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Queen addresses ‘trying period’ as she opens Holyrood without Philip in historic first

Queen addresses 'trying period' as she opens Holyrood without Philip in historic first

The Queen headed to Holyrood this morning to take part in the opening of the Scottish Parliament. This ceremony was particularly important as it focused on celebrating local heroes who have walked the extra mile to help their community during the COVID-19 pandemic.  

But it was also poignant for the Queen, as today marks her first opening of Holyrood without Prince Philip at her side.

Speaking ahead of Her Majesty’s speech, Sky News’ Rhiannon Mills noted: “The Queen has attended every opening ceremony since 1999.

“This is the sixth session she will play a part in today.

“And I think for the 95-year-old monarch it will be wonderful to see that after 18 months where Covid has disrupted so much of the official work that she carries out today again we will see some of the pomp and ceremony you would expect for a similar event. 

“She will be accompanied today by Prince Charles and Camilla, known here in Scotland as the Duke and Duchess of Rothesay.

“On previous occasions, of course, she was joined by the Duke of Edinburgh, so I suspect there will be a poignancy to the fact that her husband, who passed away in April, is not at her side today.” 

Indeed, the monarch mentioned her beloved husband Prince Philip, who died on April 9 at Windsor Castle, during her speech. 

The Queen addressed MSPs, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Presiding Officer Alison Johnstone with a speech focused on the response to the pandemic, unity within Holyrood’s debate chamber and her love for Scotland.  

READ MORE: Royal wedding: Ceremony ‘like historical reenactment’

While speaking about her affection for the nation, she briefly recalled spending her summers at Balmoral with the late Duke. 

She said: “I have spoken before of my deep and abiding affection for this wonderful country and of the many happy memories Prince Philip and I always had of our time here.” 

For more than 70 years, the Queen and Prince Philip have spent several months during their summers together at Balmoral Castle. 

At Balmoral they would host guests and attend local events, including the Braemar Gathering.

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And they spent a more relaxed time together, free of most of the royal protocol in use at Windsor Castle or Buckingham Palace.

In Scotland, the Duke of Edinburgh was known to handle the barbeque and while the Queen would do the washing up.

In the speech, Her Majesty also acknowledged how the coronavirus pandemic has been “trying” for the country.

After expressing her delight at being in Edinburgh, she congratulated the Scottish Government “for being able to mark this new session of Parliament in a safe and welcoming manner during what has been a very trying period”.

In her speech, the monarch also called the Scottish Parliament for unity, urging MSPs to work together for Scotland. 

She said: “Members of the Scottish Parliament, as we all step out from adverse and uncertain times, occasions such as this today provide an opportunity for hope and optimism.

“Marking this new session does indeed bring a sense of beginning and renewal.

“The Scottish Parliament has been at the heart of Scotland’s response to the pandemic, with people across this country looking for leadership and stewardship. 

“And I hope you will remain at the forefront as we move towards a phase of recovery.

“While some of you will have differences of opinion, I trust you will continue to work together.” 

She then encouraged MSPs to “draw inspiration from the founding principles of wisdom, justice, compassion and integrity”. 

Her Majesty added: “These words are a reminder of your responsibility to the people of Scotland and in the years ahead I hope you can reaffirm their importance to everything you do as a member of this parliament.” 

Read more here Daily Express :: Royal Feed

Kate Middleton pregnant? Duchess addresses claims during latest outing with Prince William

Kate Middleton and William visit Ulster University in Ireland

Kate and Prince William visited Derry-Londonderry for the first time yesterday. Their first stop was Ulster University’s Magee Campus, where they met students and staff.

Part of their tour of the campus took part at the Culture Shock event organized by the Student Union.

This event has been created to help local and international students to adjust to student life and get to know Northern Ireland’s traditional music, food, drinks and culture.

While visiting the planned event, Kate and William were offered alcoholic beverages including whiskey and Guinness.

The Duke of Cambridge enthusiastically opted for the spirit, saying: “Now we’re talking, I’m going to go for a whisky.”

kate middleton pregnant rumours duchess of cambridge children latest

Kate drank half a pint of Guinness during her visit to Northern Ireland (Image: GETTY)

kate middleton pregnant rumours duchess of cambridge children latest

Kate and Prince William meeting students on campus (Image: GETTY)

On the other hand, the Duchess picked up half a pint of Guinness and cheered with her husband and the students.

By choosing to drink alcohol in public, Kate quashed speculation she had kept out of the public eye over the summer because she was suffering from morning sickness typical of the first trimester of pregnancies.

A few royal experts had already dismissed speculation Kate and William were planning for a fourth baby. 

Earlier this month, before Kate returned to work, royal commentator Russell Myers told Today Australia: “I think that the Duchess isn’t pregnant, I think that some people have been asking the question of where has Kate been?

READ MORE: Kate in nod to Princess Diana as Duchess attends 007 premiere

kate middleton pregnant rumours duchess of cambridge children latest

Prince William drank a glass of whiskey (Image: GETTY)

“But where the truth really lies is they have been on holiday.”

Two weeks ago, another royal expert, Nick Bullen, said to believe Kate and William are all focused on their royal work now.

He told Us magazine: “I was having lunch with someone a couple of weeks ago who knows both of them very, very well.

“And they are really focused, over the next 12 months, on their work.

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kate middleton pregnant rumours duchess of cambridge children latest

Kate and William at the Culture Shock event (Image: GETTY)

kate middleton pregnant rumours duchess of cambridge children latest

Kate and Prince William visited Ulster University’s Magee Campus (Image: GETTY)

“Both of them turn 40 next year. They are really keen to be promoting their charities, their initiatives, their foundation.

“I think for them, the next 12 months are all about the work, is not about a new baby.”

Asked what he thinks Kate and William will focus their attention on the most over the next year, Mr Bullen said he believes they will likely support the Queen amid celebrations for her historic 70th year on the throne.

Over the next months, Kate and William will surely continue to work also on their two legacy-making projects.

kate middleton pregnant rumours duchess of cambridge children latest

Kate and Prince William got married in 2011 (Image: EXPRESS)

In May, Kate launched the Royal Family Centre for Early Childhood, to deepen the understanding of the early years, their impact on the development of children and what can be done to enhance the experiences youngsters have.

Prince William launched last October the Earthshot Prize, a 10-year-long competition awarding every year five £1million prizes to people who present workable solutions to environmental issues.

During their visit to Northern Ireland yesterday, Kate and William mentioned their children.

The couple went on the petting zoo on campus, set up to help students deal with anxiety and stress.

kate middleton pregnant rumours duchess of cambridge children latest

Kate held a tarantula named Charlotte (Image: GETTY)

There, Kate picked up a tarantula named after her daughter Charlotte – who is famously fascinated by spiders.

In turn, Prince William held a python, which he described as “very cool”.

He added: “George is obsessed with snakes, he’s going to be so upset he missed this”.

Read more here Daily Express :: Royal Feed