Harry and Meghan are sort-of invited to Balmoral
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have an “open invitation” to visit King Charles and the rest of the family at the royal retreat in Scotland, Balmoral, this summer, according to the Mail on Sunday. No surprises for guessing that they are, however, very much not expected to show up at the lavish estate where the monarch traditionally spends much of their summer.
The Mail’s royal editor Rebecca English writes: “All family members, I am told, are expected to stay at some point over the next few weeks. That is, except the Duke and Duchess of Sussex whose ‘open invitation’ to join family gatherings hasn’t exactly been rescinded, but is certainly not expected to be accepted.” English adds: “Relations between father and son, I understand, are still not good, although the family feel encouraged by claims that Harry and Meghan are now determined to focus on the future rather than family recriminations.”
A source says: “If true, that can only be a good thing and may offer a sliver of hope that at some point in the future personal relationships can be rebuilt… It’s been a very visibly challenging year when it comes to the Sussexes.”
Contact between Harry and William has not been resumed, the report claims, with a source saying: “You can read the room on that as to where things are….Its sad, but it is what is. This is a family as well as an institution.”
Harry “spiraling out of control”?
On Thursday, a judge issued a mixed ruling for Harry when it came to his legal actions against News Group Newspapers (NGN), the publishers of British tabloid The Sun—and now, inevitably, the Sun is biting back, claiming Harry is “spiraling out of control.”
As The Daily Beast reported, the judge ruled Harry can proceed to trial with allegations that The Sun and the now-shuttered News of the World used unlawful information gathering techniques, such as “blagging,” which involves tricking third parties into disclosing confidential information about targets, to get stories on him.
However, Harry was told he cannot proceed with phone hacking claims. The judge said Harry’s allegation that a “secret agreement” about phone hacking was made between the royals and NGN, which hid information from him, had not reached “the necessary threshold of plausibility” and that no “witness or documentary evidence” supporting the claim had been offered.
The judge wrote of Harry’s secret deal allegations: “The Duke is unable to say who on each side made the secret agreement, or even who told him about it: it might have been Gerrard Tyrell (a lawyer representing the royals) or it might have been another representative of the Royal Family. The evidence in support of the pleaded case is limited to that of the Duke. It is not strong evidence. One might have expected to see some evidence from Mr Tyrrell giving support to the Duke’s factual case, but there is none.”
By Friday, a “source” had told the Sun: “There is a bit of a feeling Harry is spiraling out of control and all is not well. Members of his family are worried about how he is coping and his determination to keep having legal battles.”
A source also said: “This judgement will only add to Harry’s woes. Everything in the garden is not rosy and now the Prince has had his High Court evidence publicly pulled apart in a humiliating fashion.”
The royals are reportedly not happy the case remains in any way ongoing. A family friend told The Daily Beast: “Everyone in the family completely accepts that Harry is a private citizen and can do what he likes without reference to the family. That doesn’t mean they have to like it. Of course they are massively irritated by the prospect of more blockbuster Harry trials but they have been expecting it; there is also the defamation case against the Mail. Their goal is just to keep plugging away and not get distracted by any of it.”
Beckhams’ friendship with Harry and Meghan over: report
The Mail on Sunday is stroking its detective mustache over the state of the relationship between the Sussexes and David and Victoria Beckham. Posh and Becks were guests at Harry and Meghan’s wedding, but Harry and Meghan were not guests at their son Brooklyn’s wedding to Nicola Peltz. And then they didn’t show up, alongside other celebrities, for Lionel Messi’s debut playing for Beckham’s Inter Miami team.
This leads the Mail to ponder if the Beckhams have been “Markled,” a word that refers to the accusation that Meghan “is seemingly able to swiftly move on from some of those once closest to her.”
There was “a suspicion” that the Beckhams may have leaked stories about the Sussexes, which left David Beckham “absolutely bloody furious,” the paper said. A source close to the Beckhams said: “David and Victoria went to Meghan and Harry’s wedding and were very supportive when Meghan arrived in the U.K.”
The accusations “came in a tense phone call,” the paper said, and “fractured the Beckham friendship. “Any making up now is so unlikely,” the source said.
In his new book Revenge: Harry, Meghan, and the War Between the Windsors, biographer Tom Bower writes about the couple becoming laser-focused on who was leaking stories about them to the press. Meghan “suspected Victoria Beckham of indiscretion,” Bower writes. “Harry called David Beckham to repeat the accusation. Outraged, Beckham’s truthful denials damaged their relationship.”
The Mail on Sunday said Meghan is now close to cosmetics tycoon Victoria Jackson and hairdresser Amanda Leone, who also tends to friend Ellen DeGeneres’ locks. A source told the paper: “Meghan and Ellen are close, and the word is that Ellen recommended the salon. Everyone in there loves Meghan.”
A Hollywood agent told the paper that super-agent Ari Emanuel and his wife, designer Sarah Staudinger, are also part of Meghan’s new friendship group. “Meghan has a close-knit circle of friends who are very protective of her,” the agent said. Meghan and Gloria Steinem have also become close.
While Meghan remains close to Oprah Winfrey and Gayle King, the Mail on Sunday says Meghan and Harry are no longer close to Katy Perry. “Katy was close at one point but she has been traveling a lot so it’s been hard to sustain a close friendship,” a source told the paper. “Katy performed at King Charles’ coronation concert, so perhaps she’s taken sides?”
There is also reported beef with Mariah Carey and Courteney Cox, and puzzlement that Meghan and Harry have not been seen with the Obamas—the Mail on Sunday also repeating the claim that the Sussexes asked for a lift home with the Bidens on Air Force One after Queen Elizabeth’s funeral, which was turned down.
Then there has been Meghan’s relative silence of late—all the publicity oxygen taken up by Harry’s many allegations in his memoir and TV interviews, and his fight against the tabloids in the courts. “Meghan has been uncharacteristically quiet in the public domain,” a showbiz PR expert told the Mail on Sunday. “But she has powerful new friends, so don’t expect the silence to last long.”
Remembering Queen Elizabeth
The late Queen Elizabeth II will always be remembered for her connection to her corgis, yet it still comes as something of a surprise to learn that her beloved hounds are to be part of the first statue officially dedicated to the memory of the monarch.
British sculptor Hywel Brân Pratley, who is creating the 7ft sculpture that will grace a provincial British library, told the Telegraph: “This as I understand it is the first commissioned as a memorial to the Queen. There were others which were being worked on before her death, some finished and completed, some finished and still not yet unveiled,” he said.
A distinctly less domesticated image of the queen, meanwhile, will be presented in a new Channel 4 documentary titled Elizabeth II: Making of a Monarch. The show, which explores her early life, explores the early life of the late Queen through expert commentary and rare images.
One previously unseen image shows her clambering atop a Comet tank in October, 1945. Wesley Kerr OBE, a former BBC royal correspondent, said: “I’ve never seen an image of Elizabeth on a tank…it’s almost Elizabeth as the war leader.
“It’s interesting that it’s not published, maybe it was thought to make her too political or maybe they were wanting at that time to project her as a soft figure. So to see her with a 20th century weapon of death at a time when Britain needed to project real power, well there’s soft power for you—which she kind of exemplifies.”
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Vacay the William way
Prices have been slashed at Prince William’s five-star holiday cottages in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, the Mirror reports. William rents the properties out through his Duchy of Cornwall estate, which he took control over from King Charles when the latter assumed the throne.
The Mirror says one of the properties costs £980 for four for a week (around $1260), “which works out at just £35 ($45) per person per night—cheaper than a budget Travelodge hotel.” A brochure promises the properties “combine traditional elegance with contemporary comfort.”
Ringing the royal changes in Scotland
The Mail on Sunday today publishes a series of previously unseen pictures of the late Queen Elizabeth and her husband, Prince Philip on the summer holidays at Balmoral. The pictures show the family relaxing in one of the small lunch charts that dot the estate. It says that the ceiling of the hut is stained with mustard, a result of Prince Philip encouraging his grandchildren to squirt the condiment at the roof.
This year, however, things will be different. For starters, Charles and Camilla will not be staying at the main castle, but at Birkhall, the private home on the estate. Family members—excluding Harry and Meghan, see above—are expected to stay at the main house.
And, yes, the disgraced Prince Andrew has an invite.
“There are a large number of properties around the estate so not everyone needs to stay at Balmoral Castle itself,” one source says, while another adds: “Andrew not go to Balmoral? Just try and stop him!”
The prospect of the annual royal descent on Scotland has prompted renewed discussion of Prince William’s apparent unwillingness to wear a kilt. His father, of course, has long been a regular wearer of the traditional Scottish attire, but William has not been spotted in the garb since childhood. Even when he was a student at Saint Andrews’ University, he chose to wear a suit and tie to collect his degree rather than a kilt.
The Mail on Sunday suggests that the reason may be that given by the writer Neil Munro, who once observed: “There’s nothing the midges like to see among them better than an English tourist in a kilt.”
John Sugden, owner of royal kilt maker Campbell’s of Beauly, is quoted as saying: “We would be happy to tailor a kilt for the Prince of Wales should the opportunity arise…His father is a very keen wearer of Highland dress and a great supporter of Scottish traditions.”
Pay day for Charlie
Norman Baker, the British writer and former government minister who has long sought to shed light on the royal family’s financial affairs, bemoaned the astonishing increase in royal funding in the Daily Mail this week, pointing out that a grant of £7.9m in 2011 under the old “civil list” system has ballooned to £86.3m this year under a new formula that calculates the grant as a percentage of the profits made by the Crown Estate.
The extraordinarily huge sum is partly a result on the explosion of profits generated by wind farms located on the seabed, which are technically owned by the Crown Estate. This is not really fair, suggests Baker. Oh, and the royals also don’t pay death duties monarch to monarch, so Charles was able to inherit a “string of racehorses, fabulous paintings [and a] £100m stamp collection” entirely tax free.
This week in royal history
Happy 42nd birthday to Meghan Markle this coming Friday. She was born on August 4, 1981—and this weekend, in the run-up the celebrations, has certainly returned to the headlines big-time. Meghan shares her birthday date with the Queen Mother, who was born on August 4, 1900, and who died on March 30, 2002, age 101.
Will Harry and Meghan accept the invite to Balmoral? Is being “Markled” really a thing? Are the Beckhams and Sussexes over? Can Prince Harry still prevail in his battle with the tabloids?
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