Duchy of Cornwall escapes serious censure in report published today
The tax status of Prince Charles's private estate the Duchy of Cornwall was the subject of much scrutiny over the summer with the Prince's advisers facing the wrath of MPs who more or less accused the Prince of dodging corporation tax, but a report issued today by the Public Accounts Committee has broadly acquitted the Duchy of those charges.
Chris Jackson / Getty Images
However the report says that the Treasury should investigate whether the special tax status of the Prince of Wales’s estate has "an adverse impact" on competitors, the report said. It also criticised the lack of official scrutiny of the Duchy's account.
The Public Accounts Committee said there was “no clear understanding” whether the estate’s exemption from corporation and capital gains tax creates an "unlevel playing field" for competing businesses.
Film version of Diana's last years bombs, heading for video
The new Diana movie - described by Tina Brown today as 'tension-free and oddly suburban' on The Daily Beast - is failing as dismally with the public as it has with the critics.
The Hollywood Reporter says the movie earned $64,914 from 38 theaters , giving "a bleak location average of $1,708."
Naomi Watts as Diana, Princess of Wales. (Laurie Sparham/Entertainment One Films)
The Hollywood Reporter adds, "Entertainment One, which is distributing the film in the U.S. and a number of other key markets, including the U.K., is hoping Diana finds an afterlife on DVD, VOD and other digital platforms."
Lady Kelly Hadfield-Hyde takes the order to strip a little too literally
Airport security. Tedious stuff. And who hasn't been tempted to make the occasional protest?
Most of us tend to grit our teeth and submit to the inane demands of the jobsworths on duty, but one famously outrageous British aristocrat, Lady Kelly Hadfield-Hyde, 51, and her pal Ann Chadwick, 48, decided to bare all when she could bear it no longer.
Lady Kelly and her friend, who were on their way to Spain and had drunk a bottle of wine before boarding, stripped off their tops and bras and danced around the departures hall, taunting security staff in a bonkers naked protest that ended up landing her in court last week. She was fined £55 with £850 costs.
The CCTV video which has leaked onto the web has the boobs blurred out so is sort-of-safe-for-work.
You’d think the princess’s obsessive affair with a Pakistani doctor would make for an electric film. Yet ‘Diana,’ with its soporific romance and awful dialogue, is a bore.
The producers of Diana made every effort not to let me into a screening of the film. Now, after buying a ticket on Friday afternoon, I understand why.
It’s hard to imagine how a movie about history’s most turbulent, highly strung, beleaguered celebrity princess could have been turned into something so tension-free and oddly suburban.
Naomi Watts as Diana, Princess of Wales. (Laurie Sparham/Entertainment One Films)
Naomi Watts plays Diana as a sweet-natured, wistful, half-wit. The princess was no rocket scientist, it is true, but she also had a cunning, intuitive intelligence that ran rings around her advisers. And it would be hard for any actress to match Diana in beauty. Watts does a good, blushing sideways glance and has her flat upper class intonations off to a tee. But she just isn’t tall enough. Diana towered like Barbarella. When she strode into a restaurant in a short skirt and three inch high heels, she was comic-book arresting with her shimmering hair and peach soft skin. She oozed breeding too. The Windsors were middle class compared to her own Spencer lineage, something you never feel about Watt’s Hallmark Di.
According to London Assembly member.
What a killjoy. Tom Copley, a member of the London Assembly, has condemned his fellow lawmakers for spending "too much valuable Parliamentary time" in tributes to the newly-christened Prince George—or, as he put it, congratulating "two very wealthy aristocrats for procreating." Last month, Prime Minister David Cameron and a group of senior politicians took place in a 20-minute debate in the House of Commons as a tribute to Prince George. On his blog, Copley called the event "stomach-churning." "Amidst the crises of the civil war in Syria, the ever growing cost of living and Britain’s economic woes they managed to find an hour or so to congratulate two very wealthy aristocrats for procreating. Politics is the language of priorities, after all," he wrote.
The last of the Stuart monarchs ruled England with brilliance and intrigue, likely had an affair with a Churchill ancestor, and made sure her country stayed Protestant. Finally she gets the biography her remarkable life deserves.
Nothing is more difficult than to recreate in all its complexity than a distant age and not only to get it right, but make it seem fresh and relevant. Fortunately, Anne Somerset has already done this brilliantly in her outstanding biography of Elizabeth I. In the case of Elizabeth, of course, Ms. Somerset had the advantage of writing about one of the most famous (and most compellingly interesting) of all English monarchs, the subject of so many different plays, films, and television dramas that we almost feel we know and understand her. Her new subject Queen Anne, on the contrary, does not loom large as a figure around which to build a television miniseries, and most readers, in the United States at any rate, would be hard pressed to place her exactly in time, or say anything about her reign.
Great Britain's Queen Anne. (Universal History Archive/Getty)
In fact, Anne’s relatively short reign (twelve years) was pivotal, and marked the emergence of England as a major power in the endless wars of European succession, sealed once and for all the future of England as a Protestant nation, and brought to the throne a woman of great intelligence, political skill, and determination to rule—as well as one whose strongest emotional (and perhaps sexual) attachment was to other women.
It is sometimes the fate of England to do what seems daring and difficult in politics long before the United States (which, did not of course yet exist in Queen Anne’s day) gets around to doing it. We have yet to elect a Jewish president on this side of the Atlantic, while Benjamin Disraeli was a hugely successful prime minister in the latter part of the 19th Century, and we only just tested whether a lesbian can be elected mayor of New York City, while England may very likely have had one on the throne in the 17th Century.
Reports saying that Harry and Cressida spend a private weekend at Sandringham fuel enagement rumors
Now this is a party we’d like to have been at.
Prince Harry invited his girlfriend Cressida Bonas to Sandringham, the Queen’s private estate in Norfolk, two weekends ago, along with a group of friends who were ‘given the run’ of the place for the weekend, according to a report today.
Splash News and Pictures
Neither the Queen nor Prince Philip were there at the time, reports the Daily Mail, but the news has inevitably rekindled speculation that the two may marry.
During prince’s training for South Pole journey.
Can’t stop, won’t stop. Despite a broken toe, Prince Harry says he will continue training for his trek to the South Pole next month with wounded soldiers, the Palace said Tuesday. Harry, 29, is scheduled to make the 208-mile journey in the Walking With The Wounded South Pole Allied Challenge next month. The march is 16 days long, and takes place in temperatures as low as -31 degrees Fahrenheit. Palace officials have not said how the prince injured the toe.
is Charles afraid of Kingship - or death? The Royalist investigates
I read with some confusion the Telegraph's pick-up of the Prince Charles Time story this morning, in which the paper claimed that Chaz felt kingship would be like a prison because he wouldn't be able to spend so much time with his charities.
One member of his household told Time that the Prince was worried he would not achieve enough with his various interests before “the prison shades” close, but I got the imprression this expression referred more to the vague death-fear that haunts all of us to some degree (excuse me getting a bit deep and meaningful, not usually the tenor on here; as regular readers know we aim instead for frothy levity most of the time).
Anyway, the Royalist has been in touch with the Prince's people and a courtier said that while my interpretation was valid (if a little gloomy) the main point is not the he is dreading becoming King. But nor, as they and the piece points out, is he so anxious to become King that he is planning his mother's funeral or anything like that.
Kate was back out at a charity dinner last night dresed in sweeping Jenny Packham
Kate was back out working the crowds at a gala dinner in support of Action On Addiction thrown by the 100 Women In Hedge Funds group last night, and she told guests that her son had been "such a good boy" at his Christening the day before.
Kate attends a gala dinner in aid of Action on Addiction hosted by the 100 Women in Hedge Funds Philanthropic Initiatives (Ian West/WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Kate was dressed in a floor-length Jenny Packham gown for the event, and said she had left George in the capable hands of his dad for the night.
Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge poses for a photograph with Amanda Pullinger, director of 100WHF (L) and Mimi Drake, Chairman 100WHF (R) at a gala dinner in aid of Action on Addiction, hosted by the 100 Women in Hedge Funds Philanthropic Initiatives in central London (Ian West/WPA Pool/Getty Images)
A little boy got christened yesterday, and here's the snaps to prove it
Awww, 'aint he cute?
The official pictures of Prince George have just been released - and the palace say we are only allowed to keep them up on the site for 24 hours or the Royalist will be sent to the tower!
10pm GMT update: you are no longer viewing the official christening photo. As per the palace's orders, these have now been removed from the Royalist. (AFP/Getty)
Prince Charles gives interview to Time
An interesting tease on Time's website for their interview and in-depth profile of Prince Charles, which is the cover story of Time Magazine this week.
“I feel more than anything else it’s my duty to worry about everybody and their lives in this country, to try to find a way of improving things if I possibly can,” he says in the piece, by editor-at-large Catherine Mayer, who says, "Research for this piece took me to three of his official residences in England, Scotland and Wales, to Dumfries House, and trailing around with him to meetings and visits. I’ve discussed him in more than 50 interviews with his inner circle and his critics; plowed through biographies, his own writing and reams of articles and documentary footage."
No doubt he will be delighted with the cover which calls him "the forgotten Prince."
At the Christening of Prince George, The Duchess of Cambridge looked radiant in an ivory-colored Alexander McQueen ruffled suit.
Three-month-old Prince George, plump-cheeked and with tufts of brown hair, was awake as he was escorted into his Christening at St. James’s Palace in London on Wednesday afternoon. He also was entirely oblivious of the commotion he caused—the flooded streets, the hoards of photographers, the live telecasts.
His escorts, Kate and William, appeared up beat and camera-ready for their big photo op. And, of course, the occasion brought out crazed fans all over London—including one guy in a full Union Jack suit and hat--which called to mind the frenzy over George’s birth last summer.
Pool photo by John Stillwell
Kate looked radiant in an ivory Alexander McQueen ruffled jacket and skirt, paired with a jaunty British Jane Taylor fascinator and nude heels. It appeared to strike the perfect note: formal yet fashion-forward, while simultaneously referential to her wedding dress (also designed for Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen). The choice also nicely played off the color of George’s Honiton christening gown, a replica of the dress that has been in the family for centuries. William, ever-dapper, wore a navy suit with a blue tie.
Prince Harry’s girlfriend is the opposite of Kate Middleton in every way. Tom Sykes examines the evidence: a pair of Doc Martens, some dungarees, and that infamous scrunchie.