Get caught up on all the royals news you might have missed in October 2019 — from a British prince and his wife's private pain and a Thai royal consort's fall from grace to a royal tour of Pakistan and a king's decision to strip his grandkids of their titles, plus much more… Let's start with this royal birthday… Leonor, Princess of Asturias — the heir to Spain's throne — celebrated her 14th birthday on Halloween. HOLA! reports that though she and her little sister, Infanta Sofia, were both expected in school today, their parents, King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia, had cleared their Oct. 31 schedules, presumably to spend time with the birthday girl, who will enjoy a three-day weekend with her family that kicks off with All Saints' Day on Nov. 1. HOLA! points out that Princess Leonor has been taking on more responsibilities as she grows up: On her 13th birthday last year, Leonor delivered her first public speech, to mark the 40th anniversary of Spain's Constitution. This year just days before she turned 14, Leonor gave another big address, this time at the Princess of Asturias Awards, over which she presided for the very first time. (Watch her speak here.) Now keep reading for more big royals news this month…
72 female members of Parliament issue letter of support for Duchess Meghan
On Oct. 29, in an unprecedented move, 72 female members of Britain's Parliament from different parties and backgrounds signed an open letter addressed to Duchess Meghan to let her know that they stand in solidarity with her in the face of media attacks on her character and family and called out the "outdated, colonial undertones" that are a part of many. The incredible letter, led by Holly Lynch MP, can be read in full here on royals reporter Omid Scobie's Twitter account. The next day, the Duchess of Sussex called MP Lynch to thank her. "I was moved to hear from her," Lynch told Harper's Bazaar of their early-morning phone call. "She wanted to say that she appreciated the gesture and to pass on her thanks to all the women who have signed. We spoke about how being a women in the public eye it can sometimes feel like a lonely place to be but there's actually a lot of us that feel feel this way way and when we work together we can be a real force for good, bringing about the changes that we want to see."
Queen Elizabeth II's royal dresser releases new book full of fun stories about the monarch and her wardrobe
On Oct. 29, a new book, "The Other Side of the Coin: The Queen, the Dresser and the Wardrobe," by Queen Elizabeth II's dressmaker and confidant, Angela Kelly (right), was released — with the monarch's permission. It's full of new photos and personal stories about working for Her Majesty and creating and curating her closet as well as other important sartorial moments in modern royal history. CNN reports that in the book, Angela discusses why the queen broke protocol to put her arm around former U.S. first lady Michelle Obama, what the queen wanted to say on camera when she agreed to be in a James Bond spoof for the 2012 Olympic games in London, that she is the "flunky" who breaks in the queen's shoes before the monarch wears them, how she used strong Yorkshire tea to dye a replica of the royal family's famous family christening gown and more.
A Belgian princess turns 18
Crown Princess Elisabeth of Belgium — who attends boarding school in South Wales in Britain — returned to her native country on Oct. 25 to mark her 18th birthday with a televised celebration featuring dancers from the Royal Ballet School of Antwerp, a performance by a Eurovision singing star, speeches from teenagers who shared their hopes for her future reign and more. Her father, King Philippe, presented her with a medal during a ceremony in the throne room of the Royal Palace of Brussels while her mother, Queen Mathilde, proudly looked on along with her siblings, Prince Gabriel, 16, Prince Emmanuel, 14, and Princess Eleonore, 11.
Japan's Emperor Naruhito celebrates epic enthronement ceremony
Royals, heads of state and diplomats from 183 countries traveled to Tokyo's Imperial Palace to watch the Oct. 22 enthronement ceremony of the country's new royal leader, Emperor Naruhito (and his wife, Empress Masako), who began his reign in May after his father, Akihito, abdicated the Chrysanthemum Throne (becoming the first monarch to do so in 200 years). Keep reading to see just some of the many kings, queens, princes, princesses and more who were there for the impressive gathering of international royals…
Royals from around the world celebrate Emperor Naruhito's enthronement
On Oct. 22, dozen of royals from around the world — including Spain's King Felipe VI of Spain and Queen Letizia, Britain's Prince Charles, Bhutan's King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck and Queen Jetsun Pema (all pictured), Denmark's Crown Princess Mary, Sweden's King Carl XVI Gustaf and Crown Princess Victoria, The Netherlands' King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima, and many, many more — attended the enthronement ceremony of Japan's Emperor Naruhito followed by a court banquet at Tokyo's Imperial Palace.
Thailand's king strips royal consort of her title after less than three months
Less than three months after appointing her, Thailand's King Maha Vajiralongkorn has stripped his royal noble consort (pictured) — the first woman given the rank in nearly 100 years — of her titles, status and military rank, claiming that she's guilty of "disloyalty." Major General Sineenat Wongvajirapakdi's "ambition" got out of hand as she wanted to be "equivalent with [Queen Suthida Bajrasudhabimalalakshana]," the monarch's fourth wife, whom he married in May, a two-page Oct. 21 statement from the Thai Royal Household explained. "After her repeated violations and attempted interference with royal affairs, His Majesty the King graciously granted her the title of Royal Noble Consort in July out of hope that Sineenat Wongvajirapakdi would lessen her pressure and change her behavior and acts," the statement said, according to CNN. "Her actions are considered as disloyal, ungrateful, and ungracious of His Majesty's kindness… These amount to acts of sabotages against the country and the monarchy." The disgraced consort is a former army nurse who's also served in the king's royal bodyguard unit.
Prince Harry doesn't deny rift with Prince William
On Oct. 20, ITV debuted the documentary "Harry & Meghan: An African Journey" — which aired in America on ABC on Oct. 23 — and it was full of bombshells that both elicited sympathy from viewers (the hashtag #WeLoveYouMeghan started trending on social media) and anger from courtiers and certain members of the British media who declared its content unprecedented and, according to some, a betrayal of royal protocol. Among the biggest stories to come out of it? Prince Harry refused to deny long-standing reports of a rift with brother Prince William, telling journalist Tom Bradby, "Part of this role and part of this job, and this family being under the pressure that it's under, inevitably stuff happens. But we're brothers, we'll always be brothers. We're certainly on different paths at the moment. But I will always be there for him and as I know, he'll always be there for me. We don't see each other as much as we used to because we're so busy but I love him dearly and the majority of stuff is created out of nothing. As brothers, you have good days, you have bad days." Keep reading for the other major takeaways from Harry and wife Duchess Meghan that aired in the doc…
Duchess Meghan opens up about struggling as a new royal, wife and mom
In the Oct. 20 ITV documentary "Harry & Meghan: An African Journey" — which also aired in America on ABC on Oct. 23 — Duchess Meghan confessed to journalist Tom Bradby that she's been struggling with the intense and, she says, unfair criticism and scrutiny she's faced since joining Britain's royal family. "Any woman, especially when they're pregnant, you're really vulnerable, and so that was made really challenging. And then when you have a newborn, you know. And especially as a woman, it's a lot," she said. "So you add this on top of just trying to be a new mom or trying to be a newlywed. It's um… yeah. I guess, also thank you for asking because not many people have asked if I'm OK." She further shared that she naively didn't expect it to be like this….
Duchess Meghan reveals friends warned her not to marry Prince Harry
"When I first met my now-husband my friends were really happy because I was so happy," Duchess Meghan said in the documentary "Harry & Meghan: An African Journey," which aired in ITV in Britain on Oct. 20 and ABC in America on Oct. 23. "But my British friends said to me, 'I'm sure he's great but you shouldn't do it because the British tabloids will destroy your life.' And I very naively — I'm American, we don't have that there — 'What are you talking about? That doesn't make any sense, I'm not in tabloids.' I didn't get it…" Meghan, who in the documentary shared her nickname for her husband — she calls him "H" — insisted, "I never thought this would be easy but I thought it would be fair. And that is the part that is hard to reconcile." She also admitted that amidst all the scrutiny, "I really tried to adopt this British sensibility of a 'stiff upper lip.' I really tried, but I think that what that does internally is probably really damaging." On "Good Morning America" on Oct. 23, journalist Tom Bradby said that he assumed his documentary would be focused on the couple's visit to Africa during their September royal tour there. Instead, he explained, "The reality I found was just a couple that seemed a bit bruised and vulnerable." People magazine has a list of these and more highlights from the documentary.
Thanksgiving in America?
On Oct. 20 — the same day Tom Bradby's bombshell-filled documentary on Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan aired in Britain — People magazine published a story revealing that the Sussexes are planning to take about six weeks off in late 2019 in hopes of using the time to regroup amid a difficult time in their lives. "The duke and duchess have a full schedule of engagements and commitments until mid-November, after which they will be taking some much-needed family time," a royals source told the magazine, adding that the pair will be in both the UK and Meghan's native America, where it's likely they'll spend Thanksgiving and visit Meghan's mom, Doria Ragland, who lives in Los Angeles.
Gillian Anderson has started shooting Season 4 of "The Crown"
"The Crown" — the award-winning Netflix series about the lives, loves and dramas of Britain's royal family — announced in September that Gillian Anderson had been cast as the UK's first female prime minister, Margaret Thatcher. On Oct. 19, The Mail on Sunday published the first photos of the former "X Files" star — whose resemblance to the controversial politician is remarkable — in costume as she began shooting season 4 of the show. (See the pics here.) Meanwhile, Netflix Japan made headlines this month when it accidentally released a longer and darker Season 3 trailer on Oct. 21. (See that here.) Fun fact: Gillian has been dating "The Crown" creator-writer Peter Morgan since 2016.
Prince Harry gets choked up talking about son Archie
Prince Harry fought back tears while speaking about his wife and son Archie as he delivered a speech during the WellChild Awards in London on Oct. 15, and the emotional display made headlines across the world. "They never fail to inspire me," he said of the seriously ill children the charity celebrates each year, "but this year it resonates in a different way as now I'm a father. Last year, when my wife and I attended [the WellChild Awards], we knew that we were going to have a child, no one else knew but we did. And I remember…" He then had to pause as he got choked up and was unable to speak (see his speech here). After taking a moment, he apologized and continued. "I remember squeezing Meghan's hand so tight during the awards and both of us thinking what it would be like to be parents one day and more so what it would be like to protect and help our child should they be born with immediate challenges or become unwell over time," he said. "And now talking to all of you as a parent pulls at my heartstrings, in a way I never could have understood, until I had a child of my own. No parent wants to hear that their child will suffer, that they will face extraordinary challenges that will affect them throughout their lives."
Happy Birthday, Fergie!
Britain's Sarah, Duchess of York celebrated her 60th birthday on Oct. 15. Among her well-wishers were ex-husband Prince Andrew, who posted a slideshow of images on his Instagram page including a previously unseen shot of Fergie, himself and their daughters, Princess Eugenie and Princess Beatrice, with their significant others behind the scenes at this year's Trooping the Colour in London. Beatrice also shared a slideshow of images with her mom, captioning it, "To my beautiful Mumma – Happy 60th birthday. You are an inspiration and one of the people I admire most in this world. Thank you for being you. I love you to the moon and back."
Rare joint outing
On Oct. 15, Queen Elizabeth II made a rare joint appearance with daughter-in-law Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall — it's unusual for the women to step out together without Prince Charles, the queen's heir and Camilla's husband of 14 years. They attended a service at Westminster Abbey in London to commemorate the 750th anniversary of the church's reconstruction.
The Cambridges take Pakistan
Prince William and Duchess Kate kicked off a five-day royal tour of Pakistan on Oct. 14 during which they traveled to many of the same locations that his late mother, Princess Diana, had also visited before her 1997 death. In additional to making headlines for their support of the many causes they highlighted during their high-profile tour stops (more on some of those in a minute), Kate drew attention for switching up the royal wardrobe to include a bold and elegant mix of traditional and modern looks by both British and Pakistani designers. William unexpectedly got a lot of attention for one of his sartorial choices too (he was trending on Twitter!) — a deep green sherwani coat that he donned with matching trousers and slippers to attend a reception at the Pakistan National Monument in Islamabad on Oct. 15. "It doesn't seem like he was wearing something for the first time," designer Nauman Arfeen told People magazine. "He knows how to handle it and carry it. That was simply superb."
More scenes from the Cambridges' visit to Pakistan
During their royal tour of Pakistan, Prince William and Duchess Kate visited the Chiatibo glacier in the Hindu Kush mountain range in Northern Pakistan on Oct. 16 and spoke with experts about how climate change has already severely impacted glacial landscapes there, especially with devastating floods. They read to kids at an SOS Children's Village the same day. They showed off their cricket skills on Oct. 17, the same day they visited an historic mosque. Read about that next…
Duchess Kate invokes memories of Princess Diana
Prince William and Duchess Kate met with faith leaders during a visit to Badshahi Mosque in Lahore, Pakistan, on Oct. 17, the fourth day of their royal tour of the country. Kate's bright teal ensemble and poise reminded many of when William's late mother, Princess Diana, visited the same mosque in September 1991. While in Pakistan, Kate also made headlines when she gave her first TV news interview since becoming a member of the royal family in 2011. Though her comments were brief, she did tell CNN's Max Foster that the visit to Pakistan had been "really special." Kate also notably delivered the opening remarks of a speech in the Urdu language when she spoke at an SOS Children's Village. On day five of the trip, the couple visited puppies and dogs at an Army Canine Centre near Islamabad where the UK provides support to a program that trains the animals to identify explosive devices.
A special royal tiara moment
Duchess Kate donned a very special tiara during her royal tour of Pakistan with Prince William on Oct. 17, but it wasn't what many were expecting. The Duchess of Cambridge wore a plastic toy crown while playing princess during a visit with 7-year-old Wafia Rehmani, who's receiving treatment for a kidney tumor, at the Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital in Lahore, Pakistan. William also got in on the action, happily joining the tea party.
The queen opens Parliament
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II opened Parliament at the Palace of Westminster in London accompanied by her heir, Prince Charles, on Oct. 14 dripping in jewels in a glorious display of pomp and circumstance. It was the 65th occasion on which Her Majesty has done so (she missed it 1959 and 1963 during two of her pregnancies). As explained on the royal family's official website, "The Queen officially opens Parliament with an event steeped in tradition. The State Opening is the only regular event to unite the three elements of legislature — the House of Lords, the House of Commons and The Queen — together as the Crown in Parliament." She delivered a speech that is, per tradition, not drafted by her but by the government. The speech, the palace explained on Twitter, outlined policies "and proposed future legislation. The speech is carried by the Lord Chancellor in a special silk bag and presented to Her Majesty." This year's was especially interesting with Brexit looming.
Kim Kardashian West, Clintons defend Duchess Meghan; Wendy Williams slams her
Three more high-profile Americans publicly defended Duchess Meghan in October following Elton John and Ellen DeGeneres's statements of support for the embattled royal in August and September — while another star slammed her. According to an Oct. 8 story on DailyMail.com, Kim Kardashian West defended Meghan while in Armenia early in the month. "I think that everyone makes their own choices and decisions. And I think that, like I said, no one's gonna be perfect. I'm not, they're not. I don't know who is. I still love and value the fact they bring such attention to such important movements that need to happen and things that they're really passionate about 'cause they're still changing the world," Kim told a local reporter. In an interview published on Oct. 13 in Britain's The Sunday Times, former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said she thinks "the way [Meghan's] been treated is inexplicable. If the explanation is that she's biracial, then shame on everybody," the politician added, explaining that she believes race is "certainly part of it." Daughter Chelsea Clinton chimed in, saying she thinks some of the criticism comes from the fact that Meghan is a new kind of royal. "She proudly had a career first and has a voice that she thankfully continues to use," Chelsea said. "Anyone who has the temerity to break the mold of what has previously been established and expected often, unfortunately, receives criticism and bile that I don't understand." Days later on Oct. 20 — in response to Meghan's comments about struggling to cope with the British tabloid press, which aired in the ITV documentary "Harry & Meghan: An African Journey" — Wendy Williams lashed out. "Meghan, nobody feels sorry for you. You knew what you were signing up for, girl!" Wendy said on her eponymous talk show on Oct. 22. "I applaud her plot-ation on the royal situation. But please, don't try to garner sympathy from us. You knew what you were doing."
Happy anniversary, Princess Eugenie!
Britain's Princes Eugenie celebrated her one-year wedding anniversary on Oct. 12. She posted a beautiful video highlight reel from her and Jack Brooksbank's wedding day on Instagram to mark the occasion, captioning it, "This was the greatest day of my life…forever and always! Happy one year anniversary, my Jack!!"
Fergie confesses all her cosmetic procedures
In an unexpected interview published in The Daily Mail on Oct. 9, Britain's Sarah, Duchess of York, opened up alongside her friend and doctor, Gabriela Mercik, about the cosmetic procedures she's had over the years in a quest to look and feel more youthful. "I had Botox a long time ago when there was nothing else available," she admitted, adding that she wasn't a fan of the frozen look. In 2018 to prepare for daughter Princess Eugenie's wedding, she underwent a laser treatment on her face. "I'm really happy to be open about what I've had done," Fergie said, going on to share that she's also been a fan of mesotherapy — an injection of vitamins, minerals and amino acids under the mesodermal layer of her face to help plump up her skin — as well as organic fillers and a threadlift procedure. In March 2019, she went to the Bahamas to have regenerative stem cell therapy on her feet. "I think my toes were ruined by all the riding I did when I was young. They shaved the bone [near my big toe] and implanted stem cells — 20 million of them taken from my midriff — into my feet to make new cartilage. It takes about six months to heal but now I can walk in heels!" she said.
A royal relative joins Instagram
Mike Tindall, the retired professional rugby star who's married to Queen Elizabeth II's granddaughter Zara Tindall (née Phillips) — Princess Anne's daughter — quietly joined Instagram in September 2019, media outlets discovered on Oct. 8. Mike — who's been busy posting shots with Zara, friends and celebrities — has joined the ranks of just a handful of royal relatives who have Instagram accounts that the public can follow. Media reports revealed that Mike, who was yet to be verified, accrued just 700 followers in his first weeks on the social media platform but that the number quickly rose to more than 11,000 after his account made headlines.
Prince George makes headlines after soccer match appearance
Britain's future king gave the world another peek at his personality when he went wild in the stands during a Premier League soccer match between Norwich City and Aston Villa in Norwich, England, on Oct. 5. Prince William and Duchess Kate shared video of Prince George — seen here with his parents and sister during a calmer moment in the stands — adorably whooping it up after what they called "a fantastic performance from Aston Villa at Norwich today! 👏⚽." Watch George here looking "very happy indeed," as a sportscaster described it.
Sweden's king strips five grandchildren of their royal titles
On Oct. 7, Sweden's King Carl XVI Gustaf announced that five of his and Queen Silvia's grandchildren will no longer be considered members of The Royal House. Daughter Princess Madeleine and husband Chris O'Neill's (right) three kids as well as son Prince Carl Philip and wife Princess Sofia's (left) two kids have lost their official HRH (His/Her Royal Highness) titles and will no longer be expected to perform official royal duties, though they'll remain members of the family and will retain "Prince" and "Princess" for personal use. The two children of the king's first-born child, Crown Princess Victoria — the heir to the throne — are not affected by the decision. Both Madeleine and Carl Philip issued statements in support of the move. "Earlier today, the court announced that [my children] Leonore, Nicolas and Adrienne will no longer belong to the royal house. This change has been planned for a long time," Madeleine wrote on Instagram. "Chris and I think it's good that our children are now getting a greater opportunity to shape their own lives as private individuals in the future." Carl Philip also took to Instagram to write in part, "[Sofia and I] see this as positive as [our boys] Alexander and Gabriel will have freer choices in life."
Britain's royal "Fab Four" reunite
Though Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan earlier this year formally broke away from Prince William and Duchess Kate, establishing their own their royal office, or court, as well as their own charitable foundation amid claims of a rift between the couples — dubbed the "Fab Four" — they all came together to voice a three-minute mental health-related PSA that aired in Britain on Oct. 7. Stars including Gillian Anderson, Glenn Close, Davina McCall and "Great British Bake Off" winner Nadiya Hussain also contributed to the PSA, which was written by filmmaker and screenwriter Richard Curtis. Hear the royals in the teaser trailer for the spot here. The Mirror reported that this is believed to be the first time senior royals have even taken part in a TV advertisement.
Elton John dishes on royals in new memoir
Ahead of the Oct. 15 publication of Elton John's memoir "ME," little tidbits about various members of Britain's royal family — he's been close to them for decades — were made public as teasers appeared in outlets including the Sunday Times on Oct. 6 and the Daily Mail on Oct. 4 and 7. Among the many tales? Elton revealed that he once witnessed Queen Elizabeth II reprimanding nephew Viscount Linley (who's now the Earl of Snowdon) when he didn't want to check on his sister after she fell ill during a party. "The queen lightly slapped him across the face, saying, 'Don't' — slap — 'argue' — slap — 'with' — slap — 'me' — slap — 'I' — slap — 'am' — slap — 'THE QUEEN!'" When the monarch realized Elton had seen her, she winked and walked off. The "Rocketman" singer also dished on his close friend Princess Diana, revealing what caused their brief feud in the '90s, how they made up, and how Hollywood stars Richard Gere and Sylvester Stallone almost once came to blows over the newly single princess during a dinner party Elton was hosting at his London home following Diana's separation from Prince Charles.
Duchess Kate's brother James Middleton is engaged
James Middleton, the younger brother of Britain's Duchess Kate, took to Instagram on Oct. 6 to announce that he and Alizee Thevenet are engaged to be married. "She said OUI ❤️. Our secret is out but we couldn't be happier to share the news," he captioned a selfie with the French financial analyst, whom he started dating in 2018, revealing her engagement ring, which shares similarities with the Duchess of Cambridge's engagement ring.
"The Crown" starts filming with its Princess Diana
On Oct. 2, People magazine and other outlets published photos (see them here) of actress Emma Corrin in full hair, makeup and wardrobe as Princess Diana as shooting for Season 4 of the Netflix series "The Crown" got underway. Emma is seen looking uncannily like Diana alongside actor Josh O'Connor, who's playing Prince Charles as the series heads into the 1980s. Season 3 of the show debuts in November; there is no release date yet for Season 4.
Princess Beatrice preparing to become a stepmother
In the wake of Princess Beatrice's September engagement news, People magazine published a report revealing how the British royal — the first of her generation to become a stepmother — feels about helping to raise fiancé Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi's toddler son, Christopher Woolf. According to a friend of the princess, she's already very close to the boy, who splits his time living with his property developer dad and his architect mom, Dara Huang. "[Wolfie] is very much part of their life," Beatrice's friend told People in a report that hit the internet on Oct. 2. "Beatrice has embraced the child as part of her life from the outset." A source further told People that "They've been on family vacations together [with his son]. They are really happy."
Prince Harry releases unprecedented statement as he and Duchess Meghan sue media outlets
On Oct. 1, Prince Harry made an unprecedented move and released a statement taking aim at certain British media players in the wake of increasingly critical and cruel reporting concerning his family. "As a couple, we believe in media freedom and objective, truthful reporting. We regard it as a cornerstone of democracy and in the current state of the world — on every level — we have never needed responsible media more," Harry began his statement, which came out at the very end of his royal tour of Southern Africa with Duchess Meghan. "Unfortunately, my wife has become one of the latest victims of a British tabloid press that wages campaigns against individuals with no thought to the consequences — a ruthless campaign that has escalated over the past year, throughout her pregnancy and while raising our newborn son." Harry went on to explain, "I cannot begin to describe how painful it has been" and said he's been "a silent witness to her private suffering for too long. To stand back and do nothing would be contrary to everything we believe in." He also invoked the memory of his late mother, Princess Diana, who died in a Paris car crash as paparazzi gave chase. "Though this action may not be the safe one, it is the right one. Because my deepest fear is history repeating itself. I've seen what happens when someone I love is commoditised to the point that they are no longer treated or seen as a real person. I lost my mother and now I watch my wife falling victim to the same powerful forces." Read his statement in full here. The statement came out just as Meghan filed a lawsuit against the Mail on Sunday for publishing select portions of a private letter she wrote to her estranged father earlier this year. Days later on Oct. 4, Byline Investigates broke the news that Harry too was taking legal action: He's suing the owners of UK tabloid newspapers the Sun, the defunct News of the World and the Mirror related to alleged phone hacking activities.