Harry, Meghan under fire after royal crisis summit

In this file photo taken on June 08, 2019 Britain's Meghan, Duchess of Sussex (L) and Britain's Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex (R) return to Buckingham Palace after the Queen's Birthday Parade, 'Trooping the Colour', in London. (AFP)
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Updated 14 January 2020

Harry, Meghan under fire after royal crisis summit

  • British newspapers raked over Monday’s meeting at which Queen Elizabeth II
  • The Daily Telegraph called the decision “The Queen’s reluctant farewell”

LONDON: Prince Harry and his wife Meghan faced fresh criticism on Tuesday in the wake an emergency royal summit to discuss their shock withdrawal from frontline royal duties.
British newspapers raked over Monday’s meeting at which Queen Elizabeth II agreed to allow them to split their time between Canada and the UK.
“It means only one thing — Harry and Meghan have won!” royal commentator Philip Dampier wrote in the Daily Express. “They metaphorically held a gun to her head and she has given in.” 
The Sun tabloid’s editorial said: “Our Queen’s surrender to the petulant, selfish demands of Harry and Meghan may prove the biggest mistake of her reign.
“This couple have simply raised the bar for self-obsessed, arrogant entitlement.”
The Daily Mirror said the monarch “displayed a selflessness sadly lacking from the way Harry and Meghan have disrespectfully treated her.”
The Daily Telegraph called the decision “The Queen’s reluctant farewell.”
But final decisions on the couple’s future will be thrashed out in the coming days.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson told BBC television he was “absolutely confident that they are going to sort this out.”
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex announced last week they were stepping back as senior royals and wanted financial independence from the monarchy.
The pair, with baby Archie, have grown increasingly unhappy over life in the public eye.
Queen Elizabeth, 93, summoned her eldest son and heir Prince Charles, and his two sons Princes William and Harry to her Sandringham estate in eastern England on Monday.
Meghan went back in Canada after briefly returning to Britain last week.
In a rare personal statement, the monarch said the discussions were “very constructive” but admitted the Sussexes’ decision was not what she would have wanted.
“My family and I are entirely supportive of Harry and Meghan’s desire to create a new life,” she said.
“Although we would have preferred them to remain full-time working members of the royal family, we respect and understand their wish to live a more independent life as a family while remaining a valued part of my family.”
The queen said the Sussexes made clear they did not want to be reliant on public funds, while a “period of transition” had been agreed in which they will spend time in Canada and Britain.
“These are complex matters for my family to resolve, and there is some more work to be done, but I have asked for final decisions to be reached in the coming days,” the sovereign said.
Harry, 35, is sixth in line to the throne behind 71-year-old Charles, William, 37, and his brother’s three young children.
Meghan, 38, an American who had forged her own television acting career, was seen as a breath of fresh air for the royal family when she married Harry at Windsor Castle in May 2018.
But in October last year the couple admitted to struggling with the spotlight following their wedding and Archie’s birth in May 2019.
They have lashed out at negative press coverage with Harry claiming British tabloids had mounted a “ruthless” and “malicious” attempt to vilify his wife.
Online and television debate has raged since Wednesday over whether tabloid coverage had been racist toward the duchess.
How the Sussexes will be funded is one of the key issues to resolve. Five percent of the couple’s income comes from public funds.
The rest comes from Charles’ Duchy of Cornwall hereditary private estate. It has officially reported assets worth £1.1 billion ($1.4 billion, 1.3 billion euros).
“What is appropriate for a semi-royal person to be doing? Should they be endorsing particular commercial products at the expense of other commercial products?,” asked royal biographer Robert Hardman.
“Is their first priority to their shareholders, their directors, or to the Queen?“
The British police meets the couple’s security costs.
Besides Britain, Queen Elizabeth is the head of state of Canada and 14 other countries.
The Canadian government has yet to decide whether it will assume the security costs when Harry and Meghan are in Canada, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Monday.
Hardman said history showed the royal family “always bounces back.”
“It’s been going a thousand years, it’s tough, the monarch’s tough,” he told AFP. “It’s difficult times ahead but she’s seen and known worse.”


World’s oldest man dies in Japan at 112

Updated 25 February 2020

World’s oldest man dies in Japan at 112

  • Chitetsu Watanabe, who was born on March 5, 1907 in Niigata, north of Tokyo, died on Sunday at his nursing home
  • The news came less than two weeks after Watanabe was officially recognized by Guinness World Records

TOKYO: A Japanese man recently named the world’s oldest living male has died aged 112, a local official said Tuesday.

Chitetsu Watanabe, who was born on March 5, 1907 in Niigata, north of Tokyo, died on Sunday at his nursing home in the same prefecture, the official said.

The news came less than two weeks after he was officially recognized by Guinness World Records.

Watanabe, who had five children, said the secret to longevity was to “not get angry and keep a smile on your face.”

He admitted a penchant for sweets such as custard pudding and ice cream.

The oldest man in Japan is now Issaku Tomoe, who is 110 years old, according to Jiji Press, although it was not clear if Tomoe holds the title globally.

The oldest living person is also Japanese, Kane Tanaka, a 117-year-old woman.

Japan has one of the world’s highest life expectancies and has been home to several people recognized as among the oldest humans to have ever lived.

They include Jiroemon Kimura, the longest-living man on record, who died soon after his 116th birthday in June 2013.

The oldest verified person — Jeanne Louise Calment of France — died in 1997 at the age of 122, according to Guinness.