Today marked the last day of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), while tomorrow will see the Queen’s birthday concert celebrating the music of the Commonwealth at Royal Albert Hall. While the big win of the week – for the Royal Family at least – was confirmation this morning that the Prince of Wales will succeed his mother as the organization’s head in due course, I thought it appropriate we covered off on the last day and a few odds and ends that slipped through the cracks with everything else going on.
First and foremost, the Duke of Cambridge today attended a CHOGM meeting focused on wildlife conservation, an issue on which William has been invested for years. I am almost certain that when this was first announced Prince Harry was meant to go with him, but it was only William today. Alongside Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, William sat in on a roundtable discussion with African leaders on how best to eradicate illegal wildlife trade.
Meanwhile, the Countess of Wessex, who has not received nearly as much attention this week, attended the Spouses’ Program at Kew Gardens today. The Spouses’ Program is for the (duh) spouses of government leaders who convene to discuss links throughout the Commonwealth. Frankly that sounds incredibly vague, but today the theme was conservation and Sophie planted a tree.
Anywho, in the midst of state dinners and Meghan Markle wearing dresses, Harry and Meghan were separately named two of TIME Magazine’s most influential people in this year’s list. A common thread among honorees was youth advocacy, which Harry’s new role as the Commonwealth Youth Ambassador complements nicely.
Elton John wrote Harry’s blurb, which read:
I first met an extremely shy and sweet Prince Harry at a private lunch at Kensington Palace, given by his mother Princess Diana for Gianni Versace and me many years ago. What a joy it has been to see that young boy grow to inherit his mother’s warmth, sense of humor and courage to stand up and champion the causes he truly believes in.
Harry and I have bonded over a passionate desire to end the global AIDS epidemic, a disease for which his mother did so much important early work to fight stigma and build awareness.
He is equally passionate when it comes to reducing the stigma surrounding mental-health issues—blowing a much-needed breath of fresh air into the British stuffiness that has kept vital conversations lurking in the shadows.
The Invictus Games are his creation, and they give dignity and hope to injured armed services personnel and veterans by offering a spectacular and inspirational global competition in sport.
Prince Harry has that rare ability to walk into a room full of strangers and make everyone feel comfortable and at ease. As he has grown in maturity, I have watched him take on these causes with the remarkable skill to see and communicate how it truly feels for the people he is trying to help.
Priyanka Chopra wrote Meghan’s:
Somewhere among biryani, poutine and endless conversations, I realized just how deeply Meghan Markle cares for the world. With her, what you see is real, and what you get is a relatable young woman with her heart and mind in the right place. Her compassion, evident in the causes she supports, and her drive to break down stereotypes—obvious in her actions—will connect her to a generation in much need of kindness.
This ever-smiling, strong free spirit found her prince, fell in love and in turn made a cynical world believe in fairy tales again. But more than anything else, Meghan is an important influencer in a world that needs strong public figures to respect and look up to. People the world can be inspired by. Meghan, standing shoulder to shoulder with Harry, will be a princess for the people.
Love always, my friend. Live happily ever after.
The Duchess of Cambridge made the list three times – 2011, 2012 and 2013. The second time, actually, she appeared alongside her younger sister, Pippa Middleton. Oddly, she appeared as “Kate Middleton” in 2011 and 2013, but the Duchess of Cambridge in 2012.
But in honor of William and Kate’s anniversary month, here’s a look back at what was written about the bride back in 2011:
Her rise from girl next door to Britain’s Duchess of Cambridge has been nothing short of a fairy tale. But Kate Middleton hasn’t been afraid to add modern twists to her story. For her April 29 wedding to Prince William, Middleton ditched the horse-drawn coach for a Rolls-Royce to take her to Westminster Abbey, and she has since made headlines for doing her own makeup and grocery shopping. Middleton’s fashion influence is a matter of empirical evidence; her outfits have sold out within days of her appearance in them, while spawning hard-to-get knockoffs. Meanwhile, her interest in charity work has drawn comparisons to Princess Diana, whose legacy she’s well on her way to following as a global style and cultural icon. But perhaps what is most inspiring about Middleton is the number of barriers she has broken down by just being herself: she’ll be the first commoner to become Queen of England as well as the monarchy’s first college-educated Queen.
While on the topic of Kate, she has been in London this week, staying out of public view with the CHOGM going on. Royal reporter Emily Andrews said a few weeks ago now that Kate’s due date is Monday, April 23 and she’s a pretty reliable source. Given that both Prince George and Princess Charlotte were born late, it’s entirely possible that the new baby won’t make an appearance for several more days, though fingers crossed it’s sooner rather than later. There are two particular milestones upcoming that this birth is going to bump up against – the Cambridges’ wedding anniversary on April 29 and big sister Charlotte’s birthday on May 2.
There are rumors that the family might head out to Bucklebury this weekend to spend time with Kate’s parents. That’s about an hour drive from London, so if Kate does go into labor, they’ll still be able to get back to the Lindo Wing and regardless, William is due to attend his grandmother’s birthday concern tomorrow night.
Speaking of, tomorrow is going to be a busy day – in addition to the concert, Harry and Meghan will be attending an engagement on behalf of the Invictus Games and I’m going to slip in a quick history post in the morning.