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atching the Queen at the naming of the P&O ship Britannia last month I was struck by how nimble she still is. Refusing all offers of a helping hand she carefully stepped on to the podium at Southampton Docks for the ceremony. A Nebuchadnezzar of sparkling British wine exploded against the side of the £500 million vessel when she pressed the release button and the crowd cheered as red, white and blue confetti rained down.

   Her Majesty has now launched 22 ships during her reign and five cruise liners for the famous P&O line. This is their second Britannia, the first being a steamer that entered service in 1887, Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee year. In 1953 the Queen launched her own Britannia, the royal yacht that for over 40 years served as a floating palace and was recognised as a symbol of Great Britain whenever she docked in a foreign port.

   The Pembroke Welsh Corgi, of which Her Majesty is so fond, has officially been declared a ‘vulnerable’ breed. The Queen has promoted them for most of her life, but now she has only two. She no longer replaces the pets as they die because, as she gets older, she fears tripping over the dogs (as her mother occasionally did), leaving her with a serious injury.

   For many years Nancy Fenwick, the wife of a royal gamekeeper, looked after the monarch’s dogs whenever she was away. Two months ago Nancy died at the age of 85; Her Majesty’s presence at her funeral at the royal chapel in Windsor Great Park was unusual and a mark of great respect for her loyal and trusted friend.

   Prince Harry will leave the Army in June after a decade in the British military, Kensington Palace has confirmed. The 30-year-old plans to focus on his charity work and spend a significant period on field projects in Africa. But before his military duties end he will spend several weeks in Australia, seconded to serve with units there, and also undertake an official visit to New Zealand.

   Although Harry loves the Army he has discovered how difficult it is to combine being a prince, an officer and fulfil his charity commitments. A desk job in Whitehall certainly isn’t his style.

   Prince William, meanwhile, has passed his air transport pilot licence exams to work as a civilian helicopter pilot and now has a period of mandatory training with Bond Air Services before he can begin to fly with East Anglian Air Ambulance. It is good news for Kate as it means they can enjoy a proper family life together at Anmer Hall.

   Their new baby is due at the end of this month, but as we know babies have their own way of doing things and do not conform to an agenda, royal or otherwise.

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