King and Queen are joined by Prince William and a dazzling Kate Middleton as they put on a united front at Buckingham Palace Christmas Diplomatic Reception amid Omid Scobie racism row
- The royals welcomed more than 500 dignitaries to Buckingham Palace tonight
- READ MORE: Mother of nine-year-old who walked on his prosthetic legs to raise £1.6m is overcome with emotion at seeing the Princess of Wales
The King led his family in a show of unity tonight after a tumultuous week of royal revelations.
Accompanied by Queen Camilla and The Prince and Princess of Wales, Charles, 75, welcomed more than 500 dignitaries to Buckingham Palace for the glittering annual Diplomatic Reception.
One of the highlights of the calendar, the four most senior family members posed together for a photographer before the ‘white tie and tiaras’ event.
It will be seen as a sign of solitary following the furore of Omid Scobie’s new book on the monarchy after it emerged that a Dutch-language version contained the names of two family members accused by the Duchess of Sussex of ‘unconscious bias’.
The book claimed Prince Harry’s wife Meghan, 42, had named the King himself as well as his daughter-in-law, Kate, 41, in letters she wrote to him on the issue.
Buckingham Palace has not commented publicly, but aides have made clear that the King and his senior advisors are ‘considering all options’ open to them over the unsubstantiated claims, including the possibility of legal action.
The King led his family in a show of unity tonight after a tumultuous week of royal revelations. The four most senior family members posed together for a photographer before The Diplomatic Reception
For tonight’s event, Kate wore a show-stopping Jenny Packham gold ‘Georgia’ gown costing approximately £5,000, which was embellished with sequins
They have, however, been comforted by the sympathetic public reaction they have received to ‘revelations’ in the poorly-reviewed book and may decide to let that speak for itself.
For tonight’s event, Kate wore a show-stopping Jenny Packham gold ‘Georgia’ gown costing approximately £5,000, which was embellished with sequins.
She has previously worn the design to the wedding reception of Crown Prince Hussein of Jordan and Princess Rajwa in June 2023.
The Princess sported her favourite Cambridge Lover’s Knot Tiara, which was a wedding gift to Princess Diana. She also sported the Royal Family Order and topped her outfit off with Her Late Majesty’s stunning Greville diamond chandelier earrings.
Camilla, 76, meanwhile, put on a dazzling display in a cream embroidered evening gown by Fiona Clare.
To further add to the glamour, Her Majesty donned the Girls of Great Britain and Ireland Tiara, as well as the Garter Sash and Star in family order across the gown.
Camilla added a touch of sentiment with The Queen Mother’s diamond brooch and the late Queen’s diamond bracelet.
Tonight’s event saw the King, his heir and their wives greet the great and good of the Diplomatic Corps – Ambassadors, High Commissioners and the like officially registered to the Court of St James’ – for pre-Christmas drinks in the State Rooms at Buckingham Palace.
Look of love! Kate was all smiles as she attended the glitzy event with her husband Prince William
The Princess of Wales appeared in high spirits as she arrived with a smile across her face while sat next to the Prince of Wales
King Charles III and Queen Camilla arrived at Buckingham Palace together ahead of the Diplomatic Reception this evening
Accompanied by Queen Camilla and The Prince and Princess of Wales , Charles, 75, welcomed more than 500 dignitaries to Buckingham Palace for the glittering annual Diplomatic Reception
As Head of State, The King plays a vital role in UK diplomacy, supporting the work of the Foreign Office at home and abroad.
The event will also have been the first time the King has been able to talk personally to his son and daughter-in-law since the latest row around the Duke and Duchess of Sussex broke.
Sources have told the Mail that the family will be in ‘no rush’ to make their ‘carefully considered’ decision about how to progress.
Earlier in the day they were also out and about in force on a series of engagements. William surprised shoppers when he was spotted selling copies of the The Big Issue at a Tesco in Hammersmith, west London.
READ MORE: Meghan Markle wears bracelet gifted by King Charles on first outing since ‘royal racists’ were named in The Netherlands – sparking speculation she’s ‘using her jewellery to send subtle messages’
The prince was reunited with magazine seller Dave, whom he has met on several previous occasions, even exchanging Christmas cards.
Vendor Dave Martin told Mail Online: ‘William came down in the morning and helped me sell some magazines. He is a very nice man.
‘Helping me sell the magazines was a kind gesture. It’s very good that he’s helping the homeless. You can tell he does it because he cares.’
Meanwhile his wife met a little girl whose space-themed designs for a new children’s day surgery unit were inspired by her late father, who she says has now ‘gone to the stars’.
The princess chatted to Ella Moth, nine, who won a competition to design the artwork for the new unit at the Evelina Children’s Hospital in London.
She took her inspiration from the tragic death of her father, Piers, who died of brain cancer in 2021.
The Princess, who is patron of Evelina London, asked Ella: ‘How does it feel to have your design on the wall for other children to enjoy, being an inspiration for loads of other kids? Ella replied: ‘I didn’t think it would ever happen!’
The new facility, which cost £55million to build, allows children to be treated in one location on the same day, reducing the stress caused by numerous hospital visits.
In the recovery area she met Saya Stephenson, four, who was resting in bed after an operation that morning to remove excess skin for her ears.
The Princess hugged her mother, Miwa Stephenson, who said she had been anxious about the surgery despite it being a relatively minor procedure.
Kate replied: ‘It’s always a worry though for a parent. We have to keep our cool. It’s so hard.’
Evelina’s Chief executive Gubby Ayida said: ‘With everything happening with the NHS at the moment, including long backlogs, the Princess’s visit has brought a feel-good factor to every room she visited and to all the staff.’
A beaming Princess of Wales received a warm welcome today as she opened a new Children’s Day Surgery at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital in London
Beaming William, 41, appeared relaxed as he joined vendor Dave Martin, 61, who has been a friend of the royal since they hit the streets selling Big Issue copies together 18 months ago
Charles, planting a tree today before attending an Advent Service and Christmas Reception at The Coptic Orthodox Church Centre in Stevenage
The King also began his annual round of festive visits by attending an Advent Service and Christmas reception at the Coptic Orthodox Church in Stevenage, Hertfordshire.
And he declared himself ‘very touched’ when he was given his first public Christmas card, made by Taormina, six, who had been sitting on her father’s shoulders holding her two handmade creations.
READ MORE: Kate Middleton meets mother of nine-year-old who walked on his prosthetic legs to raise £1.6m who is overcome with emotion at seeing the Princess of Wales
One read: ‘Happy holidays!!! King Charles! BOOM!!! Merry Christmas!! To King Charles.’ The other had a giant love heart and also read: ‘Happy holidays XXX’
The King looked enthused, but distinctly tired and red-eyed, after a year in which he marked his own coronation as well as a packed schedule of public engagements and travel, let alone the many woes involving his youngest son, Prince Harry.
However he stood on his feet for the entire service and spent an hour afterwards meeting religious leaders and members of the 500-strong congregation, where he was mobbed by hundreds of well-wishers.
Charles has worked for many years to encourage interfaith dialogue in the UK and around the world. Describing it as a ‘very special occasion’, the King added: ‘I want to wish you nothing but a very Happy Christmas indeed, if I may say so.’
Tonight’s event marks the first time the King, 75, and Kate, 41, have met publicly since being named as the royals who allegedly expressed ‘concerns’ over the colour of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s son Archie’s skin.
Mr Scobie, who has been seen as the unofficial spokesman for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, set a media storm in motion last week after the royals’ names appeared in the Dutch translation of his new book Endgame.
An initial draft of the book, given to Dutch translators, named the two senior members of the royal family who Meghan said told of their ‘concerns’ about the colour of her son Archie’s skin, while she was pregnant
Omid (pictured) has doubled down to defend Endgame and refused to take the blame for the racism scandal
An initial draft of the book, given to Dutch translators, named the two senior members of the royal family who Meghan said told of their ‘concerns’ about the colour of her son Archie’s skin, while she was pregnant.
Meghan first made her allegations about the conversation in her televised interview with Oprah Winfrey, in March 2021.
Harry and Meghan issued a statement saying it was not the late Queen or her husband Prince Philip, but have refused to name the members of the royal family who made the comments.
The Sussexes have declined to publicly defend their relatives, and the publisher of Mr Scobie’s book has not provided any explanation for how the names ended up in print.
READ MORE: New video shows Prince William selling the Big Issue to ordinary members of the public as he reveals plans to take George, 8, Charlotte, 7, and Louis, 4, to visit people who live on the streets
However, Meghan has appeared to offer an olive branch to the royals, as she was today pictured wearing a bracelet her father-in-law King Charles gave her.
The Duchess of Sussex, 42, stepped out in Montecito on Monday wearing an array of casual luxury including Princess Diana’s Cartier bracelet and watch, and a Bentley & Skinner diamond tennis bracelet – a gift from the King and worth at least £4,900.
The piece, which was first worn on the eve of her royal wedding, was first created by royal warrant holders Bentley & Skinner, features ninety-two round brilliant-cut diamonds. It may be a sign of peace between the warring Windsors.
Harry and Meghan are said to be ‘desperate to get back into the royal fold’ and recently reached out to Charles for his 75th birthday.
It comes as Mr Scobie claims he ‘never submitted a book that had those names in it’, but the Dutch translator insists the manuscript she received included them.
A source told The Times that United Talent Agency had earlier sent a draft version of the book to publisher Xander Uitgevers, which contained the names.
However, a final proof of the 400-page tome was later sent, but it’s understood the translator had been working from an earlier draft.
It comes after as the book has already dropped out of Amazon’s top 100 current bestsellers list despite a blitz of publicity in the first week of its release.
The title currently sits 139th in the UK bestseller book charts based on Amazon sales, which are updated hourly to reflect recent and historical sales of every item.
Endgame has fallen more than 100 places in three days having been at 14th as recently as last Friday. On the day of its release last Tuesday it was ranked 77th.
The book is now in the table behind children’s titles such as the Beano annual, Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Stick Man; biographies from Britney Spears, Matthew Perry and Chris Kamara; and cookbooks from Mary Berry, Rick Stein and Tom Kerridge.
In the same Amazon list in the US, Endgame was at 235th today – below The Very Hungry Caterpillar; the Jeopardy! 2024 calendar; and a Paw Patrol sound book.
Amazon says its lists are a ‘good indicator of how well a product is selling overall’ but ‘doesn’t always indicate how well an item is selling in relation to similar items’.
The book’s falling performance comes despite a huge amount of media coverage as well as TV interviews conducted by Scobie for the BBC and ITV in the UK and ABC in the US.
The author has also given interviews to publications including The Times, Evening Standard, Independent, Tatler, People, Elle.com and Paris March.
Meanwhile the book was not on prominent display at London’s oldest bookshop, Hatchards on Piccadilly – with only one copy put aside on order, reported The Guardian.
The newspaper added that about 14 copies were stacked on a table near the entrance of the nearby Waterstones, but there was ‘limited interest there too’.
The Sussexes have not commented publicly on the race row but a source close to Meghan said ‘it was not leaked to Scobie by anyone in her camp’.
It also emerged yesterday that the Dutch edition of Endgame quoted a source close to the Sussexes who branded William ‘heartless’ – another inflammatory passage that is not in the UK version.
Referring to claims that the Prince of Wales secured a flight to Balmoral without Harry when the Queen was dying, the translation cited the source as saying: ‘It was heartless to deny him the chance to go to Scotland to say goodbye to his grandmother. This was not the time to be petty.’
A ‘family source’ also claims that William ‘purposely ignored’ Harry when the Queen died and ‘didn’t want to help’ him, according to the Dutch edition.
It said: ‘He was, and is, still angry because Harry revealed private issues… He thinks that is unforgivable.’
The Dutch version also refers to the King’s ‘cash for honours’ scandal last year, with a ‘source’ saying ‘people inside the institution are concerned that ‘more stories will follow’.’
None of these claims appeared in the English version, The Sun on Sunday reported.
It comes after Meghan admitted under oath that she authorised a senior aide to brief Scobie for his earlier book about the Sussexes, called Finding Freedom.
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