Why is William hiding out four hours from London flying helicopters? Could it be that he doesn’t want to be there when his child and heir is born?
What can be Prince William’s excuse—sorry, reason—for staying on at work at his search-and-rescue base in a remote corner of Wales, 300 miles from Kate and a four-and-a-half-hour drive (on a good day) to the London hospital in which she will give birth? Sources say that he simply wants to be treated equally to his fellows, and military rules mean he gets just two weeks’ paternity leave. He wants to have all that time off after the birth, to get maximum bonding time with his child and heir.
SAC Faye Storer
There are of course compelling reasons that might force a man not to be at his wife’s side during the painful last few weeks and days of pregnancy. If your work involves, for example, negotiating for hostages in Sudan or towing oil rigs around the South Arctic seas, then it might be acceptable not to be present for the tricky last moments. You might even be forced to miss the birth itself.
Harry and girlfriend at British pop festival
Prince Harry was at the Glastonbury music festival over the weekend with his girlfriend Cressida Bonas.
Festival organiser Michael Eavis, 77, told The Telegraph: “Prince Harry was great actually. I recommended that he should go on into the night, because the nightlife is what Glastonbury is all about.
Cressida at Glastonbury over the weekend (Danny Martindale / Wire Image / Getty Images)
"At three o'clock in the afternoon, you don't get it. I told him to get his taxi driver to come back at five o'clock in the morning and do you know what? He lasted until four in the morning. His friends were all having a great time. He didn't want to make a formal thing of being here."
Kate and William's rejuvenation of the British monarchy depends on making us think they are just like us. Occasionally, the mask slips.
Some bizarre pictures appeared in the Daily Mail this week, of William and Kate walking away from a helicopter on a London airfield. It turned out that the pictures had been taken over a month ago, apparently by plane spotters who had not realized they had photographed William and Kate (and Lupo) until they downloaded the pictures a few weeks later.
The palace issued a terse, off-the-record response to the Mail, telling the journalist that the helicopter was owned by a friend, that the trip was neither "chartered" nor '"paid for" and that the trip was simply a "gift" from a friend.
The chopper belongs to Shoreham-based Eastern Atlantic Helicopters, whose managing director, Simon Oliphant-Hope, is a friend of the couple. Mr. Oliphant Hope, 49, said: "I know the couple and occasionally, when I am routing past North Wales, I give them a lift if it is convenient to all parties."
Nice friend, eh?
Comments recorded without her knowledge
Camilla Parker-Bowles has told John McEnroe that she used to play tennis but doen't any more as she is "too old".
Her comments came as she was chatting to the veteran American Wimbledon star during a meet and greet, and apparently did not realise her interlocutor was wearing a microphone.
The Telegraph is trying to use the incident to accuse the BBC of disrespect to the Royals, and saying that broadcasting private remarks is a breach of protocol, but Clarence House isn't biting, saying it is 'not an issue'.
During the conversation, McEnroe asked her: “Do you play?” to which she replied: “Oh, very badly. I would love to start again but I’m afraid I’m too old.” McEnroe said one was “never too old” for tennis.
Figures published in royal accounts today show high cost of renovating Kensington Palace
Calling Apartment 1A Kensington Palace an apartment is a just a teensy bit misleading. It's actually a fat four-storey house in the middle of London, and it has got a very cool 57 rooms plus a large south facing walled garden.
Oli Scarff / Getty Images
The cost of refurbishing the home, which will form the official London residence of William and Kate just as soon as it is ready, was revealed today to have hit £1m, which palace spokespeople said was due to a combination of much of the work being long overdue, and discovering asbestos on site which has had to be removed by specialist teams.
The annual accounts published today also revealed that William and Kates tour of Asia and the South Pacific last autumn cost £370,000.
Increase in pay will not go down well with left-wingers as UK economy still struggling
The palace gets annoyed when anyone describes the grant she receives for running the royal household as 'pay' so there will be the predictable irritation today as almost all the UK papers report on the Queen's £5m "pay rise".
Happy days for the Queen (Toby Melville/Reuters)
However, it is true that the Queen is getting five million more quid this year than she got last year, to cover the running costs of the Queen's household and expenses to carry out her official duties, as the sovereign grant will total £36.1m for the 2013-14 financial year, up from £31m allocated during the previous 12 months. It also covers the maintenance of the royal palaces in England and the cost of royal travel for official engagements in the UK and overseas tours.
Under new arrangements the Queen receives 15% of the profits from the Crown Estate, the vast holdings of land and property technically owned by the Monarch, but surrendered to the nation for several centuries.
Pics taken by plane spotters published weeks later
Bizarre photos in the Daily Mail today of William and Kate walking away from a helicopter which has just given them a lift 200 miles from their Welsh farmhouse to London.
But hang on a minute, I hear you say, I thought Kate wasn't going to be in Wales in case the baby came early?
And you are quite right. The pictures were actually taken 'last month' according to the Mail, and were taken not by paps but by plane spotters who didn't even realise that they had pics of Will, Kate and Lupo the Dog until they loked at them on their laptops some time later, and then, presumably, swifty called the Daily Mail's photo department.
A defensive sounding off the record statement from the palace says: "The flight wasn’t paid for and the helicopter wasn’t chartered. There was no cost. It was a gift, a lift from a friend."
They are both posh, pretty, gamine English girls blessed with serious eyebrows and a taste for the high life. Can anyone tell Cressida Bonas and Cara Delevingne apart? Tom Sykes tells you how.
Spot the difference between the two posh English girls who are both in the papers a lot these days, with this handy print-out-and-keep guide...
Cara Delevingne, Cressida Bonas. (Dave M. Benett/Getty (2))
What, where, and when: all the details on the royal birth.
The U.K. is on high alert for the royal baby. Indeed, the first false alarm sounded over the weekend, when helicopter-rescue colleagues of Prince William who were flying back to their base after a mission did a fly-past at a society wedding he was attending.
Guests were convinced that the chopper was coming to collect William as Kate was going into labor. Even William looked a bit nervous as he cast his eyes heavenward.
Danny Martindale / Getty Images
In fact, the pilots of the distinctive yellow rescue helicopter were simply having a bit of fun, buzzing their royal pals at the wedding of Melissa Percy and Thomas van Straubenzee.
Pippa and her brother James attend Wimbledon
Pippa's been writing recently about her love of the Wimbledon tennis championships, which opened in London today, so no surprise to see the future queen's sister grabbing her place in the royal box first thing this afternoon. The younger Miss Middleton was accompanied by her brother James.
Pippa and James Middleton watch the men's singles (Clive Brunskill / Getty Images)
"I first went to Wimbledon when I was eight years old and already a very keen tennis player,” said Pippa Middleton in her first dispatch as a Vanity Fair contributing editor. “During this first trip I acted on my childish tennis dreams and bought myself a postcard of the women’s championship trophy, on which I wrote, ‘I will win this one day,’ with my signature below."
The 29-year-old sister to the Duchess of Cambridge also wrote about having to queue up to get tickets - ah, the bad old days - and that she once told the whole Middleton family that “if I had to get married, it would be in my tennis whites—shorts with no pleats or frills.”
Pippa Middleton does a bit of light smouldering as she watches the gentlemen's singles match between Victor Hanescu of Romania and Roger Federer (Clive Brunskill / Getty Images)
Midsummer's Day is an appropriately Game of Thrones-ish date for a birthday, and Prince William turns 31 today. It’s been a truly remarkable year for the young royal—although the 12 months ahead look like they will be even more amazing as the future king awaits the birth of his heir, and he comes to grips with fatherhood.
In fact, William’s 31st year started badly, with the ridiculous row over the topless photos of Kate on holiday.
The blurry photos were certainly embarrassing, and it was undeniably a gross example of media intrusion on their private lives, but William’s actions in issuing an emotional statement condemning the pictures as reminiscent of the “worst excesses” of the Diana era (which they were not) and demanding a criminal prosecution against the photographer and the magazine involved—the French edition of Closer—was utterly counterproductive. All he did was ensure the story ran a few days longer than it otherwise would, when most publications—including every single newspaper in the U.K.—declined to run the pictures anyway. The photographer has still not been identified, and probably never will, as under French law he (or she) is protected as a source. The photos are also not illegal as they were taken from a public road.
Brilliant footage as excited Queen allows a rare public display of emotion
OK so we have now got the video of the Queen's reaction to her horse wining one of the biggest races of the year, the Gold Cup, earlier today.
It's definitely the happiest I have ever seen the Queen!
Britain's Queen Elizabeth reacts with members of her family and her racing team as she watches her horse Estimate win The Gold Cup during ladies day at the Royal Ascot horse racing festival at Ascot, southern England, June 20, 2013. (Darren Staples/Reuters)
Off the record briefing reveals details of royal birth
Sources have told the Royalist that Kate is planning a natural birth, scotching rumours the future queen is "too posh to push" and wants to have an elective caesarian.
Speaking as part of an off the record briefing, the source added that although the birth will be announced in the traditional fashion, via a note displayed on an easel outside the gates of Buckingham Palace, it was hoped that the birth would be transmitted electronically and on social media including twitter and facebook 'within minutes' of the hard copy being posted.
The source said that Kate is expected to give birth at the private Lindo wing of St Mary's Paddington, but that as Kate will be spending time at her mothers in Berkshire before the birth, the local hospital there will also be prepared in case of an emergency.
Outrage in some quarters, amusement in others, greets union leaders remarks
Outrage in some quarters - and guilty snickers in others today - following remarks by Dave Prentis, the head of the UK's biggest worker's union, Unison, who made a joke at his organization's annual conference comparing Kate Middleton to young mums who have babies to access welfare payments.
Kate arrives for an official visit to Naomi House near Winchester, England on April 29, 2013. (Alastair Grant/AP)
During his speech to delegates in Liverpool, Dave Prentis was arguing against cuts to welfare payment, saying: "In the tabloid press, so much is written about benefits abuses - young women having babies to get state hand-outs. But conference, that's enough on Kate Middleton."
Mr Prentis's joke went down a storm with delegates but was later downplayed by an official spokesperson as "a throwaway remark".
Queen arrived for the first day of Royal Ascot races
Lest anyone doubt that the Queen has fully accepted Camilla into the Royal family, she rode with her today in her open-top carriage on the first day of Royal Ascot.
Camilla took the place of the Duke of Edinburgh who will not be seen in public for around three months following his release from hospital this week.
Queen Elizabeth ll and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall arrive in an open carriage to attend Day 1 of Royal Ascot (Anwar Hussein / WireImage / Getty Images)
A military band played the Adele song Skyfall from James Bond as she arrived, paying tribute to the Monarch's 'skydive' into the Olympic Stadium last year.
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.