PM’s office says coffin bearer party will ‘include current service personal from ships, units and regiments notable for their service in the Falklands campaign.”
Baroness Thatcher’s funeral will have a Falklands War theme, with clear reminders of the 1982 conflict which defined Thatcher's rule and claimed the lives of 255 Britons and 649 Argentinians.
Downing Street announced today that more than 700 armed forces personnel will take part in the final farewell to Thatcher.
British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher at the Conservative Party Conference in Blackpool on October 8, 1987. (John Downing/Getty)
Her coffin will be carried into into St. Paul's Cathedral by bearers from units particularly associated with the Falklands War.
First time Monarch attends PM funeral since Churchill
The Queen will attend the funeral of Margaret Thatcher next Wednesday, the first time that she has attended a prime minister’s funeral since the death of Sir Winston Churchill in 1965.
The decision is bound to infuriate those who claim Thatcher was a force for ill in the UK.
According to The (paywalled) London Times, the Queen gave her consent “some time ago” to the proposal by the Government that Lady Thatcher be given a ceremonial funeral with military honours, however it will not be a state funeral.
Lord Bell, her friend and spokesman, said: “She specifically did not want a state funeral and nor did her family. She particularly did not wish to lie in state as she thought that was not appropriate. And she didn’t want a fly-past as she thought that was a waste of money.”
Correction: Harry will present medals at finish line, not run marathon
With all other news cancelled yesterday due to the death of the Iron Lady, we must apologise for neglecting to tell you of the latest Harry updates (although we got the news out of his romantic fling with a shopgirl before word of Mrs T's passing broke).
Well, on April 19, Prince Harry will attend the launch of The Walking With the Wounded South Pole Allied Challenge at the Mandarin Hotel in London.
Prince Harry in Norway with WWTW team (David Cheskin, WPA Pool / Getty Images)
At this kickoff for the fundraising competition, Harry will meet with a selection of the wounded service personnel taking part in the exhibition, St. James's Palace said Monday. He'll learn from those competing in the challenge about their training program and what challenges they can expect to face. He'll also deliver a short speech.
There are few people who can make the Queen nervous. Their number just decreased by one.
The Union Flag has been lowered to half mast over Buckingham Palace, and spokespeople there have said that the Queen will be sending a message of condolence to the family of Mrs Thatcher. There is no doubt that the two women, seperated in age by just six months (Thatcher was the elder), respected each other enormously. But it was not always an easy relationship. There's a marvelous moment in the new Helen Mirren play, “The Audience” – which dramatizes the weekly meetings that have taken place between monarch and her prime minister every Tuesday for the last sixty years – when the Queen is seen literally trembling in her boots as she awaits the arrival of Margaret Thatcher one afternoon.
The Queen’s equerry provides a running commentary on Thatcher’s state – the word from Whitehall is that she is ‘vibrating’ and when she gets out of the official car to charge into the palace, her feet are said to be scarcely touching the ground such is her rage.
Soon enough, Thatcher arrives in the Queen’s presence and begins furiously upbraiding the Queen, accusing her of betraying the confidentiality of their meetings, following the appearance of a piece in the Sunday Times reporting that sources ‘very close’ to the Queen have signaled that the Queen finds Thatcher’s policies hard-hearted and lacking in compassion for the poor.
Twnety Coldstream Guards contracted the skin disease on exercises in Germany
Twenty guardsmen responsible for protecting the Queen at Windsor Castle have contracted the skin disease scabies, the Daily Mail has reported.
The Coldstream Guards, who guard the Monarch at her Royal Residences and live near Windsor Castle at Victoria Barracks, are said to have contracted the disease when on exercise in Germany.
Guardsmen at Windsor Castle (WPA Pool / Getty Images)
Prince Harry fell for girl working at a shop in Eton High Street as a teenager, a new bio claims
An otherwise rather predictable new biography of Prince Harry serialized in the Daily Mail over the weekend and again today does contain one bona fide scoop – the tale of Harry’s schoolboy romance with a lowly shopgirl named Margaret. At least, we are told by author Chris Hutchins, that is her middle name as she refused to be fully identified, for reasons which will become clear.
The romance developed after Harry’s passionate Valentine cards and declarations of love for Laura Gerard Leigh, the daughter of a multi-millionaire stockbroker who was a pal of his grandpa Prince Philip, went unrequited. With the posh girls giving him no dice, it seems Harry re-adjusted his targeting somewhat, and instead opted for proximity.
'Margaret' worked at one of the many convenience stores that line Eton High Street, where boys are allowed to shop for extra food.
Kate comes face to face with herself in fantastic plastic
Admittedly, coming face to face with yourself rendered as a doll is always likely be a disconcerting experience, but even so we can't help feeling Kate was perhaps a little too frank and outspoken when royal fan Dayna Miller, 11, showed Kate a doll which she got as a Christmas gift from her mother.
Detail of a doll shown to the Duchess of Cambridge, known as the Countess of Strathearn when in Scotland, by Royal fans Dayna Miller and her mother Sharon Miller, during her visit to Dumfries House in Ayrshire, Scotland. (Danny Lawson/PA)
According to a reporter from The Daily Mirror:
The youngster said: "She looked at it and she said 'does my hair look like that?'.
"Then she asked me where I got it from."
She added: "Kate's much prettier than the doll."
Dayna's mother Sharon, 48, who wore a crown to meet the royals, said she bought the doll online for her daughter.
Kate gives first hint of due date
Kate Middleton has given her first hint about her due date, telling a member of the public while on tour in Scotland that her baby is due in mid July.
Kate's official spokespeople have so far refused to be any more specific than 'in July'.
Chris Jackson/Getty Images
Kate also said yesterday that she plans to go on maternity leave from her royal duties from ‘around June time’.
Little girl recoils from princely kiss on Scottish tour
Seems a kiss from a prince isn't all its cracked up to be.
When little Shona Ritchie plucked up the courage to ask for a peck from Prince William, the future king was happy to oblige.
But when he took her at her word and leant in, she recoiled, seeking the safety of her mother’s arms.
As her mother put it: “She suddenly became shy for the first time today.”
Young Royals tour of scotland continues today
Earlier this week, Pippa Middleton was boasting of her family's ping pong prowess, and now here's a good video of her sister Kate and hubby William playing table tennis while on their mini-tour of Scotland.
First of all the two warmed up with a knock about on their own, and then they were joined by two youngsters for a game of doubles.
Kate's got a pretty mean smash, we feel sure you'll agree. But the heels make me nervous. We do not need a trip or a fall right now.
Kate Middleton showed off her burgeoning baby bump today at the start of a two-day tour of Scotland in a short tartan coat.
Kate - known as the Countess of Strathearn when north of the border - wore £425 blue and grey coat by British label Moloh.
Chris Jackson/Getty Images
William and Kate paid a visit to one of the venues for events at the 2014 Commonwealth Games.on the firsat day of a two-day tour of Scotland.
Engulfed in scandal and plagued by ill-health, the Spanish royal family is teetering on the brink of extinction
The king is sick, his female friend has fled the country, the press are asking questions, his staff are on strike and now his youngest daughter has been summoned to appear in court. Could the Spanish monarchy be the first royal house of the twenty-first century to fall?
Almost exactly a year ago, King Juan Carlos of Spain gave a speech in which he claimed that the plight of the unemployed – who currently make up 26% of the Spanish population – kept him awake at night.
King Juan Carlos of Spain and Queen Sofia of Spain. (Carlos Alvarez / Getty Images)
It was just the kind of unifying speech that Carlos had perfected over his many decades in power since the Spanish monarchy was reinstated by the fascist dictator Franco. Franco saw an ally in Juan Carlos, and declared that after his death (which came in 1975) the King would take over from him and continue his autocratic rule, but Franco was posthumously double-crossed by Franco, and in 1977 the King voluntarily gave up his role of absolute monarch and oversaw Spain’s transition to a modern, multi-party democracy. In 1981, Juan Carlos was the focal point of resistance to an attempted military coup.
It is perhaps unsurprising, therefore, that for many years the Spanish have adored King Juan Carlos and been wiling to overlook the infidelities and improprieties of the Royals, and the estimated ten million euro a year they cost the state.
Pippa issued a challenge to the London mayor in a column today to play her at Ping Pong and he has accepted. The world awaits the showdown...
It's shaping up to be the over-privileged celebrity Londoner grudge match of the decade.
Boris Johnson, the tousle-haired and plummy-accented mayor of London, has accepted a challenge to play a game of Ping Pong against Pippa Middleton.
Look out Pippa: this is how Boris rolls playing ping pong against school kids (Peter Macdiarmid / Getty Images)
The world’s most famous bridesmaid threw down the gauntlet in a column written for today's issue of the British establishment’s house magazine, the Spectator, and BoJo, as the Old Etonian London mayor is known, responded enthusiastically via twitter.
Prince Charles Gets British Meat Award
For all his faults, few would dispute that Prince Charles has been a tirelss campaigner for the British countryside and farmers, and the Prince has now been presented with an award to recognise his support of the British livestock industry, the Royal Smithfield Club Bicentenary Trophy Award.
Prince Charles sniffs a pork pie (Getty Images) (WPA Pool)
On presenting the trophy the Club’s President said the award was being given in recognition of Charles's work over many years to support for British livestock farmers and the British meat industry. During the many difficult times for the industry, The Prince has supported the British sheep industry by setting up the Mutton Renaissance and the Campaign for Wool. His Royal Highness has always supported organic enterprise and has inspired many livestock producers through the running of his own organic farm at Highgrove.
He was referred to by the committee as "an extraordinary ally" of the industry.
Public would like to see more of William and Kate, however
The British public remain approving of the Queen, and believe she is doing a good job, although increasing numbers think she should take things easier and hand over more responsibility to William and Kate.
75 per cent of 2,000 respondents to a poll by celebrity magazine Hello! said they agreed or strongly agreed that the Queen has done 'a wonderful job' over the last 60 years, while 69 per cent said it was time for the Queen to lighten her schedule.
The Queen on Easter Sunday (Steve Parsons/WPA Pool, via Getty)
80% of respondents said they would like to see more of William and Kate.
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.