Get caught up on all the royals news you might have missed in March 2020 — from notable birthdays and a shocking court case to a bittersweet royal farewell and multiple royal COVID-19 diagnoses… Prince Charles announced on March 25 that he has been infected by the novel coronavirus. He has only been displaying mild symptoms and "otherwise remains in good health," a Clarence House spokesman said. The Prince of Wales' wife, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, has tested negative. The spouses are self-isolating, separately, at their home in Scotland. According to Buckingham Palace, Queen Elizabeth II last saw her son and heir on March 12 and remains "in good health." Keep reading for more major global royals news for March…
Princess Eugenie of York turns 30
On March 23, Britain's Princess Eugenie of York celebrated a milestone birthday. Grandmother Queen Elizabeth II's official social media accounts marked the special occasion, writing, "Wishing Princess Eugenie a very Happy Birthday! Her Royal Highness is The Queen's 6th grandchild. Today she turns 30."
Prince Albert of Monaco tests positive for COVID-19
On March 19 — just five days after his 62nd birthday — Monaco's Prince Albert II publicly confirmed that he'd been infected with the novel coronavirus, making him the first reigning monarch or head of state to publicly announce a COVID-19 diagnosis. A statement from the palace said the prince's health "is not worrying at all." A few days later, the prince told People magazine from his palace confinement that his condition was "unchanged. Little fever, little cough. Vital signs all good. The doctors are satisfied for now." Albert's news came a few days after Karl von Habsburg, the Archduke of Austria, became the world's first royal to confirm a positive COVID-19 test result.
Bhutan's royal family welcomes a new baby
Bhutan's Queen Jetsun Pema gave birth to her second child and second son on March 19 in Lingkana Palace in Thimphu, Bhutan, she and her husband, King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, announced. It's likely they'll wait to publicly share their newborn's name considering they waited more than two months to reveal the name of his elder brother in 2016. "Her Majesty and the royal baby are in good health, and His Royal Highness The Gyalsey was delighted to meet his younger brother," read a statement from the royals. "Their Majesties express their gratitude to the medical team, the Zhung Dratshang and to everyone for their well-wishes and prayers."
The coronavirus pandemic forces Britain's royal family to make big changes
On March 19, 93-year-old Queen Elizabeth II was moved from London's Buckingham Palace to her bucolic Windsor estate 20 miles away a week early and is expected to remain there — where she's been reunited with husband Prince Philip, 98 — with a smaller staff until after the Easter holiday. Days later, The Sun reported that a Buckingham Palace aide tested positive for COVID-19 while the monarch was still in residence. The same day, Prince Harry announced that his beloved Invictus Games, originally set to take place in The Hague, Netherlands, in May, would be postponed until 2021. The queen previously canceled her annual summer garden parties at Buckingham Palace and the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Scotland in the wake of the health crisis and Prince Charles and Duchess Camilla canceled their mid-March spring tours of Jordan, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Cyprus. Meanwhile, Prince William, 37, with support from wife Duchess Kate, 38, has begun to "step up into statesman role" during the coronavirus crisis and will lead the royal family's efforts to support the nation, royals expert Katie Nicholl told Australia's 9Honey.
Princess Beatrice changes her wedding plans
On March 18, Buckingham Palace issued a statement revealing that Princess Beatrice of York's May 29 wedding plans — she and fiancé Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi previously announced they would marry at The Chapel Royal at St. James's Palace in London before enjoying a reception in the gardens at Buckingham Palace — were changing amid the evolving COVID-19 health crisis. "Princess Beatrice and Mr. Mapelli Mozzi are very much looking forward to getting married but are equally aware of the need to avoid undertaking any unnecessary risks in the current circumstances. In line with government advice for the U.K. and beyond, the couple are reviewing their arrangements for 29th May," read the statement. "They are particularly conscious of government advice in relation to both the wellbeing of older family members and large gatherings of people. Therefore, the planned reception in the Buckingham Palace Gardens will not take place. The couple will carefully consider government advice before deciding whether a private marriage might take place amongst a small group of family and friends."
Simon Rex says he was offered $70,000 to lie about his relationship with Duchess Meghan
Back in 2005 when Duchess Meghan was still an actress, she and former MTV VJ Simon Rex both appeared on an episode of the show "Cuts." On the March 16 episode of the podcast "Hollywood Raw," Simon revealed that after the world learned Meghan had fallen for Prince Harry, several British tabloids offered him money — "It was a lot of money, man. I think they offered me like, $70,000," he said — to lie about his relationship with her. The truth, according to Simon, is that he never dated Meghan — they only grabbed a meal together. "Nothing happened. We never even kissed. We hung out once in a very non-date-y way," the "Scary Movie" franchise star said. "She was just someone I had met on a TV show and we got lunch. That was the extent of it." However, "When that story broke, a couple British tabloids offered to pay me a lot of money to say a lie that we actually hooked up. I said no to a lot of money because I didn't feel right lying and f—ing up the royal f—ing family."
Prince Harry duped by Russian prank callers
On March 9, Russian pranksters Vladimir Kuznetsov and Alexey Stolyarov, also known as Vovan and Lexus, posted audio on YouTube of their efforts to successfully dupe Prince Harry into believing he was speaking to environmental activist Greta Thunberg and her father, Svante. As reported by The Sun, the men claimed they spoke to Harry twice, on Dec. 31, 2019, and again on Jan. 22, on the landline at his rental home on Vancouver Island in Canada. In the audio, Harry can be heard criticizing President Donald Trump's environmental record, saying "he has blood on his hands." Of his uncle Prince Andrew, who's embroiled in a sex-trafficking scandal involving his old friendship with convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, who died by suicide last year, Harry explained, "I have very little to say on that. But whatever he has done or hasn't done, is completely separate from me and my wife. We operate in a way of inclusivity and we are focusing on community. And so we are completely separate from the majority of my family." Of why he and Duchess Meghan decided to leave as senior members of the royal family, Harry said, "Sometimes the right decision isn't always the easy one, but it was the right decision for our family. I think there's a hell of a lot of people around the world that can identify and respect us for putting our family first. It's a tricky one, but we will start a new life."
Princess Haya Bint al-Hussein's claims against ex-husband Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al-Maktoum of Dubai proven true in London court
On March 5, reports revealed that the High Court in London had issued a series of shocking judgments in a high-profile case involving the ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, and his former wife, Princess Haya Bint al-Hussein of Jordan — a former Olympic equestrian and daughter of the late King Hussein of Jordan who fled Dubai for the U.K. in April 2019 with her two kids amid claims she was afraid for her life and that the children would be abducted and forcibly returned to Dubai. The BBC reported that in the court's Fact Finding Judgment in favor of the princess, it established as true that Sheikh Mohammed was responsible for the abduction and forced return of two of his other children — daughters from another marriage — and that he "continues to maintain a regime whereby both these two young women are deprived of their liberty." The court confirmed that the sheikh's agents began a campaign of intimidation against Haya, who had an affair with her British bodyguard before the sheikh divorced her: A gun was twice placed on her pillow with the safety off, and a helicopter was landed outside her home as she was threatened with removal to a remote desert prison, the BBC reported. The High Court judge ruled that "the father has therefore acted in a manner from the end of 2018 which has been aimed at intimidating and frightening the mother, and that he has encouraged others to do so on his behalf." Sheikh Mohammed unsuccessfully tried to keep the judgment private but, the BBC explained, his appeal was denied as the case was determined to be in the public interest. He was found to "not [have] been open and honest with the court." Sheikh Mohammed issued a statement after the judgments were made public, claiming, "As a head of government, I was not able to participate in the court's fact-finding process. This has resulted in the release of a 'fact-finding' judgment which inevitably only tells one side of the story."
The Sussexes say goodbye
It was a bittersweet farewell. In early March, Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan attended their final run of U.K. events as senior royals before they formally stepped back in hopes of leading a more independent life. Let's take a look at each one, starting with their arrival in the rain outside London's Mansion House on March 5, where they attended the Endeavour Fund Awards…
Prince Harry does one last solo event…
The goodbyes continued on March 6 when Prince Harry joined Formula One world champion driver Lewis Hamilton to officially open the Silverstone Experience at Silverstone motor racing circuit in Northampton, England…
Duchess Meghan's last solo farewells…
Duchess Meghan paid a surprise visit to the Robert Clack Upper School in the East London town of Dagenham on March 6 ahead of International Women's Day. Her final solo event took place privately on March 9 — photos were not released for media use but were shared on the Sussexes' Instagram account. There, Meghan — as part of her ongoing work as patron of the Association of Commonwealth Universities hosted a group of Commonwealth students at Buckingham Palace where she heard about their work envisioning solutions for climate and environmental changes, the need for sustainable cities, health innovations and technology's impact on economies and jobs, ELLE reported.
Prince Harry's military exit
Prince Harry looked dashing in his bold red and black Captain General of the Royal Marines dress uniform — it's the last time the British army veteran was allowed to wear it, as he had to give up his honorary military titles as a term of "Megxit" negotiations with senior members of his family — when he and Duchess Meghan attended the Mountbatten Festival of Music in London on March 7. Harry was visibly moved when event attendees and military musicians at Royal Albert Hall gave him a lengthy ovation as he and Meghan, who matched him perfectly in a caped gown by Safiyaa, took their seats.
The Sussexes' final event — and the end of an era for Britain's royal family
Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan, in a statement-making green Emilia Wickstead dress and William Chambers hat, put on a united front, holding hands as they headed inside London's Westminster Abbey to attend the 2020 Commonwealth Day Service alongside Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Charles, Prince Edward, Countess Sophie and more on March 9 — their final official engagement together before they exited royal life. Inside, Prince William and Duchess Kate hardly interacted with the Sussexes, save for a curt greeting between Harry and his brother as they took their seats — a fact that was not lost on the worldwide media, which extensively analyzed the awkward and moment for days. (People magazine recounts what happened here.)
The Cambridges make their first ever official royal visit to Ireland
Britain's Prince William and Duchess Kate made their first ever official royal visit to the neighboring country of Ireland from March 3 to 5. The couple packed a lot into their three-day trip: They rang the famed Peace Bell and met with both the country's president, Michael D. Higgins, and his wife, Sabina Coyne (as well as Bród, one of the couple's Bernese mountain dogs) as well as Taoiseach (prime minister) Leo Varadkar and his partner, Matthew Barrett, in Dublin. They also drank Guinness at a reception, visited charities focused on youth mental health and took a romantic cliff walk with views of farmland and the Irish Sea (pictured). Keep reading to see what else they did…
The Cambridges get sporty on Ireland trip
While on their first ever official royal visit to Ireland, Prince William and Duchess Kate showed their sporty side as they played table tennis, learned to juggle and tried hurling (pictured), an outdoor team game of ancient Gaelic Irish origin.
Happy birthday, Prince Oscar!
Prince Oscar of Sweden, who also holds the title Duke of Skåne, turned 4 on March 2. In honor of his birthday, Sweden's royal court released new photos of the handsome boy, who is third in line to the throne behind his sister, Princess Estelle, and his mother, Crown Princess Victoria. Keep reading for another sweet photo of the birthday boy that was released to mark his big day…
A second new birthday photo of Sweden's Prince Oscar released
Sweden's royal family released this second new photo of Prince Oscar, with big sister Princess Estelle, to mark his 4th birthday on March 2.
Norway's royals visit Jordan's royal family
Before worldwide travel was dramatically limited amid the COVID-19 health crisis, Norway's King Harald V and Queen Sonja traveled to Jordan for a two-day state visit. They're seen here in Amman on March 2 being received by King Abdullah II, Queen Rania and Crown Prince Al Hussein bin Abdullah II during a royal banquet of welcome.
Princess Beatrice to score new aristocratic title once she marries
Britain's Princess Beatrice of York will be gaining a new title when she marries British-Italian property developer Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi. The question is, will she use it? (The couple are scheduled to wed on May 29 at The Chapel Royal at London's St. James's Palace — though the date could change as the worldwide coronavirus health crisis rages on.) In early March, The Mail On Sunday published a story about Edo and his aristocratic pedigree, which the newspaper reported can be traced back to the 10th century. Edo's father, Count Alessandro Mapelli Mozzi — who divorced Edo's mother when Edo was just a boy — told the Mail On Sunday that once wed, Beatrice can style herself as an Italian "Contessa" and "Nobile Donna," or noblewoman. Count Alessandro also revealed that Edo will inherit his family's ancestral seat in northern Italy, the 18th century neoclassical-style Villa Mapelli Mozzi. The nine-bedroom palazzo is an hour from Milan. "Edoardo is the only male descendent taking the family into the next generation. He is a count — his wife will be a countess automatically and any of their children will be counts or nobile donna," explained Count Alessandro, who has yet to meet Beatrice.