William and Kate’s big day approaches
With just days, or possibly hours, to go before the birth of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s second child, the media and members of the public have begun a vigil outside the Lindo Wing of St. Mary’s Hospital in West London. Amongst them 79 year-old pensioner Terry Hutt, from Weston-Super-Mare, who has set up camp on a wooden bench outside the hospital. In 2013 Mr. Hutt spent thirteen days on the exact same bench waiting for the birth of Prince George.
Mr. Hutt, who has become known as ‘The Union Jack Man,’ joked: “My wife tells me I’m mad. I have a waterproof outfit, a tarpaulin over the bench, decorated with union jacks. We call it the royal bench.” His royalist enthusiasm dates back to the early days of WWII and The Blitz when, aged four, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth visited his parents in London. With his 80th birthday on 30 April it is possible that Mr. Hutt and the latest addition to the Cambridge family will be sharing a day of celebration.
However, the best laid plans of even the most ardent royalist will be derailed if Kate, who is staying at Kensington Palace a short drive from St. Mary’s, goes into labour when she is at Amner Hall in Norfolk or visiting her family in Bucklebury. Local hospitals have been put on standby just in case. One thing that does seem certain is that William will be present at the birth having finished his Air Ambulance training early, which means he is entitled to six weeks paternity leave.
Did Richard III hide his ‘deformity’?
Whilst historians reconsider the life and times of England’s last Plantagenet king whose remains were famously rediscovered under a car park in Leicester, Dr. Mary Ann Lund from the University of Leicester believes that, whilst he was not the hunchback of William Shakespeare’s imagination, Richard’s spinal condition – scoliosis – was something he felt the need to hide during his lifetime.
Writing in the journal ‘Medical Humanities’ she said: “It is highly likely that Richard took care to control his public image. The body of the king was part of the propaganda of power, and even when it was revealed in order to be anointed as part of his coronation ceremony it was simultaneously concealed from the congregation. Tailoring probably kept the signs of his scoliosis hidden to spectators outside the royal household of attendants, servants and medical staff who dressed, bathed and tended to the monarch’s body.”
If Richard’s condition was a state secret Dr. Lund believes he would have been given the best medical care that was available in the late medieval period: “The care he in all probability received for his scoliosis from his surgically trained physician was large in scale: traction and manual manipulation needed specially designed equipment, space and assistants.” Dr. Lund’s intriguing thesis brings another perspective to a monarch whose reign and character are undergoing a remarkable reevaluation.
Family fun for Mary on ‘Earth Day’
After a series of official engagements culminating with the celebrations for Queen Margrethe’s 75th birthday, Crown Princess Mary enjoyed a more relaxing type of engagement with her three youngest children, visiting a farm in Kirke Hyllinge, a village in Zealand. The trip was part of the annual ‘Earth Day’ activities promoting economic growth and sustainability. Princess Isabella and twins, Princess Josephine and Prince Vincent, had a great time meeting the farmers and their livestock. For the outing Mary opted for a smart country look of tweed jacket and jeans whilst the children were wrapped up snugly in padded jackets, although the weather was pleasant and sunny.