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More than ever, this Jubilee weekend will be a tribute to her.

Queen Elizabeth II has been the UK’s head of state for longer than most of its citizens can remember.

People in the UK have embraced the Diamond Jubilee, more so than in past years

People in the UK have embraced the Diamond Jubilee, more so than in past years

For 60 years she has fulfilled the role of constitutional monarch, a figure separate from politics but always in touch with events.

The person who has embodied Britain to the wider world and been a focus for unity within the country’s increasingly diverse communities.

For all of those reasons and others – not least her unflagging commitment to her role – there is perhaps a greater sense of personal regard for her than at any time since the early years of her reign back in the 1950s.

Crowds came out

Twenty-five years into her reign in 1977, Britain celebrated her Silver Jubilee – 25 years after that, in 2002, came the Golden Jubilee.

Both those jubilees started sluggishly. The 1970s was a decade of economic austerity and social transition.

The Queen had lost the glamour of her youth and Britain had lost its sense of deference to the monarchy.

“She conveys a sense of history the like of which we have not seen in Britain since the reign of her great-great-grandmother Victoria”

Voices were raised against the cost of the Silver Jubilee. There were concerns in the then Labour government of James Callaghan that it might be something of a damp squib.

It was not.

When the day of the main Jubilee celebrations arrived, the Queen came out in shocking pink and the crowds in their hundreds of thousands.

By 2002 at the time of the Golden Jubilee, the Queen had recently emerged from her most difficult time, the 1990s.

The decade brought family divisions, the death of a much-loved princess and an unprecedented degree of criticism that the monarchy was out-of-touch with public sentiment.

Courtiers at Buckingham Palace were concerned over how Britain felt about its monarchy after the recent passage of such troubled times.

They need not have worried. After another slow start – when sections of the media fretted that the Jubilee was failing to take off – the crowds again proved the doubters wrong.

Warm reception

And so to 2012, and for this Jubilee the doubters seem to have been almost completely absent.

From the first Diamond Jubilee visit in early March to the multi-cultural city of Leicester, there has been a heightened degree of interest and real warmth in the receptions the Queen has received.

The Queen and the Duchess of Cambridge are all smiles on a visit to De Mont fort University in Leicester, at the start of the Jubilee tour

The Queen and the Duchess of Cambridge are all smiles on a visit to De Mont fort University in Leicester, at the start of the Jubilee tour

True, in Leicester she brought the Duchess of Cambridge with her.

A shrewd move which linked the Queen very publicly with her grand-daughter-in-law, but notwithstanding the interest in Kate, it

was the Queen whom most people seemed keenest to see.And so it will be this Jubilee weekend. She is 86 now and has been monarch for 60 years.

She conveys a sense of history the like of which we have not seen in Britain since the reign of her great-great-grandmother Victoria, the only other British sovereign to have celebrated a Diamond Jubilee.We know that not everyone is a monarchist. Not everyone will – literally or metaphorically – be raising a glass this weekend.But all the evidence suggests that Britain remains a nation which is overwhelmingly comfortable with the monarchy, and which feels that the qualities offered by a queen such as Elizabeth II are qualities which it values and would not wish to lose.

For those reasons, on the River Thames on Sunday, outside Buckingham Palace on Monday; at St Paul’s Cathedral and along the route back to the Palace on Tuesday, and at countless street parties and beacon lightings, Britain will reaffirm its commitment and gratitude to its Queen.

Article by By Nicholas Witchell – Royal correspondent

HisTOURies UK 
Proud to be British 

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Prince William
This profile of HRH Prince William appeared in the September 1999 issue of The Royal Report.

As the Royal party partook of a Mediterranean cruise around the Greek islands on the yacht Alexander this summer, the Prince of Wales had good reason to be proud of his elder son. Showing not only his emotional sensitivity, but a mature understanding of his father’s needs, Prince William suggested that Charles’s long-term companion Camilla Parker Bowles be invited join the party. Otherwise, the Prince noted, his father would be forced to spend a month apart from Mrs Parker Bowles: during the luxury 10-day cruise, and afterwards for the traditional two-week break at Balmoral, the Queen’s Scottish residence. The cruise, one commentator noted, appeared to mark the end for the 17-year-old Prince of a two-year period of grief and upheaval.

In the early hours of August 31, 1997, while holidaying at Balmoral, William awoke to the news that his mother and her lover had been fatally wounded in a car accident in Paris. In the two years that have followed, William has shown courage and maturity beyond his years, and has transformed from a shy teenager, with his loyalties torn between love for his mother and duty towards his father, into an independent, strong-willed young man with the destiny of the Monarchy on his shoulders.

The elder son and heir of the Prince and the late Princess of Wales was born on June 21, 1982 in the Lindo Wing of St Mary’s Hospital, Paddington, London, weighing in at at 7lb 10oz after a lengthy labour. The boy was christened William Arthur Philip Louis Windsor, with water from the River Jordan, in the music room of Buckingham Palace on August 4, 1982, coinciding with the 82nd birthday of the Queen Mother.

Both parents wanted William, and later Harry, to have as normal a childhood as possible. Unlike previous heirs to the throne, who were educated at home by private tutors at the same age, William’s formal education began at the age of three at Mrs Mynor’s Nursery School in Notting Hill Gate, West London. It continued at Wetherby, a nearby preparatory day school, where emphasis was placed on music and manners.

At first, Princess Diana was against sending William to boarding school. Prince Charles, remembering the misery of his own schooldays, equally did not want his son to suffer as he had at Gordonstoun. But for reasons of security, a compromise was reached. Aged eight, William was sent to Ludgrove Preparatory School in Wokingham, Berkshire, where he boarded on weekdays only. His school reports revealed his talent on the sports field, where he impressed as a rugby and hockey team captain, a crack shot, an excellent football and basketball player, and a school representative at cross-country running and swimming.

Diana described him as “the man in my life”, and the most photographed woman in the world relied upon her elder son for comfort and advice. Their relationship was close: Wills even announced that he wanted to be a policeman when he grew up, so that he could protect his mother. (“You can’t,” Harry observed, “you’ve got to be King.”) On one occasion, when Diana locked herself in the bathroom after an argument with Charles, it was William who pushed tissues under the door with a note saying: “I hate to see you sad.” By the age of nine, he had already learned to book a table at San Lorenzo, her favourite restaurant, to cheer up his mother. It was William who later advised her to accelerate her divorce proceedings by agreeing to be stripped of the title HRH, reassuring her: “You’ll still be Mummy.”

In turn, “Mummy” took William on a number of visits to meet the homeless and the dying, to make him aware of others’ suffering. “I want William and Harry to experience what most people already know,” Diana told an interviewer. “That they are growing up in a multi-racial society in which everyone is not rich, or has four holidays a year, or speaks standard English and drives a Range Rover.”

At 13, William was sent to Eton College, close to Windsor, a choice well-suited to a boy with a public future, not least because his new classmates would be as well-connected and as well-heeled as he: the Prince would not even be the only boy with a private detective. It became a regular arrangement that, on Sunday afternoons at 4pm, he would take tea with the Queen at the castle on the hill, where they continue to discuss William’s Royal duties – which at this stage include scheduling official photo calls and the occasional walkabout. William is not likely to begin taking on his own major Royal duties until he has completed his education. Unlike his father, there will be no formal title awaiting Prince William when he comes of age.

William developed an early sensitivity to the needs of others. Aged 14, he took the bold step of asking his parents not to attend the most important day in the school calendar, Eton’s Fourth of June celebrations, as he believed the presence of the press and bodyguards would spoil this Parents’ Day for his peers. Charles and Diana were both taken aback when he instead invited Tiggy Legge-Bourke to attend. Engaged by Prince Charles as unofficial nanny to the boys, Ms Legge-Bourke, whose mother was appointed Lady-in-Waiting to the Princess Royal, is a close companion with whom William feels naturally at ease. With a sense of fun that delights both William and Harry, Ms Legge-Bourke has noted: “I give the Princes what they need – fresh air, a rifle and a horse.”

William continues to flourish at Eton. His housemaster Dr Andrew Gailey, a respected constitutional historian and music lover from Northern Ireland, has taken William under his wing educationally and emotionally, and has been an important influence as William has sought to rebuild his life. Having proven to be the fastest junior swimmer at Eton in 10 years, from this term William will captain the swimming team, holding the title of Joint Keeper of Swimming. His duties include team selection, greeting visiting teams, keeping records, training new boys, and recommending swimmers for their colours. William has also been appointed secretary of the renowned Agricultural Club, and recently received Eton’s Sword of Honour, the school’s highest award for a first-year army cadet. In addition, senior pupils have elected him to the élite Eton Society, one of the highest honours bestowed on boys at the top of the school. The exclusive club, known as “Pop”, is a selection of the 11 most popular and respected boys going into the upper sixth. William will ensure that younger boys attend a daily chapel service, serve as an usher at school plays, and gain the authority to fine pupils who break the school rules.

“My boy’s got a good brain,” Diana would note proudly, “considering how hopeless both his parents were.” And close to the first anniversary of his mother’s death, William, who had gained three GCSE passes the previous year, received a further nine GCSEs with top A* and A grades in English, history and languages, and Bs for other subjects including maths and science. He returned for his final year at Eton on September 8 to take geography, English and history of art at A level.

It was long presumed that the Prince would follow in his father’s footsteps by attending Trinity College, Cambridge. This decision had been made for Charles by a committee of advisers, but William will be given more freedom. “God help anyone who tells William what to do,” observed one courtier. “He listens, but he won’t be pushed around by the system.” Indeed, William has told friends that he wishes to attend Cambridge only if his grades merit a place, and that rather than gain favouritism he would rather attend one of his four other choices. These are Edinburgh, St Andrews, Bristol and Durham universities, all of which the Prince has recently visited. History of art is likely to be his chosen subject. An army career will probably follow. “In the medium term, William wants to go into the armed services in some form,” says his uncle, Earl Spencer. “It is a traditional part of the Royal upbringing, but he would actually like to do it of his own volition.”

William values his privacy as well as his independence. At St James’s Palace, where he and Prince Harry share an apartment with their father, William has his own suite of rooms to which only he holds the key. He recently asked his father if he could convert the cellars of Highgrove House, the Gloucestershire home of the Prince of Wales, into his own flat. So far Papa is undecided. Like any other teenager, the second-in-line to the throne listens to techno music, selects all his own clothes, and enjoys playing computer games. For his seventeenth birthday, William was given a VW Golf car by Charles, and soon afterwards passed his driving test at the first attempt. He had been driving on the private roads of the Royal estates from the age of 13, but received just 20 hours of tuition from Police Sergeant Chris Gilbert, an expert in anti-hijack and counter-surveillance techniques, before passing his test in a silver Ford Focus on loan to the Royal Estate. The Prince was praised by his instructor for his “natural flair for driving”, and will continue lessons to make him more confident at night and motorway driving.

Recently, William has taken up his father’s beloved sport of polo, despite being a left-handed player in a game which favours the right-handed. Although he is not always comfortable in the public gaze, all eyes were on William when he made a low-key appearance in the company of the new young polo set at the Cartier International Polo Day at Smith’s Lawns, Windsor, this season. At six-foot one-and-a-half-inches tall, with self-assured elegance and those coy, head-lowered glances inherited from his mother, William has become the focus of much female attention – which embarrasses him terribly. He has chosen to socialise only with girls from families known to him. Informal dates are out of the question, and any future girlfriends will be thoroughly vetted to exclude the unsuitable and welcome the socially preferred. He only has to mention his interest in a young lady for an approach to be made to her parents by St James’s Palace. Mother and daughter will then be invited to tea or a party. Similarly, if William appears to be getting on well with a classmate’s sister or friend, networking will go on behind the scenes and introductions made. His circle includes Lady Iona Douglas Home, Holly Branson, Emilia D’Erlanger and Zara Simmonds, among many other attractive young women.

“William has so much sheer personal confidence for his age, but it has absolutely nothing to do with his position,” observes one Royal insider. “At the same age, his father was a mess of uncertainties. William always seems to know where he’s going and he always gets what he wants.” As he reaches adulthood, Prince William has already demonstrated that he possesses the maturity, sensitivity and strength he will need to rise to his destiny as the future of the Monarchy.

Good luck today Prince William and Kate Middleton!
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ROYAL wedding fever was in the air yesterday as airlines and hotels in

Prince William and Kate Middleton marry in April

Prince William and Kate Middleton marry in April

London reported a surge in bookings for the week of Prince William and Kate Middleton’s marriage.

Today marks just 100 days until the ­ceremony takes place at Westminster Abbey on April 29.

Amid growing excitement in Britain and abroad, William and Kate marked the countdown by putting the final touches to a list of around 1,800 people they want to invite to the service.
The couple have been overseeing plans for their big day from their isolated farmhouse in North Wales, travelling to London whenever their schedule has allowed it to sit in on regular meetings with courtiers.
The Prince is currently serving as an RAF helicopter pilot in Anglesey.
One senior aide said yesterday: “They’re both very happy and very excited about it all. It’s not long now.

ì Prince William and Kate Middleton marry in April î

There’s a lot of work to do but they’re doing it in between Prince William’s flying and Catherine’s other commitments.

“We’re pretty much living and breathing the wedding at the moment.”

Many of the key issues, such as the names of the bridesmaids, page boys, the wedding dress designer and its basic design, have already been hammered out in secret.

Kate made a final decision about her choice of designer last week from a small shortlist, according to royal sources.
A stag party venue has been agreed and, despite reports that it will take place in Cape Town, sources close to William have hinted that it will be in Britain or western Europe.
External links:
London Tourist Information
http://www.express.co.uk/posts/view/224159/Royal-Wedding-fever-starts-already

Royal Wedding 2011
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— Prince William is engaged to long-time girlfriend Kate Middleton, spokesmen for the monarchy announced Tuesday.

Royal engagement: Prince William proposes to Kate Middleton

Royal engagement: Prince William proposes to Kate Middleton

The pair will marry in the spring or summer of 2011, a statement from Clarence House, the prince’s official residence, said.

The price, second in line to the throne, proposed during an October vacation to Kenya, the statement said.

“Prince William has informed The Queen and other close members of his family,” the statement said. “Prince William has also sought the permission of Miss Middleton’s father.”

After they’re married, the couple will live in north Wales, where Prince William is currently serving with the Royal Air Force.

Royal wedding coin

Royal wedding coin

The Royal Mint has made preparations to begin production of a commemorative coin to celebrate the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton, fuelling speculation that they are poised to announce their engagement.

The project is so secret that staff at the Royal Mint’s plant at Llantrisant have been banned from talking about the coin, but insiders have confirmed that the initial design work has been done.

One source said: ‘I have seen the plaster model from which they will cast the die. They are ready to go. All they are waiting for is the date.’

Last night Clarence House said it was unaware that the Royal Mint had prepared for production of the coin.
Full story: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1321225/Prince-William-Kate-Middletons-wedding-What-does-royal-mint-know-dont.html

The British Monarchy website
http://www.royal.gov.uk/
http://www.britishroyalwedding.com/category/royal-engagement/

I assume it will be in Westminster……………
Great news, just what England needs during these difficult times

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