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he birth of Princess Charlotte Elizabeth Diana of Cambridge on 2 May was the cause of much jubilation. Nestled in her mother’s arms the tiny sleeping beauty, whose birth had been announced on Twitter, made her public debut at only ten hours old. The fourth in line to the throne’s perfectly formed face was clearly visible above her crochet blanket, peeking from under a cashmere bonnet as she made her brief appearance.

   The world seemed overjoyed. Of course there were rumblings from republicans and complaints about excessive media coverage distracting from disasters and the tedium of the general election, but (almost) everyone loves royal baby news.

   One of the first to send their congratulations was President Obama, who said: ‘On behalf of the American people, we wish the Duke and Duchess and their son George much joy and happiness on the occasion of the arrival of the newest member of their family’.

   This month Princess Charlotte’s father celebrates his 33rd birthday on 21 June, and 11 days earlier her great-grandfather, the Duke of Edinburgh, will be 94. Prince Philip hates any kind of fuss being made, especially about birthdays, which he considers come too often for Britain’s longest-serving royal consort.

   No doubt he will be conserving his energy for a state visit to Germany, which takes place from 23-26 June at the invitation of President Joachim Gauck. Originally a Prince of Greece and Denmark, Philip was brought up to speak English but is also fluent in German thanks to Princess Alice, his mother, who was born at Windsor Castle but grew up in Germany. Being deaf Princess Alice learnt to lip-read in English and German. The Queen speaks fluent French and has an understanding of German, but leaves conversation to her husband.

   Her Majesty, having reached the grand age of 89 with seemingly few health problems, does not appear to have slowed down as much as she promised. This month she will attend her Birthday Parade – Trooping the Colour, as it is also known – setting in motion the busiest social week of the royal year. The Garter service on the Monday heralds the beginning of Royal Ascot week, but on the same day this year the Queen and Prince Philip will be visiting Runnymede for an event to commemorate the 800th anniversary of the sealing of Magna Carta.

   Tuesday is the start of racing at Ascot, which the Queen attends on all five days. Each day there is a luncheon party at Windsor Castle followed by the traditional drive along the course, an afternoon of racing, entertaining in the royal box and a dinner in the evening.

   It is all in a day’s work and the Queen is quite happy for the day to be as long as necessary because she can rely on the support of her immediate family. The Duke of York, for instance, based at nearby Royal Lodge in the Great Park, has of late accompanied his mother on several official engagements, most recently to North Yorkshire.


 
 
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