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he Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall visit Italy, the Holy See and Austria this month. Their tour will highlight the UK’s continuing relationship with these countries and one of the subjects that will be under discussion is how to combat human trafficking. This was a subject the late Diana, Princess of Wales was keen to tackle and she was planning to bring attention to it before she died.

   The royal excursions into continental Europe continue in July when the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visit Poland and Germany.

   The Queen was out riding again in March after the Christmas illness that laid her low for two months. As always her head groom, Terry Pendry, accompanied her through the extensive grounds of Windsor Castle. She has admitted she is only a fair-weather rider these days and has shunned her more spirited mounts for the broad, safe backs of the Fell ponies that she breeds herself. Her favoured ride is Emma, who featured in a parade of Her Majesty’s animals, part of her 90th-birthday pageant last year.

   Not only has the Queen – who will be 91 on 21 April – been out riding but also Prince Philip has been carriage driving. At 95 he no longer participates in the sport competitively, but enjoys taking a team of Fell ponies around Windsor Great Park. His excuse is that they need exercising, but he obviously still takes pleasure in it.

   Because of his great age the Duke is finding that his friends and staff are fading fast. His former private secretary Sir Brian McGrath (who, although retired, had continued to help out) died last year, and he has now lost his much-valued librarian and archivist Dame Anne Griffiths, who died in March aged 84. She began working for him in 1952 as what was then known as a ‘lady clerk’.

   The exhibition Diana: Her Fashion Story at Kensington Palace is well worth a visit. It is intimate, beautifully presented and the curators at Historic Royal Palaces have done a fine job. There is more structure underneath the frocks than you could ever imagine to keep the lines sleek and to ensure the fabric is not pulling anywhere. By no means as easy as it might look. The exhibition will be updated occasionally with different gowns and it has an extended run, so you have plenty of time to plan your trip.

   The rush is on for television programmes, books and newspaper articles to commemorate the 20th anniversary of Diana, Princess of Wales’s death in August. It would seem that Princes William and Harry are anxious to persuade some of their mother’s ‘real’ close friends to speak about her to counteract the many journalists and so-called friends who enjoy expounding their points of view – something many of us can be guilty of.

   The problem is that once someone has spoken publicly they will be hounded by every media organisation in the world.


 
 
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