Debate on Queens funding reaches the New York Times
Parliament may have been informed that the Queen was ‘down to her last million’ and her palaces were crumbling as a result but the news of her financial embarrassment has done little to placate the Republican crowd (Boo! Hiss!) or ‘haters’ as they are technically known on The Royalist.
British author Kenan Malik has now weighed into the debate with a (rather well crafted) piece in The New York Times’s Room For Comment forum, in which he writes that, “trying to make sense of the royal finances is like trying to eat spaghetti with a spoon,” and points out that although her private fortune means the Queen is one of the richest women in the world, she is constantly ‘pleading poverty’ and has even sought public assistance to pay her heating bills. The piece is titled, "Britain's Welfare Queen." Ouch.
Malik provides a neat summary of the chain of events that have led to the current funding arrangements for the Queen. He writes: “The modern muddle began in 1760. King George III found himself £3 million in debt — a colossal sum, equivalent to more than £500 million in today’s money. To extricate himself, he surrendered to the government the management of, and revenues from, most of his property. In return, he received a fixed annual payment, known as the Civil List.”
Shocking photograph of Harry crouched victoriously over dead water buffalo emerges
Prince Harry was plunged into a fresh controversy after pictures of him crouched over the body of a water buffalo he had just shot on a big game hunt were published in the British papers today. He appears to have been 'blooded' on the right cheek, a tradition where blood of a species shot for the first time by a hunter is smeared on their face.
The shocking picture, which was taken in 2004, has been circulating among anti-bloodsports and anti-royal campaigners for several years, but has never been published in the UK media before.
However it has now come back to haunt Prince Harry just days after he appeared alongside his brother Prince William last week at a conference dedicated to halting poaching and the illegal wildlife trade.
Why do William and Harry feel compelled to be so rude to the press pack whose job it is to report on them?
Princes William and Harry showed off one of their least impressive habits today – their frequent inability to be civil to the British press pack who schlep around the country documenting their every move, publicity without which the British Royal family would soon be nothing but a memory.
The latest example came when the two brothers were photographed and filmed by journalists as they helped distribute and lay out sandbags in the flood hit town of Datchet this morning.
The boys began helping the Household Cavalry shift sandbags for flood victims at Datchet, Berkshire, at 6am today. The work was not pre-announced and no publicity was sought, but inevitably word leaked out. Their office at Kensington Palace argued that this was a ‘private’ undertaking, however it surely seems somewhat reasonable that the press pack would wish to document the occasion when the future king of the realm decided to help in flood relief efforts.
Wiliam and Harry apparently didn’t think so. When asked an innocuous question by a journalist on his impressions of the floods, William shot back – on tape – “Well, you could come and help instead of throwing cameras around?” and later told a journalist from the Guardian: "Why don't you put your notebook down and give us a hand with the sandbags?"
Kate looked pretty far from beign a worn-out new Mom when she made a public appearance today to support the ICAP art charity
How does she do it?
Kate Middleton showed off her enviable post-baby body today when she attended the ICAP Art Room at Northolt High School in West London.
She wore a $300 form-fitting LK Bennett shift dress for the occasion, which few new Moms would dare to appear in front of the world's cameras in so soon after giving birth.
Harry tries to help anti-poaching drive back on course
Call it a charm offensive.
Prince Harry today came to his brother’s aid, sitting alongside him and their father Prince Charles at an anti-poaching conference as the young royals sought to draw a line under their idiotically-timed hunting trip to Spain this weekend, which took place on the same day as Prince William launched a new anti-poaching initiative.
Today, the brothers sought to turn to the focus back on the horrifying scale of the illegal wildlife trade which is decimating African livestock.
Prince Charles also announced a plan to ‘follow the money’ in an effort to strip wildlife poachers of their ill-gotten gains.
Even William's staunchest supporters forced to concede his Spanish hunting trip was ill-timed
Prince William yesterday went ahead with plans to host a reception at the Natural History Museum in London, kicking off a British government-sponsored conference to coordinate world efforts to fight the wildlife trade, despite having been embarrassed by revelations he spent the weekend hunting wild boar and stag on the Spanish estate of the Duke of Westminster.
Even his most ardent supporters were forced to admit that his timing had been 'unfortunate'.
Wiliam addressed a symposium of leading conservationists gathered by his United For Wildlife charity.
"The forces that are currently destroying some of the world's endangered species are sophisticated and powerful," William told the audience. "But this week, we are seeing the creation of an equally powerful alliance, coming together to help fight them."
Britain underwater, and even Windsor is hit
As you may or may not be aware, depending on your level of Anglophilia, large parts of the United Kingdom are currently underwater following some of the heaviest rain on record this winter.
And now the floodwaters are even lapping at the gates of Windsor Castle, as the River Thames has burst its banks.
The swans are certainly making the most of their owners and watery circumstances, as these pictures show, however, monarchists will be glad to know that due to the age-old precaution of building the main bit of your castle atop a hill, there's little danger of the Queen, who is currently in residence at Windsor, being washed away.
Kate chatted to TV artist Grayson Perry last night after prize-winning novelist Hilary Mantel missed gala dinner as she sought to avoid re-opening 'jointed doll' controversy
The novelist Hilary Mantel skipped a gala dinner last night which was being held at the National Portrait Gallery to celebrate a new exhibition to which she had contributed work because Kate Middleton was the guest of honor, and she did not want to embarrass the young royal and once again stir up the controversy surrounding remarks in which she said the media regarded Kate as nothing more than a "jointed doll".
Kate did however meet with the transvestite artist Grayson Perry, who just last week was awarded a CBE from her father-in-law Prince Charles at Buckingham Palace, dressed as a woman. His attire was described as, “entirely appropriate”, by the Buckingham Palace press team at the time.
Prince Charles showed his age today when he asked former Spice Girl Emma Bunton when the Spice Girls were going to reunite - but appeared to have no idea who Christina Aguilera was.
Charles, a classical music buff, also disclosed that he offered some 'gentle persuasion' when advising Kate Middleton on her wedding music.
Charles and Camilla were touring London radio stations today as part of a day to celebrate British radio.
Camilla fell into the inevitable trap of getting pictured attempting to DJ on the decks at one station, Kiss FM.
Morrissey condemns William for hunting, and says he hopes his gun will 'backfire in his face'
Morrissey is more than usually irritated with the Royal family following news that Prince William went wild boar hunting just days before launching a huge push for the conservation of endangered species.
On his fan site 'True To You,' Mozza posted a typically irate open letter reading,
"One day prior to giving a public plea on behalf of animal welfare (!), Prince William is to be found in Spain (with Prince Harry) shooting and killing as many deer and boar as they possibly can!
"Although William's speech (no doubt written by his publicity aides at Clarence House) will concentrate on endangered species, William is too thickwit to realize that animals such as tigers and rhino are only driven to near extinction because people who are precisely like himself and his brother have shot them off the map - all in the name of sport and slaughter.
Meet the Northern Irish conman who converted to Islam in jail - then walked into a London policeman issuing threats to kill Prince Harry
A convicted criminal who walked into a London police station and said he was planning to kill Prince Harry was jailed for three years yesterday. A judge said Ashraf Islam – formerly known as Northern Irish conman Mark David Townley - posed a risk to the public although he added that his plot against the fourth-in-line to the throne was, "vague and unlikely to succeed."
That, to be honest, is putting it mildly.
The plot was only discovered when Townley, walked into a West London police station and told the police that he was planning to murder Harry - just days after the murder of servicemen Lee Rigby on a London street shocked the world
The court had previously heard that Islam, “said he'd been watching the Horse Guards Parade and planned to disarm an officer while disguised as a tourist, rather than bringing a gun into London. He spent some 10 days in Thailand researching Prince Harry and his whereabouts."
Harry has been staying at Cressida's house in Norfolk
Rumors that Prince Harry and his girlfriend Cressida Bonas are on the brink of breaking up are wide of the mark, with reports that the couple have been spending more time together rather than less in recent weeks, helped by Harry's decision to take a desk job in London.
Splash News and Pictures
According to the Daily Express, Prince Harry has even stayed two weekends at the Norfolk house owned by Cressida's family, which is located just 20 minutes from the Queen's estate at Sandringham.
Harry has been, according to one friend, "particularly thoughtful" during a difficult time for Cressida; her former stepfather Christopher Shaw, the fourth husband of her mother Lady Mary Gaye Curzon, was found dead three weeks ago of a suspected drug overdose in Wiltshire.
Why was William shooting wild boar the day before a new conservation push was unveiled?
On Friday night, royal correspondents received a press notice from Prince Charles’s office at Clarence House. The release, which was embargoed until yesterday and officiously emblazoned with a string of conditions on broadcasters and journalists who wished to use the material, announced that Prince William and his father Prince Charles were going to release a video on Sunday urging the public to “unite for wildlife”. In the video William and Charles talk about the unprecedented levels of killing of endangered species like elephants, which are being killed at the shocking rate of 100 animals per day by the illegal wildlife trade.
The video would conclude, it was announced, with the father and son and uttering the phrase, “Let’s Unite For Wildlife” in Vietnamese, Mandarin, Swahili, Arabic and Spanish.
It was an undoubtedly well-intentioned move, and William and Charles had obviously decided that getting their message out was worth risking the inevitable criticism that they were lecturing the rest of the world. Last year, William gave up his full time job with the British military to focus full-time on conservation work, so this video, timed to coincide with a series of events and think-ins in London this week on the illegal wildlife trade, seemed a logical response. William, patron of numerous anti-poaching organisations, will be a very visible totem of the cause throughout the week.
But, even as the press releases were being sent out, and journalists were getting their first sneak peeks at the nine-minute film, extraordinarily ill-timed news was filtering out that the next day’s front page of the Sun would be carrying the story that William, accompanied by his brother Harry, had flown off to Spain for the weekend to take part in a wild boar hunt at Finca La Garganta, the Spanish estate of Britain’s richest man, the Duke of Westminster.
Weekend before commencing wildlife awareness drive.
You’d think a royal adviser or someone could have stopped this from happening. The Sun is reporting that Prince William is embarking on a hunting trip in Spain over the weekend, just before he’s scheduled to take part in a series of activities to save endangered wildlife. On Monday, Will and Prince Charles are scheduled to release a joint video message discussing illegal wildlife trading, followed by a visit to the United for Wildlife Symposium at the Zoological Society London on Wednesday. On Thursday, the pair are scheduled to attend a London Conference on the Illegal Wildlife Trade. Not a good look, boys. Put the rifles down.
Taylor says she was 'surprised and flattered' when William suggested they sing along with Jovi
Taylor Swift has said that she found singing "Livin' On A Prayer" with Prince William and Bon Jovi 'surreal' but said she would take to the stage with the young royal again in a flash.
Taylor told the Mail on Sunday's Event magazine that it was Prince William's idea.
Swift explained, "Prince William looked at me and said, 'I'll do it if you do it, too' and then he took my hand. I was surprised and flattered and it felt surreal and natural at the same time.
"We jumped on the stage and started to sing and then we were really yelling into the microphone and clapping hands. I still can't believe I've sung with Prince William. Even through all that I could hear his voice and it's pretty good. A nice tone. I'd definitely say he has got star quality. If he ever wants me to sing with him again I'll be there. It was a night I will remember until I'm very, very old. The whole evening was completely wondrous."
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.