Buckingham Palace is facing questions about why it won’t reveal more about the findings of an investigation into bullying allegations made against the Duchess of Sussex.
The palace has confirmed a private investigation into complaints that Meghan had bullied members of staff had concluded, claims she has always denied.
It confirmed the review had looked at how palace staff had handled the complaints rather than scrutinising details of the allegations themselves.
But after revealing that HR policies had been improved as a result it refused to make details of the changes or the findings public.
A senior palace source said: “Because of the confidentiality of the discussions we have not communicated the detailed recommendations. The recommendations have been incorporated within policies and procedures wherever appropriate and policies and procedures have changed.
“So all members of staff, all members of the royal family will be aware of what the policies and procedures are, the revised policies and procedures.”
Sky News understands that only very limited numbers of people were interviewed as part of the process. Archewell, the Sussexes’ organisation and charitable foundation, would not confirm if the duchess had been asked to be involved or told of the recommendations.
The investigation was carried out by a law firm and funded privately, thought to be by a senior member of the royal family. The palace had suggested that any changes in policies or procedures recommended would be shared in the Sovereign Grant report.
While there is an extensive HR section and “Staff Report” in the annual accounts it isn’t clear if any of the listed procedures have changed as a result of the investigation.
It does outline the royal household’s Concern at Work policy which encourages individuals to raise any concerns they may have about the conduct of others and sets out how issues can be aired, with the policy accessible to staff on the intranet site – known as the Coronet.
The 19-year-old US Open champion, whose Wimbledon preparations were severely disrupted by a side strain, was defeated by France’s Caroline Garcia who won in straight sets 6-3 6-3.
But there was better news for British men’s number one Cameron Norrie after the ninth seed booked his place in the third round with a 6-4 3-6 5-7 6-0 6-2 victory over Spaniard Jaume Munar.
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6ft 3in Murray, currently ranked 52 in the world, had threatened another of his epic, late-night comebacks from two sets down when he won a third set tie-break.
But this time he was unable to dip into that seemingly endless well of reserves as the world number 24 clung on for victory.
The 35-year-old Scot managed to win only 15 points against the relentless Isner first serve.
But there was so much more to the 20th seed’s triumph, with a host of neat drop shots and deft touches at the net leaving Centre Court stunned.
The roof was closed late on in the fourth set due to bad light with 37-year-old Isner leading 4-2.
The Briton’s preparations for this year’s Wimbledon had not been ideal after he suffered an abdominal strain a fortnight ago.
And the former world number one had faced a race against time to recover from the injury.
Murray was left to rue what might have been, saying: “I could have had a good run here. One of the reasons why improving your ranking and trying to get seeded is important (is to) avoid playing top players and dangerous guys like that early in tournaments.
“It’s one of those matches that, had I got through, who knows what would have happened.”
After her defeat, 10th seed Raducanu said: “I’ve played seven hours of tennis in a month. To even compete with these girls at this level and win a round I think is a pretty good achievement.
“Obviously it’s tough to lose any match but I think that Caroline played a great match. She is a great player. I struggled to find a way through her today.
“But it’s OK because, coming into this, I didn’t really have many expectations of myself. Playing on Centre Court again was a really positive experience for me.”
Meanwhile, after his great summer on the grass, Britain’s Ryan Peniston lost to American Steve Johnson who triumphed in round two 6-3 6-2 6-4.
But Harriet Dart won her delayed first round match – becoming the 10th Briton to go through to round two – the best start to the Championships for home players since 1984.
On Thursday, Dart plays eighth seed American Jessica Pegula, while Britain’s Katie Boulter will play sixth seed Czech Karolina Pliskova on Centre Court in their second round clash.
Heather Watson resumes her round two match against China’s Qiang Wang, with the Briton leading 7-5 5-4.
Among the British men in second round action, Jack Draper will face 19th seed Alex De Minaur, of Australia, while Liam Broady takes on 12th seed Argentinian Diego Schwartzman, and Alastair Gray faces 11th seed American Taylor Fritz.
The Prince of Wales had a “very emotional and wonderful” first meeting with his granddaughter Lilibet and a “very special” reunion with grandson Archie, it has been revealed.
Prince Charles met his two youngest grandchildren earlier this month when their parents, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, briefly visited the UK.
The heir to the throne and the Duchess of Cornwall were “absolutely thrilled” to see Prince Harry and Meghan and their children when they travelled from California for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations, according to a royal source.
Lilibet Diana Mountbatten-Windsor, also known as Lili, had her first birthday during her stay and also met her namesake great-grandmother, the Queen, for the first time.
Harry, who quit as a senior working royal in 2020, has had a troubled relationship with his father, telling US television presenter Oprah Winfrey how he felt let down and how Charles stopped taking his calls at one stage.
The monarchy was hit by a crisis when the Sussexes, in the same March 2021 interview, accused an unnamed royal of being racist towards their son before he was born, and the wider institution of failing to help Meghan when she had suicidal thoughts.
But a senior royal source said it had been “wonderful” to have the family back in the UK.
“It was fantastic to see them. It was wonderful to have them back in Britain,” the source said.
“The prince and the duchess were absolutely thrilled to see them.
“The prince, of course, hasn’t seen his grandson Archie for a bit of time and so it was very, very, very special to have some time with him.
“He hadn’t met Lili, his granddaughter, and so to meet her was very emotional, a very, very wonderful thing.”
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s flights for their controversial Caribbean tour cost the taxpayer more than £226,000, royal accounts have shown.
In 2021-2022, the total travel bill for the monarchy’s official duties, funded by the taxpayer, came to £4.5 million.
The accounts reveal the breakdown of spending by the Royal Family including tours and flight costs, spending on property maintenance and how much it all costs the taxpayer.
In all, official expenditure by the monarchy was £104.2 million, up 17% on the previous year, with £86.3 million coming from the Sovereign Grant – a single payment given to the Queen each year by the government to fund official royal duties and upkeep.
Cambridge’s trip most expensive tour
The pair’s trip in March to Belize, Jamaica and the Bahamas saw the couple travel by charter jet, and their staff by scheduled flights for a planning trip.
The Cambridge’s trip was the most expensive official royal tour of 2021-22.
However, royal aides revealed that Prince Charles had personally spearheaded a switch to the use of sustainable aviation fuel on royal flights in a bid to combat the environmental impact of The Firm’s globe-trotting.
The ministerial RAF Voyager jet – used by the royal family and the government – is now run on sustainable aviation fuel.
Barbados celebrated the occasion in December last year, marking 55 years after it gained independence from the UK.
The total travel costs for an official trip to Jordan and Egypt – which saw Charles and Camilla journey to Amman, Cairo and Alexandria – came to in excess of £123,500 including charter plane, the helicopter and scheduled flights for staff.
Key figures from the royal accounts for 2020-2021:
£86.3 million – The total taxpayer-funded Sovereign Grant, made up of £51.8 million for the “core” funding and an extra £34.5 million for the reservicing of Buckingham Palace.
£1.29 – Cost per person in the UK of funding the total Sovereign Grant.
£226,383 – Cost of official travel for William and Kate’s controversial Caribbean tour.
9.6% – Proportion of staff from ethnic minority backgrounds working for Buckingham Palace, compared to 8.5% in 2020-21. The target was 10%.
£63.9 million – Spending on property maintenance – up £14.4 million or 29% from £49.5 million in 2020-21.
201 – Official engagements carried out by the Queen in the last financial year – 88 more than the 113 she undertook in 2020-2021 during the pandemic.
£1.3 million- Cost of housekeeping and hospitality for the royal household – an increase of half a million or 55%.
£138,457 – Charles’s travel costs for trip to Barbados to mark country’s transition to a republic.
A senior palace source has said Prince Harry and Meghan’s rental contract for their UK home represents a “good deal” for the taxpayer.
The couple are funding the general upkeep of their former home, like maintaining the garden, with the Sovereign Grant effectively acting as the “landlord”, undertaking major works like a normal tenant-landlord relationship.
The pair paid £2.4m to cover the refurbishment and rental of Frogmore Cottage at Windsor Castle.
The senior royal source said the rent “has been calculated by reference to market valuations for a property of that nature”.
The National Audit Office and the Treasury were “satisfied” with the way the transaction had been accounted for and the “commercial return” for the Sovereign Grant, the source added.
“I can be confident in saying that this is a good deal for the Sovereign Grant and the taxpayer alike.”
The accounts also revealed that £63.9m was spent on property maintenance, up £14.4 million or 29% from £49.5 million in 2020-21.
The Captain Tom Foundation is being investigated over concerns about the charity’s management and independence from the late veteran’s family.
The Charity Commission opened a case into the charity in March 2021, just a month after Sir Tom’s passing, and began reviewing the set-up of the organisation.
The watchdog has now launched an inquiry after becoming concerned about arrangements between the charity and a company linked to Sir Tom’s daughter, Hannah Ingram-Moore, and her husband Colin.
Concerns were also raised about the trustees’ decision-making and how the charity was governed.
Sir Tom was propelled into the limelight during the COVID pandemic after raising £38m for the NHS by walking 100 laps of his garden before his 100th birthday at the height of the UK’s first lockdown in April 2020.
The watchdog says the money raised for the NHS, which was donated to NHS Charities Together, is not part of the scope of its inquiry.
The Captain Tom Foundation was registered in June 2020 following the war veteran’s fundraising efforts.
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The publication of the first annual accounts of the foundation in March 2022 revealed the charity incurred £240,000 in costs and gave £160,000 to good causes.
But the commission said it was concerned that a “failure to consider intellectual property and trademark issues” when the charity was set up gave a private company, called Club Nook Limited, the opportunity to trademark variations of the name “Captain Tom” without objection from the charity.
This could have generated “significant profit” for the company, which is controlled by Ms Ingram-Moore and Mr Ingram-Moore, the commission added.
Launched on 16 June, the inquiry is assessing whether the trustees of The Captain Tom Foundation have been responsible for mismanagement or misconduct in the administration of the charity leading to any losses, adequately managed conflicts of interest and complied with their duties and responsibilities under charity law.
Prior to the inquiry opening, the commission engaged with the charity over several issues.
In March 2021, the charity requested the regulator’s permission to employ Ms Ingram-Moore, a former trustee, on a salary of £60,000 per year, for three days a week. The commission requested evidence of the benchmarking exercise undertaken.
The charity provided the commission with this evidence and a revised proposal to appoint Ms Ingram-Moore on a salary of £100,000 on a full-time basis.
Then in July 2021, the regulator refused permission to employ Ms Ingram-Moore as chief executive on a salary of £100,000 – considering the proposed salary neither reasonable nor justifiable.
The following month, the commission permitted the charity to appoint Ms Ingram-Moore as interim chief executive on a salary of £85,000 per year, on a three-month rolling contract, for a maximum of nine months whilst the trustees conducted an open recruitment process.
The charity has since recruited a new chief executive.
Helen Stephenson, chief executive of the Charity Commission, said: “The late Captain Sir Tom Moore inspired the nation with his courage, tenacity and concern for others. It is vital that public trust in charity is protected, and that people continue to feel confident in supporting good causes.
“We do not take any decision to open an inquiry lightly but in this case our concerns have mounted. We consider it in the public interest to examine them through a formal investigation, which gives us access to the full range of our protective and enforcement powers.”
The commission previously raised concerns about the payment of consultancy fees to third parties but said it was later “satisfied” that these specific payments were a reasonable reimbursement for expenses incurred by the companies in the formation of the charity.
It added that it was also satisfied that the payments were “adequately identified and managed”.
Stephen Jones, chairman of the board of trustees of the Captain Tom Foundation, said: “We will of course work closely with the commission in its inquiry relating to intellectual property management.
“I note that the trustees confirmed with the commission during the process of registration that the ‘image rights and intellectual property rights of the name were held within a private family trust’, and the commission was aware that this was always intended to be the case.
“We welcome that the Charity Commission today reports that it is ‘satisfied’ in relation to questions that had been raised about the foundation’s annual report which was published in February, and has concluded that payments were reasonable and that conflicts of interest were identified and managed.”
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Capt Tom’s daughter: ‘You will be with me always’
Jack Gilbert, who took on the role of chief executive at the beginning of the month, added: “My appointment marks the start of an important period of transformation for the Captain Tom Foundation.
“With a revitalised and more focused mission, in coming months we will be announcing an array of charitable activities at both grassroots and national levels that change the way we think, feel and act towards age and ageing, combat ageism, and build meaningful connections between communities and generations.
“Working with the board, I am using the NCVO-backed Trusted Charities standards to ensure that in all respects, including governance and finance, the foundation conforms to best practice. These will be externally validated as part of the process.”
The group of MPs published their conclusions on Thursday, saying banning babies from the Chamber had been a “long-standing practice of the House” and its inquiry had come to the same conclusion.
“Members should not bring babies with them into the Chamber, Westminster Hall or general committees when they are seeking to observe, initiate, speak or intervene in proceedings,” said a committee statement.
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The MPs did say those chairing debates “should retain a degree of de facto discretion” on the matter, but recommended it only be “exercised sparingly”.
And they called on the Liaison Committee to consider if the same rules should be mirrored in select committee proceedings.
The ruling is likely to anger some MPs, who have raised concerns about being able to represent their constituents after giving birth, as they are not entitled to maternity leave.
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‘Politics isn’t set up for parents’
Speaking to Sky News when the row broke out, Ms Creasy said her only option when breastfeeding was to take her baby to work.
She received the support of members from across the House, including Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab, who said the Commons “needed to make sure that we’re in the 21st Century”.
Speaking about the allegations in The Sunday Times, the aide said: “As we said over the weekend, it was passed immediately to his charities, and it was his charities who decided to accept the money.
“That is a decision for them, and they did so and as they confirmed it followed all of the right processes, the auditors looked at it.”
They added: “The Prince of Wales operates on advice. Situations, contexts change over the years.
“For more than half a decade, with the situation as it has evolved, this has not happened – and it would not happen again. That was then, this is now, and they are not the same.”
The three lots of money, which totalled €3m, were handed to the prince personally between 2011 and 2015 by Qatar’s former prime minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani, known as HBJ.
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The palace has not denied that on one occasion, he presented the prince with €1m which was reportedly put into carrier bags from Fortnum & Mason, the luxury food store that has a royal charter to provide the Royal Family with groceries.
Clarence House insists all correct processes were followed over the donations. The cash payments were deposited into the accounts of the Prince of Wales’s Charitable Fund (PWCF), an entity that bankrolls the prince’s private projects and his country estate in Scotland, it added.
Campaign group Republic had demanded full disclosure over the matter, describing the events as “shocking” and saying it raised “serious questions about Charles’s judgment” amid other cash for honours accusations.
The senior palace aide went on to stress the Charity Commission has not opened an investigation. On Monday, the charity watchdog did say it was aware of the reports about donations and is looking into the matter.
It said: “We will review the information to determine whether there is any role for the Commission in this matter.”
Charities are allowed to accept donations in cash, and there is no suggestion anything about the payments was illegal.
Nelson Piquet has apologised “wholeheartedly” to Lewis Hamilton – but “strongly condemns any suggestion” the expression he used when referring to the F1 ace during an interview was racially offensive.
The 69-year-old former world champion – who is the father of Max Verstappen’s partner, Kelly Piquet – reportedly used a racial slur in Portuguese when discussing a collision between Hamilton and Verstappen during the 2021 British GP on a Brazilian podcast last November.
But he insisted the word he used had been mistranslated.
Piquet said in a statement: “I would like to clear up the stories circulating in the media about a comment I made in an interview last year.
“What I said was ill thought out, and I make no defence for it, but I will clarify that the term used is one that has widely and historically been used colloquially in Brazilian Portuguese as a synonym for ‘guy’ or ‘person’ and was never intended to offend.
“I would never use the word I have been accused of in some translations. I strongly condemn any suggestion that the word was used by me with the aim of belittling a driver because of his skin colour.
“I apologise wholeheartedly to anyone that was affected, including Lewis, who is an incredible driver, but the translation in some media that is now circulating on social media is not correct. Discrimination has no place in F1 or society and I am happy to clarify my thoughts in that respect.”
NATO has vowed to “significantly strengthen our deterrence and defence” capabilities as the alliance adopts a “new strategic concept”, with a warning to Russia that it must “immediately” withdraw from Ukraine.
Leaders from the 30 members have been meeting in Madrid to discuss the war in Ukraine, support for Kyiv, and how to combat Russian President Vladimir Putin.
They are also looking to overhaul NATO’s strategies and boost forces.
Setting out a blueprint for threats and challenges, the alliance promised to “defend every inch” of its territory as it outlined a “deterrence and defence posture” based on a mix of “nuclear, conventional and missile defence capabilities”.
Beyond Russia, its newly published Strategic Concept described China as a challenge to “our interests, security, and values” – and said Beijing “seeks to undermine the rules-based international order”.
NATO’s secretary general Jens Stoltenberg said it represented “fundamental shifts in our defence” and that it was the “first time since the Cold War” that such plans had been in force.
Among the announcements are plans to:
• Strengthen forward defences • Enhance presence on eastern flank • Increase the number of high-readiness forces well over 300,000 • Boost ability to reinforce any ally • Strengthen command and control
Ukraine’s leader President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has hailed the summit as “crucial and groundbreaking” and said: “Today is really the beginning of a new history.”
“In a time of extremely aggressive Kremlin, the world needs an extremely bold alliance,” he added.
But Mr Zelenskyy warned: “You are now adopting the strategy of the alliance – and this is first and foremost a strategy for the security of your societies, your states. Strategy for 10 years.
“A hundred and twenty-six days of full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Cruise missiles, torture, children murdered, women raped… We do not have 10 years. Do you have them? Are you really sure about that?”
He went on: “While democracies were calling on the Russian leadership to have reason and morality, Russia was accumulating power and missiles. You, the democratic leaders, have urged it to respect international law, but tyrants understand force. And force only.”
Mr Zelenskyy said he looked forward to a common victory, but said other states could be fired on by Russia and that would be “our common failure”.
Speaking about Russian aggression, he went on: “It does not want to stop in Donbas or somewhere in the south of Ukraine, it wants to absorb city after city, all of us, and then all in Europe, whom the Russian leadership considers its property, not independent states. This is Russia’s real goal.
“The question is – who is next for it? Moldova? Or the Baltic countries? Or Poland? The answer is – all of them.”
The EU’s executive branch has proposed a ban on the sale of flavoured heated tobacco products, including some vaping products, as part of its plan to fight cancer.
The European Commission said in a statement that its proposal comes in response to a significant increase in the volume of such products sold across the 27-nation bloc.
A recent commission study showed a 10% increase in sales of heated tobacco products in more than five member nations.
The ban would not cover all vaping devices, only those delivering heated tobacco. Many e-cigarettes only contain liquids and nicotine.
Stella Kyriakides, commissioner for health and food safety, said: “By removing flavoured heated tobacco from the market we are taking yet another step towards realising our vision under Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan to create a ‘Tobacco Free Generation’ with less than 5% of the population using tobacco by 2040.”
“With nine out of ten lung cancers caused by tobacco, we want to make smoking as unattractive as possible to protect the health of our citizens and save lives.
“Stronger actions to reduce tobacco consumption, stricter enforcement and keeping pace with new developments to address the endless flow of new products entering the market – particularly important to protect younger people – is key for this.
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“Prevention will always be better than cure.”
Philip Morris International has the biggest share of the heated tobacco market, according to the University of Bath.
According to EU figures, cancer was the second-leading cause of death in the bloc of 450 million residents. There were about 1.3 million cancer deaths and 3.5 million new cases per year in the EU.
An estimated 40% of EU citizens would face cancer at some point in their lives, with an annual economic impact estimated around €100bn (£87bn).
The proposal now goes to member nations and European Parliament lawmakers for review.