Veteran politician Eric Pickles later told the BBC that one can 'never have too many table mats' and the Queen now has the chance to put that claim to the test.
What to get the monarch who has everything? Politicians wrestling with that question today gave the queen a set of 60 placemats - and a chunk of the Antarctic twice the size of Great Britain.
The newly named Queen Elizabeth Land is a 169,000 square mile chunk of the British Antarctic Territory which makes up almost a third of Britain’s claim on the polar continent. The 60 placemats given as the queen attended a cabinet meeting today will probably be just as useful.
Veteran politician Eric Pickles later told the BBC that one can 'never have too many table mats' and the Queen now has the chance to put that claim to the test. Lucky her.
Jeremy Selwyn / WPA Pool / Getty Images
First time Monarch present since the 1700s
The Queen attended a meeting of the cabinet of the British government today, one of the final diamond jubilee events of the year.
Dressed in a royal blue coat, the Queen walked up the red carpet on the steps of No. 10 before standing chatting with the prime minister at the door to pose for photographs.
Chris Jackson / Getty Images
She is believed to be the first monarch to atend a cabinet meeting since King George III. A former Cabinet Secretary said it was a testimony to the Queen's neutrality that Prime Minister David Cameron felt able to invite a monarch into the UK's decision-making body for the first time in hundreds of years.
Kate made her first trip out of doors last night since hyperemesis gravidarum became part of our vocabulary. She looked stunning in a green McQueen gown at the BBC's sports personality of the year award.
The Duchess of Cambridge, walks out to present Lord Sebastian Coe with the Lifetime Achievement Award during the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Awards 2012 at ExCeL Arena, London, Britain, 16 December 2012. (David Davies/EPA via Landov)
She attended for 45 minutes, long enough to hand out an award to cyclist Bradley Wiggins: "While the Duchess does not feel ready to attend a four-hour engagement, she is keen to show her support to the UK’s sportsmen and women at this prestigious event which caps a momentous year for British sport," said a royal spokesperson.
Kate attended the event alone as her husband, Prince William, was on duty as an RAF Search and Rescue pilot.
Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and British soccer player David Beckham host the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Awards 2012 at ExCeL Arena, London, Britain, 16 December 2012. (David Davies/EPA via Landov)
Vicomte A store opening in London
Last time Pippa Middleton attended a wild party thrown by posh Parisian fashion progidy Arthur de Soultrait it didn't end so well after a pal pointed a toy gun at the paps.
That didn't stop the future queen's sister attending the celebrations of the launch of his new London store last night, and a breathless report from Tatler on Pippa Middleton sofa-dancing at the after-party last night follows (alas, no pics).
Pippa Middleton likes dancing on sofas, and so when Arthur de Soultrait's Vicomte A store launch party night went from polite to super fun, Pippa was the first to climb up on the upholstery and throw some moves. Charles Astor, Alex Marx, Victoria Aitken and Charlie Fellowes had also sauntered to the new flagship store on the King's Road for celebratory bubbles and a late-night shop, along with Ed Taylor who chatted to Olivia Grant and Diego Bivero-Volpe, while Henry Conway and Orlando Hamilton compared rings. Then Arthur led a lucky few over to the Brompton Club for dinner and dancing (some peoples were so desperate for an invite, they even offered to buy a place) and after a yummy three-course feast, Pippa jumped up on the sofas to dance and everyone followed, only stopping when the clock struck 3am.
A cast iron excuse
Despite her surprise appearance at yesterday's BBC Sports Personality of the Year award, it seems unlikely Kate will attend the Royal family's Christmas celebrations at Sandringham this year.
The usually well-informed Mandrake column of the Telegraph is reporting that Kate will spend Christmas Day with her family at their house in Berkshire this year as she battles hyperemesis gravidarum, severe morning sickness.
“As things stand, Catherine and her family do not feel confident about her going to Norfolk,” one of her friends tells Mandrake. “They would rather that she stays a quick drive away from hospital. William will probably go to Sandringham, but they are not sure whether he will go for Christmas Day or later in the holiday.”
Contents of third note reportedly slam DJs
Before royal nurse Jacintha Saldanha took her own life, she left three suicide notes, it was revealed at the inquest into her death last week. One of the notes dealt with funeral arrangements, another criticized the hospital and other staff members but in the third note she DID blame the two radio DJs who made a prank call pretending to be the Queen and Prince Charles for her death, it was claimed over the weekend.
The revelation will heap more pressure on 2DayFM DJs Mel Greig and Michael Christian who have gone into hiding following the tragedy, although the Australian authorities have specified that their investigations will focus on the part played by the radio station and that legally at least, the DJs are in the clear.
Dan Kitwood / Getty Images
The Mail on Sunday reported yesterday that Jacintha, “wrote a short letter in which she expressed her deep anger at the Australian radio presenters and blamed them for her tragic death”.
Children describe an “unfillable void.”
At a memorial for Jacintha Saldanha, the nurse found dead after a hoax phone call for the Duchess of Cambridge, her family painted a picture of a deeply devoted mother, the “core of the family.” Following a mass at Westminster Abbey, held in her honor, Saldanha’s husband, Benedict, eulogized their 19 years of marriage. “Without your beautiful smile and sparkling personality, the house is an empty place to live,” he said. In a joint statement, Saldanha’s children, daughter Lisha, 14, and son Junal, 16, expressed their sorrow and shock. The official funeral for Saldanha, who was found hanged eight days ago, will be held at Our Lady of Health Church in Karnataka, India on Monday.
Tracey Emin, David Hockney and Grayson Perry are among 97 artists to have given works to the Queen to mark her Diamond Jubilee.
Prof Tracey Emin RA, HRH Royal Britannia, 2012. (DACS )
The artists are all members of the Royal Academy who responded to request to produce an orignal work for the Queen, and The Royal Academy of Arts presented the 97 works, including prints and oil paintings to the Queen last month.
The Royal Collection Trust described the works as a varied selection of "the best of contemporary British art".
Martin Clayton, senior curator of prints and drawings, said: "It seems livelier and more varied than the Academy's equivalent gifts for the Queen's Coronation and Silver Jubilee. "The Coronation gift was quite conservative, and even in 1977 there was still a feeling that individual artists were playing safe in their choice of works. Now in 2012 there is no sense of dutiful deference," he added.
Prince Philip had some advice for central bankers over the financial crisis when he and the Queen visited the Bank of England today: “Don’t do it again,” he told them.
His remarks cam after the Queen interrogated bank staff on the causes of the financial crisis.
The 86-year-old monarch avoids entering political debate, but four years ago pointedly asked academics why nobody had foreseen the financial crisis.
On her bank visit she said: "I suppose in money terms it is very difficult foreseeing (things). But people had got a bit ... lax?", before agreeing with an official that the real problem could have been "complacency".
Attention turning to role played by hospital, which claimed to have been 'supporting' Jacintha, in tragedy
The royal nurse who took her own life after being duped by two Australian radio DJs left a suicide note criticizing senior management at the hospital, it was claimed today.
The revelation focuses attention on the role of the hospital, which has so far escaped significant censure over the tragedy, with most blame being directed at the radio station and DJs who made the call. The hospital has from the outset claimed it was ‘supporting’ Jacintha following the calls.
However, the hospital has declined requests by the Royalist and others to specify exactly what that support entailed.
It was disclosed at her inquest yesterday that Jacintha Saldanha, 46, a married mother of two, wrote three suicide notes before hanging herself in an accommodation block used exclusively by hospital staff.
Butler claims Clifford passed confidential information to paper
A bad week to be Max Clifford. Just days after Britain's most famous PR man was questioned by police in connection with alleged sex offences, involvement in which he denies, Max Clifford is being sued by Princess Diana's butler Paul Burrell, one of his former clients, for alleged breach of confidentiality - accusations the publicist also denies.
Burrell - described by Diana as her 'rock' - claims that when he engaged Clifford in a bid to limit bad press coverage about him a decade ago, rather than stopping stories Mr Clifford passed information he provided on to The News of the World.
Paul Burrell (Sang Tan / AP)
His lawyer Mark Lewis says Paul Burrell claims that Mr Clifford asked him to write down personal details which he feared might be uncovered by the media so that he could deal with them if they appeared, but instead of keeping the details confidential it is alleged Mr Clifford faxed the handwritten documents to the News of the World.
He said: "The police say they raided the News of the World's offices and there is a fax header there showing that things were sent from Max Clifford Associates to the News of the World concerning Paul Burrell. Paul's own notes, Paul's own handwriting that he'd given to Max suddenly finds itself at the News of the World."
Mr Clifford told Sky News: "The claims made by Mr Burrell have no merit. His allegations are opportunistic and are denied. It is an affront to common sense to suggest that Mr Burrell, who has sold stories to the newspapers, made countless appearances on TV and has even written a book about his dealings with the royal family, now feels able to claim that any information he provided was confidential.
"We will defend these claims in court and will be asking the judge at the earliest opportunity to strike out these claims as having no prospect of success and an abuse of process."
Left three suicide notes.
Jacintha Saldanha, the nurse to the Duchess of Cambridge who was found dead last week after being pranked, hanged herself by the neck in the nurses’ quarters, the coroner reported on Thursday. There were also injuries to her wrist. She left three suicide notes and as well as several emails, which officials say help explain why she took her own life. Detectives are talking to Saldanha’s family, friends and witnesses to last week’s tragedy to try to establish the circumstances that may have led to her death. Saldanha was found dead in her nurses’ chambers last Friday, a few days after treating the Duchess of Cambridge and being fooled by two Australian DJs trying to learn information about the duchess’s condition.
Jacintha Saldanha, the nurse who took her own life after being duped by two radio presenters and connecting a call to the nurse attending Kate Middleton, died after hanging herself in wardrobe, an inquest heard today. She had slashed her wrists.
She left three notes to her surviving three family members.
Dan Kitwood / Getty Images
Jacintha Saldanha, who was working at the King Edward VII Hospital while the Duchess of Cambridge was being treated for morning sickness, was discovered by a colleague and a security guard in the nurses' quarters, according to a report of the inquest in the London Evening Standard.
Pippa Middleton has written this week’s Spectator diary, in which she takes on her critics directly:
‘I have been much teased for my book, Celebrate. Lots of journalists are saying that my advice is glaringly obvious… It’s all good fun, I know, and I realise that authors ought to take criticism on the chin. But in my defence, let me say this: Celebrate is meant to be a guide to party planning and, as such, it has to cover the basics. If I were to write a cookery book, for instance, I would be compelled to say that, to make an omelette, you have to break at least one egg.’
She really doesn't get it, does she?
The knives are slowly but surely being sharpened for the King Edward VII hospital as questions about the part the Royal hospital of choice played in the tragedy of Jacintha Saldanah's death come to the fore.
As Sandra parsons writes in the Mail: "With what now seems to have been fatal complacency, it appears not to have occurred to anyone that it should upgrade its usual night-time telephone protocol, whereby calls to the switchboard are automatically diverted to a senior nurse on duty."
Sixty years and hardly a slip.