Meghan Markle Prince Harry royals

Nicholl: Royal reporters are still salty about Prince Archie’s birth

In 2019, there were royal reporters having complete and total meltdowns over the “secrecy” around the Duke and Duchess of Sussex welcoming baby Archie. Fully grown adults had been gleefully taking part in a massive smear campaign against a pregnant woman, then they were flabbergasted when Meghan and Harry’s people were squirrelly – for about six hours – about when she entered the hospital, when she gave birth and when she went home. During the Oprah interview, Meghan explained some of what was going on behind the scenes, and she indicated that they were not “asked” to do a hospital photocall:

Oprah raised the question with Meghan, asking if her decision to forgo the customary photos was the start of her and Harry wanting out of their senior royal roles, “It feels to me like things started to change when you and Harry decided that you were not going to take the picture that had been part of the tradition for years?”

Meghan, having already explained that it was the royals’ decision not to give Archie a title, which also meant he wouldn’t have security, said in response, “We weren’t asked to take a picture. That’s also part of the spin that was really damaging. I thought, ‘Can you just tell them the truth? Can you say to the world you’re not giving him a title, and we want to keep him safe, and that if he’s not a prince then it’s not part of the tradition? Just tell people and then they’ll understand’… But they wouldn’t do that.”

Continuing on, Oprah asked Meghan, “Was there a specific reason why you didn’t want to be a part of that tradition? I think many people interpreted that as you were both saying we’re going to do things our way?”

The Duchess then explained that she was afraid for her baby’s safety: “That’s not it at all. I think what was really hard… so picture, now that you know what was going on behind the scenes, there was a lot of fear surrounding it. I was very scared of having to offer up our baby knowing that they weren’t going to be kept safe.”

[From Cosmopolitan]

While I still have questions, I assumed that there were discussions among staffers and the family that Meghan should NOT do the hospital-pose photos and she was like “sure, okay, whatever.” As for the brief secrecy around the birth… I get why reporters were mad (they were lied to), but I also get why Harry and Meghan were like “f–k y’all, I don’t have to tell you anything, especially not about the baby.” I bring all of this up because Katie Nicholl’s The New Royals devotes a section to this bullsh-t. Much like Valentine Low and the other members of the rota, Nicholl doesn’t seem to want to include Meghan’s own words in her narrative:

Royal expert Katie Nicholl wrote about the royals’ birth experience in her upcoming book, “The New Royals: Queen Elizabeth’s Legacy and the Future of the Crown.”

“One source described Harry as being ‘almost morbidly obsessed’ with keeping Archie’s birth as secret as possible,” she wrote, according to an excerpt obtained by Page Six. However, the secrecy broke an “unwritten contract between the royals and the public.”

“Behind the scenes, matters were so fraught that more than one official — as I know from personal experience — was reduced to tears of frustration and despair,” Daily Mail’s royal editor Rebecca English added in the book.

Prince Harry, Markle and their newborn baby were expected to pose on the steps of the hospital hours after the duchess gave birth for photos. However, the two decided not to participate on May 6, 2019.

“Harry had always enjoyed outfoxing the media,” Nicholl explained. “He and Meghan were thrilled to be safely delivered of their son in London’s private Portland hospital even before the palace press office had confirmed the duchess was in labor.”

Instead, Harry and Markle debuted Archie at Windsor Castle whenever the Duchess of Sussex felt prepared. The occasion featured one journalist and one photographer. “But it all felt stage-managed, with pre-approved questions, one journalist, and one photographer,” Nicholl wrote in the book. “It demonstrated the growing gulf between public expectations of Harry and what he felt obliged to give.”

[From Yahoo News]

Nicholl is putting the onus on Harry and Meghan, when Meghan absolutely made it sound like some of it was not her call at all. I actually liked the photocall at Windsor Castle with the baby though – it seemed less stressful for the new parents, and shouldn’t that be the priority, especially given that the pregnancy was so massively stressful? Anyway, it’s ridiculous that these people are still bitching about two first-time parents wanting some privacy on the day they welcomed their firstborn.

Photos courtesy of Backgrid.

Prince Joachim Queen Margarethe royals

Prince Joachim: ‘My children are upset,’ they feel like they’re being punished

This week, Denmark’s Queen Margrethe removed the royal titles and royal styling from four of her grandchildren. Crown Prince Frederick’s four children are now her only “royal” grandchildren, while the children of her second son, Prince Joachim, will no longer be HRHs or Princes/Princesses. Joachim’s four kids are now his/her excellency count/countess of Monpezat. Honestly, I like the idea of taking royal titles and leaving them with a lesser-yet-still-special title. It’s what the Earl of Wessex’s children have – his son is Viscount Severn and his daughter is Lady Louise. That seems like a decent compromise, overall. But the story in Denmark has become about HOW Queen Margrethe decided this and how she did it. The mothers of the four children seem very upset about the Queen’s decision, and Prince Joachim only had a few days’ notice. Originally, this change was supposed to happen when all of the kids were older. This is what Joachim told Danish media outlet Ekstra Bladet:

Prince Joachim of Denmark is breaking his silence on a family decision. The Danish prince, 53, reacted to his mother Queen Margrethe II’s decision to strip his four children of their prince and princess titles, which the Danish Royal House announced Wednesday.

“We are all very sad. It’s never fun to see your children being mistreated like that,” he told the national newspaper Ekstra Bladet on Thursday. “They find themselves in a situation they do not understand. I was given five days’ notice,” Joachim added.

The reporter responded that she thought he learned of the Queen’s plans in May, prompting the sixth in line to the throne to explain that wasn’t quite the case.

“In May, I was presented with a plan, which basically stated that when the children each turned 25, it would happen,” Joachim said. “Athena turns 11 in January,” he added of his youngest child.

“How has this affected your relationship with your mother?” the journalist asked. Holding for a moment, looking emotional, Joachim replied, “I don’t think I need to elaborate here,” and turned to walk away.

In a statement to B.T., another national outlet, the palace insisted that the announcement should not have come as a surprise.

“As the Queen stated yesterday, the decision has been a long time coming. We understand that there are many emotions at stake at the moment, but we hope that the Queen’s wish to future-proof the Royal Palace will be respected,” a spokesperson for the Danish Royal Palace told the outlet.

Doubling down on his argument in his own remarks to B.T., Joachim stated, “I was given five days’ notice of this. To tell my children that on New Year’s their identity will be taken from them. I am very, very sorry to see them uncomprehending about what is happening over their heads.”

The father of four — who is dad to sons Nikolai, 23, Felix, 20, and Henrik, 13, and daughter Athena, 10 — added that he’s mystified why everything was accelerated.

“I simply don’t know. I originally asked for time to think and give my feedback. That would also be taken into account,” the Danish royal told B.T., adding that his kids were having a hard time processing the change. “I can say that my children are upset. My kids don’t know which leg to stand on. What they should believe. Why should their identity be removed? Why must they be punished in that way?”

[From People]

I don’t know who to believe here – I kind of doubt that Margrethe would completely blind-side her son this way and make it look so punitive out of nowhere. I also think Joachim seems genuinely hurt and he feels like he and his children are being snubbed in public by his mother. I definitely feel like there’s more backstory here, and I also think that how it’s being done – “you are only a prince for three more months and that’s it!” – is very strange and wrong. To go back to the Wessexes, I don’t think it would have been *as* big a deal if Joachim was told from day one that his kids wouldn’t have royal titles, but they would be counts and countesses of Monpezat. Doing it now – when two oldest sons are adults – feels very shady and half-assed. I also agree that perhaps Frederick’s three younger children should maybe get their royal titles yanked too, out of fairness. I mean…??

Also: Queen Margrethe’s decision is anti-Asian!! Joachim’s first wife Alexandra, Countess of Frederiksborg, has Chinese, Iranian and Indian ancestry. Meaning, Prince Nikolai and Prince Flix are mixed-race Danish royals, only they’re being stripped of their titles. Danish racism!

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, Backgrid.

Meghan Markle royals

‘Royal advisors’ were snooty divas at Duchess Meghan’s 2019 Smart Set launch

There are some interesting podcast clips making the rounds this week. The clips are from a pod called The Gal Code, with hosts Rob Gartland & Bibi Bagnall. You can see the Apple page for The Gal Code here, I don’t know which episode these clips are from. During the pod, there’s a discussion with a woman who worked on the project which became the Duchess of Sussex’s Smart Set capsule collection. In 2019, Meghan organized the Smart Set collection to provide basic wardrobe pieces (a white blouse, black trousers, etc) to her patronage, SmartWorks. SmartWorks provides professional clothing and job training for British women entering or re-entering the workforce. Meghan had made several visits to SmartWorks and thought there needed to be more wardrobe staples for the women, thus the Smart Set collection. It was a great, successful effort. But of course the British media tried to rip Meghan to shreds over it. Anyway, the conversation is about how Meghan was completely amazing during the launch event and how the snooty people were the royal advisors:

Revealing clip from The Gal Code podcast about the launch of Meghan’s #SmartSet collection for her patronage Smartworks. Meghan spent countless hours developing the collection & launch event that were never documented in the court circular in order to keep the launch secret.

— R.S. Locke / Royal Suitor (@royal_suitor) September 29, 2022

Further proof that the palace aides can often act more royal than the royals. While Meghan is described as lovely and graciously thanking the team behind the event, some of the palace staff are described as divas who felt they were exempt from security procedures.

— R.S. Locke / Royal Suitor (@royal_suitor) September 29, 2022

I love how much this woman loves Meghan! Talking about how much Meghan glows and how prepared and nice she is, then saying the snooty ones were the “royal advisors.” I wonder about who was around Meghan at that time, because at that point in 2019, Meghan and Harry had their own team around them, they weren’t being staffed by Kensington Palace. Curious. Also: the part about the British media going hyper-negative and even flying someone out to the factory? Holy YIKES.

Photos courtesy of Backgrid, Avalon Red, Instar, WENN.

Deaths Queen Elizabeth II royals

Queen Elizabeth II’s death certificate released, she died of ‘old age’ officially

Queen Elizabeth’s death certificate was released this week, which surprised me. In America, death certificates are public documents and anyone can access them. But surely it’s different in the UK, especially with royalty? I guess not. So, here’s QEII’s death certificate:


Her Majesty The Queen

— Peter Hunt (@_PeterHunt) September 29, 2022

She passed away at 3:10 pm, and they didn’t announce it until three hours later. I get that they had to inform the rest of the family before they announced it, but jeez, I really did believe that they were supposed to announce it faster than they did. Also: on a technical level, wasn’t her surname Mountbatten-Windsor? Wasn’t that decision made by QEII at some point? And yes, I guess we’re going with “old age” as the cause of death. It was the same with Prince Philip – the death certificate isn’t going into the nitty-gritty of exactly what was going on, even though several people said “cancer” for both Elizabeth and Philip.

Meanwhile, I read this story in the Telegraph and I found it slightly amusing. There are already people talking about the “need” to build monuments and statues for QEII, and one of the proposals is that a QEII statue should be erected on the “Fourth Plinth” in Trafalgar Square. The Fourth Plinth is where, for decades now, different artists have exhibited their public work. Originally, there was supposed to be a statue of William IV, but that never came to pass. Currently, London Mayor Sadiq Khan has used the space for a revolving door of exhibitions highlighting trans issues, anti-colonialism, racial justice. Well, Mayor Khan says that right now, he has zero plans to disrupt those pieces of public art just to erect a statue of Elizabeth. Funny, right? I wonder how many monuments and statues will go up in the next few years though.

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red.

Kate Middleton royals

British photographer: The Princess of Wales ‘is not a great photographer’

I’m not a professional photographer or even a good amateur photographer, but I know that the new Princess of Wales is not a very talented amateur photographer. She has problems with composition, lighting and she’s overly reliant on outdoor scenery. The only reason why people talk about “Kate, the Keen Photographer” is because she photographs her children for their annual birthday portraits. Which is fine, honestly. I don’t have an issue with that and I actually think it’s one of the nicest things she does. But according to one British photographer, Kate should probably leave it to the pros. This is funny:

The Princess of Wales has published some charming photos over the years to mark significant occasions, such as the birthdays of her three children. But celebrated royal photographer John Swannell says she is denying others the opportunity to make their name.

‘All the work I got with the royals really elevated my career; nowadays, someone like me just won’t have the chance,’ he tells me at a party to celebrate 185 years of Brown’s Hotel in Mayfair, with a special viewing of his work.

‘Those chances should be given to young English photographers.’ But he adds: ‘In some ways, though, Kate is probably right to do it herself. She’s not a great photographer, but she just snaps away, and with kids it’s easier if you know them.’

[From Eden Confidential]

“She’s not a great photographer, but she just snaps away…” LMAO. He’s right though, about everything – Kate’s not a great photographer, but it’s easier to photograph children “if you know them,” AND it would be nice to see Kate the Keen Photographer actually use her position to help out young British photographers on the come-up. I also understand why the Windsors like to keep things “in house” as much as possible too – for years, Princess Margaret’s husband, the Earl of Snowdon, got ALL of the plum royal portrait gigs. William and Kate use Getty photographer Chris Jackson – who is married to one of Kate’s staffers – for almost all of their family photoshoots and curated “event” photos. These people do not like to get out of their comfort zone, especially not with young photographers who might publish unflattering and un-airbrushed photos.

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, Instar, Kensington Palace.

Kate Middleton royals

Princess Kate, sponsor of the HMS Glasgow, met the battleship’s company

On Thursday, the Princess of Wales had an “event” at Windsor Castle. Considering Kate is now fully doing meet-and-greets and events within Windsor Castle, my guess is that William and Kate were truly measuring the drapes the day after QEII’s death. Kate barely even moved into Adelaide Cottage, and she put the move off so long because the family all had the feeling that QEII would not make it to the end of the year. William and Kate knew that Windsor Castle would be theirs soon enough, and here we are. My theory is that William and Kate will take different wings of the castle, and that Kate will keep up some kind of appearance she sort of still lives in Adelaide Cottage, but not really.

Anyway, this event on Thursday was Kate meeting the HMS Glasgow’s company. The HMS Glasgow is a battleship and Kate was appointed the sponsorship of the big battlegworl last year. It was a weird moment too, because Kate wasn’t actually there when she was appointed the sponsorship. QEII made her take it on and then William accepted it on Kate’s behalf when he was in Scotland (without Kate). I don’t believe the HMS Glasgow is fully functional yet (much like Kate). They’re still building her and making her sea-worthy.

From the airbrushed and hyper-selective photos, I can tell that Kate’s staff just told her to show up at a certain time and she waltzed in, gurned for a few minutes, posed for some photos and then it was off to raid the Royal Collection jewelry.

Photos courtesy of Instagram.

Meghan Markle Prince Harry royals

The Duke & Duchess of Sussex did a private roundtable discussion in Manchester

In the days before Queen Elizabeth II passed away, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex were traveling through the UK and Germany. In Germany, they did events around the 2023 Dusseldorf Invictus Games. In Manchester, Meghan gave the keynote address at the One Young World Summit. As it turns out, Meghan and Harry also took part in “an intimate roundtable discussion” prior to Meghan’s speech. Meghan’s favorite photographer Misan Harriman was there to capture some images from the roundtable, and the story and photos were given to Town & Country:

Town & Country now understands that before the Meghan’s speech, both Meghan and Prince Harry took part in an intimate roundtable discussion focused on advancing gender equality and inclusion, which was moderated by the Irish writer and disability activist Sinéad Burke. The Sussexes and Burke were joined by eight delegates, who shared how their projects are impacting social change.

Swara Patel, whose work is focused on combatting the taboo surrounding menstruation, described the impacts of period poverty; Shilpa Yarlagadda, CEO of the ethically sourced jewelry company Shiffon Co., spoke on the importance of supporting women-led businesses; and Nhial Deng, the founder of Refugee Youth Peach Ambassadors and SheLeads Kakuma, detailed the needs of women living in refugee camps.

Other participants in the conversation included Senior Prosecutor at the Kiribati Office of the Attorney General Tabotabo Auatabu, founder of C Talent Keely Cat Wells, civil rights activist Isra Chaker, founder of the Empowerment Initiative for Rural Women and Girls-Zambia Ireen Chikatula, and football coach Nagin Ravand. Misan Harriman, who has photographed the Sussexes on several occasion, was also on hand to capture the moment, in new pictures, first shared with T&C today.

Meghan has been involved with One Young World since long before she met Prince Harry, and she once described the organization as “the best think tank imaginable.” The Duchess first joined the organization as a counselor at the 2014 Summit in Dublin, and subsequently attended One Young World Summits in Ottawa in 2016 and London in 2019.

[From Town & Country]

This is so cool. I love that they did this and that, frankly, no one knew about it at the time. You’d think that the stalkers in the British tabloid media would have caught this, but it just shows that those dreadful people have no idea what Meghan and Harry are up to. I would also imagine that the photos were supposed to be released soon after the Manchester trip, only everything got hijacked by the funeral.

Earlier this month, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle joined an intimate roundtable discussion about gender equality. See new pictures from the event taken by photographer Misan Harriman here.

— TOWN&COUNTRY (@TandCmag) September 30, 2022

Meghan hugs civil rights activist and humanitarian advocate Isra Chaker during a roundtable discussion focused on advancing gender equality and inclusion at @OneYoungWorld in Manchester.

— Misan Harriman (@misanharriman) September 30, 2022

This morning, Harry and Meghan shared new images from a roundtable discussion on gender equality.

— Caroline Hallemann (@challemann) September 30, 2022

Photos courtesy of Backgrid.