Royal Roundup: Northern Ireland, Grenfell Tower & That Engagement


You know, I thought that Monday’s announcement of a third Cambridge baby would drown out the rest of the week, but the news keeps hitting. Let’s start with the frivolous and work our way up, shall  we?

The Daily Mail ran an article today on what they’re calling the Palace’s “master plan” to induct Meghan Markle into the Royal Family – apparently they’ve named it “Operation Princess.” I mean, I can’t with this. Anyway, I’m not so sure how credible I find this given that the article claims Meghan and Prince Harry first met in June 2016 for drinks at Soho House (didn’t she literally just say in Vanity Fair that they met in July?) and that Westminster Abbey is not a venue option due to Meghan’s divorce (they’ve already said it would be fine). Oh, and they claimed that while Meghan has met the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall already, it’s unlikely that she will meet the Queen before everything’s official because of “protocol” – yet, the Duchess of Cambridge met the Queen more than two years before her engagement.


The one grain I’m pulling from all this is the idea that the Invictus Games on September 23 in Toronto will mark the couple’s first public engagement together, raising the odds of an announcement coming ahead of that. Whether that actually happens, I don’t know, but that sounds reasonable to my ear.

Then there is an article in The Express claiming that even friends of William’s and Kate’s were surprised by the couple’s baby news, believing they were going to stop at two. Reportedly it was Kate who pushed for a third child and William had to be convinced. The article also states that Kate is at 11 weeks, which I might remind you is not know for certain. That is complete speculation based on a random throwaway comment William made earlier this week. Anyway, they are firm that the new baby will be born in April.


On Thursday, Harry made his first visit to Belfast in Northern Ireland. He carried out an engagement with Co-operation Ireland, a “peace building” charity. He also met with first responders, watched emergency ambulance demonstrations and joined a garden party at Hillsborough Castle. None of that is insignificant given it wasn’t that long ago the Irish Republican Army was engaging in terrorism and assassinating members of the RF. Anyway, everyone’s come a long way since – Charles has made a series of visits and even the Queen has stopped by in an effort to solidify reconciliation.


On Tuesday, William and Harry made a follow up trip to visit the residents affected by the fire at Grenfell Tower. The engagement highlighted the work of the Royal Foundation Support4Grenfell community hub, which is meant to draw a variety of charities together and ensure as many of the residents’ needs are met to the extent possible, including the provision of counseling and other mental health support.


A 16-year-old girl who spoke to William about her experience with the fire later told reporters:  “He was everything that everyone said. I didn’t really think much about it, I kept on talking. I feel like he understood. Out of all the adults I’ve spoken to he grasped it better than I thought he would.”


I’m not sharing a ton of photos here, but William’s face in many of them was striking and make it clear he was deeply engaged with the visit.


Kate was meant to join William and Harry, however her severe HG forced her to cancel. And while obviously it would have been lovely to see her out and about, it was also nice to see the brothers handle an engagement just the two of them.

Last but not least, yesterday saw Charles become the longest-serving Prince of Wales. Just one more thing he can lord over Edward VII, then. On Friday he was joined by Camilla for the christening of the giant HMS Prince of Wales. Camilla made a speech, smashed a 10-year-old bottle of whiskey and also commenced her public re-entry after the “Summer of Diana.” And if you think that last bit is dramatic, then consider that a walkabout was shelved due to security concerns.


Anyway, that is all for now. There won’t be a post tomorrow, but there will be a historical article up on Tuesday.

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