Monday, 23 April 2018

UPDATED: Harry and Meghan Mark Stephen Lawrence's 25th Anniversary at London Memorial

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle attended a memorial service to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the murder of Stephen Lawrence and to celebrate his life and legacy.

It's a very special day for the Royal family. This morning, the Duchess of Cambridge gave birth to a baby boy at St Mary's Hospital. No doubt Harry and Meghan are hugely excited to meet the latest addition to the family. We're covering the arrival over at Duchess Kate.

The couple arriving.

The service was held at St Martin-in-the-Fields church in London.

An arrival video.

St Martin-in-the-Fields is a unique configuration of cultural, charitable and commercial initiatives rooted in the life of a vibrant Church of England congregation. On the Church's website its vision and history is discussed: "We see ourselves at the heart of London, through our location on Trafalgar Square, and of the nation, through our 500-year links with the royal family, and also of the church, through our national profile gained through nearly a century of broadcasting and our flagship role in social issues – but also appealing to the heart through our long tradition of choral and classical music and our reputation for compassion gained through a century of engagement with poverty and destitution. It also names our calling to be on the edge, not just of Trafalgar Square but alongside those on the edge through being excluded, ignored or oppressed by society or church, and on the cutting edge of innovation in culture, commerce, charity and congregational life." It is in fact the official parish church of the Royal family in London.

Harry and Meghan met Stephen's mother, Baroness Lawrence and his brother Stuart at the entrance of the church before taking their seat.

The murder of Stephen Lawrence in 1993 shook Britain to its core. Born in 1974 to parents Neville, a carpenter, and Doreen, a special needs teacher, Stephen was the eldest of three and grew up in the south-east London suburb of Plumstead. During his teenage years, he excelled in running - competing for the local Cambridge Harriers athletics club - and appeared as an extra in Denzel Washington's film For Queen and Country. At 16, already an aspiring entrepreneur, Stephen set up his own business selling clothes and book covers. His ultimate dream was to become an architect and at the times of his death the "kind", "ambitious" and "fun-loving" teenager was studying hard to achieve his goal.

Following a day of study, 18 year old Stephen spent the evening of Thursday, 22 April 1993 with a friend. As he waited at a bus stop to return home a gang of youths attacked him in a brutal, racially-motivated murder. Stephen didn't know his attackers and they didn't know him. The case became one of the most high-profile killings in UK history; its fallout included profound cultural changes to attitudes on racism and the police, and to the law and police practice, and the partial revocation of double jeopardy laws, before two of the perpetrators were convicted in 2012.

The Telegraph writes 'Stephen Lawrence: How the racist murder changed Britain':

'At the centre of the Stephen Lawrence saga is his parents, Doreen and Neville, whose poise, persistence and eloquence, helped propel the tragedy to the forefront of the nation’s consciousness.
Two weeks after the attack Nelson Mandela was on a visit to the UK and took time to meet with the Lawrences and lend them his support.
At the time Mr Mandela, who was to be elected as South Africa’s first black president the next year, said: “We are very used to this type of thing were life is regarded as very cheap in South Africa. But nevertheless, it is a sense of deep concern that this should happen in a country like Britain”. The comments were a jolt to the nation and prompted the Met Police to go on the defensive about the investigation.
Despite the convictions of Norris and Dobson, The Met Police is still investigating the murder of Stephen Lawrence, although it recently admitted it had no new lines of inquiry.'

In the face of the most unimaginable pain any family can endure, the Lawrence family were determined Stephen would not be forgotten and demonstrated incredible courage and strength. In 1998, Doreen Lawrence established a charity in memory of her son. For the past 20 years the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust has campaigned for fairness, justice and equality for all. The trust has a continuing commitment to supporting young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to create a fairer society in which everyone, regardless of their background, can flourish. Stephen's mother Doreen was appointed OBE for "services to community relations" in 2013 and was created a life peer. Last year they supported over 2,000 young people through training, mentoring, bursaries and other activities.

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Prime Minister Theresa May was in attendance and announced plans for the government to work with the trust to establish a national annual commemoration of Stephen's life and legacy every year. The 22nd April will be Stephen Lawrence Day.

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Meghan sat beside the Prime Minister during the service.

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More from The Telegraph:

'Stephen's mother Doreen, now a peer sitting in the Lords, said: "I feel honoured she has recognised the changes that have been made in Stephen's name and the changes that are still needed.
"Stephen was denied his voice but the Stephen Lawrence Day will be an opportunity for young people to use their voices and should be embedded in our education and wider system regardless of the government of the day.”
Baroness Lawrence thanked those who had helped her achieve all she has and said that after 25 years "it is time to draw a line". Stephen’s father, Neville, said: "We have got some justice and now this is like a mark of what we have been trying to do for years - our son's memory is going to be enshrined in history."

Prince Harry read a message of support on behalf of Prince Charles.

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Back to The Telegraph story:

'The Prince, who met Stephen's mother and brother Stuart before the service, delivered a personal message of support to the family from his father, the Prince of Wales, who in 2000 gave the annual Stephen Lawrence Memorial Lecture
He told the congregation: "'I remember vividly the profound shock that I felt at his senseless murder, a feeling shared by so many people across this country and beyond.
 I remember, too, just how deeply moved I was by the determination of Stephen's family to build something positive from the tragedy they endured and to ensure that Stephen's story did not end with despair, but continued with hope.
A quarter of a century later, we can only imagine the man who Stephen would have become, and just how his extraordinary potential might have been fulfilled."'
The Prince said that the Lawrence family had honoured him with everything they had done in his name and the changes they had instigated.'

A video from the service.

Baroness Lawrence is a truly inspirational woman. Some time ago I watched an incredibly insightful interview with her where she candidly discusses her family's story and lessons the media and police should learn from the case.

If you would like to donate to the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust please click here. Just £5 pays the travel costs for a young person to attend employability training, and £50 pays for a young person to undertake qualifications in starting their own business, which entitles them to financial support and mentoring for a year.

Meghan wore a black patterned sleeveless, belted, Hugo Boss dress from the Spring 2018 Collection (with thanks to Caroline).

Meghan's dress is unavailable online, however the similar Printed Belted Dress retails for $595.

Perth Fashion identified Meghan's clutch as the Wilbur & Gussie Bespoke Charlie Oyster Style.

A closer look at Meghan's pumps. It is thought they are a Manolo Blahnik or Jimmy Choo style.

Meghan wore her hair up for the service and accessorised with diamond and white gold earrings.

On Wednesday, Prince Harry and Meghan will attend services commemorating Anzac Day in London. Prince Harry and Ms. Markle will attend the Dawn Service at Wellington Arch, and the Service of Commemoration and Thanksgiving at Westminster Abbey. The Dawn service begins at 5 a.m. and the Service of Commemoration at Westminster Abbey commences at noon.

Saturday, 21 April 2018

The Queen's Birthday Party: Harry and Meghan Celebrate the Monarch's 92nd Birthday!

On Her Majesty's 92nd birthday, members of the British Royal family gathered at the Royal Albert Hall for the Queen's Birthday Party - a night of music, song and celebration in honour of our beloved Monarch.

The concert comes at the end of a historic week which saw many Commonwealth leaders in London for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting. The Royal family were out in force for an array of receptions, meetings, audiences and a glittering State dinner.  During her speech at the dinner the Queen said it remains a "great pleasure and honour to serve you" and to observe "with pride and satisfaction that this is a flourishing network". At the end of the summit, leaders decided Prince Charles will succeed his mother as Head of the Commonwealth.

Attendance was not announced before the concert, however, many of us felt sure Meghan would join Harry. It's been an important week for the couple, which saw Harry named Commonwealth Youth Ambassador and President of the Queen's Commonwealth Trust. The Trust is the major beneficiary of tonight's concert. The roles will see the couple focus on highlighting young people and building links and initiatives at home and abroad. Of course, most importantly, Harry is incredibly close to his grandmother and Meghan, who has spent quite a bit of time with the monarch, described her as "incredible".

Harry and Meghan arrived with Prince William. Kate and William are expecting their third child any day now.

Today marks 71 years since the Queen, on her 21st birthday, committed her life to the Commonwealth during a broadcast made from Cape Town. "I declare before you all that my whole life whether it be long or short shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great imperial family to which we all belong." Harry referenced his grandmother's work during his CHOGM speech on Monday: "'On the day of her 21st birthday, the then Princess Elizabeth gave an extraordinary radio address from Cape Town. With an eye on the future, and an already unflinching sense of duty, she made a commitment. She said that whether her life be long or short, it would be dedicated to the service of the people of the Commonwealth. All of us here today can be grateful that it is a long life the Queen is still enjoying. Her Majesty's commitment has meant that the Commonwealth is a thriving family of nations, a common link between nearly two-and-a-half billion people, and a defender of democracy, justice and peace."

What followed, as we all know, was a lifetime of boundless service, duty and devotion. At 92, the Queen will not travel to another Commonwealth country again nor is it likely she will ever attend another CHOGM. In addition to celebrating her birthday, the focus tonight was very much on her life's work across the Commonwealth and is in many ways a fond farewell.

Harry and Meghan take their seats.

Applause as Her Majesty arrives.

The family were out in force to mark the occasion.

Meghan chatting with Princess Anne's husband Sir Timothy Laurence. During a recent interview he was asked if he had any advice for Meghan. He replied: "She's absolutely great and she certainly doesn't need any advice from me, but the simplest advice for all of us is 'just be yourself'. If she does that, she'll be fine,"

With celebratory performances by acts from across the world and stars from around the Commonwealth, it was the perfect end to the landmark week.

There was music from across the decades of Her Majesty’s reign. The George Formby Society captured the sound of the 1930s with a ukulele ensemble number; from the 1940s there were musical numbers from Oklahoma!; superstar tenor Alfie Boe celebrated the sound of Benny Goodman and the Swing era of the 1950s; and Sir Tom Jones sang hits from the 1960s. As well as their new collaboration, Sting & Shaggy sang numbers from the 1970s and 80s; and South African vocal group Ladysmith Black Mambazo performed tracks from the 1990s. Craig David presented a medley of hits from the noughties to present day, and stars Anne Marie and Shawn Mendes brought things right up to date with their hits 'Ciao Adios' and 'In My Blood'.

Harry and Meghan enjoying the concert.

More on the performances:

Performing much-loved songs from musicals Oklahoma!My Fair Lady and Top Hat were classically-trained singer and Call the Midwife actor Helen George; Welsh star of stage and screen, Luke Evans; and actor and 2008 Strictly Come Dancing champion Tom Chambers. Many of the performers were accompanied by the BBC Concert Orchestra, conducted by Musical Director Steve Sidwell.

Royal Central posted this screenshot of Harry and Meghan listening to Sting and Shaggy.

Harry and Meghan chatting.

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Prince Harry took to the stage and spoke about the Queen's Commonwealth Trust."Tonight we are celebrating The Queen's Birthday but Your Majesty, if you do not mind me saying, you are not someone who is easy to buy gifts for. But I think we have the perfect present," Prince Harry said. ‘This organisation, in your name, will provide a platform for those working to make a difference in their communities across 53 countries. Happy Birthday Your Majesty.’

Sixteen-year-old Donel Mangena, a contestant on talent show The Voice, received a letter from Prince Harry asking him to perform tonight. Harry and Meghan posed backstage with the talented singer after the show.

Performers including Luke Evans, Kylie Minogue and Tom Jones sang What a Wonderful World followed by Happy Birthday.

At the end of the night, Prince Charles wishes "mummy" a Happy Birthday and asked for three cheers.

Balloons filled the stage.

A video.

You can view the entire concert below.

Sending Her Majesty the happiest of birthday wishes!

Meghan looked every inch the future royal in the Stella McCartney Blue Cape Dress (with thanks to the lovely ladies at What Meghan Wore). The stretch cady cape sleeved dress in midnight tone features a high neckline and concealed zip at back. It seems the piece has been sold out for some time. A similar McCartney cape dress remains available at Neiman Marcus and Harrods. The choice hits all the right notes for me; a very elegant understated look and a perfect choice for the occasion.

The designer confirmed via Twitter.

Meghan carried the gorgeous Naeem Khan Leo clutch (Meghan's starsign is Leo). The $1,490 Zodiac clutch is described as "Acrylic evening clutch with plated brass inlay and Swarovski crystals" (with many thanks to Laura).

A look at the mirrored interior.

Meghan wore her Manolo Blahnik BB pumps in navy.

The talented What Meghan Wore received confirmation Meghan wore the £225 Shaun Leane Vermeil Talon earrings. Described as:"A strikingly elegant piece from the Signature Tusk Collection, these iconic double sided talon earrings in silver are the perfect balance of elegance and edge."

The brand also confirmed Meghan wore their Gold Diamond Signature Cuff and their Serpents Trace Bracelet which is not available yet.

If you're just joining us, Meghan was in a summery Self-Portrait dress for an Invictus reception this morning. Click here to view the post.

On Monday, Prince Harry and Meghan will attend the 25th Anniversary Memorial Service to celebrate the life and legacy of Stephen Lawrence.

Meghan in Summery Self-Portrait Dress for Invictus Reception!

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle attended a reception hosted by the Hon Malcolm Turnbull, Prime Minister of Australia and his wife Lucy, celebrating the forthcoming Invictus Games Sydney 2018.

Meghan pictured arriving for the reception at the Australian High Commission, Australia House.

Meghan was greeted by PM Malcolm Turnbull.

Prince Harry is welcomed by Australian High Commissioner to the UK Alexander Downer.

A brief arrival video.

The Invictus Games is the only international sporting event for wounded, injured and sick (WIS) servicemen and women, both serving and veteran. The Games use the power of sport to inspire recovery, support rehabilitation and generate a wider understanding and respect of all those who serve their country. Sydney is the fourth city to host the Invictus Games, after London in 2014, Orlando in 2016, and Toronto in 2017.

Harry and Meghan will travel to Sydney in October for the event. It is thought the trip will be combined with a tour of Australia, New Zealand and possibly Fiji, although it is in the early stages of planning. With the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting this week, the focus is very much on strengthening ties; this morning's reception seems a very fitting way to celebrate the games which has links all over the Commonwealth.

Prince Harry with UK and Australian servicemen and women, some of whom have experience of competing in the Invictus Games.

Harry and Meghan were presented with Invictus Sydney jackets by the Turnbulls.

Meghan leaving the reception.

Below, an excellent video from the engagement. It's a great wrap up of the morning and there's a very sweet moment where Harry calls "Meg" over to meet Invictus competitors.

It's been a glorious week of sunshine in London; Meghan was perfectly attired for the gorgeous weather in the Self-Portrait Cold-Shoulder Floral-Print Midi Dress. It's wonderful to see a vibrant pop of colour in Meghan's wardrobe and a hint of what we can expect for her summer engagements.

The green, black and white cold-shoulder style dress is made from floral-print crepe, it's trimmed with plissé ruffles and latticed lace inserts. It features a sweetheart neckline and a fitted bodice.

It's available at Bergdorf Goodman, HarrodsNeiman Marcus, My Theresa and Nordstrom. I love the green print.

A closer look.

The dress also comes in a Polka Dot print as shown at Neiman Marcus.

Meghan brought back the Alexander McQueen jacket and Manolo Blahnik BB pumps she wore for the Endeavour Fund Awards in February. It's interesting to see the same pieces styled for two very different events.

The £1,245 McQueen Grain de poudre wool blazer is described as being "made from grain de poudre wool, this satin-lined blazer has sharp peaked lapels, structured shoulders and angular flap pockets that draw attention to the smallest part of your frame".

Meghan's Manolo BB pumps remain available at Nordstrom.

Perth Fashion identified Meghan's stylish new bag as the Roland Mouret Mini Classico patent leather cross-body bag. It's available in several colours at Roland Mouret.

Meghan's earrings are the Cartier Galanterie Earrings (with thanks to Anne and Laura).

It is very likely Meghan will join Harry for the Queen's Birthday Party at the Royal Albert Hall tonight. It begins at 8 pm and will be televised on BBC One.