Welcome to this week’s edition of that they do not send birthday congratulations to non-working members of the royal family anymore. However, the fact is that they did send them to Harry up to 2021, and Harry’s 2022 birthday fell during the official period of mourning for the late Queen Elizabeth.
Therefore, the non-mention of the words, “Happy birthday, Harry” from any royal lip will be seen by many as yet another sign of just how badly relations between him and the royals have deteriorated.
William: Next stop, America
How strange to think that William and Harry, who once enjoyed the deepest of fraternal bonds, spent the past week so physically close yet never saw each other. The European situation of last week will be repeated in a different form and continent this week, with Harry due back in California Sunday and Prince William arriving in New York Monday.
The trip will see William focused on regaining control of the narrative from his brother as he makes a two day visit to the Big Apple aimed at ramping up interest in his Earthshot initiative, a prize which offers five £1 million ($1.2 million) prizes every year to individuals and companies developing technological solutions to the climate crisis. The awards will be handed out in Singapore in November.
William’s team are using the trip to push a William the Statesman narrative, with a close aide telling CNN: “In addition to unveiling this year’s Earthshot finalists next week, you’re also going to see Prince William sitting down with the UN Secretary-General and other world leaders… This really is the evolution of Prince William as the global statesman.”
William has been buoyed by a recent Gallup poll which cited William as the most politically unifying personality in the United States. A close aide told CNN that the trip is all part of William’s evolution from Duke of Cambridge to Prince of Wales and future King. The aide said: “You’ve started to see this evolution over the last six months, whether it be him sitting down with President Biden in Boston in November, or heading to the Ukrainian border to meet with British troops.”
Maybe the wannabe diplomat could start off with a spot of conflict resolution closer to home?
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Harry gets institutional ‘Well done’
An intriguing piece in the Telegraph this week (reported on by the Royalist) suggested that the Invictus Games was not getting the institutional support it might have expected because of Harry’s squabble with his family.
Ben McBean, a double amputee who inspired Harry to launch the event, told the Telegraph’s royal correspondent Victoria Ward that he understood “both sides” of the conflict between the brothers, but added: “Saying that, they should have just given the lads a shout-out. It’s like when we went to Afghanistan, no one supported the war, but they supported the troops. It’s the same thing.”
Ward also said that British team members were disappointed they have not been sent the good wishes of other members of the British establishment, usually sent as a matter of course to competitors in other international sporting events. One source described as a “team insider” said: “The athletes find it bizarre but don’t want to get caught up in the royal crossfire.”
However, Johnny Mercer, the member of the British government with responsibility for veterans, showed his support by sitting with him (and having a beer) as they watched the finals of the seated volleyball.
Mercer went on to unequivocally praise Harry, saying: “You can’t underestimate or underplay the huge impact he’s had on veterans’ care in the U.K. over many years. As a veteran myself, I’m incredibly grateful, but I know that the nation is incredibly grateful for everything he’s done so far.”
This week in royal history
A year ago today, the queen’s grandchildren stood vigil around her coffin at Westminster Hall in London. Prince William stood at the head of the coffin, Prince Harry stood at its foot.
Joining them were Zara Tindall and Peter Phillips (Princess Anne’s children), Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie, (Prince Andrew’s daughters), and Lady Louise Windsor and her brother, James, Viscount Severn (Prince Edward’s children).
Prince William heads to New York for a high-profile trip to publicize the Earthshot Awards this week. Who will he meet? What interviews, if any, will he give? And will it seal, as the palace hopes, his “global statesman” profile?
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