Let’s not talk about Sussexit. Instead, let’s catch up on literally everyone else in the Royal Family, because surprisingly there’s been a fair bit going on. Most of what follows is from the last week, with a few tidbits that date back a little earlier but were lost in the Christmas shuffle.
First up is the Duchess of Cornwall and the Princess Royal, who carried out a joint appearance on Tuesday in Scotland. Princess Anne was granted an honorary degree by the University of Aberdeen, which just so happens to count Camilla as its chancellor. Anne was recognized for her long history of charity work in the country, and in a rather sweet moment, Camilla conferred the honor during a ceremony.
A tabloid reported on a moment in which Anne said, “Ladies and gentlemen, we shall have no talk of rivalry today,” as a reference to the Sussexes and Cambridges (as in she and Camilla aren’t rivals, unlike Kate and Meghan, presumably), but when you look at the quote in context that’s definitely not what was going on. Instead, Camilla made reference to Anne’s chancellorship of the University of Edinburgh, and Anne picked up on the theme in her remarks. The rivalry was in reference to the two universities, not the sisters-in-law.
Anyway, unexpected pairings amongst the family are always fun, so I was happy to see these two together. Allow me to use this opportunity to remind everyone that Anne used to date Camilla’s ex-husband while Camilla was then dating Anne’s brother (Prince Charles). Why? Because it’s still crazy funny, and I will in fact be doing a post on the subject in February.
Moving right along…to Anne’s daughter, Zara Tindall. She had a lucky break last Wednesday, because she had some news of her own that was completely overshadowed by the Sussexes. She’s been banned from driving for six months after being caught driving 91 mph and having already racked up numerous speeding penalties. Like grandfather like granddaughter, I suppose. Honestly, with the exception of the Queen, driving might be something the Windsors don’t excel at as a rule.
In happier news, the Palace announced that Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako of Japan will be making a state visit to the UK in the spring. This likely means June, but final dates have yet to be announced. As we’ve seen with previous state visits, there will almost certainly be a state banquet at Buckingham Palace that warrants white tie and tiaras, while specific family members will be called upon to play host and hostess. Given the couple’s rank, I imagine that Charles and Camilla will carry the bulk of the weight, but it’s entirely possible William and Kate will supplement with an engagement in addition to attending the banquet.
And in other announcements, Dusseldorf will host the 2022 Invictus Games. Funnily enough, the choice was between Dusseldorf and Victoria, British Columbia, but given that the 2017 games were in Toronto, moving on to Germany probably makes more sense. After the 2018 games in Australia, it was announced the series would occur every other year, with the 2020 games taking place in The Hague this May. Whatever else is going on with the Sussexes by then, it’s a safe bet that Harry and Meghan (and maybe Archie) will be in attendance.
Back to the Waleses, I mentioned on Monday that Charles joined the Sandringham Summit from Oman. He made a quick trip to the country to participate in the first of three days of condolences for Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al Said, who passed away last Friday. The Queen also released a statement:
“I was deeply saddened to hear of the death of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said al Said. His devotion to Oman, to its development and to the care of his people was an inspiration. He will be remembered for his wise leadership and his commitment to peace and understanding between nations and between faiths.”
Moving along to the Wessexes, the Earl of Wessex (Prince Edward) attended the Duke of Edinburgh award series conference in Warwick last Wednesday where it was noted that in 2018-2019 more young people than ever entered. Indeed, there was a 13% increase in the number of youths honored with an award, and the conference provided an opportunity to thank and congratulate staff. The series was started by Edward’s father, the Duke of Edinburgh, but he’s inherited the responsibility since Prince Philip’s retirement 2.5 years ago since he stands to assume his title someday.
Speaking of Philip, he pointedly left Sandringham on Monday prior to the arrivals of William and Harry. The general consensus by the media is that he’s furious about the Sussexes’ decision. The Sun reported the following anonymous quote:
“To say that the Duke feels let down would be a considerable understatement. He is deeply hurt. He spends much of his time now confined to his cottage at Sandringham. But he was spitting blood when aides informed him what had happened. He has left the Queen in absolutely no doubt about how he feels. Philip has accused Harry and Meghan of lacking respect and he is weary of their behaviour.
“They did not spend Christmas with the family — which he and the Queen accepted — and now this. His primary concern is the impact this is having on the Queen. A lot of Philip’s anger comes from seeing Her Majesty upset.”
Generally I take quotes like these with a grain of salt, but The Sun has been pretty on the ball lately and they did break the Canada story that prompted last week’s news. I think it’s also fair to say the above rings true based on what we know of Philip. Putting happiness before duty is outside his wheelhouse, and he’s never fond of disrespect towards the Queen. His departure, however, is telling. Once upon a time matters like this would have been personally guided, if not led, by him – take, for example, his attempts to mediate between Charles and Diana in the 1990s. His absence from the summit, even if only in a personal capacity, speaks to him having really and truly retired from the royal game. I think it’s also a nod to the fact that these matters are more appropriately handled by Charles now, and that his son has assumed the role of family patriarch.
Back to the Wessexes, Lady Louise Mountbatten-Windsor, daughter of the Earl and Countess of Wessex, joined her mother at an engagement for the first time last Tuesday. Sophie and Louise visited the England Hockey’s training fields at the National Sports Centre at Bisham Abbey, where Louise showed off her own field hockey skills while Sophie looked on. It bears repeating that Louise will not follow in her parents’ footsteps by assuming full-time royal duties some day, but it’s entirely likely that she will on occasion accompany her parents to events as the years go on. It’s also possible that she will join her grandmother here and there like her cousins, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, sometimes do.
Finally, Beatrice. As we well know, she’s deep in wedding planning at the moment, though details have yet to be formally announced. Rumor has it the big day is scheduled for June, though the location and scale continue to be a matter of debate. Given the Duke of York’s (her father) forced resignation last year, most assume that her wedding will be a smaller to-do than what Eugenie enjoyed in 2018.
Eugenie’s wedding had its own level of controversy, though, since it was held at St George’s Chapel, Windsor, the same venue used by Harry and Meghan just five months before, and it, too, featured a carriage ride and public access. There were definitely some eye-rolls about a junior royal hosting such a large wedding, and indeed a non-working royal prompting significant security costs. ITV broadcast the wedding to an audience of about three million, but BBC pointedly declined to cover it, apparently to Andrew’s dismay. This time around, BBC and ITV are both declining to cover Beatrice’s wedding, so no matter where she ends up holding it, it will be an entirely more subdued affair. More to come, I’m sure…
With that, we are rounded up!