Denmark's queen strips grandkids of prince and princess titles, sparking painful family division
Just a few weeks after Denmark's Queen Margrethe II celebrated her Golden Jubilee marking 50 years on the throne — albeit a muted one, as the festivities came just days after the death of her third cousin Queen Elizabeth II of Britain — Margrethe made a shocking announcement: She was stripping four grandchildren of their prince and princess and His/Her Royal Highness titles. On Sept. 28, the palace announced that as of Jan. 1, 2023, the four children of Margrethe's youngest son, Prince Joachim — Prince Nikolai, Prince Felix, Prince Henrik and Princess Athena, who range in age from 10 to 23 — would instead be called count or countess of Monpezat, though they'll keep their spots in the order of succession. (The four children of Margrethe's heir, eldest son Crown Prince Frederik, however, are keeping their prince and princess titles.) Keep reading to find out how Joachim and his family reacted — and to read the queen's public apology…
Keep reading for more of the biggest global royals news of 2022…
MORE: The best photos from Queen Elizabeth II's state funeral
Amid a family rift, Denmark's Queen Margrethe II apologizes — but doesn't back down after making "difficult decision" to streamline the monarchy
In the days that followed Queen Margrethe II of Denmark's decision to strip second son Prince Joachim's children of their prince and princess titles, Joachim made it clear to European media that he and his kids were hurt and that his mother's decision had caused a great strain in their family. He told Ekstra Bladet he received a five-day warning of the change after initially being told in May about a plan to remove the kids' titles when they turned 25 (Prince Nikolai, Prince Felix, Prince Henrik and Princess Athena — seen here with Joachim and second wife Princess Marie celebrating their grandmother's Golden Jubilee in early September — range in age from 10 to 23). In a statement issued on Oct. 3, the queen apologized for upsetting family members but did not backtrack. "It is my duty and my desire as queen to ensure that the monarchy always shapes itself in keeping with the times. Sometimes, this means that difficult decisions must be made…" she explained, as reported by CBS News. "This adjustment … I view as a necessary future-proofing of the monarchy. I have made my decision as queen, mother and grandmother. But, as a mother and grandmother, I have underestimated the extent to which much my younger son and his family feel affected. That makes a big impression, and for that I am sorry."
MORE: The best photos of King Charles III from the first days of his new reign
Jordan's crown prince announces engagement to an America-educated Saudi national
On Aug. 17, Jordan's Royal Hashemite Court announced the engagement of its future king — Crown Prince Hussein. He's set to marry Rajwa Khaled bin Musaed bin Saif bin Abdulaziz Al Saif, a Saudi national who attended the College of Architecture at Syracuse University in New York. The couple posed with his parents, Queen Rania and King Abdullah II of Jordan, at Rajwa's family's home in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, following their betrothal. "I didn't think it was possible to hold so much joy in my heart! Congratulations to my eldest Prince Hussein and his beautiful bride-to-be, Rajwa," Queen Rania wrote on Instagram. It's a big year for her family: Eldest daughter Princess Iman announced her engagement in July. (More on that coming up…)
Camilla's new title sparks debate
King Charles III's wife, the former Camilla Parker Bowles, remains a polarizing figure for many because of her history as the monarch's mistress during his marriage to Princess Diana. There was also debate after an about-face from the palace concerning her title following the death of Queen Elizabeth II: When Camilla married Charles, he released a statement saying she would be known as "princess consort" when he ascended the throne (a move made, many believed, in deference to the ongoing popularity of his late ex-wife, the Princess of Wales). Months before her death, Elizabeth issued a statement saying it was her "sincere wish that, when that time comes, Camilla will be known as Queen Consort." And she was — when Charles became king, the palace and the media started using that title. However, a fresh controversy has now emerged… On Oct. 5, an editor at The London Times — one of Britain's oldest and most influential newspapers — tweeted that "Many will be pleased to know that The Times' writers have been instructed to drop the term the Queen Consort. Whatever clarifying use it had during the mourning period has expired. Queen Camilla is now to be referred to as such or, if there is no risk of confusion, as The Queen." He went on to note that though the Royal Family website refers to Camilla as The Queen Consort, The Times' view is that "this is an 'awkward designation' … and that The Palace and the paper of record are simply having a disagreement over style." Twitter has passionate commenters on both sides of the debate, of course, while other royal reporters are sticking with Queen Consort. "Whilst the Queen Consort is officially and legally 'The Queen,'" tweeted the royal editor for ITV News, a major TV network in the U.K., "I still think most people reading newspapers and watching TV news will associate 'The Queen' with the late Queen Elizabeth. So for the time being I will carry on calling King Charles' wife, the Queen Consort."
Is Prince Albert II of Monaco paying his wife to stay?
A wild story concerning Monaco's ruling royals emerged in May when French outlet Voici reported, per DailyMail.com, that Prince Albert II had signed an "ultra-confidential contract" that requires him to pay wife Princess Charlene — who was absent from Monaco and her duties for nearly a year as she faced health issues and recovered in South Africa then Switzerland — about $12 million a year to fulfill her royal duties be by his side. Rival publication Paris Match Belgium reported a similar story. "Of course the princess enjoys huge perks [as a royal], but ready cash is not guaranteed. She's been through a very difficult time, so it would make sense for Charlene to try and secure her own guaranteed income," a royal insider based in Monte Carlo told DailyMail.com. But friends of the couple dismissed the reports, telling Page Six that Albert isn't paying Charlene millions to remain as his wife. "Of course she has a generous prenup, but Albert doesn't have to pay her to stay," a source close to Charlene told Page Six. "After being away for so long during her illness, Charlene is so happy to be back with Albert and the kids. They spend every weekend at their country place. Albert is fully supportive of Charlene and is also helping her with her charities."
Duchess Kate's 40th birthday portraits
Britain's Duchess Kate and Prince William both celebrated milestone birthdays in 2022: She turned 40 in January and he marked the same milestone in June. This is one of three new portraits released by Kensington Palace to mark the Duchess of Cambridge's 40th birthday on Jan. 9, 2022. She was photographed by Paolo Roversi at Kew Gardens in London in November 2021 wearing a red Alexander McQueen gown. The portraits will enter the permanent collection of the National Portrait Gallery, of which the duchess is patron.
Keep reading to see Kate's two other 40th birthday portraits…
Duchess Kate's 40th birthday portraits
This is the second of three portraits released by Kensington Palace of Duchess Kate, again wearing Alexander McQueen, to mark her 40th birthday on Jan. 9, 2022.
Keep reading to see the last of Kate's 40th birthday portraits…
Duchess Kate's 40th birthday portraits
This is the third of three portraits of Duchess Kate released by Kensington Palace to mark her 40th birthday on Jan. 9, 2022. The Duchess of Cambridge also wore an ethereal Alexander McQueen gown in this shot, which was snapped by Paolo Roversi at Kew Gardens in London in November 2021.
Prince William's godmother — a senior aide at Buckingham Palace — resigns amid new royal racism scandal
A senior Buckingham Palace royal aide — one of Prince William's godmothers who also served as Queen Elizabeth II's lady in waiting for more than 60 years — resigned from her role after repeatedly asking a prominent Black advocate for survivors of domestic abuse where she "really came from" during a palace reception to combat violence against women that was hosted by Queen Consort Camilla on Nov. 29. The drama came to light after Ngozi Fulani, who heads Sistah Space, which offers support to African- and Caribbean-heritage women affected by abuse, tweeted that she had "mixed feelings about yesterday's visit to Buckingham Palace. 10 mins after arriving, a member of staff, Lady SH, approached me, moved my hair to see my name badge," and posted a rundown of their conversation (read it here) in which the aide — later confirmed to be Lady Susan Hussey (pictured) — repeatedly hammered her about her origins after refusing to accept that Ngozi is British.
Keep reading to see how the palace as well as the Prince and Princess of Wales's office responded…
Buckingham Palace and Kensington Palace respond to new racism scandal
After Ngozi Fulani, a Black advocate for survivors of domestic abuse, shared her shocking interaction with Lady Susan Hussey at a reception hosted by Queen Consort Camilla, sparking the senior Buckingham Palace aide's swift resignation on Nov. 30, the palace responded. "We take this incident extremely seriously and have investigated immediately to establish the full details," a Buckingham Palace spokesperson said. "In this instance, unacceptable and deeply regrettable comments have been made. We have reached out to Ngozi Fulani on this matter, and are inviting her to discuss all elements of her experience in person if she wishes. In the meantime, the individual concerned would like to express her profound apologies for the hurt caused and has stepped aside from her honorary role with immediate effect. All members of the Household are being reminded of the diversity and inclusivity policies which they are required to uphold at all times." However, Ngozi confirmed to The Independent that the palace had not yet contacted her at the time it released the statement. She added, "This is bigger than one individual. It's institutional racism." Many in the media speculated that the palace, which has "a history of silence or denial for incidents regarding race," royals reporter-author Omid Scobie noted in a tweet discussing the incident — an obvious reference to how Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan's claims of racism within The Firm have been handled — only responded publicly and acted quickly in hopes the scandal wouldn't overshadow William and Princess Kate's headline-making U.S. visit to Boston, which kicked off the same day. A spokesperson for William and Kate said he was "really disappointed to hear about the guest's experience. Racism has no place in our society. These comments were unacceptable and it's right that the individual has stepped aside with immediate effect."
Keep reading to find out what happened more than two weeks later…
The queen's former lady in waiting apologizes — in person — for racist incident at Buckingham Palace
More than two weeks after the incident, Lady Susan Hussey and Sistah Space founder Ngozi Fulani sat down together at Buckingham Palace on Dec. 16 to address what happened (pictured). "At this meeting, filled with warmth and understanding, Lady Susan offered her sincere apologies for the comments that were made and the distress they caused to Ms Fulani," the palace said in a statement. "Lady Susan has pledged to deepen her awareness of the sensitivities involved and is grateful for the opportunity to learn more about the issues in this area. Ms Fulani, who has unfairly received the most appalling torrent of abuse on social media and elsewhere, has accepted this apology and appreciates that no malice was intended. … Both Ms Fulani and Lady Susan ask now that they be left in peace to rebuild their lives in the wake of an immensely distressing period for them both. They hope that their example shows a path to resolution can be found with kindness, co-operation and the condemnation of discrimination wherever it takes root." According to the palace, "The Royal Households will continue their focus on inclusion and diversity, with an enhanced programme of work which will extend knowledge and training programmes, examining what can be learnt from Sistah Space, and ensuring these reach all members of their communities."
Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan set a new record with their Netflix docuseries: All the highlights
On Dec. 8 and Dec. 15, Netflix debuted two three-episode blocks of "Harry & Meghan," the long anticipated docuseries that chronicles Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan's love story from their clandestine courtship to their public debut to their exit as senior members of Britain's royal family in 2020 — and their explanations about exactly what happened that left them with no choice but to leave. The first batch of eps broke a record, marking the biggest documentary debut week in Netflix history as it logged 81.55 million viewing hours in the first few days of release; 28 million households watched at least part of the show. Additionally, "Harry & Meghan" was No. 2 on Netflix's Global Top 10 list after its first half was released, behind only the smash hit series "Wednesday." And in the U.K., "Harry & Meghan" scored Netflix's highest ratings of the year, surpassing even "The Crown" season 5, doing it in a single day of release.
The show features dozens of private images and video clips — including some showing the couple's two kids, Archie and Lili, Harry's proposal with electric candles, the first pic they ever took together and more. Despite frantic headlines in much of the U.K. press in the lead-up to its premiere speculating that the pair would attack Harry's family, the first part of the series was free of bombshells — though it certainly took aim at the British tabloid press. The second installment laid bare more information, but also stopped short of anything sensational. The show is, however, chock-full of thought-provoking insights, fun details and unexpected appearances as it celebrates Harry and Meghan's love story and the launch of their new life in America.
Keep reading for some of the quotes and tidbits from all six episodes that sparked the most headlines…
"Harry & Meghan" Netflix docuseries second half: Prince William's role in the chaos
The final three episodes of the record-breaking Netflix docuseries "Harry & Meghan" dropped on Dec. 15, and they contained more must-see personal photos of Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan and their kids — and more eye-opening revelations about the Duke of Sussex's family. Here are some of the more notable claims…
Harry implied that brother Prince William and his office leaked negative stories about him and Meghan to the U.K. media. "I have 30 years experience looking behind the curtain and seeing how this system works and how it runs. I mean, just constant briefings about other members of the family, about favors, inviting the press in. It's a dirty game," Harry said. "You know, there's leaking but there's also planting of stories. So, if the [communications] team wants to be able to remove a negative story about their principal, they will trade and give you something about someone else's principal. So the offices end up working against each other." According to Harry, "William and I both saw what happened in our dad's office [when we were young] and we made an agreement that we would never let that happen to our office. And to see my brother's office copy the very same thing that we promised the two of us would never ever do, that was heartbreaking." On top of that, Harry claimed, the palace added his name to a statement issued in response to news reports claiming William had bullied the Sussexes out of the royal family — but did it without Harry's knowledge or permission. "Once I got in the car after the meeting [dubbed the Sussex Summit in January 2020], I was told about a joint statement that had been put out in my name and my brother's name squashing the story about him bullying us out of the family. I couldn't believe it," Harry said. "No one had asked me. No one had asked me permission to put my name to a statement like that. And I rang M and I told her, and she burst into floods of tears because, within four hours, they were happy to lie to protect my brother and yet for three years, they were never willing to tell the truth to protect us."
"Harry & Meghan" Netflix docuseries second half: Sussex Summit behavior revealed
In the second half of "Harry & Meghan," Prince Harry alleged that immediately preceding what became his forced exit from the royal family, palace courtiers blocked him from speaking to grandmother Queen Elizabeth II after she'd already made plans to see him and claimed his grandmother, father and brother's offices refused to arrange the meeting he'd pushed for, to discuss his and Duchess Meghan's proposal to take a step back, until Meghan had left the U.K. and returned to Canada, so they could get Harry alone. At that January 2020 meeting, dubbed the Sandringham Summit, "It became very clear very quickly that goal [of a half-in, half-out arrangement not funded by taxpayer money] was not up for discussion or debate," Harry said. "It was terrifying to have my brother scream and shout at me and my father say things that just simply weren't true and my grandmother quietly sit there and sort of take it all in."
"Harry & Meghan" Netflix docuseries second half: Pals Beyonce and Tyler Perry weigh in
In the second half of "Harry & Meghan," Duchess Meghan shared a text that music icon Beyonce sent her the day after the 2021 Oprah Winfrey sit-down aired on CBS. "She said she wants me to feel safe and protected. She admires and respects my bravery and vulnerability and thinks I was selected to break generational curses that need to be healed," Meghan shared.
The second half also included interviews with writer, actor and producer Tyler Perry, who — despite not having met the Sussexes in person — lent them his home for as long as they needed and paid for their security when they relocated to California. He explained his reasons for supporting them and revealed that the couple asked him to be daughter Lilibet Diana's godfather. "I go 'Whoa.' I had to take a minute to take that in. And I thought, I'd be honored. I'd be absolutely honored." He then phoned them back after realizing what else the job might entail. "I called them back and go, 'Uh, hold on a second — does this mean we gotta go over [to the U.K.] and do all of that in church with [the royal family] and figure all that out? 'Cause I don't wanna do that,' " he said. " 'Maybe we can do a little private ceremony here [in the U.S.] and let that be that, and if you have to do it there, then that's OK.'"
"Harry & Meghan" Netflix docuseries second half: A heartbreaking miscarriage
In the second half of "Harry & Meghan," Prince Harry said he blames The Daily Mail tabloid for Duchess Meghan's July 2020 miscarriage, which took place the day after they moved into their new home in Montecito, California, in the midst of her breach of privacy lawsuit with the newspaper's publishers. "I believe my wife suffered a miscarriage because of what the Mail did. I watched the whole thing," Harry said. "Now, do we absolutely know that the miscarriage was caused by that? Of course we don't. But bearing in mind the stress that that caused, the lack of sleep, and the timing of the pregnancy, how many weeks in she was, I can say, from what I saw, that miscarriage was created by what they were trying to do to her."
"Harry & Meghan" Netflix docuseries first half: Harassment or a "rite of passage"?
In the first half of Netflix's "Harry & Meghan," the Duke of Sussex recalled how members of his family did not share his concern when the British media began attacking Meghan — many stories were rife with racial undertones — after news of their romance broke in 2016. "As far as a lot of the family were concerned, everything that she was being put through, they had been put through as well. So it was almost like a rite of passage," he said. "'My wife had to go through that, so why should your girlfriend be treated any differently? Why should you get special treatment? Why should she be protected?'" he shared, paraphrasing. "I said the difference here is the race element." Harry alleged that his family has work to do where race is concerned, accusing them of unconscious bias. "The thing with unconscious bias – it is actually no one's fault," Harry explained. "But once it has been pointed out, or identified within yourself, you then need to make it right."
"Harry & Meghan" Netflix docuseries first half: How royal males choose wives
In the first half of Netflix's "Harry & Meghan," Prince Harry said he was grateful he chose his wife with his heart and took after his mother, the late Princess Diana. "I think for so many people in the family, especially the men, there can be a temptation or an urge to marry someone who would fit the mold as opposed to somebody who you perhaps are destined to be with," he said. "The difference between making decisions with your head, or your heart. And my mum certainly made most of her decisions — if not all of them — from her heart. And I am my mother's son."
"Harry & Meghan" Netflix docuseries first half: Meghan Markle meets Harry's family
In the first half of Netflix's "Harry & Meghan," Meghan Markle shared what it was like when she met members of Prince Harry's family for the first time. She was barefoot and wearing ripped jeans when Harry's brother and sister-in-law, Prince William and Princess Kate, "came over for dinner," she said, but things were hardly casual. "I was a hugger. I've always been a hugger — I didn't realize that that is really jarring for a lot of Brits," she said, adding that she quickly realized "that the formality on the outside carried through on the inside. There is a forward-facing way of being, and then you close the door and go, 'You can relax now', but that formality carries over on both sides. And that was surprising to me." She also shared what happened right before she was introduced to Harry's grandmother, the late Queen Elizabeth II — who was the first senior member of the royal family Meghan met. "There wasn't like some big moment of 'now you're going to meet my grandmother,'" Meghan said. "I didn't know I was going to meet her until moments before. We were in the car and we were going to Royal Lodge [in Windsor] for lunch, and he's like, 'Oh, my grandmother's … going to be there after church.' And I remember we were in the car driving up and he's like, 'You know how to curtsy, right?' And I just thought it was a joke." Harry admitted he was at a loss. "How do you explain that to people? How do you explain that you bow to your grandmother? And that you will need to curtsy. Especially to an American. That's weird." Meghan then started to realize that "this is a big deal. I mean, Americans will understand this… We have [the family dinner theater attraction] Medieval Times, [with its] dinner and tournament. It was like that."
"Harry & Meghan" Netflix docuseries first half: Two of Meghan's family members speak publicly for the first time
Two of Duchess Meghan's family members sat for interviews for the docuseries "Harry & Meghan" — her mother, Doria Ragland, who had never spoken publicly before, and Megan's niece — who many people didn't know existed. Doria said she was "ready" to have her "voice heard" as she spoke about how "the last five years have been challenging." She shared how she warned Meghan that much of the negativity in the British media being aimed at her was "about race" even though, naively, "Meg said, 'Mommy, I don't want to hear it.' But this is what is coming down the pike," Doria added.
Ashleigh Hale, an immigration attorney who is Meghan's niece, also spoke publicly for the first time. She's the daughter of Meghan's half-sister on her father's side, Samantha Markle — who royal watchers will remember was one of the Duchess of Sussex's biggest critics for years and wrote the book "The Diary of Princess Pushy's Sister Part I" despite, Meghan made clear, not ever actually really knowing her half-sibling, who's nearly two decades Meghan's senior. Ashleigh, who is no longer in touch with Samantha, was raised by her paternal grandparents and later forged a close bond and friendship with Aunt Meghan. She and Meghan both spoke about how close they'd been and painful it was after the palace advised Meghan and Harry not to invite Ashleigh to their royal wedding in 2018. "How do we explain that this half-sister isn't invited to the wedding, but that the half-sister's daughter is?" Meghan said in the docuseries. "And so with Ashleigh, the guidance at the time was to not have her come to our wedding." Ashley said that "to know that it was because of my biological mother that this relationship [with Meghan] that's so important to me was impacted in that way … to feel like because of her it was taken away, it's been hard."
Book claims Queen Elizabeth III was secretly battling bone marrow cancer in her final months
According to a new book on Britain's late queen — "Elizabeth: An Intimate Portrait" by Gyles Brandreth, a former member of Parliament who was reportedly close to the late Prince Philip and who's friends with Queen Consort Camilla — the monarch was secretly battling painful bone marrow cancer in her final years before her September 2022 death at 96. Though her death certificate stated she died from old age, the author — whose book, out Nov. 29, was serialized by DailyMail.com — has claimed, that's not entirely true. "I had heard that the queen had a form of myeloma — bone marrow cancer — which would explain her tiredness and weight loss and those 'mobility issues' we were often told about during the last year or so of her life," he wrote, as reported by the New York Post. "The most common symptom of myeloma is bone pain, especially in the pelvis and lower back, and multiple myeloma is a disease that often affects the elderly. Currently, there is no known cure, but treatment — including medicines to help regulate the immune system and drugs that help prevent the weakening of the bones — can reduce the severity of its symptoms and extend the patient's survival by months or two to three years."
The Netherlands' King Willem-Alexander orders formal research investigation into the Dutch monarchy's role in his country's colonial past
Right before Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan's Netflix docuseries calling attention to the racism Meghan faced after her romance with the U.K. royal was revealed — which also drew attention to Britain's long history with the slave trade — one of Europe's other major monarchies announced a formal investigation into its colonial past. On Dec. 6, the Netherlands' King Willem-Alexander revealed that he's commissioned independent research into the Dutch royal family's role in the nation's colonization history. The project — which will span the period from the late 16th century until the "post-colonial" present — will be carried out by three Dutch historians and a human rights expert and is expected to take three years. "Profound knowledge of the past is essential to understand historical facts and developments and to see their impact on human beings and communities as clearly and honestly as possible," the king said in a statement. The news comes a year after an advisory panel concluded that the Dutch government should acknowledge that the 17th to 19th century transatlantic slave trade amounted to crimes against humanity. The Guardian reported that the Dutch government is, before 2022 ends, expected to formally apologize for its role in the slave trade during the country's colonial past.
Ghislaine Maxwell opens up about Prince Andrew friendship following her sex trafficking conviction
In Ghislaine Maxwell's first major interview since she was convicted on sex trafficking charges and sentenced to 20 years in prison, she opened up to documentary filmmaker Daphne Barak about her old friend Prince Andrew, who was stripped of his military and His Royal Highness titles and forced to step back as a senior working royal due to the fallout from his association with late pedophile financier Jeffrey Epstein. "I feel so bad for him. I follow what is happening to him," Ghislaine said of the Duke of York, who earlier this year paid a reported $16 million settlement to Virginia Giuffre — who's long alleged that Ghislaine and Jeffrey forced her to have sex with the royal when she was 17. According to Britain's Sun on Sunday, which published portions of the interview on Oct. 16, Ghislaine appeared "shaken" when she was informed that Andrew's lawyers have claimed he and Ghislaine (seen here at the 2000 Royal Ascot) were never close. "I accept that this friendship could not survive my conviction. He is paying such a price for the association. I consider him a dear friend. I care about him," Ghislaine, who's appealing her conviction, said. Ghislaine also spoke about the infamous photo that shows Andrew with his arm around a 17-year-old Virginia with Ghislaine in the background upstairs at Ghislaine's London townhome. Despite sending her lawyer an email in 2015 saying the photo "looks real. I think it is," Ghislaine just claimed she, like Andrew, believes it's not legitimate. "I don't recognise that picture and I don't believe it is a real picture. … I don't believe that image is a true image," she said.
Queen Elizabeth II is laid to rest
Queen Elizabeth II's state funeral — the first the United Kingdom saw since former Prime Minister Winston Churchill's in 1965 — took place on Sept. 19, 2022, at Westminster Abbey in London 10 days after she died on Sept. 8 at Balmoral, her summer home in Scotland. The British monarch's casket traveled to Windsor, England, where she was interred in the King George VI Memorial Chapel inside St. George's Chapel at Windsor Castle in Windsor, England, alongside her beloved parents, sister and husband, Prince Philip.
The Prince and Princess of Wales make a surprise appearance with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex
It was the reunion that no one was expecting. Two days after Britain's Queen Elizabeth II died at 96, her long-feuding grandsons and their wives came together for a surprise joint appearance — the first time they were all seen together in public in two and a half years. Prince William and wife Princess Kate — who've now taken on the titles Prince and Princess of Wales as well as Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and Cambridge following the accession of his father, King Charles II — stepped out of a car outside Windsor Castle on Sept. 10 accompanied by brother Prince Harry and his wife, Duchess Meghan. The couples spent 40 minutes on a walkabout where they spoke to people lining the street (but hardly to each other) and read messages of mourning left for the queen amid a sea of flowers. A Kensington Palace spokesman told DailyMail.com that William had invited the Duke and Duchess of Sussex to join him and Kate, while sources characterized it as an "11th-hour olive branch" from William following a phone call with their father. A royals source further told People magazine that William thought it "was an important show of unity at an incredibly difficult time for the family."
Queen Elizabeth II dies at 96 at her summer home in Scotland, giving the world King Charles III and Queen Consort Camilla
Queen Elizabeth II's four children and grandsons Prince William and Prince Harry rushed to the monarch's side on the morning of Sept. 8 amid heartbreak: Two days after she was photographed looking frail and bruised but happy — this is the last photo ever taken of Her Majesty in life — as she appointed a new prime minister, Liz Truss, not while in London but from Balmoral, her summer home in Scotland, due to ongoing but unspecified medical issues, Buckingham Palace announced that the monarch's health was in decline and that she was "under medical supervision" but "comfortable." But it was far more grave than they'd let on, and just a few hours later came the deeply sad news: The country's longest reigning monarch was dead at 96. Only Prince Charles and Princess Anne were able to make it to Balmoral before their mother died; sons Prince Andrew and Prince Edward and grandsons William and Harry were too late, DailyMail.com reported. "The Queen died peacefully at Balmoral this afternoon. The King and The Queen Consort will remain at Balmoral this evening and will return to London tomorrow," Buckingham Palace announced, referencing the newly named King Charles III and his wife, Camilla, Queen Consort. Two days later, Charles was formally proclaimed sovereign by the Accession Council in London a ceremony with ancient roots that was attended by women for the first time ever.
Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis start a new school in a new city after moving from London to Windsor
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and their kids made a big move this year! After months of reports claiming Prince William, Duchess Kate and their three kids would be relocating from their London base to Windsor, England, where Queen Elizabeth II had been living at Windsor Castle in recent years, the couple confirmed it on Aug. 22 when they announced that Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis would in September start at Lambrook School in Berkshire — a co-ed private school nine miles from their new Home Park home in Windsor. The Cambridges are seen here accompanying their children to the school's settling-in afternoon, an annual event held to welcome new students and their families to Lambrook, on Sept. 7. The family's relocation sparked some controversy considering that by 2014, they'd spent more than $5.4 in taxpayer funds renovating and transforming sprawling Apartment 1A at Kensington Palace into what aides at the time insisted was their forever home, Yahoo! News UK reported; that figure climbed another $1.2 million when they had a new driveway installed in 2019. The couple also owns a country home, Anmer Hall. A source told royal reporter Omid Scobie that the Cambridges are using private funds to rent their new home, Adelaide Cottage in Windsor.
Prince Andrew pays $16 million settlement to his sexual abuse accuser
2022 has been another terrible year for Britain's Prince Andrew. In January, it was announced that his military titles and royal patronages would be returned to Queen Elizabeth II and he would cease using the title His Royal Highness in an official capacity. In February — despite his denials of any wrongdoing — he reached a settlement with sexual abuse accuser Virginia Giuffre, who in 2021 sued the Duke of York in U.S. civil court alleging that his old friend Jeffrey Epstein, the financier and convicted pedophile who died by suicide in 2019 while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges, had trafficked her and forced her to have sex with his friends, including Andrew, when she was underage. In March, Giuffre's attorney confirmed the settlement — which reports pegged at about $16 million — had been paid by the disgraced royal. Adding to the prince's woes? On July 14, Deadline reported that a movie to be titled "Scoop" is in the works about how the BBC obtained its headline-making 2019 "Newsnight" interview with Andrew — the one in which he addressed his relationship with Epstein and also insisted he'd never met Giuffre despite the existence of a photo of them together on the same night she's long claimed he abused her. Days after his hugely tone-deaf sit-down, which was widely described as a train wreck, a reluctant Andrew was forced to step back as a senior working royal.
Meghan Markle's "Archetypes" Spotify podcast series defies critics to debut at No. 1
On Aug. 23, Duchess Meghan debuted her first Spotify podcast in a series of 12 about "the labels that try to hold women back" in which she spoke with tennis champion Serena Williams about ambitious women. Many of the "Archetypes with Meghan" reviews from the British media were scathing, with one writer for The Times branding the episode a "tastefully soundtracked parade of banalities, absurdities and self-aggrandizing Californian platitudes" and another calling it "pure, narcissistic gibberish." The Daily Mail was just as unkind, calling it "bizarre, saccharine and faintly queasy schmooze-fest." But Spotify subscribers listened in droves: With her very first release, the Duchess of Sussex took the No. 1 podcast position on Spotify's charts in six markets worldwide — America, Britain, Ireland, Canada, Australia and New Zealand — and made headlines for knocking the usual No. 1 podcast on the platform, "The Joe Rogan Experience," out of the top spot. Other episodes feature conversations with big names including Mariah Carey, Mindy Kaling, Margaret Cho and more. In December, "Archetypes" won the favorite pop podcast of 2022 prize at the People's Choice Awards.
Four future European queens (and a future grand duke) celebrate one princess's milestone 18th birthday in Norway
Four future queens of Europe — and a future grand duke — gathered with their families and posed for this portrait in June during a gala dinner celebration in Oslo, Norway, marking the milestone 18th birthday of Norway's Princess Ingrid Alexandra (front center). (Her January birthday celebrations were postponed until June due to the coronavirus pandemic.) Norway's future queen was flanked by Sweden's future queen, Princess Estelle (front left), Luxembourg's future grand duke, Prince Charles (front right), and The Netherlands' future queen, Catharina-Amalia, Princess of Orange (back left), and Belgium's future queen, Princess Elisabeth, Duchess of Brabant (back right). People magazine reported that this marked the first time the three older princesses have publicly worn tiaras.
Caribbean royal tour controversy
The world is changing, but is the British monarchy? Prince William and Duchess Kate's $275,000 royal tour of the Caribbean — they visited the Commonwealth nations of Belize, Jamaica and The Bahamas in March in honor of Queen Elizabeth II's Platinum Jubilee — was riddled with controversy, protests and calls for slavery reparations as well as dropping the monarch as their head of state. While in Jamaica, William attempted to acknowledge mounting tensions by expressing his "profound sorrow" concerning Britain's role in the slave trade. "Slavery was abhorrent. And it should never have happened," he said in part. Many didn't think he took his remarks far enough. In April, the queen youngest son, Prince Edward, and his wife, Sophie, Countess of Wessex, also faced controversy over the monarchy's colonial past when they visited Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Antigua and Barbuda to mark the monarch's Platinum Jubilee.
Prince Charles' charity accepts money from Osama bin Laden's family, plus more eyebrow-raising scandals
At the end of July, Prince Charles faced allegations that he accepted a $1.2 million payment from the family of Osama bin Laden — the mastermind of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on America. The Sunday Times reported that Osama's half-brothers Bakr bin Laden, the patriarch of the wealthy Saudi family, and Shafiq made the generous donation and that Charles met with Bakr at Clarence House in London in 2013 — two years after U.S. special forces killed Osama. According to The Sunday Times, Charles agreed to accept the money "despite the initial objections of advisers at Clarence House and the Prince of Wales Charitable Fund (PWCF), where the offering was donated," the newspaper wrote. A spokesperson for Clarence House confirmed that the charity did accepted the money but disputed some of the newspaper's reporting, telling Fox News Digital in a statement: "The Prince of Wales' Charitable Fund has assured us that thorough due diligence was undertaken in accepting this donation. The decision to accept was taken by the charity's Trustees alone and any attempt to characterize it otherwise is false." But that's not the only charity donation scandal the Prince of Wales faced in 2022…
Prince Charles's charities scrutinized after eyebrow-raising donations revealed
The hits came all year long for Queen Elizabeth II's sons. Just one day after Prince Andrew settled his sexual assault lawsuit with Virginia Giuffre in February, London's Metropolitan Police announced that it was launching an investigation into allegations that came to light in 2021 concerning a cash-for-honors scandal — that a charity led by Prince Charles helped secure a knighthood and British citizenship for a wealthy Saudi businessman in exchange for some hefty donations. (Aside from ethical implications for the future king — who's denied any knowledge of the alleged deal, though the head of The Prince's Foundation resigned amid the drama — there's a 1925 law that prohibits the sale of peerages and other royal honors.) Then in June, eyebrows were raised again when it was revealed that the Prince of Wales accepted literal bags of cash as charity donations from the former prime minister of Qatar in private meetings between 2011 and 2015. The Sunday Times reported that Charles was given a total of $3.2 million. Reports revealed the money was handed over on separate occasions in a suitcase, a holdall and in shopping bags from London's Fortnum & Mason department store, then deposited into the accounts of The Prince of Wales's Charitable Fund. Clarence House said in a statement that the donations "were passed immediately to one of the prince's charities who carried out the appropriate governance and have assured us that all the correct processes were followed." Though there's no suggestion the donations were illegal, the story is still pretty crazy!
A Norwegian princess gets engaged to an American shaman — and reveals plans to step back from her royal role
Three years after confirming their relationship, Princess Märtha Louise of Norway and her American love, Shaman Durek — a Los Angeles-based spiritual guide and healer whose celebrity fans include Gwyneth Paltrow — got engaged, they announced on June 7. "She said YES!" he captioned a photo with his bride-to-be on Instagram, revealing her engagement ring and adding in his lengthy post, "When you know you know. There is nothing better than having clarity as a man that the woman that stands in front of you is the one. I'm overjoyed with tears that I get to spend the rest of my life with the most pure hearted, angelic, wise, powerhouse woman who represents all levels of a goddess in my eyes." Märtha Louise shared the news in a post of her own, calling her fiancé "the one who makes my heart skip, the one who sees me and acknowledges me from my highest potential, who makes me laugh and who I can be vulnerable with." She also thanked "all my friends and family who have stood steadfast by our side." The divorced princess's parents, Norway's King Harald V and Queen Sonja, and brother and sister-in-law, Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit, released statements congratulating the couple. In November, Märtha Louise announced that she will officially step back from royal duties following her wedding.
Palace refuses to reveal findings in bullying probe
Remember when, in early 2021, Duchess Meghan was accused in a Times of London story — which was published right before her bombshell-filled Oprah Winfrey interview with Prince Harry aired — of bullying staffers? And when the palace announced it was launching a probe into the allegations? Well, the results of the privately funded investigation are in — but the palace won't say what they are. In June, a palace official revealed to the media that the results would not be shared publicly, though claimed that "lessons have been learned" and that the palace's human resource policies had been changed "wherever appropriate," The Washington Post reported. Meghan has long denied bullying anyone, with her lawyers calling the Times report a "calculated smear campaign" and accusing the newspaper of being "used by Buckingham Palace to peddle a wholly false narrative." The palace said it was keeping its findings confidential to protect the privacy of those who gave testimony in the probe, which reportedly looked at how the palace handled the complaints rather than the specifics of the allegations made against Meghan. For a time in June after the story broke, the hashtag #RoyalFamilyLied trended on Twitter.
Queen Elizabeth II marks her Platinum Jubilee — 70 years on the throne — with four days of festivities
For four days in June, Britain's royals attended various events in London and beyond — from Trooping the Colour to a Royal Air Force flypast to a celebrity-filled Platinum Pageant on The Mall — to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II's Platinum Jubilee marking her 70 years on the throne. Here, the core and most senior members of the royal family — the queen; her heir Prince Charles and his wife, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall; his heir Prince William and his wife, Duchess Kate, plus their three kids including heir Prince George — are seen gathered on the balcony at Buckingham Palace as the weekend festivities concluded, giving Her Majesty's subjects a strong visual of the slimmed-down monarchy Charles wanted to enforce as his own reign approached.
Prince Louis steals the show
Queen Elizabeth II might have been the focus of four days of Platinum Jubilee celebrations in June, but it was her great-grandson Prince Louis who stole the show. The 4-year-old royal — the youngest son of Prince William and Duchess Kate — grabbed all the headlines as he pulled faces, goofed around, talked back to his mother, yanked his cousin's hair, got shushed by sister Princess Charlotte, sat on grandfather Prince Charles's lap and animatedly reacted during the long weekend of festivities.
Prince Andrew presses his luck
Despite all the unsavory headlines, the loss of his military titles and use of His Royal Highness and his sexual abuse lawsuit settlement on top of all his alleged bad behavior, Prince Andrew continued to attempt to reenter the spotlight early in 2022. In March, he stole all the headlines and distracted from the focus of the day when he escorted his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, inside Westminster Abbey and remained by her side for her late husband Prince Philip's memorial service. Royal commentator Robert Jobson told People magazine there was uneasiness among senior members of the royal family "but [the queen] insisted," he said, adding, "It shows she wholeheartedly loves and believes her son."
Queen Elizabeth II celebrates 70th anniversary of her accession to the British throne
In February, Britain's Queen Elizabeth II celebrated the 70th anniversary of her accession to the throne at 25. The monarch said that 70 years later, the day was one she remembered "as much for the death of my father, King George VI, as for the start of my reign." She was Britain's longest reigning monarch up until her death in September at 96. Buckingham Palace released this image of Her Majesty on her big day showing her smiling as she worked on papers from her iconic red box inside Sandringham House in Norfolk, England, in early February.
Queen Elizabeth II's health issues make headlines
In February, Britain's Queen Elizabeth II tested positive for COVID-19 — another health setback for the monarch in 2022. Though the then-95-year-old royal got through it, she was left "very tired and exhausted," she later revealed. Her Majesty also continued to face mobility issues in 2022, which led her to cancel appearances at multiple events including a few big ones including the Service of Thanksgiving and the Party At the Palace concert, which were tentpoles of her Platinum Jubilee festivities in June, as well as the State Opening of Parliament in May, marking only the third time she was absent in 70 years (she was pregnant the first two times). In May, she debuted a new form of transportation to get her around in comfort — a luxury chauffeured six-person electric golf cart from the Danish firm Garia that cost the palace about $77,000 (it was been dubbed the "Queenmobile") — when she made a surprise appearance at the Royal Horticultural Society's Chelsea Flower Show.
Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan return to Britain together for first time since 2020
The other big news that nominated headlines during Queen Elizabeth II's Platinum Jubilee celebrations in June? Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan's return to Britain. Though the Duke of Sussex has been back a few times since he and his wife left as senior working royals and moved to America in early 2020, Megan has not. During the low-key visit — the couple did not pose with family members on the Buckingham Palace balcony, for example, and only attended a handful of events, including a National Service of Thanksgiving at St. Paul's Cathedral in London (pictured) — Harry and Meghan privately introduced the queen to their daughter, Lilibet Diana (whose first name is the monarch's childhood nickname) and threw a first birthday party for their little girl at their U.K. home, Frogmore Cottage home in Windsor, England. Reports later revealed that Prince Charles also met his granddaughter for the first time amid ongoing tensions with Harry, while Prince William and Duchess Kate allegedly did not spend any private time with the Sussexes.
Queen Elizabeth II delivers huge news about Duchess Camilla's future title
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II dropped some major news into her remarks acknowledging the beginning of her Platinum Jubilee year in February: She wanted her son and heir Prince Charles's wife, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, to be known as queen consort when Charles took the throne. "When, in the fullness of time, my son Charles becomes King, I know you will give him and his wife Camilla the same support that you have given me; and it is my sincere wish that, when that time comes, Camilla will be known as Queen Consort as she continues her own loyal service," Elizabeth said in a message released on the eve of her 70th anniversary as monarch. The news was significant as it reversed what Charles said in a press release shared on the day his engagement to the former Camilla Parker Bowles was confirmed in 2005, which said that "It is intended that Mrs. Parker Bowles should use the title HRH The Princess Consort when The Prince of Wales accedes to The Throne." That had been the plan because Camilla had a lengthy affair with Charles while he was married to first wife Princess Diana. In the wake of ongoing negative public sentiment, upon her marriage to Charles, Camilla took the Duchess of Cornwall title instead of Princess of Wales, which continues to be associated with Diana, who died in 1997 just months after her divorce from Charles was finalized. In September following the queen's death, the new King Charles III announced that his well-liked daughter-in-law, Kate Middleton, would use the Princess of Wales title.
Denmark's future queen consort turns 50
Crown Princess Mary of Denmark marked a milestone birthday in February: She turned 50. The Royal House of Denmark released this stunning official birthday portrait for the occasion.
Prince Harry legal war with the U.K. government moves forward
In July, a U.K. court granted Prince Harry the right to challenge the British government and the security arrangements — or lack thereof — that cover him and his family after they were changed in 2020 when he and Duchess Meghan stepped back as senior working royals. It marked a victory in his legal war with the government that came to light in January, though quietly began in 2021. Harry's legal team has argued that the decision to deny him and his family protection was unfair because, it turns out, Queen Elizabeth II's most senior aide and private secretary, Edward Young — with whom the Duke of Sussex has experienced tensions in the past — was involved despite Harry being told that an independent committee would decide their fate. It also emerged that Harry had previously offered to personally pay for police protection during visits to his home country, where he, Meghan and their kids, Archie, 3, and Lilibet, 1, face myriad heinous threats — and where their personal security team is at a disadvantage as they don't have access to government intelligence and cannot carry weapons. Though this offer was shared with the queen's aide and Prince Charles's private secretary, Clive Alderton, they did not pass it on to the decision-making committee, the prince's legal team has claimed. Grazia reported that this is believed to be the first occasion in modern times when a member of the royal family has gone to court with the government. "As is widely known, others who have left public office and have an inherent threat risk receive police protection at no cost to them," Harry's spokesperson has said (It's been reported that disgraced Prince Andrew, despite stepping back from official duties, still gets taxpayer-funded security). "The goal for Prince Harry has been simple — to ensure the safety of himself and his family while in the U.K. so his children can know his home country."
New book delves into friction between the Sussexes and the Windsors
Another year, another unauthorized royal tell-all. In July, author Tom Bower released "Revenge: Meghan, Harry and the War Between the Windsors," which is full of bombshell claims — though the writer admitted on "Good Morning Britain" that his sources aren't fans of the Duchess of Sussex, who "made it pretty clear to all her friends and people who work for her not to talk to me, so it was quite an uphill struggle but I got enough people to speak to me … about 80 people." Tom reported new details about that old story concerning Meghan and Duchess Kate clashing over the young bridesmaids' dresses before Meghan's 2018 royal wedding, explaining that he was told the women disagreed over the fit of Princess Charlotte's dress and the length of her hemline and whether the girls should wear tights or not. (Kate said yes while the bride said no.) As the gossip hit the internet, #DuchessofTights trended on Twitter on July 22. Tom also reported that Kate was "tired" following the birth of son Prince Louis less than a month before the wedding and "irritated by complaints of Meghan bullying her staff." The author also claimed Meghan "thought the royal family would be like Hollywood" and once she realized it was "lots of work and little reward," she no longer like it, DailyMail.com reported. As for the rift between the Windsors and the Sussexes, Tom teased that his book explains what happened. "Both sides are to blame but I believe the blame lies mostly with Meghan, who I don't think understood the monarchy," he said.
A Jordanian princess gets engaged to a New York-based financier
On July 6, Jordan's Royal Hashemite Court announced the engagement of Princess Iman bint Abdullah II — the Georgetown University-educated eldest daughter of King Abdullah II and Queen Rania of Jordan — to New York financier Jameel Alexander Thermiotis, whom The National reported is from Venezuela and of Greek descent. "The Royal Hashemite Court extends its sincere congratulations to Her Royal Highness Princess Iman and Mr. Thermiotis on this occasion and wishes them a lifetime of happiness," the court said in a statement.
Meghan Markle reveals new details about foiled plans to move to a Commonwealth country before she and Prince Harry ultimately headed to America
In a cover story for The Cut that hit the internet in late August, Duchess Meghan shed new light on her and husband Prince Harry's decision to leave Britain in 2020 as well as tensions with the royal family. In the headline-making piece, Meghan explained that amid constant abusive media coverage in the U.K. related to race and the couple's spending, she and Harry suggested they be allowed to work and earn their own money for the monarchy and avoid taxpayer funding so scrutiny "under the guise of public interest" would end. They were also willing to move to any country in the Commonwealth — Canada, New Zealand and South Africa were mentioned — to work for the crown and get away from the drama. "Anything to just … because just by existing, we were upsetting the dynamic of the hierarchy. So we go, 'OK, fine, let's get out of here. Happy to,'" Meghan said. "That, for whatever reason, is not something that we were allowed to do, even though several other members of the family do that exact thing." Keep reading for more of her newsy comments from that interview…
Meghan Markle explains big issue she and Prince Harry had with how the royal family works with the media
In her cover interview with The Cut, which came out in late August, Duchess Meghan — who revealed she'll soon be returning to Instagram after years off the platform — also explained her issues with the way the U.K.'s royal family worked with social media (she and Harry couldn't control what was posted) and the Royal Rota (the media pool, which includes tabloids, that the Firm has worked with for decades). "There's literally a structure by which if you want to release photos of your child, as a member of the family, you first have to give them to the Royal Rota," Meghan said, noting that she couldn't share photos before they appeared in the media, which didn't feel right. "Why would I give the very people that are calling my children the N-word a photo of my child before I can share it with the people that love my child? You tell me how that makes sense and then I'll play that game."
The Invictus Games returns
Following two years of postponements due to the coronavirus pandemic, Prince Harry's beloved Invictus Games — the multinational sporting event for wounded, injured and sick servicemen and women — returned to the world stage in 2022. Harry and wife Duchess Meghan attended this year's event, which was held in The Hague, Netherlands, in April where they and others were followed around by camera crews shooting the upcoming series "Heart of Invictus," which is the first Netflix series to come from the couple's Archewell Productions. The next competition will be held in Düsseldorf, Germany, in September 2023.
Princess Charlotte turns 7
Britain's Princess Charlotte posed with her family's pet cocker spaniel, Orla, in a portrait taken by her mother, Duchess Kate, in a field of bluebells near their country home, Anmer Hall, in Norfolk, England, to mark her 7th birthday on May 2.
Prince George turns 9
Britain's future king, Prince George, posed for a portrait taken by his mother, Duchess Kate, while on holiday in the U.K., to mark his 9th birthday on July 22.
Jordan's king turns 60
King Abdullah II of Jordan marked a milestone in January: The ruler turned 60!