Thursday 23 January 2020

Celebration, change, scandal - a decade of ups and downs for British royal family

Queen Elizabeth II is shwon around 'Back to Nature' by Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2019 press day at Chelsea Flower Show on May 20, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Geoff Pugh - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Queen Elizabeth II is shwon around 'Back to Nature' by Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2019 press day at Chelsea Flower Show on May 20, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Geoff Pugh - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Andrew with the Queen and brother Prince Charles (left)
Meghan, Harry and Archie are spending their first Christmas as a family abroad with the duchess’s mother. Photo: PA
Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and Prince William, Duke of Cambridge attend the annual Royal British Legion Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall on November 09, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Chris Jackson/- WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Queen Elizabeth II. Picture: PA
Brothers’ rift: Princes William and Harry in recent times . Photo: TOBY MELVILLE/AFP/Getty Images

Laura Elston

The royal family's decade has been one of celebration, from weddings, milestones and a jubilee to an abundance of royal babies.

Elizabeth II became the longest reigning monarch in history, the Duke of Edinburgh retired after decades of royal service, and the pair welcomed eight great-grandchildren.

As the Queen and Philip both entered their nineties and called time on their overseas travel, the younger generation of royals gradually stepped up in support.

Princes William and Harry carved out their own roles, left the military and transitioned into full-time royals.

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The Duchess of Cambridge and the Duchess of Sussex (Mike Egerton/PA)

Two new families - the Cambridges and the Sussexes - came to the forefront of royal life, along with two new high-profile women, the Duchess of Cambridge and the Duchess of Sussex.

But the past 10 years have not been without their troubles.

Scandals, setbacks, in-family rifts and battles with the press have all shaped this latest chapter, which is drawing to a close with the Duke of York stepping down from public duties amid the fallout from his association with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

Here is a look at some of the key moments from the royal family's 2010s.

Royal weddings

The Windsors enjoyed a major boost when Prince William proposed to his former university flatmate Kate Middleton.

William presented Kate, dubbed "Waity Katy" during their long courtship, with Diana, Princess of Wales's sapphire ring and popped the question as they holidayed in Kenya in 2010.

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Intangible heritage: Kate Middleton wore Carrickmacross lace, an Irish tradition, on her wedding day. PHOTO: PA

In April 2011, millions tuned in to watch their royal wedding in London's Westminster Abbey.

Kate, in a lace Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen gown, became an HRH and a future queen after saying her vows.

The new Duke and Duchess of Cambridge kissed on the balcony of Buckingham Palace, as the crowds turned out in celebration.

Zara Phillips and former England rugby player Mike Tindall wed the same year.

But royal fans had to wait another seven years for the next high-profile nuptials.

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Meghan’s flower-embroidered veil. Photo: PA

Prince Harry and American actress Meghan Markle announced their engagement in 2017 following a whirlwind 16-month romance after meeting on a blind date.

The pair, who became the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, tied the knot in a romantic, star-studded ceremony in St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle in May 2018, with Meghan dressed in a simple, boat-necked pure white wedding gown by Clare Waight Keller at Givenchy.

The ex-Suits star became the first mixed race person in modern history to marry a senior British royal.

Just months later, the Queen's granddaughter Princess Eugenie married her long-term boyfriend Jack Brooksbank at St George's in October 2018.

Eugenie's sister Princess Beatrice got engaged and is due to wed in 2020.

 

Royal babies

It was also time for a new generation of Windsors to put in an appearance.

The Queen and Philip's first great-grandchild, Savannah Phillips, was born to Peter Phillips and his wife Autumn in 2010, followed by her sister Isla in 2012.

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Isla Phillips (left) and Savannah Phillips on the opening day of the Festival of British Eventing at Gatcombe Park, Gloucestershire

At the end of 2012, it was announced Kate was pregnant and being treated in hospital for severe morning sickness.

Future king Prince George of Cambridge arrived among much media hype in July 2013, and made his public debut outside the Lindo Wing of St Mary's Hospital in London.

Princess Charlotte arrived less than two years later in 2015.

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The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince George and Princess Charlotte in Warsaw in 2017 (Arthur Edwards/The Sun/PA)

She slept soundly as she was introduced to the world dressed in a cream knitted bonnet.

William and Kate's third child Prince Louis was born on St George's Day - April 23 - in 2018.

The duke joked he had "thrice the worry" as they took the prince home to Kensington Palace.

Meanwhile Zara Tindall welcomed Mia in 2014, and another daughter, Lena, in 2018.

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Meghan, Harry and Archie are spending their first Christmas as a family abroad with the duchess’s mother. Photo: PA

Then Harry's dream of parenthood came true as he and Meghan celebrated the arrival of their son Archie Mountbatten-Windsor in May 2019.

Announcing his birth, the duke said: "This little thing is absolutely to die for, so I'm just over the moon."

The royal births were followed by royal christenings, and then nursery and school starts for George and Charlotte, and appearances on the balcony for Trooping the Colour.

 

Milestones

Philip turned 90 in 2011 and then came the Queen's Diamond Jubilee - 60 years on the throne - in 2012.

More than 1.25 million spectators braved the rain and freezing cold to line the banks of the Thames for the Diamond Jubilee River Pageant, which featured more than 1,000 boats.

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Gary Barlow and Cheryl Cole perform on stage during the Diamond Jubilee concert at Buckingham Palace on June 4, 2012 in London, England

Celebrations also included a jubilee pop concert in front of Buckingham Palace organised by Take That's Gary Barlow.

Philip was forced to miss the majority of the events after being in hospital with a bladder infection, not long after enduring the wet and windy River Pageant.

A slimmed-down monarchy appeared on the palace balcony with the Queen for a flypast - only those at the very top of the succession list and their wives: Charles, Camilla, William, new recruit Kate and Harry.

Zara Tindall became the first member of the British royal family to win a medal at the Olympic Games, earning a silver in the team eventing at London 2012.

In 2015, the Queen passed Victoria's milestone to become the nation's longest-reigning monarch on September 9, having reigned for 23,226 days, 16 hours and 30 minutes.

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Queen’s 90th birthday celebrations

She admitted in a speech at the Borders Railway in Tweedbank that the royal record was "not one to which I have ever aspired".

The Queen's 90th birthday in 2016 was marked in public and private with a walkabout, beacon lighting and a black tie dinner for family and friends in Windsor on her actual birthday.

A weekend of national celebrations including a Patron's Lunch party on The Mall was staged for her official birthday in June.

The Queen also became the world's longest reigning living monarch after the death of the revered Thai king Bhumibol Adulyadej.

In 2017, the Queen reached the 65th year of her accession - a rare Blue Sapphire Jubilee, but the occasion was not publicly celebrated.

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Diana and Harry (Martin Keene/PA)

William and Harry marked the 20th anniversary of their mother Diana's death the same year, with Harry revealing how he came close to a breakdown after not speaking about his loss for many years.

The Queen and Philip poignantly passed their platinum wedding anniversary - 70 years of marriage - in November 2017.

In 2018, Charles turned 70. The monarch paid tribute to her eldest son at a glittering private black-tie party at Buckingham Palace, calling him a "duchy original" and an heir to the throne comparable with any in history.

The Queen's final corgi died the same year.

Whisper, who was adopted following the death of his owner, a former Sandringham gamekeeper, died in October 2018, leaving the Queen without any corgis, and only two dorgis.

 

Changes

The past 10 years have seen a royal family in transition.

The ageing monarch and Philip inevitably called time on their overseas travel, and then, at the age of 96, the duke retired from public duties.

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Prince Phillip at his last public engagement before retiring

He carried out his final official solo engagement - his 22,219th since 1952 - as he met fundraising Royal Marines on the Buckingham Palace forecourt in August 2017.

The duke now spends much of his time in the sanctuary of Wood Farm on the Sandringham estate.

Adjustments were also made for the Queen's comfort.

She stopped using the stairs at the State Opening of Parliament, opting for the lift instead, and in 2019 kept the lighter George IV diadem on throughout rather than switching to the heavy Imperial State Crown.

Charles - a king in waiting - opened the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Sri Lanka in 2013, representing his mother in the role for the first time.

But there were tensions behind the scenes.

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Catherine Mayer

Writer Catherine Mayer, who was given rare access to the prince, said he was "joylessly" increasing his royal workload and believed becoming king would be akin to "prison", which Clarence House denied.

The Queen, accompanied by Philip, Charles and Camilla, was back at the CHOGM in 2015, delivering the opening speech in Malta.

In the royal household, the Queen's well-respected private secretary Sir Christopher Geidt, who sought to unify the often-competing courts of Buckingham Palace and Clarence House, departed in 2017 amid reported tensions over transition.

The same year, Charles began the practice of laying a wreath at the Cenotaph on behalf of the Queen as she watched from a nearby balcony.

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Britain's Queen Elizabeth II sits alongside her son Charles as she delivers her speech during the State Opening of Parliament in London in June 2017

In 2018, the prince announced a major restructuring of his charities ahead of his 70th birthday, viewed as planning for the time when he will be king.

His role as future head of the Commonwealth was secured in April 2018 when the Queen publicly lobbied in favour of her son at the CHOGM in London, and world leaders backed the decision.

There were major lifestyle changes for both William and brother Harry - both left the military and became full-time royals.

William first worked as a helicopter pilot for East Anglian Air Ambulance, and also started carrying out investitures on behalf of the Queen, before focusing on royal duties.

Harry took a military desk job, launched his Invictus Games competition in 2014, and then in 2015 said goodbye to Army life after 10 years.

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Britain's Queen Elizabeth II rides with Britain's Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall in Diamond Jubilee State Coach as she leaves Buckingham Palace in London on October 14, 2019 heading to the Houses of Parliament for the State Opening of Parliament

Former mistress-turned-royal wife Camilla slowly took on a more prominent position.

She sat next to the Queen in her Diamond Jubilee carriage procession in 2012 and attended her first State Opening of Parliament in 2013 - moves that would have been unthinkable a decade earlier.

She was made a Privy Counsellor on the Queen's official 90th birthday, meaning she will be permitted to be at Charles's side during the Accession Council which takes place following the death of a sovereign.

The statement ahead of her 2005 wedding to Charles that the duchess intended to be known as Princess Consort, rather than Queen, when the time came, was quietly removed from the couple's website.

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He selects music that was performed at his wedding to the Duchess of Cornwall (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

A radical shake-up of the historic royal succession rules came into force in 2013, ahead of George's birth, removing male bias.

Meanwhile, royal author Robert Jobson reported in 2014 that the courtiers were examining regency scenarios, later saying the Queen would only seriously consider it once she reached 95.

The royals carved out their own roles through their charity work, with the Cambridges and Harry focusing on mental health.

Kate also championed early years support, Harry HIV, wildlife conservation and landmines, Meghan female empowerment and education, and Camilla's engagements centred on literacy and the issue of domestic abuse and sexual violence.

 

Royal tours

Jubilee tours, Brexit trips and royal babies making their mark on their first official overseas visits were among the travel highlights for the globe-trotting royals.

In 2011, the Queen made a historic journey to Ireland.

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Queen Elizabeth at the Garden of Remembrance in 2011. Photo: PA

Amid unprecedented security, she became the first British monarch to travel here in 100 years and the first since independence.

She bowed her head in Dublin's Garden of Remembrance to pay tribute to the rebels who rose up against British rule in 1916, spoke Irish in an address to a state banquet and visited Croke Park, where British forces shot dead 14 spectators at a GAA match in 1920.

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The Queen lays a wreath at the Garden of Remembrance, accompanied by then President Mary McAleese. Photo: Maxwells/PA Wire

The same year, Harry journeyed to the Arctic on a charity trek, and William and Kate went on their first joint overseas tour to Canada and the US.

The Diamond Jubilee saw Harry display a natural talent for diplomacy in Belize, the Bahamas and Jamaica, while William and Kate travelled to the Far East.

Charles and Camilla visited Australia and New Zealand, where the duchess was pictured holding a nine-month-old orphaned koala called Matilda.

In 2014, nine-month-old royal superstar George charmed his way round New Zealand and Australia on an official tour with his parents, just like William did when he was a baby.

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The Duchess of Cambridge visited a local cultural centre at Uluru during an official tour to Australia and New Zealand in 2014 (Phil Noble/PA)

The Cambridges took George and Charlotte skiing in the Swiss Alps, and Harry trekked in the foothills of the Himalayas during his first trip to Nepal in 2016.

William and Kate went to Bhutan and India without George and Charlotte in 2016, and posed in front of the Taj Mahal just like Diana.

In the wake of the EU referendum, the royals set off on Brexit diplomacy tours at the request of the Foreign Office.

William and Kate took George and Charlotte to Germany and Poland in 2017, with the princess having a little tantrum, falling to the ground in Hamburg.

William went to Finland on a solo trip, while the Duke of Sussex went to Denmark, and Charles went on a host of European visits.

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The Duke of Cambridge meets singer Netta Barzilai in Tel Aviv (Ian Vogler/Daily Mirror/PA)

In 2018, William carried out a key trip to the Middle East, becoming the first member of the royal family to make an official trip to either the Occupied Palestinian Territories or Israel on behalf of the Government.

Charles and Camilla also made a historic trip to Cuba in 2019, becoming the first royals to visit the Communist state in an official capacity.

High-profile incoming state visits included US president Barack Obama in 2011 and the first state visit to the UK by an Irish president in 2014, with Michael D Higgins staying at Windsor Castle.

Chinese President Xi Jinping visited in 2016 and Mr Obama's successor Donald Trump carried out a controversial stay in 2019.

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Wellbeing: Harry and Meghan talk to members of OneWave at South Bondi Beach. Photo: Reuters

Harry and Meghan went on their first long-haul official overseas trip - to Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and Tonga, carrying out more than 70 engagements over 16 days.

Highlights included a trip to Bondi Beach in Australia, and a Maori welcome in Rotorua, New Zealand, and the tour began with news that the duchess was expecting a baby.

On their 2019 tour to southern Africa, the couple took along baby Archie, who was introduced to Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

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Britain's Duchess of Sussex Meghan hold her baby son Archie as she and the Duke meet with Archbishop Desmond Tutu and his wife at the Tutu foundation in Cape Town on September 25, 2019

Meghan, in a speech to girls in Nyanga township in Cape Town, said: "While I'm here with my husband as a member of the royal family, I want you to know from me I am here with you as a mother, as a wife, as a woman, as a woman of colour and as your sister."

On a visit to Pakistan in 2019, William and Kate arrived at a reception in Islamabad by tuk tuk, with the duke dressed in a traditional sherwani coat.

 

Humour

Charles read the weather during a tour of BBC Scotland's Pacific Quay headquarters, carrying out the live broadcast with ease and adding a touch of humour to the script.

The Queen filmed her own cameo appearance alongside Daniel Craig's James Bond for the London 2012 Games opening ceremony, and a stunt double dressed as the monarch parachuted into the Olympic Stadium.

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The Queen plays in a video with actor Daniel Craig as James Bond during the London Olympic Games 2012 Opening Ceremony

Lighter moments on royal engagements included Kate dancing with a giant Paddington Bear at Paddington station, Charles exiting from a Doctor Who Tardis door and Harry racing Usain Bolt.

The Queen dropped in on London Fashion Week and Prince George was spotted looking bored on the palace balcony during Trooping the Colour.

Bridesmaid Savannah Phillips had pageboy George trying to stifle his laughter during Princess Eugenie's wedding when she entertained him by pretending to play the trumpet in St George's Chapel.

Camilla was photographed with her nose buried deep in a bouquet of flowers on a visit to London's Garden Museum in 2018.

A meeting with the Queen was so overwhelming for nine-year-old Nathan Grant in 2018 that he dropped to the floor and crawled out of the nearest door, shouting "Bye" to amused onlookers at the Coram children's charity in London.

Troubles

There were low points too for the Windsors.

A raucous road trip to Las Vegas in 2012 ended with photos of a naked Harry, who was frolicking with a woman in his hotel room after a game of strip billiards, being printed around the world.

Harry was just about to begin his second frontline stint with the military in Afghanistan.

Kate was left distressed when topless photos of her sunbathing in France were printed in foreign magazines, and legal action was launched and won.

Charles sparked a diplomatic crisis with Russia in 2014 when he likened Vladimir Putin's actions to some of those of the Nazis while speaking to a former Polish war refugee during a royal tour to Canada.

A 10-year legal battle by The Guardian led to the publication of secret letters written by Charles to government, showing the prince had tackled then prime minister Tony Blair over the lack of resources for the armed forces fighting in Iraq and lobbied ministers over badgers and TB, herbal medicine and illegal fishing of the Patagonian toothfish.

In 2016, William was branded "workshy William" for the number of engagements he carried out in combination with his part-time air ambulance pilot role, but dismissed the criticism as "part of the job".

Philip sparked controversy in January 2019 when he was involved in a serious car crash involving a mother and a baby.

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United they stand: Kate, William, Meghan and Harry attending Christmas service at Sandringham last year. Photo: Chris Jackson/Getty Images

Meghan's new life as a royal was followed by an estrangement from her father Thomas Markle and then a reported rift, first between Kate and Meghan, and then William and Harry.

The Sussexes moved to Frogmore Cottage in Windsor and split from the Royal Foundation, setting up their own charity.

They faced accusations of hypocrisy in the summer of 2019 amid a row over their use of private jets despite speaking out on environmental issues.

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Harry and Meghan have been criticised for using private jets (Andrew Matthews/PA)

Their taxpayer-funded official tour of southern Africa in 2019 was overshadowed when the duchess launched legal action against a newspaper group and the duke delivered a scathing attack on the British press.

In an emotional ITV documentary, Meghan admitted to feeling vulnerable and Harry did little to dispel reports of a rift by saying he loved William dearly but they were "on different paths at the moment" and had "good days" and "bad days" in their relationship.

It was the Duke of York's association with convicted sex offender Epstein that caused the worst crisis through the decade.

In 2011, the Queen's second son quit his role as UK trade envoy after photos showed him visiting the disgraced financier in New York after Epstein's release from jail for soliciting a minor for prostitution.

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Prince Andrew. Photo: Getty Images

It also emerged that the duke's ex-wife Sarah, Duchess of York was given £15,000 by Epstein to help pay off her debts, just 18 months after he was released.

Four years later, Andrew faced allegations in civil court papers in the US that he had sex on three separate occasions with Virginia Giuffre, when she was still a minor under US law.

The duke categorically denied the claims.

In November 2019, in the wake of Epstein killing himself in prison, Andrew's attempts to defend himself against Ms Giuffre's accusations and explain his friendship with Epstein in a BBC Newsnight interview were branded a "car crash" and led to him withdrawing from public duties.

He was widely criticised for failing to show remorse for his association with Epstein or empathy with Epstein's victims.

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‘It was horrible’: Virginia Giuffre claims she was forced to have sex with Prince Andrew in 2001, but he denies the claims. Photo: BBC

Ms Giuffre, who claims she was trafficked by Epstein, gave an interview to BBC Panorama and said she was left "horrified and ashamed" after an alleged sexual encounter with Andrew in London in 2001.

She claimed she danced with Andrew in Tramp nightclub, adding he was "the most hideous dancer I've ever seen in my life" and "his sweat was ... raining basically everywhere".

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