In a country of endlessly mutating politics and constant social change, the monarchy, with our much-admired Queen and centuries of tradition, has always seemed a bedrock of stability.
Thus it was a shock of earthquake proportions when Prince Harry, Queen Elizabeth’s second grandson, formally known as the Duke of Sussex, and his American wife, Meghan Markle, announced their intention to withdraw to lesser roles in the royal pantheon.
Harry, who is sixth in line to the throne, has made no secret in the past of his misgivings about his royal position and duties.
More pertinent has been his anger over the treatment of the Duchess, who is of mixed ethnic heritage, by some of the British tabloid newspapers.
Scarcely disguised racism has been present in some of the press speculation about their relationship, causing much distress to Meghan, aged 38, who is a former actress raised in Los Angeles.
In this context, Harry is said to be painfully aware of the way his mother, Princess Diana, was hounded by sections of the Press before her death in a car crash while fleeing photographers.
Harry and Meghan’s announcement prompted a crisis summit of senior royals, headed by the nation’s Queen for nearly 70 years, aimed at working out a new modus vivendi for the departing couple and perhaps a new model for the monarchy itself.
History Prof Kate Williams of the University of Reading suggested the couple could set up their own charitable foundation and support the Queen with overseas work and visits, particularly in the Commonwealth.
In a broader context, she said, Harry and Meghan’s unprecedented move could bring the royal family more into line with the royals of Europe, where family members not directly in line for the throne have full-time careers.
Prince Constantine of the Netherlands is a lawyer who works in banking and Princess Madeleine of Sweden works for the family foundation, Global Child Forum.
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Homicides in London have increased sharply and a disproportionate number of victims are young black men, often associated with gangs.
These figures contradict the situation in the rest of the country where homicides have gone down.
Deputy Police Commissioner Sir Stephen House said there were 149 murders in the nation’s capital in 2018 compared to 133 the previous year.
Fifty-four victims were aged under 25, and 39 of the 54 were from the Afro-Caribbean community, that is 72 per cent.
Sir Stephen described this as “a completely disproportionate figure” considering that around 12 per cent of people in London are black.
Official figures show that 80 per cent of people on the police database of suspected gang members are Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic.
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Britons are to be banned from using credit cards to place bets, in an attempt to curb problem gambling.
Some 24 million adults in this country gamble, with 10.5 million doing so online.
Research has shown that 22 per cent of the online punters are known as “problem gamblers”, that is, they are obsessed by or addicted to gambling.
One of these confessed last week that he promised to take his four-year-old son for a ride in the family car but decided to place a quick bet first.
Four hours later, he opened the car door to find his son asleep with tear-stained cheeks. He had cried himself to sleep waiting for his father.
A spokesman for the Gambling Commission said, “Credit card gambling can lead to significant financial harm. This ban should minimise the risk of harm to consumers from gambling with money they do not have.”
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British employers take just 34 seconds to check on a job application, according to the latest research, and a number of factors will result in instant rejection.
These include CVs of more than two pages, inclusion of a selfie, getting the name of the company wrong, using clichés such as “I always go the extra mile”, leaving unexplained gaps in your career history and telling fibs.
Adecco Retail, which surveyed 1,000 recruiters, listed these other no-no’s: spelling, punctuation and typographical errors, not including references and listing irrelevant hobbies such as “hanging out with friends”.
Half of those polled said a perfectly written CV would get an interview, even if the candidate did not seem a perfect fit.
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Asked the secret of his long marriage, the husband said, “We go out to a restaurant twice a week for a candlelight dinner with soft music. She goes Tuesdays; I go Fridays.”
Husband: “My wife has been standing staring at the rain through the window for an hour or more. She looks very depressed. Perhaps I should let her in.”
Drinker at the bar sobs: “My wife told me she would not speak to me for a month.” Barman: “That’s not too bad.” Drinker: “The month ends tonight.”