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Queen Elizabeth II was 'angry' over naming of Prince Harry's baby Lilibet, and other revelations from a new royals book

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LONDON, England -

Another day, another book packed with royal revelations. This time, it’s the latest tome from Robert Hardman -- journalist, author, and documentary filmmaker -- called "Charles III: New King. New Court. The Inside Story."

His last book, "Queen of Our Times: The Life of Queen Elizabeth" was a bestseller, and this latest body of work is set to be the same.

It promises to be an “… account of a tumultuous period in British history, full of intriguing insider detail and the real stories behind the sadness, the dazzling pomp, the challenges and the triumphs as Charles III sets out to make his mark.”

Here, I take a look at five revelations from Hartman's latest.

Queen was as 'angry as he had seen her…'

Prince Harry spoke lovingly about his relationship with Queen Elizabeth II. The Sussexes named their daughter Lilibet after the Queen, in a sweet tribute to her, using her childhood nickname that came about after she couldn’t properly pronounce her own name when she was little.

When the Sussexes announced their daughter’s name, a row ensued over its usage and whether the Queen approved it or not. In his book, Hardman writes about the Queen’s reaction to her great granddaughter being named after her, as told to him by a member of the household.

“One [member of staff] privately recalled that Elizabeth II had been 'as angry as I'd ever seen her' in 2021 after the Sussexes announced that she had given them her blessing to call their baby daughter 'Lilibet', the Queen's childhood nickname.

Queen Elizabeth II stands on the balcony during the Platinum Jubilee Pageant at the Buckingham Palace in London, Sunday, June 5, 2022, on the last of four days of celebrations to mark the Platinum Jubilee. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein, Pool)

The couple had subsequently fired off warnings of legal action against anyone who dared to suggest otherwise, as the BBC had done. However, when the Sussexes tried to co-opt the Palace into propping up their version of events, they were rebuffed. Once again, it was a case of 'recollections may vary' — the late Queen's reaction to the Oprah Winfrey interview — as far as Her Majesty was concerned.

Those noisy threats of legal action duly evaporated and the libel action against the BBC never materialised.”

Hardman also goes on to say in the book, “In fact, I understand the Queen was so upset by the Sussexes' decision that she told aides: 'I don't own the palaces, I don't own the paintings, the only thing I own is my name. And now they've taken that.”

The Queen’s final wishes

The Queen’s 70-year reign was nothing short of remarkable. Her dedication to a life of service was evident right up until her death.

Hardman reveals that even on her death bed, Her Majesty was fulfilling her royal duties. The famous red boxes that the Queen got every day contained sensitive state secrets and cabinet minutes that she would read through and comment on if necessary.

When the Queen passed away, the footman discovered the very last red box that Her Majesty had received. Her private secretary had the task of going through it.

“Sir Edward Young was not sure what to expect as he turned the lock. Inside, he found that Elizabeth II had left a sealed letter to her heir and a private letter to himself. Were they final instructions or final farewells? Or both? We will probably never know what they said. However, it is clear that the Queen had known that the end was imminent and had planned accordingly.

There was something else in that red box, too. It was the long-list of candidates to fill vacancies in the ranks of the Order of Merit, together with notes on each one, so that the Queen could approve her own shortlist," wrote Hardman.

"The OM had always been in the gift of the monarch, not the Government, with membership limited to 24 at any one time. And the Queen had always taken this duty extremely seriously.

Just two days before her death, the paperwork had gone up to her so that she could go through the notes and tick her choices…. It was the last document ever handled by Queen Elizabeth II.

Even on her deathbed, there had been work to do. And she had done it.”

Princess Anne and that hat

Everyone remembers Princess Anne, the Princess Royal, at the Coronation, resplendent in her uniform of the Blues and Royals, complete with the garter sash and full-sized medals, and of course that rather wonderful hat.

Princess Anne in the gardens of Buckingham Place as King Charles III receives a royal salute from members of the military in the gardens of Buckingham Place, London, after the coronation ceremony, Saturday, May 6, 2023. (Andrew Milligan/Pool via AP)

She was sitting directly in front of Prince Harry which somewhat obscured his view. The memes on social media started almost immediately, with people saying it was a deliberate move. According to the Princess Royal, it wasn’t….

“[Prince] Harry is immediately behind the Princess Royal, in her robe and striking red-plumed bicorn hat which remains on her head throughout,” says Robert Hardman.

“Social media snipers instantly concluded that Harry had been deliberately placed behind his aunt's tall hat to obscure his view.

"This is nonsense. Not only do the Lord Chamberlain's Office not think like that, but the Princess Royal had only switched to that seat after her request for a speedy exit.

"The hat was an interesting question,’ the Princess recalled later. ‘I said: "Are you sure you want me to keep the hat on? Because it's quite a decent-sized hat.’ And the answer was yes. There you go. Not my choice.”

Now, it’s worth noting that Princess Anne wanted a quick exit, not because she had somewhere else to be rather than at the Coronation, but because she was serving as the Gold Stick-in-Waiting, the King’s personal protection officer, so played an integral part in the Coronation procession.

Decommissioned dukes remain a problem

Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, and Prince Andrew leave Westminster Abbey following the coronation ceremony of Britain's King Charles and Queen Camilla, in London, Saturday, May 6, 2023. (Toby Melville, Pool via AP)

We might be in a new year, but it’s clear from Hardman’s book that King Charles III faces the same issues – namely what to do about strained relationships within the family.

With Prince Harry continuing his life in the U.S. with his wife and children, and contact between them limited to birthdays, it’s a relationship that needs defrosting.

Issues surrounding Prince Andrew and his association with the late American financer and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein continue to plague The Firm with more revelations causing further damage.

Hardman writes, “… the question of the two decommissioned royal Dukes is not likely to go away. In both cases, the King has decided to keep relations civil and pragmatic rather than confrontational. [When it comes to Prince Andrew]… potential or further surprises… make any prospect of public rehabilitation impossible for the Duke in the foreseeable future.

Royal insiders point to two other considerations. First, he remains penitent and eager to please, though he might not remain so were he to be cast out of the royal fold. Second, there are those who fear for his mental well-being.

One official who had known him over many years during his days as a working member of the family was astonished by the transformation in him after a meeting since his internal exile describing him as ‘almost incoherent.’”

The question of what to do when it comes to Prince Andrew is one that remains unanswered, but is a circle that the King will have to square in his reign, as a King William may not be so kind.

Our future King

The future of the monarchy comes into sharp focus in Hardman’s book, as we look beyond the reign of both Queen Elizabeth II and King Charles III. Prince William, the heir to the throne, is thought to be lazer-focused on one essential part of his job – that’s raising a future King.

Hardman says, “Quite apart from all his duties as Prince of Wales, Prince William has what he regards as one paramount duty. It is one which some of his predecessors virtually ignored: training the heir.

"'In his view, it's not far off the most important job he has — raising the next King but one,' says a family friend.”

Queen Camilla, King Charles III, Prince William and Catherine, Princess of Wales, pose for a photograph ahead of the Diplomatic Reception in the 1844 Room at Buckingham Palace in London, England, Tuesday Dec. 5, 2023. (Photo by Chris Jackson Pool/Getty Images)

Prince William and his wife Catherine have often said in the past how important their family life is, and this will be in sharp contrast to the upbringing that the King had, where he talked about the Queen being away for long periods of time.

Prince William’s upbringing was also overshadowed by the war of the Wales’ -- between his mother and father. The Prince of Wales is determined to give Prince George as normal an upbringing as you can have within the Firm, until it’s his turn to ascend to the throne.

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