- Meghan Markle has become the first fiancee to join the Royal Family at Sandringham for Christmas
- She stepped out in an eye-catching brown beret and wrapped up warm against the chilly winter temperatures
- Prince Philip led the charge at Sandringham this morning with Prince Charles following closely behind
- But not all of the Royals were dressed so spectacularly, with Princess Beatrice opting to shun high heels for a pair of dirty trainers
Published: 04:37 EST, 25 December 2017 | Updated: 06:33 EST, 25 December 2017
Meghan Markle has become the first fiancee to join the Royal Family at Sandringham for Christmas – with huge crowds lining the streets to catch a glimpse of Prince Harry's bride-to-be.
She stepped out in a eye-catching brown beret and wrapped up warm against the chilly winter temperatures in a beige coat which she tied up at the front.
Meghan, 36, clutched on to her Royal beau and proudly displayed the engagement ring that Harry himself designed before their engagement in November.
The couple walked alongside Prince William and Kate Middleton, who proudly wore a tartan coat in a nod to the secret trips she took to Anstruther in Scotland with her then-fiance.
It is the first time the two women have been pictured together since Meghan and Prince Harry last month revealed their impending nuptials to the world.
Meghan Markle, pictured right with her fiance Prince Harry, walked alongside Kate Middleton and Prince William, pictured left
Meghan, 36, clutched on to her Royal beau and proudly displayed the engagement ring that Harry himself designed before their engagement in November
The couple waved to crowds who had lined the streets of Sandringham from early this morning in a bid to catch a glimpse of the Royal Family
Meghan paired a striking brown beret with a beige coat which she tied up at the front to keep warm in the chilly Christmas Day temperatures
Meghan and Prince Harry are pictured alongside Prince William and Kate Middleton. Other senior members of the Royal Family joining them at Sandringham included Prince Philip, Princess Anne and Prince Edward
This year, it is understood that Prince Harry and his fiancee will stay with Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge Kate at Anmer Hall, their home in the Sandringham grounds, rather than in the main house
Pictured are Prince William and Kate Middleton, who proudly wore a tartan coat in a nod to the secret trips she took to Anstruther in Scotland with her then-fiance
This year, it is understood that Prince Harry and his fiancee will stay with Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge Kate at Anmer Hall, their home in the Sandringham grounds, rather than in the main house.
Markle will have to adjust to the royal family's idiosyncratic ways and customs, ingrained in centuries of tradition.
The royals exchange gifts on Christmas Eve, in keeping with German practice.
Markle is reportedly an animal lover but will have to put up the with royals' tradition of going out shooting on Boxing Day.
Prince Charles, pictured left with Camilla wrapped up in a warm scarf, was spotted walking through the estate. Prince Philip, pictured right, followed closely behind
If the shoe fits! Prince Andrew looked unimpressed at his daughter Beatrice's choice of footwear as she opted to shun high heels for a pair of trainers while walking to church
Earlier this morning, Prince Philip led the charge with Prince Charles following closely behind. He walked with his wife Camilla who wore a scarf to cope with the cold.
His other sons Andrew and Edward were accompanied by their sister Princess Anne who sported a royal purple shawl with a hint of festive red over a deep blue coat.
But not all of the family were dressed so spectacularly, with Princess Beatrice opting to shun high heels for a pair of dirty trainers – leaving her father the Duke of York looking distinctly unimpressed.
Crowds are pictured lining the streets of Sandringham, Norfolk, this morning in a bid to catch a glimpse of the Royal Family
The Royal Family appeared to be in markedly higher spirits this morning compared to last year when the Queen was forced to miss the service at St Mary Magdalene Church while recovering from a heavy cold.
She and the Duke of Edinburgh had delayed their trip to the private Sandringham estate by a day after they both became ill.
Royal fan's Christmas surprise as her boyfriend proposes to her live on TV at Sandringham
One Royal Family fan received an unexpected Christmas surprise as her boyfriend proposed to her live on TV while they queued to catch a glimpse of Meghan Markle.
American couple Mike Metz and Ashley Millican, both aged 20 and visiting their UK-based relative from Wisconsin, were waiting to see the Queen, Prince Harry and his fiancee attend St Mary Magdalene Church on the Queen's Sandringham Estate for the Christmas Day service when Mike got on one knee.
Asked by Sky News royal correspondent Rhiannon Mills why it was so important for them to come and see the royals on Christmas morning, Mr Metz got on one knee and said: 'I want to spend the rest of my Christmases with you Ashley, so I don't know if you want to marry me?'
Putting her hand to her mouth and fighting back tears, she replied: 'Yes. Oh my God.'
Mills, who had been tipped off about the proposal, asked how them both how they were feeling, to which Mr Metz said: 'I'm feeling great, excited.'
Ashley, who said she was not expecting it, replied: 'Good, it's my grandmother's ring, it's very pretty.'
Presenter Kay Burley, in the studio, said: 'Unbelievable, fantastic and thank goodness she said 'yes'.'
Mr Metz said the couple planned to tie the knot in around 18 months' time and would 'absolutely' watch the royal wedding.
Burley ended the item saying: 'That's amazing, and thank goodness she had her nails done as well.'
Miss Millican, from Texas, said the proposal came as a complete surprise.
'I had no idea,' she said, adding: 'I was definitely very surprised. I never thought he would ask me right before we were about to see the Royal Family for the first time. It was a big surprise.'
It is her first holiday outside America and she said they had a two-week trip planned in which they would visit London.
Mr Metz, of Wisconsin, said he started to plan the proposal in August, asked Miss Millican's parents in September and was nervous ahead of the day.
'It was pretty tough to keep secret as I was so excited. It's memories to cherish forever.'
Sydney seaplane crash: Exhaust fumes affected pilot, report confirms
The pilot of a seaplane that crashed into an Australian river, killing all on board, had been left confused and disorientated by leaking exhaust fumes, investigators have confirmed.
The Canadian pilot and five members of a British family died in the crash north of Sydney in December 2017.
All were found to have higher than normal levels of carbon monoxide in their blood, a final report has found.
It recommended the mandatory fitting of gas detectors in all such planes.
British businessman Richard Cousins, 58, died alongside his 48-year-old fiancée, magazine editor Emma Bowden, her 11-year-old daughter Heather and his sons, Edward, 23, and William, 25, and pilot Gareth Morgan, 44. Mr Cousins was the chief executive of catering giant Compass.
The family had been on a sightseeing flight in the de Havilland DHC-2 Beaver plane when it nose-dived into the Hawkesbury River at Jerusalem Bay, about 50km (30 miles) from the city centre.
The final report by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) confirmed the findings of an interim report published in 2020.
It said pre-existing cracks in the exhaust collector ring were believed to have released exhaust gas into the engine bay. Holes left by missing bolts in a firewall then allowed the fumes to enter the cabin.
“As a result, the pilot would have almost certainly experienced effects such as confusion, visual disturbance and disorientation,” the report said.
“Consequently, it was likely that this significantly degraded the pilot’s ability to safely operate the aircraft.”
The ATSB recommended the Civil Aviation Safety Authority consider mandating the fitting of carbon monoxide detectors in piston-engine aircraft that carry passengers.
It previously issued safety advisory notices to owners and operators of such aircraft that they install detectors “with an active warning” to pilots”. Operators and maintainers of planes were also advised to carry out detailed inspections of exhaust systems and firewalls.
Read from source: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-55862128
Australia unlikely to fully reopen border in 2021, says top official
Australia is unlikely to fully open its borders in 2021 even if most of its population gets vaccinated this year as planned, says a senior health official.
The comments dampen hopes raised by airlines that travel to and from the country could resume as early as July.
Department of Health Secretary Brendan Murphy made the prediction after being asked about the coronavirus’ escalation in other nations.
Dr Murphy spearheaded Australia’s early action to close its borders last March.
“I think that we’ll go most of this year with still substantial border restrictions,” he told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation on Monday.
“Even if we have a lot of the population vaccinated, we don’t know whether that will prevent transmission of the virus,” he said, adding that he believed quarantine requirements for travellers would continue “for some time”.
Citizens, permanent residents and those with exemptions are allowed to enter Australia if they complete a 14-day hotel quarantine at their own expense.
Qantas – Australia’s national carrier – reopened bookings earlier this month, after saying it expected international travel to “begin to restart from July 2021.”
However, it added this depended on the Australian government’s deciding to reopen borders.
Australia’s tight restrictions
The country opened a travel bubble with neighbouring New Zealand late last year, but currently it only operates one-way with inbound flights to Australia.
Australia has also discussed the option of travel bubbles with other low-risk places such as Taiwan, Japan and Singapore.
A vaccination scheme is due to begin in Australia in late February. Local authorities have resisted calls to speed up the process, giving more time for regulatory approvals.
Australia has so far reported 909 deaths and about 22,000 cases, far fewer than many nations. It reported zero locally transmitted infections on Monday.
Experts have attributed much of Australia’s success to its swift border lockdown – which affected travellers from China as early as February – and a hotel quarantine system for people entering the country.
Local outbreaks have been caused by hotel quarantine breaches, including a second wave in Melbourne. The city’s residents endured a stringent four-month lockdown last year to successfully suppress the virus.
Other outbreaks – including one in Sydney which has infected about 200 people – prompted internal border closures between states, and other restrictions around Christmas time.
The state of Victoria said on Monday it would again allow entry to Sydney residents outside of designated “hotspots”, following a decline in cases.
While the measures have been praised, many have also criticised them for separating families across state borders and damaging businesses.
Dr Murphy said overall Australia’s virus response had been “pretty good” but he believed the nation could have introduced face masks earlier and improved its protections in aged care homes.
In recent days, Australia has granted entry to about 1,200 tennis players, staff and officials for the Australian Open. The contingent – which has recorded at least nine infections – is under quarantine.
Read from source: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-55699581
Covid: Brisbane to enter three-day lockdown over single infection
The Australian city of Brisbane has begun a snap three-day lockdown after a cleaner in its hotel quarantine system became infected with coronavirus.
Health officials said the cleaner had the highly transmissible UK variant and they were afraid it could spread.
Brisbane has seen very few cases of the virus beyond quarantined travellers since Australia’s first wave last year.
It is the first known instance of this variant entering the Australian community outside of hotel quarantine.
The lockdown is for five populous council areas in Queensland’s state capital.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced the measure on Friday morning local time, about 16 hours after the woman tested positive.
Ms Palaszczuk said the lockdown aimed to halt the virus as rapidly as possible, adding: “Doing three days now could avoid doing 30 days in the future.”
“I think everybody in Queensland… knows what we are seeing in the UK and other places around the world is high rates of infection from this particular strain,” she said.
“And we do not want to see that happening here in our great state.”
Australia has reported 28,500 coronavirus infections and 909 deaths since the pandemic began. By contrast, the US, which is the hardest-hit country, has recorded more than 21 million infections while nearly 362,000 people have died of the disease.The lockdown will begin at 18:00 on Friday (08:00 GMT) in the Brisbane city, Logan and the Ipswich, Moreton and Redlands local government areas.
Residents will only be allowed to leave home for certain reasons, such as buying essential items and seeking medical care.
For the first time, residents in those areas will also be required to wear masks outside of their homes.
Australia has faced sporadic outbreaks over the past year, with the most severe one in Melbourne triggering a lockdown for almost four months.
A pre-Christmas outbreak in Sydney caused fresh alarm, but aggressive testing and contact-tracing has kept infection numbers low. The city recorded four local cases on Friday.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s government has pledged to start mass vaccinations in February instead of March as was planned.
Lockdown interrupts ‘near normal’ life in Brisbane
Simon Atkinson, BBC News in Brisbane
At 8:00 today I popped to the local supermarket for some bread, milk – and because it’s summer here – a mango. I was pretty much the only customer.
When I went past the same shop a couple of hours later it was a different story – 50 people standing in the drizzle – queuing to get inside as others emerged with bulging shopping bags. “Heaps busier than Christmas,” a cheery trolley attendant told me. “It’s off the scale”.
Despite the “don’t panic” messages from authorities, pictures on social media show it’s a pattern being repeated across the city.
While shutdowns are common around the world, the tough and sudden stay-at-home order for Brisbane has caught people on the hop here after months of near normality.
But while such a rapid, hard lockdown off the back of just a single case of Covid-19 will seem crazy in some parts of the world, I’ve not come across too many people complaining.
And I don’t think that’s just because Aussies love to follow a rule. This is the first time the UK variant of the virus has been detected in the community in Australia.
And nobody here wants Brisbane to go through what Melbourne suffered last year. Even if it means going without mangoes.
Read from source: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-55582836
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