Friday, 30 September 2022
Thursday, 29 September 2022
Wednesday, 28 September 2022
King Charles III’s official monogram design released by palace
King Charles III’s official monogram design released by palace
The King’s new monogram has been revealed as the period of royal mourning for the death of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, comes to an end.
Charles’s cypher will appear on government buildings, state documents and on some postboxes in the coming months and years.
The cypher features the King’s initial “C” intertwined with the letter “R” for Rex – Latin for king – with “III” denoting Charles III, with the crown above the letters.
Monday, 26 September 2022
ORVIS SHOP LONDON REGENT'S STREET/ St James
Orvis is an American family-owned retail and mail-order business specializing in fly fishing, hunting and sporting goods. Founded in Manchester, Vermont, in 1856 by Charles F. Orvis to sell fishing tackle, it is the oldest mail-order retailer in the United States.
Orvis operates 70 retail stores and 10 outlet/warehouse locations in the U.S. and 18 retail stores and one outlet store in the U.K. Owned by the Perkins family since 1965, the company has changed hands twice and has had five CEOs in its history.
Charles F. Orvis opened a tackle shop in Manchester, Vermont, in 1856. His 1874 fly reel was described by reel historian Jim Brown as the "benchmark of American reel design," the first fully modern fly reel.
Prior to the Civil War Orvis was sending out catalogs, which predated more famous ones from Sears, Roebuck by more than 20 years.
Charles's daughter, Mary Orvis Marbury, took charge of the Orvis fly department in the 1870s. In 1892, she published an encyclopedic reference book on fly patterns Favorite Flies and Their Histories.
Following Charles's death in 1915, sons Albert and Robert managed the company until the 1930s, when it essentially collapsed during the Depression. Investors, led by Philadelphia businessman-sportsman Dudley Corkran, purchased Orvis in 1939 for US$4,500, and quickly revitalized the business. Corkran hired master bamboo rodbuilder Wes Jordan, who by the late 1940s had developed a Bakelite impregnation process that made Orvis bamboo rods uniquely impervious to weather, rot, and other perennial perils.
After World War II, as fiberglass claimed the fishing rod market, Orvis competed with bamboo rod builders, such as Payne, Gillum, and Garrison, while its fiberglass and graphite rods competed with Shakespeare, Fenwick, and other emerging post-bamboo-era firms.
Purchase by the Perkins family
In 1965 after nine months of negotiations with Corkran, Leigh H. Perkins (27 November 1927 - 7 May 2021) bought Orvis for $400,000. Perkins had since his youth held an admiration for the company which he purchased using $200,000 in savings and the rest in the form of a loan. At the time the company had 20 employees and $500,000 in annual sales. In 1966 Perkins established in the Orvis fly-fishing school in Manchester, Vermont, which is thought to have been the first of its kind in the United States. His idea was to both to democratize the world of fly casting and at the same time to expand his customer base. Eventually the company was to establish a total of seven such fishing schools.
Perkins recognized the opportunity to make Orvis synonymous not only with fly fishing but with an entire way of life, and greatly enlarged the product line in the 1980s into gifts and clothing.
Described by contemporaries as a genius at mail order, Perkins pioneered the trading of customer mailing lists among his chief competitors, including L.L. Bean, Eddie Bauer and Norm Thompson.Inspired by Perkin’s respect for working dogs the company in 1977 introduced the Orvis Dog Nest bed, which not only launched an entirely new category for the company, but which was the first of its kind sold in the United States.
Under Perkins and Jordan's successor as chief rod builder, Howard Steere, Orvis became the world's largest manufacturer of high-quality fly rods and reels. In 1989, Tom Peters, author of In Search of Excellence, named the Orvis fly rod one of the five best products made in the United States in the 1980s. Historian Kenneth Cameron has written that Perkins' accomplishment was to "define the look of contemporary fly fishing and the entire social universe in which it fits, no small achievement."
By the time that Perkins retired in 1992 and turned Orvis over to his sons the company had grown to have annual sales of $90 million and more than 700 employees. Under the leadership of Perkins' sons, CEO Leigh ("Perk") Perkins, Jr., and Executive Vice Chairman Dave Perkins, Orvis has more fully formalized- and broadened its corporate vision. Whilst Orvis has thrived and revenue has more than tripled under the second generation of Perkins leadership, a long-simmering corporate identity crisis had to be addressed: the company's growth had strained Orvis's sense of direction - e.g. between 1982 and 2000, Orvis purchased six other firms, most of whose own identities did not mesh well with Orvis and thus put the clarity of the brand at risk. As a result beginning in 2000 a rebranding effort began to focus Orvis as a name synonymous with a distinctive, outdoor style of living.
Orvis's conservation activism began with Charles Orvis's work in fisheries conservation and management in the late 19th century and has continued since. Leigh Perkins continued with conservationism as a company value, donating to wildlife organizations before such practices were widespread. In 1994 Perkins was recognized for his efforts when he received the Chevron Corporation's Chevron Conservation Award for lifetime achievements in conservation.
Since 1994, Orvis has annually donated five percent of its pretax profits to conservation projects in cooperation with the Atlantic Salmon Federation, Nature Conservancy, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, the Ruffed Grouse Society, and Trout Unlimited among others.
Sunday, 25 September 2022
Saturday, 24 September 2022
Thursday, 22 September 2022
Charles the new King after the death of Her Majesty The Queen | ITV News / Dear King Charles, if you’re serious about reforming the monarchy, this is how to start
Dear King Charles, if you’re serious about reforming the monarchy, this is how to start
The hard work of being monarch now begins – and here are five things you can do right now to improve things
Tue 20 Sep 2022 14.25 BST
Dear King Charles,
The captains and the kings have departed, the last presidents and princes are heading for the airport. After the funeral, the hard work of being monarch begins.
The red boxes are piling up, and Liz Truss will be dropping by for a weekly audience, smugly patronising you. So what should your priorities be? If you are truly serious about reforming the monarchy, here are five issues, helpfully offered, to which you might (but probably won’t) bend your brain.
If you really want to express solidarity with your subjects, particularly at a time of economic hardship, you could add some additional tax payments. All right, yes, you have paid income tax voluntarily since the age of 21, but large amounts of the royal resources are exempt. The royal family have generally been extremely reluctant to pay tax – they avoided income tax entirely from 1910 to 1994, usually pleading poverty – and they still don’t have to pay inheritance or corporation tax.
It is very difficult to separate state assets – the stuff the royals cannot sell like the crown jewels, the Rembrandts, the Rubenses and the 7,000 other paintings in the royal collection, to say nothing of George V’s stamp collection, which is valued in excess of £100m – but you do have private resources, such as those professionally managed for you. And you do have the sovereign grant, currently £86.3m, and 25% of the £312m current revenue of the crown estates, which gets paid back to you by the government for carrying out your royal duties.
But you have private assets too – and those are the ones we can only estimate, like Balmoral and Sandringham with their large estates. The Sunday Times Rich List reckoned this year that the Queen was worth £370m (way below the likes of Richard Branson and Paul McCartney but not to be sneezed at). That would make for a tidy inheritance tax bill on assets worth more than £500,000, but the royals are exempt and the Queen’s will will be sealed – so we’ll never know exactly what she’s passed on, unless you let a little light in on the magic. You could call it levelling up.
A slimmed-down monarchy
You have vowed to get rid of some of the flunkies, hangers-on and minor royals, though that did not get off to a particularly good start when your staff at Clarence House received notice of redundancy in the middle of last week , just as they were working flat out on the transition arrangements for you. But slimming down usually refers to the part-time royals who bulk out attendances at events and get paid when they do so. The trouble is, there’s a bit of a labour shortage at the moment, what with Prince Andrew sunk below the waterline and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex in voluntary exile in the US. It puts a lot of work on the royals who are left, such as you and Camilla, the Queen Consort, the Prince and Princess of Wales, Prince Edward and Sophie and Princess Anne. Maybe you will just have to cut back on royal visits.
Giving up Buckingham Palace
Why not? It’s draughty and cold, falling to bits with chunks of masonry dropping off. Grand but, well, just not very homely. There are 775 rooms, hundreds of bedrooms and bedroom suites, 92 offices, 19 state rooms and a swimming pool and the central London position would make it perhaps not a shelter for homeless people, but an ideal luxury hotel. Trump Green Park, perhaps? It can’t actually be sold, but perhaps could be leased out and hired back for special balcony occasions and state dinners. Or, if that’s too drastic, why not open it to the public all year round instead of just in the summer? There are hints you may turn Balmoral into more of a museum than it is already.
Reforming the honours system
Do we really still need the Order of the British Empire, or other imperial relics? Couldn’t they be renamed something more inclusive? And while we’re at it, could awards be given solely on merit, not to party donors, chief executives and cronies of the prime minister? Such people don’t really need it to enhance their status and stature (nor do film stars, sports heroes or other eye-catching recipients, nice though it is to see their smiling faces in the media in the dog days after Christmas). Longstanding nurses and cleaners may be less glamorous, but more of them would certainly be worthier candidates, especially for a government that supposedly wants to enhance their status without necessarily paying for it.
Banning leaky pens
'I can't bear this bloody thing': King Charles gets frustrated with leaky pen –
That’s something you could definitely do, and an inky-fingered nation would rejoice. If it’s true you take your pillow and toilet seat with you whenever you’re away from home, surely you could take your own pen? You used a fountain pen for those spiky black spider memos you used to write privately to ministers, but perhaps you could have a decent ballpoint pen for those sudden signing sessions without the risk of a pen malfunction incident. No one would notice. Promise.
Stephen Bates is the Guardian’s former religious and royal correspondent. His latest book is The Shortest History of the Crown.
Wednesday, 21 September 2022
Savile Row: Tailors fear for future if proposed developments go ahead
Savile Row: Tailors fear for future if proposed developments go ahead
By Jay Gardner
7 hours ago / 20-9-2022
Some tailors on the famous street feel the area will "lose its sense of identity"
Tailors along London's famous Savile Row are concerned proposed developments could mean the area "loses its sense of identity" and potentially put them out of business altogether.
Some of the bespoke suit makers fear their stores will be replaced with office space, restaurants and ready-to-wear shops.
The Pollen Estate, which owns most of the real estate on the iconic street, has submitted plans to create spaces which will not be used by tailors.
Joseph Morgan, manager at Chittleborough and Morgan said: "The tragedy is that Savile Row will be like any other street in the world."
Mr Morgan who has been a tailor on Savile Row since 1969 and dressed the likes of Elton John, Mick and Bianca Jagger, feared it was "losing its sense of identity".
Joseph Morgan fears Savile Row will be "like any other street in the world"
Mr Morgan said he worried Savile Row could lose its bespoke roots and move towards a street of stores selling ready-to wear-clothing.
"In the UK, all the streets are similar, you can buy ready-to-wear anywhere. But you can only get bespoke in London - let's bring back industry," he added.
"It (Savile Row) needs the individual the identity of the bespoke industry, we need the City of Westminster Council to stand up."
One particular development of concern is the revamp of Heathcote House, which if given council permission, would be turned into a retail space and art gallery, according to the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS).
The company's website http://www.thepollenestate.com/east-mayfair/savile-row
said it would "work to ensure that the non-tailoring retail uses in Savile Row are supportive of tailoring and the success of the street", but some felt that this would not be the case.
James Cottrell, owner of Welsh and Jeffries, was recently forced to close his store due to high rents and the Covid-19 pandemic. The store remains unoccupied.
"The landlord wants us tailors out," Mr Cottrell said.
"It will become an eatery area. We built Savile Row and they will kill it. They (landlords) will do what they can to generate the most rent."
Quan Yingmei has worked in Savile Row since 2003, including a period alongside Mr Cottrell.
"We were quite upset by that (the development plans)," said Miss Quan.
Quan Yingmei believes both local and national government need to intervene to save Savile Row's tailors
She added that Welsh and Jeffries' attempts at moving to a new store on the street were "rejected because we are tailors".
"We made Savile Row famous, not them. We really need protection from the government because this is history," she concluded.
But not all of the stores along the famous street share the view that development will destroy its heritage.
Christopher Boadle, founder of footwear company Arthur Sleep, based on Savile Row, believes developments could help drive new audiences to the area, particularly younger customers with quicker manufacturing processes.
"Arthur Sleep likes to think of itself as the new vision of the Pollen Estates movement, into bringing further relevance to Savile Row," he told BBC London.
"The more people that can come here and spend time on the street the better, visiting all the incredible tailors."
Despite welcoming change along the street, Mr Boadle insists that developments must support tailors.
"They are the cornerstones of the street," he added.
"I want to support and maintain them as much as we can. Arthur Sleep is here to bring a new vision and a fresh perspective.
"And that can only support everything the very traditionalists are here to cater for. Ultimately that is why people want to come to Savile Row, to come and experience the craftmanship, which Britain does best."
Daisy Knatchbull, founder of The Deck, the first womenswear store on Savile Row, agrees change is acceptable as long as history is respected.
She said: "Change is inevitable but needs to be in line with the street's history and respects the tailors.
"It is the duty of Savile Row, keeping the history and heritage, and that's the job of the landlord."
Store owners say they have vacated due to increased rent and business rates
Pollen Estate maintains that tailor stores remains the focus of their development of the street.
In a statement to the LDRS, it said tailors such as Edward Sexton are moving on to the street as well as new bespoke stores, selling streetwear and womenswear.
The statement read: "Savile Row's tailoring and craftsmanship heritage remain at the core of The Pollen Estate's vision for the street, with several recent arrivals to the Row as well as further announcements coming this year."
A spokesperson for City of Westminster Council said: "We do not comment on individual applications, however Savile Row has been the home of bespoke tailoring for nearly 200 years and we have policies in place to protect its unique character."
Tuesday, 20 September 2022
Royal family turns out in flawless fashion for the Queen’s funeral
Royal family turns out in flawless fashion for the Queen’s funeral
From pillbox hats to pearls and sharp tailoring, the dress code was one of resplendent solemnity
Mon 19 Sep 2022 15.24 BST
There was not a hair out of place, nor a shoe unpolished. Not one speck of lint on a jacket was to be seen. For the grandest, most gorgeous of occasions the dress code was resplendent solemnity, in pearls and pillbox hats, high heels and sharp tailoring.
For the royal family this was, as the archbishop of Canterbury noted, a portrait of grief under the brightest spotlight. The Queen Consort, the Princess of Wales and the Duchess of Sussex found a little privacy under wide-brimmed hats, or veils, or both. And while Britain was looking at the royal family, the rest of the world was looking at Britain.
Kate in profile
The Princess of Wales in the ceremonial procession. Photograph: Tim Goode/PA
The frilled white collars of the clergy and the rich scarlet and gold military uniforms contrasted with the simplicity of the black-clad mourners, a reminder that the death of the Queen has put not just the current Windsors but the whole notion of Britishness under the spotlight.
It has been a busy 10 days for milliner Stephen Jones, who following the death of the Queen turned his central London store over to selling black hats only in anticipation of funeral orders.
“Everyone wanted to be appropriately dressed, not fashionably dressed,” said Jones. “Hats were a symbol of Queen Elizabeth’s reign, because she herself always wore them.” The most popular styles have been discreet black hats, in neutral textures.
The arcane rules which decreed that as a non-working royal Prince Harry could not wear military uniform, despite having seen more active service than most of the family, are the kind of thing that makes the monarchy look petty and nonsensical in the eyes of its critics.
At Britain’s last state funeral, that of Winston Churchill in 1965, mourners came in top hats and mink coats, while Lady Churchill was dramatically submerged beneath yards of black lace.
Modernity has done for the full-length veil, with a “birdcage” length which covers the top half of the face preferred this time by Kate and Camilla. Other modern touches included Carrie Johnson’s nod to sustainability in a rented Karen Millen coat dress.
Boris and Carrie Johnson, who wore a rented Karen Millen coat dress. Photograph: Peter Byrne/PA
Kate and Meghan were dressed in almost mirror-image harmony, a quiet riposte – or at least, no comment – to salacious interest in the fissure between the Sussexes and the new Waleses. Both women wore saucer shaped hats – Kate’s softened with a small veil, Meghan’s with a wave in the brim.
Both chose clean-lined, unfussy tailoring by female British designers, with Meghan in Stella McCartney and Kate rewearing a favourite Alexander McQueen coat dress. Only Kate’s showstopper four-row pearl choker and matching bracelet from the late Queen’s collection, which rather overshadowed Meghan’s simple pearl drop earrings, hinted at the discrepancy between their positions.
Outside the circle of close mourners there were touches of individual glamour. Jacinda Ardern wore a kākahu, a traditional Māori cloak made from feathers, which is a symbol of ritual and prestige in New Zealand.
Princess Charlotte’s old-fashioned black hat was reminiscent of the boater worn by Madeline Fogg, the 1940s schoolgirl protaganist of Ludwig Bemelmans’ children’s books, while the diamond horseshoe brooch on her coat made sweet reference to a love of horses she shared with her great-grandmother.
Monday, 19 September 2022
Joe Biden forced to wait for seat after apparent late arrival at Queen’s funeral / Moncloa pressures King Juan Carlos not to attend the funeral of his cousin Elizabeth II in London
US president and first lady had to wait as procession of George and Victoria Cross-holders went ahead of them
Daniel Boffey Chief reporter
Mon 19 Sep 2022 15.45 BST
He may be the world’s most powerful man but the apparent late arrival of the US president, Joe Biden, and his wife, Jill, was not allowed to disrupt the finely tuned choreography of the late Queen’s funeral.
Rather than being ushered immediately to their seats on their arrival at Westminster Abbey, the first couple, aged 79 and 71, had to be gently told they would need to stand and wait as a procession of George and Victoria Cross-holders went ahead of them down the nave of the abbey.
After an awkward period of small talk at the main entrance, as those awarded the highest decorations of military valour went ahead, the Bidens finally followed in the wake of Victoria Cross-holder Pte Johnson Beharry, pushing the wheelchair of Keith Payne VC, 89.
The US president had been given a dispensation to make his journey to the abbey in the “the Beast”, a heavily armoured limousine used by US presidents for security reasons, rather than be bussed to the abbey with the other heads of state and government.
Camera footage shared on social media showed that the Bidens had made slow progress through central London, even being momentarily forced to stop outside a Pret a Manger on Oxford Street.
After arriving hand in hand, the Bidens finally sat down in their places in the abbey at 10.05am. The schedule published by Buckingham Palace suggested the 500 invited dignitaries should have been seated between 9.35am and 9.55am.
Perhaps as a consequence of opting out of the buses taking other leaders from the assembly point at Royal Hospital Chelsea, the Bidens were also given seats 14 rows back in the south transept of the abbey.
The US president took his seat behind Andrzej Duda, the president of Poland, and in front of Petr Fiala, the prime minister of the Czech Republic. Sitting to her husband’s left, Jill Biden sat next to Ignazio Cassis, the president of Switzerland.
The special treatment demanded by the White House was by some way not the most significant diplomatic difficulty facing the earl marshal, the Duke of Norfolk, who was in charge of planning the funeral.
While the decision of Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, to not attend avoided some damaging headlines, a decision to invite Spain’s disgraced former King Juan Carlos and to then seat him next to his son King Felipe VI and his wife, Queen Letizia, appears likely to make things difficult for the Spanish royal family back home.
Felipe, 54, came to the throne when his father abdicated in 2014 amid dwindling popularity. The 84-year-old, who appeared frail and had to lean on an aide, spends most of his time in self-imposed exile in Abu Dhabi following a series of scandals related to his finances that culminated in Felipe stripping him of his annual stipend and renouncing his personal inheritance.
There had already been a backlash over Juan Carlos’s attendance at the funeral but the Spanish royal household had been determined to at least not to make it worse by allowing a photograph to emerge of the two kings together only for the demands of royal protocol made it unavoidable.
Gerardo Pisarello, an MP for the Catalan branch of the far-left, anti-austerity Podemos party, tweeted: “[Felipe] says he wants nothing to do with his father; that he’s renounced his inheritance and knew nothing about the fiscal outrages. Then they go and sit together as if nothing’s happened, all while Juan Carlos is investigated in England. Shameful.” Pisarello was referring to a case being made against Juan Carlos by a former lover who has accused him of harassment.
The abbey bore witness to the gathering of royals and world leaders not seen for many decades. Among those attending were Japan’s emperor, Naruhito, who rarely makes overseas visits, and Empress Masako who has been largely absent from public appearances since suffering from what the imperial household agency has described as a “adjustment disorder” after giving birth to the couple’s only child, Princess Aiko.
Moncloa pressures King Juan Carlos not to attend the funeral of his cousin Elizabeth II in London
The previous monarch assumes this directive with resignation and annoyance and takes it as "an act of service and loyalty to Spain and the Spaniards" so as not to harm the Royal House
10/09/2022 Updated 07:48
September 19, 2022
The Government of Pedro Sánchez has communicated to the House of His Majesty the King its wish that King Juan Carlos not attend the funeral of his cousin the Queen of England Isabel II. A demand that makes evident the statements of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, José Manuel Albares, who had assured on Friday that he had no impediment in the previous monarch going to London.
As El Debate has learned, Moncloa's objective with this veto has been interpreted as an attempt to wear down the image of Juan Carlos I and increase the gap with his son King Felipe VI. A refusal that comes after the Spanish and Swiss courts have completely exonerated King Juan Carlos by shelving the cases that were open against him. For his part, Juan Carlos I assumes this directive "as an act of service and loyalty to Spain and the Spaniards".
This newspaper has been able to know that Don Juan Carlos and his cousin Queen Isabel II maintained a close relationship of affection, which meant that every time the monarch traveled to London he saw her personally. In fact, the contact between the two, tremendously fluid, caused his cousin to be in permanent contact with him when he was already residing in Abu Dhabi. On September 8, the day on which the monarch died, King Juan Carlos followed with great concern the minute by minute of everything that would happen in London.
The family and emotional ties between the Bourbons and the Windsors, and in particular between John Charles I and Elizabeth II, have brought up the possibility of King Juan Carlos traveling from Abu Dhabi to the United Kingdom, to pay his last tribute to the monarch. The Minister of the Presidency, Félix Bolaños, explained this Friday that it will be the Executive and the Royal House who will establish this delegation, once he notifies them of the funeral protocol.
Juan Carlos I has assumed this demand of the Government with resignation and some annoyance, since he does not understand the demand that has been imposed on him not to move from the United Arab Emirates. In spite of everything, Don Juan Carlos accepts Moncloa's instructions "so as not to harm his son and the image of the Royal House." This year it has been twenty-four months since he resides more than 7,500 kilometers from Spain.
Last Friday, Foreign Minister José Manuel Albares was asked in an interview if King Juan Carlos could attend the funeral. A question that the minister answered by assuring that "currently the head of state is Felipe VI and that, like his father, he also represents the family ties existing between the two royal houses", sliding that there was no impediment for the previous monarch to travel to England. Albares ended the matter by explaining that "it will be the Government with the Royal House who will decide the best representation by Spain."
The funeral for the death of Queen Elizabeth II is scheduled to take place on September 19 at Westminster Abbey. The specific day will be confirmed by Buckingham Palace. The abbey is the historic church in which kings and queens are crowned. There took place the coronation of Queen Isabell II in 1953 and it was where the then princess married Prince Philip in 1947.
Sunday, 18 September 2022
HM QUEEN ELIZABETH II 1926 - 2022.
Taking last public photos of the Queen was 'an honour and privilege'
By Caroline Lowbridge & PA news agency
6 days ago
Jane Barlow captured this portrait of the Queen as she waited for the new prime minister
Photographing the Queen was "an honour and a privilege", according to the photographer who took the last public photos of her.
PA Media photographer Jane Barlow captured the Queen meeting new Prime Minister Liz Truss on Tuesday, two days before she died.
Ms Barlow, who is from Belper in Derbyshire, has photographed the Queen on several occasions.
She said the Queen was "very smiley" as they spoke before Ms Truss arrived.
The Queen apparently talked about the weather and how dark it was, and was "frail" but in "good spirits".
Ms Barlow has worked for PA Media in Scotland for six years
"I was there to photograph her meeting the new prime minister but for me the best picture was the one of the Queen on her own. And it has obviously become more significant now," said Ms Barlow, who previously worked for the Derby Telegraph newspaper.
"I've had so many lovely comments about the picture.
"It's a real privilege to be able to take that picture, an honour and a privilege. It's like that for a lot of our job."
"She certainly did look more frail than when I photographed her in the summer," Ms Barlow said.
"When she came up for Holyrood Week, at the time they were telling me she would do one, perhaps two engagements, but she did quite a lot that week."
That week saw Ms Barlow photograph the Queen as she had audiences with Nicola Sturgeon and Holyrood Presiding Officer Alison Johnstone, and as she took part in a number of official engagements.
‘Disgrace’: Meghan and Harry ‘lied’ about their family / Lip-Reading and Fashion Criticism: Meghan’s U.K. Trip Under Scrutiny
Lip-Reading and Fashion Criticism: Meghan’s U.K. Trip Under Scrutiny
The actions of Meghan, and her husband, Prince Harry, as they mourn the queen have been the subject of biting social commentary — as usual.
By Sarah Lyall
Sept. 17, 2022
LONDON — All Meghan Markle did was put on a somber outfit and a sympathetic expression and walk around in public with three other people for 45 minutes. But the pointillistic armchair analysis of that brief event — a surprise outing outside Windsor Castle last Saturday featuring Meghan and her husband, Prince Harry, and Prince William and his wife — has gone on ever since.
The incident, for those following this particular saga, represented a brief cessation of, or maybe presaged an eventual thaw in, the coldness and hostility that has developed between the Prince and Princess of Wales (William and Kate) and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex (Harry and Meghan) in the past few years.
Thrown, or perhaps pushed, into shared mourning after the death of Harry and William’s grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, the four came together for the first time in more than a year to express their gratitude to the crowds, admire the bouquets of flowers left for the queen and demonstrate that they were able to exist in the same general location without seeming overtly hostile to each other.
From the moment Meghan appeared in public, and in the days that followed, Meghan-watchers in the papers and on social media have analyzed the video of the event as if it had been filmed by Zapruder himself, turning into instant lip-readers, body-language analysts, fashion critics and protocol experts in service to a never-ending parlor game: What Has Meghan Done Now?
How did Meghan’s dress (black and calf-length, with a flared skirt) compare with Kate’s dress (black and calf-length, with a slim skirt)? Did Kate snub Meghan by apparently not looking at, talking to or acknowledging her? Was it true, as someone claimed on TikTok, that Meghan tried to forge ahead of the others into the flower area, only to have Harry remind her “of royal protocol by subtly holding her hand back to let William and Kate come through to the flowers first”?
Becoming queen. Following the death of King George VI, Princess Elizabeth Alexandra Mary ascended to the throne on Feb. 6, 1952, at age 25. The coronation of the newly minted Queen Elizabeth II took place on June 2 the following year.
A historic visit. On May 18, 1965, Elizabeth arrived in Bonn on the first state visit by a British monarch to Germany in more than 50 years. The trip formally sealed the reconciliation between the two nations following the world wars.
First grandchild. In 1977, the queen stepped into the role of grandmother for the first time, after Princess Anne gave birth to a son, Peter. Elizabeth’s four children have given her a total of eight grandchildren, who have been followed by several great-grandchildren.
Princess Diana’s death. In a rare televised broadcast ahead of Diana’s funeral in 1997, Queen Elizabeth remembered the Princess of Wales, who died in a car crash in Paris at age 36, as “an exceptional and gifted human being.”
Golden jubilee. In 2002, celebrations to mark Elizabeth II's 50 years as queen culminated in a star-studded concert at Buckingham Palace in the presence of 12,000 cheering guests, with an estimated one million more watching on giant screens set up around London.
A trip to Ireland. In May 2011, the queen visited the Irish Republic, whose troubled relationship with the British monarchy spanned centuries. The trip, infused with powerful symbols of reconciliation, is considered one of the most politically freighted trips of Elizabeth’s reign.
Breaking a record. As of 5:30 p.m. British time on Sept. 9, 2015, Elizabeth II became Britain’s longest-reigning monarch, surpassing Queen Victoria, her great-great-grandmother. Elizabeth was 89 at the time, and had ruled for 23,226 days, 16 hours and about 30 minutes.
Marking 70 years of marriage. On Nov. 20, 2017, the queen and Prince Philip celebrated their 70th anniversary, becoming the longest-married couple in royal history. The two wed in 1947, as the country and the world was still reeling from the atrocities of World War II.
Losing her spouse. In 2021, Queen Elizabeth II bade farewell to Prince Philip, who died on April 9. An image of the queen grieving alone at the funeral amid coronavirus restrictions struck a chord with viewers at home following the event.
Opinions about Meghan vary widely, and with facts thin on the ground, responses to events like these tend to reflect deeply held, and entrenched, emotions. So some people reported on social media that a happy murmur went through the crowd at Windsor when they saw the two couples together; others said the opposite, declaring that while some mourners were excited to see William, Kate and Harry, they were actively opposed to Meghan’s presence. Various topics trended on Twitter: #Meghan (mixed views but with a healthy pro-Meghan contingent) and #MeghanMarkleGoHome (self-explanatory).
A similarly robust and mostly fact-free conversation erupted on Wednesday, after the two couples, along with other members of the royal family, left a service at Westminster Hall following the arrival of the queen’s coffin. Harry and Meghan walked out holding hands, unlike most of the other royal couples. A debate ensued: Were they disrespectfully behaving like “lovesick teenagers,” or was it OK to hold hands with your spouse while leaving a somber occasion?
It turned out, too, that another pair — Princess Anne’s daughter, Zara, and her husband, Mike Tindall — also held hands on the way out, which added an element of confusion to the issue. As Meghan fans have long pointed out, she is often attacked by the hostile tabloids and on social media for doing the exact same things that other royals, particularly Kate, the Princess of Wales, are praised for.
In the United States, where they moved after stepping back from royal duties in 2020 (“Megxit”), Meghan and Harry have been working diligently to raise their two children and reposition themselves as celebrities and influencers — that is, American-style royals — with a splashy Netflix deal and multiple charity and business ventures. They have made high-profile speeches at places like the United Nations (Harry), started a podcast series featuring interviews with famous guests (Meghan), brought the cameras along to record them as they do charity work and spoken publicly about issues like mental health and how they feel betrayed and mistreated by Harry’s family.
They are collaborating on a memoir that they say will be a candid account of who they are and how they feel, with plenty of details about their falling out with the royal family and their uneasy departure from Britain.
When Elizabeth died last week, the couple were already in Britain at the tail end of what The Daily Mail derided as a “pseudo-royal tour” and The Times of London unkindly called “a mini freelance royal tour.”
Accusing Meghan and Harry of blatant attention-seeking during this trip, the papers nonetheless stepped on their own arguments by showering them with attention, albeit mostly negative. “For those of us who have had more than enough of Harry and Meghan, I’m afraid they’re back on this side of the Atlantic,” Hilary Rose wrote in The Times of London.
Then the queen died, and Harry traveled by himself to Balmoral, in Scotland. Some reports said, without verifiable attribution, that he had been ordered to leave Meghan behind so as not to upset the rest of the family. Harry stayed for just a short time before returning to his wife. There things stood until they accepted the invitation to walk around for a bit with William, Kate, the crowds at Windsor and a bunch of cameras.
Alas, we’ll never know the truth behind it. We’ll never know, for instance, if the possible rapprochement came about because King Charles III “ordered his warring sons to set aside their ongoing feud,” as The Daily Mail reported on Saturday — or because Prince William unilaterally sent a “bombshell text” to his brother laying out the terms of the proposed joint appearance, as the paper (contradicting itself) reported on Sunday.
The Mirror tabloid followed what appeared to be an anti-Meghan party line in reporting that some of the mourners in the crowd refused to shake her hand and, in one case, haughtily donned a pair of sunglasses in response to her arrival. According to the paper’s analysis of a video of the incident, another woman turned away and then pointedly “gave the Duchess of Sussex the stink eye, before laughing” in her general direction.
Meanwhile, the commentator and controversialist Piers Morgan, an obsessively close observer and relentless critic of Meghan, inevitably waded in with his usual splenetic views.
“Don’t be misled by the scenes of supposed hatchet-burying between William and his brother at the weekend,” he wrote in The New York Post and on the Fox News website, in a piece titled, “Harry, If You Really Want to Honor Your Dad, Nix Your Salacious Tell-all and Rein In Your Royals-Trashing Wife.”
To which one reader responded on Twitter: “‘Rein in your wife’…?! What is this, the Middle Ages?!!!”
Sarah Lyall is a writer at large, working for a variety of desks including Sports, Culture, Media and International. Previously she was a correspondent in the London bureau, and a reporter for the Culture and Metro desks. @sarahlyall