Welcome to this week’s edition of Royalist, The Daily Beast’s newsletter for all things royal and Royal Family. Subscribe here to get it in your inbox every Sunday.
Charles and William won’t see Harry on U.K. trip
King Charles has “no time in the diary” to see Prince Harry, a palace insider told the Mail on Sunday. Harry is due in the U.K. this week to attend the annual WellChild Awards, a charity of which he is the patron. Prince William won’t see his brother either, the paper says—as The Daily Beast reported last week, when plans for a meeting were mooted by some outlets.
Now Harry and Meghan have given up Frogmore Cottage, it is still unclear, the Mail on Sunday says, whether the royals will offer Harry somewhere to stay on his U.K. trip.
Earlier this week, Prince Harry said he turned to therapy after serving in Afghanistan triggered memories of losing his mother at a young age, a trauma he said was “not discussed” at the time, in an apparent swipe at his father. He said serving on the front lines in Afghanistan prompted an “unraveling,” in the course of which he found himself “lying on the floor in the fetal position.”
He added: “The biggest struggle for me was no one around me really could help. I didn’t have that support structure, that network, or that expert advice to identify what was actually going on with me.”
Harry made the comments in his new documentary series, Heart of Invictus, which tracks the progress of six competitors as they prepare for the 2016 Invictus Games, the Paralympics-style event for wounded veterans that he founded—the 2023 iteration of which gets underway in Dusseldorf later this week.
Harry is due to give a speech at the WellChild Awards on Thursday, the day before the anniversary of Queen Elizabeth’s death, the prospect of which—royal sources told The Daily Beast—was making William and Kate Middleton “nervous,” lest Harry have an “outburst” which will detract from the anniversary itself (which William and Kate are set to take a lead position in). Charles, sources said, was proud of Harry’s Invictus-related achievements, and added of the media hullabaloo around the documentary, “The idea that Harry has used the series to attack Charles is a total exaggeration; he hasn’t.”
Andrew documents to stay secret till 2065
If Prince Andrew lives to be 105, he will be alive for the public release of his correspondence with ministers, including details of dealings as a trade ambassador, the Mail on Sunday reports. Normally, such government documents are kept secret for 20 years, but different rules—wouldn’t you know!—apply if you’re a royal, the paper says.
Given the many unanswered questions around Andrew, particularly his relationship with Jeffrey Epstein, royal authors say the documents should be released sooner. Biographer Andrew Lownie told the Mail: “Many questions remain about his role as trade envoy, a public appointment paid for by the taxpayer, and his associations with figures such as Jeffrey Epstein. The delays in release create a vacuum for speculation and fantasists. Their release would go some way to restoring trust in institutions, not least the monarchy.”
Queen would have been ‘appalled’ by Harry’s memoir, friend says
The writer Gyles Brandreth, who was a great friend of the late Queen Elizabeth and her husband Prince Philip, and has carved out a role for himself as a friendly, well-briefed but still unofficial biographer, has updated his biography of Elizabeth, published shortly after her death for the anniversary this week.
There is an extract in the Daily Mail this weekend, filled with typically charming and whimsical anecdotes from the writer. His take on the queen’s view of the Harry and Meghan debacle is fascinating. Confusingly, the ever-diplomatic Brandreth starts out by saying one thing and ends up by saying what appears to be quite another.
He says that while the knowledge that Harry “was writing a memoir” did not appear to have caused the queen “distress” and that she “understood’ her grandson’s desire to tell his own story, she would have been “appalled” by the result. Sources have told The Daily Beast and other outlets, to the contrary, that the queen certainly was upset by Harry and Meghan’s frequent outbursts.
Brandreth seems clearer discussing William’s reaction: “As for Prince William, he was infuriated by the stuff about tensions between him and his brother and, more so, about those between their respective wives, Catherine and Meghan. Privately, William echoed his grandmother’s line following the notorious Oprah Winfrey interview: ‘Recollections may vary’—adding: ‘In this instance, they most definitely do.’”
Charles’ friends and aides have consistently sought to downplay any sense of anger over the book, and Brandreth reflects this tendency, writing: “Charles was distressed by what Harry had to say about his beloved wife. That said, visiting Windsor and Buckingham Palace and Clarence House in recent months, it has been clear to me that the Harry and Meghan saga, while causing irritation and frustration—and some sadness for the King—has not preoccupied the senior members of the Royal Family in anything like the way it appears to have gripped and fascinated the world’s media.”
“When Ronald Reagan’s helicopter landed on the lawn at Buckingham Palace and made a considerable mess of it, Her Majesty remarked, ‘Well, that won’t be happening again.’”
— Gyles Brandreth
Brandreth accurately reflects the thinking of the court, of that there is no doubt, but those skeptical that Charles is utterly relaxed about Harry’s actions may wonder: why did he evict him from Frogmore Cottage and why (per the item above) isn’t he seeing his son next week?
Partial to his old friends as he may be, it’s still a great read, nicely leavened by Brandreth’s wonderful ear for anecdotes. This one is a cracker: “When Ronald Reagan’s helicopter landed on the lawn at Buckingham Palace and made a considerable mess of it, Her Majesty remarked, ‘Well, that won’t be happening again.’”
Brandreth cites the story as evidence of the queen’s “economy of phrase” and adds: “Whenever anyone (including the Duke of Edinburgh) came up with a bright idea or a proposal for change that wasn’t to Her Majesty’s liking, she’d say, ‘I think that’s one for the next reign, don’t you?’”
Subscribe here to get all the latest royal news and gossip with Tom Sykes and Tim Teeman.
The big anniversary is shockingly quiet
In case you hadn’t noticed, Friday marks the one-year anniversary of the death of Queen Elizabeth. The royals are playing their cards close to their chests, with Prince William and Kate Middleton’s office saying they will do some kind of public event, and they will talk about and honor the queen at it. But beyond the fact it will be outside London, there have been no details.
King Charles and Queen Camilla reportedly won’t be seen, with their staff briefing that they will follow the precedent set by the queen on the anniversaries of her father’s death. Instead, they will spend the day privately in quiet reflection on the Balmoral estate. There are rumors they will be joined there by the queen’s other children. If Prince Andrew’s car is spotted rolling in the gates, that will be the clearest sign yet that he is on the express train to royal redemption.
The big unknown, of course is Harry, who will be either in London or Dusseldorf (preparing for the launch of the Invictus Games). Royal spinners will be hoping he keeps a low profile.
The question of an appropriate national memorial to Queen Elizabeth has been preoccupying many minds since her death a year ago. Now comes news that, whatever it may be, it will be formally announced in 2026 the 100th anniversary of her birth.
Between now and then, the newly formed Queen Elizabeth Memorial Committee, chaired by Lord Janvrin, the late Queen’s private secretary from 1999 to 2007, will consider proposals.
He told the Daily Telegraph: “It is an honor to be asked to chair the Queen Elizabeth Memorial Committee. It will be a unique challenge to try to capture for future generations her late Majesty’s extraordinary contribution to our national life throughout her very long reign.”
Oliver Dowden, the Deputy Prime Minister, said: “For more than 70 years, she was our greatest public servant, an anchor of stability in an ever-changing and often uncertain world. Queen Elizabeth II will forever be an icon of the very best of our values and the British spirit. I know that her memorial and programs created in her honor will champion the example she set and inspire a renewed sense of public service for generations to come.”
If the idea was to convince the world that all is well at the Princely Palace of Monaco, Friday night’s live appearance of Prince Albert and Princess Charlene to launch the new TVMonaco channel was a bust. Instead, the awkward appearance by the royal couple will likely fuel rumors they are in a “ceremonial” marriage, and only see each other “by appointment.”
Charlene, 45, said little as Albert, 65, spoke volubly in French about the launch before pressing the button to make transmission live. Charlene briefly said, in English: “Congratulations—and all the best for the future.” Charlene lived apart from her husband from January 2021 until March 2022, after a sinus problem—which prevented her from flying—saw her stuck in her native South Africa.
Has Harry no silver clothes? Ever observant, the Daily Mail has decided that Harry might have been wearing Meghan’s jacket when the couple showed up this week for the Los Angeles performance of Beyonce’s new world tour, along with Meghan’s mom, Doria.
Attendees were asked to wear silver clothes to the show, and Harry complied, donning a silver jacket, but the Mail suspects it might be Meghan’s, saying “eagle-eyed fashionistas” had noticed the “blazer buttons” were on the wrong side.
Come to think of it, the sleeves do seem a bit short.
This week in royal history
On Sept 6, 1997, the funeral of Princess Diana took place in London.
What will Harry say in his speech this week? Will there be any interactions with his family at all? How will the anniversary of the queen’s death be marked by the royals?
Love The Daily Beast’s royal coverage? Sign up here to get Royalist newsletters sent straight to your inbox.