One of the funniest things to happen last week was the absolute hissy fit thrown by Beck English at the Daily Mail. Why was she so mad? Because the Duke and Duchess of Sussex did a Zoom video conference call with the Queen on the Queen’s birthday, then Harry and Meghan released that information to a handful of friendly journalists. And no one from the Mail is on the Sussexes’ “friendly journalist” list. Becky English’s hissy fit was also about how, in her words, “Harry and Meghan’s rush to make the news public was at odds with the wishes of Buckingham Palace, which had expressly stated that details of any calls between the Queen and her family on the occasion of her ‘low-key’ birthday should be private.” Why bring this up? Because guess who else is publicizing their Zoom call with the Queen? LOL.
This birthday may be a little different from previous years, but when Princess Charlotte turns five next Saturday, it will still be a fun-filled occasion. With lockdown in place, she will celebrate her special day at Anmer Hall, the Norfolk home of her parents, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, which was a wedding gift from the Queen.
Set in its own spacious grounds on the Sandringham Estate, the Georgian country house is only three miles from the home of Charlotte’s great-grandparents, the Queen and Prince Philip. Since they moved to the house, the Cambridges have renovated it, turning it into a child’s heaven. There’s a glass-topped garden room with views over the grounds, a tennis court and an outdoor swimming pool to play in. And Kate has also introduced chickens to the gardens, while the horses belonging to great-granny provide plenty of fun at the Royal Stud at Sandringham.
The 20,000-acre royal estate is so huge that the family can roam at will and still be considered in self-isolation. The family spend their time enjoying long walks and picnics – and Charlotte’s birthday will be no different. But there are some other surprises organised. A source said: “The family has arranged a Zoom party for her, so she can speak to family and friends. Then, they have put together a full plan that will give her all the fun of a birthday – including cake and games – despite the extraordinary circumstances we are faced with. Her great-grandmother will be joining the family call on the big day. As far as Charlotte is concerned, the important part is that her whole family are by her side to say: ‘Happy Birthday’. And you have to realise that she doesn’t know anything different – she’s grown up with tablets and video calls, so she won’t be fazed.”
Hopefully Prince Philip, 98, will also be able to join the call. He usually sees a lot of Charlotte because he’s lived at Wood Farm, also on the Sandringham Estate, ever since he retired from public duties in 2017. “There may be the best part of a century between them, but the two have a natural connection. It’s the mischievous streak that can’t be learned – it’s an integral part of who they both are. Philip has no shortage of descendants. The fact that he takes such a close interest in Charlotte is telling. She has a spark about her that transcends the generations,” says the source.
They make it sound like Liz and Phil are in isolation at Sandringham. They are not. They’re isolating at Windsor Castle, thus the Zoom call. And I suspect that the Queen will do more of a Zoom drop-by than actually stay on the line for any length of time. For as much as the royal press pack is super-worried about little Archie never seeing his great-grandmother, it honestly doesn’t seem like the Cambridge kids see great-granny that much either. As for the advanced hype of the Zoom call, I patiently await Becky English’s screed against this gauche publicity around a private family call.
Photos courtesy of WENN, Avalon Red, Backgrid.