Tag Archives: Prince Harry

The Return of Mental Health Midge

On Sunday and Monday, Kate Middleton managed to carry out three mental health-related events, bringing her yearly engagement tally up to seven.

While it’s important for mental health issues to be destigmatized in society, it’s hard for me to believe that this is a cause Kate and Prince William genuinely care about.  Kate looks stiff and posed at these engagements while Prince William’s default compassionate expression looks like he’s trying to suppress a belch.  In stark contrast, Prince Harry’s interest in mental health is unquestionably sincere, his mother’s compassionate light burns within him, at these events he communicates with ease and appears in touch with his own humanity.

At the January 17th Heads Together event at which Kate, Prince William, and Prince Harry gave one of their three-fer speeches, royal correspondent Richard Palmer noted after Prince William brusquely ignored the media two feet away on the way in and bolted for the waiting car on the way out:

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While I rarely comment directly on Kensington’s Palace’s Twitter posts, I felt it necessary to point out that Kate’s oratorical contribution at that event was difficult to understand.

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With the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at these engagements, I am reminded of jesters and minstrels of yore who performed for royalty, but in this case, it’s struggling individuals reaching into their souls to pull out the most painful, raw and darkest parts of their being for examination by the royal family’s two laziest royals so there’s an illusion that they care, despite their consistently low yearly engagement totals suggesting otherwise.

On Sunday February 5th, Kate Middleton, Prince William and Prince Harry attended a Heads Together event, joining a London marathon training session at the Olympic park.

Kate, William and Harry participated in a relay race with Prince Harry winning the royal leg.

To be fair, Kate was wearing her tightest jeans to date.  Every stride must have felt like getting a Pap smear on a bouncy castle and her starting position suggested she’s still struggling with keeping within the lines in her colouring books.

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Prince William’s trousers weren’t exactly the most event-friendly either.  If anyone was wondering, the second-in-line to the throne went left with his penis on Sunday.

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Prince Harry looked like he inched his starting position slightly ahead to gain an advantage over his brother but he needn’t have bothered.  The man who beat Usain Bolt with some creativity easily bested his brother who looked like he either really wanted to win or was passing a kidney stone.

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On Monday, Kate Middleton and Prince William got an unusually early start and attended a Place2Be engagement at the Mitchell Brook Primary School.  The Kindness Assembly marked the beginning of Children’s Mental Health Week.

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Kate wore a repeat red Luisa Spagnoli suit and once again sported her Muppet Madness bared-teeth grin which I imagine haunts the nightmares of children and the monsters living underneath their beds.

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Kate presented a Kindness Award to a student.  Videos from the event looked like a commercial for Mattel’s Mental Health Midge doll which comes with a bathing suit under her official engagement attire for a quick holiday get-away.

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In the photo @KensingtonRoyal posted, Kate looked posed and awkward but she didn’t give them a lot with which to work.  She totally has Mattel arm in this photo.

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Kate also delivered a speech which sucked less than usual but still was difficult to follow at times and uninspired.  Rebecca English’s Daily Mail article included its contents if anyone is interested.

On Monday night, Prince William and Kate attended a Guild of Health Writers conference at which William delivered a speech.

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Kate wore an Oscar de la Renta suit out of which she styled the life with her same-old black suede court shoes, black clutch and black tights.  Seriously, why aren’t the Fashion Police a legitimate branch of law enforcement?  Kate should be arrested for suffocating this gorgeous Oscar de la Renta suit to death with bland accessories and forced to attend a workshop on styling and maybe do some community service since she is a repeat offender.

Monday also marked Queen Elizabeth II’s Sapphire Jubilee, making the Queen the first British Monarch to reach a 65 year reign.  Long live the Queen!

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Royal Romance Still On

There have been lots of rumors floating around that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle broke up before Christmas and he went to Norway  without her.

Emily Andrews of The Sun was kind enough to answer my inquiry about the swirling gossip and confirmed Meghan and Harry are still very much together.

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Emily Andrews got the exclusive that Meghan and Kate Middleton have finally met.  For real.  On January 10th.

I can’t imagine what Kate and Meghan chatted about.  Kate’s not exactly the gal pal type and I feel badly for whatever woman winds up with her as a sister-in-law.  While supposedly the meeting went well, I just keep picturing the 1988 film Heathers with Kate dragging Meghan out of ear-shot and telling her, “You wanted to be a member of the most powerful clique in school.  If I wasn’t the head of it, I’d want the same thing.”  Then in an attempt to bond with Kate over charity work, Meghan was probably told:

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Reportedly, Meghan gave Kate a journal as a birthday gift.  I can’t imagine what kind of deep thoughts Kate will fill it with, but maybe Meghan started it off for her.  Hopefully it wasn’t in Kate’s handwriting: “People think that just because you’re beautiful and popular, life is easy and fun.  No one understood, I had feelings too…”

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The Night Before Christmas


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‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all thro’ Sandringham House,

Not a Middleton was stirring, not one single louse;

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,

But none for Meghan Markle who wouldn’t be there;

The royals were nestled all snug in their beds,

While visions of taxpayer funding danc’d in their heads,

And the Queen in her crown, and Philip in his cap,

Probably muttered, “I’m too old for this crap”-

When all through the tabloids there arose such a clatter,

Prince Harry’s romance hardly a private matter.

Away to the press Meghan’s relatives flew like a flash,

Selling old photos and videos for quick easy cash.

The American actress on a scarcely watched show,

Was attacked on social media as a fame-hungry hoe;

When what on Blind Gossip should appear,

But a hinted campaign to portray Meghan as saint of the year,

With pr reps at the ready to lay it on thick,

That whole demure duchess candidate shtick.

Little had been known about Prince Harry’s new flame,

And rapidly she became 2016’s most Googled actress name,

A porn site had a 1430% increase in searches for the vixen,

Who has been called by some a modern Wallis Simpson:

“Divorced, American, sex scenes, not suitable at all!”

Critics proclaimed her social media posts took gall.

Instagram bracelets and the initials necklace really don’t fly,

For romantically involved adults in the public eye.

But at least Harry will be at Sandringham, unlike William and Kate, too,

Who will be spending Christmas at Bucklebury, breaking tradition anew.

But even as the Cambridges disappear out of sight,

It still won’t be as bad as when William made the staff watch Twilight.

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Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night.

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Prince Harry’s Rumored New Squeeze

On Sunday, an actress few had ever heard of was served up by tabloids around the world as being romantically paired with the British Royal Family’s ginger dish.  Meghan Markle went from being an actress on a show no one watches but still somehow has approximately 2 million weekly viewers to Prince Harry’s rumored love interest with global outlets scrambling to provide more courses for the rumor-hungry masses.

Response to the royal gossip is why Disney fairytales should come with a warning that anyone who dares capture the heart of a prince will be publicly tried as a witch.  If she sinks, she’s obviously a gold digger and if she floats her boobs aren’t real.  Either way, no one smiles that much without having a couple of German kids baking in a gingerbread house so just dig up pictures of her in her underwear until a source can be found to supply a quote about milk going sour or someone suddenly feeling cold in her presence.

To me Meghan Markle seems like a good match for Prince Harry so I wasn’t prepared for all the negative comments hurled at her in comment sections of articles.  Most surprising was the blatant racism, a lot of flagging has gone down on social media and news site comment sections this week with Meghan’s fans patrolling her Instagram for vicious vitriol.  Commenters have found Meghan too old, too American, too divorced, too Catholic, too “unsuitable”, too “mixed breed”, too Koo Stark, too Fergie, too Angelina Jolie, too “fame hungry”.  For some she is too too.

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Granted, American divorcees don’t have the best history in the British Royal Family but beyond the risk of the occasional bleeding wall at Buckingham Palace and the Queen Mum’s ghost slamming back some ghost gin before noon, can the living really make a fuss when Prince Charles, Princess Anne and Prince Andrew have all had their I dos undone?

Unlike Europe’s most recent princess bride, Sofia Hellqvist, Meghan’s humanitarian efforts date back at least two years before meeting her prince so they aren’t part of some PR campaign to clean up her image.   Meghan can also deliver a solid speech and hold the attention of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, making her better at duchess duties than Kate Middleton and Meghan is merely a rumored girlfriend with a day job.

I’m sure the Royal Family would rather do without Meghan’s sexy underwear scenes in Suits but after five years of Commando Kate flashing her bum around the globe, maybe they find her character’s full-coverage knickers refreshing.

An interview with Meghan’s half-sister,  Samantha Grant, presented a version of Meghan that casts her in an unflattering light.  Samantha described Meghan as a “social climber” and princess-in-waiting who has fancied the ginger prince since childhood which makes her sound a little too Kate 2.0 for comfort.  According to an article in The Sun, when Meghan became famous, she didn’t provide the family with the emotional and financial support Samantha feels she should have.  According to Meghan’s half-sister, “The royal family would be appalled by what she’s done to her own family.  The truth would kill her relationship with Prince Harry.”

There was some confusion as to whether or not Samantha actually provided the quotes with some royal watchers claiming she never granted an interview.  Just going by Samantha Grant’s Twitter page, it seems she was saying she didn’t give interviews to individual papers that quoted her, not realizing initially they were recycling her original quotes.

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Of course, all families have their dysfunction and Samantha’s Twitter post suggests at least some of her remarks were edited in a manner to better fit the story.  Meghan’s mother laughed off requests for information about Meghan’s relationship with Prince Harry, saying she couldn’t talk about that and Meghan’s father has been unreachable in Mexico.  But in a bid to leave no stone unturned, the press is digging as far as it can into Meghan’s past with the Daily Mail excavating her 2014 Ice Bucket Challenge done with her rumored then-boyfriend, Rory McIlroy, a friendly tabloid reminder that Meghan has had relationships in the past with men who weren’t Prince Harry.  Trollop.

The expectations for a prince’s potential mate are evolving and it’s unlikely the Queen would say no should Harry ask for permission to marry Meghan at some point but will the relationship survive the court of public opinion?  No one has led a pristine life, but the press seems to be digging hard trying to hit dirt with Meghan Markle.  Is it because Prince Harry managed to keep this rumored romance under wraps for several months and they’re playing catch-up with a vengeance or is it because Meghan doesn’t fit any of the existing Disney princess templates?  Everyone deserves to be lucky in love but with such a rigorous screening process for the job of Princess Harry, what kind of applicants will even apply?  While all of this is unconfirmed speculation, the only thing I really care about is that whomever Prince Harry winds up with makes him happy.  It will probably be easier for him to find her if we don’t crowd around him asking him are we there yet.

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The Duchess of Cambridge’s Deadly Poppy Field

Remember the scene from The Wizard of Oz when the Wicked Witch of the West nearly succeeds in offing Dorothy with the Deadly Field of Poppies?

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Well, McQueen has managed to capture that feeling of nearly dying in your sleep in a custom dress for Kate Middleton.  She wore it at a Buckingham Palace reception honoring Olympic and Paralympic athletes.

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The print is from the 2017 Pre-Spring/Summer Collection.  Its original dress form is this:

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It also comes in a blouse.

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Sarah Burton likely realized the overdose potential of this poppy print and Kate should have just said no to it in this much fabric.  It’s so grandmotherly, it is possible the cut died of natural causes, but the toxicology report suggests foul play.  The Daily Mail article has lots of photos of the fashion crime scene.

An opium overdose at least seems like it would be a more peaceful way to go than the death-by-boredom the Cambridges are inflicting on royal-watchers.  I couldn’t even make it all the way through the Canada tour which was as exciting as looking at a neighbor’s vacation pics.  In Tom Sykes’ article What’s Wrong With William and Kate’s Tour of Canada? he discusses the global disinterest in a tour that fizzled before it even started.  Once again the Cambridge’s insisted on having their private events, shutting out a shrunken press pack for a wine tasting, a sail, and whatever else happened while I had nodded off.

As interest in the future king and queen consort wanes, the question remains, could Prince William and Kate possibly be this dull, or are they attempting to have the private lives with public figure perks they crave by boring the masses into a deep slumber?  Kate’s dress and hair so amped up with add-ons she looked like her own bobblehead doll suggest she wanted to stand out in a crowd of dark hues and normal-headed people, but maybe the Paper Doll Duchess just wants to be noticed on her own terms, when she’s packing poppies.

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Fortunately for the Olympic and Paralympic Athletes at the Buckingham  Palace, Prince Harry followed behind Kate’s poppy field, so if anyone felt themselves glazing over from Kate’s small talk about George liking swimming, fencing and hockey and Charlotte already being an accomplished equestrian at 17 months, he could Glinda them right out of permanent sleep.  Not sure why gingers seem to get stuck with revival duties for the poppy-pickled, but long live Good King Harry because this whole Synchronized Head Tilt wouldn’t even qualify the Cambridges for the Feigned Interest competition at the Royal Olympics.

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Oh No, Canada!

The Palace must really not want anyone paying attention to the Cambridge not-so-secret French getaway because shortly after it hit the headlines, Kensington Palace announced that William and Kate will be touring Canada in the fall, giving the press something else to write about and the public something else to focus on.

The invitation for the Cambridges to return to Canada had been publicly announced by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau who bypassed proper palace protocol.  This is Justin  Trudeau so he gets a pass on his lapse in judgment of putting Canada through another Cambridge tour, at least in my book (Canadian readers might feel differently):

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It was a given the Cambridges were going to go, otherwise it would be seen as a slight to Canada with which the British monarchy wants to maintain a good relationship.  And  as Richard Palmer Tweeted on Wednesday:

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No tinfoil hat is needed to see a correlation between the timing of the French getaway hitting media outlets and the Canada tour being officially announced by Kensington Palace.  There are several possible reasons to employ some good old-fashioned misdirection to divert attention, some of which may require Reynold’s Wrap headgear or at least wishful thinking, like maybe there’s a planned Jeggings Intervention they don’t want getting out.  A more likely reason, though, is the Palace doesn’t want the masses doing the math on this latest getaway.

Even privately funded royal holidays cost  taxpayers who foot the bill for security without ever seeing the amount.  Prince William and Harry’s trip to the US to attend Guy Pelly’s wedding cost UK taxpayers an estimated $84,000 according to an industry source cited in a Daily Mail article.

However, UK taxpayers aren’t the only ones covering security costs for private royal holidays, whenever the British royals travel, they arrange security logistics with local law enforcement.   As one comment from the aforementioned article noted:

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This screen grab from the same DM piece shows just one example of the police protection US taxpayers provided for the “privately” funded trip:

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Turns out taxation with representation isn’t all that great either.  We  don’t get to say of course we want Harry but please keep the petulant one at home.

Sadly, the Cambridges are high risk targets.  In light of the terror attacks against France and ongoing threats, local law enforcement is busy enough without the extra burden of allocating its resources to a private royal getaway.  Additionally the UK government warns on its foreign travel advisory page for France:

There is considered to be a heightened threat of terrorist attack globally against UK interests and British nationals, from groups or individuals motivated by the conflict in Iraq and Syria. You should be vigilant at this time.

Who booked this trip, Triple Whammy Travel?   Worst Case Scenario Tours?   I love France, it’s felt like a second home to me since the age of 16, I’ve spent more time there than any other country outside of the US.  But other countries are pretty cool, too.  Maybe the Cambridges could check one of those out.  According to Prince William, Kate came up with a travel wish list when they were first married, surely there are a few on there they can’t get taxpayers to fund under the guise of a royal tour.

There’s speculation about who actually went on this French getaway and either scenario reflects poorly on the Cambridges.  If Kate went alone, it undermines the argument that she can’t work more because of her children, but if the entire family went, two high risk terror target  future kings are diverting security resources away from a country under the highest terror threat level and in mourning because of  recent attacks.

Just to give a glance into the huge logistical nightmare Cambridge security is, I will once again quote a recent Herazeus comment:

Think about this…..when Kate goes home to Middleton Towers with George, all security resources in the surrounding villages are re-routed for their safety. All police have to be on high alert for the duration of her stay, ground (vehicles + mounted horse) and air patrol the area. All local hospitals and medical staff are also on high alert in case of emergency trouble.

Now imagine the level of security required in a France on high alert for William and George!!

Or to quantify it, the last time London was on high alert, Kate required 9 RPOs just to attend a wedding at the Dorchester Hotel in London which is a skip and a hop from BP/CH and their security arrangements.

In France, the British and the French will have to provide extra security so these numpties can holiday in safety, but why should they let a terror alert get in the way of their holiday plans?

I think Kate probably traveled to France without her husband and children so likely (and hopefully), the French only have one numpty to deal with.  The French paper’s “several sources” only saw Kate, but if Prince William, Princess Charlotte, Prince George and Nanny Maria were really on the private plane which seats 8 as has been suggested by the British press, that doesn’t leave a lot of room for their Royal  Protection Officers.   Additionally, only two SUVs met the plane according to reports which suggests one royal.  I guess it’s possible everyone scootched, maybe Nanny Maria and the kids went in one while Prince William and Kate were in the other, they just tied the RPOs to the roof like Christmas trees because the luggage for a family of four, a nanny, and their RPOs would take up the remaining interior space but there’s an upcoming Canada tour so we don’t have to think about how they worked out the SUV logistics.  Just know that magic exists, Muggles.

It would have to be one doozy of a spell, though.  This is the convoy when Princes William and Harry were in the US for Guy Pelly’s wedding.

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Thank goodness the Canada tour was announced, otherwise we might feel obligated to count the SVUs and local law enforcement vehicles in the royal convoy.

The announced Canada tour will also help with annual engagement totals for Prince William and Kate.  On Thursday, Express ran a piece by Richard Palmer about the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry being ahead of last year’s numbers thus far but still behind Prince Philip.  Tours like the recent India/Bhutan one are an easy way for Prince William and Kate to get their numbers up without the terribly taxing pretending to care about stuff because travel to and from the tour host country and each destination within counts, as do the greetings.  There’s very little substance and yet each tour racks up dozens of official engagements.  So even with the benefit of one royal tour this year, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are still  trailing behind  Prince  Philip?  Seriously?

On Wednesday, Kensington Palace Tweeted that that the Cambridges have special memories from their first Canadian Tour.

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I think it’s safe to say that tour holds special memories for royal watchers as well.  It was at the Calgary Airport that Kate had her first full bum flash as a duchess.  Call me sentimental, but I get a little misty-eyed just thinking about it.  Of course, that might just be burning from the image permanently  seared in my retinas.   But remember how we all thought it was a rookie mistake that wouldn’t be repeated?   We were so innocent and naive back then.  I miss that.

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Cambridge Catch-Up

Greetings, All.  My apologies for my absence.  I have a new post on Kate Middleton ready to go but wanted to play a little Cambridge Catch-Up before hitting publish on Thursday’s SportsAid event.

Prince William has had two royal firsts since my last post.  After 33 years of princing, Prince William finally went to the The Royal  Horticultural Society’s Chelsea Flower Show on May 23rd.

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The flower show was a first for Kate, too.  When Kensington Palace’s Press Office suggested on social media that Prince Harry was a Chelsea Flower Show tag-along newbie, royal watchers quickly corrected them and reminded them of Prince Harry’s previous appearances.

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Even though Prince Harry may come in third in the Palace Press Office hierarchy, royal watchers are getting frustrated with how much Jason Knauf’s PR team keeps dropping the ball when it comes to Harry’s work.  I think Prince Harry’s supporters need a nickname like Beyoncé’s BeyHive.  We could be… the Ginger Rooters?  We’ll work on the name.

At the flower show, Prince William looked just as miserable as one would expect a Reluctant Prince who allegedly thinks flower shows and ribbon cuttings are ridiculous royal duties.

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The above Daily Mail screen grab is now one of my very favorite royal photos, mainly because Prince William has never looked more like Bert from Sesame Street than at that moment.

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The Daily Mail provided a bevy of snaps for Keeping up With the Kambridges screen grabbing.  Kate was almost all of the Seven Dwarfs in them.

Sneezy:

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Sleepy:

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Dopey:

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And Happy:

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One  Daily Mail commenter thought Kate looked more like a garden gnome than a Disney dwarf, though.

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The Chelsea Flower Show also had an incredible installation in honor of The Royal  Horticultural Society’s Patron’s 90th Birthday.

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Among the flowers on display were two that had been named after the Cambridge’s children.

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Before the show, there was a Kate sighting by a Twitter user.

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On the 24th, Kate was papped with Prince George and Princess Charlotte.  Prince George was sitting on a Met Police motorbike with the assistance of four police officers, holding on to the handlebars as he pretended to drive it.  The Cambridge privacy line became even blurrier when media outlets in the UK were permitted to print the photos.

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The photos of Prince George were reminiscent of ones taken of Prince William and Prince Harry when they were young.

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Perhaps the Cambridge’s objections to having their photos taken “off-duty” has more to do with the story the pictures  tell.  The photos of Prince George on a police motorbike with his mother and  sister nearby are image-friendly, photos of him with his nanny are not.

While the Cambridges seem to be on a campaign to ultimately control  their image using social media, social media itself is uncontrollable.  The motorbike photos which many initially assumed would only appear in overseas publications were Retweeted with Kate’s dress identified in less time than it takes to find Waldo.

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Later that day, Kate slipped into the same cream Alexander McQueen coat dress and Jane Taylor fascinator she wore to Prince George’s christening to go with Prince William to his very first Buckingham Palace Garden Party.

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Even Kate has gone to those and yet somehow her 33-year-old  blood royal future king husband remained a Buckingham Palace Garden Party virgin until May 24th of this year.

Jennifer @Chic_Happens_ Tweeted a photo of Princess Diana wearing an outfit very similar to Kate’s Buckingham Palace Garden Party attire.  I inserted a photo of Kate next to it for the sake  of easy comparison.  Soooooo, yeah, that happened.

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Kate also had her glam squad with her at the Garden Party: PA/stylist  Natasha Archer and her hair stylist Amanda Cook Tucker.   Natasha’s boyfriend, royal photographer Chris Jackson, also managed to score an invite.  According to royal.uk, invites to the royal garden parties are a “way of recognising and rewarding public service”.

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Did Amanda Cook Tucker have to swallow a balloon full of wiglets to smuggle them into India or something for this most recent tour?  Nothing about Kate’s garden party hair suggested a need  for an  emergency stylist to be standing by.

Then on May 28th,  the Daily Mail ran a piece on Prince William and Kate taking a private chartered helicopter back to Anmer Hall after Tuesday’s Buckingham Palace Garden Party at a  cost of approximately £5,000.  And the response of DM readers was pretty much what you’d expect.

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What I find interesting is that this helicopter had been chartered at all, considering The Queen has a Sikorsky S-76++ registration number G-XXEB which is primarily used by Prince Charles and in July 2014, the Queen leased an AgustaWestland A109S to be used by William, Kate and other members of the Royal Family.  So why the need to charter a third helicopter?  Who was using the other two?  Hopefully Prince  Andrew didn’t swap them in some kind of shady business deal for magic beans.

But then photos of a Cambridge family outing at the Houghton Hall International Horse Trials with blue bows and matching stripes were published by various outlets such as The Mirror bringing a little peace to the land and a bit more haziness to the Cambridge’s privacy expectations.

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The Queen Opens Parliament

At 90, Queen Elizabeth II is more than twice my real age and more than three times my pretend age. Today she opened Parliament with the kind of pomp and ceremony that has kept the British Monarchy in business.  For the first time in her sixty-four years as Queen, one minor traditional  concession was made to the toll ninety years has taken on her body and Her Majesty took a lift instead of the stairs to execute her Parliamentary duties.

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As Queen Elizabeth II famously proclaimed, “I declare before you all that my whole life whether it be long or short shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great imperial family to which we all belong.”  And she meant it, she’s in it for the long haul with the type of dedication to duty that has garnered global respect and admiration.

Queen Elizabeth II has only missed the State Opening of Parliament twice, once while pregnant with Prince Andrew in 1959 and the second time while pregnant with Prince Edward in 1963.  As spectacular as it is to watch such a grand tradition as the Opening of Parliament, the Queen is a nonagenarian and it’s hard not to feel exhaustion empathy for her.

The Queen rolled up to the State Opening of Parliament  in the Diamond Jubilee State Coach.  Coaches are uncomfortable to ride in, even the magically conjured one in Cinderella looked as smooth a ride as a Hippity Hop bouncing its way to the ball.

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In a coach, every bump in the road sends a jolt through every injury you’ve ever sustained in your life. Tell me this isn’t the face of a woman wistfully longing for the smooth suspension and plush leather seats of a luxury automobile or at the very least, a pair of padded knickers.

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A  gilded carriage does make a statement, but so would the Queen arriving by jet pack with less of a scrambled feeling upon arrival.

Then the Queen slipped  into  something a little more uncomfortable, the Robe of State which weighs 15lbs and is 18 feet in length.  Does a 90 year-old woman really need  to be wearing ceremonial garb that footmen help carry?

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Couldn’t she just wear a Snuggie?  It comes in Royal Purple.

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The Imperial State Crown worn by Her Majesty weighs 2.3lbs.  While that may not sound terribly heavy, try putting a pair of standard 1lb ankle weights on your head.  I can’t even deal with them on my ankles.

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As much as I love head  sparkle, maybe the Queen should  pick up one of those Aros sweatshirts where the hoodie inflates  into a pillow.  Sometimes my head feels heavy even without a crown.

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The whole State Opening of Parliament could be done much more efficiently by simply getting one of those reversible Open/Closed  signs  that hang from a chain.  The Queen could just flip it to signal  the Opening of Parliament with a generically upbeat pop song like Katy Perry’s “Roar” playing in lieu of the Queen reading a ten minute speech outlining the government’s agenda.

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Considering the tradition of imprisoning the Vice-Chamberlain to ensure the monarch’s safe return from Parliament  is still ceremonially observed, it’s unlikely we’ll see the Queen with a pair of sneakers peeping out from beneath one of Angela Kelly’s gowns.  I marvel at all the Queen manages to do at 90.

The monarchy is long past the point the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge became full-time royals.  Although even counting their physical presence at official engagements in the Court Circular seems almost pointless considering how lackluster their appearances are.  At the launch of the Heads Together Campaign on Monday, Prince Harry’s presence made it even more apparent that Prince William and Kate are ill-prepared for their roles.  In a speech divided between the three, Prince Harry was the only one who engaged the audience, while the delivery of his brother was flat and detached and his sister-in-law only attempted  a few forgettable sentences.  Other than the three donning boxing gloves for photo ops and  Kate wearing a skirt Banana Republic likely won’t restock, it was hard to figure out the objective of the event which was said to work towards erasing the stigma of mental illness.

But then I spotted this photo.

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That’s the kind of genuine warmth that reaches people and gives them hope.

Were it not for chance of birth order, the future of the British Monarchy would be bright.  And the stoic perseverance of the Queen to continue the monarchy would make sense.  I feel Prince Charles will make a good king but his reign realistically will be brief and then the British Monarchy will be left with Ignorance and Want huddling beneath the ghostly robes of history.

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Close Encounters of the Prince Harry Kind

Today’s post is guest-authored by a woman named Ashley who has shared with us our her account of being within close proximity to Prince Harry during the Invictus Games.  Ashley offers incredible insight into Prince Harry, his warmth, sincerity and genuine commitment to his role as both a prince and a humanitarian.  The photos Ashley took of the driving force behind Invictus are the end of her incredible account.

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On Monday, May 9, 2016, my sister Amy and I were attending the Invictus Games in Orlando, Florida. The Invictus Games were established by Prince Harry as a competitive international event for wounded veterans. We were able to attend the Opening Ceremonies on Sunday, May 8th at the ESPN Wide World of Sports venue at Disney, at which Prince Harry, Michelle Obama, Pres. George W. Bush, and Morgan Freeman made appearances and spoke. We’d already fully enjoyed that event, and as a sort of “cherry on top” we decided to attend two sporting events on the first day of competition – Monday.

On Monday, the first event we were scheduled to attend was the Indoor Rowing Finals, held in a large stadium called the HP Fieldhouse. We arrived at 1:45pm, about 15min after the event had begun, and as we entered the stands we showed our ticket to a worker who then let us know that we had the choice either of sitting in section 103, which was closest to the action, or in section 203, which was one level up. Since I had my larger camera with me and wanted to get some wide-perspective shots, I suggested to Amy that we sit in 203 first (which only had about 6 people seated there at the time) and then move to 103 later, as the competition was supposed to run for at least 3-4 hours and we knew we’d have plenty of time to move around.

When we were walking up the wide cement steps to section 203, we saw an Australian gentleman wearing an athlete’s jersey sitting a few rows up on the stairs, playing a gigantic didgeridoo. I was excited, because I’d never seen one outside of TV, so I made a mental note that I wanted to get a picture of him before we moved to the other section.

We sat about four rows up in the section, Amy in the end seat and I one in, and the Australian man was sitting just to the right of Amy, one step up. After about 10 minutes of taking wide-shot photos of the stadium, I decided to turn and ask the Aussie if he would take Amy’s and my picture with the stadium in the background – and I intended to also ask if I could get a pic of him with his instrument.

However, as I half- stood and turned to ask him, I suddenly realized there was another man who had come and sat next to him on the step. And after a split second, I realized it was Prince Harry!! First, my brain said, “That is Prince Harry!” then immediately I thought, “That’s not possible. It can’t be Prince Harry!” And then my brain did some sort of calculation that went “Red hair – beard – black Invictus polo shirt – lanky build – it IS PRINCE HARRY.” And for a second my heart stopped and my brain just about fried. And my next thought was “how am I going to tell Amy without making any noise??” because Prince Harry was less than a foot from her right shoulder, seated a step above, and I knew if I said anything above a whisper he would hear me!!

I sat down, turned to Amy, grabbed her knee and said in a very soft whisper, “Prince Harry is JUST behind your shoulder!!” Amy says she thought I was joking until she saw my face and realized that I was actually serious. I had to repeat myself for her to understand. And then it was so strange because even though she knew he was there, she couldn’t turn around to look because she was too close!! So we just sat perfectly still for a few seconds collecting our thoughts. I had both my big camera and my phone in my hand, and I debated whether I wanted to try to use the big camera, but it was so obvious that Prince Harry was trying to be incognito (up there in the non-lighted, empty stands, sitting on a cement step) and so I decided not to use the big camera. Instead, I took a series of pictures silently using my phone with Prince Harry in them. I’m sure his security detail noticed Amy and I taking cell phone pics, but we never interrupted him or made any scene, so they never said anything to us. A couple of people did step up and ask if they could take photos of him and Prince Harry allowed them permission – he even tried to play the guy’s didgeridoo but failed miserably and hilariously, so everyone was laughing. We found out later that one of the people taking pics was from the UK paper The Daily Mail, because they posted an article about it two days later.

Prince Harry continued to talk to the Aussie for over half an hour, and then they moved into the seats…and Prince Harry sat in the stadium seat DIRECTLY behind me. I was so freaked out and so nervous and excited, and all I could think about was that he had such long legs and I was terrified that if I moved I would hit him in the knees with my hair or my head!! So I just sat still and only leaned forward if I moved at all – I ended up with a backache from being so still!! But he stayed for such a long time and was talking about how strong the athletes are, and how he liked the music they were using, and just generally was so charming and friendly to the Aussie athlete. After a while, it became obvious that more and more people were noticing Prince Harry in the stands. Our section started to fill up with people, and several asked for photos with him. A couple of times I even had to stand up to let people into our row, and I actually had to lean back toward him which was so awkward and I felt bad about invading his personal space (although in a stadium it’s unavoidable). He did allow athletes and their families to get pics, but at one point when there were multiple people coming we heard him say (very nicely) “Ok, but please don’t make this a thing,” as in, please don’t start a chain reaction of people wanting pictures. Prince Harry spent the whole rest of the time cheering for all the athletes, especially the UK team, and at one point he let out a huge cheer for an athlete from Afghanistan who was there on his own. He was absolutely unfailingly polite and friendly to everyone we heard him speaking to.

Amy and I both went through basically the same mental process during this time, which was that we realized he was trying to be incognito, he didn’t want to have everyone trying to get pictures, and we both thought that for once it might be nice for him to just be able to enjoy a sporting event without everyone near him pestering him for pictures. And since this was his event, we both realized that the best thing we could do would be to demonstrate that we were there to cheer on the US team (which we were!) and that we were having a great time (which we DEFINITELY were!). So instead of trying to interact with him, we mutually agreed to just snap a few pictures with our phones but basically leave him alone and act as if he was just any other person there watching with us.

After so many people started coming to ask him for pictures, Prince Harry left with his team, and we were left in the stands to have our fangirl freakout in peace!! Amy and I immediately started texting friends and posting on social media, and just discussing the whole crazy situation.

And then, just about the time that the section had cleared of most of the other people and we had relaxed, Prince Harry came back!!! This time he came with about 6+ people, and sat two rows behind us and one seat to my left. He was sitting with a man we didn’t recognize, and his security detail created more of a perimeter for him that time, so that he wouldn’t be disturbed. Again, he just spent the time chatting and was so engaged and so animated talking about the athletes and venue and event – it seemed clear that he was enjoying himself! That time, they stayed for less than an hour and they left again…and then about half an hour later they came back AGAIN!

Amy says we must have passed the creeper test, because by the third time it was pretty obvious that both Prince Harry and his detail weren’t concerned about us doing anything crazy. In fact, one of his security team sat just in front of us and made eye contact and grinned at us as if to communicate that he knew they had made our day, but clearly they wouldn’t have come back if they thought we were weird creepy people!

The third time Prince Harry was near us, he spent more time standing on the steps and either chatting with his team or taking pictures. At one point he walked a bit lower and snapped a lot of photos on his cell phone before returning to a seat above us. By that last visit, we weren’t even taking pictures anymore because we were just so happy that he was back and weren’t worried about getting more – we already had quite a few!! He stayed for a shorter period of time then, and left with his entourage. A few minutes later, he handed out the medals in one of the Indoor Rowing medal ceremonies where the UK had placed, and the woman holding the medals for him was so flustered she accidentally fell down and dropped them! Prince Harry helped her up, but I felt for her because she was so embarrassed and I knew exactly why!!

In total, Prince Harry was within 5 feet or less of Amy and I for over two hours, and we could hear his conversation for the majority of that time.

Our impression of the Prince is that he is incredibly genuine, charming, friendly and unassuming. He laughs a lot, is extremely expressive when he talks, and is gracious to everyone with whom he interacts. One thing that really stuck out to us was how “in-the-moment” he was – he was near enough to us for us to hear about two hour’s worth of his conversation, and the entire time was spend chatting about the Invictus Games in general, about the athletes, about his team, about the venue, etc. He is definitely the kind of person who takes full advantage of the present moment!! He is good-looking (and smells great!), but to be honest his personality is really what makes him as attractive as he is; he was so charming even in that very low-key situation that it was pretty amazing.

There are very few people by whom I would be this star-struck, but Monday’s experience ranks as one of the most exciting of my life so far. And I’m not at all sorry that we didn’t attempt to interact with Prince Harry or get a picture with him, because it clearly resulted in us having a great deal more time in his presence – and I wouldn’t trade that for any picture! I just hope that our discretion did contribute toward his being able to more peacefully and fully enjoy the experience of the amazing Invictus Games he established. He deserves so much respect for making this amazing event happen!!

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Warrior Prince

“If you’re going through hell, keep going.”
– Winston Churchill

Over the weekend, my Twitter feed was approximately 60% Prince Harry and Invictus Games, 20% Cute Animals and 20% makeup and miscellaneous.  The percentages were encouraging because it meant that Invictus news was making the rounds, even beating out some undeniably precious pandas.

With the buzz surrounding Invictus Games, especially with the charming Prince Harry involved, conversation can quickly veer off course, no matter how noble the cause.  With Prince Harry promoting Invictus to raise awareness, outlets have been latching on to his casual remarks in order to sell the fairytale and not the cause.  Sure, wounded warriors who have overcome great adversity is cool and all but Prince Harry is like totally looking for a girlfriend and OMG!

A few hours ago, I did a Google search for Prince Harry and this is what was at the top of the News chain:

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Really?  Even during such an impressive massive undertaking as Invictus, Prince Harry’s love life is still the focus?

On Twitter,  has done a tremendous job in separating the key moments from all the noise and Tweeting the best of Prince Harry’s laudable efforts.  I highly recommend following peppersmint for the best of both the Invictus Games and Prince Harry.

The Invictus Games are a sporting event created by Prince Harry, this year uniting 500 wounded, sick and injured armed services personnel from fourteen countries as they compete in the events of archery, indoor rowing, powerlifting, road cycling, sitting volleyball, swimming, track and field, wheelchair basketball, wheelchair rugby and wheelchair tennis. (Source: Invictus Games 2016 Official Website).  Invictus is Latin for “unconquered” and derives its name from a poem by William Earnest Henley.

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole, 
I thank whatever gods may be 
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud. 
Under the bludgeonings of chance 
 My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears 
 Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years 
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

Prince Harry has been the driving force behind Invictus which was launched in 2014, initially inspired by the 2013 Warrior Games in the US and expanded upon by the prince who was in the army for ten years until June of last year.  Supporting those who have served  their country is a cause to which Prince Harry is deeply devoted, but not all of his work makes the papers.  As noted earlier this year by Herazeus, “Harry volunteers 3 days a week with the Ministry of Defence’s Recovery Personal programme unit.”   More information on the programme “designed to ensure wounded, injured and sick service personnel receive co-ordinated support” can be found here.  In September of last year, Prince Harry was joined by his brother Prince William in building homes for veterans in Manchester, an effort which did get quite a bit of press.

Having served in the army and devoted himself to military causes, Prince Harry is aware that the men and women who risk their lives defending their countries often have difficulties readjusting to civilian life, away from the brotherhood and sisterhood of the armed forces.  Those who have been wounded while serving their countries don’t stop being soldiers when their injuries prohibit them from returning to combat, that’s when the real battle begins for wounded warriors.  Some suffer through painful rehabilitation, having to learn how to use parts of their bodies again.  Tragically, some have to find the strength to learn to live without parts of their body.  Many find themselves crushed under the weight of all they have lost gasping for hope.  The hell seems never-ending and Churchill’s famous words “Never, never, never give up,” aren’t a rallying cry for those deeply scarred but a reminder that  giving up is an option.

Mike Roggio, a competitor at the Invictus Games who had broken his neck in a naval accident, shared with People, “One of the biggest obstacles in my recovery was dealing with depression. I went from being an athlete and a very able-bodied person to being bed-ridden and in diapers for several months.  I couldn’t even push off the wall [of the pool] at first, but a few months down the road I was actually racing other people in the pool.”

With Invictus Games,  Prince Harry reminds the injured, wounded and sick service personnel that the warrior spirit can’t be conquered.  Through this competition within the brotherhood and sisterhood of the armed forces, Prince Harry gives them something to battle for and reminds them their injuries don’t define who they are or who they can be.

Opening ceremonies for Invictus 2016 were held on May 8th in front of 10,000 spectators.  A member of our community, Melete, was there at the opening ceremonies and shared her experience with us:

“Attending the Opening Ceremony was a truly rewarding experience. I’m fortunate to live about 10 minutes away, so I felt like I couldn’t pass up the opportunity. My spouse is also a veteran with lingering issues from his military service, and I have so much respect for how Harry’s brought these Games about.

It’s almost difficult to describe just how happy everyone was to be there. The audience was enthusiastic about everything, and it was great to see people cheering all the competitors from all the countries as they walked out. In fact, the ladies sitting behind us were also locals, and they brought on the loud whistles and cheers for every country. People completely understood why there were there and just how important it was. I loved the sense that these competitors should all be the heroes we look up to. And honestly, I loved the push for hiring veterans, as that’s also a huge part of the event. Yes, the competitors were there to challenge themselves physically, but they’re also proving to the world that they’re still valuable members of society who have something to contribute in the workforce.

The flyover was awesome, and the helicopter bringing in the Invictus flag was pretty amazing. We could see the helicopters fly past, but from where I was sitting I couldn’t see the paratrooper exit (except on the screen). But everyone cheered when the flag got to the stage. The silent drill team was also incredible, and the audience loved it. The Invictus choir was one of my favorite parts, really impressive. The singers were just as moved as the people watching, so it made for a beautiful moment. Because the ceremony was being broadcast live, there were actually commercial breaks, and things would be shifted around for the next part of the ceremony. At first, it was a little confusing, but then we all got the hang of it, and when everything seemed to come to a stop, people around us would say, “Commercial break!” It was a fun group in the stadium and seemed to be a pretty good mix of locals and people from other countries. Lots of people from the UK, but that didn’t surprise me, since half the people who live around me are British. It was just nice to see so much support for the event, and if it wasn’t a full house (9500) it was very close to it.

James Blunt brought down the house. I’ve never seen him perform before, but it was clear he was enjoying himself but not making it all about himself. Then Harry walked out, and the stadium went wild. It wasn’t a celebrity thing, though, and Harry didn’t act like a celebrity or like this was all about him. It was clear that everyone genuinely appreciated the work he’d done with Invictus and bringing attention to wounded veterans. And he responded by turning everything away from himself and back on the competitors. I’ve seen other people comment about how good his speech was, but I’ll mention it again. It was really, really good. He carried himself well, he spoke with confidence, and I didn’t notice any hint of hesitation or even nerves. (There were teleprompters at the base of the platform, but I didn’t see him or anyone else who spoke rely much on them. They all knew what they were there to say.) It’s almost like Harry’s finally reached that place of maturity in which he knows who he is, why he’s doing this work, and he’s totally at peace with himself. I’ve seen a few complaints elsewhere that he’s making the Games all about himself, but nothing could be further from the truth in the Opening Ceremony. He was there to support and encourage, and he gave a speech that reflected it. In fact, everyone who stood up there and spoke had something very important to say, a piece of the pie if that makes sense, to remind the spectators and the audience watching from home just what the Games were all about. They weren’t about Harry, or Michelle Obama, or Morgan Freeman. They were about the wounded veterans who were reclaiming their sense of themselves and showing the world that you can be a whole person even if you lost your legs. They were also about the invisible injuries that are just as devastating, because people don’t always feel comfortable talking about them. So Harry et al talked about them, as they should.

(For what it’s worth, I only saw him from my seat, although one of the ladies sitting behind us saw him, Michelle Obama, and Robin Roberts when they came into the stadium. She must not have been too impressed, though, because when James Blunt said something about Harry being hot, she said, “No he’s not!”)

We stayed until just after the British soldiers spoke (right after DT). We had a small child with us, who was starting to look desperate for sleep, so we thought we’d beat the crowds. No luck there, as quite a few other people had the same idea. The show was supposed to run from 8-10 pm, but we left at 10:30, and it went for another 10-15 minutes. We saw the fireworks as we were walking back to the car.

Only downside had to do with getting in and getting out. VERY slow entry due to security (TSA checking bags and Secret Service monitoring metal detectors), and leaving was kind of horrible because the parking lot exit was poorly managed. Despite my living a few minutes away, we didn’t get home until shortly before midnight. That aside, it was worth it, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to go and support such an amazing cause.”

The games run from the 8th until the 12th at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Florida.

The TV Schedule of Events for the Invictus Games has been posted on espn.go.com (all times ET):

Sunday, May 8:

  • Opening ceremony, 8 p.m. ET (ESPN2)

Monday, May 9:

  • Powerlifting finals, 8 a.m.-11 a.m. (ESPN3)
  • Rowing finals, 1:30 p.m.-4:30 p.m. (ESPN3)
  • Archery finals, 7 p.m.-11 p.m. (ESPN3)
  • Day 1 recap show, 7 p.m.-8:30 p.m. (ESPN2)
  • Day 1 recap show (re-air), 10:30 p.m.-midnight (ESPN2)

Tuesday, May 10:

  • Track and field finals, 8 a.m.-1 p.m. (ESPN3)
  • Sitting volleyball semifinals, 2 p.m.-4:30 p.m. (ESPN3)
  • Sitting volleyball gold/bronze medal matches, 7 p.m.-9:30 p.m. (ESPN3)
  • Day 2 recap show, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
  • Day 2 recap show (re-air), 11 p.m.-12:30 a.m. (ESPN2)

Wednesday, May 11:

  • Swimming finals, 8 a.m.-1 p.m. (ESPN3)
  • Wheelchair rugby semifinals, 2 p.m.-4:30 p.m. (ESPN3)
  • Wheelchair rugby gold/bronze medal matches, 7:30 p.m.-11 p.m. (ESPN3)
  • Day 3 recap show, 7 p.m.-8 p.m. (ESPN2)
  • Day 3 recap show (re-air), 11 p.m.-midnight (ESPN2)

Thursday, May 12:

  • Wheelchair tennis final, 8 a.m.-10 a.m. (ESPN3)
  • Wheelchair basketball semifinals, 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. (ESPN3)
  • Wheelchair basketball gold/bronze medal matches, 2 p.m.-4 p.m. (ESPN3)
  • Closing ceremony, 7 p.m.-10 p.m. (ESPN2)

Sunday, May 15:

  • Encore presentation, 1:30 p.m.-2:30 p.m. (ABC)

The work Prince Harry has done is so inspiring.  Not only is he supporting service personnel who have overcome great obstacles, he is celebrating the resiliency of the human spirit.  Each of us in our lives deals with great adversity at some point.  These games are a reminder of what we can achieve when we embrace our own inner warrior and fight back with everything we’ve got. And hopefully, if we’re lucky, we’ll have people with the warmth, compassion and generosity of spirit Prince Harry has shown to share in our triumph.

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