Excuse us, this is going to be LARGE. There has just been so much going on that we need to break it right down, so for episode 20, it’s the H & M show. Further Cambridge coverage will commence next week, and a bite-size snapshot of other royal news is below.
But firkst, the news.
Let’s start where Bevvo and I did on the podcast: the Sussex’s South Africa tour.
(Ok we started with a brief pap sighting of them in Rome for Misha Nonoo’s nuptials, where Megs dazzled in Valentino and Hazmat wore… I dunno, a suit. Then the tour.)
Oh while we’re doing asides, I received so many listener questions this episode that we seriously just could not squeeze them in. Most centred on the documentary/drama and we covered that, but the questions (as usual) were bloody good and I’d hate to miss them, so I’ve answered as best I can below.
Right. Back to the tour. Because we are who we are, we led this evening’s bulletin with a sartorial rundown: what was a hit, what was a miss, what was a fave?
Universally, the Everlane jumpsuit took top billing, what with the pointy heels and the statement earring and the whole thing looking 20/10 for Mrs Sussex’s visit to the Woodstock Exchange.
I won’t spoil the podcast, but suffice to say we covered parts of the trip, the duelling lawsuits, and that ITV documentary IN. FULL.
What we didn’t cover though, and I wish we had, was Harry’s very emotional trip to Angola and his work with the Halo Trust to eradicate land mines. He literally walked in Diana’s footsteps and it was truly something to behold.
For many, the rest of the tour passed in a heady sea of belted shirtdresses.
While he was away, Harry took over the National Geographic Instagram to raise awareness of the vital roles that trees play in the earth’s eco-system in a special “looking up” campaign. The new campaign encourages people to share photos of trees from around the world with the hasghtag #LookingUp – and he even chose a few of his favourites! Made me wish I’d taken a picture of a tree that day.
The couple also attended the Well Child Awards Ceremony, celebrating the courage of seriously ill children and the people that care for them. Hazza touchingly got choked up talking about becoming a father and thinking about what it would be like to have to live with a seriously ill child. He is a barrelful of emotion at the minute, bless him.
Everyone’s favourite gingers (soz Ron Weasley) hooked up to fight for the rights of those with Moroccan-sunset-coloured hair everywhere (and also did a bit for World Mental Health Day). It is a cute video where you get to see the inside of Eugenie’s house, and you’ve probably already seen it BUT ANYWAY.
Elsewhere on World Mental Health Day, Haz hung out at a school assembly, paid a visit to a Community Recording Studio in Nottingham
to see a musical piece which highlights mental health issues, patted a dog and was generally just super cute.
And for mental health in general, the siblings got together to voice a campaign video launched by Public Health England & the NHS which raises awareness of an online service to help people who are struggling.
What would you cook for the royals if you had them over for dinner?
I genuinely don’t know! I wish I’d asked Beth this, she’s the Entertaining Queen. I would probably make a whole bunch of different things to feast on with a treacle tart for dessert – I hear it’s Hazza’s fave.
Do you think Harry wants to bring down the royal family? He just seems totally over it.
I agree, he does seem at the end of this tether – but I don’t think it’s the family as such, I think it’s everything that comes with it. And no I don’t think he’s trying to bring them down. He’s definitely looking a bit lost though.
Do you think H&M might move overseas when the Queen dies due to the UK press? Discuss.
Well I honestly don’t think they’re only in the UK for the Queen, so I can’t imagine her death would change much. I don’t think they would live fully outside the UK, and I don’t even think they want to. I think they’ll spend a whole lot of time elsewhere but they will always base themselves in the UK.
TBH I believe the press will settle down. Eventually.
Why do you think they agreed to do a documentary that was so personal?
Well I’m actually thinking it was less that they agreed to do it and more that they themselves commissioned it. As for why I think they want this kind of information out there, well perhaps they want the public to see the very human consequences this kind of behaviour is having – we very rarely get to see the fallout from tabloid culture. I remember very well how Nigella so eloquently described the very real trauma that it can cause. I hope this has a similar effect.
What to make of [the] palace periodically posting Andrew updates. Why not hunker down.
Oh I know, you’d think so. But they carry on as they have always done and I suppose under the full banner of innocent until proven guilty.
How do the Sussexes turn their bad press around?
Historically, it’s been done by keeping your head down and doing good work. For whatever reason that’s not been their MO so far, so I’m interested to see how this bold approach works. Perhaps it will be better? The cynic in me says it will backfire because the tabloids don’t seem like they a. care or b. want to give up this cash cow.
Do you believe the conspiracy theories that the Cams are behind the Sussex bad press?
If Diana hadn’t died so young, what do you think her role with they royal family would look like now?
Well when she died she was no longer technically part of the family and therefore would have no role now as she had none then. I think as far as the family is concerned she’d be relegated to Fergie level, but her personal work I think would garner much more interest.
Were Lizzie + Phil’s early years in Malta similar to Haz & Meg’s “break” from royal duties?
Hm. No, not really. Elizabeth still had (or so she thought) years until she had to take the crown, and it was fine for her to go with her Naval husband when he was posted away. Haz never has to worry about duty in the way she did, but he does have to worry about global scrutiny and overseas safety in a way she never did. Different times, different experiences I think.
Can we please talk about why people hate poor Megs so much. I feel awful for her.
I feel for her too, and I struggle to know why people hate her as they do. I can’t find much of a reason myself, so maybe if people aren’t a big fan they could explain why. Seems weird to loathe someone you’ve never met so passionately based on nothing really but what the media feeds us.
Do you think Charles will get a shot as king or nahh
Of course I do! All that stepping aside bullshit is pure press nonsense.
Do you think Her Maj has encouraged H&M to strike out against the media?
I wouldn’t say encouraged, no. But she’s a fierce proponent for her family living and behaving as they want to. I’m sure she’s largely distant from it but if it caused a real problem there’d be ways to politely point that out.
Is the tabloid coverage of Meghan really much worse than it was for Kate/Diana/Fergie?
I’d actually throw Camilla in here too – imagine being Camilla in the years after Diana died! I mean really. And as I’ve mentioned in the podcast, Anne suffered also. to the point where she (sanctioned by the Queen) also petitioned the press:
I suffered severe aggravation from the amount of unadulterated trivia, rubbish and gratuitous troublemaking that appeared in all sections of the so-called media in response to a perfectly normal family occasion… I try not to let this colour my objective assessment of the serious “news” as it is portrayed by the media, but I don’t care what anybody says about the average newspaper reader or television watcher not believing what they read or see. They do. And the sheer volume of repeated stories, half-truths and lies has its effects on the subjects concerned.
And speaking of the Queen, it was said that “the continental press was to become a continuing blight on the Queen’s life”. Back in 1972, a French newspaper analysed its cuttings on the Queen and Prince Philip over the previous 14 years and found that there had been reports on her abdicating 63 times, was divorcing Philip in 73 stories, had fallen out with her brother-in-law Lord Snowdon on 115 occasions (and with Princess Grace of Monaco 17 times), and was pregnant a total of 92 times (The Queen, John Parker). She must have been tired.
So… worse? It’s like comparing apples to oranges I think. At the time, for each of these women, it was relentless and unfair. It would have been damaging and hurtful, regardless of how many people had joined the fray. But there is a certain kind of viciousness not necessarily seen before, even if they do steer clear of commenting unkindly on her weight or physical features like every other woman who has come before her has had to read about themselves. And the whole social media echo chamber is another level entirely. That feels utterly global, probably for the first time ever.
Round About Town:
Has been busy! God I hope I’m kicking with such force at 93. She:
+ Opened a new Haig Housing development (it is the country’s largest military housing charity, with over 1,500 properties across the UK, providing affordable accommodation to armed forces veterans and their families), even having a wander around inside one of the houses of an ex member of her Grenadier Guards.
+ Carried out her State Opening of Parliament duties, including riding in a carriage, making a speech, and giving Boris side-eye. It’s full pomp and circumstance, and I encourage you to watch it if you can.
+ Celebrated the 750th anniversary of Westminster Abbey being consecrated. Camilla came along for the day.
+ Held some audiences, did some investituring
+ Sent a message down under to Aussies struggling with the effects of bushfires: “I am heartened that once again the richness of spirit that defines Australians has drawn people together to support those in need,” she said.
+ Held a reception at Buckingham Palace celebrating the work of The Queen’s Trust following its closure earlier this year.
+ As Patron of Cruse Bereavement Care, HM helped celebrate the charity’s 60th Anniversary at a reception held in St James’s Palace.
Actually – you can just watch her busy week in a video here – she gets around!
+ ITV Wales showed a new documentary “Charles: 50 Years a Prince”, which explores The Prince of Wales’s close relationship with Wales, 50 years since his Investiture. And honestly – I can’t get enough of these commemorative Chuck docos. I love them to bits.
+ In his role as Patron, he attended the 16th National Police Memorial Day service in Glasgow.
+ Marked the 25th anniversary of National Poetry Day by reading a composition on the BBC Radio 2 Breakfast show. He read “Quoting Shakespeare” by Bernard Levin, and he did a fantastic job – he has a real knack for poetry, and obviously loves it.
+ Represented the UK at the canonisation of Cardinal Newman at the Vatican.
+ And is off to Japan to attend the Ceremony of Enthronement of Emperor Naruhito. Cammidge isn’t with him so I assume it’s one of those trips she can bow out of given the whole fear of flying thing. She does what she can, but also opts out of some of the longer-haul trips. Worst job to be in if planes give you the heebies!
+ Welcomed authors Margaret Atwood and Bernardine Evaristo to Clarence House, joint winners of the Booker Prize for 2019
+ Attended a performance and tea party for Poetry Together, an initiative that encourages schools to link with care homes
+ Hosted a tea to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Waterstones Children’s Laureate
Looking chic as usual, Soph has been under the pump. She recently declared she would make two key areas her main focus:
- The Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda.
- The UK’s Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict Initiative (PSVI)
(meanwhile, they all seem to be doing that? Announcing lifelong work missions? Must be a thing. Anyway. She has been:
+ Visiting two of Blackpool’s iconic attractions to help celebrate their 125th birthdays. She even did a waltz! And was a guest speaker on The Talking Newspaper, a news service for the visually impaired.
+ Popping over to Wiltshire to join children’s charity NSPCC at the Swindon branch to celebrate their 25th anniversary and launch a new Silver Appeal.
+ Making a visit to Entrain Space – the first residential training program for military veterans transitioning into civilian life
+ Celebrating the 60th anniversary of South Wiltshire Mencap (a charity that supports people with learning disabilities) as Patron with a tea party
+ Visiting Kosovo, speaking to religious leaders and British soldiers, among others, as part of her work with survivors of conflict-based sexual violence.
+ Touring Kenya, attending the 12th Commonwealth Women’s Affairs Ministers Meeting, and meeting with young women and girls who have fled conflict and those who are helping them both with protection and with empowerment programs,
+ Visited the ‘Behind the Lines – Alfred Minnings War Artist 1918’ exhibition at Munnings Museum.
+ Visited Geoffrey Parker, a handmade bespoke board games company to mark its 60th Anniversary, and open a new Workshop.
+ Launched an ambassador programme known as The WISE programme, for women working in the science, technology and engineering sector which aims to encourage gender balance.
+ Opened the renovated Leeds Playhouse Theatre
+ attended HMS Albion’s Freedom of The City parade in Chester, and inspected some Navy personnel
Like, honestly, she is OUT HERE doing all the groundwork with even the smallest of engagements. Absolute gun.
got engaged and Euge snapped the official pix.
and Jack celebrated one year of wedded bliss. I sure hope Ferg Wordswagged the day.
Obligatory once-off Prince Edward Inclusion Because He Did Something Weird
…. I dunno. Just watch it.
General Things at Some of Liz’s Houses
Works of art from Buckingham Palace have gone on display at a new exhibition in Brighton’s Royal Pavilion.
Windsor Castle’s Inner Hall, created by George IV in the 1820s as a space to receive official guests, has been restored and opened to the public. It looks mighty fine.
So have a listen pf the pod below or on your favourite app, and let us know if you have any questions you’d love answered – you all ask the finest questions of any royal podcast listeners ever, and that’s a fact.
See you next week for the Cam backup. It’s colour (and culottes) galore!