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Charities affiliated with late Queen await news on whether they will get new royal patron | UK News

Hundreds of charities once affiliated with the late Queen remain in the dark over whether they will be given a new royal patron.

Many say they are optimistic – but the slimmed-down monarchy means many could miss out.

After the death of Queen Elizabeth, each of her royal patronages was sent a letter explaining there would be a review.

Nearly a year later the outcome is still not known.

Llandaff Cathedral in Cardiff has a close connection with the monarchy, whose faces are carved into the stonework outside the building.

The late Queen and her father, George VI, were both royal patrons of the Friends of the Cathedral.

The charity hopes the King will take on the role.

“We support the heritage, the music, and the fabric of the cathedral. I’d like to think he would value what we do,” said the chair of the Friends, Linda Quinn.

“The Queen supported us, took an interest in what we did, and we used to feel very valued for that.”

Queen was royal patron of more than 600 charities

The late Queen was, at one time, royal patron of more than 600 charities and organisations, including the Dogs Trust.

The charity’s chief executive, Owen Sharp, said: “It was great having her associated… because we’re all about the love of dogs and everybody associated the Queen with loving dogs. We do some work internationally and the Royal Family travels well.”

He’s optimistic her patronage will be filled: “All the indications are that we will have a royal patron, obviously we don’t know who that will be, but we look forward to finding out.”

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Millions of trees planted in late Queen’s memory

King said he would not have time for all his charities

The Royal Family hold 3,000 royal patronages.

Hundreds are vacant after the deaths of the late Queen and Prince Philip.

But the difficult departures of Prince Andrew and Prince Harry also left gaps.

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Buckingham Palace is conducting a review of patronages including those held by the King and Queen.

In his first public address, the King explained he wouldn’t have time for all his charities.

‘It’s a symbiotic relationship’

Some have questioned the purpose of patronage, but Dr John Tribe, a senior lecturer in law at the University of Liverpool, believes the prominent positions do matter.

He said: “I like to refer to it as the patronage bargain… it’s a symbiotic relationship, it’s not just about the charity itself benefiting there’s also a reflected glow that the patron receives.”

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Buckingham Palace says the review is still under way to decide what happens next.

But take a look at the recent balcony moments and you realise the streamlined monarchy many want comes at a cost.

There simply aren’t enough working royals to fill the vacant roles, which were once the bread and butter of British public life.

Just Stop Oil protesters interrupt Proms at Royal Albert Hall | UK News

Just Stop Oil protesters have invaded the stage during the first night of the Proms at the Royal Albert Hall.

“The pair set off confetti cannons and sounded air horns, demanding the UK government immediately halt all new oil and gas consents and licences,” the environmental group tweeted.

“They attempted to address the audience before being forcibly removed.”

Pic: @alexcohengrin/Twitter
Pic: @alexcohengrin/Twitter

The pair were booed by some people in the audience as they were bundled off stage after unfurling banners.

The BBC, which airs the annual classical music event, said “there was no disruption to the concert or the broadcast during the few seconds the protesters were on stage”.

It also denied that air horns and confetti were used.

Just Stop Oil said the demonstrators were Kate Logan, a 38-year-old mother of two, and Pia Bastide, a 29-year-old community worker – both from London.

“I refuse to accept that my future is being sold away, one new oil licence at a time, and do nothing,” said Ms Bastide in a statement.

The protest group wants the government to stop licensing all new oil, gas and coal projects and has tried to disrupt numerous high-profile events to highlight its cause.

Just Stop Oil protesters interrupted the first night of the Proms. Pic: Just Stop Oil
Pic: Just Stop Oil

In response to the Royal Albert Hall incident, Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer tweeted: “Eco zealots shouldn’t disrupt sports events, weddings or the Proms.

“My message is this: Leave people to enjoy the events they love, and stop damaging your own cause.”

Confetti and jigsaw pieces were thrown on a court at Wimbledon last week, while England cricketer Jonny Bairstow carried off a protester at the Ashes in June.

Orange powder was also thrown on a table at the snooker world championship in April, while the Chelsea Flower Show was targeted in May.

Two members of the group were jailed for more than two and a half years a few months ago after climbing the bridge at the Dartford Crossing in October.

New powers to crack down on activists came into force this month.

They give police new rights to move static protesters, such as those who attach themselves to objects or sit in the road.

Royal Ascot reviews security plans after series of activist protests | UK News

Security plans for Royal Ascot will be reassessed after the Epsom Derby was disrupted by more activists targeting a sporting event.

Sky News understands Ascot chiefs will be “observing and learning” from the track invasion on Saturday at Epsom by animal rights campaigners ahead of their five-day horse racing festival from 20 June.

The meeting starts with the spectacle of the Royal Procession in horse-drawn landaus so it could attract the King and Queen. It was a favourite event attended annually by the late Queen Elizabeth II.

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Man rugby tackled after invading race

Activists have shown they are undeterred by court injunctions when attempting to sabotage the Derby.

And it’s not just animal welfare groups disrupting sport to ensure their causes and demands are heard.

Just Stop Oil has vowed to continue waging direct action at sporting events in a summer that also sees an Ashes cricket series across England, the Wimbledon tennis championships and Formula One British Grand Prix.

Protesters being arrested at the Grand National in April

Spokesperson Chloe Naldrett told Sky News: “Under any normal circumstances, this kind of disruption wouldn’t be acceptable. But we’re not in normal circumstances.

“We’ve really got to decide how much worse we’re going to let this [environmental] problem get before we start taking the right action.”

They are demanding the government blocks new oil and gas developments as Labour has reportedly pledged to do if elected to power.

Read more:
One charged and 30 released on bail after protesters disrupt Epsom Derby
118 arrested over protests around Grand National
Just Stop Oil protesters arrested after halting play at World Snooker Championship

“We are looking at everything non-violently reasonable – and looking at all kinds of civil resistance – in order to achieve that aim, which is absolutely fundamental to our survival,” Ms Naldrett said.

“We know that these actions are controversial, and that not everybody will agree with us. But we’re not trying to get elected.”

But an events logistics expert with four decades’ experience in the industry warned of a potential backlash by the public.

Stadium Group owner David McAtamney told Sky News: “My concern is the protection of the people that are protesting. If they are very close to large numbers of people who become very angry at their actions then of course we have to protect them as well.”

A Just Stop Oil protestor jumps on the table at the World Snooker Championships
A Just Stop Oil protestor jumps on the table at the World Snooker Championships

Just Stop Oil demonstrators caused a stoppage at the World Snooker Championships in April by throwing orange powder on the green baize tables.

Mr McAtamney said: “Search lanes have to be more vigilant, to make sure that powder and paint and whatever may be is not coming into these events. So that’s the first point of contact and then hopefully we can stop some of this going on.”

Prince and Princess of Wales surprise guests at Jordan royal wedding | UK News

The Prince and Princess of Wales have made a surprise visit to Jordan to attend the wedding of the country’s Crown Prince and his Saudi Arabian bride.

Prince William and Kate were among a host of foreign royalty attending the nuptials of the heir to the throne, Crown Prince Hussein, 28, and 29-year-old architect Rajwa Alseif.

Watch live: Jordan’s Crown Prince Hussein marries Saudi architect Rajwa Alseif

The ceremony got under way on Thursday at Amman’s Zahran Palace, the same venue chosen by the Crown Prince’s father, King Abdullah II, and his grandfather, the late King Hussein, for their weddings.

 King Abdullah II, and Jordan's Queen Rania greet  Prince William and Princess Catherine, on the day of the royal wedding ceremony of Crown Prince Hussein and Rajwa Al Saif, in Amman, Jordan
 King Abdullah II, and Jordan's Queen Rania greet  Prince William and Princess Catherine, on the day of the royal wedding ceremony of Crown Prince Hussein and Rajwa Al Saif, in Amman, Jordan
King Abdullah II and Jordan’s Queen Rania greet the Prince and Princess of Wales

The British royals’ trip to Jordan was not announced in advance, with their arrival confirmed by Jordanian state media a few hours before the start of the palace ceremony.

Jordan's Crown Prince Hussein and Rajwa Al Saif exchange rings at their royal wedding ceremon
Jordan’s Crown Prince Hussein and Rajwa Al Saif exchange rings at their royal wedding ceremony
Jordan's Crown Prince Hussein and Rajwa Al Saif are seen together at their royal wedding ceremony, in Amman, Jordan

After the ceremony, Prince William and Kate lined up along other guests to congratulate the royal couple, Kate wearing a floor length, long-sleeved baby pink dress.

Prince William hugged the Crown Prince before kissing Ms Alseif on either cheek, the Princess of Wales followed suit.

Prince William and Princess Catherine meet Jordan's Crown Prince Hussein and Rajwa Al Saif at their royal wedding ceremony, in Amman, Jordan
Prince William and Kate congratulating the Jordan royal couple

The King and Queen of the Netherlands as well as US First Lady Jill Biden also said they would attend.

The ceremony started with some of the same features as previous ceremonies, including a motorcade of red Land Rovers escorting the couple through the streets of the capital to the ceremony.

Royal guards in a convoy head towards the Zahran Palace on the day of the royal wedding of Jordan's Crown Prince Hussein and Rajwa Al Saif, in Amman, Jordan
Royal guards in a convoy head towards the Zahran Palace
Members of a band play musical instruments during celebrations on the day of the royal wedding of Jordan's Crown Prince Hussein and Rajwa Al Saif, in Amman, Jordan

Crowds gathered at sites with huge screens set to livestream the wedding across the nation, with many people waving flags and decked out in the white-and-red checkered scarves worn by Jordan’s ruling family, the Hashemites.

Sabotage investigation after cables damaged on Royal Navy warship HMS Glasgow at Scottish shipyard | UK News

An alleged incident of sabotage onboard a next-generation Royal Navy warship at a Scottish shipyard has prompted an inquiry into who was responsible.

A number of cables on HMS Glasgow were “damaged intentionally” and were discovered earlier this week, defence contractor BAE systems said.

HMS Glasgow is the first of the new series of Type 26 frigates and is being built at the Scotstoun shipyard in Glasgow.

A BAE systems spokesperson added: “We immediately launched an internal investigation, alongside our suppliers, and temporarily paused work on the ship to inspect every area of the vessel and ensure our high standards and quality controls are met.

“Normal operations have now resumed and an assessment is under way to scope the repairs needed.

BAE systems did not confirm a motive for the damage or who it suspected was responsible.

According to the UK Defence Journal, more than 60 cables were severed.

The first of its kind, HMS Glasgow is designed to be a “adaptable, future-proofed ship”, the Navy says.

It is the first of eight Type 26 frigates being built by BAE systems in Glasgow.

HMS Cardiff and HMS Belfast are also under construction with HMS Glasgow and are expected to enter service in the late-2020s.

Royal Mail chief executive Simon Thompson resigns | Business News

The Royal Mail chief executive is to step down, parent firm International Distributions Services has announced.

As first reported by Sky News, Simon Thompson had been in talks to leave the company after his credibility was challenged by MPs who recalled him for questioning at the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) committee. He was accused of giving “inconsistencies” in evidence before the committee.

The company said it was in “advanced stages” of appointing a new chief executive and Mr Thompson will remain with the business until 31 October as part of the transition.

The former state-owned company was locked into a bitter dispute with employee members of the Communication Workers Union (CWU) which ended last month when an agreement on pay and employment terms was settled.

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Royal Mail boss admits parcels are prioritised over letters

The settlement of that dispute has been listed as a reason for Mr Thompson to leave now.

“The changes we have made, the infrastructure we have put in place, and the agreements negotiated with our trade unions mean that Royal Mail now has a chance to compete and grow,” he said.

“That is what I have always wanted, and it is now the right time to hand over to a new CEO to deliver the next stage of the company’s reinvention.”

Mr Thompson took on the chief executive role just over two years ago in January 2021. Prior to his appointment he served as a non-executive director of the board since 2017.

He thanks his team for their support in what he acknowledged as a “difficult and important time of change”.

Royal Mail is owned by International Distributions Services plc (IDS) who also own an Amsterdam-based logistics company General Logistics Systems.

The postal delivery company had been under pressure to implement modernising reforms after reporting millions of pounds of losses. In October it announced a process to make 5,000 to 6,000 roles redundant by August.

The financial hit of industrial action was estimated to have been £200m in the first nine months of IDS’s financial year to the end of December.

But the CWU general secretary laid the blame on Mr Thompson.

“Simon Thompson is one of the key individuals responsible for the financial crisis that Royal Mail Group has created over the course of the last year.”

“The chief executive was also one of the key people responsible for the appalling mantra of ‘it’s our business to run’ – which saw the employer openly attack its own workforce on a relentless basis, including developing a culture of imposition and creating service quality and USO [universal service obligation] failures on a scale which threatens the future of the company,” Dave Ward said.

“However, we recognise that the chief executive was only one of the senior leadership team responsible for the unacceptable actions and behaviours of managers across the UK throughout this dispute. Further change in Royal Mail group’s leadership team is vital.”

Royal Mail was also subject to a disruptive cyber attack and reported a breach of customer data in the past year.

Royal Mail and Communication Workers Union reach agreement on pay and employment terms | UK News

Royal Mail and the Communication Workers Union (CWU) have reached an agreement in principle following a long-running dispute over pay and employment terms.

In a joint statement with Royal Mail, CWU confirmed the agreement will now be considered by the executive of the union before it goes before the membership.

The details of the proposed agreement will be made public once it has been ratified by the union’s executive committee – expected to take place next week.

In a further statement, the CWU said: “We have reached a negotiators agreement with Royal Mail Group.

“The CWU Postal Executive will now meet and consider the agreement on Monday and Tuesday and we are putting in place plans to brief representatives across the union’s structures.

“On the basis that the negotiators agreement is endorsed by the Postal Executive, we will put in place a full communications plan to engage members. Thank you for your support and patience. It has got us to this point.”

11 months of negotiations

The two sides have been locked in bitter negotiations for 11 months over pay, jobs, and conditions for the 112,000-strong workforce.

There were 18 strike dates called last year and 2023 has seen the union and Royal Mail attempt to make progress at conciliation service Acas, with former TUC general secretary Sir Brendan Barber also joining the effort to deliver peace this month.

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The CWU secured a fresh mandate for industrial action in mid-February and would have to give seven days’ notice of any fresh walkouts.

The union had described the company’s self-dubbed modernisation plans as an “Uberisation”, declaring that it would turn Royal Mail into a gig economy-style employer.

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February: Royal Mail admits prioritising parcels

How much strikes have cost Royal Mail

Royal Mail’s parent firm has raised its estimate for the cost of industrial action so far to £200m and claimed that up to 12,500 union members have worked on strike days.

International Distributions Services (IDS) said 18 days of walkouts helped push the division to a £295m operating loss in the first nine months of its financial year to the end of December.

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It reported that revenue at Royal Mail was down almost 13% on the same period in 2021, with a decline in letter volumes and COVID testing kits also contributing.

Royal Air Force grounds its entire fleet of fast jet training aircraft due to engine problem | UK News

The Royal Air Force has grounded its entire fleet of fast jet training aircraft because of an issue with an engine, Sky News can reveal. 

It is not known when flying training on the Hawk T2 jets at an air base in North Wales will resume.

The pause will be another blow for a training programme to deliver fast jet fighter pilots that has already been plagued by problems and chronic delays for years.

Sky News revealed last year that an “emerging” problem had been identified with the Rolls-Royce engine on the Hawk jet, used by fast jet recruits for training at RAF Valley.

A source on Wednesday claimed the issue involved engine blades wearing out.

“Now one has broken and gone down the engine,” the source said, asking to remain anonymous.

An RAF spokesperson confirmed that flying on the Hawk 2 jet had been paused “as a precaution”.

“Post a recent issue on the runway involving an RAF Hawk TMk2 engine, as a precautionary measure, flying has been temporarily paused pending the results of the technical investigation,” the spokesperson said.

It is understood that the RAF is working closely with the manufacturer and awaiting analysis on the specific engine.

Flying training will only resume when it is deemed safe to do so.

The problem with the training fleet will not impact the Red Arrows team, which operates Hawk T1 aircraft.

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In an exclusive report last August, Sky News, citing leaked documents, revealed how issues with the Hawk training aircraft and a “damaging drain” of flying instructors quitting for jobs in the industry had helped push the RAF’s fast jet pilot training into a new crisis.

RAF recruits can spend up to eight years passing through the training pipeline. The length of time should be only two or three years.

Ben Wallace, the defence secretary, gave Air Chief Marshal Sir Mike Wigston, the head of the RAF, the task of fixing flying training as his only priority more than three years ago.

The Hawk T2 is a single-engine aircraft manufactured by BAE Systems, though the engine is made by Rolls Royce.

UK accuses Russia of ‘peddling false claims’ after Moscow blames Royal Navy for Nord Stream pipeline blasts | World News

Britain has denied Russian claims that Royal Navy personnel blew up the Nord Stream gas pipelines last month, saying the story is “invented”.

A Ministry of Defence tweet said: “To detract from their disastrous handling of the illegal invasion of Ukraine, the Russian Ministry of Defence is resorting to peddling false claims of an epic scale.

“This invented story says more about arguments going on inside the Russian government than it does about the West.”

The 760-mile pipelines run from Russia to Germany, via the Baltic Sea, at a depth as low as 110 metres.

They were the most important supply route for Russian gas supplies to Europe, with a joint annual capacity of 110 billion cubic metres – more than half of Russia’s normal gas export volume.

Russia suspends grain export deal – live updates

But Russia cut off supply via Nord Stream 1 at the end of August, and Nord Stream 2 never entered service, as Germany paused its certification process shortly before Russia invaded Ukraine in February.

On 26 September, the pipelines registered a sharp drop in pressure and seismologists detected explosions before four leaks were recorded.

Russia said on Saturday: “According to available information, representatives of this unit of the British Navy took part in the planning, provision and implementation of a terrorist attack in the Baltic Sea on 26 September this year – blowing up the Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 gas pipelines.”

It did not share any evidence to back up its claims.

Map showing North Sea gas network

Russia was initially blamed for sabotaging the pipelines as part of its efforts to deprive Europe of energy, but it dismissed these claims as “stupid”, instead blaming the US.

The US destroyed the pipelines, so it could sell more liquefied natural gas to Europe, Russia said – a claim denied by the US.

Sweden and Denmark concluded the leaks were caused by explosions, but did not say who might be responsible.

Swedish prosecutor Mats Ljungqvist called on Friday for a “supplementary crime scene investigation” at the site, adding: “It is important both for the preliminary investigation and for the various collaborations we have that we now get to work in peace and quiet.”

Read more:
What we know about the Nord Stream gas leaks and who was behind them
Fourth leak revealed on Nord Stream pipelines as Russia denies sabotage

Meanwhile, Russia has also claimed “British specialists” directed Ukrainian drone strikes on ships in the Black Sea Fleet in the Crimean city of Sevastopol early on Saturday.

Russia’s defence ministry said: “Nine unmanned aerial vehicles and seven autonomous marine drones were involved in the attack.

“The preparation of this terrorist act and the training of servicemen of the Ukrainian 73rd Special Center for Naval Operations were carried out under the guidance of British specialists located in the town of Ochakiv.”

Head of Royal Navy orders investigation into ‘abhorrent’ claim of ‘sexual bullying’ in submarine service | UK News

The head of the Royal Navy has ordered an investigation into “abhorrent” claim of “sexual bullying” in the submarine service.

Admiral Sir Ben Key, the First Sea Lord, said sexual assault and harassment has no place in the Royal Navy and that anyone who is found culpable will be held accountable.

Responding to the allegations personally on Twitter, he said: “I am deeply disturbed to hear of allegations of inappropriate behaviour in the submarine service and I want to reassure our people, and anyone who is reading this, that any activity which falls short of the highest of standards the Royal Navy sets itself is totally unacceptable and not a true reflection of what service life should be.

“These allegations are abhorrent.

“Sexual assault and harassment has no place in the Royal Navy and will not be tolerated.

“I have directed my senior team to investigate these allegations thoroughly.

“Anyone who is found culpable will be held accountable for their actions regardless of their rank or status.”

Read more:
Most women in armed forces have faced bullying, harassment and discrimination, inquiry finds

The statement from the First Sea Lord comes The Daily Mail said submariners compiled a “crush depth rape list” in which women were ranked in the order they should be raped in a catastrophic event, and that women were frequently screamed at, called c**** and hit with clipboards and pens.

Speaking to the newspaper, former lieutenant Sophie Brook, 30, said: “The best thing I ever did was leave the Navy but I worry about the women I left behind. It was just a constant campaign of sexual bullying.”

She told the newspaper she loved the job, but said: “It’s just unfortunate the ‘old boys’ club’ makes it such a hostile and misogynistic place.”

The Mail said Ms Brook left the Navy when she was investigated for sharing sensitive information about her submarine’s movement in an email.

The newspaper said she resigned in January but was formally dismissed in June and handed a suspended prison sentence.

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The Ministry of Defence (MoD) says that, while most Royal Navy personnel enjoy rewarding careers, for some, predominantly women, their experience has been affected by inappropriate sexualised behaviour.

They say they accept that more needs to be done and that they are improving reporting mechanisms for sexual offences.

Earlier this year, the MoD announced a zero-tolerance policy to sexual offences aligning the Royal Navy, RAF, and Army under one approach.