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This week, Prince Harry’s lawyers are in court, arguing about his security when he’s in the UK. When QEII was alive, she made sure that he and Meghan had royal protection when they visited, but this situation is now in dire straits with Harry’s father on the throne. Something that never made sense to me about the timeline in 2020 is when did the Sussexes’ royal protection really get pulled and when were they officially “cut off” from the institution? Omid Scobie writes, in Endgame, that the final cutoff happened in July 2020, when the Lord Chamberlain made good on his threat to cut off Harry when Harry refused to drop his legal action against the Sun, which led straight to Christian Jones. But we also know that Tyler Perry basically had to provide his private security to the Sussexes by the end of March 2020. Now, at least the timeline makes slightly more sense – Ravec cut off Harry’s security rather suddenly in February 2020.

RAVEC, a committee that also included police and senior palace aides who Harry had fallen out with, made the decision in February 2020 after he announced his decision to quit a month earlier and before his final royal engagements that March.

Shaheed Fatima, Harry’s attorney, told the court RAVEC’s own policies suggested an assessment by the Risk Management Board (RMB) should have been taken before he was stripped of his protection.

“In this case RAVEC chose not to follow its own written policy,” she told the High Court in London. “RAVEC chose not to do an RMB risk analysis. RAVEC therefore chose to apply a far inferior procedure to [Harry] that lacked the critical safeguards that have been built into the written policy.”

The prince’s team believe it is the first time the Home Office has done this and Fatima added: “No good reason has been provided for singling [Harry] out in this way. The critical point is that when that decision was taken he was still a full-time working member of the royal family,” she continued. “He was plainly still in the RAVEC cohort and the written policies should have been applied to him.”

She said “the court does not need to make a decision about” whether Harry should get “protective security,” but rather whether the decision was unlawful. It is possible that even if Harry wins, the government will simply take the same decision again using a different process.

[From Newsweek]

“It is possible that even if Harry wins, the government will simply take the same decision again using a different process.” Yep. I mean, I support Harry and I find this case really fascinating, because Harry is exposing some really disgusting sh-t at the heart of the royal protection bureaucracy, but nothing is going to change. It’s through this case that I learned that royal protection does not follow the threat, it follows favoritism and rank. Harry and Meghan were in serious danger and under siege from violent racists and lunatics – but because Harry was disliked by Edward Young and because the Windsors wanted to put the Sussexes “in their place,” they limited and ultimately removed the Sussexes’ protection. It’s short-sighted and extremely dangerous. And whatever happens with Harry’s case, the end result will be the same – Ravec has made it abundantly clear that the Sussexes need to be in mortal danger and that the Sussexes cannot pay for their police protection if they ever visit the UK.

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, Backgrid.

You guys, this is the second GREAT Stella McCartney ensemble I’ve seen in as many days. What is happening? Usually I loathe all things Stella McCartney, but Pamela Anderson’s Stella outfit at the British Fashion Awards was amazing, and now look at Taylor Swift’s Stella McCartney coat and matching miniskirt. They’re outstanding! I love that tweed, I love everything about her street-style look here (except the shoes). The coat is apparently $2900. Yikes, too rich for me, but it does look great on Tay.

These are pics of Taylor out to dinner last night in Tribeca. She flew out of Kansas City yesterday I think, or maybe Monday? Some outlets described her flight back to New York as “sudden,” but… that’s where she lives, and she’s not just going to camp out in Kansas City permanently. Especially when Meredith, Benjamin and Olivia are probably still living in New York. I don’t see any gossip about Taylor’s dinner companions, so it’s possible she just went out with her security guys – they went to Paros, a Greek restaurant.

The Kansas City Chiefs will play the Buffalo Bills on Sunday, and the game is at Arrowhead in KC. Will Taylor fly back down this weekend to see her man play? This past Sunday was the first time the Chiefs lost with Taylor in attendance. I wonder…

Photos courtesy of Backgrid.

Last year, the Windsors made a big deal over the Princess of Wales’s second piano recital, her “Together at Christmas” event at Westminster Abbey. King Charles, Queen Camilla, and almost all of the left-behind Windsors made a point of coming out to the event. Many of the women wore matching burgundy coats, because the Duchess of Sussex talked about all of the fashion rules for royal women, so the burgundy coats were seen as some kind of “dig” at Meghan. This was happening at the same time as the Harry & Meghan docuseries aired as well, so you get the picture – united front and all that. One year later, and the front is no longer all that united. Harry’s memoir was a huge cultural moment, and the Windsors are currently trying to ignore Omid Scobie’s Endgame and the outing of two alleged “racist royals,” Charles and Kate. Hilariously, Charles and Camilla made a point of scheduling something out of town on the night of Kate’s third annual piano recital.

King Charles III will be 100 miles away on the day of Kate Middleton’s major winter project as the pair are swept up in a media storm over Meghan Markle’s race allegations.

Charles was named in the Dutch-language version of new royal book Endgame, released on Tuesday, November 28, as the royal who commented on the then-unborn Prince Archie’s skin tone; the Princess of Wales was said to have been present at the time. The names have not been officially confirmed, but were included in the Dutch-language version of Endgame in error, the book’s publisher said, and copies were pulled from shelves. Since the revelation, Charles and Kate have been engulfed in a frenzy of news stories, although the British press has largely been supportive of the royals while condemning author Omid Scobie.

The saga will almost certainly be the backdrop to Kate’s Together at Christmas Carol Service, at Westminster Abbey, in London, on Friday. The press release said that “other Members of the Royal Family” will be present, sparking a headline in the U.K. newspaper Daily Mirror about family unity.

However, hours later, Buckingham Palace announced that the king has an engagement the same day at his Highgrove Estate, in Gloucestershire, England, more than 100 miles away.

A Kensington Palace press release read: “Their Royal Highnesses The Prince and Princess of Wales, and other Members of the Royal Family will attend the Together At Christmas carol service at Westminster Abbey on Friday 8th December.”

On the same day, the king will attend what the palace described as a “Celebration of Craft” Reception, hosted by his charity The King’s Foundation at his Highgrove estate.

[From Newsweek]

Charles reportedly prefers to spend his weekends at Highgrove, so I can understand (logistically) why he wouldn’t stick around in London on a Friday evening just to attend Kate’s dumb event. Although it IS funny – he would rather celebrate local crafters at Highgrove than put on a united (racist) front with Kate, William and the left-behinds. I absolutely wonder if this whole controversy might be the beginning of the institutional cooling-off for Kate.

Note by CB: Get the top 8 stories about the Waleses stealing King Charles’s thunder when you sign up for our mailing list! I only send one email a day on weekdays.

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, Cover Images, Backgrid.

While I’m extremely wary of Page Six’s royal coverage and their motives, even I have to admit that Page Six has run more than a few pro-Sussex stories over the past year. It’s pretty weird and I don’t know what’s going on. During the whole “controversy” over the paparazzi chase in New York this past May, Page Six even ran several confirmations of the Sussexes’ version of events. The outlet – part of The New York Post and owned by News Corp – has been running positive stories about what Meghan’s next business moves could be. Like, it feels as if they’re trying to be a more Sussex-friendly outlet. For what it’s worth. All of which to say, Page Six has an exclusive on the whole “Hugh Grosvenor won’t invite the Sussexes to his wedding next June” story. And Page Six’s version is A) very likely and B) hilarious.

Prince Harry declined to attend his posh pal the Duke of Westminster’s wedding to avoid an awkward clash with his brother Prince William and other family members amid their boiling family feud, Page Six can reveal.

He got a “Save the Date” card to the wedding next summer — but then called the Duke, Hugh Grosvenor, personally to say it would be best if he and his wife, Meghan Markle, didn’t come. It would have been the first meeting between Markle and Kate Middleton since the funeral of Queen Elizabeth in September 2022. His decision was made well before new tensions with his brother caused by the publication of controversial author Omid Scobie’s “Endgame” last week, which launched new salvoes against William and his wife Kate Middleton, including naming her in a Dutch translation as one of the alleged “royal racists.”

Harry and Markle have kept silent over the book and the mounting storm over it.

Both Harry, 39, and his older brother Prince William, 41, are BFFs with Hugh Grosvenor, who is godfather to both their sons, Prince George and Prince Archie. However, a storm erupted when the Sunday Times claimed that Grosvenor chose future King William over Harry to attend his wedding to Olivia Henson next summer to avoid a clash among the warring brothers.

But a source told us: “Harry actually got a ‘save the date’ card a few months ago but called Hugh and said it would be too awkward if he and Meghan Markle attended, so he made his apologies and Hugh understood.”

[From Page Six]

Yeah, I think this is entirely possible. I think it’s highly probable that this is exactly what happened – that Hugh sent out invitations to the Sussexes and the Waleses, and Harry already told Hugh that they would be unlikely to attend. Then William heard about it and twisted the whole thing into “William threw a tantrum and Hugh succumbed, all to snub Harry!” I still say that William’s behavior has been utterly classless, and I would imagine that has not gone unnoticed by the aristos. William leaking all of this sh-t about the Grosvenor wedding to his favorite royal reporter is really tacky and obvious.

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, Cover Images.

Spoilers from 2019 for Game of Thrones and Avengers: Endgame
The weekend of April 26, 2019 was an eventful one for us nerds. It was the weekend that The Avengers: Endgame opened in theaters and that the Season 8 episode of Game of Thrones, “The Long Night” aired. The Internet was abuzz trying to figure out which of our beloved characters from each franchise would survive the weekend. It was a whole thing. “The Long Night” ended up having one really cool moment for Ayra Stark, but otherwise, all of the main cast survived. The same could not be said for Avengers: Endgame. We *spoiler* lost the Black Widow and Iron Man, two superheroes that had basically been there since the beginning of Marvel’s incredible multi-phase journey. Both deaths, particularly Tony’s, were emotional.

Four years later, the MCU is struggling. My personal belief for that is threefold: 1. Fans gave their emotional-all over the course of 11 years for phases 1-3; 2. Phases 4 and 5 involved too much homework, requiring viewers to watch movies and subscription-only TV shows to understand everything going on; and 3. Superhero fatigue. Because of this, none of the newer MCU movies have really caught on with audiences. So, of course, rumors recently arose that the studio was trying to bring back the original Avengers, including Tony Stark/Iron Man, forcing Marvel’s captain Kevin Feige to release a statement denying this.

Marvel fans shouldn’t be checking for Robert Downey Jr. to reprise his role as Tony Stark/Iron Man in the Marvel universe. Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige revealed in an interview with Vanity Fair that despite reports otherwise, there are no plans to resurrect the character after Downey Jr.’s last appearance in 2019’s “Avengers: Endgame.”

“We are going to keep that moment and not touch that moment again,” Feige said. “We all worked very hard for many years to get to that, and we would never want to magically undo it in any way.”

Downey Jr. was hesitant to even do reshoots for “Endgame,” according to the film’s co-director Joe Russo. “We’d already said tearful goodbyes on the last day of shooting. Everybody had moved on emotionally,” Russo told publication. “We promised him it would be the last time we made him do it — ever.”

His brother Anthony Russo, who co-directed “Endgame,” added, “That was a difficult thing for him to do, to come back to pick up that line.”

“When he (Downey Jr.) did come back, we were shooting on a stage directly opposite where he auditioned for Tony Stark,” Anthony Russo said. “So his last line as Tony Stark was shot literally a couple hundred feet from his original audition that got him the role.”

[From CNN]

One of the things that made Tony’s death so sad was that his very last line was a repeat of the line that closed out the very first Iron Man movie. It came full circle. To me, that made it all the more final. I know Marvel is trying to go the comic book route in keeping its main players around by taking advantage of the multiverse. That may (emphasis on may) have worked if they hadn’t expanded to Disney+ shows, but it appears they may have f–ked around and found out by putting those shows (with complicated plots) behind paywall.

All that said, I would be remiss if I didn’t admit that I really liked RDJ as Tony Stark, Chris Evans as Capt. America, and Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow. Part of me would love to see them all come back again. But, all good things must end and we got pretty satisfying conclusions for two-out-of-three of those characters. I felt the same for Loki at the end of the second season of Loki and even that show was a multiverse of mindf–kery. Honestly, I think that Marvel Studios needs to regroup and make things simpler for viewers again. Salud to RDJ, ScarJo, Evans, and (I think?) Tom Hiddleston for all they gave to fans.

Embed from Getty Images

Photos credit: David Acosta/Image Press Agency/Avalon, James Warren/Bang Showbiz/Avalon, Getty

Here’s a holiday story that makes my vintage heart happy: the nostalgic hit “Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree” has just topped Billboard’s Hot 100 chart for the first time in its 65-year history. Recorded in 1958, the rollicking tune made it to No. 14 in 1960. Over the last few years it’s risen to No. 2, beaten out by, you know it, Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas Is You.” The two songs have switched places for the moment, and 78-year-old singer Brenda Lee is getting a sentimental feeling in the new old-fashioned way:

On Monday, Billboard confirmed that Lee’s classic holiday tune had appeared atop this week’s Hot 100 chart, which measures the 100 most popular songs in the U.S. Not surprisingly, the list is populated at the moment by a number of Christmas staples, including Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas Is You” and Bobby Helms’ “Jingle Bell Rock.”

Lee celebrated the achievement with a short note on her Instagram Stories.

“We did it, Brendanators!” she wrote.

At 78, Lee becomes the oldest performer in history to top the Hot 100. Her tune also sets a new record for the longest gap between a song’s release and its appearance in the top spot. The previous record holder was “All I Want For Christmas Is You,” which took 25 years to make the journey.

Though many assume her raspy, rockabilly voice to be that of a more mature performer, Lee was just 13 years old when she recorded “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” in 1958. The song was written by Johnny Marks, who also wrote the holiday standards “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” “Silver and Gold,” “A Holly Jolly Christmas” and “I Hear the Bells on Christmas Day.”

Two years after its initial release, “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” entered Billboard’s Hot 100 for the first time, coming in at No. 14.

Much like “All I Want For Christmas Is You,” the song skyrockets in airplay annually between Thanksgiving and Christmas. For the past four years, it’s reached a peak position of No. 2, kept from the top spot by — what else? — “All I Want For Christmas Is You.”

“Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” is Lee’s third No. 1 song. The Georgia-born singer previously topped the Hot 100 chart with “I’m Sorry” and “I Want To Be Wanted.” Both songs were released in 1960.

“I would’ve never thought in my wildest dreams that ‘Rockin’’ would be my signature song,” Lee, who is based in Nashville, Tennessee, told The New York Times in an interview published last month.

After joking that she and Carey were Christmas competitors, Lee added: “Oh, there’s room for everybody. Her song’s good, too. I love her singing.”

[From HuffPost]

“Her song’s good, too.” That just about killed me. The shade of it all! No, I know Brenda was merely joking (probably). But it’s still a ballsy move to take on Ms. Mariah Carey in her peak season. And for that chutzpah, she’s converted me to a Brendanator! Billboard reported that “Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree” became only the third holiday song ever to reach No. 1, joining “All I Want For Christmas Is You.” And what is the remaining of the three songs? Of all the varied and fine Christmas music in the world? Come on, you know. The only other holiday song to hit No. 1 is none other than “The Chipmunk Song.” I kind of love that we live in a world where this is true.

“Rockin’” reaching No. 1 was likely helped along by the fact that its first-ever music video was released last month, starring Brenda Lee (of course) with appearances by Tanya Tucker and Trisha Yearwood. Golden oldie fans and new Brendanators like me can catch Brenda performing her chart-topping hit December 7 in Christmas at the Opry on NBC.

Photos credit: Judy Eddy/Cover Images, London Features/Avalon and screenshots from YouTube

Cardi B & Offset unfollowed each other… are they breaking up? [Hollywood Life]
Andrew Scott & Claire Foy looked amazing at the British Independent Film Awards. They should do a movie together!! [GFY]
Again, stop throwing stuff at celebrities! [Socialite Life]
Lily Gladstone is so beautiful but this dress is meh!! [LaineyGossip]
I totally forgot that Sean Austin is a nepo baby. [Pajiba]
Non-Americans cannot comprehend the American way of life – our tipping culture, our abundant flags, our beautiful, patriotic ice. [Buzzfeed]
Dominic West reveals why his son isn’t in The Crown anymore. [JustJared]
Horoscopes for December! [OMG Blog]
Lisa Rinna looks crazy & hilarious in this pic. [Seriously OMG]
Lupita Nyong’o wore Chanel to the Academy Museum gala (we didn’t have these pics or else I would have covered the event). [RCFA]
Tracey Edmonds & Deion Sanders called off their engagement. [The Root]

The Princess of Wales stepped out today for her first solo event since being accidentally named as one of the “racist royals” in a mistranslated edition of Omid Scobie’s Endgame. Kate was out last week, but she was with William when they attended the Royal Variety show. Today, Kate stepped out at St Thomas’ Hospital to open up the Evelina London Children’s Day Surgery Unit. Kate has been patron of Evelina London since 2018, part of the larger move to put Kate in positions where she gets photo-ops with kids.

Kate wore a McQueen suit, and she has this exact pantsuit cut in a half-dozen colors. This might be the first time I’m seeing the teal/blue version, but she also has this identical suit in white, pale pink, eggplant purple and I think she has it in black as well. All of those pantsuits were bought after the Duchess of Sussex began wearing pants at royal events.

Predictably, this Karen made sure that she got photos with a Black woman. See, you guys? She can’t be racist, she made sure she had a diversity prop in photos! “Hello, nice to meet you, how dark are your children? I have concerns.”

Photos courtesy of Cover Images.

This is truly one of the biggest scandals of the month: the Duchess of Sussex was pap’d in Montecito on Monday and, in the photos, she’s smiling. The Windsors have been outed as racists in a mistranslated Dutch edition of Endgame and you’re smiling?? The British monarchy is in crisis and they’re openly begging Meghan to save their asses and she’s just wandering around Montecito without a care in the world?? LMAO. The Daily Mail ran the photos as an exclusive (my guess: the pics cost six figures) with this hysterical headline: “Not a care in the world? Meghan Markle is pictured SMILING in first sighting since royals accused of racism were named in Dutch translation of Omid Scobie’s new book.” Hahahahaha.

A smiling Meghan Markle was out and about in California on Monday, seemingly without a care in the world as the furor over the ‘racist royals’ continues back in England. The 42-year-old was spotted in Santa Barbara, a few miles from her Montecito mansion, seemingly oblivious to the firestorm raging in her husband Prince Harry’s home country.

The California-born mother-of-two was dressed down in black leggings and a black long-sleeved t-shirt, with a green baseball cap. Markle wore a pair of $100 New Balance 327 sneakers, and her favorite Krewe sunglasses, which retail for around $400.

It wasn’t clear if she was en route to the gym: her husband has been spotted working out in a Santa Barbara gym, and Markle is known for her love of yoga. As she strolled the beachfront Californian city, 5,000 miles away the royal row sparked by her former ally’s book rumbled on.

[From The Daily Mail]

‘Atta girl. Keep smiling, Meg. I hope she’s having a great holiday season. Does anyone want to talk about her shoes? I still love New Balance, by far the most comfortable sneaker brand. But the problem I’ve always had with New Balance is that the shoes are basically unwearable after a couple of months, mostly because of the poor quality of the shoe’s interior. I moved to Asics for my walks and hikes and one pair can last for a lot longer than New Balance.

Photos courtesy of Instar.

As many have noted, we’re in the middle of yet another “Panic! At the Palace” newscycle. Kensington Palace is in full meltdown mode and Kate’s people have sent out talking points to all of their friendliest media allies. The thing is, the game is pretty tired and Camilla Tominey is one of the few who took the bait. The Middletons’ big “tell” for their panic is when they authorize Gary Goldsmith to put his name on some Daily Mail screed. Dodgy Uncle Gary, a convicted domestic abuser, is trotted out every few months to verbally canonize his niece and clap back on Kate’s enemies. The thing is, I doubt Gary even writes this drivel. Some highlights from messy Gary’s latest screed:

His feelings on Omid Scobie’s Endgame: His book made me feel nauseous. I had to put it down many times because the content made me so angry and I haven’t even been able to finish it. It’s such a character assassination of William and Kate in particular, who is mentioned an extraordinary 291 times. There is even a chapter devoted to her, Kate, my niece! And now we’re even being told that Kate has been ‘accidentally’ named as the supposed royal racist, along with her father-in-law, King Charles, in the Dutch translation of the book.

Racist Kate: Somehow, the names of two of the most upstanding members of the Royal Family were in the manuscript when it was sent to Dutch translators, in a passage about an exchange of letters between Meghan and Charles regarding members of the Royal Family and unconscious bias. It’s utterly ridiculous to consider that Kate is a racist. Racism isn’t something which is inherent in anyone. It comes from an environment. Both Kate’s mum Carole and I grew up in Southall, West London. Colour, race, age, creed and religious beliefs have never been a factor in our friendships or values. To think Kate would buck that trend is totally bonkers.

Old news! The whole book is just a tapestry of gibber and falsehoods sewn together with his personal opinion. It is Scobie milking his relationship with the Sussexes for every cent it’s worth and stirring up a pot which has been stirred enough. Let’s face it, this one-sided snidey account will make it even harder for any of the Royal Family to reach out to Harry and Meghan now or in the short-term future. From the first page to the last, all Scobie does is re-tell well-worn stories, but with a particularly vicious slant, using terms such as ‘pliable’, ‘tightly controlled’ and ‘carefully assembled’ to scoff at Kate.

Carole never orchestrated anything! He even pursues the laughable theory that Carole orchestrated Kate’s relationship with William, pushing her daughter to choose St Andrews University in a bid to meet William when, in fact, she would rather have gone to Edinburgh. ‘The Middleton strategy involved more than just aristocratic affectation — Carole calculatingly placed Kate right at the centre of young Prince William’s world,’ he writes. What rubbish. St Andrew’s is the best university for history of art and Kate did well to get in. Does Scobie really believe that Carole was sitting there in a war room down in the basement of Bucklebury planning out some devious strategy saying: ‘Right. If we put her in the right place on this day then bang… fireworks’?

[From The Daily Mail]

“Colour, race, age, creed and religious beliefs have never been a factor in our friendships or values.” Kate literally has zero brown or Black friends OR aides and she only uses Black children as props. And she spearheaded a national smear campaign against her Black sister-in-law. William and Kate’s jealousy of a Black woman is the root of so many of the problems facing the monarchy today – that is one of the Windsors’ “original sins” of the modern era, the fact that Will and Kate lost their everloving f–king minds the very second they learned that Harry was dating Meghan. Nothing was ever the same. As for Gary’s denial of Carole’s orchestrations… yeah, even Kate-friendly journalists fully admit that Carole was the brains behind Operation Big Blue, and the facts are not on Gary’s side. From Kate trying to copy William’s gap year to Kate changing schools to go to St. Andrews once William’s choice was confirmed, it’s silly to try to deny the Middletons’ “orchestration” at this point.

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, Instar.

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