Queen hosts NATO 70th anniversary reception


It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas – and this time the public spats and fractured family ties are on display at the very top of the family tree.

Queen Elizabeth II will host a reception for NATO leaders, their spouses and partners at Buckingham Palace on Tuesday evening, UK-time, to mark 70 years of the NATO alliance.

The pre-Christmas coming together is not so much a working summit as an anniversary party, but for both NATO leaders and the royal family hosting them, things are far from festive.

MORE: Trump launches broadside at NATO allies

While the Queen, 93, will play consummate host, the “family photo” set to be taken will highlight the fact that key members of her own family are missing from the event.

The monarch will be joined by the Prince of Wales, Duchess of Cornwall, Duchess of Cambridge, Earl of Wessex, Princess Royal, Duke and Duchess of Gloucester and Princess Alexandra inside the state rooms of Buckingham Palace.

However Prince William will be missing as he is travelling in Kuwait and Oman on a visit at the request of the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

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media_cameraWe won’t be seeing a photo like this again, after Prince Charles was instrumental in stripping his brother of royal duties. Picture: Daniel LEAL-OLIVAS / AFP.
Harry and Meghan are on a six-week break from royal duties. Picture: Chris Jackson/Getty Images.pacific.epeak.in/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/1575385803_103_Queen-hosts-NATO-70th-anniversary-reception.jpeg”/>
media_cameraHarry and Meghan are on a six-week break from royal duties. Picture: Chris Jackson/Getty Images.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Harry and Megan, will also be absent from the high-level affair as they are in the midst of their six-week break from royal duties.

The break comes after their trip to South Africa culminated in an explosive documentary in which they made admissions about struggling under the royal microscope.

The couple are thought to be in the US for thanksgiving and where they will spend baby Archie’s first Christmas with Meghan’s mother, Doria Ragland.

ITV News royal producer Lizzie Robinson recently told the HeirPod podcast: “We know they’re away, they’re not even in the country.”

Prince Andrew will also be conspicuously absent, having been retired from public duties after his car-crash Newsnight interview that saw him claim he was “too honourable” to end his friendship with convicted paedophile Jeffrey Epstein.

Virginia Giuffre’s Panorama interview contained fresh details about the Prince Andrew allegations. Picture: BBC.pacific.epeak.in/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/1575385805_83_Queen-hosts-NATO-70th-anniversary-reception.jpeg”/>
media_cameraVirginia Giuffre’s Panorama interview contained fresh details about the Prince Andrew allegations. Picture: BBC.

On Monday, Virginia Giuffre’s first British television interview put the spotlight firmly back on the man once known as the “Playboy Prince”.

Ms Giuffre, who has accused Prince Andrew of having sex with her three times while she was 17, said what she was forced to do made her “sick”.

MORE: Prince Andrew’s bombshell 5:50am email

“I just didn’t expect it from royalty. I didn’t expect it from someone people look up to and admire in the royal family, she said.

“He knows what happened, I know what happened. And there’s only one of us telling the truth,” she said.

Prince Andrew has denied the pair had sex and said he did not recall meeting Ms Giuffre at the time.

Prince Charles, Prince of Wales meets with Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada at Clarence House. Picture: Victoria Jones – WPA Pool/Getty Images.pacific.epeak.in/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/1575385807_3_Queen-hosts-NATO-70th-anniversary-reception.jpeg”/>
media_cameraPrince Charles, Prince of Wales meets with Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada at Clarence House. Picture: Victoria Jones – WPA Pool/Getty Images.

‘INSULTING’: TRUMP TAKES AIM

If NATO leaders thought they could sit back and watch this season of The Crown, they were wrong.

The world’s foremost military alliance is also in disarray due to a lack of strategic direction and changing priorities that are testing it’s raison d’etre.

Earlier this year, French President Macron described the alliance as “brain dead” and said European allies can no longer rely on the US to come to their aid under the Article five principle of collective defence that has held the organisation together.

Turkish President Erdogan hit back, suggesting Macron was the one who was “brain dead”, however the Turkish leader’s decision to invade Syria after US troops were pulled out, and purchasing of Russian military equipment have also tested the patience of allies.

U.S. President Donald Trump held a wide-ranging press conference in which he took multiple swipes at his European allies. Picture: Photo/Evan Vucci.pacific.epeak.in/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/1575385809_831_Queen-hosts-NATO-70th-anniversary-reception.jpeg”/>
media_cameraU.S. President Donald Trump held a wide-ranging press conference in which he took multiple swipes at his European allies. Picture: Photo/Evan Vucci.
Trump and NATO Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg at Winfield House in London ahead of the NATO meeting. Picture: AP Photo/Evan Vucci.pacific.epeak.in/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/Queen-hosts-NATO-70th-anniversary-reception.webp”/>
media_cameraTrump and NATO Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg at Winfield House in London ahead of the NATO meeting. Picture: AP Photo/Evan Vucci.

On Monday, President Trump issued a sharp rebuke to his European friends, particularly President Macron, saying his comments were “very very nasty”.

“Turkey responded by saying that he was brain dead which was interesting,” President Trump shot back. “I think that’s very insulting to a lot of different forces. It has a great purpose.”

“You look at what’s happened with the yellow vests …. they’ve had a very rough year. You just can’t go around making statements like that about NATO, it’s very disrespectful.”

“Nobody needs us more than France. That’s why I think when France makes a statement like they did about NATO, that’s a very dangerous statement for them to make.”

President Trump also took aim at “delinquent” nations that don’t pay their fair share into the club.

“When I came in, I was angry at NATO, and now I’ve raised $130 billion,” Trump said, referring to the sum Stoltenberg says Canada and European members will have added to defence budgets by next year.

“And yet you still have many delinquent — you know I call them delinquent when they’re not paid up in full,” he said.

Only nine of NATO’s 29 members spend two per cent of their GDP on defence. Trump cited in particular Germany as falling short, spending only 1.2 per cent.

To make things even more awkward, the visit comes one week before an election on December 12 in Britain, where Prime Minister Boris Johnson will be hoping to play down any interventions by President Trump who is deeply unpopular with British voters.

Originally published as Family feuds to go on full display



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