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Italy has been a popular tourist destinations for privileged Americans this week, including Democrats.

Google Camp was also there.

The privileged few flew in from thousands of miles away to discuss climate change.

As many have noted online, couldn’t they have conducted their business via Skype?

Remember, these are the same people who tell you and your family that you shouldn’t be flying … anywhere.

It’s another case of ‘for me, but not for thee’.

Veteran British journalist Andrew Neil tweeted:

His readers were not happy (language alert):

I remember the US winter of 1977 clearly. It was unpleasant.

Someone mentioned Prince Harry

… and Greta:

Is little Greta going to row her way there?

Wouldn’t online technology have served them better?

Apparently not.

On July 30, the Daily Mail reported on the ancient Greek city Selinunte in Sicily and those attending. Brief excerpts follow, emphases mine. Check the link for photos and more. Note the use of cars and yachts, too, which are taboo for the rest of us. Errgh:

A select group of billionaire businessman, world famous pop stars, doyennes of design and Hollywood A-listers have once again descended upon the ancient Greek city of Selinunte for Google Camp.

The annual event is once again in full swing, with private planes and megayachts shuttling guests Harry Styles, Katy Perry and Orlando Bloom, Stella McCartney, Barry Diller and Diane Von Furstenberg, Gayle King, Leonardo DiCaprio and Bradley Cooper to the Verdura Resort in Sicily.

And as per tradition, guests on Monday enjoyed dinner and a concert under the stars in the ruins of the Temple of Hera on the island.

Cars could be seen taking guests to the bacchanal bash, where Google decided to disperse Jeff Koons’ orbs throughout the ancient archaeological ruins.

Independent journalist Paul Joseph Watson tweeted from London, noting that Obama was there, too:

He received these replies, among others:

It’s hardly a surprise that members of the general public views these people with ever increasing degrees of suspicion:

Private planes, jets, yachts and cars. Do these people really express legitimate concern about climate change?

No wonder people are ignoring Hollywood and other world famous celebrities.

The Earth is in God’s hands, not ours. Yes, let’s live responsibly but let us also avoid gullibility.

If people can travel across an ocean for a climate change conference and not think a thing about it except for the party that awaits them, what other resources do they personally waste? Clothes? Food? Water? I think we should be told.

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There was a time when I really admired Prince Harry, despite some of his party scandals.

The Prince Harry of active British Army service and of the Invictus Games has been replaced by one of snobbishness and environmentalism.

Has marriage changed him or was this always in the back of his mind?

His interview with Jane Goodall, doyenne of primatologists, has just appeared in the September 2019 edition of British Vogue. His wife, Meghan — the Duchess of Sussex — guest edited this edition of the magazine.

The Duke of Sussex — Prince Harry — spoke of his love of nature and the environment. Prince Harry’s dialogue is in bold. Jane Goodall’s is in normal print:

… I think, weirdly, because of the people that I’ve met and the places that I’ve been fortunate enough to go to, I’ve always had a connection and a love for nature. I view it differently now, without question. But I’ve always wanted to try and ensure that, even before having a child and hoping to have children…

Not too many! [Laughs]

Two, maximum! But I’ve always thought: this place is borrowed. And, surely, being as intelligent as we all are, or as evolved as we all are supposed to be, we should be able to leave something better behind for the next generation.

But, in fact, we’ve stolen their future. Not all of it. But we’ve got to try and pay a little of it back. And get together to try and heal some of the harm, and at least slow down climate change.

The New York Post‘s Page Six picked up on the interview and Harry’s perspective (emphases mine):

Harry’s outlook on family is a stark contrast to his brother — and to the royal matriarch, Queen Elizabeth II.

Prince William and his wife Kate Middleton already have three kids: Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis.

The Queen has four children, although all of her kids only have two.

In his interview with the conservationist, the prince also brought up racism and “unconscious bias,” saying some people don’t realize their own prejudices are inherited …

The prince has previously criticized British tabloid coverage of his former TV-actress wife, whose mother is African-American and whose father is white, as having racist overtones.

I thought so, too. This video compilation of headlines and reporters’ text messages is a fine example.

However, I’m highly disappointed in both of them, should the following story turn out to be true. On Saturday, July 27, the New York Post‘s Page Six reported on a story in The Sun that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex do not want any communications with their neighbours on the Windsor estate. The couple live in the highly expensive Frogmore House, which the Queen had refurbished for them:

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are off to a rough start with their new neighbors.

Handlers warned people living near the royal couple not to talk to the pair, pet their dogs or ask about baby Archie, among other “over the top” rules, according to a report.

Locals at the couple’s Frogmore Cottage home on the Windsor estate are also prohibited from offering neighborly favors, such as babysitting or dogwalking, The Sun reported.

Pleasantries — specifically “good morning” — are banned, and commoners are forbidden from placing letters in the royal mailbox.

“It’s extraordinary. We’ve never heard anything like it. Everyone who lives on the estate works for the royals and knows how to behave respectfully,” one resident scoffed. “We aren’t told how to behave around the Queen like this. She’s very happy for people to greet her.”

“An overly protective palace official” issued the royal commandments at a recent meeting for residents, The Sun reported. It’s unclear how locals who break the rules will be punished.

The Sun had more:

The astonishing “do and don’t commandments” were issued at a residents’ meeting.

One local said: “It would be funny if it wasn’t so over the top.”

Narked neighbours ordered not to talk to Harry and Meghan said last night: “Even the Queen doesn’t demand this.”

Also:

The warnings were made at a recent residents’ meeting where the issue of the Sussexes’ move to the private Home Park estate was raised.

Royal commentator Ingrid Seward said: “It sounds as if Harry and Meghan’s ­incessant demands for privacy means that palace officials are second-guessing what they might want.

“It’s odd because it’s just good manners to engage your neighbour in conversation in a pleasant way. It’s a very normal British thing to say ‘Good Morning’ and pat a dog.

The Queen always chats to neighbours and even has tea with people on the estate as she’s very friendly with them. The ‘not petting the dog’ is particularly strange.

“Maybe Harry doesn’t want people approaching them and using their dogs as an excuse to talk. And of course the dog with no name keeps its privacy as they won’t tell us its name!

Meghan brought rescue beagle Guy over to the UK from Canada, then she and Harry got a black labrador last September.

They have always refused to reveal her name, even when asked by well-wishers.

Bizarre, and not the level of behaviour expected of a member of the Royal Family.

Harry was raised by his father and late mother to behave better than this.

If Palace officials are ‘second-guessing’ what the couple might want, as Ingrid Seward said, then the Duke and Duchess should tell the residents’ association that there was a mistake and that, of course, they are happy to get to know their neighbours.

Not a lot of people outside the UK realise that these grand country estates — including those of nobility — house employees and their families. The Sun‘s article states:

Around 400 people live in the private Home Park and Great Park area of Windsor, which is run by the Crown Estate.

They include the Queen’s right-hand woman and dresser Angela Kelly, Prince Charles’ old nanny Mabel Anderson and the governor of Windsor Castle.

You do not treat employees like dirt, especially when they are your grandmother’s and father’s.

About 20 years ago, there were two BBC series about the Duke and Duchess of Bedford of Woburn Abbey. The first series featured the elder Duke and Duchess handing over the estate to their son, and the second series featured the current Duke and Duchess running the estate and bringing up their first child. It was shown on PBS in the United States.

I mention this because the one of the first things that the family said — and repeated often — was the importance of the relationship between them and their employees who lived and worked on the estate.

I was amazed at how close they were — and are — to their employees. They held holiday celebrations in Woburn Abbey, which, by the way, is open to the public. They made visits to their employees’ cottages in times of loss or illness. The programmes were a joy to watch.

Therefore, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are not behaving in a ducal way at all.

Dukes are said to be among the kindest men in the Realm. They can suffer insufferable bores quite readily, making said bores feel very comfortable indeed. Dukes have a kind word for everyone. They are also very helpful, reaching out to others in need.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex would do well to remember that British taxpayers subsidised the refurbishment of their home, Frogmore Cottage, to the tune of £2.4m! Granted, the couple did pay for the fixtures and fittings, however, the point still stands.

This was such an outrageous amount of money that there was a call for a parliamentary enquiry on June 25. Although the Royal Family’s Sovereign Grant costs only 74p per year per UK resident:

Republic, which campaigns for an elected head of state, questioned why £2.4 million of taxpayers’ money had been “thrown” at Meghan and Harry’s Frogmore Cottage residence while public services were under financial pressure …

The annual royal accounts were released on Monday and, at a press briefing, Sir Michael Stevens, Keeper of the Privy Purse, who is responsible for monarchy’s accounts, gave details of the Sovereign Grant, the funding used to pay for the Queen’s official duties and areas like royal travel, salaries and the upkeep of occupied royal palaces.

Sir Michael said of Frogmore Cottage: “The property had not been the subject of work for some years and had already been earmarked for renovation in line with our responsibility to maintain the condition of the occupied royal palaces estate.

“The Sovereign Grant covered the work undertaken to turn the building into the official residence and home of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and their new family.

That same day, another report appeared stating that Prince Charles’s expenditures had continued to increase over the last year. The Press Association reported:

Charles pays for the public duties of Harry and Meghan and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, and some of their private costs, out of his multimillion pound Duchy of Cornwall income.

Royal accounts showed that the prince’s bill for the Sussexes’ and the Cambridges’ activities, plus other expenditure including Charles’s capital expenditure and transfer to reserves, was £5.05 million in 2018-2019, up 1.8% or £89,000 from £4.96 million in 2017-2018.

Over two years, the figure has risen more than £1.5 million from £3.5 million in 2016-2017.

In the year Harry and Meghan married, Charles’s non-official expenditure increased by £155,000, up 5.2% to £3.16 million.

Clarence House’s annual report provides no detailed breakdown of the funding for the activities of the Sussexes and the Cambridges, with royal sources saying the details were private.

The prince contributed to the Sussexes’ wedding and hosted Harry and Meghan’s evening wedding reception at Frogmore House, where the newlyweds enjoyed a spectacular firework display and partied until 3am with celebrity guests.

A royal source said: “Their expenditure is met by help from their father or things that they would pay for themselves from their private expenditure.”

In closing, I wish the Sussexes well, but they would do well to remember on which side their bread is buttered.

Public sentiment, particularly in Britain, is a fickle thing. And, when the public decides you’re out of bounds, you’re out, often for good.

I was of two minds as to whether to report on the royal wedding which took place on Saturday, May 19, 2018.

I turned off the television after the Duke and Duchess of Sussex — Harry and Meghan — took their preliminary vows.

A wedding not a blessing

I wondered why they were given a full wedding ceremony rather than a church blessing, since Meghan Markle had been married previously.

However, Sky News reported that the Church of England changed the rules well over a decade ago (emphases mine below):

The Church of England agreed in 2002 that divorced people could remarry in church, with the discretion of the priest.

The duchess, a former actress:

married American film producer Trevor Engelson in 2011. They filed for divorce in 2013, citing “irreconcilable differences”.

The Most Reverend and Honourable Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, officiated at the service.

The Dean of Windsor, The Rt Revd David Conner, conducted the service and the initial vows (‘I will’), although rings were exchanged later in the service with the Archbishop of Canterbury officiating.

It was somewhat off-putting to hear the Dean’s words at the beginning, which included ‘the joy of sexual union’.

If people are getting married only to salve their consciences in that department, they’re headed down the wrong route.

There are two reasons for this.

The first is that a marriage should be a partnership of equals — the best friendship a man and a woman can ever share with God’s blessing.

The second is that no one knows what the morrow will bring. I do know of young couples who were deprived of ‘the joy of sexual union’ early in their marriages because of sudden debilitating illness or accidents.

Friendship comes first in a marriage. The Dean would have been better placed to use the old American adage:

Kissin’ don’t last, cookin’ do.

Prince Charles took the wise decision to walk his future daughter-in-law part way down the aisle:

The Duke’s aunt, Princess Diana’s sister, gave the one reading of the ceremony:

Here is Justin Welby formally joining the couple in matrimony. These video clips are excellent. No one does weddings like the Church of England (I’m so pleased to be a part of it):

The presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church in the United States gave an address. BT.com reported:

The Most Rev Bishop Michael Curry, the first black presiding bishop and primate of the Episcopal Church, gained worldwide attention with his address at Prince Harry and Meghan’s wedding on Saturday during which he evoked Martin Luther King and spoke of poverty and injustice.

Mr Curry, along with the gospel choir, brought a flavour of the American bride’s homeland with the speech at St George’s Chapel in Windsor.

At the end of the ceremony, the happy couple left St George’s Chapel, Windsor:

Back story: Meghan’s Baptism and Confirmation

The Duchess of Sussex was baptised and confirmed privately prior to the wedding.

Sky News reported:

Prince Harry and Ms Markle announced their engagement in November. A day later Kensington Palace confirmed that Meghan, who identifies as Protestant, would be baptised and confirmed ahead of her wedding day.

Heavy had more:

According to Access, Markle has already been accepted into the Anglican faith, and Welby baptized her in a secret ceremony in March 2018.

The cake and reception

The Queen hosted the first reception:

Sir Elton John, who had sung at Princess Diana’s funeral, performed:

Thankfully, the cake was not the usual heavy fruitcake:

A filling made from Amalfi lemon curd and elderflower buttercream ties all the elements together. The cake is decorated with Swiss meringue buttercream and 150 fresh flowers, mainly British, and in season, including peonies and roses.

Then it was time for the second wedding reception:

Official wedding prayer

This is the couple’s wedding prayer from the Church of England:

But Heavy pointed out:

This stands in contrast to the previous royal wedding, between then-Prince William and Kate Middleton, who wrote their own prayer for the ceremony, as the Telegraph reported.

God our Father, we thank
you for our families; for
the love that we share and
for the joy of our marriage.
In the busyness of each day keep our eyes fixed on
what is real and important
in life and help us to be generous with our time
and love and energy.
Strengthened by our union, help us to serve and comfort those who suffer. We ask this in the Spirit of Jesus Christ. Amen.

I have prayed for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and hope that they grow together in the peace and love of Jesus Christ.

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