Harry and Meghan’s uncertain future
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s career choices have been much in the news since they parted ways with Spotify, the alleged amicability of their separation somewhat undermined by the head of monetization, Bill Simmons, denouncing them as “fucking grifters” as the door slammed shut behind the couple.
After it was revealed Harry and Meghan had blamed their woes on COVID, world events, and bad luck, Alison Boshoff, the Mail’s veteran showbiz correspondent, has an analysis of what the future might hold for the couple, and speculates that while Meghan will chase down commercial success, Harry “never really wanted to be a podcaster or a TV executive” and will refocus on “helping people.”
Meghan, of course, has signed with Ari Emanuel at WME, which makes it clear she is “still pursuing creative and commercial opportunities,” Boshoff says, while Harry, she writes, “is said to be gravitating back to charity and campaigning work, planning a return to Africa to film a documentary following in the footsteps of his mother.”
He also has his mental health causes, which have seen him take on the role of Chief Impact Officer at coaching firm BetterUp and his involvement with the sustainable travel organization, Travalyst which he helped found in 2019, and has signed up Tripadvisor, Google, Booking.com, Visa and Expedia “to an environmental sustainability rating system.”
But, as Boshoff points out, for a couple who Meghan once said moved together like salt and pepper, these seem very bifurcated career paths. She suggests that “their ambition to become a global humanitarian power couple seems, for the moment at least, to be on ice.”
Boshoff says that Meghan is now eyeing “a string of commercial endorsements in fields meaningful to her, such as food, wellness, fashion and therapy” and “a book, most likely with a feminist angle.”
It has previously been reported that Meghan is contemplating relaunching her old website, The Tig, with the aim of making it a Goop-esque lifestyle hub.
Time will tell.
Fergie feels ‘lucky to be alive’
Sarah, Duchess of York, has told friends that she feels “lucky to be alive” after surgery for breast cancer. The Sun reports that her younger daughter Eugenie, 33, has “all but moved in” to take care of her mom at Royal Lodge in Windsor. Older daughter Beatrice is staying in touch by phone, and King Charles—who reportedly wants Prince Andrew to vacate the property— has written to send his “sincere wishes for a speedy recovery.”
The paper previously reported that Fergie had been diagnosed at a routine mammogram in May. Surgeon Christina Choy carried out the single mastectomy; her colleague Stuart James reconstructed the breast using stomach fat.
The duchess was treated at the private King Edward VII’s Hospital in London, and left to recover at home last Sunday. A spokesperson said she was “receiving the best medical care, and her doctors have told her that the prognosis is good. She is now recuperating with her family. The duchess wants to express her immense gratitude to all the medical staff who have supported her in recent days. She is also hugely thankful to the staff involved in the mammogram which identified her illness, which was otherwise symptom free, and believes her experience underlines the importance of regular screening.”
A friend of the duchess told the Sun: “The surgery took getting on for eight hours and was more involved than people think. Today, the message she wants to get out is that she’s very grateful and she feels very lucky to be alive. She wants to thank the two incredible surgeons Christina Choy and Stuart James who saved her life and all the medical team who worked tirelessly to help her.”
A source said: “Most people usually associate breast cancer with a lump but that’s not always the case. A lump can be detected by the patient, but this was a ‘shadow’, which can go undetected as it’s a wider spread of cancerous cells. In Sarah’s case, a biopsy was taken from the shadowy area of tissue and a few days later the results came back to confirm the diagnosis—breast cancer.”
William shows his Pride
As attacks on LGBTQ people—particularly trans youth—escalate in both the U.K. and U.S., Prince William showed his support for the LGBTQ community during London Pride weekend by releasing a moving 6-minute video talking to three LGBTQ charity volunteers about their lives, and needs of the community more generally.
Michael Lister, Sharvari Patil, and Alexis Caught, who work for The Mix UK and Give Us a Shout—both charity partners of the Heads Together campaign which was founded by The Royal Foundation—spoke to William about their personal experiences and the need for LGBTQ people who feel isolated to reach out for help.
Significantly, William met the trio at the Royal Vauxhall Tavern, an iconic LGBTQ venue recently saved from closure—and one which his mother, Princess Diana, was once reportedly smuggled into by Freddie Mercury for a fun night out.
Alexis told William that LGBTQ venues were under threat and were important places for people to gather: “There’s nothing quite like coming together in person.”
William said the statistic that one in eight young LGBTQ men take their own lives was “unbelievable, terrifying,” discussing how hard it was for young men in particular to access mental health support.
Caught told him: “Now, we categorically know it is not sexuality or gender identity which causes mental ill health. It’s actually experience from the wider world. Experiencing homophobia, discrimination, negative discourse on social media, bullying, lack of protections, fear about how you're going to be rejected by family perhaps. All of those things add to the mental load.” The trio talked about their own experiences of finding strength and support, and the importance of being themselves.
During the conversation, William joked that he felt under-dressed in the RVT’s setting, and needed some sequins and glitter.
“I feel a big party coming on for you!” William told the trio. “Thank you for your insights of growing up. I think it will mean an awful lot to everyone to talk about it and hear it from people who have lived it.”
In 2019, as reported by The Daily Beast, William said he would “fully support” his children if they came out as LGBTQ, but added that he would be “nervous” about the extra pressure a gay royal would face.
William was speaking at the Albert Kennedy Trust (AKT), a charity that supports LGBTQ young people who are at risk of homelessness.
“I wish we lived in a world where it’s really normal and cool, but particularly for my family, and the position that we are in, that’s the bit I am nervous about,” William said, according to reports on the BBC and other outlets.
The Express reported that William was asked, “If your child one day in the future said, ‘Oh, I’m gay, oh I’m lesbian,’ how would you react?”
He replied, “Do you know what? I’ve been giving that some thought recently because a couple of other parents said that to me as well. I think you really don’t start thinking about that until you are a parent, and I think, obviously, absolutely fine by me. The one thing I’d be worried about is how they—particularly the roles my children fill... is how that is going to be interpreted and seen. It worries me not because of them being gay; it worries me as to how everyone else will react and perceive it and then the pressure is then on them.”
The BBC reported that William added, “It does worry me from a parent point of view. How many barriers you know, hateful words, persecution, all that, and discrimination that might come, that’s the bit that really troubles me. But that’s for all of us to try and help correct and make sure we can put that to the past and not come back to that sort of stuff.”
William said that he and Kate have actively discussed the question, saying they have done “a lot of talking” on the issue.
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‘Major eye candy’ has the power
Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Thompson, King Charles’ equerry, aka “Major eye candy,” continues his onward march. He has been named as number three on Tatler’s Social Power Index of 2023.
The magazine, which covers glamorous high society, writes of Thompson: “The erstwhile Major Johnny has a fabulous sense of humor and looks as good in a suit as he does a kilt. It is from within the palace walls that the King’s equerry wields his unique brand of quiet, charming power; but he’s spotted where it counts, at the coronation, or on the opening night of the Berntson Bhattacharjee Gallery in Fitzrovia, for example, to which he wore a bunny tie and charmed India Rose James.”
Thompson, previously equerry to the late Queen Elizabeth and who was recently promoted from Major, is below King Charles and Queen Camilla at number one, and Sanjay and Anu Hinduja at number two.
The 39-year-old Thompson, of the 5th Battalion Royal Regiment of Scotland, has been married for 13 years to wife Caroline, with whom he has two children.
He first came to public attention around the time of the queen’s funeral. Thompson was visible again at the coronation—much to the delight of his fans, the New York Post reported. “Major Johnny Thompson, looking hot AF,” one Twitter user wrote, accompanying some footage of Thompson helping Charles with his Coronation garments.
“Never been more jealous of the king,” wrote another, with an image of Thompson helping Charles adjust his golden robe. “I would camp out on The Mall in the rain without a tent for three days for a glimpse of this man,” said another.
Dutch king apologizes for slavery—will Charles?
Fresh pressure will be heaped on King Charles to meaningfully investigate and perhaps apologize for the British royal family’s historical involvement in slavery after the Dutch king, Willem-Alexander, this week apologized for Dutch involvement in the slave trade—and the effects that it still has today.
Speaking in Amsterdam on the 160th anniversary of the Dutch abolition of slavery the king said, according to a report in the Guardian: “On this day that we remember the Dutch history of slavery, I ask forgiveness for this crime against humanity. As your king and as a member of the government, I make this apology myself. And I feel the weight of the words in my heart and my soul.”
He used the Surinamese phrase keti koti which mean “the chain is broken,” but said “racism in Dutch society was still a problem and not everyone would support his apology,” the Guardian reported.
The Guardian has shown via careful analysis of historical records that the British royal family benefited from slavery. Charles has described slavery as an “appalling atrocity.” He will now face even more calls to commission serious research into the family’s historical links to the slave trade.
A revelation in the Daily Mail that some of the royal household have simply “decided not to take part” in diversity and inclusivity training programs, set up in the wake of the Lady Susan Hussey scandal, show the mountain the institution still has to climb, however. A source told the Mail: “I don't know of any members of the Royal Family who have taken part in the training.”
William and his mini-me
Prince George, 9, made a public appearance Saturday with his father, Prince William at a British cricket match against Australia in London.
Father and son wore a similar blazer shirt combo, and in one hilarious photo doing the rounds this weekend were spotted taking synchronized sips from their glasses. The pictures went predictably viral.
Also present was British PM Rishi Sunak, who spent time chatting to George, as did the actor and comedian Stephen Fry, who was spotted shaking George’s hand.
Guy Pelly’s return to William’s side takes us back
The Royalist suffered the weird feeling of having crossed the space/time continuum this week when Prince William was pictured dad dancing in a nightclub with his old friend Guy Pelly. Pelly? Host of the former nightclub Public, at which the then-young royals once cavorted?
Pelly? He who organized William’s stag do, drunkenly stripped in front of Charles at a polo match in 2007, and was busted doing 129mph down a dual carriageway in his sports car?
Pelly? Who mooned at William and others during a royal skiing holiday in Switzerland? Whose wedding Kate declined to attend? Who set up a club night promising, “Lesbians, Mexican Porn, Latex, Burlesque Dancers, Red Passionfruit Margaritas, Gimp Mask, Whips and Goody Bags.”
Why yes, the very same! Read this amusing where-are-they-now rundown of Pelly and other members of the old set in the Telegraph if you really want to transport yourself back to the early noughties.
Charles scandal springs back to life
Many have been astonished by the surprising lack of interest in the “cash-for-honors” scandal which rocked the then-Prince Charles’ reputation in the months before he acceded to the throne. Attentive readers may recall that Saudi businessman Mahfouz Marei Mubarak bin Mahfouz, who donated almost $2 million to Charles’s charities, subsequently received a CBE from Charles in a private ceremony at Buckingham Palace.
Mubarak had previously received a letter from key Charles aide Michael Fawcett saying: “In light of the ongoing and most recent generosity of His Excellency... I am happy to confirm to you, in confidence, that we are willing and happy to support and contribute to the application for Citizenship. I can further confirm that we are willing to make [an] application to increase His Excellency’s honor from Honorary CBE to that of KBE in accordance with Her Majesty’s Honors Committee.”
This week in royal history
The coronation of Richard III took place on July 6, 1483.
What next for Meghan and Harry? Is Kate Middleton the real power-broker at the palace, after reports this week that it was she who had insisted on the inclusion of “recollections may vary” in the statement Buckingham Palace put out after Harry and Meghan made various allegations in their Oprah Winfrey interview?
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