Truss’s talks with Macron do not cover Northern Ireland or migrant crossings


Sam Blewett, PA Deputy Political Editor, in New York

Tue, 20 September 2022 at 7:08 pm

Liz Truss did not discuss issues with the Northern Ireland Protocol or unauthorised migrant crossings of the Channel during her meeting with French president Emmanuel Macron.

The Prime Minister had a “constructive” conversation lasting around half-an-hour, Downing Street said, but it focused on energy security rather than the two major points of contention.

The pair held their first bilateral meeting at the fringes of the United Nations summit in New York after Ms Truss caused controversy by failing to say whether the ally was “friend or foe”.

Liz Truss visit to US for the United Nations General Assembly
Prime Minister Liz Truss holds a bilateral meeting with Emmanuel Macron (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

Mr Macron reportedly welcomed their conversations on Ukraine and other European issues, saying: “I now believe in proof, in results.

“There is a will to re-engage, to move on and to show that we are allies and friends in a complex world.”

Ms Truss’s official spokesman confirmed they did not discuss the post-Brexit agreement on Northern Ireland or migrant crossings in small boats, which have not abated.

He said the Government intends to resolve protocol issues with the EU, adding: “This is not an issue that necessarily we believe can be solved through one single EU country.”

But the spokesman would not say whether she will raise the protocol with European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen on Wednesday.

The White House has said that Joe Biden will raise it in his meeting with Ms Truss.

National security adviser Jake Sullivan said the US president will “encourage the UK and the European Union to work out a practical outcome that ensures there is no threat to the fundamental principles of the Good Friday agreement”.

Ahead of her meeting with Mr Macron, Ms Truss had stressed that tackling migrant crossings in small boats was one of the issues the two nations must work together on.

Provisional figures suggest more than 29,700 people have made the perilous journey this year – exceeding last year’s total of 28,526.

“That is one of the issues that we need to work with France in a constructive way on,” Ms Truss told reporters.

However, the Prime Minister’s official spokesman said that the stalled Rwanda policy is the “long term solution” to crossings after confirming the pair did not discuss the issue.

Ahead of the meeting, Ms Truss sought to strike a conciliatory tone, stressing the need to work together on small boats and against Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine.

She had sparked a diplomatic row during the Tory leadership contest when she declined to give a clear answer when asked if the president of the allied nation was a “friend or foe”.

Instead, the then-foreign secretary said last month that the “jury’s out”.

One thing Mr Macron did raise, according to No 10, was his idea of forming a European Political Community to include non-EU states such as the UK.

He did not invite Britain to a meeting about the grouping to be held in Prague in October, the spokesman said.

HM Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral: guests wear sombre black to service in Westminster Abbey


Chloe Street and Joe Bromley

Tue, 20 September 2022 at 6:38 pm

The first guests have started to arrive for the Queen’s state funeral at Westminster Abbey.

2,000 royals, world leaders and dignitaries will file into the church where Her Majesty married Prince Philip in 1947 and had her coronation in 1953, before the service starts at 11am.

It is expected that most guests will wear black, with a few exceptions for military attire or – as was the case at the funeral of the Duke of Edinburgh – black mourning coats with medals.

First Lady of Gabon, Sylvia Bongo Ondimba (Getty Images)
First Lady of Gabon, Sylvia Bongo Ondimba (Getty Images)

Debretts, the 1769 founded publisher of etiquette and behaviour, has a dedicated section of the website detailing the dress code for royals at state funerals. “Custom dictates the Royal Family adheres to a strict dress code at state funerals. An all black dress code is always respected,” it reads. “Ladies wear black knee length dresses, or coats, black hats, and may also wear face-covering veils.”

Bear Grylls (Getty Images)
Bear Grylls (Getty Images)

Most of the VIPs arrived by coach, meeting at the Royal Hospital Chelsea before being put on a bus into Central London. British politicians past and present were among the first arrivals including Ben Wallace, Nadham Zahawi and Jacob Rees-Mogg.

Television presenter Bear Grylls also arrived early doors wearing traditional morning dress, consisting of tails and grey striped trousers; while the likes of Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, and Leader of the Labour Party Keir Starmer opted for black suits, white shirts and ties.

Brigitte Macron and President of France, Emmanuel Macron (Getty Images)
Brigitte Macron and President of France, Emmanuel Macron (Getty Images)

French President Emmanuel Macron arrived arm-in-arm with wife Brigitte , who wore a sharp tailored, peaked lapel overcoat with a matching pillbox hat and veil, leather gloves and black high heels with a metallic silver trim.

The First Lady of Gabon, Sylvia Bongo Ondimba was similarly elegant in an over-the-knee, collarless overcoat worn with a large, circular diamond broach and carrying a Lady Dior handbag in a black croc finish.

Jill Biden (Getty Images)
Jill Biden (Getty Images)

Jill Biden looked immaculate as ever as she joined her husband U.S. President, Joe Biden in a smart, black dress with gold and silver floral metal buttons. She added a black clutch bag, and twisted ribbon headpiece to finish the on-point ensemble.

Sophie, Countess of Wessex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex (Getty Images)
Sophie, Countess of Wessex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex (Getty Images)

Sophie, Countess of Wessex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex approached the Abbey together. For the occasion Markle wore a sleek, caped Stella McCartney gown while the Countess of Wessex opted for a beautifully embroidered dress by Suzannah London, the luxury brand designed by Suzannah Crabb. Crabb also dressed Cherie Blair, wife of former British Prime Minister Sir Tony Blair, for the funeral.

Sarah, Duchess of York, Princess Beatrice and Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi (Getty Images)
Sarah, Duchess of York, Princess Beatrice and Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi (Getty Images)

The Duchess of York and Princess Beatrice, who has recently been appointed as Counsellor of State, and her husband Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi took a moment outside the Abbey before the service began.

Opting for something different to the traditional dress coats worn by the likes of Catherine, Princess of Wales, Princess Beatrice chose a cropped tuxedo blazer and A-line dress with lace pannels , while her husband stuck to tradtion in his morning suit.

Scroll the gallery above for all the arrival looks

‘People around the world see hats as being very British – and that’s because of Queen Elizabeth’

Stephen Jones has provided hats for everyone from Anya Taylor-Joy to Meghan to Princess Diana
Stephen Jones has provided hats for everyone from Anya Taylor-Joy to Meghan to Princess Diana

“It has been a very strange 10 days,” admits Stephen Jones. Within minutes of hearing about the Queen’s death, the milliner – who had been busy preparing for a month of fashion shows – was inundated with calls. “There were regular clients and guests from around the world who were going to the service, but also people who were not invited to Westminster Abbey. They wanted to feel part of it by dressing correctly.”

Jones was one of them. He watched the funeral at home in mourning dress and – from the day of the late Queen’s death – replaced all the hats in his store with black trilbys, cloches, and veiled designs. “I think when one’s not feeling perfect inside, it’s very good to put on tailoring and a hat – it makes you feel more balanced.”

The milliner is a rare breed. Alongside Alexander McQueen and possibly Stella McCartney, Jones is one of vanishingly few designers who regularly dress royalty while also being a darling of the high-fashion world. On Monday, Jones watched the Duchess of Sussex walk into Westminster Abbey wearing one of his wide-brimmed designs; on Thursday, he will wait backstage as his hats go down the catwalk at Moschino and Boss during Milan Fashion Week.

The link between royal and high fashion has always been surprisingly strong for a milliner who made his name on the punk scene and during nights at the Blitz Club with the New Romantics in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Many of the iconoclastic takes on the late Queen’s style at the time, he explains, came from a place of admiration – and Jones believes hat designers in particular owe their careers to her blend of tradition and opulence.

None of it would be the same without the Queen,” he says. “People around the world see hats as being very British, and that’s because of her. When I was young I thought of hats as being part of the French high-fashion world; the Queen is why this shift to Britain happened.”

When it came to headwear, Queen Elizabeth set the standard at Royal Ascot
When it came to headwear, Queen Elizabeth set the standard at Royal Ascot

Jones has, of course, made hats for many famous women in the world – British or otherwise. These include Princess Diana (“She was lovely,” says Jones. “I worked with her right at the beginning of my career”), Rihanna, Lady Gaga, Joan Collins, Princess Eugenie and Anya Taylor-Joy. At the Platinum Jubilee thanksgiving service, the Duchess of Sussex’s entire outfit was Dior haute couture, including her Stephen Jones for Dior hat. For the funeral, Meghan turned to Jones independently rather than through the French brand.

Jones is yet to work with the new Princess of Wales, although he speaks of her with real admiration. “Of course I’d like to dress Kate,” he says. “She’s very beautiful and a great hat wearer.” Now that the Queen has sadly gone, he sees her as the next great symbol of British millinery. “If the Princess of Wales keeps wearing those Alexander McQueen coats with hats with real personality then she certainly will be.”

There is a worthy successor to the headwear crown in the Princess of Wales - Max Mumby/Indigo
There is a worthy successor to the headwear crown in the Princess of Wales – Max Mumby/Indigo

For those of us who aren’t royal, millinery can sometimes feel rather intimidating, but Jones insists it is not. “The ideal hat has a perfect balance,” he says. “It’s neither too large nor too small; it tells a story, but not one that’s too loud. To be flattering, the hat has to make the wearer feel comfortable, so it doesn’t feel like an imposition, and so they feel in control. Hats are timeless.”

Indeed, the same design can be worn by an 18-year-old or an 80-year-old and can be kept and reused for decades. In an era when we obsess about diversity and sustainability, hats embody both.

Jones believes that next year’s Royal Ascot – the first without Queen Elizabeth II in most of our lifetimes – will embody her values. “Ascot will be a celebration of her,” he says. “Her legacy will live on in the tradition she created, and women everywhere will dig out hats in memory of her.”

BBC says Queen’s funeral watched by audience of 32.5 million – ‘majority of the British public’


The BBC says that 32.5 million Britons tuned in to its coverage of the state funeral of Queen Elizabeth II on Monday (19 September).

The broadcaster said the high numbers accounted for “the majority of the UK public”.

Meanwhile, live footage of the Queen lying-in-state was streamed 25 million times across BBC online, it said.

“Yesterday was BBC One’s biggest viewing day since the 2012 Olympics Closing Ceremony,” a spokesperson said.

“At peak, 22.4 million people were watching across all BBC channels.”

The broadcaster added that the viewing figures it provided did not include live streaming on mobile devices or those watching on catch-up, so the final consolidated figures are likely to be higher.

The Archbishop of Canterbury speaking during the State Funeral of Queen Elizabeth II at Westminster Abbey (Gareth Fuller/PA)
The Archbishop of Canterbury speaking during the State Funeral of Queen Elizabeth II at Westminster Abbey (Gareth Fuller/PA)

The BBC’s announcement comes shortly after the new culture secretary, Michelle Donelan, suggested that the state funeral was taxpayer money “well spent” amid the cost of living crisis.

Tuesday (20 September) marked the start of a period of royal mourning for Britain’s longest-reigning monarch and saw King Charles II head to Balmoral Castle in Scotland, which is believed to have been his mother’s favourite place.

The royal family are not expected to carry out any official engagements for a further seven days during this time.

This story is being updated

Prince Harry’s secret gesture to Meghan Markle revealed by fellow funeral attendee


A guest at Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral has revealed the sweet gesture that Prince Harry did to wife Meghan Markle in order to make her feel more “comfortable” during the service.

On Monday 19 September, thousands of mourners and members of the royal family attended the State’s funeral at Westminster Abbey. During an interview with People about the event, funeral guest and attorney Pranav Bhanot opened up about a few of the moments he witnessed, including ones that were between Meghan and Harry.

Bhanot said there were points where the couple had to go “different directions” after “walking together” which prompted Harry to offer his wife some extra support by giving her hand “a squeeze”.

“You saw the reassurance that Harry was giving to Meghan at times when they were walking together and had to go in their different directions,” he said.

“I noticed just how supportive Harry was to Meghan,” Bhanot added. “When they went their separate directions after the ceremony, he gave her a firm squeeze of the hand. I felt he wanted to ensure she felt comfortable.”

While sitting in the second row during the Queen’s service, Meghan and Harry were also seen holding hands and comforting each other. The Duchess was later spotted wiping away her tears outside of the Abbey, following the funeral.

Leading up to Monday’s sombre occasion, Meghan and Harry took part in a memorial service at Westminster Hall, where they held hands again in a public display of affection that stood out among other royal family members.

The couple’s PDA was then met with mixed responses, as some people praised the gesture and others claimed that it was “disrespectful”. Many social media users also expressed how the criticism about their hand-holding was a “double standard”, since the Queen’s granddaughter Zara Tindall and her husband, Mike Tindall, also walked hand-in-hand when exiting the service at Westminster last week.

Along with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, many other people held their partner’s hands during Monday’s service, including Princess Eugenie and her husband, Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi. While making their way to their seats, many couples, including Zara and Mike and US President Joe Biden and his wife, Dr Jill Biden, were also seen holding hands.

The Queen’s state funeral in Westminster and Windsor is now coming to an end, as she’s being laid to rest in a private burial service, attended by King Charles III and the rest of her royal family. Her casket will be placed alongside those of her late husband, Prince Philip, and her parents, King George VI and the Queen Mother.

Wife killer to face UK’s first ever public parole hearing

Russell Causley with his wife Carole Packman, who he murdered in 1985, and their daughter - Family handout /PA
Russell Causley with his wife Carole Packman, who he murdered in 1985, and their daughter – Family handout /PA

A wife killer who has never revealed the location of his victim’s body is to face the UK’s first public parole hearing.

The parole board will determine whether Russell Causley, 79, who was jailed for life for killing Carole Packman in 1985, should be released after his grandson applied for a public hearing to scrutinise the “evil and sadistic” man who had such a serious impact on his own life.

Neil Gillingham, the grandson, said he wanted the hearing to shine a light on the “failure” of legal changes to date to make it harder to release killers who refuse to reveal the whereabouts of their victims’ bodies.

As well as being the first public hearing, it will also be the first case to test new rules that require the parole board by law to take account of a prisoner’s refusal to reveal the whereabouts of a victim’s body when deciding whether to release them.

Mr Gillingham said: “How evil and sadistic does the murderer need to be? How exceptional does the case need to be? My grandfather has no shame. I question whether or not he has a heart, and if he does, whether it’s made out of stone or flesh.

“My whole life has been tainted by my grandfather and I want a public hearing to scrutinise the man who has impacted on me for so long.”

Carole Packman - Family Handout /PA
Carole Packman – Family Handout /PA

Causley initially evaded justice for the best part of a decade after his wife’s murder by faking his own death as part of an insurance scam.

He was first convicted of murder in 1996 but this was quashed by the Court of Appeal in June 2003, and he then faced a second trial for murder and was again found guilty and sentenced to life for the killing, a year after he moved his lover Ms Packham into their home in Bournemouth, Dorset.

He was freed from prison in 2020, after serving more than 23 years for the murder, but was returned to jail in November last year after breaching his licence conditions. Causley will now face the Parole Board for review in October.

Causley opposed an open hearing and indicated he might not give evidence if the application was granted but will now face a public hearing in October.

Open hearing ‘in the public interest’

Announcing the decision, Caroline Corby, the chairman of the parole board, said an open hearing would be in the public interest because of the seriousness of his crimes, the high profile nature of his case and to help the public better understand the work of the board.

“I have decided that there are special features, which set it apart from other cases, which may add to the proper public understanding of the parole system,” she added.

These included the fact that it would be first since the law changed allow hearings to be held in public and to require the parole board to consider the refusal to reveal the whereabouts a victim’s body.

“I have carefully considered Mr Causley’s representations and have concluded that the interests of justice outweigh the points raised on Mr Causley’s behalf. I therefore grant the application for the hearing to be held in public.”

The application is the second to be received by the Parole Board requesting a public hearing after the rule change earlier this year allowed the public and media to observe proceedings.

Charles Bronson, one of the UK’s longest-serving and most notorious prisoners, was the first to request such a hearing.

A date has not been set for his next parole review, although it is thought it could be later this year or early in 2023, and a decision on whether it will take place in public is yet to be made.

Matt Willis reveals his exercise ‘addiction’ after struggling with drugs and alcohol


Jessica Jurkschat

·Contributor, Yahoo Life UK

Tue, 20 September 2022 at 6:22 pm

Willis says that he has developed an unhealthy addiction exercise in a bid to overcome his drug and alcohol problems. (Getty Images)
Willis says that he has developed an unhealthy addiction exercise in a bid to overcome his drug and alcohol problems. (Getty Images)

Matt Willis has revealed how he replaced his drug and alcohol addiction with a new compulsion: exercise.

The 39-year-old Busted bassist rose to fame in the early 2000s, but by 2005 he had checked into rehab – where he received treatment for alcoholism.

Two years later, the star spent five weeks at the Providence Project rehabilitation centre in Bournemouth – this time for drug issues. He has since remained alcohol and drug-free.

Nevertheless, speaking to Fearne Cotton on her Happy Place podcast, Willis admitted that he now obsesses over working out, so much so that he is ‘triggered’ if he isn’t able to go to the gym.

Matt Willis, pictured with Fearne Cotton in back 2007, opened up about his struggles with addiction. (Getty Images)
Matt Willis, pictured with Fearne Cotton back in 2007, opened up about his struggles with addiction. (Getty Images)

He says that he turned to exercise after realising that drugs and alcohol were no longer serving him.

“Exercise was a big thing for me… when I found it I was completely and utterly addicted to it. It was great because everything about it was positive,” Willis explained.

“And then it became a problem where if I didn’t or something got in the way of it I was triggered or I became angry or upset.”

Willis has been open about his addictions in the past, admitting that he began experimenting at a very young age.

“I’d be getting high in my bed at seven years old, so I have always had this in me to find ways to get away from dealing with who I am and how I feel,” he admitted. “Quitting drinking was one of the hardest tasks in my life,” he told Matt Johnson and Ben Bidwell on The Naked Professor podcast back in 2019.

And following a reported marriage ultimatum from wife Emma Willis, with whom he raises three children, Willis decided it was time to get sober.

The TV presenter and former model has been vocal about her struggle to “understand” Matt’s addiction troubles.

Willis has been sober for 12 years, since a reported marriage ultimatum from his wife Emma. (Getty Images)
Willis has been sober for 12 years, since a reported marriage ultimatum from his wife Emma. (Getty Images)

She previously revealed his relationship with drugs and alcohol ‘really changed’ following the birth of their daughter Isabelle.

“He was already recovery for himself, then Isabelle arrived and that made him even more determined,” she explained.

Willis is set to candidly share his battle with drug and alcohol addiction in a heartbreaking new documentary with BBC.

The musician will touch on his time as a member of Busted and speak about receiving treatment for alcoholism when the band split up.

The pop punk band Busted (pictured in 2018) first rose to fame in the early 2000s. (Getty Images)
The pop punk band Busted (pictured in 2018) first rose to fame in the early 2000s. (Getty Images)

In the documentary – which is set to air in 2023 – Willis details how his addiction was linked to his experiences in childhood and speaks on how starting a new life with his wife Emma saved him.

“This will be equally personal for Matt, as he has never delved so deep into his past before, at least not in public,” an insider revealed.

“It will reveal how some of his problems stemmed from a childhood where his parents made him feel he should conform to male stereotypes. That included telling him that ‘boys don’t cry’, which meant he never shed a tear until he was 29 years old.”

Must Read: Chloë Sevigny Collabs With Warby Parker, The Messaging Behind Prince Harry’s Funeral Fashion

<img src="https://s.yimg.com/ny/api/res/1.2/gDyTCeuf7Uu91DjkAlKTHw–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTk2MDtoPTU0MDtjZj13ZWJw/https://s.yimg.com/uu/api/res/1.2/fnBojcR_1QXCwswKqvrV8g–~B/aD0zNDk7dz02MjA7YXBwaWQ9eXRhY2h5b24-/https://media.zenfs.com/en/fashionista_850/1ee58787262a0f20982bb72805629ac4&quot; alt="<p>Photo: Courtesy of Warby Parker

Photo: Courtesy of Warby Parker

These are the stories making headlines in fashion on Tuesday.

Chloë Sevigny releases collaboration with Warby Parker

After successful partnerships in 2018 and 2019, the actor and eyeglasses company are collaborating again to bring back the Tate style, one that quickly sold out in the previous two collections. The Tate frame will be re-introduced in two colorways: nutmeg crystal with polished gold, as well as crystal with polished silver (the new colorway for this launch). Prices will start at $145 and are available to shop on WarbyParker.com.

What Prince Harry’s funeral outfits say about royal tensions

After Buckingham Palace initially said that only working members of the royal family — i.e., not Prince Harry or the disgraced Prince Andrew — will wear military uniforms for events in honor of the Queen, it was expected that the two would wear morning suits —traditional British ensemble for formal events. However, Andrew was given permission to wear his military uniform as a “special mark of respect” to the Queen. When Harry was not given the same exception, many called out the double standard on social media, with the Palace shortly thereafter granting the Duke of Sussex to wear his military garb, as well. Though when given his outfit, the “ER” patch, representing the Queen’s initials, was taken off, reportedly making Harry feel “heartbroken” and “excluded.” {GQ}

Kylie Cosmetics is teaming up with Macy’s

When the upcoming Kylie Cosmetics holiday collection rolls around this year on Oct. 1, the famous department store will include the brand in stores and online, and by spring 2023, the cosmetic company’s entire range will be available at Macy’s. The partnership will be one of Macy’s first celebrity-owned beauty brands, giving a new entryway into a lucrative space for the store. In a statement, Kylie Jenner said, “We are excited to launch Kylie Cosmetics at Macy’s to allow more brand fans to shop and experience our products in-store across the country.” {WWD}

A digital Carolina Herrera gown sold on Roblox for $5,000

Despite the fact that Carolina Herrera’s Spring 2023 collection won’t be available for purchase until next year, the closing look from the show was made instantly available to buy on Roblox, a virtual platform that has already hosted many designer brands. The gown, which could be seen on Karlie Kloss during the runway presentation, sold for $5,000 (yes, for a digital dress). In an email, designer Wes Gordon said, “It is exciting to see that there’s been such a great response to the dress, and the fact that there is such appetite and interest in celebrating fabulous fashion no matter where — from our runway show at The Plaza Hotel all the way to the metaverse.” {Vogue Business}

How heritage sports brands can fuel growth

BasicNet, owner of brands like KappaK-Way and Superga are seizing the opportunity to fill in sports apparel industry gaps since Nike and Adidas have limited their wholesale exposure and orders. By utilizing luxury collaborations with AlaïaFendiCommes des Garçons Play and more, BasicNet is betting on momentum to continue its business growth. The group is also set to open a new campus of showrooms, offices, apartments and restaurants during Milan Fashion Week to increase the company’s attractiveness as an employer. {Business of Fashion}

Claire’s is expanding its retail strategy

Ryan Vero, CEO of jewelry brand Claire’s, is leveraging the brand to sell its products in massive external retail stores. As of Tuesday, 1,200 Walmart stores will begin selling Claire’s products, bringing the grand total of Walmart stores carrying the brand to 2,500, as well as being sold on Walmart.com. Previously, Claire’s only multi-brand retailer was CVS, but now with Walmart, Toys “R” Us and Galeries Lafayette under its belt, Claire’s is decreasing its mall presence to focus on outlets and lifestyle centers.

Sophie, Countess of Wessex’s funeral dress is stitched with hidden tribute to the Queen

Sophie, Countess of Wessex’s funeral dress is stitched with hidden tribute to the Queen

Stitched into the calf length, pleated dress coat worn by Sophie, Countess of Wessex, at the state funeral today was a very touching tribute.

The Royal, who is married to Her Majesty’s son Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, chose a custom outfit designed by Suzannah Crabb, of luxury label Suzannah London, to pay her respects.

Sophie, Countess of Wessex (Getty Images)
Sophie, Countess of Wessex (Getty Images)

Delicately embellishing the black fabric are Lily of the Valley flowers, the beautiful woodland plants which were famously Queen Elizabeth II’s favourite. It made for a charming and personal touch on the sombre day.

Sophie, Countess of Wessex (REUTERS)
Sophie, Countess of Wessex (REUTERS)

“The coat dress was embroidered with Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II favourite flowers, Lily of the Valley,” Suzannah Crabb tells us. “They are intertwined with inspiration of the flowers from within Her Majesty’s wedding bouquet.”

Sophie, Countess of Wessex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex (Getty Images)
Sophie, Countess of Wessex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex (Getty Images)

It is no surprise the Countess of Wessex went the extra mile when deciding on her outfit, considering her closeness to the late Queen.

Having lost her mother Mary Rhys-Jones, to a stomach cancer in 2005, Sophie began calling Her Majesty ‘Mama’, and is said to have been like a second daughter to the UK’s longest reigning monarch.

Sophie, Countess of Wessex  hugs Prince George of Wales (Getty Images)
Sophie, Countess of Wessex hugs Prince George of Wales (Getty Images)

She arrived with Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, for the service at Westminster Abbey, and finished the style with a pair of suede, black high heels and a curved black hat embellished with black flowers.

King Charles III’s goddaughter India Hicks says it was a ‘privilege’ to attend Queen’s funeral

King Charles III’s goddaughter, India Hicks, has reflected on attending Queen Elizabeth II’s state funeral and how it was a “privilege” to be there.

The 55-year-old writer is the granddaughter of the Queen’s cousin Louis Mountbatten, and was a bridesmaid at Charles’ wedding to Princess Diana. She posted a photo of her and her mother, Lady Pamela Hicks, on Instagram on Monday to share how meaningful it was to be a part of the Queen’s services, along with few details about the experience.

“What a privilege. To have seen the sun set over Westminster Abbey last night and to return today, beside my mother, for the State Funeral, followed by the Committal Service in St. George’s Chapel, Windsor,” she wrote. “‘Service in life, hope in death’ said the Archbishop of Canterbury. God Bless The Queen. Long Live The King.”

Last week, Hicks shared another tribute to the Queen on her Instagram following the announcement of her death on 8 September. Along with sharing a throwback photo of the royal, Hicks praised the Queen for her 70 years on the throne.

“A rare constant in a world of exceptional change, the Queen saw 15 prime ministers come and go, she outlived 5 popes and for 70 years has been the nations figure head, from swinging sixties and moon landings to the advent of computers and Instagram,” she wrote in the caption.

The British designer went on to share a memory about the monarch and recalled how the Queen would bring “box of chocolates for herself” and a box for her hostess when staying with Lady Pamela Hicks.

“During one such visit she came to my mother with a small complaint, about my mother’s pet mongoose, named Neola,” Hicks continued. “The Queen said she really didn’t mind Neola coming into her room, she really didn’t mind him helping himself to one of her chocolates, but she did mind when he took a small bite out of each!”

The Queen’s memorial services came to an official close on Monday after her state funeral. During a private burial, she was laid to rest at St. George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle, next to her late husband, Prince Philip, alongside her father, King George VI, her mother, Queen Elizabeth, and her sister, Princess Margaret.

Following the burial, Buckingham Palace shared one late tribute to royal, posting an old photo of her walking through a field on Twitter. In the caption, the account wrote: “‘May flights of Angels sing thee to thy rest.’” In loving memory of Her Majesty The Queen. 1926 – 2022.”