Queen delights world leaders with joke at glittering G7 reception


he Queen put world leaders at ease on Friday night as she shared a joke during a glittering G7 reception in Cornwall.

She was joined by the Prince of Wales, the Duchess of Cornwall and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at the Eden Project.

Shortly after arriving at the venue, she posed for a photograph with Angela Merkel, Ursula von der Leyen, Emmanuel Macron, Justin Trudeau, Joe Biden and Boris Johnson, among others.

As photographers took pictures she quipped: “Are you supposed to be looking as if you’re enjoying yourself?”

The group descended into laughter as Mr Johnson replied “yes”.

“We have been enjoying ourselves – in spite of appearances,” he added.

Mrs Merkel walked over to the Queen and thanked her for posing for the picture, saying: “Thank you for doing that for us.”

It was the royals’ first joint engagement since the pandemic began.

Their presence at the G7 summit is part of the government’s attempts to maximise the royal family’s powers of soft diplomacy.

Mr Johnson’s new wife Carrie and First Lady Jill Biden also attended the reception.

After the photocall, the Prince of Wales hosted an event with CEOs and G7 leaders urging them to display the same sense of urgency in response to climate change as they showed in tackling the coronavirus pandemic.

Charles said the Covid-19 pandemic had shown what a “truly borderless crisis” looks like.

“Of course, we did not fully see Covid coming,” he said.

“Yet climate change and biodiversity loss represent a borderless crisis, the solutions to which have been argued about and postponed for far too long.”

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Queen of the State of Origin meme


As far as disastrous PR opportunities go, politicians pretending to be sports fans is right up the top of the list. From John Howard’s abysmal attempt to bowl a cricket ball to, well, Kevin Rudd’s equally abysmal effort, we have a long and YouTubeable history of politicians dropping the ball – literally.

But none have been quite as bizarre as the tweet offered up by NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian this week, ahead of the State of Origin game between NSW and Queensland.

Posted a casual four hours before kick-off, the image is both baffling and brilliant. Here we see a beanie-clad Gladys frozen rigidly in what appears to be a blacked-out hotel room. At least, we assume it is her, but really that back could belong to anyone.

The Premier is clutching a can of Coke No Sugar – the drink of choice for footy fans – and staring in the direction of a tiny television that is, annoyingly, out of frame. Given the composition and breathlessness of the photo, you get the feeling someone off-camera may be holding a gun.

The tweet was posted at 4pm with the caption: “Getting ready for Game 1”, but the State of Origin didn’t kick off until 8pm. So taking Gladys at her word (and why wouldn’t we?), we are to assume she was so geed up for the big dance she shuffled into position four hours early. With just one can of Coke.

Undoubtedly this hastily prepared social media post was the work of a (presumably) ex-staffer. Fire the tweet off, and let’s move on, shall we? Unfortunately, the internet is less forgiving, and almost as soon as Gladys bungled her way onto the bandwagon, the memes did flow.

They say it’s the people closest to you who hurt you the most, which is probably how Gladys felt when Deputy Premier John Barilaro stuck the boot in early.

Gladys Watching Things looks set to become a legendary meme series in its own right, with Twitter users wasting no time inserting SportsFan Gladys into a series of different scenarios.

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Chinese social media users joke about the Queen dying after UK embassy’s Tiananmen candle post



A false hashtag about Queen Elizabeth dying has gone viral on Chinese social media after the UK embassy posted an image of a candle to mark the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre.

All references and mentions of the crackdown and the date it happened, June 4, are censored on Chinese social media. Even candle and cake emojis were turned off in the Twitter-like app Weibo in the days before June 4, which was on Friday.

However, the embassy, which has 1.8 million followers on Weibo, posted the image of a candle without any message or context on Friday, which prompted hundreds of posts with the hashtag, literally translated as “the Queen died of illness”. The Queen has not died. 

A tweet by Christina Scott, the UK’s deputy head of mission in China, said the original candle post on Weibo was censored after only 20 minutes.

“Thanks to the British Embassy in China for the reminder. May the Queen have a good journey,” one Weibo user, Zhu He, wrote.

“The British Embassy in China played petty tricks but now got the Queen involved. The Queen’s passing has become a joke on the Chinese internet,” another Weibo user wrote.

“Are they using the Queen’s life to mock? How vulgar is it to approve such behaviour?” said another. 

Some other comments suggested the Queen’s “death” might be linked to the AstraZeneca vaccine. 

Someone even edited the Chinese Wikipedia page for the Queen to say she died on June 4. 

The hashtag has since been viewed more than 47 million times.

China has never provided a full account of the June 4, 1989, crackdown on democracy protests in Tiananmen Square.

According to an official document viewed by the ABC, the death toll given by officials days later was less than 300, including 36 university students and dozens of soldiers. But according to a secret UK diplomatic cable released in 2017, thousands of protesters may have been killed.

The event has remained a sore point for Beijing, which has attempted to suppress any mention of the event.

Hu Xijin, editor-in-chief of the nationalist tabloid Global Times, said in a post on Weibo that jokes about the Queen’s death were a “heavy price” paid by the embassy for its “provocative” post.

Liu Yiming, a former journalist and member of the Independent Chinese PEN Center, told the ABC the reasons behind the spread of the misinformation were complicated.

Speaking from China, Mr Liu said some social media users who knew about the massacre may have helped spread the hashtag to attract people’s curiosity on “what really happened to the British Embassy’s post”.

“Many Chinese netizens’ sarcastic comments and photos have gone viral, in a push to get more people to talk about an important matter,” he said, adding that some internet users may have mourned the victims by spreading this misinformation.

“Chinese authorities now have so much control over speech. Many things are not allowed to be commented on directly, but rather discussed more subtly.

“This was misinformation, but officials might think its beneficial and did not censor the topic.”

Mr Liu said some nationalists may also have taken the opportunity to attack the British Embassy in China.

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Shoppers shun Queen St as CBD office occupancy struggles post COVID-19


By Tony Moore

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Had a clear out, Charles? Future King hosts video call in front of just single photo of him with the Queen, Prince William and Prince George… after previously sitting by sideboard heaving with snaps of Harry and the rest of family



Prince Charles has given a video message about the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee next year with just a single photo of his mother, eldest son and eldest grandchild behind him amid growing concerns about Prince Harry’s brutal criticism of his upbringing and his ‘pot-shots’ at the Royal Family from LA.

The Prince of Wales has been seen throughout the pandemic on video calls from his offices at Highgrove or Birkhall with an array of family photos behind him, including several of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and their son Archie.

But the heir to the throne launched a campaign to plant millions of trees to celebrate his mother’s Platinum Jubilee next year, with just a single framed photo of himself with the Queen, Prince William and Prince George – the line of succession to the throne.

It came as Harry hinted he was ready to pour his heart out again about his mother Diana’s death and his  relationship with his father in an emotional trailer for a new mental health documentary for Apple, due for release on Friday. The Duke of Sussex also appeared to question his father’s parenting in a podcast last week.

Royal insiders have expressed their exasperation at Harry and say it is becoming impossible for the family to repair their fractured relationships because of his insistence at taking ‘pot-shots’ from across the Atlantic. 

While another source told the Mirror: ‘There is concern given the Duke and Duchess’s recent claims as to just what they may have said to Winfrey. They have not held back in their allegations and there is nothing to suggest they won’t make further ones’. MailOnline has asked Clarence House to comment.

Harry’s criticism of his childhood is merely echoing details shared by a younger Prince Charles in a biography about his own unhappy upbringing, sources close to the Sussexes suggest. 

The Duke of Sussex, 36, faced a backlash from Royal aides on Monday after they claimed he had shown a ‘woeful lack of compassion’ for his family by implying Prince Charles and the Queen had failed him as a child.

Speaking to Dax Shepard, host of the ‘Armchair Expert’ podcast, Prince Harry said that his father had treated him ‘the way he was treated’, with Harry asking himself ‘so how can I change that for my own kids?’.

The Duke then went on to add that he and Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, had made the move to the US to ‘break the cycle’ of ‘genetic pain’ he had experienced growing up.  

Senior palace aides told The Mail on Sunday of a growing sense of ‘bewilderment and betrayal’, and even called for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex to give up their titles following Prince Harry’s latest ‘disgraceful’ assault on the Royal Family. 

Royal courtiers also claimed the Prince had shown a ‘woeful lack of compassion’ and ‘thrown others under the bus’ during the latest podcast interview, The Telegraph reports.

But sources close to Prince Harry were quick to point out that Prince Charles had lived through his own tell-all moment in a 1994 when he authorised Jonathan Dimbleby to write The Prince of Wales: A Biography, following extensive personal interviews with the Prince, The Telegraph reports.

In the book Dimbleby wrote of Charles’ unhappy childhood with details the Prince laid bare. The book was largely interpreted as Charles’s account of the breakdown of his marriage to Princess Diana. 

The comparison comes as a new trailer for the Duke of Sussex and Oprah Winfrey’s new Apple TV+ mental health series featured a video of the young prince alongside his father Prince Charles at his mother Princess Diana’s funeral 24 years ago. 

The stand-out feature of the trailer comes as a 13-year-old Harry is shown watching Diana’s coffin passing him during her funeral in London in 1997. 

Charles can be seen speaking to his heartbroken son as a female voiceover says over dramatic music: ‘Treating people with dignity is the first act’. Harry tells Oprah: ‘To make that decision to receive help is not a sign of weakness. In today’s world more than ever, it is a sign of strength.’

The trailer for ‘The Me You Can’t See’ – which is set to be released this Friday – features Meghan, Archie and a major hint that the Duke will again pour his heart out about the Royal Family and his relationship with Charles.

It includes tearful interviews with singer Lady Gaga, actress Glenn Close and US chat show queen Oprah herself as well as a feature on a Syrian refugee named Fawzi, described as a hero on the programme. 

The two-minute promo, which was released on the Archewell website and YouTube, will likely be seen as another barbed attack on the Royal Family and spark fresh pain for Charles, coming so soon after Prince Harry said he quit as a frontline royal to ‘break the cycle’ of ‘genetic suffering’.  

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Queen Elizabeth II jokes with sculptor, discusses vaccine rollout in first video call to Australia


Meeting with Queen Elizabeth often involves a large entourage and plenty of pomp and ceremony — but there was little of that, and some light humour, in a video call to Australia.

The Queen made the call to South Australian Premier Steven Marshall, Governor Hieu Van Le and sculptor Robert Hannaford on Wednesday last week.

Footage of the video call was released by Buckingham Palace this morning.

Governor Van Le said he understood that it was the Queen’s first video call to Australia.

“We are so honoured to be receiving this call from you,” he said.

The Queen expressed delight at her likeness in the statue, created by the South Australian sculptor, which has been unveiled at Government House in Adelaide.

The Queen joins a video call with South Australian Governor Hieu Van Le and Premier Steven Marshall.(

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During the call, Mr Hannford presented the Queen with a scale model, or maquette, of the statue.

“That’s very kind … I’m glad it’s not quite as big as the original,” she said.

Mr Marshall briefed the Queen on the progress of COVID-19 vaccinations, which are being administered to frontline workers, South Australia’s response to the pandemic and the lifting of coronavirus restrictions.

The Premier said the state was “getting almost back to a sense of normality”.

“We have the Adelaide Festival of Arts on at the moment, we have the Adelaide Fringe on … I think this year they could be the largest in the world again,” he said.

The Queen said it sounded “very good”.

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Artist pleased with the Queen’s response to work

Mr Hannaford told ABC Radio Adelaide’s Ali Clark and David Bevan he travelled to the UK before the COVID-19 pandemic hit for a sitting.

“My wife and I were invited to Windsor Castle for a sitting with the Queen for the sculpture,” Mr Hannaford said.

He had a brief sitting of 15 minutes with the Queen, which he said turned into about half an hour.

“I had time to do five different drawings of her in the round,” he said.

“On the Zoom the other night, she said it looked lovely.

“At the time during the sittings I had an opportunity to have a bit of a chat with her.

“It means a lot … she is probably the most famous person I have ever portrayed.

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Netflix’s Bridgerton is set to release spin-off focused on young Queen Charlotte


etflix is set to create a spin-off to its hit show Bridgerton, which will focus on the origin of Queen Charlotte.

The Queen Charlotte limited series will centre on the rise and love life of a young Charlotte, according to deadline news.

The programme will also feature a young Violet Bridgerton and a young Lady Danbury.

A tweet from Netflix said: “All Hail The Queen.

“Thrilled to announce we’re expanding the Bridgerton universe with a limited series that will tell Queen Charlotte’s origin story — the series will also feature young Violet Bridgerton and young Lady Danbury.”

Shonda Rhimes will write the series and serve as executive producer alongside Tom Verica and Betsy Beers.

Rhimes said: “As we continue to expand the world of Bridgerton, we now have the opportunity to devote even more of the Shondaland fold to the Bridgerton-verse.”

The title and release date have not yet been revealed.

Bridgerton, which is produced by Rhimes’ Shondaland, has been a ratings hit for Netflix.

The company revealed in January that the raunchy period drama, which is filmed in the UK, was its biggest ever original series after it was viewed by a record 82 million households in 28 days.

It has previously been announced that Rege-Jean Page will not return for the second season of the drama.

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Meet Queensland’s youngest drag queen Candy Featherbottom — challenging perceptions at the local bowls club


The 13-year-old Ipswich boy is a singer, dancer, aspiring actor, black belt in karate and Queensland’s youngest drag queen.

“It was just a spark that flew in me … it’s just another way of acting and performing for me,” he said.

Logan made his drag debut at the North Ipswich Bowls Club, south-west of Brisbane, at just 10 years old.

The space doubles as a family-friendly drag club called Taboo where once a month for the past 10 years, drag queens perform to sold out audiences.

Logan used to watch the show with his family until one night, he was challenged by one of the queens to walk across the stage in high heels.

“A lot of the people thought I was going to do the little walk strut back but I wanted to do it properly,” he said.

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Harry and Meghan’s son Archie speaks with an American accent in phone calls with the Queen


Since Prince Harry and Meghan Markle made the move to the US last year with their son Archie, it’s believed the family have kept in regular contact with the Queen via Zoom.

And not missing out on Archie’s second birthday last week, the 95-year-old monarch is said to have marked the occasion speaking with her great-grandson over video chat.

According to sources, the young royal, who now has quite the vocabulary, “speaks with a distinct American accent” just like his mum Meghan, Mirror reports.

RELATED: Meg and Harry’s birthday wish for Archie

Since Meghan and Harry moved to California last year, royal fans haven’t seen much of their son Archie.

But during his appearance on James Corden’s The Late Late Show earlier this year, the Duke of Sussex opened up about his son’s first adorable words.

Harry said: “My son is now over a year and a half, he is hysterical, he’s got the most amazing personality, he’s already putting two, three words together, he’s already singing songs.

“His first word was ‘crocodile’, three syllables!”

RELATED: Meghan, Harry share rare Archie pic

Meanwhile, during the couple’s chat with Oprah, Harry said Archie likes to point out things like “palm tree” and “house” as he goes past.

And speaking of his favourite words at the time, Meghan revealed: “He’s on a roll, in the past couple of weeks it’s been ‘hydrate’ which is hysterical.”

The video call is one of many to the Queen over the last year as Harry revealed in the couple’s interview with Oprah in March that he had spoken to the Queen more in the last year than he had for “many, many years.”

“My grandmother and I have a really good relationship. And an understanding. And I have a deep respect for her,” he added.

In addition to the Zoom chat, a sweet tribute was shared on the Royal Family’s official Instagram and Twitter page which read: “Wishing Archie Mountbatten-Windsor a very happy 2nd birthday today.”

The photo shows the family cooing over their newborn as Meghan cradles her son.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge also shared a sweet message on their account, writing: “Wishing Archie a very happy 2nd birthday today,” followed by a balloon and cake emoji.

Archie will soon be a big brother with Meghan currently pregnant and expecting to give birth sometime in the coming months.

Harry and Meghan spoke about their second pregnancy during the chat with Oprah and revealed that they are having a baby girl in the northern hemisphere summer.

This article originally appeared on The Sun and is reproduced here with permission.

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Zulu war of succession: Hundreds of warriors escort Queen Mantfombi’s body through Johannesburg amid claims that she was poisoned by rivals after King Goodwill Zwelithini’s death



Mourners draped in leopardskin have paraded in honour of Zulu Queen Mantfombi, rumoured to have been poisoned after she was named successor to the late king.

Hundreds of warriors with cowhide shields escorted the queen’s body through the streets of Johannesburg on Wednesday ahead of a private funeral held in her ancestral lands today.

The pageantry masks a bitter war of succession being waged within the palace among King Goodwill Zwelithini’s five surviving wives and 28 children – not just for the title but for the vast wealth and land which goes with it.

There have been lurid allegations, including that the king’s will was forged and that Mantfombi was assassinated.

Princess Thembi, one of Zwelithini’s sisters, denied the claims last week, complaining to reporters: ‘People think we’re murderers.’ 

Mantfombi, known as the ‘great queen,’ was named interim successor in the king’s will after his death on March 12. 

She died unexpectedly in hospital of an unspecified illness on April 30. There is no evidence of any foul play. 

It had been expected that her eldest son 47-year-old Prince Misuzulu would be next line.

But in a dramatic turn of events, Zwelithini’s first wife, Queen Sibongile Dlamini, went to challenge the king’s will and demand recognition as his only legitimate spouse. 

A handwriting expert has reportedly been hired to try to prove that the king’s signature was forged.

The first wife, Sibongile Dlamini, and her daughters by Zwelithini are taking their legal challenge to Pietermaritzburg High Court in a legal battle that is captivating South Africa.

Sibongile Dlamini is demanding half of his estate, as well as sole recognition that she is the only legal wife of the late king.  

Although the title of Zulu king does not bestow executive power, the charismatic Zwelithini had moral influence over more than 11 million Zulus, nearly a fifth of South Africa’s population. 

The monarch also enjoys an annual taxpayer-funded budget of more than £3.5 million and controls around a third of the land in the province of KwaZulu-Natal, charging rent.

On Wednesday, hundreds of mourners paraded through the Johannesburg suburb of Hillbrow to accompany Mantfombi’s body, singing and dancing as they made their way to the mortuary under a clear autumn sky.

Zulu regiments known as ‘amaButho’, donned traditional leopardskin ponchos and headbands, wielding clubs and shields made of animal hide.

Young women wore colourful miniskirts and beads, while their elderly married counterparts followed in head wraps and patterned shawls.

‘Our wounds had not healed from the passing of the king, now the queen has followed,’ said mourner Jabu Mangena, dressed in black and wearing a broad-brimmed red hat.

‘We will remember her as a woman who was proud of her culture and heritage,’ she said. 

Mourners will accompany the queen’s remains to KwaKhangelamankengane Royal Palace in the southeastern town of Nongoma, around 300 miles from Johannesburg, where she will be buried privately on Thursday.

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