Japan's new emperor meets America's president
Get caught up on all the royals news you might have missed in May 2019 — from the birth of Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan's son and Princess Charlotte's birthday and school plans to two royal weddings and the ascension of a new Japanese emperor, plus much more… Let's start with the historic meeting between Japan's new royal leader and America's president. On May 24, President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump landed in Tokyo to kick off visits with both Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as well as the country's new constitutional monarch, Emperor Naruhito, who ascended the throne earlier in the month. The emperor and his Harvard-educated wife, Empress Masako, hosted Trump — the first foreign leader to meet the new emperor — for a state banquet at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo on May 27 "designed to illustrate strong U.S.-Japan ties," CNN reported. A naval base visit, dinner at a charcoal-grill restaurant, a sumo wrestling tournament and golf with the prime minister were also on Trump's schedule during the four-day visit.
Leaving baby Archie for a good cause
Prince Harry made headlines on May 24 when he stepped out in Rome for his second international trip in just two weeks following the May 6 birth of his first child, son Archie. Harry was joined by polo player pal Nacho Figueras and other athletes as they mounted horses to participate in the royal's beloved Sentebale ISPS Handa Polo Cup, which raises money for for young people affected by HIV in Lesotho and Botswana.
Princess Charlotte's school plans announced
On May 24, Kensington Palace formally confirmed what's been expected for a while now: 4-year-old Princess Charlotte will follow in 5-year-old big brother Prince George's footsteps and enroll at Thomas's Battersea school in London come September. The posh school, which teaches 560 children, will cost Prince William and Duchess Kate about $24,000 a year in tuition and fees for Charlotte — roughly $500 less than it costs them to send George there, as they're entitled to a sibling discount, Town & Country reported.
Controversial Princess Diana theme park exhibit opens
On May 24, a new theme park called National Enquirer Live! opened in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee — and one of its big exhibits is already sparking controversy. The tabloid-inspired entertainment venue features an exhibit that details the late Princess Diana's final moments before she died following a car crash on Aug. 31, 1997: Visitors watch a 3D computerized model of Diana's vehicle as it navigates the streets of Paris. "It's projected, and you see the buildings and everything in a 3D presentation," one of the main investors in the new theme park, Robin Turner, explained to The Daily Beast. "And it shows the pathway as she left the Ritz hotel, and the paparazzi chasing her, and the bang-flash that we think blinded the driver — and how it happened." Robin insists that the exhibit — one of about 100 at the new attraction — is "definitely not in poor taste," but critics aren't convinced. "It's done in a positive fashion," Robin insisted. "It brings attention to the different theories behind it that the Enquirer has covered over the years… The biggest sensitivity of all is, Do you think she was pregnant with Dodi [Al-Fayed]'s baby [when she died]?"
Kate's green thumb
On May 20, Duchess Kate stepped out in London to give Queen Elizabeth II a tour of her latest passion project — a Back to Nature Garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show. Earlier the same day, Kate donned a pair of sneakers, a white eyelet blouse and tan culottes to show off the incredible green space, which she co-designed with Adam White and Andree Davies, to members of the media. Kate also took to Kensington Palace's Instagram account to share her hope that children and their parents would be inspired by the exhibit. "I really feel that nature and being interactive outdoors has huge benefits on our physical and mental wellbeing, particularly for young kiddies," she said.
Outdoor playdate with the Cambridge kids
One day before Duchess Kate debuted her Back to Nature Garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, she and Prince William gave the public a look at their own children — Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis — playing in the incredible, lush space that was designed to include a babbling brook, a rope ball swing and a treehouse among the plants and flowers. All the fun was captured in a series of photos on social media that also revealed that 12-month-old Louis has reached a big milestone — he's walking now! The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge also shared some sweet video footage on May 20 of their kids playing in the garden — royals fans can hear young George speak as he reveals how much he loves his mother's creation, as well as William calling Charlotte by a sweet nickname — Mignonette, a French word that roughly translates to "small and sweet" or "delicate and dainty."
Trip to the Emerald Isle
On May 20, Prince Charles and wife Duchess Camilla kicked off two separate official royal trips to the Emerald Isle — first heading to the Republic of Ireland, then going over the border to Britain's Northern Ireland. From watching Irish dancers and weavers to planting trees to cutting cakes, petting dogs and exploring ruins, the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall got up to a lot during their adventures.
On May 19, Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan marked their one-year wedding anniversary. To celebrate, they shared a video on Instagram featuring never-before-seen photos from their wedding day at St. George's Chapel at Windsor Castle along with a sweet message. "Thank you for all of the love and support from so many of you around the world," they wrote. "Each of you made this day even more meaningful."
Another royal wedding!
On May 18, Lady Gabriella Windsor — the daughter of Queen Elizabeth II's cousin Prince Michael of Kent — married financier Thomas Kingston at St. George's Chapel at Windsor Castle wearing a custom Luisa Beccaria gown. It was the third royal wedding to take place at the historic venue in a year (following Prince Harry's nuptials in May 2018 and Princess Eugenie's in October 2018). A slew of royal and famous guests attended the ceremony. Gabriella, who works in public relations, is 52nd in the line of succession to the British throne. Later that evening, the couple were joined by guests including Oscar winner Anne Hathaway and husband Adam Shulman as well as Pippa Middleton and brother James Middleton at an evening reception at hip London eatery Wild by Tart, MailOnline reported.
Prince William talks feeling "a pain like no other" after Princess Diana's death
In a new BBC documentary, "A Royal Team Talk: Tackling Mental Health," which was teased on Kensington Palace's Twitter account on May 17, Prince William speaks with famous U.K. athletes about mental health — including his own as he opened up about his heartbreak following the 1997 death of his mother, Princess Diana. "I think when you are bereaved at a very young age, anytime really, but particularly at a young age — I can resonate closely to that — you feel a pain like no other pain," he tells soccer stars Peter Crouch, Gareth Southgate, Thierry Henry, Danny Rose and Jermaine Jenas. "And you know that in your life it's going to be very difficult to come across something that is going to be an even worse pain than that." But he also shared the positive side of grief. "It also brings you so close to all those other people out there who have been bereaved," William said.
Friends speak out
Two of Duchess Meghan's good friends — makeup artist Daniel Martin and "True Blood" actress Janina Gavankar — spoke to CBS News's Gayle King for a TV special that aired on May 17, "Meghan and Harry Plus One," which celebrated the couple's one-year wedding anniversary as well as the birth of their first child, son Archie (more on that coming up). Among the highlights? Daniel shed tears during his chat with Gayle, explaining that he was emotional "because I know [Meghan] so well and I know she doesn't deserve all this negative press," he said, referring to recent headlines accusing Meghan of being demanding. Janina said that the birth of Meghan and Prince Harry's son had wider implications for many. "To have the royal family bring a child of color into the world, it's pretty awesome," she said. "There's still a lot of us who didn't even grow up with dolls that look like us." As reported by Us Weekly, Janina also said that Meghan will be a "strict" mom. "Not in some sort of, you know, intense way. But I think she's gonna — she's an incredibly practical person. She's gonna run a tight ship." A few days before the special aired, it was confirmed that Gayle had met privately with the Sussexes at their home, Frogmore Cottage, just a few days before Meghan gave birth.
Birth certificate revealed
On May 17, the world learned where Duchess Meghan gave birth to her first child, son Archie. Though reports had long claimed she'd hoped to have a home birth — claims Meghan and Prince Harry never confirmed, as they insisted on keeping delivery details private — it turns out that Meghan, who was overdue, delivered her son at the private Portland Hospital in Westminster, which is near Buckingham Palace, early on the morning of May 6, a birth certificate made public on May 17 revealed, according to People magazine. That's also where Sarah, Duchess of York, gave birth to her daughters, Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie, and where Victoria Beckham has given birth. Also revealed on the birth certificate? Meghan's official job title: Like Duchess Kate, her occupation is listed as a "Princess of the United Kingdom."
On May 16, news broke revealing that Prince Harry had taken on a photo agency in court — and won. A report from news agency Reuters cited Buckingham Palace, which revealed that Harry accepted substantial damages, though a figure was not publicly shared, and an apology after the photo outlet took aerial pictures of his and Duchess Meghan's country home in Oxfordshire, England. "The syndication and publication of the photographs very seriously undermined the safety and security of the Duke and the home to the extent that they are no longer able to live at the property," his lawyer said in a court statement. "The property had been chosen by the Duke for himself and his wife given the high level of privacy it afforded, given its position in a secluded area surrounded by private farmland away from any areas to which photographers have access." They couple now live at Frogmore Cottage in Windsor.
A Norwegian princess finds new love with Goop shaman
Princess Martha Louise of Norway has a new love. On May 12, the daughter of King Harald V and Queen Sonja announced in a lengthy Instagram post that she's in a romantic relationship with a man she describes as her "twin flame" — Derek Verrett, who is also known as Shaman Durek — a frequent spiritual wellness adviser on Gwyneth Paltrow's Goop site. "He has made me realize that unconditional love actually exists here on this planet. He embraces all of me without question or fear. He makes me laugh more than anyone, has the most profound wisdom to share and all the bits in between from the diversity of his being," the princess — who has three kids with her novelist ex-husband of 14 years, Ari Behn — wrote on Instagram. "I feel so happy and blessed that he is my boyfriend. Thank you, my love, for including me so generously into your family. I love you from this eternity to the next."
Cambridge vs. Sussex on Instagram
They're catching up! Less than two months after Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan launched their own Instagram account following a formal separation from brother Prince William's royal household, the @SussexRoyal account is just a few hundred thousand followers behind William and Duchess Kate's @KensingtonRoyal account. MailOnline first pointed out the huge numbers — and speculated that Harry and Meghan could soon overtake the Cambridges — in a May 16 report headlined, "A royal race! Harry and Meghan's 8 million-strong Instagram following is on the verge of taking over Kate and William's fanbase – less than two months after their first post." Since then, both accounts have accumulated even more followers.
A missed high school reunion
Duchess Meghan missed her 20-year high school reunion — she was a member of the class of 1999 at Immaculate Heart High School in Los Angeles. So she sent a note apologizing for not making it to the May 5 celebration, DailyMail.com revealed on May 14. An unnamed old high school friend — one of 37 who attended the reunion out of a class of more than 50 — told the outlet that the Duchess of Sussex sent a note on Kensington Palace stationary. "She is remembered as someone who is very thoughtful," the friend told DailyMail.com, "and to get that kind of attention now that she is a royal went down really well." Her absence makes sense: Meghan gave birth to her first child the day after the reunion.
Texting the cousins
How does a prince let his family members know he's a new father? Just like the rest of us: via text. On May 10, The Telegraph published an interview with Mike Tindall, who's married to Harry's cousin Zara Tindall (née Phillips), in which he revealed that Harry sent a message to a cousins' WhatsApp group (members also include Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie) when son Archie was born on May 6. "He'll be a great dad," retired rugby star Mike, who's a dad of two, told the newspaper, as reported by Business Insider. "Obviously, he's godfather to [my youngest daughter] Lena, but we've got a great group of young ones in the family now. Lena and obviously [Prince] Louis are similar ages and [my older daughter] Mia's sort of in between [Princess] Charlotte and [Prince] George, and then you've got [my brother-in-law] Peter [Phillip]'s children Savannah and Isla who are just a little bit older. So, yeah, it's going to be a good little group. And Harry, he's busy, but he loves playing with them all and he'll be a good dad."
Inspiration for baby Archie's name?
No one knows for sure how Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan settled on a name for their newborn son, Archie, but many are speculating. According to a May 12 report from Britain's Sun on Sunday, the name is inspired by Harry's former Army commanding officer, Major Tom Archer-Burton (whose nickname is Archie), a military hero who helped secure Harry's deployment to Afghanistan years ago and also did charity work with him in Africa. "It's well known in Army circles, and Archie's inner circle, that baby Archie is a nod to him," a source told the tabloid. The same outlet also reported that Archie was the name of one of Meghan's rescue cats when she was a girl.
The Fab Four announce new mental health project
On May 9, Britain's Fab Four — Prince William and Duchess Kate, along with Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan — announced a new mental health initiative: They've launched Shout, which is affiliated with the U.K.'s Crisis Text Line. It offers free, confidential mental health support via text. "This free text messaging helpline is a private, silent and trusted way, for those experiencing mental health challenges to find a safe space to seek help and support," the Sussexes wrote on Instagram. "This is an extension of the @heads_together initiative backed by The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and The Duke and Duchess of Sussex." William also took to social media to encourage Britons to sign up to volunteer for the service.
Invictus Games 2020 launch
On May 9, Prince Harry left his newborn son at home and traveled to the Netherlands to attend the official launch of his other baby — the next Invictus Games, an international sporting event for wounded, injured and sick servicemen and women — which will be held at The Hague in 2020. While there, he couldn't wipe the smile off his face as he went on a bike ride, donned a jacket with "Daddy" embroidered on it and received gifts for his son, including this adorable Invictus-themed onesie.
A playful way to welcome a new royal
Imagine being immortalized in Legos. Now imagine it happening just days after you were born! Such is the charmed life of Prince Archie, who we learned — thanks to a May 9 tweet from CNN royals correspondent Max Foster — was depicted in Lego form at Legoland Windsor along with mom Duchess Meghan and dad Prince Harry just a few days after his royal birth. Unfortunately, it might be a few years before he appreciates how cool this is…
Official trip to Germany
Prince Charles and Duchess Camilla had to wait to meet the Prince of Wales' newborn grandson Archie because they had to travel to Germany for an official three-day royal visit that kicked off on May 7. They carried out engagements from Berlin to Leipzig to Munich with the goal of strengthening U.K.-Germany relations. It was expected to be the last official royal visit to Europe ahead of Brexit.
The world meets Baby Sussex!
On May 8, Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan introduced their two-day-old son to the world from Windsor Castle. "It's magic. It's pretty amazing," the Duchess of Sussex gushed of her first child. "I have the best two guys in the world, so I'm really happy." Hours later, they revealed his name: Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor. The couple have chosen to forego a royal title for their son. However, royals experts point out that when Prince Charles ascends the throne, as the grandson of the king, Archie will automatically become His Royal Highness Prince Archie, though he could choose not to use the title when that happens.
Historic photo moment
The same day they introduced their son to the world, Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan introduced him to Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip. The Sussexes and Buckingham Palace shared an incredible photo of the moment the monarch met her eighth great-grandchild as the Duke of Edinburgh and Meghan's mom, social worker and yoga instructor Doria Ragland, looked on.
Duchess Meghan's family weighs in
Following the birth of Duchess Meghan and Prince Harry's first child, Meghan's estranged father and half-sister shared their thoughts with the media. "I'm delighted to hear that mother and child are doing well. I am proud that my new grandson is born into the British royal family and I am sure that he will grow up to serve the crown and the people of Britain with grace, dignity and honor. God bless the child and I wish him health and happiness, and my congratulations to my lovely daughter Duchess Meghan and Prince Harry, and God save the Queen," Thomas Markle Sr. told Britain's Mirror. Samantha Markle, who has a history of trashing her younger sibling, told DailyMailTV that she believes Archie will grow up "to be an exceptional man." She also made a point to say that she hopes Meghan will reach out to Thomas because "life is too short." Samantha added, "What I think is incredible is that it's a great moment historically … I would really like to see everyone reach out. We've extended the olive branch and now it is Meghan's turn."
Duchess Meghan gives birth to a boy
Finally! After weeks of anticipation, Buckingham Palace announced on May 6 that Duchess Meghan and Prince Harry had, at last, welcomed their first child — a son who weighed 7 pounds, 3 ounces and arrived at 5:26 a.m. "The Queen, The Duke of Edinburgh, The Prince of Wales, The Duchess of Cornwall, The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Lady Jane Fellowes, Lady Sarah McCorquodale and Earl Spencer have been informed and are delighted with the news," read a statement from Buckingham Palace that, as many media outlets pointed out, made a point to include the brother and sisters of Harry's late mother, Princess Diana. "The Duchess's mother, Doria Ragland, who is overjoyed by the arrival of her first grandchild, is with Their Royal Highnesses at Frogmore Cottage. Her Royal Highness and the baby are both doing well." In a surprise move, an absolutely giddy Harry briefly spoke to a pool reporter outside Windsor Castle's horse stables just hours after the arrival of his son, who's seventh in line to the British throne. "It's been the most amazing experience I can ever possibly imagine," Harry gushed. "How any woman does what they do is beyond comprehension but we're both absolutely thrilled and so grateful [for] all the love and support from everybody out there."
Prince William booed by protesters
Prince William was booed by protestors during a May 3 service at Westminster Abbey recognizing 50 years of the submarine service's continuous deterrent at sea and the Royal Navy's commitment to peacekeeping efforts, People magazine reported. William, the commodore-in-chief of the submarine service since 2006, was greeted with chants of "shame on you" by members of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament as he arrived. One of the clergy members who spoke during the service pointed out that the event was not a celebration of nuclear power as "we cannot celebrate weapons of mass destruction," however, he added, "We do owe a debt of gratitude to those responsible for maintaining the peace."
Princess Charlotte turns 4
On May 2, Britain's Princess Charlotte turned 4. One day earlier, parents Prince William and Duchess Kate released three new photographs of their only daughter on social media. The couple revealed that Kate snapped the pics herself at Kensington Palace and at the Cambridges' home in Norfolk, England. Charlotte's aunt and uncle, Duchess Meghan and Prince Harry, sent some love in the comments section on one of the photo posts on Kensington Palace's Instagram feed, writing, "Happy Birthday Charlotte! 🎂🎈Lots of love, H and M xo."
A royal wedding and a coronation in Thailand
Thailand's King Maha Vajiralongkorn married Suthida Vajiralongkorn na Ayudhya, 40, a former Thai Airways flight attendant, at the Ampornsathan Throne Hall in Bangkok's Dusit Palace on May 1. CNN reported that a statement released by the palace announced that the monarch, 66, "has decided to promote Gen. Suthida Vajiralongkorn Na Ayudhya, his royal consort, to become Queen Suthida and she will hold royal title and status as part of the royal family." A few days later, the constitutional monarch celebrated his official coronation with a three-day-long celebration.
A new Emperor for Japan
On April 30, Japan's Emperor Akihito, 85, became the nation's first monarch to abdicate the Chrysanthemum Throne in 200 years. One day later on May 1, his son, Crown Prince Naruhito, 59, was inaugurated as the 126th emperor, marking the beginning of the Reiwa era.