Get caught up on all the biggest global royals news you might have missed in June 2021, starting with this first look at a new queen.. On July 30, Netflix shared the first photo of Imelda Staunton in character as Queen Elizabeth II now that filming has started on season 5 of "The Crown," which is set in the 1990s during John Major's tenure as prime minister (Jonny Lee Miller will play the politician). Imelda is taking over for Olivia Colman, who portrayed Her Majesty on seasons 3 and 4. Other actors who've joined the cast for the final run of the Emmy-winning show include Lesley Manville as Princess Margaret, Jonathan Pryce as Prince Philip, Elizabeth Debicki as Princess Diana, Dominic West as Prince Charles and Olivia Williams as Camilla Parker Bowles.
Keep reading for more of the biggest global royals news from July…
New series 'The Prince' starring a catty Prince George sparks controversy
HBO Max debuted all 12 episodes of its new animated royal satirical spoof series "The Prince" on July 29. The snarky cartoon for adults was created by former "Family Guy" and "Will and Grace" producer Gary Janetti, who voices a catty young George alongside a slew of British and American stars as the future king's myriad of family members. (Among the voice cast: Sophie Turner as Princess Charlotte, Orlando Bloom as Prince Harry, Alan Cumming as George's butler, Owen, Iwan Rheon as Prince William, Lucy Punch as Duchess Kate, Condola Rashad as Duchess Meghan and Frances de la Tour as Queen Elizabeth II.) Its debut was delayed in the wake of Prince Philip's death at 99 in April, but it's now facing criticism for its portrayal of 8-year-old George as bratty, spoiled and entitled. Many online commenters have weighed in to share that they feel children, even royal ones, should be off-limits. Judge for yourself: The first episode is available to watch free on YouTube.
Princess Diana and Prince Charles married 40 years ago in July 1981
It's a bittersweet anniversary: July 29 marked 40 years since Prince Charles married Lady Diana Spencer, making her Diana, Princess of Wales, at St. Paul's Cathedral in London. The aristocratic bride, who'd just turned 20, looked straight out of a fairy tale in her ivory silk taffeta wedding dress designed by David and Elizabeth Emanuel and covered in 10,000 mother of pearl sequins as well as panels of antique Carrickmacross lace that originally belonged to Charles's great-grandmother Queen Mary. Princess Diana accessorized with a 25-foot sequined train and the Spencer family tiara. After a tumultuous marriage that produced two sons but was plagued by infidelity, they separated in 1992 and divorced in 1996. Just a year later, Diana was dead.
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Princess Diana's model niece weds fashion tycoon more than three decades her senior
On July 24, Princess Diana's niece — socialite and fashion model Lady Kitty Spencer, the eldest daughter of Di's brother, Charles Spencer, 9th Earl Spencer — married her love of more than two years, retail fashion tycoon Michael Lewis, at the Villa Aldobrandini in Frascati, Italy. According to Harper's Bazaar, guests including Idris Elba and wife Sabrina Dhowre were on hand to celebrate the duo, who got engaged in late 2019. HELLO! reported that Charles did not walk his daughter — who made headlines upon her 2019 engagement as Michael is more than 30 years her senior — down the aisle, and other outlets including Page Six wrote that he remained home in England likely due to a shoulder injury. Two of her brothers, Louis Spencer, Viscount Althorp and Samuel Aitken, did the honors instead, according to HELLO! Page Six also reported that Kitty wore five different Dolce & Gabbana gowns on her wedding day (see one of them here) but did not don the famed Spencer family tiara that was worn by her aunts and her mother, Victoria Aitken, on their wedding days.
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Reunited in Sweden
On July 24, Sweden's royal family released a photo of King Carl XVI Gustaf reunited with his entire clan — the three children he shares with Queen Sofia plus their grandkids — following more than a year of separation due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Royal Court shared the image, which was taken earlier in July in the gardens of Solliden Palace, on Instagram with the caption, "Together on Öland again! A long-awaited reunion for the king. The family, who after a long time in different places, can now gather again on the 'island of the sun and the winds.' A continued happy summer is wished to all."
Prince George celebrates his 8th birthday
Happy birthday, Prince George! Britain's future king turned 8 on July 22. His parents, Prince William and Duchess Kate, marked their eldest child's big day with the release of a new portrait of George smiling atop a Land Rover — a tribute to his late great-grandfather, Prince Philip, who had close ties to the vehicle — that was taken by Kate.
Belgium's royal family marks two firsts on 2021 National Day
Belgium's royal family celebrated the country's annual National Day in Brussels on July 21 — but this year, there was a new member among them as they watched the National Day parade, Royal Central reported. It's the first major public event attended by Princess Delphine — the daughter of the former King Albert II and his aristocratic mistress Baroness Sybille de Selys Longchamps. Delphine was formally recognized as a royal in 2020 following a years-long legal battle. The parade also marked another first: It was the first time Crown Princess Elisabeth — King Philippe and Queen Mathilde's eldest child, who's a cadet at the Belgium Military Academy — took part in the day's military parade rather than watch it from the Royal Stand, Royal Central also reported.
Jordan's royal family visits the Biden White House
On July 19, Jordan's King Abdullah II and wife Queen Rania and their son, Crown Prince Hussein, made their first visit to the White House in Washington, D.C., during Joe Biden's presidency. The royal couple previously visited the White House in 2017 and 2018 during Donald Trump's term as president. "It was lovely joining U.S. First Lady Dr. Jill Biden at the White House today. Her enthusiasm, warmth, and compassion are a pleasure to behold," Rania tweeted alongside photos of herself spending time with the first lady.
Prince turns author
Prince Harry is penning a book. On July 19, Penguin Random House announced that the Duke of Sussex is writing a memoir to be published in late 2022. "I'm writing this not as the prince I was born but as the man I have become," he said in a statement. "I've worn many hats over the years, both literally and figuratively, and my hope is that in telling my story — the highs and lows, the mistakes, the lessons learned — I can help show that no matter where we come from, we have more in common than we think." Harry continued, "I'm deeply grateful for the opportunity to share what I've learned over the course of my life so far and excited for people to read a firsthand account of my life that's accurate and wholly truthful." According to the publisher, the book will cover everything from his childhood and military duty to his newer roles as husband and father and, "for the very first time, [will provide] the definitive account of the experiences, adventures, losses, and life lessons that have helped shape him," per a press release for the project. Proceeds from the book — which reports claimed commanded a $20-$25 million advance — will be donated to charity, the publisher revealed. Within days, drama ensued concerning everything from how many books are in the deal (Harry's rep shot down the Daily Mail's reporting that claims four books are planned including one not to be published until after the queen's death) to whether the royal family was blindsided by the news (a rep for Harry told People magazine the prince spoke privately with the royal family regarding the book's publication and noted Harry would not be expected to obtain permission from Buckingham Palace for the project).
Britain's Princess Beatrice celebrates first wedding anniversary
Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi — who's expecting his first child with wife Princess Beatrice of York in the fall — took to Instagram to mark their first wedding anniversary on July 17. "I can't believe it has been 1 year. Every second of every day since has been so full of joy, happiness, laughter and love. You are the kindest, loveliest and most beautiful person in the world. Thank you my darling for every second," Edo captioned this selfie with his wife, adding pink heart, bride and diamond ring emojis.
Dutch royal family gathers for annual summer holidays photocall
The Dutch royal family continued their annual tradition of posing together in a summer photo session for the media at Huis ten Bosch Palace in The Hague, The Netherlands. King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima are seen here with their daughters — Princess Alexia, Crown Princess Amalia and Princess Ariane — on July 16.
Meghan Markle gets animated
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex's 2020 Netflix deal has borne more fruit. On July 14, it was announced that Duchess Meghan and Prince Harry's Archewell Productions is working on a new animated series, tentatively titled "Pearl," for the streaming giant — a "family series that centers on the adventures of a 12-year-old girl who is inspired by a variety of influential women from history." Meghan is executive producing the show with a team that includes Elton John's producer husband, David Furnish. "Like many girls her age, our heroine Pearl is on a journey of self-discovery as she tries to overcome life's daily challenges," Meghan said in a statement, as reported by Variety. "I'm thrilled that Archewell Productions, partnered with the powerhouse platform of Netflix, and these incredible producers, will together bring you this new animated series, which celebrates extraordinary women throughout history. David Furnish and I have been eager to bring this special series to light, and I am delighted we are able to announce it today."
Spain's teen princesses mark a milestone: Their first official engagement without their parents
Spain's Leonor, Princess of Asturias and Infanta Sofía donned white T-shirts and jeans as they undertook their first-ever joint engagement without their parents, King Felipe and Queen Letizia, on July 14. The Spanish royals planted trees in Hayedo de Montejo, a reserve in Madrid, accompanied by about 35 other teenagers in hopes of raising awareness for the fight against climate change, HELLO! reported.
The Emmys recognize Oprah Winfrey's jaw-dropping interview with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex
There's a new way to describe that bombshell-filled interview that Oprah Winfrey did with Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan that aired in March: Emmy-nominated. On July 13, the Television Academy announced that "Oprah with Meghan & Harry: A CBS Primetime Special" received an Emmy nod in the outstanding hosted nonfiction series or special category. The 2021 Emmys air on Sept. 20.
A new British battle of brothers?
It appears there's drama brewing between a pair of British princes — and this time, it's not William and Harry. On July 11, The Sunday Times newspaper reported that, according to its sources, future king Prince Charles does not plan to honor late father Prince Philip's wish to grant the Duke of Edinburgh title, which Philip used during his marriage to Queen Elizabeth II, to his youngest brother, Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex — the only one of the monarch's three sons who doesn't hold a dukedom. A source who knows Charles told the newspaper's royals editor, as reported by Tatler, "The prince is the Duke of Edinburgh as it stands, and it is up to him what happens to the title. It will not go to Edward," while another source added, "Edinburgh won't go to [the Wessexes] as far as the prince is concerned." People magazine laid it all out: When Philip died in April, his dukedom technically was inherited by first-born son Charles. When Charles becomes king, the title will merge with the Crown and he can decide what to do with it. It's long been expected it would then be granted to Edward because when Edward married in 1999, Buckingham Palace said in a statement that though he and his new bride would be styled as the Earl and Countess of Wessex from that point, "The Queen, The Duke of Edinburgh and the Prince of Wales have also agreed that the Prince Edward should be given the Dukedom of Edinburgh in due course, when the present title now held by the Prince Philip eventually reverts to the Crown." Edward for years worked alongside his father on the Duke of Edinburgh Award program, which helps young people develop skills for life and work, and has been a trustee and chairman of the International Duke of Edinburgh Award. Curiously, a spokesperson for Charles didn't exactly deny the report to People, instead saying, "All stories of this nature are speculation and no final decisions have been taken. It would be inappropriate and disrespectful to the Queen to comment on matters of accession and we will be maintaining our long-standing policy of not doing so."
Royal EURO Cup drama
Young Prince George delighted some royal watchers when he attended the UEFA EURO 2020 football final between Italy and England in London on July 11 dressed just like his dad, Prince William, in a formal suit and tie, while other fans thought the then-almost-8-year-old should have been able to wear a more casual soccer jersey or other more kid-friendly attire. But that was hardly the biggest royal controversy of the day. William made headlines after he hit back at British soccer fans who hurled racist words at England's Black players — three of whom missed penalty shots in the Euro Championship. "I am sickened by the racist abuse aimed at England players after last night's match," the Duke of Cambridge tweeted. "It is totally unacceptable that players have to endure this abhorrent behaviour. It must stop now and all those involved should be held accountable. W." Following his comments, many on social media dubbed him a hypocrite for failing to publicly support sister-in-law Duchess Meghan after she faced years of racist commentary from some segments of the media, social media users and — as she and husband Prince Harry claimed in March — from within the royal family itself. After the Sussexes shared those heartbreaking allegations in an Oprah Winfrey sit-down, William has only made one public comment, telling reporters, "We're very much not a racist family."
Royals and celebrities flock to Wimbledon tennis championships
Tennis fan Duchess Kate led the royals brigade at the Wimbledon tennis championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in London in early July, attending on three different days, including July 10 with husband Prince William by her side. Among the other royal relatives who took in a little tennis this year? Edo Mapelli Mozzi and wife Princess Beatrice (who stepped out amid her first pregnancy); Zara Tindall — Princess Anne's daughter — and husband Mike Tindall; Sophie, Countess of Wessex; Prince Edward, the Duke of Kent — Queen Elizabeth II's first cousin — who stepped down this year after serving as president of the All England Club for more than 50 years; Lady Frederick Windsor and her father-in-law, Prince Michael of Kent — who is also the queen's first cousin — as well as his daughter, Lady Gabriella Kingston, and her husband, Thomas Kingston. Other royal-adjacent names were also on hand including Kate's sister, Pippa Middleton, plus their parents, Michael and Carole Middleton. A-list stars like Tom Cruise, David Beckham, Benedict Cumberbatch, Priyanka Chopra, Eddie Redmayne and more also attended this year. See them all here.
Monaco royals celebrate 10th wedding anniversary — apart
On July 1, Prince Albert II and Princess Charlene of Monaco celebrated their 10th wedding anniversary. But the royals were thousands of miles apart for the milestone. While he was in the principality, Charlene was in her native South Africa where she was recovering from surgery "to address complications from a previous operation," the palace said in a statement, as reported by People magazine. It was earlier reported that in May, she underwent surgery for a serious ear, nose and throat infection she'd contracted while in South Africa. She said in a statement that it was the first time she wouldn't be with her husband on their anniversary and that it was "difficult and saddens me." However, she continued, "Albert and I had no choice but to follow the instructions of the medical team, even if it was extremely difficult. He has been the most incredible support to me." The rumor mill was abuzz at the news, with Page Six reporting that Charlene hadn't been seen in Monaco since January and that fresh claims from December 2020 that Albert fathered another illegitimate child were to blame. He's previously admitted to having two children out of wedlock. In 2020, he was hit with a paternity suit from a Brazilian woman who said he fathered her 15-year-old daughter during the time he was dating Charlene, Page Six reported.
Princes William and Harry reunite to unveil Princess Diana statue on her 60th birthday
On what would have been Princess Diana's 60th birthday, July 1, sons Prince William and Prince Harry set aside their differences and reunited in the Sunken Garden at Kensington Palace in London to unveil a statue of their mother meant to honor her legacy. (See all the best photos from the day here.) "Today, on what would have been our Mother's 60th birthday, we remember her love, strength and character — qualities that made her a force for good around the world, changing countless lives for the better," the Duke of Cambridge and the Duke of Sussex said in a joint statement. "Every day, we wish she were still with us, and our hope is that this statue will be seen forever as a symbol of her life and her legacy," they continued, going on to thank Ian Rank-Broadley, the artist and sculptor who created the statue, and Pip Morrison, the landscape architect who designed the memorial garden in which the statue was erected, as well as the men's teams "for their outstanding work" as well as "the friends and donors who helped make this happen, and … all those around the world who keep our mother's memory alive." Diana's brother and sisters also attended the intimate unveiling.