Prince William and Duchess Kate celebrate eighth wedding anniversary
Get caught up on all the royals news you might have missed in April 2019 — from big birthdays, a babymoon and a big move to reports of a brewing feud, a fast-moving new romance and much more… starting with a wedding anniversary. On April 29, Prince William and Duchess Kate celebrated eight years of marriage! In a story published one day earlier, their royal wedding photographer, Hugo Burnand, revealed to Town & Country that one of the most beloved images to come out of the 2011 nuptials almost didn't happen. "We finished [the scheduled formal wedding portraits] with three minutes to spare so I asked Catherine if we could do the shot we had talked about previously," Hugo said. "And she turned to William and said, 'What do you think?' And he said, 'Let's go for it.' So in three minutes, she sat down on the steps, [wedding dress designer] Sarah Burton put the dress out perfectly, Prince William lean[ed] in, the children basically did what they felt was the right thing to do." The result? Hugo's favorite image of the entire day — this less-formal-than-usual photo (for the time, at least) that their photographer describes as "a very spontaneous picture." Now keep reading for more top royals news for April…
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Another reason to celebrate
The queen bestowed a huge honor on granddaughter-in-law Duchess Kate on the younger royal's eighth wedding anniversary, April 29: a Dame Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order, which is the highest rank in the dynastic order — it's the equivalent of a knight and one made personally by the monarch herself for services to the sovereign. Other royals with the same rank include Sophie, Countess of Wessex, who was appointed in 2010; Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, who earned it in 2012; and the queen's own husband, Prince Philip, who was appointed in 2017.
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Prince William's visit to New Zealand
Prince William spent April 25 and 26 in New Zealand on behalf of the queen visiting with survivors of the Christchurch mosque terrorist attack, first responders, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Muslim community leaders, whom he thanked for their work bringing people together again following the senseless March 15 shooting that killed 50 people and injured 50 more.
Duchess Kate and Prince Harry meet up for Anzac Day service
With Duchess Meghan in the final days of her pregnancy, no one expected Prince Harry to venture out to any official events in late April. So when he showed up at Britain's annual Anzac Day service — which honors members of the armed forces from Australia and New Zealand who've died in military conflicts — in London on April 25 alongside sister-in-law Duchess Kate, it made headlines. So did his behavior: Town & Country reports that despite recent buzz about growing tensions between Harry and brother Prince William, there's clearly no rift between Harry and Kate, who animatedly chatted, laughed and smiled with one another on their way into Westminster Abbey. William attended Anzac Day events in New Zealand on the same day.
A royal invitation for Trump
On April 23, Buckingham Palace confirmed reports that Queen Elizabeth II will be hosting another U.S. president for an official state visit. "The President of The United States of America, President Donald J. Trump, accompanied by Mrs Melania Trump, has accepted an invitation from Her Majesty The Queen to pay a State Visit to the UK," read a tweet from the royal family's official account. "The visit will take place from Monday 3rd June to Wednesday 5th June this year." Trump previously visited the United Kingdom in June 2018 on a working trip during which he and the first lady met the monarch. That trip was was marked by multiple protests by Britons who are opposed to his policies.
Prince Louis turns 1
To mark Prince Louis of Cambridge's first birthday on April 23, Prince William and Duchess Kate released three adorable new photos of their youngest child (he has two teeth!). "The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are delighted to share these new photographs of Prince Louis ahead of his first birthday tomorrow," the couple captioned two of the pics on Instagram. "The photographs were taken earlier this month by The Duchess at their home in Norfolk." Uncle Harry and Aunt Meghan posted a sweet comment right below it, writing, "Happy Birthday Louis! Sending lots of love from both of us 🎂🎈xo."
Prince Philip is driving again
Three months after Prince Philip flipped his Land Rover after colliding with a Kia carrying a baby, breaking the wrist of another passenger inside, the 97-year-old Duke of Edinburgh, who voluntarily surrendered his driver license in February, was seen behind the wheel again. He drove another Land Rover on the private estate he and the queen share in Windsor, England, on April 22.
Queen Elizabeth II turns 93 on Easter Sunday
On April 21, Queen Elizabeth II celebrated her 93rd birthday. The royal family's official Instagram account marked the occasion with a short video showing Her Majesty over the last 10 decades and explaining why the monarch actually celebrates two birthdays each year — her actual birthday and an official birthday during Trooping the Colour in June. She's seen here on her actual b-day, which happened to fall on Easter Sunday this year.
Leaving Britain for Africa?
An April 21 report from Britain's The Sunday Times made a shocking claim: Courtiers were working up plans that would see Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan, whom the piece described as the royal "rock stars" of the family, move out of the U.K. to a Commonwealth nation, likely in Africa, for a few years to do charity work and promote Britain in a "bespoke"role while they're enjoying peak popularity. But there's also widely reported speculation that the move could be meant to put distance between Harry and Prince William as reports of strife between the brothers continue to boil. According to a later report from Harper's Bazaar, there's no chance they'd leave for a few years. "Britain is their home and where they want to raise their family," a friend of the couple explained. "If they are to work abroad it would be a short stint." Buckingham Palace issued a statement about the reports, insisting, "Any future plans for The Duke and Duchess are speculative at this stage. No decisions have been taken about future roles."
Rumors of a rift between Prince William and Prince Harry ramped up following their behavior at Easter Sunday service on April 21. People magazine reported that the brothers kept their distance — they didn't speak to each other on their way in or out of St. George's Chapel at Windsor Castle or once they were inside, where they were separated by cousin Zara Tindall, her husband and Duchess Kate. The media has explored multiple reasons for the alleged frostiness between the princes. Two that have made headlines in recent weeks include royals reporter Katie Nicholls' claim in a new book that Harry took it "badly" when William questioned if things were moving too quickly with Meghan Markle early on, which sparked tension, the Sun reported. There are also rumors that Harry is upset with his brother following unsubstantiated allegations that William is at the center of a cheating scandal (Refinery29 breaks it down) involving Rose Hanbury, the Marchioness of Cholmondeley — who lives with her husband near William and Duchess Kate's country home in Norfolk — following a March report from the Sun alleging that Duchess Kate had a mysterious falling out with the former model. On April 25, however, Harper's Bazaar seemingly poured water on riff rumors when it reported that William and Kate stopped by Frogmore Cottage to visit a heavily pregnant Duchess Meghan "because Meghan was unable to attend the [Easter] service," a source told the magazine. "They wanted to be supportive and see how she is doing. It was a lovely afternoon."
A Swedish prince turns 3
On April 19, Sweden's Prince Carl Philip and wife Princess Sofia released a new photo of their eldest son, Prince Alexander, to mark his third birthday. The portrait on the couple's joint Instagram page shows an adorable snapshot of Alexander clad in a sweater featuring an owl. He's smiling sweetly as he tilts his head. "Our beloved Alexander, big congratulations on your 3rd birthday!" reads the caption as translated into English.
Oral history reveals details of Prince Harry's Afghanistan deployment
On April 18, Journalist's Resource published a fascinating oral history with Miguel Head — who served as Prince William and Prince Harry's press or private secretary for a decade before leaving the royal household in 2018. (He's currently spending a semester at Harvard's Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy researching "how socioeconomic inequalities in Britain have fomented divisive politics," Journalist's Resource explains.) The interview delivers an inside look at Harry's 2007-2008 deployment to Afghanistan as a member of the British Army, the related media blackout that was broken by an American outlet and the brothers' relationship at the time.
Is Duchess Meghan personally running the @SussexRoyal Instagram account?
Not long after Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan launched their new Instagram account in early April, reports suggested that Meghan — who handled her own Instagram page as well as ran a blog, The Tig, for years before becoming a royal — was running the official account herself. The evidence? According to an April 16 report from People magazine, users noticed that the account often uses American versions of certain words that are completely different or spelled differently in Britain, and that one post talked about money in both U.S. dollars as well as British pounds. The couple's account has also posted emojis that are popular in the States and used sparingly on other official royal accounts.
Online global baby shower success
After Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan established their new @SussexRoyal Instagram account, they used it to help raise money for charity. When a social media campaign celebrating their unborn child emerged on the internet, the couple encouraged supporters to donate to four organizations close to their hearts instead of sending gifts to them for their newborn. The #GlobalSussexBabyShower initiative saw royals fans contribute thousands to the Lunchbox fund, Little Village HQ, WellChild and even a charity based in Meghan's hometown of Los Angeles, the American nonprofit Baby2Baby. Within the first week, all the groups reported a huge uptick in support, which Harry and Meghan revealed on Instagram on April 15.
Doria Ragland inspired an upcoming romance novel
Jasmine Guillory — author of "The Wedding Date" and the New York Times bestseller "The Proposal" — has written a contemporary romance novel inspired by Duchess Meghan's mother, Doria Ragland (who, "Entertainment Tonight" reported, headed to England in mid-April to await the birth of her first grandchild). The book, "Royal Romance," will be out on Oct. 1, it was announced in April. The book came about after Jasmine's friend, librarian Margaret Willison, tweeted in 2018, "I NEED a charming romance novel about the mother of a new Duchess falling in love with an appropriately aged royal retainer while spending Christmas at Sandringham." Jasmine's response? "I VOLUNTEER AS TRIBUTE!" According to an April 12 report from O The Oprah Magazine, the upcoming novel "will follow Vivian Forest, the mother of Maddie, a fashion stylist … who travels across the pond to style a British royal. When Vivian follows along for the adventure, she doesn't expect to find herself falling for Malcolm, the queen's private secretary."
A big change in a royal birth announcement
They're doing things differently. On April 11, Buckingham Palace announced that unlike previous royal births — including those of Prince William's heirs — Prince Harry and his wife won't be posing on the steps of the Lindo Wing at St. Mary's Hospital in London with their newborn — or any other hospital or birthing center for that matter. Though "very grateful for the goodwill they have received from people throughout the United Kingdom and around the world as they prepare to welcome their baby," a statement read, "Their Royal Highnesses have taken a personal decision to keep the plans around the arrival of their baby private. The Duke and Duchess look forward to sharing the exciting news with everyone once they have had an opportunity to celebrate privately as a new family." Translation? Harry and Meghan wanted to make it clear to the media and fans that there will not be a traditional public photo opp for all to witness once Baby Sussex arrives. Instead, royal watchers expect the couple to share the first photos of their newborn on their official Instagram page or via a pool photographer in a more controlled setting.
Prince Harry teams up with Oprah Winfrey for new Apple TV+ mental health series
Prince Harry is working with Oprah Winfrey on new project for Apple's upcoming streaming service. "We are excited to announce that The Duke of Sussex and Oprah Winfrey are partners, co-creators and executive producers on their forthcoming mental health series launching on Apple in 2020," Harry's official Instagram account revealed on April 10. "The pair have been developing the series for several months and are looking forward to sharing such an important project on this global platform." During an appearance on "CBS This Morning," Oprah — who attended his wedding — revealed how they came together. She revealed she asked him, "'What do you think are the most important issues facing the world right now?' and he said, 'There are two: climate change and he said mental wellness, mental fitness…' It's a passion of his," she explained. "I said, 'Oh, I'm going to be doing this thing with Apple. It's a big concern of mine too, I want to try to erase the stigma.' … At the end of the conversation [he said], 'Oh if there's anything I can do to help… and I go 'Ahhhhh. As a matter of fact…'" In the same CBS interview, Oprah weighed in on how she thinks Duchess Meghan is being portrayed in the media. "I think she's being portrayed unfairly, and I feel that if people really knew her they would know that she is not only everything we perceive of her in being graceful and dynamic in holding that position, but she just has a wonderful, warm, giving, loving heart," Oprah shared.
"The Crown" casts its Lady Diana Spencer
On April 9, The Hollywood Reporter broke the news that Netflix's "The Crown" has cast newcomer Emma Corrin as Lady Diana Spencer, the future Princess of Wales. However, the character will now make her debut on the award-winning series on its fourth season rather than on Season 3 (which is expected to debut later this year). "Princess Diana was an icon, and her effect on the world remains profound and inspiring," Emma said, sharing her reaction to her casting on Instagram. "To be given the chance to explore her through Peter Morgan's writing is the most exceptional opportunity, and I will strive to do her justice!"
Headline-making new photo shared for anniversary
Prince Charles and Duchess Camilla marked their 14th wedding anniversary on April 9. They made headlines when they thanked well-wishers via Instagram with a newsworthy never-before-seen photo taken by Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan's wedding photographer, fashion shooter Alexi Lubomirski. "Thank you for your warm wishes on the occasion of The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall's wedding anniversary," Clarence House captioned the beautiful black-and-white shot.
A new book about the Duke and Duchess of Sussex from a longtime royals reporter
On April 9, royals reporter Katie Nicholl — who's been covering Britain's aristocracy since unexpectedly running into a 17-year-old Prince Harry during a wild night out in London 17 years ago — published her sixth book about the royal family, "Harry and Meghan: Life, Loss and Love." In it, she reveals new intel about the couple's first date, their royal wedding, Meghan's controversial family, the alleged feud between Meghan and Duchess Kate, the splitting of Prince William and Harry's royal households and more.
Middle school milestone
On April 8, Japan's Prince Hisahito of Akishino, 12 — who's third in line for the Chrysanthemum Throne — marked a milestone in his education. He and his parents, Prince Fumihito and Princess Kiko, are seen here posing for photos at Ochanomizu University junior high school before attending a special entrance ceremony in Tokyo. Hisahito, who is the only grandson of Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko, will attend the school for the next three years.
Royal gifts revealed
Who doesn't love a gift? But for royals, every present — no matter how small — must be reported. On April 8, Business Insider published a story revealing the items, as recorded by the palace, that Prince Harry, Duchess Meghan, Prince William, Duchess Kate and their kids were given in 2018 — and some are pretty unusual! The Sussexes received a ton of expected gifts like books, blankets, teddy bears and plush koalas, dingos and emus for their unborn child during their royal tour Down Under in October — but they they also got a few unusual presents including a child's wetsuit, a boomerang, multiple didgeridoos and an iWau — a Fijian war club. Business Insider reported that during his royal tour of Israel, William was given diaper pins for Prince Louis and cloth dolls for Prince George and Princess Charlotte. Fans also gave the Cambridges honey, essential oils, an airplane ornament and a chess set.
On April 7, the Sun reported that Princess Beatrice and her new boyfriend, Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi, are getting quite serious. A source told the tabloid that Edo, the CEO of real estate firm Banda, recently moved into the royal's apartment at St. James's Palace. The newspaper also claims that the couple, who made their public debut in March after about six months of dating, want to marry in late 2019 or early 2020. "They are incredibly happy and already planning the wedding," an insider told the Sun. "They can hardly keep their hands off each other and spend every moment they can together… they are openly talking about marriage."
Just call him Bond, William Bond. On April 6, Kensington Palace revealed that Prince William had secretly spent three weeks embedded with three of Britain's most important intelligence and security organizations in an effort to better understand the work they do. "The Duke of Cambridge recently concluded a three week attachment to MI5, MI6, and @GCHQ, as the three security services continue their vital work both at home and abroad to keep our people and our allies, safe," the palace explained on Twitter. (MI5, also known as the Security Service, is sort of like Britain's version of America's FBI; MI6, aka the Secret Intelligence Service, is like the CIA; and GCHQ, or Government Communications Headquarters, is like our NSA.) William was beyond impressed with what he learned. "These agencies are full of people from everyday backgrounds doing the most extraordinary work to keep us safe," he said. "They are driven by an unrivaled patriotism and dedication to upholding the values of this country. We all owe them deep gratitude for the difficult and dangerous work they do."
New home sweet home
During the first week of April, Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan finally moved into their new home — Frogmore Cottage on the queen's Windsor estate, outlets including People magazine and Us Weekly confirmed. The five-bedroom property — which is located about 25 miles outside of London (where the couple had been living in Nottingham Cottage on the grounds of Kensington Palace since late 2017) — underwent six months of extensive renovations to turn it into a family home after years of use as staff lodgings. People reported that the couple's new home now features a green-energy center, a springy "floating floor," nontoxic paint and more. The Daily Mail further reported that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are planting an organic vegetable and herb garden on the secluded property.
In early April, Britain's the Sun reported that weeks before their first child was due to arrive, Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan enjoyed a relaxing (and expensive!) four-day babymoon in rural Hampshire, England, at Heckfield Place, a restored Georgian-era home-turned-hotel and spa set amid 400 woodland acres. While there, they reportedly stayed in the $13,000-a-night Long Room private apartment, which comes with its own butler.
Rare father-sons outing
Prince Charles was joined by both of his sons, Prince William and Prince Harry, for a tuxedo-clad outing — minus their spouses — on April 4. The trio attended the premiere of Netflix's new eight-part series "Our Planet" with Sir David Attenborough, who worked on the show, at the National History Museum in London. They were also joined by celebrity guests including David Beckham, Brooklyn Beckham and one of Harry's rumored former paramours, pop star Ellie Goulding.
They broke an Instagram record
This is how a royal court separates in the modern age: On April 2, Prince Harry and wife Duchess Meghan launched their own Instagram account, @SussexRoyal — making a clear break from Prince William and Duchess Kate, at least on social media. The Instagram and Twitter accounts the Duke and Duchess of Sussex previously shared with William and Kate, which use the handle @KensingtonRoyal, were quickly converted to focus on the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and their three kids. The separation was a success as far as followers go: People magazine reported that Meghan and Harry hit 1 million followers within the first five hours and 45 minutes of their account's debut — a milestone that scored them a spot in the Guinness World Records book. After just one day, they had 3 million followers. And after their first three weeks, they'd racked up a whopping 5.2 million followers.