Harry and Meghan might go to the ball
King Charles has always been considered likely, when it really comes down to it, to invite Prince Harry and Meghan Markle to his Coronation. But there is a lot of face to be saved on the Sussex side after Harry suggested in an interview with Tom Bradby to support his memoir Spare that he and Meghan would require accountability as a condition of their attendance.
Now, the Mail on Sunday has an insight into a mechanism that might be used to allow Harry and Meghan to feel comfortable attending; the paper reports that Britain’s most senior churchman, Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, has been asked to “broker a deal” between Harry and William on the matter, suggesting that William’s objections to Harry attending might be the real issue here.
William and his family were repeatedly and roundly personally attacked by Harry in his memoir and interviews and William is said to fear Harry might stage a “stunt” which could overshadow the celebrations.
Citing a source at Lambeth Palace, the Archbishop’s HQ, a source said: “The issue of substance is whether they attend the coronation, and if they do, under what terms and conditions.
“The family is split, and all the indications are that Harry is being advised to agree to nothing at this stage and ‘play it long’ right up to the last minute, which is making negotiations with him very difficult. Harry’s camp made clear that the idea that he would just attend the coronation and behave himself but then be stripped of his titles was a total non-starter.
“While he might decide at some point to discard his titles of his own volition, he objects to the idea of being forcibly stripped of them. He resents being lumped together with Andrew in the public mind as the two ‘problem princes,’ when he considers the circumstances to be totally different.”
The paper said Lambeth Palace and Buckingham Palace declined to comment, as did Harry’s office, while a source in William’s camp told the paper they were not aware of any such negotiations over the coronation.
The Archbishop could be a shrewd choice of candidate to make peace; in a seperate article the Mail on Sunday reports that there is a “closeness” between him and the couple, although given Harry’s disgust, expressed to Anderson Cooper in his interview with him, at media portrayals of Meghan as a “witch” he is unlikely to be thrilled by a source’s description of the realtionship in the paper, saying: “Justin clearly had a lot of sympathy for them [over Megxit] and we were shaking our heads wondering why he felt so sorry for them. It was like he had completely fallen under their spell.”
Will Charles finally dish on Harry and Meghan?
Of course, all the best-laid plans etc... because it is also reported today that Charles is preparing to grant the BBC a Coronation-related interview—with questions expected about his relationship with Harry and Meghan. The Mirror reports that “palace aides are discussing the possibility of the monarch using his chat to give his side of the story,” following Harry’s revelation and bitching-laden memoir Spare, and the quieter though still pointed needling contained in his and Meghan’s six-part Netflix series.
Though observers think Charles came out of the Harry hurricane pretty unscathed—compared to the charges leveled against brother Prince William, which included being physically aggressive with Harry—Harry set out to inflict maximum damage on Queen Consort Camilla, painting her as a schemer who left “bodies in the street” in her quest for royal power. Charles himself is painted as ineffectual and detached. Harry told the Netflix documentary he had been "brought up" by friends in Africa.
The BBC want Charles to do some kind of piece to camera about his life and plans as king, and any interview may be conducted by Jonathan Dimbleby, his long-term friend, to whom he confessed adultery to in a 90s documentary.
An insider told the Mirror: “Plans are already up and running for coronation coverage at the BBC, including the profile on the monarch. It is not the done thing to avoid subjects in interviews, so it makes matters tricky. Even one small comment on Harry and Meghan would make worldwide news. It could also prompt a response from Harry, which would be unpredictable, like so much. Everything is very delicate.”
New evidence shows *that* photo isn’t fake
After a series of absurd photos in a bath tub conclusively proved there was easily enough room for two people to get into the bath at Ghislaine Maxwell’s former London home (the opposite of what the Maxwells, who staged the photo, intended, see below) new evidence has emerged about the authenticity of the notorious photograph taken there of Andrew with his arm around Virginia Giuffre’s bare midriff with a grinning Ghislaine in the background.
Michael Thomas, the photographer who originally copied the picture over ten years ago, by taking a photograph of it (a standard news gathering technique) has produced images of the back of the original picture showing a date stamp from a one-hour photo service at Walgreens.
He told the Mail on Sunday that he went back through his files this week after he heard new reports of Maxwell saying the photograph was fake.
Andrew and his supporters have regularly tried to undermine the photograph. First Andrew’s camp claimed he had “chubby fingers,” unlike those in the photo, then he told Newsnight: “From the investigations we've done, you can’t prove whether or not that photograph is faked or not because it is a photograph of a photograph.”
This week, Ghislaine Maxwell said in a jailhouse interview: “It is a fake. I don’t believe it’s real for a second. I am sure it’s not. There has never been an original... there is no photograph.”
Thomas said, “They are basically accusing someone of faking it and me being party to it. It’s not fake, and it never has been.” The Mail says that on re-examining his hard drive, Thomas found not only had he taken “36 separate shots of the front of Ms Roberts’ photograph he had also turned the picture over and taken three shots of its reverse.”
The reverse shots are stamped: “000 #15 13Mar01 Walgreens One Hour Photo.” Giuffre always claimed she had the picture developed in the US after her trip to London in March 2001. Thomas said: “I saw the photo. And it was a photo with the information of when and where it was processed on the back.” The Mail says that the “meta-data” embedded in Thomas' images of the original photograph show the 36 photos of the front and three of the back were taken in sequence.
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Giuffre source condemns “shameful” staged bathtub photo
David Boies, Virginia Giuffre’s lawyer, tells the Sunday Times he is yet to hear from Prince Andrew’s lawyer, after claims the disgraced royal wanted Giuffre to retract allegations that Andrew had raped her three times while she was underage and being sexually trafficked by his old friend Jeffrey Epstein. Andrew has always denied the allegations, though settled with Giuffre out of court to the reported tune of millions of dollars last year.
Andrew’s continued bullish, some might say deluded, determination follows the bizarre spectacle of Ghislaine Maxwell’s family staging a photograph published in the Telegraph intending to show Andrew could never have any kind of sexual contact with Giuffre in a bathtub (with two fully clothed protagonists wearing Andrew and Giuffre’s faces as masks)—even if the photos they staged to prove this show there is a lot of room for all kinds of sexual contact.
A source connected to Giuffre told the Mail on Sunday: “If this shameful stunt is the best Maxwell’s side can do in defence of Prince Andrew then it’s laughable. It’s a disgusting attempt to discredit a victim of sexual abuse and would be risible if it were not so offensive. Plus they have their facts totally wrong. Virginia never said they had sex in the bath.”
In her unpublished memoir, Giuffre wrote: “We kissed and touched each other before submersing into the hot water… he was adoring my young body, particularly my feet, caressing my toes and licking my arches.” Then they went to a nearby bedroom.
Lawyer Lisa Bloom, who represented several victims of Epstein and Maxwell, told the Mail: “What a surreal, bizarre photograph. It proves nothing. ‘Virginia said that she and Andrew were in the bath. The photo shows that two full-sized humans can fit in the bath. Virginia said that Andrew began by playing with her feet in the bath. The photo shows that would certainly be possible. Virginia said that she and Andrew then moved into the bedroom where the sexual activity occurred. Nothing in the photo disproves that. Ghislaine and her supporters must be getting desperate. Instead of continuing to attack victims, she should be apologising for the pain she has caused to so many.”
Lawyer Alan Dershowitz, who Giuffre accused of abuse before admitting she may have made a “mistake,” told the Times, “I hope he (Andrew) fights back in an effort to uncover the truth.” Ian Maxwell, Ghislaine’s brother, told the Times, “If Andrew goes to court, my hunch is he would prevail or at least obtain a retraction.” Boies accused Andrew’s supporters of “casting innuendos from the shadows.”
A source close to Charles told the paper, in comments echoing recent Daily Beast stories: “The king still loves his brother very much. But in terms of secretly supporting a campaign for him to come out of the freezer, it’s rather the opposite.” Charles also reportedly fears that another legal case will not solve “the Andrew problem.” Prince William reportedly thinks his uncle is a reputational “risk” and “threat” to the monarchy.
The Duchess of York, Andrew’s ex-wife and most staunch supporter, and his two daughters, Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie, “have been collateral damage in all of this,” a friend told the Times.
An inebriated Prince Harry keeled over in a sentry box outside St James’s Palace and hit a panic button, which prompted an emergency response, a veteran has revealed. Three soldiers and two policemen then guided Harry, who was 27, back to his apartment, it is claimed. A former soldier from the Guards Division told the Sun on Sunday that after an alarm went off in a sentry box they rushed out to find Harry in a “mess” on the floor.
The veteran, who wanted to remain anonymous, said: “Instead of an intruder or terrorist, we found Prince Harry. He was wearing tight blue chinos and a white shirt, with a dark jumper over it. He was slurring his words, not making any sense.” They took the drunken prince back to his flat where he “passed out,” and was left to sleep it off.
Harry discussed his drinking and partying days in his memoir, Spare, and previously told the podcaster Dax Shepherd that, while he thought he was having fun, he would also ask himself: “Why am I actually doing this?...I’m in my 20s—it’s what you’re supposed to do.”
Ringing the changes
The ability of the British media to get excited about staffing changes at Meghan and Harry’s Archewell organisation remains a thing of wonder. The Telegraph breathlessly reports today that the organization is facing an “exodus” of employees on foot of the news that, er, two employees are leaving. One of the departures is Ben Browning, who oversaw the production of the Netflix documentary Harry & Meghan, while the other is named as marketing executive Fara Taylor. Given that neither will be replaced when they leave, suggesting their roles are no longer needed, “exodus” seems a little hysterical.
This week in royal history
Just to prove those royals in history could still teach ours a thing or two about vicious ruthlessness, on February 1, 1587, Elizabeth I signed Mary, Queen of Scots’ death warrant.
So, will Harry and Meghan finally attend the Coronation, with Charles’ blessing? And/or, will Charles dish all on his real feelings to the BBC beforehand? Can we expect any more bizarre photoshoots with fully clothed people in masks in bathtubs to prove Prince Andrew’s innocence?
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