Get caught up on all the biggest global royals news you might have missed in August 2021, starting with this return to royal normalcy… The coronavirus pandemic has greatly disrupted the lives of Britain's most famous family just like everyone else, but this year, they found a way to return to an old, beloved tradition. On Aug. 31, Vanity Fair reported that Queen Elizabeth hosted grandson and heir Prince William, his wife, Duchess Kate, and their three children at Balmoral, her private estate in the Scottish Highlands during the last week of August. According to the magazine, it marked the first family get-together since Prince Philip's funeral in April. A family friend told the magazine that the last weekend in August in particular is always reserved for the monarch's grandchildren and great-grandchildren. "It has become a tradition in recent years that the Bank Holiday weekend is the final family get together before Christmas and everyone is invited," the friend said. "In the past it has turned into one big sleepover with lots of the Queen's grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Her Majesty enjoys it immensely."
Keep redding for more of the biggest global royals news from August…
Aug. 31, 2021, marks 24 years since Princess Diana tragically died at 36 following a Paris car crash in 1997. Her brother, Charles Spencer, 9th Earl Spencer, honored her on the sad anniversary by flying the family flag at half-staff at their ancestral home, Althorp House in Northamptonshire, England, where she's buried on an island in the middle of an ornamental lake. (He shared a photo of the scene on social media.) People magazine reported that Diana's eldest son, Prince William, is spending the day privately with his wife and children. It's assumed her younger son, Prince Harry, is doing the same. Diana is pictured here on her 36th birthday — less than two months before she was gone.
Norway's future king and queen mark 20 years of marriage
On Aug. 25, Norway's Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit celebrated their 20th wedding anniversary. The couple, who have two children together, married at Oslo Cathedral in 2001. Mette-Marit marked the day by posting a selfie taken alongside her husband on her private Instagram page. HELLO! has the sweet photo, which the royal captioned "20 years" with a purple heart emoji.
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Kristen Stewart wows as Princess Diana in first "Spencer" trailer
On Aug. 26, NEON released the first trailer for "Spencer," director Pablo Larraín's upcoming film that stars Kristen Stewart as Princess Diana and focuses on a key weekend in the late royal's life as she spends the Christmas holiday with the royal family at the queen's Sandringham Estate. Footage from the film was also shown to theater owners at CinemaCon, the annual trade show convention in Las Vegas, and reactions were extremely positive, with many saying Kristen appears to deliver an Oscar-worthy performance as the former Lady Diana Spencer. Jack Farthing — who brought the villainous George Warleggan to life on the period drama series "Poldark" — is playing Prince Charles. See the trailer for the film, which will premiere at the Venice Film Festival in September and hit theaters on Nov. 5, here.
"Finding Freedom" paperback release reveals new info about the Sussexes
"Finding Freedom: Harry and Meghan and the Making of a Modern Royal Family" — the 2020 bestseller that's being republished in paperback with a new epilogue on Aug. 31 — has new information about the Sussexes and other members of Britain's royal family. The epilogue was excerpted in the Aug. 30 issue of People magazine that hit newsstands on Aug. 18. Co-author Omid Scobie, who penned the book with longtime royals reporter Carolyn Durand, told the weekly that Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan are preparing to enter a new "era of visibility." He further explained that the couple "seem to be existing in a different place, and that place is much healthier. Meghan famously spoke about that it was not enough to survive — we are now in the thrive chapter."
Keep reading for some of the headline-making tidbits that were reported in the book's new epilogue…
Two of the fresh claims in "Finding Freedom" paperback release
Britain's The Telegraph reported on Aug. 25 that the epilogue that's been added to "Finding Freedom: Harry and Meghan and the Making of a Modern Royal Family" for the book's Aug. 31 paperback release includes some interesting new claims about U.K.-based royals and Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan. Among the new information is the assertion that members of the royal family were "quietly pleased" that Meghan did not attend Prince Philip's April funeral in Windsor, England, (she was in the final weeks of her pregnancy with daughter Lili and was advised not to fly by her doctor) as they worried she would "create a spectacle" if she were there. The book also claims that Harry and Meghan, who's biracial, considered identifying the royal family member they, in a bombshell March interview with Oprah Winfrey, alleged had made racist comments speculating about how dark their children's skin might be. Further, "sources close to the Sussexes" said that Harry's family's reaction to the claim they were harboring a racist "was not positive" (remember the statement released by the palace that said "some recollections may vary"?) and that there's a feeling that "there has to be some acknowledgement … about what the Sussexes went through in order for there to be progress."
Keep reading for another tidbit from the new epilogue…
Another new claim in "Finding Freedom" paperback release
As reported by Town and Country on Aug. 29, another new piece of information that's in the new epilogue that's been added to "Finding Freedom: Harry and Meghan and the Making of a Modern Royal Family" for the book's Aug. 31 paperback release is this: A source told the authors that Prince Harry spent most of his time after grandfather Prince Philip's April funeral with his cousin Princess Eugenie and her husband, Jack Brooksbank, as they remain close friends despite family drama. Additionally, the book reports, Harry was able to "spend precious moments" with his grieving grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II. "To see each other after so long apart, the longest he hadn't seen the Queen for, was very special," a source told the authors, referencing the year Harry was away from Britain amid the coronavirus pandemic after he moved his family to America. "Despite everything that has happened, he has the utmost love and respect for her. Her life of duty and service is one of the many ways in which she has inspired him to also serve."
25th anniversary of Prince Charles and Princess Diana's divorce
Twenty-five years ago on Aug. 28, Prince Charles and Princess Diana's divorce was finalized. One year and three days later, Diana was dead following a car accident in Paris. The divorce settlement gave her a lump sum of £17 million (approximately $32 million at the time) plus another £400,000 a year. She also lost the "Her Royal Highness" part of her title — reports indicated that the queen wanted her to keep it, as Di was the mother of a future monarch, but that Charles insisted it be stripped. For the final year of her life, she was styled as Diana, Princess of Wales.
Monaco's royals reunite in South Africa amid reports marriage is struggling
After months apart — and amid ongoing reports claiming their 10-year marriage is in trouble — Monaco's Prince Albert II flew to South Africa to visit wife Princess Charlene with their twins, Prince Jacques and Princess Gabriella, in late August while she recovered from a four-hour surgery performed on Aug. 13 to address an ear, nose and throat infection that has reportedly left her unable to fly. "I am so thrilled to have my family back with me," Charlene captioned a slideshow of pictures on Aug. 25 showing her family reunion. She added that "Gabriella decided to give herself a haircut!!!" and apologized to her 6-year-old, writing, "Sorry my bella I tried my best to fix it," explaining why her daughter had a unique pointed fringe. Charlene also posted photos of herself embracing Albert, perhaps in an attempt to shut down whispers that they're having issues.
Jordan's American-born former Queen turns 70
The former Queen Noor of Jordan, the American-born fourth wife of the late King Hussein, celebrated her 70th birthday on Aug. 23. The royal, a noted philanthropist who was born Lisa Najeeb Halaby in Washington, D.C., in 1951, was queen from 1978 until her husband's death in 1999.
"The Crown" reveals first look at the new Prince and Princess of Wales
On Aug. 17, Netflix released images of the next pair of actors who will be playing the Prince and Princess of Wales. For season 5, which is currently in production and takes place in the '90s, Dominic West takes on Prince Charles (replacing Josh O'Connor, who played the future king on seasons 3 and 4). Keep reading to see the actress playing Princess Diana…
First photo of Elizabeth Debicki as Princess Diana on "The Crown" is released
Fans of "The Crown" got their first look at Australian actress Elizabeth Debicki in character as Princess Diana on Aug. 17 when Netflix released a photo of her from the show's upcoming fifth season, which is set in the '90s. The star of "The Night Manager" is replacing Emma Corrin, who played the former Lady Diana Spencer on season 4.
Sweden's youngest royal is christened
Sweden's Prince Carl Philip and Princess Sofia celebrated the christening of their third son, Prince Julian — who was born in March — in the Royal Chapel at Drottningholm Palace on Aug. 14. Julian's big brothers, Prince Alexander and Prince Gabriel, were in attendance as were his grandparents King Carl Gustaf and Queen Silvia and aunts Crown Princess Victoria and Princess Madeleine and their husbands.
Prince Andrew sued by Jeffrey Epstein victim who alleges he sexually abused her at 17
On Aug. 9, Virginia Roberts Giuffre — who for years has alleged that she was one of dead convicted pedophile financier Jeffrey Epstein's sex trafficking victims — filed a civil lawsuit against Prince Andrew accusing the British royal of sexually abusing her in 2001, federal court documents confirm. She's long claimed that she was forced to be intimate with Epstein's friends, including the Duke of York, who she says had sex with her in London when she was 17 as well as at Epstein's New York City home and on his private island in the U.S. Virgin Islands. "Prince Andrew committed sexual assault and battery upon Plaintiff when she was 17 years old. As such, Prince Andrew is responsible for battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress pursuant to New York common law. The damage to Plaintiff has been severe and lasting," the lawsuit states, as reported by CNN. Andrew has previously denied the allegations, though his camp and palace press office have not, as of late August, commented on the civil lawsuit. In a disastrous BBC interview that aired in November 2019, Andrew claimed he'd never met Virginia — who's now seeking unspecified damages — and even implied that a photo of them together at Epstein ex Ghislaine Maxwell's London townhouse could have been doctored. Following that car crash sit-down, he stepped back from official royal duties in the wake of public backlash. According to an Aug. 12 report from the Times of London, which cited sources close to Andrew's brother Prince Charles, the future king believes the situation brings "unwelcome reputational damage to the institution" and that Charles "long ago concluded that it is probably an unsolvable problem" and has decided Andrew can never return to public life on behalf of the crown.
Duchess Meghan marks milestone birthday with help from celebrity friends
Aug. 4 was a very big birthday for Duchess Meghan: She turned 40. To mark the milestone birthday, the Duchess of Sussex launched her 40X40 initiative in a humorous video with actress Melissa McCarthy. (Husband Prince Harry made a cameo with some juggling.) "I believe mentorship is one way to help women regain confidence and rebuild their economic strength, and for my birthday, I have asked 40 friends, activists, athletes, artists, and world leaders to help kickoff a global effort by contributing 40 MINUTES OF MENTORSHIP to support women re-entering the workforce," Megan explained on her Archewell foundation's website. "With this time, I hope they each help someone advance a professional life on her own terms, and, I hope that they inspire countless others to give 40 minutes of their time as well." Famous women who participated, as reported by People magazine, included Adele, Hillary Clinton, Sarah Paulson, Ciara, Gabrielle Union, Katie Couric, Sofia Carson, Amanda Gorman, Gloria Steinem, Canada's first lady Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, designer Stella McCartney and many more. On top of that, Beyonce took to her website to wish Meghan a happy birthday alongside a throwback photo of the American royal as a girl.
Fergie releases first novel, signs deal for a second
On Aug. 2, Britain's Sarah, Duchess of York released her first historical romance novel, "Her Heart For a Compass," which she co-wrote with novelist Margaret Kaye. (It's set in the 1870s and is loosely based on the life of one of her ancestors.) Days later, HELLO! reported, she announced that she'd signed another book deal with publishers Mills & Boon. "We all have self-doubt. But it was really exciting to grow together in friendship and collaboration and we're both very unified together in this book 'Her Heart For A Compass.' So much so, we've signed our next book deal," Fergie said in an interview on Radio 4's "Front Row."
Fergie shuts down bad behavior claims
While Britain's Princess Eugenie was home with infant son August, husband Jack Brooksbank was photographed (the Mail on Sunday has the pics) swimming and partying on a boat anchored off the coast of the Italian island of Capri on July 30 with bikini-clad colleagues plus a model who went topless. After headlines accused him of bad behavior, his mother-in-law, Sarah, Duchess of York, came to his defense. "He works as an ambassador for Casamigos [tequila] and he was on doing his job [as a brand ambassador]," Fergie told BBC One's "The One Show" on Aug. 2, adding that Jack — who was in Europe at the time prepping for the UNICEF Summer Gala, for which Casamigos was a sponsor — is "a man of such integrity."