Get caught up on all the royals news you might have missed in August 2019 — from a private plane controversy and a simmering scandal involving a prince's friendship with a dead sex offender to royal birthdays, a sad anniversary and a release date for Season 3 of "The Crown," plus much more… Let's start with this royals-filled event: On Aug. 31, European royals gathered in Oslo to celebrate the confirmation of Princess Ingrid Alexandra of Norway, who's second in line to grandfather King Harald V's throne behind her father, Crown Prince Haakon. After the Lutheran ceremony inside the Royal Palace's chapel, the 15 year old — who wore a national costume gifted to her by her grandparents for the occasion — enjoyed a reception with guests including Norway's entire royal family (she's pictured here with her dad, mom Crown Princess Mette Marit, younger brother Prince Sverre Magnus, and older half-brother Marius Borg Høiby) and all of her godparents: aunt Princess Martha Louise of Norway, King Felipe VI of Spain, Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark, Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden, her paternal grandfather (the king) and her maternal grandmother (Marit Tjessem). Keep reading for more royals news for August 2019…
British royals attend pop star Ellie Goulding's wedding
Royals represent! The Yorks — minus Prince Andrew — came out to celebrate British pop star Ellie Goulding as the singer married art dealer Caspar Jopling at, appropriately enough, York Minster Cathedral in York, England, on Aug. 31. Andrew's ex-wife, Sarah, Duchess of York, was there along with daughters Princess Eugenie, accompanied by new husband Jack Brooksbank (who served as a groomsman), and Princess Beatrice, who made another high-profile appearance on the arm of her boyfriend, British-Italian property developer Edoardo "Edo" Mapelli Mozzi. Other big names at the celebrity wedding included Katy Perry, Orlando Bloom, Sienna Miller and James Blunt.
The world marks the 22nd anniversary of Princess Diana's death
Aug. 31 marked 22 years since Princess Diana tragically died from injuries sustained in a Paris car crash. (She's pictured here on her 36th birthday less than two months before she was killed.) Though her sons, Prince William and Prince Harry, did not publicly acknowledge her 1997 passing on the anniversary, a source told Us Weekly that privately, the dukes planned to follow a tradition they've shared year after year on the sad date: They get together for lunch or dinner, typically at Kensington Palace in London — where Diana raised them — and discuss not only happy memories from their childhoods but also ways they can renew their commitments to continuing her philanthropic legacy. The Diana Award — the charity established in her memory — took to Twitter to honor the late royal, writing, "Princess Diana believed that young people have the power to change the world. Today, on the anniversary of her death, we remember all that Princess Diana gave to society as we proudly continue her mission of empowering young people to enact change."
"Good Morning America" host Lara Spencer repeatedly apologized after mocking Prince George live on the air of the ABC morning show on Aug. 22. In a segment discussing the curriculum at the future king's school in London, Lara seemed to make fun of George's love of ballet. "He looks so happy about the ballet class," she quipped as photos of George flashed by. "Prince William says George absolutely loves ballet. I have news for you Prince William: We'll see how long that lasts." Many social media commenters, members of the dance and arts community and even famed dancer-actor Gene Kelly's widow slammed Lara, with some calling her a bully and others accusing her of trying to confirm to gender stereotypes. Despite offering apologies early on, Lara was still saying sorry the following week, telling viewers on Aug. 26 — the same day male dancers protested outside the "GMA" studios in New York City — "I screwed up. The comment I made about dance was stupid and insensitive and I am deeply sorry."
Another royal first
On Aug. 22, Harper's Bazaar reported that Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan have become the first of Britain's royals to employ a team of senior staff made up exclusively of women. The news made headlines after the couple — who cut ties with Prince William and Duchess Kate earlier this year in order to form their own royal court, or office — hired Fiona Mcilwham, a former British ambassador to Albania, as their new private secretary in charge of public relations and private affairs. Also on the all-female team? Sara Latham, who worked as a senior adviser on Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential campaign; Deputy Private Secretary Heather Wong, a former acting assistant secretary and deputy assistant secretary of public affairs at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security; Natalie Campbell, a director of the newly formed Sussex Royal Foundation who was previously director of insight and innovation at the Royal Foundation; and Karen Blackett, the first trustee of the Sussex Royal Foundation who's also chairwoman of cable TV company Mediacom UK and was previously the race equality business champion under former U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May.
Duchess Meghan gives followers a behind-the-scenes peek at photo shoot for new charitable fashion line
On Aug. 21, Duchess Meghan took to her Instagram Stories on the @SussexRoyal account to give followers a quick peek behind the scenes during a photoshoot for an upcoming capsule collection of women's workwear that will benefit the charity Smart Works, an organization that offers career counseling to women and helps them find jobs and dress for interviews — and of which Meghan is patron. Meghan announced the sartorial fundraising endeavor in late July in the September issue of British Vogue, which she guest edited. "When you walk into a Smart Works space you're met with racks of clothing and an array of bags and shoes. Sometimes, however, it can be a potpourri of mismatched sizes and colors, not always the right stylistic choices or range of sizes," she wrote. "To help with this, I asked Marks & Spencer, John Lewis & Partners, Jigsaw and my friend, the designer Misha Nonoo, if they were willing to design a capsule collection of more classic options for a workwear wardrobe," she added. "Taking the idea further, many of the brands agreed to use the one-for-one model: For each item purchased by a customer, one is donated to the charity. Not only does this allow us to be part of each other's story, it reminds us we are in it together."
A Swedish princess heads back to school
Like children all over the globe, Sweden's Princess Estelle, 7 — who's second in line to the throne — headed back to school in August. Sweden's royal family marked the occasion by sharing a photo of the young royal taken by her mother, Crown Princess Victoria, on Instagram on Aug. 19 along with the message (translated into English): "Time for a call! Today, many children return to the school bench — as does Princess Estelle, who now starts in grade 1."
Two private vacations via private plane spark criticism
On Aug. 17, Britain's the Sun tabloid broke the news that following a trip to the Spanish island of Ibiza from Aug. 6 to Aug. 12 with 3-month-old son Archie to celebrate Duchess Meghan's birthday, she and Prince Harry took a second vacation to Nice, France, just two days later on Aug. 14 and again chose to travel by private jet. Some British media outlets and politicians were wildly critical of the couple, branding them hypocrites for being climate change warriors publicly but then traveling on gas-guzzling carbon-emitting private planes instead of taking commercial flights. (Adding to the drama days later, Prince William and Duchess Kate, who've also flown private, were praised when they and their kids were spotted taking a budget commercial airline flight to join the queen in Scotland on Aug. 22.) As the critical headlines relentlessly continued, several A-listers and friends came to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's defense…
Famous friends defend the Sussexes
On Aug. 19, Elton John — a close friend who performed at Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan's 2018 royal wedding — took to Twitter to lash out at the media outlets and politicians who'd been criticizing the couple's summer travel. The music star revealed that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex had just vacationed at his villa in Nice, France, at his invitation and said he paid for the private plane and ensured the trip was made carbon-neutral. "I am deeply distressed by today's distorted and malicious account in the press surrounding the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's private stay at my home in Nice last week," Elton wrote. "Prince Harry's Mother, Diana Princess of Wales, was one of my dearest friends. I feel a profound sense of obligation to protect Harry and his family from the unnecessary press intrusion that contributed to Diana's untimely death." Later that same day, talk show host Ellen DeGeneres took to Twitter to defend the couple too. "[My wife] Portia [de Rossi] and I met Prince Harry and Meghan in England to talk about their work on wildlife conservation. They were the most down-to-earth, compassionate people. Imagine being attacked for everything you do, when all you're trying to do is make the world better," she wrote. Pop star Pink also took to social media to slam what she called "the most public form of bullying I have seen in a while," branding it "out of control" and urging fans, "Let's all be a bit kinder, huh?"
Princess Christina of The Netherlands dies, royals attend funeral
A Dutch royal died on Aug. 16. The Netherlands' Princess Christina — the maternal aunt of King Willem-Alexander and the youngest sister of former Queen Beatrix, who abdicated in 2013 — passed away at Noordeinde Palace in The Hague, according to the Dutch Royal House. She was 72 and had been fighting bone cancer in recent years. The Dutch royal family including the king, center, as well as Christina's three children with her Cuba-born ex-husband were in attendance at her funeral service on Aug. 22 where mourners wore bright colors and flowers pinned to their clothing instead of traditional somber black attire. Christina's casket was also covered in bright yellow sunflowers during the procession. HOLA! magazine noted that Christina, a talented dancer and singer who was born partially blind, is believed to be the first Dutch royal to be cremated.
Princess Anne celebrates her 69th birthday
On Aug. 15, Britain's Princess Anne turned 69. "The Princess Royal, the second child of Her Majesty The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh, was born at Clarence House on this day in 1950," read a post from the royal family's official Twitter account.
"Suits" cracks a Duchess Meghan joke
On the Aug. 14 episode of USA's "Suits" — the show that made Meghan Markle famous — writers gave her TV husband Mike Ross, played by Patrick J. Adams, a great line that delivered the perfect inside joke. The retired actress-turned-Duchess of Sussex's character, Rachel Zane, moved to Seattle to work at a new law firm at the end of Season 7 with her on-screen husband. Now, on Season 9, Mike briefly visits Chicago where he updates old colleagues on how Rachel is doing. "If I told you how good, you probably wouldn't believe me," he says. The "Suits" Twitter feed posted a GIF of the moment he utters the line and captioned it, "Turns out Rachel is doing REALLY well. 😉#Suits."
Prince Harry's ex, Cressida Bonas, gets engaged
One of Prince Harry's most well-known ex-girlfriends, dancer-actress Cressida Bonas — whom he dated from 2012 to 2014 — made headlines on Aug. 18 when her boyfriend of the last few years, estate agent Harry Wentworth-Stanley, announced their engagement in an Instagram post that revealed Cressida's beautiful ruby and diamond ring. Cressida's new Harry is, like the prince, from a line of aristocrats: He's the son of the Marchioness of Milford Haven and the stepson of one of the queen's cousins.
A royal wedding is headed to Broadway
Princess Diana and Prince Charles's 1981 wedding is Broadway-bound! On Aug. 12, People magazine reported that the original musical "Diana" will move to New York City's Longacre Theatre following its world premiere at San Diego's La Jolla Playhouse. The musical follows Lady Diana Spencer as she prepares to join Britain's royal family, as well as her relationship with the media plus the Prince of Wales's affair with now-wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall. Opening night is set for March 31, 2020.
Netflix announces "The Crown" Season 3 premiere date
We finally have a date! On Aug. 12, Netflix announced that Season 3 of "The Crown" will premiere on Nov. 17. Oscar winner Olivia Colman replaces Emmy and Golden Globe winner Claire Foy in the role of Queen Elizabeth II this season, which covers 1964 to 1977. Among the other notable recastings as the royal family ages? "Game of Thrones" and "Outlander" star Tobias Menzies takes over for Matt Smith as Prince Philip, and Helena Bonham Carter replaces Vanessa Kirby as Princess Margaret.
Prince Andrew faces fresh scrutiny over friendship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein
Old ghosts came back to haunt Britain's Prince Andrew this month. On Aug. 9, the Duke of York was named in a trove of unsealed legal documents concerning his old friend, disgraced American financier, convicted sex offender and alleged pedophile Jeffrey Epstein. The following day, Epstein was found dead — it was ultimately ruled a suicide by hanging — in the Manhattan jail cell where he was awaiting trial on federal sex trafficking charges. Andrew was visiting his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, at Balmoral Castle in Scotland when the news broke. The queen made a point to be photographed with her son by her side on their way to church on Aug. 11, a move many in the media took as a show of solidarity amid the crisis. But it did little to quell renewed scrutiny of his friendship with Epstein and calls for Andrew — who, through the palace, has repeatedly denied claims that he was intimate with an underage woman who alleges Epstein used her as a sex slave and made her entertain his friends, including the royal — to explain why he continued to spend time with the criminal, including in the presence of very young women, even after the sex offender served jail time for soliciting a prostitute and procuring a girl under 18 for prostitution. On Aug. 19, Andrew finally issued a statement via Buckingham Palace, Town & Country reported, though many critics thought it wasn't enough. "The Duke of York has been appalled by the recent reports of Jeffrey Epstein's alleged crimes," it read. "His Royal Highness deplores the exploitation of any human being and the suggestion he would condone, participate in or encourage any such behaviour is abhorrent." On Aug. 24, Andrew released a lengthy personal statement in which he said "it was a mistake and an error to see [Epstein] after his release in 2010 and I can only reiterate my regret…" Read it in full here.
The Sussexes start a new social media tradition with some help from Harry's late mother
Need a little inspiration? Look no further than Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan's @SussexRoyal Instagram account. On Aug. 8, the couple announced that they'll be posting inspirational quotes from a variety of people from all walks of life. "Words have the power to inspire, which is why we're happy to share some of our favourite quotes. From members of the public to public figures, from teachers and students to young leaders, we begin with a quote from Diana, Princess of Wales," they wrote. The quote? "Carry out a random act of kindness, with no expectation of reward, safe in the knowledge that one day someone might do the same for you."
Princess Beatrice celebrates her 31st birthday
When Britain's Princess Beatrice of York turned 31 on Aug. 8, she felt the love from several royal family members including little sister Princess Eugenie, who publicly revealed her nickname for her sibling. "You have been bossing it since before I was born and continue to be the most wonderful person, friend and big sister… Happy Birthday to you Beabea!! Xx," Eugenie wrote on Instagram alongside a slideshow of photos of them together from toddlerhood to adulthood.
Prince William and Duchess Kate get competitive for charity
Following a family holiday in July on the island of Mustique, Prince William and Duchess Kate showcased their competitive spirit — and their vacation tans — to help support eight charities by skippering competing boats during the King's Cup Regatta off the coast of England's Isle of Wight on Aug. 8. Adventurer Bear Grylls helmed the winning boat in the first race while William came in third and Kate placed seventh. For the second race, Kate's team was disqualified for starting early while William's boat came in fifth. See which family members the couple brought along for support…
Cutest royal cheering section ever?
While Prince William and Duchess Kate battled it out during the inaugural charity King's Cup Regatta on Aug. 8, their two eldest kids — Prince George and Princess Charlotte — took in the action under the watchful eye of grandparents Michael and Carole Middleton in a nearby boat. Like other kids, the royal Cambridge children appeared to be both entertained and bored during the outing, where a nautically attired George was snapped minus his top two teeth and Charlotte was photographed sticking her tongue out at her grandfather.
A fashion first for Duchess Kate
Duchess Kate marked a style first at the King's Cup Regatta in Cowes, England, on Aug. 8. People magazine reported that the event marked the first time Kate has been photographed in public wearing shorts since she became a royal in 2011. The last time she was snapped in shorts, she was attending a Day-Glo Midnight Roller Disco charity fundraiser back in September 2008 when she was still known as Kate Middleton, Prince WIlliam's girlfriend.
Princess Märtha Louise of Norway drops royal title for business pursuits
On Aug. 7, the Norwegian Royal Household announced that Princess Märtha Louise of Norway — the daughter of King Harald V and Queen Sonja — will no longer use her official royal title while conducting business activities. Märtha Louise, who's been on a speaking tour with her American boyfriend, spiritual guide and healer Shaman Durek, immediately changed the name of their program to remove the word "princess." The royal explained the decision on Instagram, as reported by People magazine: "There have been many discussions about my use of title in a commercial context lately. The fact that I used Princess in the title of my tour, I have said before that I am very sorry, and I still stand by that. It was a mistake and I understand that it provokes when the princess title is used this way," she wrote. "The discussions are something I have taken seriously, and in collaboration with my family we have found that it is best that we make some changes. We have therefore jointly come to the conclusion that I use the title princess when I represent the Royal House, do my official assignments at home and abroad and in private contexts. From now on I will not use my princess title in a commercial context. That is, in all commercial contexts, I only use Märtha Louise. I find this to be a good solution where there is a clear distinction between my business activities and my role as representative of the Royal House, and that I have thus created room for greater freedom in my business activities."
State Department releases details about Duchess Meghan's NYC baby shower trip
Duchess Meghan made headlines back in February when celebrity pals Serena Williams and Amal Clooney threw her a star-studded (and expensive) baby shower at the Mark hotel in New York City. Five months later, DailyMail.com published fascinating new details about the event after obtaining U.S. State Department documents via a Freedom of Information Act request. According to a State Department report, both American and British authorities tried to keep her trip secret seemingly as Meghan was hyper-aware of perception — seemingly anticipating criticism — though news of her shower still leaked. "The VIP [Meghan] explained that her intent was to change the literal optics of [her] departure [from her shower], making it appear that she was at least attempting to sneak out of the hotel in photos rather than exiting through the main entrance and giving the potential impression that she was enjoying the media attention," the report stated. But her choice to leave through a service door meant that government vehicles had to be moved and that telegraphed the change of plans. Meghan also changed lunch locations at the last minute during her trip in an attempt to avoid being photographed, switching from the Met museum's Flora Bar (which has a glass ceiling that would allow paparazzi to see inside) to the more private Cafe Boulud at the Surrey Hotel. Diplomatic officials also ran a terror and internet threat assessment before Meghan's trip to NYC, which determined that though the risk of attack was low, the Office of Intelligence and Threat Analysis could not rule out the possibility that the American royal could be harassed by an "emotionally disturbed person."
A favorite Balmoral tradition gets canceled
As is her custom every year, Queen Elizabeth II is in Scotland all month (and through September) for her annual summer holidays. Though she arrived in late July, she was officially welcomed to Balmoral — she lives at Balmoral Castle on a privately owned estate in the Scottish Highlands that's been in her family since the 1840s — by the Royal Regiment of Scotland's 5th Battalion, Balaklava Company, on Aug. 6 (seen here). While there, the queen likes to spend as much time as possible outdoors and riding horses as well as entertaining visiting family members who love to fish, hike and hunt, but in 2019, there's a big change: There will be no grouse shooting allowed — even for Prince Charles, Prince William and Duchess Kate, all said to be fans of the bird hunting activity — on the queen's 50,000-acre estate in Aberdeenshire. HELLO! magazine writes that "extreme weather and an outbreak of heather beetle, which has decimated food supplies that the red grouse depend on," are behind the decision. As a Balmoral spokesperson told HELLO!, "Grouse populations are cyclical," so the cancellation is necessary to "retain and to preserve stock."
Prince Charles, movie star?
In June, Prince Charles visited the set of the 25th James Bond movie, "No Time to Die," where he hung out with star Daniel Craig. On Aug. 5, Britain's the Sun tabloid reported that while the Prince of Wales was there, filmmakers offered the heir to the throne a part in the 007 flick. "When he visited the film set a few weeks ago it was discussed. Now he is considering it," a source close to production told the Sun. If Charles were to accept, he'd be following in his mother's footsteps: Queen Elizabeth II appeared in a Danny Boyle-directed short featuring Craig as Bond that aired during the opening ceremony of the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.
The Spanish royals pose on summer holiday
Spain's royal family — King Felipe VI, Queen Letizia and daughters Leonor, Princess of Asturias, 13 (right), and Princess Sofia, 12 (left), posed for a family portrait in the Marivent Palace gardens as they kicked off their annual vacation at their summer residence in Palma de Mallorca.
Duchess Meghan turns 38
Britain's royals took to social media to wish Duchess Meghan a happy 38th birthday on Aug. 4. Husband Prince Harry tacked on a personal message below the standard well-wishes shared on their @SussexRoyal Instagram account: "Wishing HRH The Duchess of Sussex a very Happy Birthday 🎂 'Happy Birthday to my amazing wife. Thank you for joining me on this adventure!' – Love, H." In-laws Prince William and Duchess Kate and their kids sent the new mother of one some love via their @KensingtonRoyal account, captioning a pic of the Fab Four all together last Christmas, "Wishing a very happy birthday to The Duchess of Sussex today! 🎈." A few days later, ABC News revealed details about Meghan's birthday cake. She enjoyed a specially made round carrot cake decorated with orange slices, pumpkin seeds and sprigs of rosemary with the simple message "Happy Birthday Meghan" written in brown icing from Luminary Bakery, a business in northeast London that the duchess featured in the "Forces for Change"-themed September issue of British Vogue that she guest edited. The bakery has a special program, ABC News explained, that teaches "women who are homeless, have been in the prison system, are victims of domestic violence, or in the sex trade, how to bake — and find employment."
Princess Eugenie is launching a podcast
On Aug. 1, the world's media reported that Princess Eugenie had announced that she and childhood friend Julia de Boinville — with whom she started the charity The Anti-Slavery Collective, which aims to raise awareness of modern-day slavery by creating a platform for and convening change-makers, in 2017 — are launching a podcast. The move makes Eugenie the first member of Britain's royal family to ever have her own podcast. "We are developing a podcast with Freedom United, and we will have a speaker series called 'Tech Tackles Trafficking,' " Eugenie said on Instagram. "Now is the time to talk about this, this is on everyone's minds. And if it isn't, we will make it on their mind."