The Sussexes step down
Royal watchers around the world where left stunned on Thursday when the Duke and Duchess of Sussex released a statement via social media to say they were ‘stepping back’ from their roles as ‘senior royals’.
The shock announcement came just a day after the pair had attended their first official engagement of the year, visiting Canada House in London.
The Sussexes wanted to say thank you for the hospitality that had been shown to them during their six-week private holiday in the country with son, Archie.
The visit left many of us thinking the much-discussed private holiday had done the couple a world of good and they would hit the ground running in 2020.
Now we know, they looked relaxed for the first time in memory, as they had already chosen to step down from their roles and ‘carve out a progressive new role within this institution.’
The situation is still very fluid and constantly evolving. The latest update is that the Queen has called a ‘crisis’ meeting between Harry and his father and brother, Prince Charles and Prince William for Monday.
Meghan, who has already returned to Canada, is expected to phone in to be involved in the discussion which will decide what their role within the royal family, if any, will continue to be.
Rumours have abounded since the announcement was released.
There have been suggestions that the Royal Family was unaware the announcement was taking place and found out from TV.
The short statement from Buckingham Place which read ‘Discussions with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are at an early stage. We understand their desire to take a different approach, but these are complicated issues that will take time to work through,’ added fuel to the fire.
Looking back over December there are clues that the palace was already in negotiations with the couple. From the photos displayed during the Queen’s Christmas Speech, to the heirs new portrait and video where they got together to make plum pudding, the House of Winsdor has been projecting a particularly strong image to show succession is secure, with or without the Sussexes for over a month.
I am more inclined to believe the announcement was set to take place after a few more discussions with the senior royals to hash out a few more details, but was rushed after the Sussexes go wind of a leak and rushed to control the information which would come out.
It has also been suggested that Harry and Meghan will sit down with Gayle King from CBS for a tell all interview.
While this remains to be seen, I do think after a suitable period they will do an interview, with someone they see as supportive to their move, to explain their side of the story.
The Times as reported that Meghan has signed a deal to voice a character in an upcoming Disney project.
In exchange, Disney will make a donation to Elephants Without Borders, a charity which protects Elephants from poaching.
No doubt, Meghan, who has long supported women’s empowerment, will be happy when she can finally take a more vocal role within world politics.
As she said when she attended her first Royal Foundation Forum with Prince Harry, and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, ‘(women) don’t need to find a voice, but they need to be encouraged to use it’. It won’t be long, till she starts to use her voice to impact the causes she and Harry choose to champion.
In the meantime, Prince Harry will be looking for a new role. One day which has been suggested is as Governor General in Canada after a poll showed the majority of Canadians would support the appointment. Read more about this in my article for Royal Central.
Also, after the London based Madame Tussauds removed their wax figurines of Harry and Meghan from the Royal display, the Australian branch has said it is keeping them together. I visited the Sydney based wax museum on Saturday and you can read about it in my article on Royal Central.
Kate turns 38
In happier news his week, the Duchess of Cambridge celebrated her 38th birthday.
Kensington Palace released a new photo to mark the occasion, which was part of a series taken by Matt Porteous in 2018, one of which was used as the family’s Christmas card that year.
The image, shared on Twitter and Instagram, showed the mother-of-three dressed down in jeans, a checked white and blue shirt and a pale grey jumper. ‘Thank you everyone for all your lovely messages on The Duchess of Cambridge’s birthday!’ the caption read.
Kate is reported to have celebrated quietly at home with her family. Her father, Michael Middleton was seen driving into Kensington Palace to spend time with her.
The unusual way Oman choose a new Sultan
The Sultan of Oman, Qaboss bin Al Said died this weekend, triggering a potential succession crisis.
The unmarried head of state was not married and left no heir.
Now, I am no expert on the workings on Oman, but wanted to share this as the process to find a new Sultan, sounds more like reality TV then choosing a head of state.
Before he passed away, the Sultan wrote the name of the person he would like to proceed him in an envelope which was sealed.
A council of 50 men would meet to choose a successor and if they failed to agree, the envelope would be opened, and that person would assume the throne.
Now, getting a handful men to agree on anything when power is at stake is difficult enough, so 50 seems impossible!
But the council was able to agree and named the previous Sultans cousin, 65-year-old Haitham bin Tariq Al Said to succeed him.
The sealed envelope will never be opened, so it will remain a mystery what the former Sultans preference was!