Get caught up on all the biggest global royals news you might have missed in June 2021, starting with these heartbreaking new claims about a war between brothers… New details about the deep rift between Prince William and Prince Harry have purportedly been revealed by historian Robert Lacey, a consultant on "The Crown" who's just updated his 2020 book "Battle of Brothers: The Inside Story of a Family in Tumult" with fresh claims. There's long been debate and speculation about what really drove a wedge between the royal siblings in recent years. According to the author's sources, things imploded when the Duke of Cambridge confronted the Duke of Sussex over allegations that his new wife, Duchess Meghan, had bullied palace staff in the fall of 2018 — claims that only came to light this past March and that Meghan has strongly denied. As reported by People magazine on June 19 — the day excerpts were published in the U.K.'s The Times newspaper — Robert wrote that William confronted Harry with the bullying allegations, sparking a "fierce and bitter" argument as Harry defended his wife that led the future king to initiate a split between their then-joint households. "William threw Harry out," a friend told the author. On top of that, Robert wrote that Duchess Kate was "wary of [Meghan] from the start" and that William told a pal he believed Meghan had an "agenda."
Keep reading for another bombshell claim in the updated book, plus more of the biggest royals news of the month…
More sensational claims from royals author made about Princes William, Harry and Charles
According to author Robert Lacey, widespread speculation that Prince Harry and Prince William's deep rift began to heal when they were united in grief at grandfather Prince Philip's funeral in April are far from true. "Some inching towards reconciliation seemed in progress. … But those hopes were dashed within minutes of the siblings getting inside the castle and beyond camera vision [after the funeral]. They started quarreling again," the "Battle of Brothers: The Inside Story of a Family in Tumult" writer claimed in a June 25 op-ed in The Daily Mail. According to a family friend, "There they were, at each other's throats as fiercely as ever. The rage and anger between those two has grown so incredibly deep. Too many harsh and wounding things have been said." The author wrote that William was not having it after it was pointed out to him "that everyone has a difficult sister-in-law," referring to Duchess Meghan. The Duke of Cambridge suddenly raged, according to a source, "'But look at the way that bloody woman treated my staff — merciless!'" Robert also claimed in the piece that Prince Charles has been working to get his sons to support his second wife as queen. "The main thing Charles wants is for the pair of them to smile on Camilla becoming his full Queen Consort [instead of Princess Consort, as officially pre-ordained at present]," a friend told the author. "He's fixated about it — something he never stops trying to negotiate with both of them. But they will never say 'Yes' to Camilla taking the place that should have been filled by their mother."
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Royal Week kicks off in Scotland
On June 28, Queen Elizabeth II kicked off Royal Week, also known as Holyrood Week, which takes place each summer as she and members of the royal family celebrate Scottish culture, achievement and communities. This year, the queen — seen here with the governor of Edinburgh Castle, Major General Alastair Bruce of Crionaich, at the ancient "Ceremony of the Keys" at the Palace of Holyroodhouse — got help from grandson and heir Prince William, daughter Princess Anne and youngest son Prince Edward and his wife.
"The Crown" casts another major season 5 role
Jonny Lee Miller has been in the spotlight in recent weeks — ever since ex-wife Angelina Jolie paid him multiple visits at his New York City apartment, sparking speculation that they could be exploring a reunion. But the "Hackers," "Trainspotting" and "Elementary" actor also made headlines for another reason in June: He's the latest addition to the season 5 cast of "The Crown." Netflix on June 25 confirmed that the Brit will play former U.K. politician John Major, who served as prime minister from 1990 to 1997 — the year Princes Diana died. The Princess of Wales will be played by Elizabeth Debicki, and Dominic West is taking over as Prince Charles. Also new for season 5: Imelda Staunton will portray Queen Elizabeth II, Jonathan Pryce will play Prince Philip and Lesley Manville will portray Princess Margaret.
Buckingham Palace shelves plans to hire diversity chief, publicly discloses minority staffing numbers for first time
Three months after Buckingham Palace sources confirmed to the Mail on Sunday and BAZAAR.com that the institution wanted to hire a diversity chief to look at staffing across royal households in the wake of racism allegations made by Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan, a palace source revealed on June 24 that those plans have been scrapped — at least for now. The news came as diversity statistics were voluntarily released alongside the royals' latest financial disclosures, the 2020-2021 Sovereign Grant Report. BAZAAR.com reported that for the first time ever, Britain's royals publicly "disclosed the proportion of ethnic minority employees working at the palace — 8.5%." The target is said to 10% by the end of 2022. Prince Charles and Duchess Camilla's household at Clarence House was lower (8%) while Prince William and Duchess Kate's Kensington Palace household did not share a number, which a source told Harper's Bazaar is believed to be far lower than the others. "Her Majesty and the royal family have promoted and embraced the diversity of our nation and that of the Commonwealth, and we recognize that our own workforce needs to reflect the communities we serve," a palace source told BAZAAR.com. "We recognize we are not where we would like to be and that despite all our efforts to target recruitment, train managers, and build an inclusive workplace, the results have not been what we would like."
Dutch king and queen get the Lego treatment
A new Legoland opened its doors on June 23 on the boulevard of Scheveningen in The Hague, The Netherlands, after a postponement due to the coronavirus pandemic. Among its bright and detailed creations were these statues of the country's monarch and his wife, King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima, built from Lego bricks.
Duchess Kate launches a legacy project: The Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood
On June 18, Britain's Duchess Kate launched a passion project years in the making — The Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood. Kate intends for the center to "drive awareness of and action on the extraordinary impact of the early years, in order to transform society for generations to come," she explained in a video posted on social media, adding, "I wanted to understand what more we could do to help prevent some of today's toughest social challenges and what more we could do to help with the rising rates of poor mental health. I've spoken to psychiatrists and neuroscientists, to practitioners and academics and parents alike, and what has become clear is that the best investment for our future health and happiness is in the first five years of life."
Royal Ascot returns
Britain's royal family was off to the races again this year! In mid-June, Royal Ascot returned to five days of running horses in front of big crowds and royal spectators in fancy hats after guests were banned in 2020 due to safety concerns amid the coronavirus pandemic. Prince Charles and wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall attended on multiple days, as did Princess Anne and daughter Zara Tindall as well as Prince Edward and his wife, Sophie, Countess of Wessex. Queen Elizabeth II — a massive racing fan who had multiple horses from her stables competing this year — delighted racegoers when she made an appearance at Ascot Racecourse in England's Berkshire region on June 19, the final day. She's seen here chatting with jockey Frankie Dettori, who rode her horse "Reach for the Moon," who placed second during the Chesham Stakes race that afternoon.
Keep reading to see a few more photos of the royals at 2021's Royal Ascot…
Prince Charles and Duchess Camilla kick off Royal Ascot 2021
Prince Charles and his wife, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, are seen arriving for the first day of Royal Ascot at the Ascot Racecourse in England's Berkshire region on June 15.
More royals at Royal Ascot 2021
Brigadier Andrew Parker Bowles and Princess Anne were masked up as they spoke to a jockey on the second day of Royal Ascot at the Ascot Racecourse in England's Berkshire region on June 16. The pair have a long history: Andrew and the Princess Royal dated in the early '70s before he went on to marry (and later divorce) Camilla Shand, who's now Prince Charles's wife, aka the Duchess of Cornwall.
Peter and Autumn Phillips settle their divorce
On June 14, more than a year after announcing their split after 12 years of marriage, Queen Elizabeth II's eldest grandchild, Peter Phillips — whose mother is Princess Anne — and his estranged wife, Autumn Phillips, released a statement confirming that they'd settled their divorce. "Whilst this is a sad day for Peter and Autumn, they continue to put the wellbeing and upbringing of their wonderful daughters Savannah and Isla first and foremost," a rep for the exes shared in a statement. "Both Peter and Autumn are pleased to have resolved matters amicably with the children firmly at the forefront of those thoughts and decisions. Peter & Autumn have requested privacy and consideration for their children as the family adapts to a new chapter in their lives."
Britain's queen has tea with America's president and first lady
Against the backdrop of her current home, Windsor Castle, Britain's Queen Elizabeth II met with U.S. President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden on June 13 at the end of the American leader's four-day visit to the U.K. for the G7 Summit. The monarch has been introduced to the POTUS before — in 1982 when he was a U.S. senator — but this trip marked their first meeting as monarch and president. They're all seen here in the Grand Corridor at Windsor Castle in Windsor, England, before having tea together.
Britain's Trooping the Colour scaled back for second year in a row
This year's Trooping the Colour — the British monarch's official birthday celebration — was once again scaled back due to the coronavirus pandemic. Instead of watching a grand military parade through central London and posing for photos with other members of the royal family on the balcony of Buckingham Palace to mark her 95th birthday earlier this year, Queen Elizabeth II participated in a scaled back event on June 12 in the quadrangle at Windsor Castle in Windsor, England, where she's been living during the global health crisis. She was joined only by her cousin Prince Edward, the Duke of Kent, as she watched a smaller-than-usual military ceremony and enjoyed a castle fly-over by the Royal Air Force Red Arrows.
Heir to the Dutch throne declines her yearly allowance of nearly $2M
On June 11, just days after graduating from high school with distinction, The Netherlands' future queen, Princess Catharina-Amalia — the eldest daughter of King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima — formally declined an enormous annual allowance of nearly $2 million to which she's legally entitled as the heir to the Dutch throne. In a handwritten letter to Prime Minister Mark Rutte, People magazine reported, per Dutch outlet NOS, the Princess of Orange explained, "On 7 December 2021 I will be 18 and, according to the law, receive an allowance. I find that uncomfortable as long as I do not do anything for it in return…" Amalia, who plans to take a gap year before starting her university studies, plans to repay the nearly $400,000 to which she's entitled while she's a student and has said she won't claim the $1.6 in expenses to which she's also entitled "until I incur high costs in my role as Princess of Orange."
First lady Jill Biden and the Duchess of Cambridge come together to talk kids
Against the backdrop of the G7 world leaders summit in Cornwall, England, on June 11, Britain's future queen and America's first lady — Duchess Kate and Dr. Jill Biden — came together for an unexpected joint engagement at a nearby preschool, which works with children who've experienced trauma, where they led a roundtable discussion focused on early childhood issues. They also helped a group of children feed carrots to some of the rescued bunnies on campus. The next day, the royal and the lifelong educator published an op-ed they'd co-authored on the subject on CNN.com.
Duchess Meghan tops New York Times best sellers list with children's book "The Bench"
On June 8, Penguin Random House released "The Bench," a children's book written by Duchess Meghan about the special bond between father and son as seen through a mother's eyes. The project, which was illustrated by Christian Robinson, quickly became the No. 1 children's picture book on the New York Times best sellers list. "The Bench started as a poem I wrote for my husband on Father's Day, the month after [our first child, son] Archie was born. That poem became this story," Meghan said in a statement. "Christian layered in beautiful and ethereal watercolor illustrations that capture the warmth, joy and comfort of the relationship between fathers and sons from all walks of life. This representation was particularly important to me and Christian and I worked closely to depict this special bond through an inclusive lens. My hope is that 'The Bench' resonates with every family, no matter the make up, as much as it does with me."
Sweden's royal family marks National Day
COVID-19 once again caused Sweden's royal family to scale back festivities for the country's annual National Day on June 6 — only King Carl XVI Gustaf, Queen Silvia, Crown Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel participated in events, Royal Central reported, though the younger couple's children, Princess Estelle and Prince Oscar, were included in the annual photos marking the foundation of modern Sweden in 1523.
Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan welcome second child, spark tabloid drama with name reveal
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex welcomed their second child and first daughter on June 4 and announced the news two days later. "It is with great joy that Prince Harry and Meghan, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, welcome their daughter, Lilibet 'Lili' Diana Mountbatten-Windsor, to the world. Lili was born on Friday, June 4 at 11:40 a.m. in the trusted care of the doctors and staff at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital in Santa Barbara, CA," the royals announced in a statement on their Archewell Foundation website. "She weighed 7 lbs 11 oz. Both mother and child are healthy and well, and settling in at home." They also confirmed the inspiration behind her name: "Lili is named after her great-grandmother, Her Majesty The Queen [Queen Elizabeth II], whose family nickname is Lilibet. Her middle name, Diana, was chosen to honor her beloved late grandmother, The Princess of Wales." The couple are also parents to son Archie, 2. He is seventh in line to the British throne while Lili is eighth. In the days following Lili's birth, drama erupted as U.K. tabloids ran stories claiming that a palace source alleged the queen wasn't asked if her nickname could be used for her great-grandchild, leading Harry to shoot it down: A spokesperson for the prince told NBC News that his grandmother was the "first family member he called" and that without the queen's support, "they would not have used the name."
Japan's former emperor and empress get COVID-19 vaccinations
Japan's Emperor Emeritus Akihito, 87, and Empress Emerita Michiko, 86, have joined the list of global royals who've received COVID-19 vaccines, Royal Central reported on June 3. The pair are two of six imperial family members who were vaccinated. Others include Princess Nobuko, Princess Hisako and Prince Hitachi and his wife, Princess Hanako. Royal Central noted that Japan began vaccinating its older population of 36 million in April.
Plans for Queen Elizabeth II's Platinum Jubilee announced
On June 2, Buckingham Palace announced that after more than a year of scaled-back and canceled events on Queen Elizabeth II's calendar due to the coronavirus pandemic, the royal family is getting ready to make up for lost time: Big plans are being made for an epic four-day celebration in 2022 to mark the monarch's 70 years on the throne. "The Queen is the first British Monarch to celebrate a Platinum Jubilee, having acceded to the throne on 6th February 1952, when she was 25 years old. Her Majesty has celebrated her Silver, Golden and Diamond Jubilees," the palace began its announcement detailing four days of events, which include official days off work for the public. "Next year's #PlatinumJubilee celebrations will include: Trooping the Colour. Lighting of Platinum Jubilee Beacons. Service of Thanksgiving @StPaulsLondon. A live concert 'Platinum Party at the Palace.' The Big Jubilee Lunch. The Platinum Jubilee Pageant," the palace continued, adding, "The extended bank holiday weekend will see public events and community activities, as well as national moments of reflection on The Queen's 70 years of service."