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orking for the American network CBS during the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex reinforced my conviction that their union brought Great Britain and the United States together in a way that no politician could ever have dreamed of.

   A global audience of 2.5 billion watched the nuptials and there were 40,000 tweets per minute, ‘Meghan’ being the most mentioned followed by ‘Prince Harry’ and ‘David Beckham’, the latter criticised for chewing gum during the ceremony.

   There is nothing like a royal wedding to bring people together with their different opinions on everything, including of course the bride’s dress, and who was and wasn’t on the guest list.

   Apart from her mother, the calm and dignified Doria Ragland, Meghan had no relations in the congregation except for a half-niece, Ashleigh Hale, who had apparently helped her with the character of Rachael on the TV series Suits.

   But friends are family, and in Meghan’s case a better bet after the will he/won’t he attendance debacle of her father, Thomas Markle. He eventually decided not to fly to London from Mexico to walk his daughter down the aisle because of ill health. In the run-up to her wedding poor Meghan had days of embarrassing press coverage about her father, who had posed for pictures of himself allegedly preparing for the big day, actions he later much regretted.

   As part of her initiation into ‘The Firm’, the Queen took Meghan to Cheshire on what Buckingham Palace officials refer to as an ‘away day’. The monarch and the Duchess of Sussex travelled on the royal train to their destination, so the Queen could show Meghan first-hand the intricacies of regular royal engagements such as opening bridges and attending lunches with town officials.

   She did the same for the Duchess of Cambridge when she took her to Leicester in 2012 at the beginning of her Diamond Jubilee tour. It is something she probably regrets not doing with Diana and Fergie.

   The Duke of York, Colonel of the Grenadier Guards since December 2017, was for the first time required to ride on horseback behind the Queen’s carriage in the Birthday Parade processions. Unlike his siblings Andrew has always disliked riding, but was obliged to take lessons in the Home Park at Windsor with Her Majesty’s stud groom, Terry Pendry, well before the event.

   ‘I am the only member of the family who doesn’t ride,’ he once said, ‘largely because I fell off too many times when I was small.’ The Queen, who has increased her workload by 25 per cent so far this year, will have a bit of downtime at the end of this month, travelling to Royal Deeside at the start of her summer sojourn. Initially she will stay at Craigowan, a large stone lodge on the Balmoral estate, moving across to the castle when the visitor season ends.

   The dutiful monarch never completely rests, but her love of the Highlands enables her to relax in a way no other place can.


 
 
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