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The Royal Family is on the move! After canceling two weeks of engagements following an overnight stay in the hospital, Queen Elizabeth hit the road this week for a relaxing getaway. Elsewhere, Prince Charles, Prince William and Kate Middleton traveled to Scotland to hobnob with world leaders and famous faces at the Cop26 summit. Across the pond, Meghan took a major step towards a career in politics when she personally lobbied several US politicians – and scored an invite to D.C. in the process. Meanwhile, back at home in London, Eugenie shared a rare (and adorable) photo of her baby son on Halloween. Here’s what you need to know.
TAKING CARE OF THE QUEEN: On Sunday, it was revealed that the Queen is being nurtured back to health by close aides who have loyally stayed by her side since the death of Prince Philip. Paul Whybrew, the Queen’s favorite courtier – who is known as ‘Tall Paul’ due to his 6ft 4in frame – is one aide said to be a near constant presence by her side. Mr Whybrew, 62, is reportedly seen as indispensable by the Monarch. The only person trusted to touch her jigsaw puzzles, Mr Whybrew has been watching television with the Queen and keeping her company as she convalesces.
An early sign of his loyalty came in 1982 when he wrestled Michael Fagan to the ground after the intruder broke into the Queen’s bedroom at Buckingham Palace. The courtier was also seen walking beside the Queen during her cameo with Daniel Craig as James Bond in a sketch for the opening of the London 2012 Olympic Games.
He’s helping to oversee Her Majesty’s strict routine that includes a healthy diet as well as daily exercise to keep her joints supple. The Queen has given up her evening alcoholic tipple, but she is said to be buoyed by her ‘live-wire’ Corgi puppy, Muick, named after a loch at Balmoral. While she takes a break from official duties, she takes lunch alone at 12.30pm, with dishes such as grilled fish or chicken with salad. At 5pm she has tea, which consists of scones with jam and clotted cream, and salmon, cucumber, ham and egg mayonnaise sandwiches. Dinner is a relaxed affair, sometimes eaten off a tray, and consists of meat or fish with vegetables. Former royal chef Darren McGrady said: ‘She loves game, things like Gaelic steak.’
Advice from doctors to curtail walks with her dogs will have been a disappointment to the Monarch. Royal biographer Christopher Andersen said: ‘She relied on daily walks and horseback rides… because they were her alone time.’
A royal source told Mirror Online: ‘The Queen had been hoping she would still be able to spend the weekend at Sandringham and was delighted her doctors gave her the all clear to travel. Her Majesty is very much looking forward to hosting her family at her Norfolk home for the Christmas holiday and there is much preparation to be done in time to accommodate everyone who has been invited’. The source added that the Queen traveled ‘on the understanding with her doctors that she continues to rest as advised’ after they said last week that she should only take part in ‘light, desk-based’ duties.
HER MAJESTY’S HEART-RENDING TRIBUTE TO PHILIP: Earlier this week, the Queen paid tribute to her ‘dear late husband’ Prince Philip by wearing a rarely-seen diamond and ruby brooch she received as a wedding gift alongside a photograph of the Duke surrounded by Monarch butterflies in 1988, as she made an intensely personal speech at the Cop26 summit. Her Majesty, 95, told leaders via video ‘to rise above the politics of the moment, and achieve true statesmanship’ as Government representatives attended the reception for the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow.
In what may be her most personal speech to date, she said ‘none of us will live forever’ and ‘we are doing this not for ourselves but for our children and our children’s children, and those who will follow in their footsteps’ as she urged leaders to reach decisive COP climate change deals.
During her speech, the Queen described how ‘the impact of the environment on human progress’ was a subject close to the heart of her ‘dear late husband’ – who in 1969 told a gathering: ‘If we fail to cope with this challenge, all the other problems will pale into insignificance.’ Pictured: The photo of Prince Philip the Queen displayed behind her in the video.
The monarch donned the glittering butterfly brooch, which was a gift from the Dowager Countess of Onslow at her wedding to the late Prince Philip in 1947 and is rarely worn by the royal. It tied in perfectly with a photograph placed behind her on a table of Prince Philip surrounded by Monarch butterflies, which was taken in Mexico in 1988. The monarch has worn the piece less than a handful of times in the last couple of years, last opting for the brooch for a virtual engagement days before Prince Philip’s 100th birthday.
Taking the glass of whisky, the heir to the throne joked: ‘I think I need it, I promise you, after today,’ as he continued speaking with several guests at the reception. Earlier in the day, Charles used his COP26 address at the climate summit to demand a ‘military-style campaign’ to mobilize trillions of dollars of private sector cash to ‘save our precious planet’.
The prince said the pandemic had taught the world ‘timelines can be sped up dramatically’ when everyone ‘agrees on the urgency and the direction’. Addressing world leaders, he suggested top CEOs and businesses he had spoken to confirmed they were ready to do their part to protect the globe from climate change. Charles said the strength of the ‘global private sector’ was greater than governments and represented the only ‘real prospect’ of fundamental change.
The Queen’s eldest son, who has spent more than 50 years highlighting environmental issues, had had several jam-packed days at the summit, speaking with famous faces and world leaders along the way. He met with President of France Emmanuel Macron, President of Colombia Ivan Duque Marquez, Prime Minister of Barbados Mia Amor Mottley and India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The day before, the prince was pictured speaking to Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and his girlfriend Lauren Sanchez about climate change at Dumfries House. With Camilla seated in the crowd for Charles’ COP26 address, the royal took to the stage after an emotive video showed the devastation humans had done to the planet.
A PRINCESS AND HER ‘LITTLE MONSTER’: Princess Eugenie delighted royal fans last weekend by sharing a sweet photograph of her son August Brooksbank dressed in a monster ensemble to celebrate Halloween. The Queen’s granddaughter, 31, revealed a glimpse of her eight-month-old firstborn playing with a soft, yellow Minion toy while sporting a blue costume featuring five eyes and orange horns.
Sharing the picture to Instagram, Eugenie said: ‘Wonder what they are talking about…’ alongside a collection of spooky emojis. In another shot posted to her stories, the royal showed her little one – whose face wasn’t facing the camera – crawling.
Elsewhere, Eugenie also shared a snap of a carved pumpkin, which appeared to have three owl figures cut into it. ‘My 2021 attempt at a scary pumpkin,’ she captioned the snap, before adding to the picture of August: ‘at least my little Halloween monster is scary…’
The daughter of Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson welcomed her first child, who is 13th in line to the throne, with husband Jack Brooksbank on February 9 at London’s Portland Hospital.
MEGHAN TAKES WASHINGTON: The Duchess of Sussex has been asked to attend a bipartisan dinner by New York senator Kirsten Gillibrand to which 21 female senators are invited, after ramping up her political activism in recent weeks. The Duchess on October 20th wrote to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer advocating for paid family leave – a letter that was also handed out to several media outlets. And on Wednesday Politico reported that she had, following a conversation with Gillibrand, taken her lobbying a step further and picked up the phone to speak with Republican Sens. Susan Collins from Maine and Shelley Moore Capito from West Virginia.
It also emerged this week that Meghan had called two Republican senators on their private numbers and used her royal title to urge them to vote in favor of paid parental leave – shocking the politicians with her latest foray into political activism. The move is said to be just the beginning for the Los Angeles-born mother of two, as she is now hoping to be part of ‘a working group to work on paid leave long term,’ according to Senator Gillibrand (pictured right). But not everyone is supportive of Meghan ‘interfering’.
Meghan has been ridiculed by Jason Smith (pictured left), a Republican congressman representing Missouri, for using her royal title to lobby U.S. senators, noting that the British royal family had strict rules about not getting involved in politics. ‘If she wants to be a royal, she needs to be a royal – she can’t have it both ways,’ Smith told TMZ on Thursday. ‘When you lobby U.S. senators, as Meghan Markle has done, as: ‘I’m Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex’ – she’s lobbying Congress and interfering from a position of using her royal title.’ He concluded: ‘I would just say, most of America is Team Kate anyhow… I know that I am.’
Meanwhile, both the senators called by Markle said on Wednesday they were also taken aback at her intervention. Collins said: ‘I was happy to talk with her, but I’m more interested in what people from Maine are telling me about paid leave.’ Moore Capito (pictured) said she expected the call to be Joe Manchin, the other senator for West Virginia. She told Politico: ‘I’m in my car. I’m driving. It says caller ID blocked. Honestly, I thought it was Senator Manchin, his calls come in blocked. And she [Meghan] goes “Sen. Capito?” I said, “Yes.” She said, “This is Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex.”‘ Moore Capito added: ‘I couldn’t figure out how she got my number.’
MEGHAN 2024? Markle’s latest intervention heightens speculation that she sees herself in a political position in the future – with some noting she may even consider running for president. And according to Thomas Markle Jr (pictured right), Meghan’s estranged half-brother, he wouldn’t be surprised if she made a run for the Oval. ‘She obviously has that personality and that determination and drive… it wouldn’t surprise me [if she ran for president],’ he told Australia’s New Idea magazine earlier this week. ‘I just know, whatever endeavor she endures and puts her hands on, she will do good things. I wish her the best of luck, but absolutely if that’s what she’s going to put her sights on, she’ll go for it.’
Thomas Jr is far from the first person to notice Meghan’s political aspirations. Royal biographer Tom Bower said in March that Meghan was ‘likely’ to launch a U.S. presidential campaign but would ‘struggle’ with the barrage of criticism leveled at politicians because she is ‘sensitive’.
Mr Bower said she would need to learn to ‘take the heat’ if she entered politics because they are the public figures who cop the most backlash from the press. Speaking to Closer magazine, he added that Meghan would need to be a ‘team player’ and build up an army of loyal staff – something she appears to have had trouble with with during her life as a royal. ‘The prospect of Meghan running for president is possible and I’d even say likely. I really believe it’s where she sees herself going,’ he told the publication.
Bower, who is renowned for his unsparing, unauthorized biographies of towering figures including Boris Johnson and Prince Charles, said Meghan has ‘all the qualities’ needed for a strong political candidate, citing her drive, ambition, self-confidence, conviction and public speaking skills.