CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Prince Harry and his wife, the Duchess of Sussex, are expecting their first child in the spring, Kensington Palace said Monday.
The announcement came hours after Harry and the former Meghan Markle arrived in Sydney at the start of a 16-day visit to Australia, Fiji, Tonga and New Zealand. Hundreds of people gathered to catch a glimpse of the couple after they landed.
“Their royal highnesses have appreciated all of the support they have received from people around the world since their wedding in May and are delighted to be able to share this happy news with the public,” the palace said in a statement.
After their arrival in Sydney, the prince and the former American actress held hands and walked out an airport rear entrance and into a car. Meghan, wearing skinny black pants and a black, burgundy trimmed coat, was smiling and clutching folders, while Harry gave a thumbs up to bystanders.
The announcement of the pregnancy confirms weeks of speculation from royal watchers about why Meghan was not joining Harry on his Sydney Harbour Bridge climb set for Friday.
Harry and Meghan — along with Prince William and his wife, Kate, the duchess of Cambridge — have stepped to the fore in the last year as Queen Elizabeth II, 92, slightly reduces her public schedule.
Monday’s announcement is welcome news in Britain, where Meghan has won many hearts since her engagement to Harry was announced last December.
British Prime Minister Theresa May offered her “warmest congratulations” on the news, which provided a bit of relief from concerns about the stalled Brexit negotiations. “Wishing them all the best,” May tweeted.
The royal couple started dating in July 2016 after they were introduced by friends, and Harry courted Meghan on a trip to Africa shortly afterward. They kept their relationship secret for several months but word eventually leaked to the British press.
They were married in May in a spectacular ceremony on the grounds of Windsor Castle that drew tens of thousands of people to Windsor and was watched by a global TV audience.
Harry has become immensely popular in Britain, in part because of his military service and tireless work on behalf of wounded soldiers, and he has spoken often in recent years of his desire to settle down and start a family.
When the couple got engaged, Harry was asked about plans for children.
“You know, I think one step at a time, and hopefully we’ll start a family in the near future,” he said.
He said in 2015, before he met Meghan, that he would “love to have kids right now.”
Meghan has also talked about wanting to have children.
She said in a 2016 interview that becoming a mother was on her “bucket list.” She was still acting in “Suits” at the time.
“I can’t wait to start a family, but in due time,” she said.
Meghan, with her American roots and successful acting career, has been seen as a modernizing influence on the sometimes stodgy royal family, and she is credited by many for bringing happiness to Harry, who has long struggled to cope with the early death of his mother, Princess Diana.
Harry has broken new ground by talking openly about his mental health issues related to the death of his mother when he was only 12, and that candidness, which is part of a royal campaign to raise awareness about mental illness and end the stigma surrounding it, has brought the royals increased public backing.
The royal couple’s trip Down Under is their only international tour since they were married, apart from a two-day visit to Ireland.
Days after watching Harry’s cousin Princess Eugenie tie the knot in a lavish ceremony in Windsor, the couple touched down in Sydney on an overcast morning after a regular Qantas Airways flight from London with a brief stopover in Singapore.
Sydney’s weather is expected to be drizzly and cool on Tuesday, with showers forecast for most of the week.
It won’t be the first time Harry has had to brave the rain in Sydney. Last year, he made a whirlwind visit to cast his eye over the Invictus Games preparations, where he charmed his fans during torrential rain.
The couple’s current tour coincides with the games, which start in Sydney on Saturday. The sporting event, founded by Harry in 2014, gives sick and injured military personnel and veterans the opportunity to compete in sports such as wheelchair basketball.
Harry and Meghan will attend the games’ opening and closing ceremonies. In all, they have 76 engagements scheduled over 16 days in Australia, Fiji, Tonga and New Zealand.
In Australia, they will pet a koala in a Sydney zoo, visit the drought-stricken Outback town of Dubbo and meet indigenous leaders on Fraser Island, the world’s largest sand island, in northeastern Queensland state.
The royal couple was driven from the airport to Admiralty House, the official Sydney residence of Governor General Peter Cosgrove, who represents Australia’s head of state, Queen Elizabeth II, Harry’s grandmother. The couple had no official functions on Monday following the 17,140-kilometer (10,650-mile) flight that Qantas says takes 22 hours and 20 minutes.
Hundreds of well-wishers gathered with umbrellas outside the airport and Admiralty House in the hope of catching a glimpse of Harry and Meghan. The crowd cheered as the waving couple was driven through the gates of the harbor-side mansion.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who plans to climb with Harry to the top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, told Parliament on Monday that he commended the prince for coming to Sydney for the Invictus Games and welcomed the couple.
“I want to … commend Prince Harry for his tremendous initiative in lifting the spirits of every single serviceman and woman all around the globe,” Morrison said.
After the announcement that Harry and Meghan are expecting a baby, Morrison tweeted: “What fantastic news! Australia is thrilled for you both. Looking forward to sharing in the joy during your stay down under.”
U.S. President Donald Trump’s representative in Britain, Ambassador Woody Johnson, tweeted: “Happy news to wake up to on a Monday morning – congratulations to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex!!”
The royal couple’s visit comes six months after Harry’s father, Prince Charles, made his 16th official visit to Australia, primarily to open the 21st Commonwealth Games at Gold Coast city in Queensland.
Serena Williams Poses Unretouched for Harper’s BAZAAR
At 17, I won my first Grand Slam, and I knew I had more in me. In fact, I was so sure that when I packed up my life and left my dad’s house to move in with my sister Venus, I told him he could keep my US Open trophy. Don’t worry, I assured him. I would get another one for my house. Now that was confidence. I went on to win the US Open not one or two but six times.
Since that fateful victory in 1999, I’ve won 23 Grand Slam singles titles, 39 Grand Slam titles in all, and countless gold medals. I have been asked what keeps me motivated to continue playing tennis. To me, the answer is simple: I love the sport. When I’m giving speeches I always say how important it is to love what you do. If you don’t, then find something that speaks to you. Follow your passion. Of course, there are times when loving tennis is hard.
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Teen Turned Away From Summer Job for Hair Picked Up By Modeling Agency
A Fort Worth teen who says he was turned away from a summer job at Six Flags Over Texas because of his “extreme hairstyle” is finding new opportunities as a model.
Kerion Washington’s story went viral, gaining national attention after his mother, Karis Washington, posted to Facebook about her 17-year-old son’s experience.
Now, Washington thinks being turned away from that job was the best thing that could have ever happened to him.
“When one door closes, another one will open,” Washington told NBC 5 in March. Now, he says the saying holds true.
“No I never thought that [this would happen.] It was just crazy that it happened,” Washington said.
Washington’s luck turned around when Corrie Caster, head of development of IMG Models in Los Angeles and scouting for IMG Worldwide, discovered Washington’s story. It’s the same modeling agency that represents some of the world’s biggest names in fashion.
“For Corrie to reach out to us, that was a blessing,” said Washington’s mother.
Caster then reached out to Austin-based Jones Model Management. Caster asked the talent agency to work with Washington, get a portfolio together and send it her way because she thinks he has what it takes.
“We got him here and he was a natural,” said Leslie Jones with Jones Model Management. “We are just helping him learn how to pose and how to walk. He was just so good for it being his first time.”
Washington said this is all like a dream.
“I just thought it would be another job offer for just a regular job for the summer, but when I heard about modeling, I had to take it,” Washington said.
The high school junior is now something of a celebrity among friends and family.
“I had a lot of people on Instagram telling me, ‘Congratulations! Keep doing better. Keep rising,'” he said. “I like the support. It keeps me going. It’s really cool. I even had people from school saying, ‘Oh yea…you famous!'”
To think, it all happened because Washington was turned down.
“I don’t know what the next step is going to be going forward, but I am ready for it,” Washington said.
He also said he has learned a valuable lesson and hopes others learn the same from his story.
“You should never listen to what people have to tell you. You should always be you,” Washington said.
Six Flags Over Texas has since changed their policy on “extreme hairstyles” and now allow employees to wear dreadlocks.
Disney’s Freeform responds to critics of Halle Bailey casting as Ariel
Disney’s Freeform issued a scathing response to critics of its casting of Halle Bailey as Ariel in the upcoming adaptation of “The Little Mermaid.”
When Disney announced Bailey, half of the sister duo Chloe x Halle, had been cast in their live-action remake of the 1989 animated film, the decision was met with an outpouring of support from Mariah Carey, Halle Berry, Janelle Monae, Zendaya and Lin-Manuel Miranda, among many others. The announcement marked the first time Disney has cast a woman of color in the role of a traditionally white princess for one of its live-action remakes.
But it also prompted the hashtag #NotMyAriel. Some social media users objected to a black woman portraying a red-headed underwater princess.
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“Danish mermaids can be black because Danish *people* can be black,” said the letter, which was posted on the network’s social media accounts. “Black Danish people, and this mer-folk, can also *genetically* (!!!) have red hair.”
Bailey, an actress and singer, stars in the series “Grown-ish.” She and her sister gained popularity with their YouTube covers and were signed to Beyoncé’s Parkwood Entertainment music label. They appeared in Beyoncé’s “Lemonade” film and toured with the singer.
Freeform said Bailey was cast as Ariel because she is “highly talented.”
“So after all this is said and done, and you still cannot get past the idea that choosing the incredible, sensational, highly-talented, gorgeous Halle Bailey is anything other than the INSPIRED casting that it is because she ‘doesn’t look like the cartoon one,’ oh boy, do I have some news for you…about you,” the network said in its open letter.
The live-action production of “The Little Mermaid” will be directed by Rob Marshall and feature the original movie’s songs such as “Under the Sea,” “Part of Your World” and “Kiss the Girl,” as well as music by Alan Menken and Miranda.
Marshall said that Bailey “possesses that rare combination of spirit, heart, youth, innocence, and substance — plus a glorious singing voice — all intrinsic qualities necessary to play this iconic role.”
Bailey expressed her excitement Wednesday after her casting was announced. She shared an image of an animated Ariel of color with the caption “dream come true…” on her Twitter and Instagram accounts.