Get caught up on all the royals news you might have missed in September 2019 — from a big British royal tour and a duke's escalating scandal to young European royals' back-to-school adventures, plus much more… On Sept. 27 — day five of Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan's 10-day, 35-engagement royal tour of Southern Africa — the Duke of Sussex walked through an Angolan minefield during a visit to see the work of landmine clearance charity the Halo Trust. The images of Harry brought back memories of his late mother, Princess Diana, who championed the Halo Trust's work in Angola 22 years earlier in 1997 when she, too, boldly walked through a minefield. Keep reading for more details on Harry and Meghan's tour, plus other big royals news for September 2019…
Princess Beatrice announces engagement
On Sept. 26, 2019, Buckingham Palace revealed that Britain's Princess Beatrice and her boyfriend of nearly a year, British-Italian property developer (and single dad!) Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi, are engaged to be married. They showed off her bespoke diamond ring in a series of photos taken in Italy earlier in the month by the bride-to-be's sister, Princess Eugenie. "We are both so excited to be embarking on this life adventure together and can't wait to be married," the couple — who plan to wed in 2020 — said in a statement. "We share so many similar interests and values and we know this will stand us in great stead for the years ahead." Later in the day, Edo's former fiancée, Chinese-American architect Dara Huang — with whom he shares a 2-year-old son, Christopher Woolf — told MailOnline: "I wish the best for Edo and Beatrice and look forward to uniting our families."
Archie meets Archbishop Desmond Tutu
On Sept. 25 — day three of Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan's 10-day, 35-engagement royal tour of Southern Africa — the Sussexes brought 4-month-old son Archie Mountbatten-Windsor along for a visit with Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the respected anti-apartheid and human rights activist, in Cape Town, South Africa. The internet went wild over new photos of the couple's growing baby boy, whom Prince Harry told the clergyman "constantly wants to stand" (Meghan described her son as "an old soul"). Keep reading for details on the start of their tour…
The queen is pulled into politics amid a brewing scandal
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II has long remained neutral when it comes to politics. But in late August, as the country's head of state, she essentially had to agree to Prime Minister Boris Johnson's request to suspend Parliament until mid-October ahead of wildly controversial Brexit. However, on Sept. 24, Britain's Supreme Court unanimously ruled that the politician should never have asked the monarch to do such a thing. "The decision to advise Her Majesty to prorogue Parliament was unlawful because it had the effect of frustrating or preventing the ability of Parliament to carry out its constitutional functions without reasonable justification," explained Baroness Brenda Hale — the president of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom, who spoke for all 11 judges, as reported by Town & Country — essentially declaring that the PM had abused his powers (not to mention the queen's trust). "The prime minister's advice to Her Majesty was unlawful, void and of no effect." Parliament returned to session and will keep debating Brexit before the looming Oct. 31 deadline. Despite enormous criticism and calls to resign, Johnson has so far refused. He and the queen did speak after the ruling, reports indicated, though what she might have said to him remains a secret.
Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan kick off Southern Africa royal tour
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex kicked off a 10-day, 35-engagement royal tour of Southern Africa on Sept. 23. The couple started in Cape Town, South Africa, where they spoke out against gender violence, praised local mental health initiatives for young people, visited the country's oldest mosque, danced, ate local cuisine, praised one another's parenting and more during the first few days of the visit, during which Duchess Meghan got personal, telling locals, "…while I am here with my husband as a member of the royal family, I want you to know that for me, I am here with you as a mother, as a wife, as a woman, as a woman of color and as your sister…" According to People magazine, the Sussexes are traveling with an entourage of 13 that includes son Archie's nanny, a hairdresser and their new private secretary (they're footing those staffers' fees themselves). Prince Harry is also visiting Botswana, Malawi and Angola for solo engagements during the tour.
Royal dressmaker Angela Kelly is publishing a book with Queen Elizabeth II's blessing
On Sept. 23, it was announced that publisher Harper Collins is releasing a book penned by Queen Elizabeth II's longtime dressmaker, assistant and confidante Angela Kelly (who's seen here on the right, clapping next to Vogue editor Anna Wintour) — with the monarch's OK. ITV News Royal Editor Chris Shipp tweeted that Her Majesty "has given Angela her blessing to publish — the first ever for a serving member of the [royal] Household" and that "the book will include never-seen-before photos of The Queen from Angela Kelly's private collection over the last quarter of a century working together." The book, "The Other Side of the Coin: The Queen, the Dresser and the Wardrobe," comes out on Oct 29.
In new TV interview, woman reiterates claims she was "trafficked" to Prince Andrew
Prince Andrew's problems aren't going away. A month after 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 — who died by suicide in a Manhattan jail cell awaiting trial on federal sex trafficking charges — one of the criminal's many alleged victims has again accused Andrew of heinous behavior. In what DailyMail.com reports was her first TV interview, Virginia Roberts Giuffre — who first made the allegations about Andrew years ago; he's repeatedly denied them through statements (yet he's refused to speak to her lawyers) — detailed her claim that she was forced to have sex with the British prince when she was 17. "He was an abuser, he was a participant," she told "Dateline NBC" in an interview that ran on Sept. 20, then chronicled the night she says she was "trafficked" to Andrew by Jeffrey and purported cohort Ghislaine Maxwell in London. "We went out to Club Tramp. Prince Andrew got me alcohol, it was in the VIP section, I'm pretty sure it was vodka. He was like, 'Let's dance.' I was like, 'OK.' We leave club Tramp and I hop in the car with Ghislaine and Jeffrey. She says, 'He's coming back to the house and I want you to do for him what you do for Epstein.'" Virginia then spoke about what she says happened in the bath and the bedroom with the duke. She added, "He denies that it ever happened, he's going to keep denying that it ever happened, but he knows the truth and I know the truth." According to multiple reports (including from the New York Post and Sky News), Andrew has been axed from multiple events amid the ongoing scandal, which shows no signs of going away: On Sept. 22, The Times published a story with the headline, "MI6 fears Russia can link Prince Andrew to Jeffrey Epstein abuse scandal." It goes on to explain the potential for diplomatic fallout — that the British intelligence community fears Russia could have kompromat, or compromising material, on the royal.
Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan: ultimate wedding guests
On Sept. 20 following days of speculation, Duchess Meghan and Prince Harry arrived at pal Misha Nonoo's wedding to watch the designer, a longtime friend of Meghan's who created a key piece for the royal's Smart Works fashion charity initiative, wed American technology entrepreneur and oil heir Michael Hess at Rome's famed Cinecittà film studios. The star-studded nuptials were also attended by British royals Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie, Hollywood royalty like Katy Perry, Orlando Bloom, James Corden and Karlie Kloss and American political scions including Jenna Bush Hager, Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner. "Misha asked Meghan if she would [do] a reading at her wedding and apparently the duchess was incredibly touched to be asked. She was the only guest to do so," the Sun 's royal correspondent, Emily Andrews, told her newspaper. "She picked The Vow by Roger McGough." Meghan also made headlines for pulling off the ultimate in high-low fashion: She accessorized a $13,500 black tulle dress by Valentino with $6 earrings from London's Portobello Road Market, People magazine reported.
A Japanese princess heads to Austria as she kicks off international duties as a royal
Princess Kako of Akishino — the niece of Japan's emperor whose father and brother are next in line for the Chrysanthemum Throne (only direct male-line males are allowed to ascend) — met with Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen in Vienna on Sept. 16 to mark the 150th anniversary of diplomatic ties between the countries. MailOnline reported that the meeting was significant as it's the princess's first official overseas trip since her college graduation. (She earned a psychology degree from International Christian University in Tokyo and spent time at Leeds University in England as an exchange student.) Last spring, she announced that she would take on royals duties full-time to support her uncle's reign instead of pursuing a career.
Prince Harry turns 35
Britain's Prince Harry celebrated his 35th birthday on Sept. 15. His big day made headlines not so much because he's older but because the birthday photo collage that the @SussexRoyal Instagram account posted included a new, previously unseen photo from son Archie's christening in July (see it here). Wife Duchess Meghan also added a personal message to the standard "Wishing a very happy birthday to His Royal Highness Prince Harry, The Duke of Sussex!" post. Meghan wrote: "Your service to the causes you care so deeply for inspires me every day. You are the best husband and most amazing dad to our son. We love you ❤️Happiest birthday!"
Sweden's Princess Madeleine shares crazy story about being pregnant at brother's wedding
In a cover story for Swedish magazine Mama that hit the internet on Sept. 14, Sweden's Princess Madeleine revealed several fascinating tidbits — including one about how she was having contractions during brother Prince Carl Philip and Sofia Hellqvist's June 2015 wedding in Stockholm. Looking back at that day now, it's pretty remarkable that she was able to get through it all — in a gown and tiara no less (seen here) — especially as she was three centimeters dilated during the wedding festivities, Royal Central reported. (She said she kept hoping her water didn't break during the ceremony!) Her son, Prince Nicholas, was born two days later. Madeleine — who currently lives in Miami with her American financier husband, Chris O'Neill, also shared that their three children (Princess Leonore, 5, and Princess Adrienne, 1, round out the bunch) don't know that they belong to a royal family, HOLA! reported.
Duchess Meghan returns from maternity leave to launch charity fashion collection
On Sept. 12, Duchess Meghan returned from her four-month maternity leave, choosing an initiative that's near and dear to her heart to kick of her royal schedule for the fall. She spoke at the launch of her five-piece women's workwear clothing capsule collection – dubbed "The Smart Set" — that benefits Smart Works, an organization that offers career counseling to women and helps them find jobs and dress professionally for interviews (she's its patron). The Duchess of Sussex wore two pieces from the line to the launch event — a white Misha Nonoo button-down shirt and Jigsaw's Paris trousers. The collection also includes a blazer from Jigsaw, a dress from Marks & Spencer and a John Lewis & Partners tote bag. The initiative, which was set to last for two weeks, follows the 1:1 model: For every piece purchased, one will be donated to Smart Works to help prepare underprivileged women for the job market. It was wildly successful: "In just eight days, your active support has helped equip the women of Smart Works with enough units from this capsule collection to help for a full year! Though many of the items sold out quickly, most are being restocked so you can continue to play your part," the duchess announced on her @SussexRoyal Instagram account.
Spain's future queen and her little sister go back to school
Spain's Princess Leonor (left) and younger sister Infanta Sofia spent their summer attending a camp in America and vacationing with their parents, King Felipe and Queen Letizia. But on Sept. 11, they both headed back to their secondary school in Madrid, Colegio Santa Maria de los Rosales.
Monaco's young royals head back to school too
Prince Albert and Princess Charlene of Monaco accompanied their 4-year-old twins, Prince Jacques and Princess Gabriella, as they returned to school in early September. The royals shared images of the twins' first day back on the official Prince's Palace of Monaco Facebook page (see them here) on Sept. 10.
Ellen DeGeneres teases collaboration with the Sussexes
When Ellen DeGeneres returned to host the newest season of her eponymous talk show on Sept. 9, she told viewers about one of the things she and wife Portia De Rossi did on their summer vacation. "Here's a sentence I never thought I would say, but I spent the afternoon with Prince Harry and Meghan," the comedian said, quipping, " just want to say it was an honor for them to meet me." She made it clear how much she dislikes the criticism the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have been getting (she previously defended the environmental advocates in August when they were accused of being hypocrites because of their private jet travel). "Seriously, they are so amazing. They're the cutest couple and so down to earth. I just hate it, I see them get attacked and it's not fair. They're just two of the most down to earth and compassionate people. They're doing so much good for the world." Ellen then hinted that they were planning some type of animal conservation collaboration. "Portia and I talked to them about all the conservation they're doing for wildlife and they're doing all this work in Botswana for elephants and I love that," Ellen explained. "And they like what I'm doing for the gorillas in Rwanda, so we're all going to do something together."
Duchess Meghan hits New York for yoga, tennis and a friend's birthday
After a few months of maternity leave marked by only the occasional outing, Duchess Meghan made headlines when she left 4-month-old son Archie home at Frogmore Cottage in England and traveled solo to New York City to watch close friend Serena Williams play in the U.S. Open Tennis Championships on Sept. 7. After arriving a day earlier, the American royal made a surprise visit to Modo Yoga in Manhattan's West Village to attend a hot yoga class with close to 60 other people, People magazine reported. She later sat with Serena's family and Vogue editor Anna Wintour as the tennis legend lost to Canada's Bianca Andreescu. Meghan really made the most of her trip, as it also emerged that she also crammed in a visit to her longtime makeup artist, Daniel Martin, on his birthday while she was in town. "Thanks to everyone for reaching out to me today and Meg, love you friend for surprising me on my special day," he wrote on Instagram alongside a pic of a plate of cupcakes.
Queen Elizabeth II attends a favorite annual Scottish event with her heir
While Duchess Meghan was making headlines for her trip to the States, Britain's senior royals were having a blast in Scotland at one of the monarch's favorite annual events. On Sept. 7, Queen Elizabeth II donned a bold purple dress coat and covered herself with a warm black-and-white checkered lap blanket to watch the Braemar Royal Highland Gathering, a yearly exhibition of Scottish heritage and traditional games that's been attended by the royal family since the Victorian era. This year, the queen — who's chieftain of the Braemar Gathering — was joined by her kilt-clad heir, Prince Charles, and his wife, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall (who are known as the Duke and Duchess of Rothesay when in Scotland), as well as grandson Peter Phillips and his wife, Autumn (right).
Princess Charlotte joins Prince George for her first day of big-kid school
Sept. 5 was a big day for Britain's Prince George, 6, and an even bigger day for Princess Charlotte, 4: Accompanied by their parents, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Charlotte joined George at the private educational institution he's attended for two years, Thomas's Battersea in London, for her first day of school. Both of the young Cambridge kids wore navy-and-red school uniforms and brought along backpacks, though Charlotte's had a special addition: A glittery pink unicorn charm. Sources told "Entertainment Tonight" that at school, there's no "Your Royal Highness" salutations, as the youngsters go by the names George Cambridge and Charlotte Cambridge. It also emerged that Charlotte, who, sources told "ET," will be taking reading, math, French, music, drama, ballet and computer classes, had a different albeit unofficial name at her old preschool: "Warrior Princess." As royals expert Katie Nicholl told "ET," "Apparently she earned that nickname because obviously she is a princess but she is quite a tomboy. She loves climbing trees and she's very much an adventurer."
Prince Harry responds to private jet criticism… while launching travel sustainability initiative
The timing was unfortunate: Just days after environmental warriors Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan faced criticism for taking two vacations in August via four private jets over 11 days instead of flying commercial, Harry headed to Amsterdam (via a commercial flight) on Sept. 3 to launch, of all things, a travel sustainability initiative. Travalyst — the first initiative under the couple's new Sussex Royal charity foundation — is focused on, as Page Six explained, "tackling the travel industry's impact on climate change, improving wildlife conservation and protecting the environment in top tourist spots around the world" as well as increasing how much of tourists' money goes to local communities. During the event, the Duke of Sussex was questioned about his use of private jets. "I spend 99 percent of my life travelling the world by commercial [aircraft]," Harry insisted, adding, "Occasionally, there needs to be an opportunity based on a unique circumstance to ensure that my family are safe — it's genuinely as simple as that." He tries to do the right thing whenever he does fly private: "I've always offset my CO2," explained the prince who, according to ITV, had been working on the Travalyst initiative for three years, referring to programs where money can be donated to support projects that produce clean energy or reduce carbon emissions in other ways. "…We need to make [offsetting emissions] cool, but it can't just be a ticking-the-box exercise," Harry added.