Dec 24, 2019

Queen Elizabeth II discusses "bumpy" year in annual Christmas address

The queen records her Christmas Day message at Windsor Castle, England. Photo: Steve Parsons/Pool via AP.

The world is wondering how Buckingham Palace might characterize this past year in the Queen of England's annual address.

The big picture: Queen Elizabeth II, 93, is facing a politically split nation — and perhaps physically, if the Scots walk. The prime minister is Boris Johnson. A rift between the queen's grandsons Harry and William has been covered all year, and her new granddaughter-in-law Meghan Markle bucks tradition. Her son Andrew and Jeffrey Epstein are caught in a controversial web. And so forth.

What they're saying: So, what will Queen Elizabeth II call this year, in her Christmas Day address to Britain and the Commonwealth nations? "Bumpy."

  • From excerpts released by Buckingham Palace: "The path, of course, is not always smooth, and may at times this year have felt quite bumpy, but small steps can make a world of difference."

Go deeper: U.K. Parliament approves Boris Johnson's Brexit deal

Editor’s note: This post has been corrected to show that Meghan Markle is Queen Elizabeth's granddaughter-in-law (not daughter-in-law).

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Prince Harry and Meghan Markle to "step back" as senior royals

Photo: Chris Jackson/Getty Images

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle announced Wednesday that they will "step back" as senior members of the British royal family in order "to carve out a progressive new role within this institution."

Why it matters: The move, which will see them become financially independent from the crown and split their time between the U.K. and North America, can be viewed as an effective resignation from royal duties by the pair — after they faced increasing harassment from the press.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Jan 8, 2020

Queen to hold summit with senior royals on Meghan and Harry: Report

The royals on the balcony of Buckingham Palace, 2018. Photo: Paul Grover/AFP via Getty Images

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II is holding an emergency summit with senior royal family members including Prince Harry Monday to discuss his future role and that of Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex, multiple British news outlets report.

The reaction: The Times reports Prince William spoke of his "sadness" over the couple's decision to step down as senior royals and split their time between the U.K. and North America, but he hoped for a reconciliation his brother, telling a friend: "I’ve put my arm around my brother all our lives and I can’t do that any more; we’re separate entities."

Go deeper: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle to "step back" as senior royals

Keep ReadingArrowJan 12, 2020

Harry and Meghan Markle to repay $3.1 million in taxpayer funds, forego titles

Harry and Markle at the British High Commissioner residency in Oct. 2019. Photo: Michele Spatari/AFP via Getty Images

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have agreed to repay roughly 2.4 million pounds, or $3.1 million, of taxpayer money spent on Windsor Castle renovations, AP reports.

The big picture: The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will also no longer use "royal highness" titles, or receive any public funds as part of their deal to "step back" as senior royals, per AP.

Go deeperArrowJan 18, 2020