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Lobbying Row

Guardian Defends Prince Charles Shock

Republican newspaper allows a writer space to defend prince Charles's activism

Hats off the Guardian, Britain's most thoughtful left-wing newspaper, for running a piece today in defence of Prince Charles.

Vernon Bogdanor has been given space to argue back against the Guardian's constant criticism of the Prince, including its long-running campaign suggesting that he Prince abuses his position as constitutional monarch-in-waiting by seeking to influence policy.

Bogdanor writes:

The prince has been accused of "lobbying". But the key feature of a lobbyist is that he has a vested interest. The prince has no vested interests on such matters as Shakespeare or modern architecture. He has also been accused of enjoying a royal veto over matters affecting his private interests. But all that his critics have been able to establish is that he has been consulted.

What's In A Name?

Cressida Bonas And Her Oddly Named Family

Cressida Bonas And Her Oddly Named Family

An amusing collage of facts about Harry's girlfriend, Cressida Bonas, in this month's issue of the ever-entertaining society rag Tatler.

The piece reveals that Cressida is nicknamed Smalls or Smally in her family, "because she’s the youngest of her large brood of siblings from her mother, sparky Sixties heartbreaker Lady MaryGaye Curzon."

Then follows an astonishingly British array of names as Tatler runs through her siblings:

There’s Pandora (the  eldest of the lot at 40 and nicknamed Baba), who’s Cressy’s half-sister from her mother’s first marriage to the late Esmond Cooper-Key. Then there’s Georgiana, Isabella and Jacobi, three half-siblings from Mary-Gaye’s second marriage to businessman John Anstruther Gough-Calthorpe. Georgiana, or Giana, is 34, an artist and married to hedgefunder Robert Butler. Isabella – Bellie – is a 33-year-old actress and married to Sam Branson. And Jacobi, 30, is nicknamed Cozy. Then there’s 24-year-old actress Gabriella Wilde, or Bumpy (she was called Bumble Bee as a child).

Hugh Van Cutsem passes away after long illness

One of Prince Charles's best friends, Hugh van Cutsem died yesterday at the age of 72 after a long illness.

“It has hit the Prince very hard,” a friend of the Norfolk landowner tells the Daily Telegraph's Tim Walker. “He had been ill for some time, but it still came as a shock.”

The van Cutsem's have been intimately involved in royal life for  many years. Hugh Van Cutsem and Prince Charles attended Cambridge University together in the Sixties, his son, Edward, was a pageboy when Charles married Diana in 1981 and his grandddaughter, Grace, was a bridesmaid at the William and Kate's wedding in 2011. She was the one who put her hands over her ears to drown out the noise of the crowd on the Buckingham Palace balcony.

The former officer in the Household Cavalry also once occupied Anmer Hall, on The Queen’s Sandringham Estate in Norfolk, which will now become a home to William and Kate.

It's cold out there

Harry Begins his Walking With The Wounded Training

Harry begins his South Pole training

Prince Harry is to spend twenty-four hours in a cold tank later this month as part of his preparations for his walk to the south pole in November.

The Prince, 28, and the four other members of the Walking with the Wounded team "will endure simulated blizzard conditions as they practice their daily routine including putting up and taking down their tent, cooking meals and skiing for two hours at a time on exercise machines," according to a report in the Daily Telegraph.

In November, Harry will be part of the British team which will race against a team from the US and a combined Canadian and Australian team in a 208-mile trek from the 87 degrees latitude line to the South Pole.

The race is expected to take 21 days, and the Commonwealth team will include another celeb in the form of British actor Dominic West.

They Call It Football

First Ever Soccer Game at Buckingham Palace

Celebration of the national game

My sources tell me that playing soccer with Prince William 'can make you think he has tourettes' such is the volume and intensity of foul-mouthed expletives that pour forth from the royal mouth when the passionate footballer flubs a kick, so perhaps wisely the Prince will only be watching, not playing, when Buckingham Palace hosts its first ever game game of soccer in the palace gardens on Monday 7 October to pay tribute to 150 volunteers that "help deliver and support" the UK’s favourite game.

The event, which forms a key part of The FA’s 150th anniversary celebrations, will entail an official ceremony at Buckingham Palace with 150 specially selected grassroots heroes being awarded a medal from William.

The volunteers have all been chosen for their outstanding contribution and service to football – which includes everything from helping to develop the women’s game, providing opportunities for disabled players, grassroots referees as well as club and league administrators.

On the day the Buckingham Palace garden will host its first ever football match, featuring two of the oldest amateur clubs in England.

With special permission from Buckingham Palace for the game to take place, Wembley groundsman Tony Stones will work with the Royal Household gardeners to help create the pitch for what will be the most unique grassroots football match in the 150 year history of the game.

William, President of The Football Association, said in an official comment: “In our 150th year, it is hugely important for The FA to honour the efforts of the many thousands of volunteers who week in, week out, help to provide the opportunity for millions more people to enjoy football at grassroots level. Inviting 150 of these volunteers to Buckingham Palace provides a fitting way for The FA to pay tribute and give thanks.”

Introductions

Prince George Meets Diana's Family

William and Kate spotted boarding a helicopter near the home of Lady Sarah

Baby George's round of royal engagements continued over the weekend, when Prince William and Kate took him to visit Princess Diana’s family.

The new parents spent the weekend with Diana, Princess of Wales’s eldest sister Lady Sarah McCorqudale at the farm in Stoke Rochford where Lady Sarah lives with her family, according to the Daily Express.

They were spotted boarding a helicopter nearby on departure.

The visit coincided with  the 16th anniversary of Diana's death.

Bride?

Is Pippa Middleton Secretly Engaged?

Reports in a UK tabloid that Pippa is engaged

The Sunday People reported at the weekend that Pippa Middleton is secretly engaged to her boyfriend Nico Jackson.

Seeing as how they have only been dating for six months and the Royalists spies have heard nothing about it, we are treating this latest royal rumour with caution, but one friend apparently told the Sunday People: “Pippa loved seeing Kate go down the aisle and now it is her turn for a ­fairytale wedding. She couldn’t be more sure that Nico is the right man for her. They are such a good fit for each other and their families get on really well. Everyone is so happy for Pippa.”

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Pippa Middleton with Nico at Wimbledon (Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

The paper has nailed its colors to the mast on this one, confidently giving dates and even details on ring design:

To Catch a King

How Kate Plotted to Catch Her Prince

Kate engineered her education to make sure she attended the same university as William.

Rumors have long circulated that Kate Middleton’s pursuit of Prince William was a more calculated affair than it might first have appeared, and a new book by the always well-informed Katie Nicholl has some intriguing new details to back up those claims.

For Nicholl, a royal correspondent for The Mail on Sunday who also writes for Vanity Fair, says in her new book, Kate: The Future Queen, that far from being a mere coincidence, Kate deliberately plotted to attend St Andrews University at the same time as the prince.

Jasper Selwyn, a career adviser at Kate’s former school, Marlborough College, and Joan Gall, her house tutor, confirm in the book that her first choice was not St Andrews at all, but Edinburgh. After William’s own choice of university was made public, Kate turned down the place she had been offered at Edinburgh and took a year out, reapplying for St Andrews, a far inferior university, so that she could be not just at the same college as William, but also in the same year.

The book also tells how, in 2009, Carole spoke to William, asking him if he did indeed intend on marrying her daughter, and he assured her that he did.

Guy Pelly, who has been asked to be Prince George’s godfather, releases raunchy video with lesbian sex scenes to promote his new posh nightclub.

He already has his naughty uncle Prince Harry to take him out partying, but should Prince George need another spiritual guide through the chaos and lithe young things that make up London nightlife, it’s good to hear that William’s pal Guy Pelly has been asked to be godfather to the infant Prince.

Pink-cheeked Pelly, a posh nightclub promoter, is something of a legend in London society circles for his magical ability to combine outrageous behavior with unlimited reserves of charm. His ability to renounce the devil and all his works remains in question, however.

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Guy Pelly (Dave M. Benett / Getty Images)

Pelly, a pal of both Harry and William, was best known professionally for his former nightclub Public which was a firm favorite of the young royals until it was shut down last year.

Glowing

Kate Five and a Half Weeks Later!

Kate made her first public appearance today since the birth of baby George

Pretty damn impressive, that Middleton girl.

At a time when most new moms are still struggling to get out of the front door without being covered in regurgitated milk, Kate Middleton was back in the spotlight today for her first public engagement - supporting her husband as William kicked off a 135-mile ultra-marathon which circumnavigates  the island of Anglesey, where the couple have been living for the past two years.

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and Prince William, Duke of Cambridge

Mark Cuthbert/UK Press, via Getty

Needless to say, all the focus was on the new mom, who was braving the universe just five and half weeks after giving birth to her first baby. Maternity leave is over, it seems.

Kate 1

Paper Pulls Kate Shopping Pics

UK paper rolls over and pulls pictures of Kate shopping from their website

You know when you dip your toe in the water and then decide not to go in after all?

Well, that basically sums up the fairly feeble efforts of the reputable UK newspaper the Daily Telegraph to push the envelope and publish some harmless pictures of Kate shopping (that have already been seen around the world online).

For Kensington Palace has won its latest privacy battle with the British media after the website of the Daily Telegraph took down its story about Kate Middleton's supermarket shopping trip in Anglesey this week, which included paparazzi photos of the Duchess looking amazingly trim just five weeks after giving birth and listed items in her shopping cart. 

As of this morning an error message was on the landing page of the  story about the Duchess of Cambridge's first sighting since giving birth to Prince George. Kate's office refused to make any comment, but are likely to be jubilant that the once-troublesome British press has been so easily brought to heel.

Lady Di Movie

Naomi Watts: My Fears for William And Harry

The actress speaks 'as a mother' of her fear of upsetting Diana's sons with new movie.

Naomi Watts has said that she was so worried about how Diana's sons would react to her portrayal of their mother in the forthcoming biopic that she twice turned down the role.

Naomi revealed: "The biggest reason that made me pause was how the princes were going to feel about this.

"There was actually quite an eerie moment in London when I did see Prince William in a restaurant, and I got very nervous, because if I caught his eye I didn't want to interpret a look and think he had a negative feeling about this idea, so I made sure not to look.

"I do care deeply about how the princes feel, of course. I am a mum of two boys. But it was a story that was bound to be told at some point, and it's possibly fresher than people expected."

Watts told the Sunday Times she had taken some convincing to sign up to do the movie, which has been dismissed as based on gossip by Hasnat Khan, the doctor on whose story it is based.

"I turned it down twice," she said. "I was a little bit torn, but once I'd said no, I wasn't completely at peace. Sometimes when you say no, you feel free, but it just wasn't the case.

"There was something very intriguing about this woman's life. It was extraordinary ... I liked the idea that there was this fame
no one at that level can really survive it, I think. It's a very dark thing, but it's kind of true."


Pippa Middleton proves her commercial pulling power as the supermarket magazine she writes for rockets up the U.K. charts.

Laugh all you like at her excessively simple party tips—and plenty of us have chuckled at the suggestion that turkeys are perfect for “larger gatherings”—but Pippa Middleton has clearly got the Midas touch.

For new figures published this week show that the supermarket magazine she writes for in England has enjoyed a staggering 17.4 percent rise in circulation in the past six months, a bigger jump than any other publication in the U.K. for the most recent period of sales figures. Pippa’s arrival has transformed Waitrose Kitchen from a dowdy has-been into a dynamic force to be reckoned with that is now the U.K.’s 15th-biggest magazine title with sales of 412,000.

Pippa Middleton

Pippa Middleton attends the Wimbledon tennis championships in London on July 5, 2013. (Heathcliff O'Malley/Rex )

Or, as the creators of the satirical @pippatips Twitter account (which Pippa’s humorless lawyers are trying to shut down) might say: “Putting the sister of Kate Middleton on the cover of your magazine is a fun and easy way to boost your circulation.”

UK papers appear to be testing the boundaries when it comes to pap pics of Kate

A fresh royal privacy row is brewing after paparazzi pictures of Kate Middleton shopping at her local supermarket on the island of Anglesey in Wales were published in the UK yesterday.

A senior courtier told the Daily Beast today that Kate's team at the palace is "considering their options" after the British press flouted a long-standing agreement not to publish snatched pictures of Kate going about her daily business.

Although Kensington Palace has long accepted that they cannot prevent foreign media publishing long-lens pictures of the Duchess, they have in recent years succeeded in striking deals with most of the domestic UK media whereby access and the odd tip are  traded in return for self-censorship when it comes to pictures which intrude on her private life. The UK media has demonstrated particular restraint in choosing not to publish pictures taken without authorization of Kate in Wales.

So the publication of pictures of Kate’s supermarket sweep by a number of papers yesterday, including the usually staunch Daily Telegraph, which also listed all the items in her trolley, came as something of a shock.

Diana Death

SAS Inquiry Into Diana Murder

SAS embarrassed by claims, report says

One has to be cautious of Diana stories in the Daily Express, which has been running them regularly for the past sixteen years, but today's instalment - that the SAS has launched an ­internal inquiry into how the elite regiment became embroiled in allegations that it killed ­Princess Diana and Dodi Fayed - has the ring of truth.

The Express quotes sources 'close to' General Sir Peter Wall, head of the British Army, as saying that the controversy was “the most embarrassing and potentially damaging event in the regiment’s 70-year history”.

According to the paper, another officer called it a “fiasco” for a ­regiment “supposed to operate in the shadows”.

Scotland Yard announced earlier this month that they were examining new evidence after the family of a former Special Forces operative allegedly broke the code of silence surrounding her death.

The claims originate from the family of a star witness who appeared in a recent court case involving members of the elite SAS Special Forces unit. In a letter written by the estranged in-laws of a man known only as “Soldier N,” it is claimed that the ex-Special Forces operative had boasted that the SAS “was behind Princess Diana’s death” in conversations with his ex-wife.

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IN CASE YOU MISSED

Dissecting Cressida's Style

Dissecting Cressida's Style

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.

Sibling Rivalry

Mad About Pippa

Not A Stretch

Kate Flashes Tummy on First Solo Engagement Since Birth

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