Albanian PM Edi Rama says Suella Braverman’s attack on country’s migrants are ‘criminal’ comments

More than 40,000 migrants crossed the Channel last year, nearly a quarter of them from Albania - Dan Kitwood/Getty
More than 40,000 migrants crossed the Channel last year, nearly a quarter of them from Albania – Dan Kitwood/Getty

The Albanian Prime Minister has criticised Suella Braverman for singling out Albanian migrants in “criminal” comments.

Ahead of talks in London with Rishi Sunak, Edi Rama said the way in which migrants from his country had been singled out for political purposes in the UK was “a very, very disgraceful moment for British politics”.

He said that branding Albanians as criminals was an “ethnic seal” that was itself a crime and that a “few rotten apples” did not define a nation.

However, the Albanian Prime Minister also hailed a new era in relations between the two countries in tackling illegal migration. Some 11,000 Albanians crossed the Channel on small boats to reach the UK last year, representing nearly a quarter of the total number of 45,000 making the journey in 2022.

In an agreement with Albania in December, the UK set up a joint task force to deter and disrupt illegal migration, share information to combat the migrants and trafficking, and enable fast-track returns of migrants who entered the UK illegally.

Mr Rama told BBC Radio 4's Today programme it had recently been a 'very disgraceful moment for British politics' - Anadolu
Mr Rama told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme it had recently been a ‘very disgraceful moment for British politics’ – Anadolu

Mr Rama told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “Unfortunately we have seen ourselves and our community being singled out in this country for purposes of politics. It has been a very, very disgraceful moment for British politics.

“I mean what has been spoke out by members of the cabinet, starting with the Home Secretary and then I mean what exactly has been developing as the singling out of our community which is not something you do in our our civilisation and is something that does not represent Britain at all,” he told the BBC Radio 4 today programme.

“This has been a very low point in our relations but there is a will to overcome it. We will always refuse to have this mix between some criminals and the Albanians as such because giving to the crime an ethnic seal is itself a crime.”

However, Mr Rama said he believed Mr Sunak had set relations on a new path towards cooperating on issues that concerned both countries. “On the other hand I am very satisfied with your Prime Minister,” he said.

“We have set up a clear path towards tackling together whatever has to be excluded from our relations and from our world of law and justice but at the same time making sure that some rotten apples do not define the Albanian community here and our relations.”

A Home Office spokesman said: “The UK government values the Albanian community in the UK, and continues to welcome the many Albanians who travel to the UK legally and contribute significantly to British society.

“Albania is a safe country. However, we are seeing large numbers of Albanian nationals risking their lives and making dangerous and unnecessary journeys to the UK through illegal means, and this is placing further strain on our asylum system.

“Working closely with the government of Albania, we are taking every opportunity to intercept the work of people smugglers and others, and speeding up the removal of those with no legal right to be in the UK.”


62% of women feel they’ve lost part of their identity since becoming a mother, says new survey

Laura Hampson

Thu, 23 March 2023 at 2:42 pm GMT

Woman comforts her child as two-thirds of British mothers feel they've lost part of their identity since becoming a mother, a new study has found. (Getty Images)
Two-thirds of British mothers feel they’ve lost part of their identity since becoming a mother, a new study has found. (Getty Images)

Nearly two-thirds of British mothers feel they’ve lost part of their identity since becoming a parent, according to a new study.

A further 31% of the 2,000 mothers surveyed by app Peanut said that making time for themselves was the hardest part about becoming a parent, harder than the cost of raising children (19%), and finding childcare (17%).

The study comes after a video went viral on Peanut that slammed a new book which aims to teach women the “right way” to parent, with some users saying that books like this contribute to feelings of identity loss.

“This kind of thing is teaching mothers that it’s not normal to struggle [with identity loss] and mothers start to worry there’s something ‘wrong’ with themselves when there isn’t,” user Meghan said.

Our sense of identity is shaped by our upbringing, family, friends, experiences, jobs, education, adventures, successes and our failures, explains Counselling Directory member Georgina Sturmer.

“Once we enter motherhood, it’s as if much of this is wiped out in one fell swoop,” she adds. “Everyone shouts ‘congratulations’ but we rarely take a moment to acknowledge what we have lost. There’s an expectation that we should feel overwhelmed by joy and gratitude. It might seem silly or selfish to feel sadness or grief, or to have a sense of longing for our past self, but that’s what it can feel like when we lose part of our identity.”

She adds that identity loss can have a negative impact on mothers as it can feel akin to grief or “like something just isn’t right, but we don’t know what it is”.

woman looks tired as she looks down at her baby
It’s normal for mothers to feel a disconnect between their new selves and their previous identity. (Getty Images)

Laura Abba, parenting expert and founder of Mind the Parent, adds that identity loss can feel “like a numbness” and like “mothers don’t know or recognise who they are” or how they can “make sense of their world and fit in their new role”.

“The commitment, responsibility and everything that means becoming a mother; like somebody else’s life could be depending on them; means that other aspirations might need to take a back seat,” Abba explains. “This means that they might not be able to do what previously defined part of their identity.”

She adds that there is also a social pressure for mothers to be everything all at once: a mother, a professional, a cook, a health nut, to run the household, and to be sociable, among other things.

“Being bombarded by social media on what a mother ‘should look like’ or ‘should do’ or ‘should feel’ doesn’t allow women to take the time to reconnect with their new selves,” Abba continues.

How long can you expect identity loss to last?

While many mothers experience identity loss after having a child, some begin to experience it when they first get pregnant.

“During pregnancy, our bodies become public property. We become the ‘plus one’ to the foetus that is growing inside us. We are poked, prodded and measured by healthcare professionals,” Sturmer explains. “The experience of birth can be full of joy and awe, but it can also leave us feeling vulnerable, exposed and frightened.”

Abba says there is no set time for how long you can expect feelings of identity loss to last.

“It will differ with each person and circumstances,” she says. “It is important to note, that as we grow, and evolve, mothers won’t be who they were before becoming a mother again; that person is different. However the sense of identity will come back, and in many cases identifying as a mother will be a main part of the identity.”

Side view close-up of pregnant woman touching her belly. Pregnancy health & wellbeing concept.
Feeling of identity loss can begin in pregnancy. (Getty Images)

Does not working and being on maternity leave have a part to play?

According to the Peanut study, 55% of mothers say that having children has impacted their careers, but Abba says the transition into motherhood and the time that maternity leave allows you to do so can help to form your new identity.

“As with any transition, or big changes, there are times when there might be grief. If before motherhood, the woman had a strong sense of identity attached to their work role, then being on maternity leave, depending on the attachment to the new role as mother, can leave a gap in their sense of identity,” she adds.

How does a change in body shape affect identity loss?

“Pregnancy and childbirth can leave physical scars as well as emotional ones,” Sturmer explains. “The image of the glowing pregnant woman falls away, and we are left with a body that might not seem as if it belongs to us anymore.”

While some women may feel empowered, or even grateful for their bodies after childbirth, those who experience a difficult childbirth or birth trauma might have stronger feelings of identity loss.

“Their body could be a reminder that can have a larger impact on their loss of identity or mark on the construction of their identity,” Abba adds.

How can you embrace your identity as a mother and a human?

While becoming a mother may alter the way in which you think of your identity, you can be a mother and a human with their own wants and needs.

“Know that as individuals, we keep growing and developing; meaning that our identity will keep changing,” Abba says. “We talk about the identity loss in motherhood because the change is physical, psychological and emotional. If a mother were to think of how and who she was five years ago, it would be different from who she was 10 years ago, so it’s expected that this new phase of her life will make her feel different too.”

woman holds he child and looks sad
It’s normal that you might feel grief for your past self when you become a mother. (Getty Images)

What psychological techniques and exercises can you use to help overcome identity loss?

Abba says a good exercise to use is to talk about what you envisioned motherhood would be and compare it to your current reality.

“Compare your values before becoming a mother, what you expected your values to be after becoming a mother and lastly, the reality of the values you now have as a mother,” she adds.

“Also think, if you had a friend going through the same situation as you; what would be the one thing you would tell her?”

The first thing to remember with feelings of identity loss is that it can be a normal reaction to motherhood. But, if you are worried, here are some coping tools that may help.

The stages of coping that Sturmer recommends are:

  • Acknowledge your feelings – all of them.
  • Accept the reality of motherhood.
  • Seek connection.
  • Remember to think about your own needs.
  • Don’t struggle in silence.

“If you’re feeling isolated, try to find the courage to reach out and build local networks for support and friendship,” Sturmer says. “This might mean being vulnerable and sharing your true feelings with others.

“If you’re feeling lost, reach out to your friends and family. And if you feel you need further support, or an independent listening ear, then contact a healthcare professional or trained counsellor.”

Exclusive: Less than half of Britons back Harry being invited to King’s coronation

Emma Mackenzie

·Yahoo UK royal reporter

Thu, 23 March 2023 at 10:03 am GMT

LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 19: Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex arrive at Westminster Abbey ahead of the State Funeral of Queen Elizabeth II on September 19, 2022 in London, England. Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor was born in Bruton Street, Mayfair, London on 21 April 1926. She married Prince Philip in 1947 and ascended the throne of the United Kingdom and Commonwealth on 6 February 1952 after the death of her Father, King George VI. Queen Elizabeth II died at Balmoral Castle in Scotland on September 8, 2022, and is succeeded by her eldest son, King Charles III.  (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
If Harry attends the coronation in May, it will be the first time he has been with the rest of the Royal Family since Queen Elizabeth II’s state funeral. (Getty Images)

Less than half of British people support Prince Harry being invited to King Charles’s coronation, exclusive polling for Yahoo UK shows.

The ceremony, which takes place on 6 May, will see King Charles crowned as monarch and Camilla as Queen Consort.

The presence of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex would be a contentious one and the Savanta survey shows around a third of Brits think he should not attend. But it also highlights a significant disparity in support for Harry across age groups, with young people twice as likely to approve of his invitation to the coronation than older people.

Harry and Meghan’s spokesperson has confirmed the couple have received an initial email invitation to the coronation, but have yet to announce whether they plan to attend.

It is thought official invites will be sent close to the event.

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 03: Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, leaves after attending the National Service of Thanksgiving at St Paul's Cathedral during the Queen's Platinum Jubilee celebrations on June 3, 2022 in London, England. The Platinum Jubilee of Elizabeth II is being celebrated from June 2 to June 5, 2022, in the UK and Commonwealth to mark the 70th anniversary of the accession of Queen Elizabeth II on 6 February 1952. (Photo by Toby Melville - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Meghan and Harry joined in the celebrations for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee last year, attending the National Service of Thanksgiving. (Getty Images)

The perception of life behind closed doors at the House of Windsor has been hugely impacted in recent months following claims made by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex about the leaking of stories from within the Royal Household and internal family strife.

Harry has also admitted the extent of the fractured relationship he has with his father and brother while promoting his memoir, Spare, saying of any possible reconciliation that the “ball is in their court” but that “the door is always open”.

If the Sussexes do attend — the event is on the same day as their son Archie’s birthday — it will attract heavy scrutiny that may risk drawing attention away from King Charles. However, their absence will also draw a large amount of speculation and risk further presenting the Royal Family as dysfunctional on a day when the world’s spotlight will be firmly on them.

In polling conducted by Savanta for Yahoo, 47% of respondents said that it was right that Harry should be invited to the coronation, while 37% felt he shouldn’t be invited — with 15% unsure either way.

But broken down by age, younger people are far more likely (62% in favour) to support his invitation – double the amount of those aged over 65.

The poll shows the older you are, the less likely you are to want Harry at the event: 58% of 24-34 year olds backed an invitation, 55% of 35-44 year olds, 45% of 45-54 year olds and 40% of 55-64 year olds.

Regionally, there was also a difference, with respondents from Northern Ireland (55%) having the highest proportion of those who support Harry being invited to the coronation.

The lowest amount of support was found in Wales (39%) with Scotland at 44% — 48% of respondents in England approve of Harry being invited.

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 05: (EDITORS NOTE: This image has been converted to black and white) Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex attend The Endeavour Fund Awards at Mansion House on March 05, 2020 in London, England. (Photo by Samir Hussein/WireImage)
More support for Harry and Meghan attending the coronation could be found amongst younger people, this support gradually trended down as ages increased. (Getty Images)

Political affiliations also made a difference in how people responded to the poll: over half of Labour voters (54%) supported Harry being invited compared to 36% in the group of respondents who voted Conservative.

The largest proportion of support for Harry attending was found amongst those who did not vote in the last general election, at 57%.

Bank of England raises interest rates for 11th time to 4.25%

Pedro Goncalves

·Finance Reporter, Yahoo Finance UK

Thu, 23 March 2023 at 12:03 pm GMT

 interest rates Andrew Bailey, Governor of the Bank of England, attends the Bank of England Monetary Policy Report Press Conference, at the Bank of England, London, Britain, February 2, 2023. Yui Mok/Pool via REUTERS
Andrew Bailey, governor of the Bank of England, has announced yet another hike in interest rates but markets expect it to be the last. Photo: Yui Mok/Pool via Reuters

The Bank of England (BoE) has raised the UK interest rates by 0.25 basis points to 4.25% to combat double-digit inflation.

This is the 11th time in a row, in less than 18 months, that the central bank has increased rates, making borrowing costs higher despite the cost of living crisis that has hit UK households.

It lifts UK interest rates to their highest since October 2008, early in the financial crisis, when Bank Rate was 4.5%.

It also comes after inflation took a surprise leap to 10.4% in February. Inflation hit a 41-year high at 11.1% in October.

The monetary policy committee voted 7-2 in favour of a 25bps increase, with two members preferring to maintain at 4%.

Seven members (governor Andrew Bailey, plus Ben Broadbent, Jon Cunliffe, Jonathan Haskel, Catherine Mann, Huw Pill and Dave Ramsden) voted in favour of raising Bank Rate by a quarter-point, to 4.25%.

But two members, Swati Dhingra and Silvana Tenreyro, voted against the proposition, preferring to maintain Bank Rate at 4%.

Nathaniel Casey, investment strategist at wealth manager Evelyn Partners, said: “The split in voting is indicative of the tricky state of affairs confronting the MPC and other central banks, with committee members having to weigh the fragility of the global banking sector against the need to bring inflation back to target.

“The recent turmoil in the banking sector, which began with collapse of Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) nearly a fortnight ago, has reminded central banks that things can break when monetary policy is rapidly tightened. Although contagion risks from the tech bank crisis and Credit Suisse look to have receded for the time being, the BoE will need to tread carefully if it decides to further tighten monetary policy from here. The Bank recently acknowledged that ‘more sharp moves in asset prices could expose weakness in parts of Britain’s financial system’ in a letter to lawmakers.”

This increase will have an immediate impact on some borrowers and savers. High-street banks use the Bank’s base rate to work out the interest rates it offers to customers.

Sam Richardson, Which? money deputy editor, said: “This rate rise will push up housing costs for already hard-pressed households – with millions more likely to be hit over the coming months.

“Those on a tracker mortgage will see an immediate impact on monthly repayments, and those on a variable rate could also see their costs rise. Mortgage owners on a fixed-term deal will not be affected for the duration of their deal, however they will likely be stung with much higher rates when the time comes to renew.

“Homeowners struggling with payments should speak to their lenders, which are required to offer support, such as temporarily reducing payments or extending the mortgage term. Discussing your options with your lender will not affect your credit rating.

“Higher rates will also have an impact on renters, as buy-to-let landlords will likely pass on increased costs to their tenants. If you are unsure about how you will be able to make monthly repayments, contact your landlord or letting agent to see if a different payment plan is available.”

The Bank of England says up to 4 million households face a higher monthly mortgage bill this year. An estimated 356,000 mortgage borrowers could face difficulties with repayments by July next year, according to the Financial Conduct Authority.

When interest rates rise, more than 1.4 million people on tracker and variable rate deals usually see an immediate increase in their monthly payments.

For the average UK property costing £270,708 on a variable rate and with a 75% LTV, monthly mortgage repayments would increase by £26 a month, according to data from TotallyMoney and Moneycomms.

Three-quarters of mortgage customers hold a fixed-rate mortgage so their payments should not be affected for now but prospective house buyers or those seeking a remortgage will pay more.

Alice Haine, personal finance analyst at Bestinvest, said: “For first-time buyers shopping around for a fixed rate deal, another interest rate rise will leave them feeling very nervous. Mortgage rates rose rapidly last year – hitting a peak of 6.5% in October in the wake of the mini budget chaos when unfunded tax cuts spooked the markets. Despite interest rates continuing to rise since then, the average two- and five-year fixed rates are currently at a six-month low as most of the recent Bank Rate rises were already priced in by lenders.”

Richard Donnell, executive director of research at Zoopla, commented: “We don’t expect the increase in the base rate to make much difference to the outlook for the housing market. Demand for homes is down on last year but sales are still being agreed albeit at a slower rate (20% lower). People still want to move and households are resetting their plans in an environment of higher borrowing costs. Talk of a big price correction in home values has been overplayed and if you price your home sensibly, it’s likely to attract interest subject to some negotiation on the final price.”

The Bank of England said in its latest monetary policy report that global growth “is expected to be stronger than projected” in its last meeting and that the UK banking system “remains resilient”.

Markets predict this to be the final rate hike in the Bank of England’s run.

“Assuming the broader inflation data continues to point to an easing in pipeline pressures, then we suspect the committee will be comfortable with pausing by the time of the next meeting in May,” ING economist James Smith said.

The BoE has raised its outlook for the economy in the near term, now expecting the economy to grow in second quarter.

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt said: “With rising prices strangling growth and eroding family budgets, the sooner we grip inflation the better for everyone.

“That’s why we support the Bank of England’s actions today and why we will continue to play our part in this fight by being responsible with the public finances, alongside providing cost of living support worth an average of £3300 per household over this year and next.”

The Bank of England follows other central banks in rising interest rates amid sticky inflation and an international banking crisis.

The US Federal Reserve raised its main rate by a quarter of a percentage point on Wednesday but indicated it would stop further increases.

The European Central Bank also raised its three main interest rates by 50 basis points last week.

This Thursday, the Swiss National Bank’s policy rate has been lifted to 1.5%, from 1%, to counter “the renewed increase in inflationary pressure”.

The Norges Bank’s Monetary Policy and Financial Stability Committee also announced today it had decided to raise the Norwegian policy rate from 2.75% to 3%, as it battles inflation.

Keir Starmer hails Margaret Thatcher as ‘right’ on crime as he launches Labour’s law and order plan

Labour leader Keir Starmer  (PA Wire)
Labour leader Keir Starmer (PA Wire)

Sir Keir Starmer hailed Margaret Thatcher as “right” on crime as he launched Labour’s law and order plan on Thursday.

The Labour leader namechecked the divisive former Tory Prime Minister as he vowed to put tackling crime at the heart of his campaign to be the next Prime Minister.

He pledged that his “one rule for all” proposals would halve knife crime, reduce levels of violence against women and girls and see more offenders prosecuted.

Speaking at Port Vale Football Club in Stoke-on-Trent this morning, Sir Keir said: “Nothing is more important – more fundamental – to a democracy like ours. The rule of law is the foundation for everything.

“Margaret Thatcher called it the ‘first duty of government’ – she was right. An expression of individual liberty – our rights and responsibilities, but also of justice, of fairness, of equality – one rule for all.

“That’s the principle I’ve been proud to serve all my adult life. As a human rights lawyer, fighting for families with young children, trying to escape mould-infested accommodation, or for freedom of speech in the McLibel case.”

He used his speech to repeat claims that Labour is now the “party of law and order” and accused the Conservatives of being out of touch.

Women who have suffered sexual violence have been particularly let down by a flawed criminal justice system, he said.

One in 14 women aged 16 and over were victims of domestic abuse in the year last year, according to ONS figures.

“Questions and assumptions that are deeply flawed and have left vulnerable people, working class women and girls especially, ignored,” he said. .

Sir Keir, who previously led the Crown Prosecution Service, announced a four point plan to tackle crime.

A Labour government would halve incidents of knife crime, reduce the number of victims who drop out of the justice system and reverse “the collapse” in the proportion of crimes solved, he vowed.

He also said his party would restore confidence in police following the damning report by Baroness Casey into the Metropolitan Police released earlier this week that found the force was institutionally racist, sexist and homophobic.

“The horror of what we’ve seen reported about the Metropolitan Police this week cannot be understated,” he said, as he announced plans to “modernise” misconduct and officer vetting procedures.

“Our policing by consent model – a precious model – is now hanging by a thread.”

But Conservative MPs branded the Labour leader “soft” on justice.

Policing minister Chris Philp pointed to Sir Keir signing a letter calling for 50 criminals not to be deported to Jamaica shortly before he became Labour leader.

Several of the men taken off the flight following a legal fight went on to commit crimes in the UK, the Sun reported.

Mr Philp said Labour are “soft on crime and would rather campaign to stop the deportation of dangerous foreign criminals than try to protect the British public. It’s a disgrace.”

Nicola Sturgeon says she attended memorial service while having a miscarriage

Jade Biggs

Tue, 21 March 2023 at 8:39 am GMT

nicola sturgeon attended memorial while having a miscarriage
Nicola on attending memorial amid miscarriageJeff Mitchell – Getty Images

Nicola Sturgeon has opened up about her experience of baby loss, recalling how she attended a memorial service while having a miscarriage.

Speaking on ITV’s Loose Women, Scotland’s First Minister – who recently announced her plans to step down from the position – spoke about the difficulties of balancing such a traumatic experience with her life as a politician in the public eye.

“If you go online and Google, you can find a photograph of me at an event, actually while I’m still having a miscarriage, a public commemoration for a disaster that happened many decades ago in Scotland,” Sturgeon recalled. “Looking at me, looking at that photograph now, it’s clear I’m in a lot of pain.”

“I can only speak for myself, but I think it’s more common than just me – you just bury it,” she said of how she dealt with the miscarriage, which she previously revealed had happened “at the very end of Hogmanay in 2010.”

“You effectively don’t deal with it, you don’t process it,” Sturgeon went on. “I’ve been doing that to one extent or another for all my adult life.”

nicola sturgeon attended memorial while having a miscarriage
Sturgeon referenced this photo from the 40th anniversary of the Ibrox disaster on 3 January 2011.Pool – Getty Images

To help other parents going through similar situations, Sturgeon recently launched an initiative in Scotland – the baby loss memorial book – which she said may have helped her to deal with her own experience.

Along with an entry in the book, those who have experienced a loss will be able to apply for a commemorative certificate which is intended to give recognition and comfort to those who want to record their loss, the Scottish government’s website explains. The service will be free of charge and completely voluntary.

“The loss of a pregnancy or a baby is always painful. I have spoken in the past about my personal experience of miscarriage, and I know the sense of grief will stay with me and my husband forever,” the First Minister said when announcing the launch. “I also know that we would have drawn comfort at the time if there had been a way for us to mark the loss and formally recognise the child we were grieving.”

She continued: “Launching this memorial book with the National Records of Scotland will give parents an opportunity – if they wish it – to commemorate their loss with a physical record, and to have their child recognised.”

If you’re looking for support or more information about premature births, stillbirths or miscarriage, Tommy’s have a free helpline 0800 0147 800 (open 9-5, Monday to Friday). There’s also a Facebook group.

What is the Stone of Destiny and what does it have to do with King Charles III’s coronation?

stone of destiny
What is the Stone of Destiny and its link to King?ALASTAIR GRANT – Getty Images

In the lead up to King Charles III’s coronation day, there’s plenty to get excited about – from street parties (hello an excuse to eat cake and drink Pimm’s at 11am) to a free, yes free, concert! And that’s not all. As well as the will-they-wont-they conversation surrounding Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s attendance, another element of the King’s coronation that’s piqued our interest is the Stone of Destiny. Sounds fancy, eh?

Yep, while the Stone of Destiny sounds like something you’d find in a Disney fairytale, it’s actually very real – and it’ll play a huge part in the crowing of King Charles III.

Despite ascending to the throne shortly after the death of Queen Elizabeth II in September 2022, Charles has had to wait quite a few months for his official coronation – which will take place on 6 May at Westminster Abbey. Nevertheless, with such a big event to organise, plans for the King’s coronation are well underway – which is where the Stone of Destiny comes in…

What is the Stone of Destiny?

Much like The Sword in the Stone, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the Stone of Destiny came straight out of a children’s book. Actually, the Stone of Destiny is exactly what it sounds like: a stone.

stone of destiny
The Stone of Destiny was built within the throne and kept at Westminster Abbey in London.Print Collector – Getty Images

According to historians, the Stone of Destiny is an “ancient symbol” and “sacred object” that was used for centuries in the inauguration of Scotland’s kings. But in 1296, the stone was seized from Scotland by England’s King Edward I and he had it built into a new throne at Westminster. From then on, it has been used in the coronation ceremonies of English monarchs.

Where is the Stone of Destiny?

After being stolen by King Edward I in the early 1200s, the Stone of Destiny remained in London’s Westminster Abbey until four Scottish students removed it on Christmas Day 1950. Three months later, the stone was discovered more than 500 miles away, at the high altar of Arbroath Abbey.

The Stone of Destiny was then taken back to the throne at Westminster Abbey, but four decades on it was officially returned to Scotland where it was kept in the Crown Room at Edinburgh Castle. In 2020, former Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced plans to relocate the stone – which is also known as the Stone of Scone – to Perth.

stone of destiny
The Stone of Destiny on its return journey to Scotland in 1996.Mathieu Polak – Getty Images

How is the Stone of Destiny linked to King Charles III?

In keeping with coronation traditions, the Stone of Destiny will leave Scotland once more and travel to Westminster Abbey for the coronation. Afterwards, it will be returned to its home in Scotland, where it is seen as a priceless artefact and visited by more than a million tourists each year.

Paris Hilton Just Revealed Her Natural Hair Texture In Throwback Childhood Photo

Elena Chabo

Tue, 21 March 2023 at 8:38 am GMT

paris hilton natural hair texture
Paris Reveals Natural Hair Texture In Childhood TBGetty Images

Paris Hilton‘s long, poker-straight blonde hair defined a generation. And while we always knew her hair wasn’t naturally peroxide blonde or 24 inches long, we can’t say we’d given much thought to the texture. From Selena Gomez to Jennifer Aniston to Khloé Kardashian, we love a texture reveal from a ‘straight’ haired star.

Now, while promoting Paris: The Memoir (*adds to basket*), the reality icon has shared a childhood throwback with distinctly wavy hair with a light curl to it.

Now, I know what a lot of you will be thinking already. ‘Loads of kids have curly hair that straightens out as they get older,’ but you know what else kids get as they get older? Hairdryers. No, but being real, a lot of the time very simple brushing and blowdrying can destroy more gentle waves and curls, and you’d be surprised how many people don’t know their hair isn’t just ‘frizzy’ when they skip a blow dry.

Paris isn’t a tiny tot in the school year book photo, so we wouldn’t be surprised if that school girl texture is pretty close to what grown-up Paris’ hair would look like if left to it’s own devices, untouched by heat and dye.

And it sounds like the memoir is going to be packed with way more surprises about Paris than just her hair texture, and certainly heavier ones, too. As she wrote in the caption: ‘Everyone knows 2000s Paris, from The Simple Life to the clubs in New York. My life appeared to be a fairytale, but there is so much more to it that no one knows, not even my closest friends.’

She continued: ‘It was extremely cathartic to finally open up and tell the whole story–the glam, the struggles, and everything in between. 🥹 Get to know the uncut version of me in my book Paris: The Memoir, available NOW. 💫 #ThisIsWhoIAm

We’ll take five copies.

Kevin Clifton shares heartfelt message and photo of Stacey and daughter Minnie on Mother’s Day

london, england december 12 kevin clifton and stacey dooley attend the press night performance of matthew bournes nutcracker at sadlers wells theatre on december 12, 2021 in london, england photo by david m benettdave benettgetty images
Kevin Clifton shares sweet message to StaceyDavid M. Benett

Kevin Clifton took to Instagram on Sunday (19 March) to share a sweet photo and heartfelt caption to partner Stacey Dooley, who has just become a mum to their baby girl Minnie.

The Strictly Come Dancing pro and partner Stacey Dooley welcomed their new daughter Minnie into the world just over two months ago.

With both parents regularly posting baby updates on social media, Kevin shared a sweet photo and adorable message to Stacey this Mother’s Day.

Kevin wrote in the caption: “I’ve watched my girl @sjdooley become an absolute superwoman over the last couple of months (as if she wasn’t already).
The most wonderful mum to our daughter Minnie. Love you baby. Happy 1st Mother’s Day.❤️🐭”

With Stacey replying to the post: “😭💘🐭”.

In the photo, Stacey looks radiant and chic in a double denim look and trendy black trainers while hugging daughter Minnie over her shoulder.

Fans were quick to comment on the post, wishing the star a wonderful first Mother’s Day and sharing what a beautiful moment Kevin had captured.

And this isn’t the only sweet moment we have recently seen of the new mum. Stacey shared a cute photo on her Instagram from her birthday, cradling her newborn daughter Minnie.

Captioning the photo of herself cuddling her baby girl, the star said: “36 🎈The best is yet to come 🎀 T H A N K U EVS SINGLE PERSON THATS WISHED ME A HAPPY BIRTHDAY 🎂 Kev, thank you for the greatest gift of all 💘”

If you love someone, don’t follow them on social media

You’d both be healthier taking hallucinogenics at regular intervals than slavishly following each other online (iStock)
You’d both be healthier taking hallucinogenics at regular intervals than slavishly following each other online (iStock)

My first significant relationship started in 2008. My memory is extremely hazy, but I seem to remember that the morning after, the following things definitely happened: we sat in bed and speculated whether the collapse of Lehman Brothers might precipitate some kind of global financial crisis, while listening to The Ting Tings and Scouting for Girls. After discussing the solidity of Brangelina, and crazily wondering whether Tory leader David Cameron would one day be accused of having sex with a pig’s face, we kissed and I departed. Oh, and this part I actually remember really well: we became friends on Facebook that day, too.

It was a cute moment, at a time when Facebook could itself be legitimately described as cute. Back then, there was a delightful naivety to the way people used social media. We treated each other the way young lovers treat each other. People tried to see the other person’s point of view. We were all polite, optimistic, and generally kept things light, easy and breezy. Back then, there was a spate of weddings off the back of people meeting via these platforms. Not just young people but oldies, too – a phenomenon riffed on by BBC One’s Last Tango in Halifax, the Sally Wainwright drama about seventysomethings finding love online. Yet even though it only dates back to 2012, you couldn’t hang a show on that innocent premise today.

Nowadays seventysomething Facebook users would likely coalesce over a shared perception that Amber Heard was lying about domestic abuse, or throwing around racial epithets in the comments section of a local newspaper story about fly tipping. It’s fair to say that the romance has vanished from Facebook, and from social media in general.

Yet given how dramatically bleak and unromantic the whole thing has become, I’m shocked that convention still states that people in love are expected to follow each other online. It might seem dangerously aloof (and borderline rude) to say no, but I honestly think it’s not worth the risk. Social media has devolved from a bit of fun into something that’s actively driving up divorce rates. Though estimates are unclear, platforms such as Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat have been reported as a factor in anywhere from one in seven to a third of all divorce cases.

I find these statistics fascinating because they show that we are vastly more affected by social media than we outwardly acknowledge in our real lives. It is the proverbial elephant in the room, and many of us are in denial – we often don’t discuss it for fear of dignifying its presence. That’s until you get into a one-on-one with someone awkwardly stuck in a relationship with a social media fan.

I’ve heard complaints in the past about people being used as a warm-up audience for their partners’ opinions, or those who save their A-game chat for their online community whilst being fairly dull in real life. There’s the classic partner-as-photographer gripe, where every move (and meal) is documented and shared by an overzealous other half. Some also privately struggle to understand the incongruity of their partner’s social media output: the boasting, the relentless positivity, the “I had a great time with so-and-so”, despite knowing full well that they hate each other’s guts and secretly want to pour Dolmio sauce over each other. There’s also the exact inverse of these situations, where a partner may simply lurk, silently read all of your Insta stories religiously, yet never once engage with any of it, ever.

The truth is that social media exists in such a state of delirious fantasy that you’d both be healthier taking hallucinogenics at regular intervals than slavishly following each other online. It’s not the real world. It’s a selection of random people who mostly don’t matter to you. Barely remembered school friends whose politics now drive you mad. People you used to work with a decade ago, whom you don’t hugely care about any more. People you used to fancy, but never met. People you used to date, but no longer speak to. That sound person you met at a festival, who now mostly posts about his biscuit business. As an ecosystem, it doesn’t bear much resemblance to real life – not like the beautiful, warts ’n’ all intimacy of “real life” relationships. The ones where people cohabit. The ones where people take vows to be monogamous. The ones where you can “be yourself”.

The person that you’re in love with is very unlikely to be the same person who exists online. So why follow them?

By contrast, most of us by now know that the act of “being yourself” online is mostly a performative illusion. People thought that American comedian Eric Andre and model Emily Ratajkowski were being themselves on Valentine’s Day, for example, when Andre appeared to announce their coupledom by sharing an affectionately candid picture of the pair totally nude – a bottle of wine and a (possibly post-coital) bundle of clothes all in shot. All very charming, until Ratajkowski recently cleared up that the picture was shared online after they had stopped dating. The meaning of it all had been completely skewered, which isn’t surprising. Any place where emotions are turned into a commodity (either tangentially financial or through dopamine-releasing likes) will inevitably start to affect the legitimacy of human expression.

That’s why the only celebrity I really trust is TV presenter Lorraine Kelly, who in 2019 successfully claimed in a tax battle with HMRC that on screen, she wasn’t herself. In the words of the judge, she was merely “presenting a persona of herself”. At work, “Lorraine Kelly” has to be agreeable to her show’s guests, and be blithe and chirpy whilst telling people about ironing hacks or the telltale symptoms of bowel cancer. That’s not the kind of thing regular, sans-quote-marks Lorraine Kelly does, and so she rightly established a border line between the two personas that share the same name. We need to realise that the same duality exists with all of us on social media. The person that you’re in love with is very unlikely to be the same person who exists online. So why follow them?

I’m not a hater of social media. My relationship with Facebook, for example, has lasted longer than any romantic relationship I’ve been in. I use it a lot, but in a deliberately unserious way that says almost nothing about who I really am as a person. I’m trying to save that for human beings I’m physically and emotionally close to. I stopped dating someone recently, but we stayed close friends. Weeks later, we started following each other on Instagram. It felt really good.