Kate glows at designer fashion event

A GLOWING Kate Middleton used a stunning print dress to show off her baby bump as she entertained guests at a lavish Buckingham Palace reception.

The Duchess of Cambridge plumped for the stunning black Edrem number just hours after she was criticised for failing to wear black to the BAFTAs as part of a campaign highlighting sex harassment, reports The Sun.

Kate was hosting a reception for the Commonwealth Fashion Exchange, which aims to create partnerships between designing talent in Commonwealth countries.

Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop was also expected to attend the event.

In London to discuss Australian Foreign Policy and the benefits of free trade agreements, Bishop has made time to take on another, less official role, as “Fashion Minister”.

Hosting the best of British fashion event with Australian High Commissioner Alexander Downer earlier this week, Bishop caught up Australian designer Willow — who was chosen to be part of the inaugural Commonwealth Exchange Program.

Of her own style, Ms Bishop told News Corp in 2014 that she prefers to buy “investment pieces” but is careful to live within her means.

“I’m careful with what I spend but I also try to buy clothes that will promote an appropriate image for Australia,” she said.

She said she’s a fan of Armani and Isabel Aujoulet, as well as Louis Vuittonand Christian Louboutin shoes.

She was accompanied by the Countess of Wessex, who chose a simple striped Burberry dress.

Kate tenderly rested her hands on her bump as she chatted to a star-studded guest list that included designer Stella McCartney, supermodel Naomi Campbell, and America Vogue editor Dame Anna Wintour.

Kate is expecting her third child with Prince William in April.

She is already mother to four-year-old Prince George and two-year-old Princess Charlotte.

The Duchess made her first public appearance after announcing the pregnancy on World Mental Health Day after missing every official engagement for more than a month.

The time off sparked fears that she could be suffering from hyperemesis gravidarum (severe morning sickness), which may have forced her to announce the pregnancy early.

This story first appeared in The Sun.

Watson donates $2m to sex abuse fund

HARRY Potter actor Emma Watson has made a $2 million donation to a new fund that will help set up a framework and provide support for those affected by sexual harassment.

Tom Hiddleston and Keira Knightley are among the names listed on the official Go Fund Me page as having each donated $18,000.

Other donations visible are $1000 from Emma Thompson, and $2000 each from Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Doctor Who star Jodie Whittaker and Noomi Rapace. The donations follow the publication of an open letter backed by more than 200 leading female stars in the entertainment industry.

The letter, one of two published in The Observer newspaper ahead of Sunday night’s Bafta awards, demands the eradication of sexual harassment from across all industries.

Double Oscar-winner Thompson and Bond star Naomie Harris are among signatories on the open letter standing shoulder-to-shoulder with the Time’s Up movement in calling for an end to harassment, abuse, and impunity in a world “ripe for change”.

The stars of film, TV and stage have also joined forces with more than 160 activists, academics and service providers, to launch the Justice and Equality Fund which will resource a network of support and advocacy across the UK.

The Bafta film awards will see Britain’s biggest stars joined by activists on the red carpet, while many attendees will wear black in solidarity with Time’s Up, the movement launched following the sexual harassment scandal that engulfed Hollywood after allegations were made against film producer Harvey Weinstein.

The open letter from women in entertainment states: “This movement is bigger than just a change in our industry alone.

“This movement is intersectional, with conversations across race, class, community, ability and work environment, to talk about the imbalance of power.” The letter highlights the gender pay gap, the insecurities of the gig economy and freelance work as well as research which found more than half of women in the UK have experienced sexual harassment at work.

It says high-profile stars “need to use our power as communicators and connectors to shift the way society sees and treats us”.

“We need to examine the kind of womanhood our industry promotes and sells to the world.” They call for “collective power” in bringing the Time’s Up movement to workers across all industries “in the limelight or the shadows” to galvanise others and invite supporters to donate to their new fund.

Gemma Arterton, Andrea Riseborough, Gemma Chan, and Tessa Thompson are among the stars who will be accompanied at the Baftas by activist guests in a move mirroring the Golden Globes last month.

A second letter signed by more than 160 activists, academics and service providers welcomes the involvement of the stars.

Princess Mary honours late father-in-law

PRINCESS Mary has visited a floral tribute to her late father-in-law, Prince Henrik, as the Danish royal family mourns his death.

Draped in a flag bearing the royal coat of arms, Prince Henrik’s casket was taken on a procession through the streets of Copenhagen.

Thousands of people lined the route as the hearse, which was followed by Henrik’s wife Queen Margrethe, their two sons Prince Frederik and Prince Joachim, and other family members, left Fredensborg Palace where Henrik died on Tuesday aged 83.

Across the country, Danish flags were at half-staff and gun salutes echoed through the capital at dawn, in honour of Henrik, before his white coffin left the castle he loved.

After family members paid their respects privately, the coffin was due to be moved again and from Saturday will go on public display in the chapel of the Christiansborg Palace, which houses Denmark’s Parliament and prime minister’s office.

The funeral will be held on Tuesday for family and friends only.

Although Henrik and the queen appeared to have a solid marriage, the French-born prince had publicly vented his frustration at not being her social equal.

He was titled prince consort — the husband of a reigning queen but not a king — and he wasn’t in the line of succession, his oldest son Prince Frederik being the heir.

Henrik caused a scandal last August by announcing that when he died he didn’t want to be buried next to Margrethe in the cathedral where the remains of Danish royals have gone for centuries. The queen already had a specially designed sarcophagus waiting for the couple.

The palace has said it will respect Henrik’s wish to be cremated, with half his ashes to be spread over Danish seas and the other half buried in the royal family’s private garden at the Fredensborg Palace.

Denmark’s royal family traces its lineage back to the Viking king Gorm the Old, who died in 958.

Daley, Oscar-winning hubby, having baby

TOM Daley and his husband Dustin Lance Black are having a baby.

The Sun reports that the couple, who tied the knot last year, announced the news by posting a baby scan picture on social media.

Olympic diver Daley, 23, captioned an adorable shot of the proud dads-to-be: “HAPPY VALENTINES DAY!”

Screenwriter Black, 43, also shared the news, by posting another shot of them looking loved up.

He wrote alongside it: “A very happy #ValentinesDay from ours to yours. ?‍?‍?.”

Daley met Black in the 2013 and came out as gay in December of the same year.

The sports star said at the time: “I’d never felt the feeling of love, it happened so quickly, I was completely overwhelmed by it to the point I can’t get him out of my head all the time.”

He proposed to the Milk writer in 2015 and they tied the knot two years later, with romantic Daleysinging: “Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art though, Romeo?” to his fiance before the ceremony at the fairytale Bovey castle.

Just 50 close friends and relatives gathered at the lavish five-star golf resort in Dartmoor national park, 48 kilometres from Plymouth, Devon, where Daley grew up.

The exciting baby news comes just weeks after Daley put his London flat up for sale.

Daley and Black had previously had a long distance relationship with him being in London and Black in LA.

He admitted previously that their marriage was “far from perfect” and the distance between them was just one of their struggles.

Daley shared: “Our relationship is far from perfect. We have really tough times and struggles. For example, we went long distance for a very, very, long time: he was in LA, I was living in London. We would spend sometimes five weeks apart.

“And it’s something that was really, really tough and we’ve had to make massive and dramatic changes in our lives in order to be able to live together and see each other all the time. So, it’s not all plain sailing.”

This article originally appeared in The Sun and is republished here with permission

Mary’s father-in-law dead

DENMARK’S Prince Henrik, the husband of Queen Margrethe, has passed away aged 83. He was surrounded by his wife and their two sons, a palace statement said.

His son Crown Prince Frederik, 49, cut short his visit to the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang to return home to his sick father last week. Prince Frederick married Australian Mary Donaldson in 2004.

Henrik and Margrethe have another son, Prince Joachim, who is 48.

The French-born prince, who was admitted to Copenhagen highly specialised hospital Rigshospitalet on January 28 for a lung infection and a benign lung tumour, was transferred to Fredensborg Palace, located 40 kilometresnorth of the capital, “where the prince wishes to spend his last days”.

He was diagnosed with dementia in September 2017.

With a jovial face framed by understated glasses, the 83-year-old prince has a reputation as a bon vivant who enjoys cooking, poetry and wine.

RELATED: Inside Prince Henrik’s final days

But his frequent outbursts of anger and flamboyant style, in a country that values humility and discretion, long irritated the Danish people.

The prince moved to Denmark in 1967 ahead of his June wedding to the then-crown princess, but he found it hard being relegated to a supporting role.

Disappointed that his royal title of prince was never changed to king when his wife became queen in 1972, Henrik spoke out often in the media about his frustration, which did little to endear him to his subjects.

Instead, Danes found him arrogant and hungry for recognition. He retired from public service in 2016, and the following year he revealed that he did not want to be buried next to his wife because he was never made her equal.

Though his decision broke with the tradition of burying royal spouses together in Roskilde Cathedral west of Copenhagen, the queen accepted it, the palace said.

Born Henri Marie Jean Andre de Laborde de Monpezat on June 11, 1934 in Talence, near Bordeaux, the future Danish prince spent much of his youth in Vietnam, then a part of Indo-China, where his father was a businessman.

After finishing secondary school, he studied Vietnamese and Chinese, law and political science in Paris, before completing his French military service with the infantry in Algeria from 1959 to 1962.

He went on to become a diplomat, and met Margrethe — who was then crown princess — while he was stationed in London.

Upon marrying her, he changed his name to Henrik, converted from Catholicism to Protestantism and renounced his French citizenship to become a Dane.

By the time Margrethe acceded to the throne in 1972, the couple had two young children: Prince Frederik, born in 1968, and Joakim, born in 1969.

Teased for his French accent, and unable to understand why protocol required him to remain in his wife’s shadow, Henrik never really found his place in Denmark.

“A lot of people think I’m a loser until I prove them wrong,” he once told the media.

It wasn’t until 1997 that he stood in for his wife at a public engagement for the first time, during a visit to Greenland.

“People are just used to considering Prince Henrik as … a little dog that follows behind and gets a sugar cube once in a while,” he said.

In 2002, he made headlines around the world when he fled to his chateau in southern France to “reflect on life”, complaining that he didn’t receive enough respect in Denmark.

The incident that triggered the crisis occurred when his son, Crown Prince Frederik, was chosen to represent the queen at a New Year’s ceremony, instead of him.

He said he felt “pushed aside, degraded and humiliated”, and “disappointed all the time and walked over in such a way that my self-respect is destroyed”.

Some politicians at the time called Henrik’s behaviour “tiresome” and “disconcerting”, while the media had a field day with it, with one television show conferring on him the title of “Whiner of the Year”.

However, the crisis also marked a turning point as it showed the Danish people a more vulnerable side of Henrik.

In the years that followed, Danes slowly began warming to him. Over time, his contrarian streak and flamboyance made him the “colourful” member of the royal family, and even earned him cult status among young people.

In 2013 he collaborated with Danish pop group Michael Learns To Rock, playing the piano on a track recorded for the king of Thailand.

A few months later he was photographed taking a Sunday stroll with friends in the self-governed Copenhagen hippie community of Christiania, known for its cannabis trade, and in June 2014 he dressed up in a panda costume at a charity event.

In April 2015 he sparked controversy for cancelling his appearance at Margrethe’s 75th birthday celebrations due to ill health, only to resurface in a tourist-packed square in Venice less than two days later.

The tabloids were outraged, but to his fans it was just the kind of erratic behaviour they had come to love him for.

WILL MARY BECOME QUEEN?

Speculation has mounted since as early as last March that Prince Frederik’s mother Queen Margrethe II would abdicate the throne.

This intensified by September, after revelations about her husband Prince Henrik’s seriously ill health.

Prince Henrik’s passing, however, does not mean a change in title for Prince Frederik and Princess Mary … yet.

Queen Margrethe II is the ruling monarch of Denmark, who’s had the throne since 1972 following the death of her father, King Frederick IX.

Prince Frederik and Princess Mary will become King and Queen of Denmark at the time of Queen Margrethe’s abdication or death.

In an interview with Australian Vogue in 2016, Princess Mary spoke about her royal duties and her desire to be a “strong” and “authentic” leader for Denmark.

“I see my role as not just being a voice of the voiceless, but also being able to be a catalyst for bringing people and relevant actors together,” Mary told Australian Vogue.

“I believe that in order to find solutions to some of the most pressing global challenges of today we need to take a holistic approach that requires us to consider the social, environmental and economic aspects and work together in new and innovative partnerships, maybe with people and organisations we wouldn’t have thought about working with before.

“It will require a continuous effort and patience, and strong and authentic leadership: it takes time to create real and sustainable change.

“I try, as effectively as possibly, to use the platform that I have built up over the years to advocate and work for the empowerment of women and of their human rights.”

Mary met Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark at the Slip Inn nightclub in Sydney during the Olympic Games in September 2000.

She claimed she didn’t know the Prince’s status until after they had met. She moved from Australia to Denmark in 2001, after working as an English tutor in Paris.

The couple were engaged on October 8, 2003 and married on May 14, 2004 at Copenhagen Cathedral.

They have four children: Prince Christian Valdemar Henri John, 12, Princess Isabella Henrietta Ingrid Margrethe, 10, Prince Vincent Frederik Minik Alexander, 7, and Princess Josephine Sophia Ivalo Mathilda, 7.

Harry, Meghan’s Scottish fling

MEGHAN Markle charmed the thousands of Scots who had turned out to greet her as she wrapped up in tartan coat for her first official visit to Scotland with Prince Harry.

The pair visited Edinburgh as part of a series of royal engagements leading up to their wedding later this year on May 19.

They met members of the public during a walkabout in the Scottish capital on the eve of Valentine’s Day, reports The Sun.

The trip to Scotland marks the fourth public appearance Markle and Harry have made together.

It follows their successful visits to Nottingham, Brixton in south London and Cardiff in the months that followed their engagement announcement in November.

Today, they made their first stop at the esplanade in front of Edinburgh Castle where they were officially welcomed by the Royal Marines Scotland Band.

The pair stood still to watch the firing of the One O’Clock Gun.

Una Mallon, a mother of four, 47, from Belfast, was excited as she tried to catch a glimpse of the couple.

She said: “We are expecting to see Meghan and Harry, we are so excited.

“My prediction is that Meghan is going to be our new Diana. A wee touch of Meghan adds a bit of sparkle.

“She’s already working behind the scenes as she’s doing secret visits. She is passionate about her causes and I think Harry and her are going to be the perfect team.

“I always have a soft spot for Kate and William, but I think together the boys are doing a great job and their partners show great support.

“We are big fans of the Royal Family. We are visiting Edinburgh for the half term and we are actually considering moving to Edinburgh soon.”

Kim Cameron, 55, from Danderhall, Midlothian, added: “I just want to see them because I love the Royal Family. I want to show them love and support.

“Harry is our favourite, he seems more down to earth. He could be your best friend, just the kind of guy you want to have a beer with. Both of them are like that.

“They seem happy and they try to be as normal as possible. It’s just very exciting and I love the energy too.”

The couple then visited Social Bite, a cafe and social business that tackles homelessness — a cause close to Harry’s heart.

The organisation runs social enterprise cafes throughout Scotland and distributes 100,000 items of food and hot drinks to the homeless each year.

They also employ staff who have experienced homelessness themselves and are working on a housing project for the homeless.

The two stopped to learn more about the social enterprise and toured the kitchen.

It was another high-profile visit for the Social Bite as Holywood star George Clooney stopped by for a sandwich at their premises in 2015.

The couple rounded off their visit by attending a reception at the Palace of Holyroodhouse to celebrate youth achievements.

The Year of Young People is an initiative aiming to inspire Scotland through its youngsters by celebrating their achievements and strengthening their voice on social issues.

Youth representatives from various charities and organisations that work with and for young people across the country were present.

And the reception provided an opportunity for them to discuss their aspirations for the year and the activities that they have been involved in so far.

This story was originally published in The Sun and is reprinted with permission.

Queen bans plastic from royal palaces

QUEEN Elizabeth II has declared war — on plastic — with a new waste plan put into place across the royal estates.

The environmentally-conscious move was said to be inspired by nature documentarian and naturalist Sir David Attenborough, after the pair worked together on a documentary about wildlife in the Commonwealth, according to The Telegraph.

Buckingham Palace has said the royal household has a “strong desire to tackle the issue” and would do so by cutting back plastics, such as straws and plastic bottles.

A spokesman for the Palace said, “Across the organisation, the royal household is committed to reducing its environmental impact.

“As part of that, we have taken a number of practical steps to cut back on the use of plastics,” he said.

These steps would include phasing out plastic straws in public cafes and banning them completely from staff dining areas.

Royal cafe takeaway food containers will now be compostable or biodegradable, while those working and living within Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle, and the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh will only be able to use crockery and glasses, or recyclable cups.

The initiative comes after the EU announced plans to make all plastic in Europe recyclable or reusable by 2030.

The Queen’s stance follows that of her son Prince Charles, who often talks about environmental issues, including the damage plastic garbage is doing to the oceans.

Last year he said climate change was “catastrophically underestimated” and urged that world leaders act urgentally to protect our marine environments.

Prince Charles has a long history of environmental advocacy and established the International Sustainability Unit in 2010 to address major environmental challenges across the globe including marine degradation, deforestation and animal conservation.

He has even weighed in on the degradation of the Great Barrier Reef, saying: “The fact that significant portions of the Great Barrier Reef on Australia’s eastern coast have been severely degraded or lost over the last few years is both a tragedy and also, I would have thought, a very serious wakeup call,” he said.

According Cleanup.org.au, an estimated 1 trillion plastic bags are used and discarded worldwide each year — and many of those bags are only used once.

Australians alone use around 5 billion plastic bags a year — with some 50 million entering the litter stream.

Single-use bags will soon be banned across all states and territories in Australia, except NSW. Meanwhile, major supermarkets — Coles, Woolworths and IGA — have already announced they will phase out single-use plastic bags this year.