The morning newspapers of May 7 were pretty nearly unanimous. “It’s A Boy,” they cried, reporting the birth of a son to Prince Harry and his mixed-race, American-born wife, Meghan Markle.
Front pages highlighted the words of the prince, who is a grandson of Queen Elizabeth, when he announced the event to the TV cameras: “This little thing is absolutely to die for… I’m just over the moon.”
Perhaps it’s because the UK has endured months of bad news, with a tottering and beleaguered government and an unpopular opposition, but what was widely-seen as a “good news” story was greeted by many with pleasure or at least relief.
The Daily Mail devoted no fewer than 23 pages to the story, TheSun gave it 11. All but the Financial Times carried a story and picture on their front page.
The 7lbs 3oz (3.2kg) baby, who has not been named yet, is Queen Elizabeth’s eighth great-grandchild and is seventh in line to the British throne. A statement said the Queen was delighted by the news.
Meghan’s mother, Doria Ragland, said she was overjoyed, and her father, Thomas Markle, said he was proud his grandson was born into the British royal family.
Explaining her background recently, Meghan said her father’s family was originally German, while her mother was a descendant of African slaves in Georgia. “My dad is Caucasian and my mom is African-American. I’m half black and half white.” She said she was happy with her ethnic mix.
Meghan was married to actor Trevor Engelson from 2011 to 2013, when they divorced. She gave up acting when she became engaged to Prince Harry in 2017. They married in May 2018.
The baby is a dual citizen, having automatically acquired US citizenship via his mother at birth.
Customarily, royal babies are showered with gifts from British royalty lovers. Instead, Harry asked the public to donate to four children’s charities, Little Village, the Lunchbox Fund, Well Child and Baby2Baby.
Gangs of teenagers prowling the streets at night; drugs and violence; walls and doors spattered with spray paint; neighbours partying into the early hours; men in cars following prostitutes…. all of this is defined as anti-social behaviour and sufferers say it is being ignored or downplayed by authorities.
Victims’ Commissioner Baroness Newlove said such activities caused “immense distress and suffering.” And she should know — her husband was kicked to death outside their home when he confronted vandals in 2007. “It seems implausible that 12 years later, here I am still raising the same issue,” she said.
Launching a report titled “Anti-Social Behaviour: Living a Nightmare,” Baroness Newlove accused police and local councils of downplaying the harm caused by crimes such as vandalism.
It was infuriating, she said, that these activities were often referred to as “low-level crimes” and victims were left to suffer in silence. Police chiefs and the Local Government Association said they took such behaviour seriously but their resources were under strain and they needed more funding.
Still more on racism in football… boys as young as seven, and Asians as well as blacks, are being targeted by racists here.
Mr Ahmed Maravia, who runs a club in Leicester, said “little children” often heard monkey chants and Islamophobic remarks at games. He said his players, who are predominantly Muslim, had been called “Pakis” by opposing footballers, managers and coaches, and told they should be “blowing things up, not playing football.”
Some of his under-14s once left the pitch in tears because of abuse, he said, and at a game for under-nines a parent offered a boy a banana, saying he “should be used to it.”
The recently formed Black, Asian and Minorities Ethnic Football Forum has begun collecting grassroots experiences of discrimination across the country. The group’s chairman, Mr Ivan Limburd, said he hoped this would lead to change and better education.
Christians should not be offended by the following. I heard it from a church pulpit:
A man and his wife and mother-in-law make a visit to the Holy Land, during which the mother-in-law passes away. The local funeral director says he can transport the old lady’s body back to Britain for £10,000 or bury her right there in the Holy Land for just £1,000.
To the surprise of the funeral director, the son-in-law opts for an expensive transfer to UK. Asked why, he explains, “Two thousand years ago, a man was buried here and three days later rose again. I’m not taking any chances.”
And this really happened:
During Mass, an altar boy went up to the priest and whispered that a fire had started in the sacristy. The priest turned to the congregation and said, “We have a small fire, will everyone leave by the side door, and Bill (to the verger) make sure the collection plate is by the door.”