There’s good news and bad news to catch up on, so let’s start with the positive. Earlier this week the Duke of Sussex carried out a two-day trip to Amsterdam on behalf of the Invictus Games and AIDS 2018, an international AIDS conference. Ahead of his arrival, Kensington Palace confirmed that Harry was in Lesotho last month with his charity, Sentebale, working on HIV/Aids awareness.
Via Twitter, KP shared moments from the trip, including a conversation with youth leaders on how to evolve and address the issue for current and upcoming generations. Further photos were shared by photographer Chris Jackson, which caused some ire from other royal photogs given that everyone has known Harry took this trip, but it was – and is – being billed as a private visit.
Jackson has a bit of a reputation for being favored by KP, and that’s probably on the nose given that his wife is employed by the Duchess of Cambridge, however in this case it should be noted that he is also personally involved with Sentebale, so his presence makes sense. Personally, while I get why this causes some professional jealousy, I also get why the Cambridges and Sussexes turn to him so frequently – he’s discreet and somehow manages to navigate his professional and personal association with the families gracefully.
In Amsterdam, Harry joined Elton John to launch the MenStar coalition, with the specific goal of diagnosing and treating infected men so as to stop the epidemic by 2030. Fifteen hundred people gathered in the city from around the world, including Princess Mabel of Orange-Nassau (King Willem-Alexander’s sister-in-law).
As for the Invictus Games, they are due to be held in The Hague in 2020, thus prompting some early planning and hype.
While on the Sussex train, let’s move on to Meghan, or rather her family, who I’ve pointedly ignored since the drama leading up to the wedding. Naturally, they haven’t gone away and both her father, Thomas Markle, and her half-sister, Samantha Grant (who now conveniently goes by Markle again), continue to give television, radio and print interviews multiple times each week. I don’t want to get into this too much save to share that Samantha is reportedly due to join the cast of Celebrity Big Brother, which, well, kind of makes you wish for the days the Tower was operational.
And Thomas is now using interviews to threaten his daughter, saying he means to hole up in a hotel in London until she talks to him and that he won’t stop giving interviews until they’re reunited. Apparently her phone number has changed and none of the messages they leave with KP are returned. Of course they’re not – the last time they spoke with him, shortly after the wedding, details were relayed to the press, including comments on Brexit and U.S. President Donald Trump. Both were fairly benign, but at this point, Meghan has to assume if she says anything to her father it will be repeated to the media.
After nearly two years of silence, it’s a pretty bizarre turn of events and I hope this goes without saying, but #teammeghan.
Finally, Jan Moir wrote a strongly-worded article on Princess Eugenie’s wedding following the announcement that members of the public are invited to file applications to “attend” on the grounds of Windsor Castle. After the ceremony, the couple will take a short carriage ride – shorter than that taken by Harry and Meghan in May.
The article, which I won’t link to and which has been criticized for being over the top, was a bit too mean, buts its central point is that Eugenie is a private citizen and there isn’t enough public interest in her to warrant this level of pomp. Ostensibly, Eugenie is following the model of her cousin, Peter Phillips, who got married at this same venue in 2008 – back then, there was a private ceremony within St George’s Chapel, a pause on the steps for the rest of the family and a short carriage ride for the bride of the groom. The applications for the public, however, is quite the little twist.
It’s certainly not the discreet Zara Tindall route, but hey, it’s the bride’s day, everyone likes a wedding and I’m sure another opportunity to see Prince George and Princess Charlotte in their little get-ups will be welcome.