Harry must give ‘suitable warning’ for royal accommodation
Where can Prince Harry call home in the U.K.? That is the preoccupation of a weekend of feverish reporting—first, a reported snub by Harry to King Charles over staying at Balmoral; another story has Charles offering Harry a residence for when he stays in the country, while a third claims that Harry will have to give notice when he wants somewhere to stay.
Harry turned down an offer made by Charles to spend the anniversary of Queen Elizabeth’s death at Balmoral, according to the Sun. Instead, Harry spent the time by himself, making a journey to Windsor on the day of the anniversary to pay his respects to the late monarch at the King George VI Memorial Chapel in St. George’s Chapel—where the late queen is interred in the Royal Vault alongside husband Prince Philip and her parents—before flying to Düsseldorf to open the Invictus Games.
The Sun said Harry had asked for royal accommodation and security for his one-night stopover, but a senior royal aide “politely” told him that royal staff were in the Highlands, and that Harry was “welcome” to join the family at Balmoral, where Charles and Queen Camilla were having “private family time.”
Harry turned down the invite, reportedly claiming his itinerary “made the trip impossible.” It could have been a tad uncomfortable, too—Harry having said Camilla had left “bodies in the street” in her rise within the royal family.
According to a report in the Telegraph, Harry has now been told he will be given a room on the royal estate, if he gives enough notice. The paper says this arrangement has been reached after he asked for, but was denied, a room when visiting Windsor Castle for the WellChild awards earlier this month. He stayed in a hotel instead, the Telegraph says. It adds that he tried to make an arrangement to see his father at Windsor but this was not possible as Charles was in Scotland.
The Telegraph said: “Royal sources have stressed that [accommodation on the royal estate] will be made where possible but that the palace must be given suitable warning of any such visit.”
Charles may offer Harry and Meghan royal digs
Charles, the Sunday Times reports, may resolve one of his Harry-related problems by offering his son and Meghan Markle palace accommodation to use if they visit the U.K.—possibly at Kensington Palace. (That could get interesting, if Prince William and Kate Middleton are ever in town at the same time—they still have a home and office at the palace, despite spending most of their time in Windsor.)
Charles is thinking about making the offer to Harry because he has kept Harry on as a counsellor of state—one of seven members of the royal family who can deputize for him if needed—and by law those holding such a position have to have a U.K. home. Up until last fall, Queen Camilla, William, Harry, Prince Andrew and his daughter Princess Beatrice, were listed as counsellors of state, even though Harry, Andrew and Beatrice are not working royals. In November, Charles asked Parliament to add Princess Anne and Prince Edward to the list, and decided not to eject the others to avoid further family tensions.
A friend of Charles told the Sunday Times: “The king can see that to remove Harry as a counsellor of state would be seen as an act of antagonism and he does not want to do that. If, as a consequence of that, somewhere on the royal estate needs to be earmarked as a pied-à-terre for his son, that seems a reasonable thing to do.”
However, a Buckingham Palace spokesperson told the paper: “These claims are not true.” Instead, royal aides said Harry could be offered temporary accommodation “when feasible” for short visits.
A friend of Harry told the Sunday Times that the Sussexes would like to have an established British base. “Not having anywhere isn’t overly helpful. There are friends and hotels, but I know they would like to have somewhere. Meghan seems to have decided that coming back more is not what she wants to do, but Harry would like to. Having a base in his home country, despite everything that has happened, is appealing. There is work to be done here in terms of the charities, and there would be opportunities in the future where he’ll want to be here a bit more. If they could have kept Frogmore, they would have done—it was the perfect setup for them. When he last stayed there, he did a whole load of clearing-out, and he was sanguine about it but pretty sad.”
The offer of a home by Charles “would be an ever-so-slight softening of relations,” the friend said. A home on a royal estate would also, as the Times points out, help ameliorate Harry’s fears for his and his family’s security when in the U.K.
They are not actually burning Queen Elizabeth’s letters yet, but some historians are getting nervous, following a report in the Mail on Sunday that Buckingham Palace has assigned the task of the preliminary sorting of the late Queen Elizabeth’s letters to her favorite courtier, Paul Whybrew, commonly known as Tall Paul. Academics have expressed concern that such an ad hoc approach by a far-from-impartial aide may lead to some documents being suppressed or destroyed.
Princess Margaret is widely believed to have burnt many of the queen mother’s letters after her death, and historians are nervous of history repeating itself, especially as an official biographer has yet to be appointed to the task of documenting the queen’s life.
History lecturer Dr Alison McClean from the University of Bristol told the Mail: “The late queen’s diaries have the potential to become a significant historical resource. Mr Whybrow is undoubtedly a valued and trusted member of the royal household with an intimate knowledge of its inner workings. However, he is not a qualified historian or archivist and may not fully grasp the historical significance of the material contained within these diaries. There is also a risk that he will feel duty bound to place his loyalty to the royal family above the interests of historians and researchers.”
Biographer and historian Andrew Lownie, a long term campaigner for greater transparency at the Royal archives, said: “The royal family have a history of destroying records and there are worries this may happen again.”
One historian who remained anonymous told the Mail: “We have to remember the enormous damage that Princess Margaret did when she went through the papers of the late Queen Mother. She made a bonfire, put the papers into black plastic bags and burnt them—including letters from Princess Diana.”
Très bien: Charles and Camilla’s state visit to France
King Charles and Queen Camilla’s state visit to France is being deemed a success, the Daily Telegraph reports. Cries of “Vive le Roi” on the street were heard apparently. Camilla played a game of comically terrible ping-pong with Brigitte Macron, wife of president Emmanuel—who himself apparently had great chemistry with Charles, to the extent that the Telegraph and Sunday Times called it a “bromance.”
In the wake of the success of the visit, a source close to Charles told the Sunday Times: “It frustrates him that personal issues intrude on the public duty. He’d much rather the focus was on his work, not the soap opera of the private life. It is always frustrating when family dynamics overshadow the public role.”
The Telegraph deemed Charles’ centerpiece speech to the French Senate about the state of the planet to be resonant, but not overtly political. The bond between the two women was also noted, particularly when Mrs. Macron helped fix Camilla’s cape the night of the visit’s big Versailles banquet.
In Bordeaux on Friday, Charles and Camilla went to a vineyard and toasted each other with wine from the year of their wedding in 2005, the Times reported. The paper made the point some sections of the press criticized Charles for flying from Paris to Bordeaux, given his stated commitment to the environment. La Dépêche du Midi, the regional daily, wrote: “There are no more planes between Paris Orly [airport] and Bordeaux except for King Charles III.” It said the choice of a flight “might seem surprising for a king who has made the environment his priority.”
A royal source told the Telegraph that the palace was generally happy with how the state visit turned out: “France has excelled itself, not just in scale and the splendor but in the undeniably positive reception, both ceremonial and amongst the people that have turned out to meet them.” Newspaper Le Parisien said Charles had clearly “captured the hearts of France.”
Next for Charles, a state visit to Kenya is likely this autumn—presenting a far more complex set of issues to navigate around the modern Commonwealth.
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William and Kate’s savvy PR game
The Daily Mail reports William and Kate’s slick PR game is down to an aggressive, very online strategy by their staff, which includes an in-house videographer, who takes video of their public appearances, and then ensures it gets posted online pronto.
“Available on social media soon after a royal visit, these short clips have increased the sense of accessibility and allowed the Waleses to operate more flexibly and without the encumbering retinue of journalists and cameramen that might have been expected in previous times,” the paper says.
The couple have also realized how much the public love a selfie, and happily pose with those wanting one taken with them.
Speaking of selfies, The Mirror reports that Harry and Meghan took a selfie with Katy Perry’s parents during an event on Friday. The couple determinedly radiated joy as they made a joint public appearance at a glamorous charity bash hosted by Kevin Costner for his “One805 Live!” organization, which is dedicated to helping first responders.
The couple were also reunited with their most famous interviewer, Oprah Winfrey, who was also an attendee. The location might have made for an easy night out, with the event taking place at Costner’s private polo field just a stone’s throw away from the Duke and Duchess’ expansive family estate in Montecito.
Meghan Markle’s children’s book The Bench was launched, some may recall, with an informal reading at a New York school in 2021. Now, however, it transpires that the event wasn’t perhaps as casual as footage of it suggested, and that aides working for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex made efforts to restrict the speech of educators and pupils, some as young as five.
Advisers acting on behalf of their Archewell foundation tried to get Public School 123 to agree to a clause preventing anyone from expressing negative opinions about the event, in person and on social media, both presently and in the future. Representatives of their company, Archewell, sent an “appearance release” to the Department of Education, which included the proposed gagging clause.
The Sun reported on the documents based on a Freedom of Information request, but were not able to establish whether the agreement was ultimately signed. Sources at Archewell told the paper they were just following standard proceedures.
This week in royal history
Buckingham Palace released a photograph of Queen Elizabeth’s final resting place on September 24, 2022. In the King George VI Memorial Chapel in Windsor (which the queen herself commissioned as a final resting place for her father), a ledger stone of black marble bears her name and those of her parents, George VI and the Queen Mother, and her husband Prince Philip.
Will Charles offer Harry and Meghan palace accommodation—and will it help thaw royal relations if he does? Charles and Camilla’s trip to France, and William’s trip to America, were widely seen as successes. But how will the royals handle more complex political and cultural issues when visiting Commonwealth countries?
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