A range of commemorative coins have been designed to mark Sapphire Jubilee The Queen is preparing to make history on Monday when she becomes the first British monarch to reach her Sapphire Jubilee. On February 6 - the anniversary of the day she became Queen - Elizabeth II will have reigned for 65 years. She became the Queen of England in 1952 after her father George VI, who was suffering from lung cancer, died unexpectedly, in his sleep at Sandringham. At the time, a 25-year-old Princess Elizabeth was thousands of miles away in Kenya with her husband. Philip broke the sad news to his wife while they were alone. Lord Charteris, her then-private secretary, remembered seeing her seated at her desk in the Lodge appearing "very composed, absolute master of her fate". Asked what name sh...
Pictured: William and Kate get £20,000 yew hedge to give their new palace home some privacy The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are moving their family back to Kensington from Norfolk A team of gardeners have begun planting a 820ft wall of conifer trees along the side of their royal residence It is thought the tree planting is costing the tax payer more than £20,000 They are known for being concerned about their privacy and eager to shield their young children from the public eye. So now that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are moving their family back to Kensington Palace from Norfolk, they are clearly not taking any chances. A team of gardeners and construction workers have begun planting an 820ft-long wall of conifers along the western side of the royal residence in London. The mo
The Duchess of Cornwall has helped bring a bit of magic to the BBC's annual short story competition for children. In honour of the launch of this year's 500 Words, a short animation has been released showing Prince Charles' wife as a fairy godmother who encourages a little boy to jump inside his imagination – a world of pirate ships, dragons, giants and gingerbread men – and be inspired to put pen to paper. The Duchess of Cornwall is a passionate advocate for children's literacy This is the seventh year of the 500 Words initiative, created by Radio 2 host Chris Evans, which encourages children around the country to get creative and send in their stories of no more than 500 words. It has proved hugely popular, with more than 123,000 entries last year. The closing date for this year’s co
e Duchess of Cornwall has helped bring a bit of magic to the BBC's annual short story competition for children. In honour of the launch of this year's 500 Words, a short animation has been released showing Prince Charles' wife as a fairy godmother who encourages a little boy to jump inside his imagination – a world of pirate ships, dragons, giants and gingerbread men – and be inspired to put pen to paper. This is the seventh year of the 500 Words initiative, created by Radio 2 host Chris Evans, which encourages children around the country to get creative and send in their stories of no more than 500 words. It has proved hugely popular, with more than 123,000 entries last year. The closing date for this year’s competition is 7pm on 23 February, with the live final taking place on 16 June
Why Prince William and Kate Middleton Have A Work Problem The number of engagements conducted by Prince William and Kate Middleton still pales next to the Queen’s. They should step up. Kate Middleton made her first public appearance along with her husband Prince William on Wednesday, and the British media were quite breathless in their reporting of the event. Kate and Will, it was reported, had gone back to their “work” of public engagements much earlier in the year than is usual for the royals, and this was a sign of their newfound commitment to their roles as full time royals, a sign of the increased “support” they would be offering the queen after her bout of ill-health at Christmas “focused minds” on the issue. While it’s quite true that Kate and Will do seem to have decided to forego
Letters sent by Princess Diana which revealed Prince Harry was "constantly in trouble" at school have sold for thousands more than was estimated. The six handwritten letters, sent to a favoured Buckingham Palace steward, sold for £15,100 at auction, exceeding the £2,300-£3,600 estimate. One lot, which included a letter where Diana described Prince William's adoration for younger brother Harry, was sold for £3,200 - around five times more than its estimate of £400-£600. In the letter to Cyril Dickman, Diana wrote: "William adores his little brother and spends the entire time swamping Harry with an endless supply of hugs and kisses, hardly letting the parents near! "The reaction to one tiny person's birth has totally overwhelmed us and I can hardly breathe for the mass of flowers that
Princess Diana's letters about 'naughty' Harry up for sale Handwritten notes to Buckingham Palace steward expected to raise £15,000 at auction A collection of letters written by Princess Diana about her children Princes William and Harry are to be sold at auction today for an estimated £15,000. The six handwritten notes were sent to Cyril Dickman, a steward at Buckingham Palace for more than 50 years, in the 1980s and 90s and are described as "the private letters between a trusted butler and the royal family". They reveal personal family insights such as how Harry was "constantly in trouble" and how much the boys enjoy boarding school, reports ITV News. "One particularly touching letter", says the broadcaster, reads: "Dear Cyril, it was so very kind of you to have sent us such a l
A heavy cold and a nation shivers. The cold is that attributed, this week, to Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II (her formal titles would take much of the rest of this column). The shivers are those of the political establishment. Everything of moment in the United Kingdom depends, formally, on the 90-year-old Queen. She legitimizes all laws. She appoints all ministers. Parliamentarians must swear an oath of fealty to her. Ambassadors negotiate in her name, generals fight in it. She is the monarch in more than a dozen former imperial possessions, largely uncontroversially. When, in 1999, on the prompting of a Labour Prime Minister, the Australians tried to usurp her, the move failed, in spite of polls showing only minority support for her. Now, contrary to belief, the polls have risen, to s
The Queen has met every American leader of her reign so far except one - Lyndon B Johnson - so a future invite for Donald Trump will be on the cards. The president-elect could even be treated to a grand state visit to the UK - which would see the controversial billionaire and new First Lady Melania Trump staying in the Queen's London residence Buckingham Palace or at her much-loved home Windsor Castle. Trump will be expected to have a general meeting, audience or tea with the monarch - just like many of his predecessors - at some stage. But whether or not he will be feted with a state visit is not down to the Queen. A Buckingham Palace spokesman said: "Invitations for state visits are extended on the advice of Government." Palace officials indicated the nature and timing of a congratu...
The Duchess of Cambridge is hailed as a style icon the world over, but the royal is apparently determined not to be regarded simply as a "clothes horse." Vogue editor Alexandra Shulman, scored a casting coup after featuring Kate Middleton on the cover of the June 2016 issue to mark the 100th anniversary of the fashion bible. Describing Kate's status as a fashionista, she revealed that the royal does not want to be perceived as just as "silent mannequin." Speaking on the ITV programme Lorraine, she explained to presenter Helen Skelton that the Duchess did not want to be photographed in high fashion as she turned cover star. "I can't really speak for her but in my experience it was I think it was very much her feeling that she wanted to be what she felt she was comfortable with being," ...