in order to deliver on the pledge to “get Brexit done”.

He argues that greater flexibility will help him reach a quick post-Brexit agreement with the United States and other nations that are growing much faster than those in Europe.

US officials say they are eager to strike a deal with Johnson.

An agreement “is an absolute priority for President (Donald) Trump and we expect to complete that with them this year,” US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said ahead of his arrival in London this weekend.

US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross added that Johnson would have an easier time with Washington than Brussels because “there are far fewer issues between the UK and US.”

Johnson is expected to lay out his vision for the post-Brexit agreement with Brussels in a big policy address early next month.

“Once we have left the EU in just over a week’s time we’ll be free to start having discussions with countries around the world including the US,” Downing Street said Wednesday.

AFP

Queen agrees ‘period of transition’ for Harry and Meghan

Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II visits the new headquarters of the Royal Philatelic society in London on November 26, 2019. Tolga Akmen / AFP / POOL

 

Queen Elizabeth II on Monday said Prince Harry and his wife Meghan would be allowed to split their time between Britain and Canada while their future is finalised.

The couple said last week they wanted to step back from the royal frontline, catching the family off guard and forcing the monarch to convene crisis talks about the pair’s future roles.

The 93-year-old queen, her son and heir Prince Charles, and his two sons princes William and Harry began a family summit at her private Sandringham estate in Norfolk, eastern England, on Monday.

She called the discussions “very constructive” and said she and her family were “entirely supportive of Harry and Meghan’s desire to create a new life as a young family”.

“Although we would have preferred them to remain full-time working members of the royal family, we respect and understand their wish to live a more independent life as a family while remaining a valued part of my family,” she added.

“Harry and Meghan have made clear that they do not want to be reliant on public funds in their new lives.

“It has therefore been agreed that there will be a period of transition in which the Sussexes will spend time in Canada and the UK.

“These are complex matters for my family to resolve, and there is some more work to be done, but I have asked for final decisions to be reached in the coming days.”

The queen has previously said she wanted to find “workable solutions” to the crisis, which has dominated the media since the bombshell announcement last week.

Harry and Meghan’s effective resignation has thrown up a series of questions, including how they can raise their own finances without compromising the monarchy.

 

AFP

Queen Elizabeth, Prince Harry Hold Crisis Meeting

FILES) In this file photo taken on May 18, 2019 Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II (L) and Britain’s Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, leave St George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle, Windsor, west of London, on May 18, 2019, after the wedding of Lady Gabriella Windsor and Thomas Kingston. AFP

 

Queen Elizabeth II and other senior British royals were gathering for a meeting Monday with Prince Harry in an attempt to solve the crisis triggered by his bombshell announcement that he and wife Meghan were stepping back from the royal frontline.

Harry’s father Prince Charles and brother Prince William, with whom he has strained relations, will join the monarch at her private Sandringham estate in eastern England, according to British media.

Charles just flew back from Oman, where he attended a condolence ceremony following the death of Sultan Qaboos.

Meghan is expected to join the meeting via conference call from Canada as they attempt to work out the “next steps” towards a compromise and nip the growing crisis in the bud.

Issues up for debate include how much money the couple will still receive from Charles’s estate, their royal titles and what commercial deals they can strike, according to the Sunday Times.

The newspaper reported that William believes he and Harry are now “separate entities”, breaking the bonds forged following their mother’s tragic death.

“I’ve put my arm around my brother all our lives and I can’t do that any more; we’re separate entities,” the Times reported he told a friend.

The queen attended church at Sandringham on Sunday where supporters expressed sympathy for her, with some members of the public saying Harry and Meghan should not receive any more taxpayer money if they step back from the royal family.

The 93-year-old monarch on Thursday demanded that staff work with the couple to find urgently a “workable solution” that would take into account their demands for more freedom.

Harry, Meghan and son Archie spent Christmas in Canada, with the American former actress returning there this week.

Several Canadian media reported Meghan had returned to Vancouver Island off the country’s Pacific coast, where the family spent the year-end holidays and where baby Archie had remained with his nanny.

Senior royals were caught off guard by Wednesday’s announcement that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex wanted to seek a “progressive new role” and divide their time between Britain and North America.

 ‘Complicated issues’ 

The queen’s office issued a terse statement the same evening, saying there were “complicated issues that will take time to work through”.

Harry and Meghan said they intended to continue to “fully support” the queen and “collaborate” with senior royals.

They also want to keep their home on the queen’s Windsor Castle estate as their British base, while aiming to become financially independent.

Media reports said Harry and Meghan could conduct a potentially damaging television interview if they are unhappy with the outcome of Sunday’s meeting.

Writing for The Sunday Times, broadcaster Tom Bradby, a friend of Harry and William, said: “I have some idea of what might be aired in a full, no-holds-barred, sit-down interview and I don’t think it would be pretty.”

The younger prince, who has struggled with his role, last year revealed he has been growing apart from his brother, who as second in line to the throne is increasingly pursuing a different path.

Harry has been open about his mental health issues, and he and Meghan last year admitted to struggling with the spotlight following their wedding at Windsor Castle in May 2018 and Archie’s birth a year later.

The couple have also lashed out at negative news coverage —  some of which Harry says was racist — in light of Meghan’s biracial heritage.

The British public currently appears to be siding with the family, with a Daily Mail poll showing that a majority believe Harry should give up his right to the throne and be stripped of cash support from the royals or taxpayers.

AFP

Prince Harry, Wife To Withdraw From Palace Roles, Support Queen Elizabeth

Britain’s Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex react as they leave after her visit to Canada House in thanks for the warm Canadian hospitality and support they received during their recent stay in Canada, in London. DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS / POOL / AFP

 

Britain’s Prince Harry and his wife Meghan will step back as senior members of the royal family and spend more time in North America, the couple said in a historic statement Wednesday.

“We intend to step back as ‘senior’ members of the royal family and work to become financially independent, while continuing to fully support Her Majesty The Queen,” they said in a statement released by Buckingham Palace.

“After many months of reflection and internal discussions, we have chosen to make a transition this year in starting to carve out a progressive new role within this institution,” they added.

“We now plan to balance our time between the United Kingdom and North America.”

The shock news follows a turbulent year for the royal family.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex spent Christmas in Canada after speaking of the pressure of being in the spotlight following their wedding and son Archie’s birth in May.

They had previously announced they would miss Christmas with Queen Elizabeth and the rest of the royal family, choosing to spend it instead with the duchess’ mother, Doria Ragland.

AFP

 

Queen Elizabeth’s Husband Hospitalised

Britain’s Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh arrives ahead of the racing on the second day of the Epsom Derby Festival in Surrey, southern England. Ben STANSALL / AFP

 

Prince Philip, the 98-year-old husband of Queen Elizabeth II, went into the hospital on Friday for precautionary treatment on a pre-existing condition, Buckingham Palace said.

His London hospital stay is likely to upset the royal family’s plans for Christmas at the monarch’s private Sandringham estate in Norfolk, eastern England.

Queen Elizabeth, 93, had gone to join Prince Philip at Sandringham by train on Friday, having opened parliament in London on Thursday following last week’s snap general election.

“The Duke of Edinburgh travelled from Norfolk this morning to the King Edward VII Hospital in London for observation and treatment in relation to a pre-existing condition,” the palace said.

“The admission is a precautionary measure, on the advice of his royal highness’ doctor.”

The prince is expected to be in the hospital for a few days.

He was not taken by ambulance and it was a planned admission.

On December 23, 2011 while at Sandringham for Christmas, the royal patriarch suffered chest pains and spent four days in hospital for a successful coronary angioplasty and stenting.

Since his retirement from royal duties in 2017, Prince Philip has spent much of his time at Sandringham.

In January, he flipped his vehicle in a crash near the estate and gave up his licence shortly afterwards.

 Christmas tradition 

The royal family traditionally spends Christmas at Sandringham, visiting the local church on December 25 and greeting well-wishers outside.

Royal-watchers will be looking out this year for Prince Andrew, the sovereign’s second son, who has stepped back from public life completely amid outrage over his friendship with the US convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

Andrew attended the monarch’s pre-Christmas lunch at Buckingham Palace earlier this week.

Queen Elizabeth arrived at Sandringham from London on a regular passenger train to begin her Christmas break.

She stays at the Victorian country house until after the February 6 anniversary of her 1952 accession to the throne.

Carrying a black handbag and wearing a salmon pink coat and patterned headscarf, she travelled in the front carriage.

The monarch briefly mingled with passengers on the platform at King’s Lynn before she was escorted through a side exit to a waiting vehicle.

She has tended to travel on the Thursday before Christmas in recent years, but the State Opening of Parliament is likely to have been behind the change this year.

AFP

Prince Andrew Urged To Cooperate With US Over Epstein

In this file photo taken on November 03, 2019, Britain’s Prince Andrew, Duke of York leaves after speaking at the ASEAN Business and Investment Summit in Bangkok, on the sidelines of the 35th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit.
Lillian SUWANRUMPHA / AFP

 

Prince Andrew was urged Thursday to speak to lawyers representing victims of paedophile Jeffrey Epstein, after the royal announced he was quitting public life because of the scandal.

Queen Elizabeth II’s second son, 59, has faced days of outrage since a television interview in which he defended his friendship with the disgraced US financier.

Andrew denies claims he had sex with a 17-year-old girl procured by Epstein, who was found dead in a New York prison in August while awaiting charges of trafficking minors.

As a growing number of organisations distanced themselves from the royal and his pet projects, he said he was cancelling public engagements because of the backlash.

He said he was “willing to help any appropriate law enforcement agency with their investigations, if required”.

US lawyer Lisa Bloom, who represents five women allegedly assaulted by Epstein, told the BBC the royal should speak to everyone probing the allegations — including her.

“All of the staff who work for Prince Andrew should come and give information and evidence and the documents should be turned over — emails, texts, calendars, phone logs, travel logs — so we can get to the bottom of this,” she said.

She did not rule out approaching the prince directly to secure a sworn statement.

Later, lawyer Gloria Allred, who also represents alleged victims and is Bloom’s mother, urged Andrew to speak to investigators “without delay.”

“The best way for him to begin to repair his damaged reputation would be to sit for an interview as soon as possible,” she told reporters in New York.

‘Much Worse To Come’?

Andrew’s announcement, which he said was approved by his mother and in which he belatedly expressed sympathy for Epstein’s victims, dominated British media for a fifth day.

Several newspapers said the former Royal Navy officer’s reputation was in tatters and speculated about whether he could ever return to formal royal duties.

Tabloid daily The Sun called the statement “a desperate attempt to fix the appalling failures of his TV interview over the Epstein scandal”.

“But if Andrew thinks this will draw a line under it all, he is delusional. His woes, we fear are just beginning,” it added in an editorial.

The Daily Mail said the claims, which have long cast a shadow over his duties, including as a special government trade representative, could do “serious damage” to the royal family.

“As it unravels, there may be much worse to come,” it added.

Andrew’s decision to step down was taken after “crisis talks” between the monarch herself and her eldest son and heir, Prince Charles, several newspapers reported.

But as well as potentially having to be quizzed by US investigators, some cast doubt on some of Andrew’s claims.

They include that he had stayed at the residence of Britain’s consul-general to New York on one of the three occasions when he had allegedly had sex with his accuser.

Another is whether he actually met Epstein several years earlier than he claimed.

Torrid Year

The Epstein affair shows no sign of going away, as the BBC is expected to air more revelations from one of his victims in the coming days.

The scandal tops a torrid year for the royal family marked by strained relations with the media and an apparent lack of direction in terms of control of its public image.

In October, Andrew’s nephew Prince Harry was criticised for giving an interview in which he complained about media coverage of his wife, Meghan.

He then announced legal action against several tabloids for breach of privacy and phone-hacking, setting up a potentially explosive court confrontation.

The queen, now 93, described 1992 as her “annus horribilis” after heir to the throne Charles and Andrew separated from their respective wives, and her only daughter, Anne, got divorced.

Her favourite Windsor Castle residence was also partially destroyed by fire.

Commentators said the latest scandal could see a repeat, and that the withdrawal of a senior royal from public life had no precedent since king Edward VIII’s abdication in 1936.

Trump, Queen Elizabeth Lead Emotional Tributes To D-Day Heroes

 

US President Donald Trump and Queen Elizabeth II joined 300 veterans in paying tribute to their fallen comrades at a poignant ceremony on Wednesday marking the 75th anniversary of D-Day.

Mixing sombre recitals of soldiers’ last letters home with period song-and-dance numbers, the ceremony in Portsmouth drew more than a dozen world leaders including Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

They took turns honouring those involved in the Allied cross-Channel invasion of the Normandy beaches, the largest amphibious assault in history, that left 4,400 Allied troops dead on the first day.

“I was 18 and I was hoping for some sort of great adventure, but yes, I knew something big was obviously happening,” former pilot Gregory Hayward, 93, told AFP.

“It brings back the memories and I’m grateful… to be able to survive long enough to be here on the 75th anniversary.”

With some in the audience shedding tears and a few of the surviving veterans, now all in their 90s, sitting upright in the front rows, Trump read excerpts from the prayer US president Franklin Roosevelt delivered by radio on D-Day.

“They will need Thy blessings for the enemy is strong. He may hurl back our forces but we shall return again and again,” Trump read, in one of the last acts of his three-day state visit to Britain.

Queen Elizabeth, 93, also paid tribute to the sacrifices made.

“It is with humility and pleasure, on behalf of the entire country — indeed the whole free world — that I say to you all: thank you,” she said.

Merkel said: “That I could participate today as German chancellor and that we jointly defend peace and liberty today is a gift from history we have to protect and to cherish.”

Portsmouth, on the southern English coast, was the main staging point for 156,000 US, British, Canadian and other Allied troops who sailed for northern France.

The Battle of Normandy on June 6, 1944 led to the liberation of Europe and helped bring about the end of World War II the following year.

– Fear of being afraid –
The hour-long ceremony included theatrical productions and news reel footage watched by presidents, prime ministers and representatives from across Europe, Australia and New Zealand.

British Prime Minister Theresa May read a letter written by Captain Norman Skinner to his wife Gladys on June 3, 1944, which was in his pocket when he landed in Normandy on D-Day. He was killed the following day.

“I am sure that anyone with imagination must dislike the thought of what’s coming,” his letter said.

“But my fears will be more of being afraid than of what can happen to me.”

At a ceremony in Caen, French leader Macron paid tribute to 70 French resistance fighters executed in prison by the Germans on June 6, 1944.

“Under the pressure from the Allied armies who landed on our shores, the Germans wanted to remove their enemies, the Resistance prisoners held in the cells of this prison,” former inmate Bernard Duval said at the ceremony.

In the evening, around 250 veterans set off to retrace their journey across the Channel, sailing out of Portsmouth bound for Normandy on board the chartered cruise ship MV Boudicca, along with a flotilla of British navy vessels.

– Trump in Ireland –
The D-Day commemorations are among May’s last official duties before she steps down as leader of the governing Conservatives on Friday over her failure to get Britain out of the EU on time.

She will remain as prime minister until her successor is chosen in late July. Eleven candidates intend to stand.

May’s meetings with Trump have gone smoothly. The president tweeted on Wednesday that he “could not have been treated more warmly in the United Kingdom by the royal family or the people”.

He reaffirmed his commitment to a “very big trade deal” with Britain after Brexit.

The US president left Britain after the D-Day ceremony for Ireland, where he met Prime Minister Leo Varadkar at Shannon Airport for talks.

Trump said he thought Brexit would work out well for Ireland, including “your wall, your border”. The invisible frontier between the UK and the Irish Republic is one of the most contentious Brexit issues.

The president was then heading to his luxury golf resort near the village of Doonbeg.

He leaves for northern France on Thursday, where he will attend another D-Day ceremony alongside May and Macron.

Queen Elizabeth Receives Trump At Buckingham Palace Ceremony

US First Lady Melania Trump, Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II, US President Donald Trump, Britain’s Prince Charles, Prince of Wales and Britain’s Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall watch guardsmen parade during a welcome ceremony at Buckingham Palace in central London on June 3, 2019, on the first day of the US president and First Lady’s visit to the UK. PHOTO: Adrian DENNIS / AFP

US President Donald Trump met Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace on Monday after kicking off his UK state visit by branding the London mayor a “loser” and weighing in on the Brexit debate.

With a 41-gun royal salute ringing out across the royal palace’s lawn, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles shook hands with the US leader and First Lady MelaniaTrumpbefore British soldiers played the national anthems of the two countries.

The queen then led the couple inside for a private lunch, which will be followed in the evening by a glittering banquet.

READ ALSO: Trump Slams London Mayor, Brings Brexit Advice On UK Visit

Trump’s plane had not even touched down when he tweeted that London Mayor Sadiq Khan, who has been highly critical of the red-carpet welcome laid on for Trump, was doing a “terrible job”.

The president called the mayor a “stone cold loser”, adding: “Kahn reminds me very much of our very dumb and incompetent Mayor of NYC, (Bill) de Blasio, who has also done a terrible job – only half his height.

“In any event, I look forward to being a great friend to the United Kingdom,” he added.

Backing for Boris

Trump’s three-day visit comes with Britain in political turmoil. Prime Minister Theresa May is due to step down within weeks over her handling of her country’s exit from the European Union.

Trump weighed in on the divisive issue, declaring before he arrived that Britain’s former foreign minister Boris Johnson would make an “excellent” choice to succeed May.

In a round of British newspaper interviews, he also recommended her successor walk away from talks with Brussels, refuse to pay Britain’s agreed divorce bill and leave the EU with no deal.

The UK-US “special relationship” was already under strain over different approaches to Iran, the use of Chinese technology in 5G networks, climate change, andTrump’s personal politics.

Labour’s Khan has led the opposition to the three-day visit, writing a newspaper article on Sunday in which he compared the US leader to European dictators from the 1930s and 1940s.

“DonaldTrumpis just one of the most egregious examples of a growing global threat,” Khan wrote.

His spokesman calledTrump’s tweets “childish” and “beneath the president of the United States”.

Baby Trump blimp

Huge protests are being organised in London, with organisers crowdfunding a bright orange “babyTrump” blimp depicting the US leader in a diaper — aiming for an even larger version than the one flown during his visit last year.

The leaders of Britain’s main opposition parties and the speaker of parliament are boycotting the state banquet on Monday night.

In an effort to brush past the controversy, May andTrumpare expected to emphasise the wider benefits of their old alliance when they hold talks at Downing Street on Tuesday.

On Wednesday, they will join other world leaders in the English port of Portsmouth to commemorate 75 years since the D-Day landings, which changed the course of World War II.

“Our relationship has underpinned our countries’ security and prosperity for many years, and will continue to do so for generations to come,” May said ahead of the visit.

No-deal Brexit

May announced her resignation last month after failing to get her Brexit deal through parliament and twice delaying Britain’s EU departure.

She will formally quit as her Conservative party’s leader on Friday but will stay on as caretaker prime minister while her successor is chosen.

Three years after the referendum vote for Brexit, Britain remains divided.

Trump recommended the new government make a clean break with the EU if necessary, adding that there was “tremendous potential” for Britain to trade with his country after Brexit.

Causing more potential embarrassment for May, Trump said he might also meet with Johnson and pro-Brexit leader Nigel Farage during his UK visit.

“They want to meet. We’ll see what happens,” he told reporters before he left the United States.

Strained special relationship

May was the first foreign leader welcomed to the White House afterTrump’s election victory in November 2016, but their relationship has not always been rosy.

They have clashed overTrump’s migration policies, while Britain still backs the Iranian nuclear deal and the Paris climate accord, both of whichTrumphas abandoned.

Washington has also been putting pressure on Britain to exclude Chinese tech giant Huawei from its 5G network over security concerns, suggesting it might harm intelligence-sharing.

Trump’s first official visit to Britain last year was overshadowed by criticism of May’s approach to Brexit, as well as large demonstrations.

He is not expected to meet Prince Harry and his American wife Meghan Markle, after saying her previous criticism of him was “nasty”.

AFP

Queen Elizabeth ‘Deeply Saddened’ By New Zealand Mosque Attacks

Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II/AFP

 

Queen Elizabeth II, New Zealand’s head of state, said she was “deeply saddened” by the attacks on two mosques on Friday which left 49 people dead.

“I have been deeply saddened by the appalling events in Christchurch… At this tragic time, my thoughts and prayers are with all New Zealanders,” she said in a message.

“Prince Philip and I send our condolences to the families and friends of those who have lost their lives,” she said, paying tribute to emergency workers and volunteers providing support to the injured.

READ ALSO: Erdogan ‘Strongly Condemns’ New Zealand Mosque Killings

Queen Elizabeth, 92, the world’s oldest and longest-serving living monarch, is the queen of 15 other realms besides Britain, including Australia, Canada and New Zealand.

She last visited New Zealand in 2002 as part of celebrations to mark the 50th anniversary of her accession to the throne.

AFP

Queen Elizabeth’s Granddaughter Weds At Windsor Castle

Britain’s Princess Eugenie of York (R) and her husband Jack Brooksbank kiss as they emerge from the West Door of St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, in Windsor, on October 12, 2018 after their wedding ceremony. PHOTO: Steve Parsons / POOL / AFP

 

Queen Elizabeth II’s granddaughter Princess Eugenie married a wine merchant on Friday in Windsor Castle.

The big day for the ninth in line to the throne and Jack Brooksbank — a “commoner” with blue-blood friends — comes on the heels of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s fairytale service in May.

That event was watched by adoring masses and followed by months of fawning UK headlines about the US actress who charmed her way into the royal court.

But what may be a mixture of royal wedding overload and scepticism about Eugenie’s role in Britain’s public life stripped Friday’s ceremony of some of its charm.

Newspapers have spent weeks complaining about taxpayers having to foot the £2 million ($2.6 million, 2.3 million euro) security bill.

They noted the expense could have been spared had Eugenie not insisted on having a horse-drawn carriage parade around Windsor — just like Meghan and her prince.

The BBC also reportedly caused Buckingham Palace upset by deciding not to televise the event live because of its likely low ratings.

The smaller ITV commercial channel picked up the broadcast for its morning programme aired directly from a studio overlooking Windsor’s lawn.

ITV spent much of the morning discussing the fierce gusts of wind that forced arriving guests to grasp for their complicated hats and to rearrange their morning coats.

“Unfortunately, this is not a good wedding hair day,” one of ITV morning show hosts observed.

The BBC said only “a few hundred” had set up lawn chairs and covered themselves in the Union Jack in preparation for Eugenie’s procession through the heart of Windsor.

The couple did their best to win over the crowds by doing taped interviews for ITV in which they heaped each other with praise.

Jack called his 28-year-old bride his “shining light”.

Eugenie called the 32-year-old wine merchant and tequila ambassador “humble and generous”.

But the more traditionally conservative Telegraph daily was the only one of the non-tabloid papers to put the wedding at the top of its internet news page.

Cocktail bar groom

The ceremony itself featured 850 guests and much of the morning saw royalty and celebrities strolling up to Windsor and arranging themselves in its magnificent 14th-century chapel.

The better-known invitees include the pop star Robbie Williams and David and Victoria Beckham — the unofficial royal couple of the British celebrity world.

George Clooney, who has been tied in the press to Jack’s work as the European ambassador of the US actor’s line of tequila, is also expected.

Jack himself mixes in London’s glitzy social circles but is unknown to most outside the celebrity gossip world.

He managed a posh cocktail bar in London favoured by royals called Mahiki and has since launched his own wine wholesale business.

Press reports said he has lately harboured dreams of launching his own chain of pubs.

AFP

Trump’s Meeting With Queen Elizabeth II Annoys Many Britons

Trump's Meeting With Queen Elizabeth II Annoys Many Britons
US President Donald Trump speaks with Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II as US First Lady Melania Trump looks on at Windsor Castle in Windsor, west of London, on July 13, 2018.
Brendan Smialowski / AFP

 

Queen Elizabeth II welcomed US President Donald Trump for tea at Windsor Castle on Friday — a meeting which many Britons find the toughest part of his already contentious trip to swallow.

Trump walked ahead of the 92-year-old while inspecting troops and did not bow when he met her — a couple of minor protocol breaches — but the meeting went smoothly.

Trump was gracious about the British sovereign in a newspaper interview out Friday in which he attacked Prime Minister Theresa May’s strategy on Brexit.

However, his previous comments about the Royals have been less tactful, including boasting he would have slept with Diana, Princess of Wales “without even hesitation”, and saying “who wouldn’t” photograph the Duchess of Cambridge topless.

Some 1.86 million people signed a petition at the June 2017 general election, wanting to prevent Trump from making a state visit “because it would cause embarrassment to Her Majesty the Queen”.

His four-day trip to Britain is not a state visit — with the formal trappings of a carriage procession and certain banquets — but it bears many of the hallmarks, including time with the head of state.

A YouGov poll of 1,648 British adults conducted on Monday and Tuesday found that half thought Trump’s working visit to Britain should go ahead, with just over a third thinking it should be cancelled.

However, the meeting with Queen Elizabeth on his first visit to Britain as US president still seems to rankle.

Just one in three (35 per cent) thought the monarch should meet Trump, as opposed to half (49 per cent) who thought she should not.

‘Great and beautiful grace’

Trump was treated with a guard of honour when he arrived at Windsor Castle, west of London. The Coldstream Guards gave a royal salute and played the US national anthem.

The two heads of state inspected the guard before watching them march past, in the castle’s quadrangle.

The Trumps then went for tea with Queen Elizabeth.

“For so many years she has represented her country, she has really never made a mistake. You don’t see, like, anything embarrassing. She is just an incredible woman,” Trump told The Sun newspaper.

“My wife is a tremendous fan of hers. She has got a great and beautiful grace about her.”

His previous comments about members of the royal family have not been so generous. Buckingham Palace said no other royals will be meeting him at Windsor.

Trump has previously spoken about Prince William’s wife Kate and his late mother Diana. William, second in line to the throne, is the monarch’s grandson.

In a 1997 interview, just weeks after Diana’s death, US radio host Howard Stern asked Trump if he “could have nailed her”.

Trump replied: “I think I could have.”

In 2000, Stern asked Trump if he would have slept with Diana. The tycoon replied: “Without even hesitation.

“She was crazy, but these are minor details.”

‘Only herself to blame’

In 2012, after Kate was photographed sunbathing topless in France, Trump weighed in on Twitter.

“Who wouldn’t take Kate’s picture and make lots of money if she does the nude sunbathing thing. Come on Kate!” he wrote.

“Kate Middleton is great — but she shouldn’t be sunbathing in the nude — only herself to blame.”

Trump will not be meeting Queen Elizabeth’s eldest son and William’s father Prince Charles, the heir to the throne.

A January 2017 report in The Sunday Times newspaper said Trump and Charles would not meet during his visit to Britain due to their strongly divergent views on climate change.

Prince Charles is a keen environmentalist.

A source close to Trump was quoted as saying: “He won’t put up with being lectured by anyone, even a member of the royal family. Frankly, they should think twice about putting him and Prince Charles in the same room.”

There have been 13 US presidents since Queen Elizabeth’s reign began in 1952, and, including Trump, she has met them all, barring one: Lyndon B. Johnson.

AFP

Queen Elizabeth To Miss Christening Of Royal Baby

Britain’s Prince Louis, the baby son of Prince William and his wife Kate, is due to be christened at a private ceremony at St James’s Palace in London on Monday, July 9, 2018. Ben STANSALL / AFP

 

Britain’s Prince Louis of Cambridge, the baby son of Prince William and his wife Kate, is to be christened on Monday but Queen Elizabeth II will not be in attendance, Kensington Palace said.

Queen Elizabeth, 92, and her 97-year-old husband Prince Philip attended the christenings of Louis’ older siblings Prince George and Princess Charlotte.

But the decision for them not to attend Louis’ baptism at St. James’s Palace in London was understood to have been mutually agreed by the monarch and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge some time ago and was not health-related.

They will return to London from the monarch’s private Sandringham estate in eastern England on Monday.

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, the spiritual leader of the world’s Anglicans, will lead the service in the Chapel Royal at St James’s Palace.

Welby, who will baptise the baby by pouring holy water from the River Jordan over his head, said the event would be “very nerve-wracking” but “a great privilege”.

Louis is fifth in the line of succession to the British throne after his grandfather Prince Charles, his father William and his older siblings George and Charlotte.

He is also one of Queen Elizabeth’s seven great-grandchildren.

From the royal family, the baptism will be attended by William’s father Charles and his wife Camilla; and William’s brother Prince Harry and his new wife Meghan, who married in Windsor Castle in May.

From the duchess’s side, Kate’s parents Michael and Carole, brother James, sister Pippa and her husband James Matthews were to attend.

The six godparents and their spouses were also due to attend.

 ‘Court jester’ 

The godparents are all friends or family of William and Kate.

They include Guy Pelly, once dubbed the “court jester” to William and Harry for his wild ways that were often cited as a bad influence on the brothers in their youth, running their favourite drinking haunts.

Louis’ other godparents are: Nicholas van Cutsem, whose family is close to the royals; William’s school pal Harry Aubrey-Fletcher; Laura Meade, who is married to William’s close friend James Meade; Kate’s schoolfriend Hannah Carter; and the duchess’s cousin Lucy Middleton.

Welby will use the Lily Font, commissioned by queen Victoria for the baptism of her first child in 1841.

Louis will wear the replica of the royal christening robe, first used in 2008. The original, retired in order to preserve it, was worn for all royal baptisms since 1841.

William and Kate were to host a private tea afterwards. As after George and Charlotte’s baptisms, guests will be served slices of the duke and duchess’s wedding cake.

Louis was born on April 24 — St. George’s Day, England’s national day — at St Mary’s Hospital in central London weighing eight pounds and seven ounces (3.8 kilogrammes).

AFP