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hen the republican-leaning Guardian newspaper published a detailed account of the funeral arrangements for the Queen and the ten days of public and private mourning, it made fascinating – and at times moving – reading. We learned for instance that the coded message of Her Majesty’s death is ‘London Bridge is down’. The dramatic and theatrical details of Operation London Bridge are strange to imagine as few people know anything other than the reign of Queen Elizabeth II.

   At 11am on the day following her death, Charles will be proclaimed King and is expected to introduce Camilla as his consort at his Accession Council in the Entrée Room of St James’s Palace. I am sure the Queen would rather the information had not been published, but – as she has said herself – at her age (she was 91 on 21 April) she cannot pretend she will last forever.

   The wedding of the Duchess of Cambridge’s sister Pippa to financier James Matthews takes place on 20 May at the church in Englefield, Berkshire, near the Middleton family home. Royal in-laws do not usually command much attention, but because of Pippa’s connections there is little she can do about it except smile and be prepared for a massive media presence on the day.

   Prince George, by then four, is to start at his new school, Thomas’s Battersea, in September. The co-educational school, one of a group of four in London, is a surprising choice because of the distance from Kensington Palace and the logistics of the traffic and crossing over the Thames.

   The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have obviously decided that the excellence of the school and its current headmaster, Ben Thomas, outweigh the disadvantages of the daily travel. George cannot be ferried to school by helicopter, of course, so he will travel anonymously but securely and with the minimum of fuss. At the same age, Prince William was still at his first school, Mrs Mynors in Chepstow Villas, Notting Hill, a five-minute drive from Kensington Palace.

   The Princess Royal has appeared on the BBC Radio 4 programme Farming Today to share her views on modern farming methods. In direct opposition to her brother Prince Charles, who thinks genetically-modified food is an environmental disaster, she declared she would happily grow GM crops on her land and that GM livestock could be a ‘bonus’ if used properly. Anne, who is patron of several rural charities, has never been afraid to air her articulate views on various aspects of country life.

   In late March the Duchess of Cornwall was patron of the launch of the new Panama Wildlife Conservation Charity established by royal photographer Hugo Burnand. Philanthropist Peter Hall hosted a glamorous party at London’s Victoria & Albert Museum to showcase Hugo’s photographs of the indigenous tribes and animals of the rainforests of the Central American nation. They are the keepers of an ecological kingdom threatened by deforestation, and like the Prince of Wales the Duchess wholeheartedly supports such causes.

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