St Paul’s Cathedral could be venue for the big royal do-over
The big news of the week, of course, was the revelation by Meghan Markle and Prince Harry that they would be coming back for the platinum jubilee in the first weekend of June after all. Although they have not been invited for the opening balcony appearance of the celebration, which is being reserved for “working royals,” it seems inevitable that they will be included in at least one and maybe more displays of family unity.
Attention, of course, is now turning to exactly which set pieces will feature the Sussexes alongside the Cambridges. The red hot favorite is the Service of Thanksgiving for the reign of Queen Elizabeth at St. Paul’s Cathedral on Thursday, June 3.
Keen observers of the royal feud will recall, as the Daily Mail does, that it was at another major ceremonial venue—Westminster Abbey—that Harry and Meghan made their last big appearance with the family, on Commonwealth Day, March 9, 2020. And who can forget the awkward gestures and body language between Harry and Meghan and William and Kate which seared that day in the memory, such as when Meghan tried to talk to Kate, and Kate blanked her?
The Palace is not giving much away but told the Mail, “Meghan and Harry and the children remain much loved members of the family and, as such, have been invited to family events to celebrate the jubilee.”
Don’t rule out a surprise balcony appearance by a larger family group—including the Sussexes—on the final Sunday of the Jubilee, details of which have not been shared with the media.
One moment that won’t include the Sussexes, The Times says, is a special appearance by HM’s other great-grandchildren at the Royal Windsor Horse Show on the Sunday before the jubilee.
The paper reports it will include “Prince George, 8, Princess Charlotte, 7, Prince Louis, 4, Savannah and Isla Phillips, 11 and 10, Mia, Lena, and Lucas Tindall, 8, 3, and 1, August Brooksbank, 1, and Sienna Mapelli Mozzi, 7 months [who] are all expected to ride in a horse-drawn carriage for the finale.”
Palace may block Netflix filming Harry and Meghan
There is consternation at Buckingham Palace that Harry and Meghan may try to exploit their time with the royal family over the jubilee to film footage for Netflix, a report in the Sun on Sunday claimed. In response, courtiers are putting in place contingency plans to allow them to block such efforts.
A source described as “well-placed” told the Sun: “Even if they accept that their Netflix crew can’t go into Buckingham Palace to film, they could cause problems—and at the very least cause a major distraction.” Senior courtiers believe that Netflix will see it as one big opportunity to exploit their mega-millions agreement with the couple. “So a team of Palace aides will be on standby to keep a very close eye on the crew, and act as minders if needs be.”
Harry’s various revelations to NBC last month—that he had indeed met the queen, that he was determined to “protect” her while not fully committing to return for her Platinum Jubilee, and refusal to say that he missed Prince Charles and Prince William—have reportedly “annoyed” his and Meghan Markle’s paymasters at Netflix.
At the time he spoke to Hoda Kotb of NBC’s Today show, the couple were being trailed by a camera crew for Netflix recording Heart of Invictus, a documentary about the games for wounded veteran soldiers that Harry co-founded, the latest iteration of which he was attending in the Netherlands.
Netflix is said to be unhappy with Harry and Meghan’s spilling of tea to their rivals, especially after they shared their original bout of headline-hogging anger and bitterness to Oprah Winfrey in March 2021, just a month after they signed their original Netflix deal.
A source told the Mail on Sunday that there was “a real sense of annoyance” when Harry confirmed to Kotb that he had met the queen at Windsor Castle.
“Netflix would have loved the first comments about the visit to the Queen for the documentary,” the “insider” said.
The reported annoyance follows the news that Netflix had shelved plans for Meghan’s animated series about historically significant women.
“Harry and Meghan’s slate [of projects] could be in jeopardy as they have announced plans to make shows that are educational and inspiring, rather than sexy and sensational,” the industry source told the Mail. “The pressure will be on them to come up with a hit.”
In response, Netflix issued a supportive statement to the Mail: “Archewell Productions remains a valued partner and we are continuing to work together on a number of projects.”
If true, the story points to the central dilemma not just for their Netflix deal but for Harry’s forthcoming memoir: the paymasters seem to expect Harry and Meghan to reveal royal dirt and scoops for cash, but the couple seem to want to make worthy films for the streamer about noble causes which show them as something other than palace tittle-tattles.
First names only for William and Kate
Prince William wants to jettison being known by his and Kate’s royal titles, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, and simply be addressed by their names, according to the Sunday Mirror. They also want people to stop curtseying and bowing to them.
The Sunday Mirror has also been told there are future plans for “an overhaul of the entire monarchy with the rules and traditions that surround it, including Charles and Camilla.”
A source told the paper that William and Kate “want to be more approachable, less formal, less stuffy, and break away with a lot of the tradition.” William plans to tear up the rule book to “move with the times.”
William and Kate—or will she prefer Catherine, and will the public and press go along with it?—have been motivated to push for change because of their recent Caribbean tour, which was widely criticized as a colonial era-echoing drag show.
“When the team arrived back in London, the couple had a debrief with aides,” a source told the Mirror. “They went over everything and pinpointed specific things that went wrong and how to improve moving forward. The general consensus was that the tour seemed out of date, out of touch, too formal and stuffy. So now it’s more ‘Wills and Kate’ instead of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.... ‘Just call me Wills’ type of thing. They want to try to avoid the bows and curtsies in public, be more approachable, less formal, less stuffy, and break away with a lot of the tradition, and focus on a modern monarchy.”
The source said: “If they could wave a magic wand and go back in time, they would change almost everything about the Caribbean tour. William and Kate are now both very aware that to certain parts of the world, and to the younger generations, the monarchy is a symbol of colonialism and a time gone by. Now, it seems silly to have celebrated that and pushed royal traditions during the tour.
“One of the big mistakes they pinpointed was echoing the Queen and Prince Phillip’s military parade, standing up in the open-top Land Rover. In retrospect, the team decided that this was one of the main symbols that showed the Royal Family hadn’t changed and moved on with the times. It portrayed a very elitist and out of touch monarchy, and this can no longer be the image it should portray in order to survive.”
The source added that the controversy around the Caribbean tour was “a shock to them all. A real eye-opener. This is what prompted institutional change within the monarchy. Otherwise, they just wouldn’t survive.”
A huge range of platinum jubilee memorabilia has been unveiled by the Royal Collection Trust, and we had a particular hankering for the tea service—until we saw the price. They ask a staggering £225 ($277) for the limited edition teacup and saucer, and £350 ($431) for the limited edition teapot. The Royalist might have to settle for the Jubilee coffee mug—a snip at £20 ($25)—instead.
This week in royal history
On May 12, 1937, the coronation of George VI took place, following the abdication of his older brother Edward VIII after the latter fell in love with Wallis Simpson, and gave up the British throne to be with her. George VI would be king for almost 16 years, until his daughter, the current queen, ascended to the throne upon his death in 1952.
So, Harry and Meghan are going to the queen’s Platinum Jubilee, but won’t be at the big balcony photo-call. How will all that go? Also: Lilibet’s first birthday falls on June 4, which is the Friday of the Jubilee. Will it be marked with a photo on social media, or would that constitute “overshadowing” the queen’s big day?
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