Every detail had been meticulously planned. Ahead of their August 4 arrival in Botswana, Prince Harry arranged “a small, surprise celebration” for girlfriend Meghan Markle’s 36th birthday, reveals a Harry pal. And since it was the first time the “Suits” actress would be meeting his friends in the African nation, the besotted royal went all out. “He was thrilled to bits that he could introduce her to them,” says the pal. “The celebration began almost the minute they touched down.” With a barbecue set up at his friend’s house (“Lots of local foods were prepared,” says the friend) and music playing, everyone partied into the night, says the pal: “Meghan was speechless and so touched.”
And that was only the opening act. Two sources reveal in the new issue of Us Weekly that the 32-year-old intended to ask Markle for her hand in marriage during their three-week stay. While a royal insider says Harry refused to share the details with pals, both the timing — a friend notes he wanted to propose near the anniversary of his mom Princess Diana’s death “so he can associate August with something joyful” — and the location are dear to his heart.
So for months, says the royal insider, Harry’s known this is the trip on which he’d ask his love of more than a year to be his bride. To craft a ring worthy of a princess, Harry worked closely with a jeweler, notes the royal insider, and took a cue from big brother, Prince William. While William used their late mother’s 18-carat sapphire engagement ring to pop the question to Duchess Kate, Harry, says the insider, “had diamonds taken from a brooch he inherited from Diana.” But a source predicts Markle will keep the sparkler under wraps for awhile. “Harry said he would want to enjoy the news between the two of them before word starts spreading out,” says the source. They have plenty of memories to bask in. Adds the source, “This has really been the trip of a lifetime.”
[From Us Weekly]
Prince George’s New School Emphasizes Sports & Drama
When Prince George heads out to class for the first time in early September, he will get some of the best education “money can buy” from a “slightly chaotic” school for cosmopolitan families. That’s the view of Thomas’s Battersea in London by a recently published review of schools in England.
The $23,000-a-year establishment, which is about four miles south of the family’s Kensington Palace home, is “a big, busy, slightly chaotic school for cosmopolitan parents who want their children to have the best English education money can buy,” the latest The Good Schools Guide says. “That is what they want and, to a large degree, that is what they get.”
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There are “plenty of opportunities for pupils to excel but withdrawn types might find it all somewhat overwhelming,” the review adds. George, 4, will be among a wide variety of international families as “19 different foreign languages spoken at home,” the guide adds.
Like George, the school’s headmaster is also starting fresh next month. The new headmaster is Simon O’Malley, who the guide describes as “ambitious and enthusiastic.” He “generated an energy and buzz about his previous school. Much-liked and respected by parents,” the reviewers at The Good Schools Guide, which calls itself the leading, independent source of information on schools in the U.K., add.
Sporty parents like William and Princess Kate may have been partly attracted to the school by the amount of physical activity – sport takes up 20 per cent of the curriculum time. And there is a lot of emphasis placed on drama too. It “is outstanding with huge productions by each year group being put on over the year,” the review reports. ” ‘Only drawback’, said one parent, ‘is that they are always musicals. Not much use if your child can’t sing’. School assures us there’s always something for everyone.” There’s a new music center, an orchestra, bands and choirs while “two great art studios and two pottery rooms with their own kiln” add to the creative mix.
George’s parents have vowed to take him to school whenever they can. But, the guide notes, that the school owns a “fleet of buses,” some of which bring pupils from Kensington.