Welcome to September! The royal calendar is humming along again after the cursory break that members of the British Royal Family take between late July and mid-September. There are photos and events and announcements (and court cases) to get into, so let’s not waste any time.
Prince William announced the first Earthshot Prize finalists
The whole rollout of Earthshot has been spot-on. It’s been a masterclass in branding and PR. I might even have a podcast guest lined up for next week to discuss Earthshot’s PR successes in detail (eyes emoji!). The 15 finalists for the Earthshot Prize are very impressive. One of the finalists is a 14 year old girl, Vinisha Umashankar, who is using solar energy to power a mobile ironing station!!!!
If you want to feel hopeful about the future, you can read more about the finalists and their submissions here.
It was announced that Prince Philip’s will, per royal tradition, will be kept secret for 90 years
It was ruled by a UK court this week that Prince Philip’s will should and will remain secret for the next 90 years. This is the usual course of action for senior members of the British Royal Family. I received a few messages asking if anything suspicious was afoot with this news – the answer is no. It’s par for the course. It also doesn’t mean that the will can’t be executed for 90 years. The will’s wishes will be done (ie, the money and possessions will be distributed) as soon as feasibly can be done. It’s just the contents of the will (ie. the list of who got what) that will remain secret for 90 years.
Per the BBC, “Lawyers for Philip’s estate argued that news of the hearing and the application “might generate wholly unfounded conjecture” which would be “deeply intrusive” for the Queen and the Royal Family.” In other words, the lawyers argued that the public and the media would make a story out of basically anything in the will (Example: what if Philip gave a sum of money or prized possessions to Will and not Harry/Kate and not Meghan? What if he bequeathed something to a member of his German family who has even tenuous ties to the Nazis? That sort of stuff.) The best way of killing this type of “unfounded conjecture” is to keep the contents of the will secret to the public until most of the people listed in the will are dead, hence the 90 year rule.
Multiple Prince Charles scandals are unfolding
Prince Charles keeps sliding deeper and deeper into a pile of bad headlines about he and his staff possibly giving access to unsavoury characters in exchange for financial contributions to Charles’s charity, The Prince’s Trust. That’s the short version. For the long version, check out these articles from The Guardian and The Times. Not a good look for the future king. Will it be enough to thin out Charles’s staff and make a bunch of new hires? Or will this become less of an issue of staffing and more of a lasting question about Charles’s integrity? Only time will tell.
Harry turned 37, he and Meghan appeared on the cover of Time Magazine
Here are the main points from this Time cover:
- Harry and Meghan were widely mocked for how photoshopped they look in the three photos released by Time.
- The cover story about Meghan and Harry’s dedication to service was written by Jose Andres, founder of World Central Kitchen. Harry and Meghan’s Archewell charity has worked with World Central Kitchen several times. Both Andres and World Central Kitchen are represented by Harry and Meghan’s public relations firm, Sunshine Sachs.
- Meghan wasn’t styled by her best friend, Jessica Mulroney. This is terrible news for Jessica Mulroney, who still wants us to know that she and Meghan are definitely as close as they have ever been and that Meghan definitely still answers her calls.
Prince Andrew is desperately trying to stop Virginia Guiffre’s civil suit from moving forward
This is a gigantic mess and I will be writing about it in a more in-depth post once I feel I’ve researched the whole case more thoroughly. However, for now, here are the main points:
- Virginia Guiffre’s lawyers have launched a civil suit against Prince Andrew in the United States. This was done for several reasons: 1. The statute of limitations was about to run out, so it was now or never; 2. The criminal trial against Jeffrey Epstein’s girlfriend and co-conspirator, Ghislaine Maxwell, is about to start, so it’s a maximum PR hit for Andrew and more damaging info about Andrew could come out from the Maxwell case while the civil Guiffre case proceeds; 3. It was filed on the first official day of the Queen’s official vacation at Balmoral Castle, which is the quietest time of the year for royal news (thereby making the civil case a massive news story); and 4.. It proves that, as much as Andrew says that he wants to cooperate with law enforcement and has nothing to hide, he is literally in hiding, trying to avoid being served legal papers related to the civil case.
- Because Andrew has been in hiding, moving back and forth between Royal Lodge on the Windsor estate and Balmoral Castle on the Balmoral estate, Guiffre’s lawyers have found it difficult to serve legal papers to Andrew (these papers must be served in order for the case to move forward). Andrew is essentially refusing to answer the door and is telling security not to let the lawyers get near him.
- Guiffre’s lawyers delivered a copy of the legal papers to the head of Andrew’s security at Royal Lodge, and the head of security said that he would deliver them to Andrew and/or his lawyers. Guiffre’s lawyers are arguing in court that, under international law, this does qualify as Andrew having been “served” the papers. It’s my understanding (if you’re a lawyer, please correct me!) that the UK High Court has confirmed that it will abide by international legal precedent and endeavour to serve Andrew if Andrew refuses to accept papers from Guiffre’s lawyers. It’s also my understanding that this type of action by the UK High Court can’t be refused in any real way by Andrew. So it appears that, sooner or later, Andrew WILL be served with notice of the civil suit.
- Andrew’s US lawyer is throwing everything he can to make sure that this lawsuit does not move forward. And he is failing. I’m sure there will be many more twists and turns surrounding this case in the future, but it looks like the case is moving forward, full steam ahead.
For an in-depth conversation about the issue surrounding Andrew being served specifically and the court case generally, I recommend this podcast episode on it from the Daily Mail’s crime reporter.
Kate thanked servicepeople who helped evacuate people from Afghanistan last month
Kate is back at work after summer vacation. Her first public engagement of the fall was a visit to servicepeople who helped evacuate people out of Afghanistan before the final withdrawal of US troops last month. When I saw these images, the first thing I thought was 1. Yay, Kate is back at work; and about 0.1 seconds later, 2. Wow, this would have been a perfect engagement for Harry. Do you think he was upset when he saw the photos and videos of Kate comforting and engaging with servicepeople who have specifically been deployed to Afghanistan, as Harry was? I wonder if he misses being able to represent the Crown and the armed forces in this way.
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