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new job, a new home and a new baby for the Duke of Cambridge, who is in the middle of his training with Bond Air Services to become an air ambulance helicopter pilot. William is not the first modern Prince to take a civilian job, but he is certainly the nearest to the throne to do so.

   Once his training has been completed, he will be flying for East Anglia Air Ambulance from Norwich and Cambridge airports and spending his off-duty time at Anmer Hall, which is nearby. Of course William will continue to perform royal duties for the Queen and support his own charities; it just means that with the new baby he will be extremely busy.

   In March the provisions of the Succession to the Crown Act 2013 came into force. The Act removes the gender bias in the line of succession, ending the historic practice of younger brothers overtaking elder sisters, and does away with another longstanding piece of discrimination, the bar on anyone who marries a Roman Catholic from becoming monarch. It also replaces the outdated Royal Marriages Act 1772, so that now only the first six in line to the throne require the consent of the monarch to marry.

   These changes were outlined at the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Perth in 2011, but since then the British government has had to work with the 15 other countries that have the Queen as head of state to synchronise the necessary amendments.

   Another legal outcome, which came as something of a surprise, was when the Supreme Court ruled in favour of the Guardian newspaper to allow them to publish 27 letters written by Prince Charles in 2004 and 2005 in which he allegedly lobbies government ministers on some of his favourite issues. This is the last time this will happen, as a recent change to the Freedom of Information Act now excludes correspondence of the monarch or heir to the throne from being made public.

   This month the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh and other members of the royal family will commemorate the 70th anniversary of VE-Day with a service of thanksgiving at Westminster Abbey. On 8 May 1945 the Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret, and a party of family and friends that included their cousin Margaret Elphinstone (now Rhodes) and uncle David Bowes Lyon, were allowed to join the jubilant crowds outside Buckingham Palace. Carried away with the euphoria surrounding the end of the Second World War, the royal revellers got as far as Piccadilly before deciding to return to the palace via the Ritz Hotel, where they joined a conga line through the foyer. The Queen remembers it being one of the best nights of her life.

   At the time of going to press the Duchess of Cambridge has not given birth to her second child, but we will bring you full coverage of the baby’s arrival in our June issue.


 
 
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