The Queen has confirmed that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will not be returning as working members of the Royal Family nearly a year after stepping down, Buckingham Palace said today. The dramatic announcement was made in a palace statement at midday today, and sees the Sussexes quit for good more than one month before the one-year 'Megxit' review was due to be concluded on March 31. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex quit as senior working royals in March 2020 to earn their own money in the US, where they have signed deals with Spotify and Netflix estimated to be worth more than ￡100million. Stepping down as working royals also means the couple, who now live in an ￡11million mansion in Montecito, California, will not be able to hold on to their military, Commonwealth and some other patronages. The decision was made after conversations between the Duke of Sussex and members of the Royal Family. It brings to a conclusion an astonishing week in royal relations between the Sussexes and Buckingham Palace - and while Harry's grandfather the Duke of Edinburgh is being treated at King Edward VII Hospital in London. The military, Commonwealth and charitable associations which will revert to the Queen are: the Royal Marines, RAF Honington, Royal Navy Small Ships and Diving, The Queen's Commonwealth Trust, The Rugby Football Union, The Rugby Football League, The Royal National Theatre and the Association of Commonwealth Universities. The Sussexes, who revealed on Sunday that they are expecting their second child, are poised for an 'intimate' interview about their lives with Oprah Winfrey on March 7, which CBS announced on Monday.
The patronages cutting ties with Harry and Meghan: From the RFU to the National Theatre, organisations declare the couple's roles have ended - within minutes of the Queen's bombshell statement
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have told the Queen they will not be returning to frontline duties following their year outside the Firm. Buckingham Palace said their decision meant 'it is not possible to continue with the responsibilities and duties that come with a life of public service'. A statement said:?'The honorary military appointments and Royal patronages held by the Duke and Duchess will therefore be returned to Her Majesty, before being redistributed among working members of The Royal Family.' Within minutes of the announcement, organisations released their own statements confirming they had parted ways with the Sussexes.
How Britain's Covid vaccine roll-out is REALLY going: Parts of the UK are already jabbing over-50s without underlying conditions... even though some London boroughs have only jabbed 60% of elderly residents
Wales widened their jab roll-out on Monday to include everyone in the next phase at the same time - meaning anyone over the age of 50 can now expect an invite within the next few weeks. England has only officially expanded the inoculation drive to catch all over-65s and at-risk adults. However, some areas - including in London - have started offering appointments to people in their 50s, it has emerged. But parts of the nation are lagging behind, despite warnings that an unsuccessful vaccination drive could scupper the UK's chances of leaving lockdown in time for Britons to enjoy their summer without heavy restrictions. Westminster Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) in central London has only managed to dish out first doses to 61 per cent of all over-70s, who were at the top of the priority list because of their age. However, some areas of the country - including Farnham in Hampshire - have vaccinated almost every elderly person. All ten areas with the worst uptake are in the capital, according to NHS statistics analysed by MailOnline.?Health chiefs fear vaccine hesitancy among black, Asian and ethnic minority (BAME) groups is behind the poorer uptake in London's culturally diverse boroughs.
Rishi Sunak 'to extend the furlough scheme to the SUMMER at a cost of at least ￡10billion and keep business rates holiday in place for retail and hospitality sectors'
Rishi Sunak will announce at the Budget on March 3 that the Government's furlough scheme will be extended to the summer, it was claimed today. The Chancellor is also said to be preparing to prolong a business rates holiday for the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors. A year-long business rates holiday is due to expire at the end of March while the furlough scheme is currently due to be wound up at the end of April. The moves will be welcomed by business leaders who have warned firms will need longer term support if they are to survive beyond the coming 'cliff-edge'. However, extending the schemes will inevitably reignite concerns about the state of the public finances as ministers continue to borrow record amounts to keep the country afloat.
Britain's Covid R rate drops to lowest EVER rate and could be just 0.6 while ONS says cases have fallen by nearly 50% in a fortnight... but symptom-tracking app says the outbreak may no longer be shrinking
Sage scientists said cases were falling by between three and six per cent a day. Separate data from the Office for National Statistics data estimated there were 481,300 people in England would test positive for the virus on any given day in the week to February 12. This was 43 per cent fewer than two weeks ago when there were estimated to be 846,900 cases, and 60 per cent lower than the darkest days of January when there were thought to be 1.2million cases. But separate data from a symptom-tracking app (right) today predicted Covid cases have started to plateau across the country. The ZOE Covid Symptom Study app suggested there were 14,064 new cases each day in the week to February 14, down just five per cent from the seven-day spell before.
Tory MP Mark Harper says vaccine passport for pubs would 'discriminate' against young: Social media users share hilarious vision of what bars would look like if only older customers with two Covid jabs could enter?
Mark Harper, chair of the lockdown-sceptic Covid Recovery Group and MP for the Forest of Dean, (inset, on Question Time yesterday) railed against suggestions that inoculated Britons could be allowed greater freedom sooner. He said the economic damage of lockdown has disproportionately fallen on the young and making them wait would be 'appalling'. Boris Johnson has signalled his reluctance for vaccine certificates to be used to safely unlock the economy, such as for entry to pubs. But such a scenario set imaginations running wild of a world where the only punters in pubs are over-65 - and not a single pint is posted on Instagram (right).
'￡66,000 for a bog standard back garden!' Your Garden Made Perfect viewers slam 'dreadful' makeover and say it looks like scrubland AFTER the transformation?
In last night's episode of BBC Two's Your Garden Made Perfect, Pam and financial advisor Marcus, who live with their grown up son, daughter, and her other half in St Albans, Hertfordshire, spent ￡66, 000 turning their huge plot into an oasis for wildlife. Before (pictured, inset), the space was enormous and acted more like a corridor than a garden. The lawn was an unused wasteland, the overgrown Conifer sucked life from the earth below it and the main attraction was Marcus' uninspiring shed.The winning design created a wild oasis of rocky paths, waterways and untamed meadows (pictured, main and bottom inset)- and reused the tree, which would've been expensive to remove, to create bespoke furniture.
Uber is ordered to give its thousands of UK drivers minimum wage and holiday pay after Supreme Court rules they are WORKERS not self-employed?
Supreme Court justices have ruled against Uber (left) and said that drivers should be classed as workers in a landmark decision for the gig economy. Seven justices ruled on the latest round of a long-running fight between Uber operating companies and drivers on Friday, after a hearing in July. The taxi giant (right), who said drivers were contractors not workers, appealed to the Supreme Court after losing three earlier rounds of the fight but lost.?
Crystal Palace star Wilfried Zaha urges fellow black footballers to 'stand tall now' and stop taking the knee before games because it is 'degrading' and may make them a 'target' for racist abuse
Crystal Palace forward Wilfried Zaha (left) has vowed to stop taking the knee before matches as he believes the gesture is becoming 'something we just do now' and has lost its meaning. Zaha spoke on the day Arsenal supremo Vinai Venkatesham branded racist abuse on social media 'the biggest problem in football' after striker Eddie Nketiah (right) became the latest high-profile player to be targeted. Manchester United's Anthony Martial (inset) was also racially abused on social media last weekend after their 1-1 draw with West Brom.
Design flaw in new ￡365,000 house draws ridicule from stumped social media users... but can YOU spot it?
A new build property in Shirehampton, Bristol, has been ridiculed by people on social media for the 'quality job' done by builders after discovering a glaring design flaw. One of the three-bed terraced properties in the new development, with a 'from ￡365,000' price tag, in particular has come under fire for the questionable design. The plot was previously home to a Victorian building that served as Shirehampton National School, before becoming a snooker hall and café.
G7 Zoom fail! Confusion at Boris Johnson's virtual meeting with world leaders when Germany's Angela Merkel fails to hit the mute button
The Prime Minister joked with the new US president that he had nicked his 'build back better' soundbite as he hosted a virtual meeting of the G7. The subject came up as the PM pressed his counterparts in the six other leading industrialised nations to avoid vaccine nationalism and help supply poorer countries with jabs to kill off the pandemic more quickly. The call also suffered a microphone malfunction suffered by millions who have used video conferencing in the past 11 months - with Mr Johnson forced to ask Germany's Angela Merkel to mute herself at the start. When he began the meeting, the chancellor suddenly interrupted him as he tried to tell the others, including new Italian prime minister, Mario Draghi, that he wanted a face-to-face meeting at the G7 summit in June. 'Can you hear us Angela,' Johnson quipped over the German, chuckling. 'I think you need to mute.'
Perseverance is in 'great shape', says NASA after $2.2billion rover LANDS on Mars to start a two-year mission searching for extraterrestrial life in a crater that was a lake 3.5bn years ago
NASA says its Perseverance rover is in 'great shape' after successfully landing on the surface of Mars last night following a 239 million-mile journey. The $2.2billion car-sized rover guided itself to a patch of smooth terrain in Jezero, a 28-mile wide and 820ft-deep crater which was home to a Martian lake 3.5 billion years ago. Perseverance, nicknamed Percy, survived the dreaded 'seven minutes of terror' which saw it endure temperatures in excess of 2,000°F as it entered the Martian atmosphere at more than 12,000mph. It safely touched down shortly before 4pm ET (9pm GMT), and beamed back its first images of the crater (left) moments after NASA established radio contact, leading to raucous applause at NASA's mission control in California (bottom right).
Texans show off their ingenious survival hacks as they battle through a FIFTH day without power following devastating storm
Winter storms in Texas have cut off power, gas and water supplies to millions of residents, bringing the state to the brink of a humanitarian crisis.? On Thursday, as many shivered through a fifth consecutive day without hot showers, gas ovens and electricity, some took to social media to document the inventive ways they're managing to survive.??? Extreme cold has frozen pipes across many towns and cities across the Lone Star state, effectively cutting off access to fresh water for thousands.?
As Bridgerton casts its new leading lady for series two, FEMAIL reveals the racy storylines in the original novels that promise to set pulses racing - from sex in a greenhouse to a romp on the forest floor
While the first season of Netflix's Regency romp Bridgerton has left fans blushing over its hot and steamy sex scenes, viewers could be in for even saucier moments if the TV show continues to draw inspiration from the book series on which it is based. Here, after Netflix announced the casting of its leading lady for series two, FEMAIL reveals the storylines fans can expect in the remaining books. Pictured, the characters who will star in the remaining Bridgerton series and the couple at the centre of the first series (top left).
John Travolta puts his hotel-sized Maine property (boasting TWENTY bedrooms) on the market for $5million... 30 years after snapping it up with late wife Kelly Preston
John Travolta has put the 10,830-square-foot Maine mansion he owned with late wife Kelly Preston on the market for $5 million?- 30 years after the couple purchased the sprawling property. The 67-year-old actor and Kelly, who died in July at the age of 57 after quietly battling breast cancer for two years, added the home to their property portfolio back in 1991, the same year they tied the knot. Located on the exclusive island of Islesboro, the grand abode boasts 20 bedrooms and 7.5 bathrooms, and sits on 48 acres of land?- which has provided the stars with abundant space to host their families during holidays. Built in 1903 by architect firm?Peabody and Stearns, the 42-room mansion boasts all the classic touches of an English country mansion, including a sweeping gravel driveway and a grand shingled house. Pulp Fiction star John was introduced to the area by fellow Scientologist Kirstie Alley, who has long owned a home on the southern end of the exclusive enclave
How Lady Kitty Spencer became high fashion's golden girl: As Princess Diana's niece is named D&G's global brand ambassador, an expert tells how she's parlayed royal ties and classic beauty into contracts worth '￡1million a year'?
Speaking exclusively to FEMAIL,?PR guru Nick Ede says that being both an aristocrat and Princess Diana's niece makes Lady Kitty Spencer, 29, an exceptionally good fit for Dolce&Gabbana. The comments come as the socialite is unveiled as the global brand ambassador for the luxury brand - and could make up to ￡500, 0001M a year from her fashion brand deals. Pictured, left to right: Photoshoot for Dolce and Gabbana, Lady Kitty Spencer and Alberta Ferretti at the Alberta Ferretti after party during Milan Fashion Week Fall/Winter 2020-2021 on February 19, 2020 and the socialite at Bulgari Barocco on September 14, 2020 in Rome, Italy. Pictured, inset: Lady Kitty with Pixie Lott in the front row Schiaparelli show in Paris, France on 20 January 2020.
Prince William says there's 'light at the end of this tunnel' as he thanks Armed Forces personnel for their role in the Covid vaccine roll-out on Zoom call
The Duke of Cambridge quizzed some of the 5,000 Armed Service members employed in the vaccination programme in online Zoom calls earlier this week. One personnel member tells the Prince, 38, in a video shared to the kensingtonroyal Instagram account that 'we've still got a long way to go' but that 'it's a joy and a privilege' to be involved in the roll-out. (Pictured: Prince William earlier this week speaking to members of the Armed Forces)
Furious hospitality chiefs slam 'tone deaf' Rishi Sunak over cheesy photo op with Gordon Ramsay to discuss 'challenges' of pandemic - after chef SACKED 500 staff rather than furlough them
The Chancellor faced the fury of people working in pubs, bars and restaurants over his online chat with multi-millionaire F-Word star, who sacked around 500 staff last year rather than furlough them. Hospitality has been one of the hardest-hit sectors of the economy since last March, with repeated lockdowns and restrictions on opening at other times. Mr Sunak posed a tweet which said the two men discussed 'the challenges facing hospitality and how he launched a TV show in lockdown'. But it sent Twitter into meltdown, with users asking how Mr Ramsay could talk with authority about the impact on small businesses. 'Up next - Rishi talks to (F1 racing driver) Lewis Hamilton about the problems facing ordinary people working in the transport industry,' one wag wrote.
Beast in the Middle East! Snow blankets Lebanon, Israel, Turkey and Syria amid freezing temperatures caused by a weakened polar vortex?
Large parts of the Middle East have been blanketed in snow after a 'wobbling' polar vortex sent Arctic air plunging south. Lebanon (bottom left) was among the worst-hit after Storm Joyce caused widespread snowfall alongside gale force winds and storm surges that submerged some coastal properties. Moutnainous regions of southern Syria saw up to six inches of snow (top right), while the city of Istanbul in Turkey was also hit by heavy snowfall earlier this week (bottom right). It comes after snow in Iraq last month (top left), caused by a weakening in weather systems that typically keeps cold air confined to the poles. Similar weather systems have plunged Texas into the deep freeze this week, and blighted much of Europe with freezing cold weather earlier this month.
Having a ruff day? Owner of scruffy dog who's become an Instagram star with his VERY grumpy expressions insists he's actually 'happy and playful'
With his downturned mouth and signature glare, you'd be forgiven for thinking this dog is having a bad day. But that's just how Bouche (pictured) the two-year-old Brussels Griffon looks, says his owner Amanda Jensen (inset), of California. The scruffy dog has won more than 7,000 Instagram followers with snaps capturing his signature unimpressed looks, which followers say reflect their own mood. Owner Amanda insists her dog is actually 'playful' and happy, despite what his expressions might make you think.
Daring scuba diver captures breathtaking labyrinth of underwater caves worshipped by the Mayans beneath a Mexican riviera?
Martin Broen, 50, (inset top) braved the depths below the Riviera Maya in Mexico to capture the 'magical' cave system (pictured) formed during the ice age millions of years ago. His exploration through the world's longest network of caves saw the diver swim in huge yawning chasms and squeeze between stalactites jutting from a low rock ceiling. Mr Broen, from New York, took the photos while exploring 60 different cave systems?between Playa del Carmen and Tulum. The 'sacred wells' were celebrated by the Mayans and sometimes used as a place for human sacrifice.
Yours for just ￡2,000! One of the cheapest homes in Britain goes up for auction - but the new owners will need to do a little work...
A three-bedroom house in Bradford could sell for as little as ￡2,000 next week, with pictures from inside showing collapsed ceilings (top right), floors lined with rubbish (top left, bottom right) and a wildly overgrown garden (bottom left). Nearby properties have sold for around ￡50,000, but auctioneers have set a guide price at a fraction of neighbouring prices, after the property suffered 'extensive water damage'. Despite being empty of residents for months, litter and old items such as video tapes still line the floors and walls.
Yves Adams said he spotted the king penguin with a bright yellow plumage - instead of the usual black feathers - on the islands of South Georgia during an expedition through Antarctica and the South Atlantic. The unusual looking bird is seen in pictures lounging in the surf and showing off its almost tropical plumage while standing next to a regular black and white penguin.
Animal crossing! People share adorable snaps of creatures they've spotted on public transport - from a llama on a train to a kitten on a plane
Commuting is largely on hold amid the Covid-19 pandemic, and while that's welcome relief? to many, some of the quirky sights on public transport could certainly brighten up your day - especially with furry friends involved. Bored Panda has compiled a gallery of the best snaps of commuting creatures from around the world, including (clockwise from top left) a llama in Portland; a happy dog in New York, a cute pig in Rome; a ravan in Moscow; a kitten on a plane and a dog on the subway in the US.
Man, 30, who wants to 'be 100% dragon' reveals he's had his tongue split, eyeballs tattooed and HORNS inserted into his forehead in $20,000 quest to transform his body
Joshua Burns, 30, (left before his transformation) from Vancouver, Canada, who goes by his surname, began his journey aged 19 when he had his tongue cosmetically split in two (pictured centre). Since then, the performance artist and reptile seller has had his earlobes cropped and ears shaped to appear pointed (inset right), dyed his tongue purple and inserted silicone 'horns' into his forehead. Right: His most intricate tattoo which took 51 hours to complete. Inset left: scales cut into his arms.
That was not going to end well: Curious mouse sniffs a blue viper... who promptly eats it with a flash of its fangs?
Incredible images captured by photographer Dzul Dzulfikri show the moment a sniffing mouse curiously approaches a blue viper before being gobbled up whole by the aggressive predator. The venomous snake suddenly opened its mouth wide, exposing a flash of its fangs to the terrified rodent before swallowing it whole within just five minutes.
A seat on the FROW (of your sofa)! Couture fans dress to impress at home as London Fashion Week's first virtual catwalks get underway
Five days of digital London Fashion Week kicked off today...with fashion fans getting the same view as A-listers for once. Many dressed up to watch day one shows by Bora Aksu and Paul Costelloe unfold online, with one personal stylist admitting there was some relief at not having to attend the 'intimidating' fashion event in person. (Pictured: Blogger Yu Masui, Stylist Babbleandstyle and design graduate Andrew Bannister-Bailey)
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Mass grave of 80 British soldiers who died fighting French revolutionaries 220 years ago is uncovered in a Dutch castle moat?
A mass grave found by city workers excavating a disused castle moat near the Dutch city of Utrecht contains the bones of 81 British troops who died fighting French revolutionaries, researchers say. It was initially thought the site, located near the now-destroyed Batestein Castle, marked the location of a medieval battlefield due to marks found on the skeletons that could have been caused by swords or spears. But researchers now say the marks were actually caused by surgical saws, and the site isn't a battlefield but was a field hospital used by the British during the War of the First Coalition, which lasted from 1792 until 1797.
'Don't be such a grouch - this is how I swab tested both the children'
French female hunter who gets death threats over her photos with dead animals poses for a blood-covered selfie as she talks about how she enjoys being 'glamorous' while shooting in Britain?
Johanna Clermont, 23, has received abuse online for posts featuring her trophy kills, including wild boar in the Pyrenees, antelope in South Africa and deer in Scotland (pictured: with deer blood smeared on her face in Scotland, left; posing with a haul of geese; and with an Iberian ibex in Spain). But the law student from Perpignan also has 300,000 fans on social media and believes it is important for a woman to bring 'glamour' to the male-dominated sport. She's been targeted by the French anti-hunting lobby but remains undeterred, paying a recent visit to the Scottish highlands where deer blood was smeared across her face in a centuries-old tradition. And unlike the misogyny hurled at her by critics, she has never encountered sexism from men on shoots, adding that people are 'happy' when there is a woman in the group who knows how to hunt.
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US student, 26, who drank 5.5 LITRES of fizzy drink a day loses 280lbs with the help of a gastric bypass surgery after discovering she was pre-diabetic at just 24?
Student Erika Olson, 26, from Clearfield in Utah, weighed?420lbs at her heaviest after gorging on a diet of fast food and pastries, all washed down with sugary soda. But, after undergoing a gastric bypass, Erika now tips the scales at a svelte 147lbs and finally has the body and healthy lifestyle she has always wanted. She is pictured left and centre before the weight loss and right after.
The incredible panoramic photos of landscapes and skylines from New York to Sydney via London and Paris that appear in a lavish coffee-table book that's over three feet wide
In panoramic photography, size matters. Images in this style can be impressive regardless of format, but are best viewed in one that allows for their scope to make an impact. It's something publisher teNeues clearly understands - because it has collated 60 stunning panoramic images by architectural photographer and filmmaker Hans-Georg Esch into a tome called Advancing Horizons that's one metre (3.2ft) wide. The images inside show cityscapes and skylines - including those of London, Paris, Sydney and New York - and other remarkable views around the world in breathtaking style, demonstrating why German Esch is regarded as one of the most talented photographers in his field.