Pope uses term Rohingya during Asia trip

Pope uses term Rohingya during Asia trip

Pope Francis has met a group of Muslim Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh and referred to them by name for the first time on his Asian visit.

The Pope told a group of 16 refugees at an interfaith meeting in the capital Dhaka: “The presence of God today is also called Rohingya.”

He refrained from using the term on his earlier visit to Myanmar, which does not regard Rohingya as an ethnic group.

Some 620,000 Rohingya refugees have fled Myanmar since August.

The Pope had been criticised by rights groups for not using the term in Myanmar, whose military has been accused of ethnic cleansing by the United Nations. He had used the term before his visit.

Myanmar’s government rejects the term Rohingya, labelling the community “Bengalis”. It says they migrated illegally from Bangladesh so should not be listed as one of the country’s ethnic groups.

Pope Francis’ comment to refugees in Dhaka was made in an improvised remark and was not in his speech to the interfaith meeting.

“In the name of all of those who have persecuted you, hurt you, I ask forgiveness,” Pope Francis told the refugees. “I appeal to your large hearts to give us the forgiveness that we are asking.”

Rights groups had urged the Pope to use the term Rohingya to back the community.

However, he had been warned by Catholic representatives in Myanmar not to use the term for fear of alienating the Buddhist majority.

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The number of Catholics in Bangladesh is very small. The 350,000-strong community makes up 0.2% of the population.

Earlier, the Pope ordained 16 priests at an outdoor Mass in Dhaka’s Suhrawardy Udyan park.

On the penultimate day of his Asia trip, he told the crowd: “I know that many of you came from afar, for a trip for more than two days. Thank you for your generosity. This indicates the love you have for the Church.”

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Attackers storm Pakistani college

Attackers storm Pakistani college

Gunmen have stormed a college in the Pakistani city of Peshawar, killing at least nine people and injuring 36.

At least three men disguised in burkas arrived in a rickshaw and entered the Peshawar Agriculture Training Institute on Friday morning.

All of the attackers were also killed, the army said. The Pakistani Taliban said they had carried out the attack.

The college was thought to have been closed for the Eid-e-Milad holiday.

At least one blast was heard from inside the campus, according to media reports citing the military.

Police and army commandos cordoned off the site.

Eight students and an office worker were killed, police said.

One wounded student, Ahteshan ul-Haq, told Reuters that about 120 out of nearly 400 college residents were present during the attack, as most had gone home for a long holiday weekend.

“We were sleeping when we heard gunshots. I got up and within seconds everybody was running and shouting ‘the Taliban have attacked’,” he said.

Another student, Saleh, told the Dawn newspaper: “The terrorists shot at everyone who was roaming around and they were breaking doors down to attack students. Thankfully security personnel reached the hostel before those men came to our room – that is why we are alive.”

A Dawn reporter at the site said that suicide vests, three grenades, two bombs and a pistol were recovered from the institute building.

Peshawar, close to the Afghan border, has seen some of the worst violence during the Taliban insurgency in recent years.

In 2014 Taliban militants attacked an army-run school in Peshawar, leaving 141 people dead in one of the worst assaults in the country’s recent history.

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Pop-up penguins shock China zoo visitors

Pop-up penguins shock China zoo visitors


Visitors expecting an array of exotic animals at a zoo in southern China were left disappointed when they were confronted with inflatable penguins.

As the first zoo to be set up in Yulin, Guangxi province, locals were keen to see what Guishan Zoo had to offer.

It had been advertised as a place to see rare animals and learn about wildlife.

Beside the plastic blow-up penguins, attractions included a handful of roosters, geese and a tortoise in a tank with a sprinkling of money around it.

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As the details of the rather disappointing ‘rare animals’ spread across Chinese social media, local news sites shared photos from inside the zoo.

Users on the Chinese microblogging network Sina Weibo soon picked up on the story and shared their views.

One user claimed the zoo was “a big insult to our IQ.”

Another found it quite funny but disrespectful, saying: “I can’t stop laughing. This is obviously deceiving the consumer. Don’t tell me the management were sleeping. This is making fun of our intelligence.”

The zoo is not the first in China to court controversy. In 2013, a zoo in Henan claimed to feature an African lion which turned out to be a Tibetan mastiff dog.

Three years later, Jinhua Zoo, in central China, became the focus of social media posts when it was thought it had set up an online poll to name its new baby gorilla. However, it turned out to be a massive hoax, despite many liking the suggestion of Harambe McHarambeface.

China does not have the best animal rights record, with several stories circulating about mistreated animals in zoos, parks and markets. In June 2017, video clips and photos of angry zoo investors feeding a live donkey to tigers at a zoo in Changzhou city, went viral on Chinese social media.

However, this year has also seen a video of a Chinese policeman’s retirement home for dogs viewed millions of times.

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Anger as doctor ‘mistakes’ baby for dead

Anger as doctor ‘mistakes’ baby for dead

A newborn baby, declared dead by a hospital in the Indian capital Delhi, was found to be alive while they were on their way to his funeral.

Doctors at the privately run Max Hospital had pronounced the baby dead hours after his twin who was stillborn.

The parents said they noticed one of the babies squirming inside the plastic bag that doctors placed the infants in.

The incident has sparked outrage and a debate over the quality of private healthcare which is often costly.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal tweeted that he had ordered an inquiry into the matter. The state health minister has also described the incident as “shocking criminal negligence”.

According to the twins’ grandfather, the stunned family rushed the newborn to a nearby hospital where they were told that their baby was still alive, local media reported.

In a statement to reporters, Max hospital said they were “shaken” and “concerned” over the incident, and added that the doctor has been asked to go on leave, pending an inquiry.

According to ANI news agency, Delhi police have begun to investigate the case and have consulted legal experts.

This is the second instance in recent months where a private hospital in India has been called out for negligent care. Last month, a girl died of dengue fever in another hospital and the parents allege they were overcharged for her treatment.

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Tesla mega-battery in Australia activated

Tesla mega-battery in Australia activated

The world’s largest lithium ion battery has begun dispensing power into an electricity grid in South Australia.

The 100-megawatt battery, built by Tesla, was officially activated on Friday. It had in fact provided some power since Thursday due to demand caused by local hot weather.

South Australia has been crippled by electricity problems in recent times.

Tesla boss Elon Musk famously vowed to build the battery within 100 days – a promise that was fulfilled.

“This is history in the making,” South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill said on Friday.

The battery would prevent a repeat of a notorious incident last year where the entire state lost power, Mr Weatherill said.

Mr Musk has described it as three times more powerful than the world’s next biggest battery.

From Twitter bet to reality

The idea began when Mr Musk was asked on Twitter if he was serious about helping to resolve South Australia’s electricity woes.

Mr Musk said he was – adding that if the battery wasn’t built within 100 days, the state would receive it for free.

The countdown began on 30 September after a plan was approved by the state government and regulators. Tesla finished the battery in about 60 days.

Located near Jamestown, about 200km (125 miles) north of Adelaide, the battery is connected to a wind farm run by French energy company Neoen.

When fully charged, the battery can power up to 30,000 homes for an hour. However, it will mostly be used to support and stabilise existing electricity supplies.

The battery is comprised of a grid system that runs on the same technology that powers Tesla’s cars.

In a statement, the company said the completion of the battery “shows that a sustainable, effective energy solution is possible”.

Power surge

The battery in South Australia is just one of several similar projects with which Tesla is involved.

Smaller banks of batteries, also intended to smooth out power supplies, are also installed in Southern California, Hawaii, New Zealand, in the UK and on several Pacific islands. Luxury hotels in South Africa, on islands and in remote locations are also using small power storage systems.

The company has also talked about sending more battery packs to Puerto Rico which lost almost all its power generating systems after Hurricane Maria swept across the region.

Retailer Target and online giant Amazon have also expressed interest in storing power. Amazon said it was piloting a program to use the batteries at data centres. The power source would keep servers running if electricity is cut and help keep supplies stable.

Tesla said the expertise it built up building lithium-ion batteries for its cars helped it develop the bigger power packs for the energy storage systems. The batteries used in energy storage facilities that connect to the grid are not exactly the same as those seen in Tesla cars but have some design elements in common.

Tesla has partnered with Panasonic on the development and production of its Powerpack technology. Despite this, it partnered with Samsung on the Southern Australia facility because Panasonic could not produce the required batteries within the tight deadline.

Tesla will soon be facing stiff competition from power firms. Next year, a battery storage facility 50% larger than Tesla’s in Australia will be turned on in South Korea. Chinese firms and many other renewable energy firms are also installing many battery storage systems for power suppliers around the world.

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Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in first joint royal visit

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in first joint royal visit

Less than a week after her engagement to Britain’s Prince Harry was announced, the American actor Meghan Markle got her first taste of the “walkabout” on Friday, in near-freezing temperatures in the English city of Nottingham.
Markle had declared in a TV interview on Monday that she was keen to get her “boots on the ground” in Britain — and she got her wish on Friday, emerging from a limousine with Harry for their first official royal event together.

Prince Harry and fiancee Meghan Markle attend the Terrance Higgins Trust World AIDS Day charity fair in Nottingham on Friday.
It will be the first of many such engagements that Markle will undertake: On Friday she carried out her duties with enthusiasm, gripping the hands of cheering crowds as they lined the short route.
Everything went to plan — there were no awkward encounters, the snow that has buffeted some parts of the UK this week held off, and Markle seemed to be at ease with the flag-waving and camera-wielding residents of Nottingham who had gathered since early in the day to secure the best spots.
Markle started off at Harry’s side and offered a reassuring hand on his back, but a few minutes later she moved off on her own to meet the crowds further down the street, taking flowers and confidently greeting overjoyed fans.

Markle appeared confident during her first official public engagement.
One woman proudly showed off a picture she’d managed to snap of Harry as he leaned in to shake her hand.
“This is my hand and Prince Harry with his tongue out at me, which I think is a pretty cool photo. I was shocked I didn’t expect him to shake my hand,” the woman excitedly told CNN.
The fifth-in-line to the throne greeted well-wishers for around 30 minutes before continuing with his official visit.
Libby Morton, a university student from Minnesota currently studying in the UK, said she turned out on Friday because Americans “absolutely adore the royal family.”
“It’s absolutely amazing to be here while its happening. I’m going to be here for the royal wedding, for the royal baby and its kind of a dream come true,” she added.
Harry designed the diamond engagement ring he presented to his bride-to-be last month.
Prince Harry was keen to introduce his bride-to-be to “a community that has become very special to him,” according to a tweet from Kensington Palace on Tuesday.
Harry has spent a significant amount of time in the city both publicly and privately since he first met with young people there in 2013 when he was exploring issues around youth violence.
The couple visited a charity fair organized by the HIV/AIDS charity the Terrence Higgins Trust, marking World AIDS Day.
Just before the couple entered the Nottingham Contemporary gallery for the fair, Harry recognized local royal superfan, 81-year-old Irene Hardman, who has met the Prince several times on previous visits to the city.
The pair laughed for several moments before Hardman handed Harry a gift bag containing fridge magnets and other goodies, according to Britain’s Press Association.
Hardman described the meeting to PA as “very emotional” shortly afterwards. “I cried — she’s wonderful, and it’s fantastic. They’re so genuine.”
The newly-engaged couple were then due to head to a local school to meet with staff and mentors involved in the Full Effect program, which works to prevent young people from the community turning towards violence. Harry established Full Effect through The Royal Foundation in 2014.

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British royals’ complicated relationship with Africa

British royals’ complicated relationship with Africa

Like his brother, Prince William, who proposed to Kate Middleton during a getaway at a log cabin in the shadow of Mount Kenya, Prince Harry made another African nation — this time Botswana — a big part of his love story.
So much so, the couple’s time in Botswana is represented on Markle’s finger, which features an engagement ring with a primary stone from the southern African nation.
The royal family’s relationship with Africa is long, complicated and dates back to decades. It’s intertwined with a history of British colonial rule in several African nations, one that changed world politics and left behind a legacy of segregation, economic ruin and disenfranchised citizens.
Kenya and Botswana gained independence from Britain in 1963 and 1966, respectively, but like several other countries, their ties to the monarchy still remain.

Prince Harry

Harry and Markle’s trip to Botswana played a pivotal role in their courtship. There, they escaped the media glare and got to know each other.
Markle described her ring as the perfect representation of their time there.
“It’s incredibly special to be able to have this, which sort of links where you come from and Botswana, which is important to us,” she said.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will get married in May.
Harry is a familiar face in the continent, where he’s made several trips, including to South Africa and Lesotho. In the latter nation, he runs Sentebale, a charity he co-founded to help AIDS orphans in the nation and neighboring Botswana.
William and Harry are also passionate about animal conservation, and work with several organizations that focus on saving wildlife. Markle has also visited Rwanda to advocate for clean water as part of World Vision.
“Princess Di seems to have instilled in her sons compassion toward animals and fellow human beings in plight,” said Louise Nyamu-Steinbeck, a political scientist in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi.
That may explain why they’re drawn to certain parts of the continent, where Harry and William have said they feel most at home, she said.
“They have a passion for wildlife conservationism and humanitarian projects, coupled with the serenity of the vast savannah with its mountains, valleys, lakes, flora and fauna, as well as Africa’s friendly folk and vibrant cultures,” she said.
But Eliza Anyangwe, the founder of The Nzinga Effect, a platform that tells African women’s stories, said the royals appear to be drawn to a certain image of the continent.
“The Africa they see — and I believe love — is the Africa of a National Geographic: stunning landscapes and peculiar cultures,” she said.
“The great travesty about Africa for a lot of white people is that it happens to be populated by Africans. So they seek after the wilderness or the parts most reminiscent of Europe — such as Cape Town (South Africa) for example,” she said.
Anyangwe said while a lot of African nations maintained their economic, social and political ties to Britain long after independence, interest for the royal family started waning with the 1997 death of Princess Diana.
“There is a generation across the continent that really couldn’t care less what happens in the UK, much less Prince Harry,” she said.

Prince William

Prince William proposed to Kate Middleton at a secluded cabin getaway in the sprawling Lewa Wildlife Conservancy in Kenya, where rhinos and giraffes peek at vacationers from behind the bushes.
“Kenya has always been very close to Prince William’s heart. He’s been coming here for many years. He loves it,” said Ian Craig, founder of Lewa and owner of the cabin.
 Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and Prince William, Duke of Cambridge.
William first went to Kenya during his gap year at age 17, and has returned several times. Kenya, he has said, provides a respite from real life.
“It’s escaping to a kind of different world where I am just who I normally am anyway, and I can let that side, that sort of slightly immature, silly person come out a bit more than I normally do,” he said.
While visiting Lewa and other animal conservation areas, their charities are a major focal point.
“This is a royal family that wants to engage with Africa, understands its challenges but recognizes that it’s a beautiful place and wants to show the world,” said Ayo Johnson, director of Viewpoint Africa, which sells content about Africa to media outlets internationally.
Johnson said the two come from a different time, and any animosity over British colonial rule is misdirected.
“Princes William and Harry’s generation is willing to turn a new chapter, open a new page, rewrite history as best as they possibly can by saying the old is the old, the wrongs of the past are in the past,” he said. “They are embracing Africa for what it is … they are a reflection of that forward thinking.”
Others, like Janet Nyawera, would like to see Harry and William visit what she describes as the “real” parts of the communities they go to.
“Why do they always go to the luxurious camps and the children’s homes? Even in good faith, that comes off as stereotypical especially in the context of history. I want them to go to cities as well, engage with the youth in those communities,” said Nyawera, who lives in the northwestern Kenyan town of Nakuru.

Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip

In 1952, when William and Harry’s grandparents visited Kenya, the nation was considered a social playground for European elites. At the time, Kenya was still under British rule and had not gained independence.
In February of that year, then- Princess Elizabeth had left her ailing father, King George VI, in London and flown to Kenya.
Queen Elizabeth ll and Prince Philip vacationed in Kenya long before it gained indpendence from Britain.
The princess and her husband were visiting the Treetop, a popular spot back then for looking at animals from a high vantage point. It was there in the slopes of Mount Kenya that her husband, Prince Philip, told her about her father’s death. At that moment, Princess Elizabeth became Queen Elizabeth.
Years later, the royals still embrace Africa in their own way.
Prince Charles was also a regular visitor to Kenya, as seen in this file photo taken on February 10, 1971.
Since colonial history cannot be changed or erased, Nyamu-Steinbeck said, African nations should look at the big picture and utilize the relationship to boost tourism, which is a big part of their economies.
“The biggest reward this attention could accord Africa is for those beyond her borders to understand that the continent is so much more than orphans, famine, disaster, poverty and corruption — that it offers a well-trained service industry, a sizable educated elite, and technological innovations galore,” she said.

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Meghan Markle is royal family’s unconventional bride-to-be

Meghan Markle is royal family’s unconventional bride-to-be

The 36-year-old seems to be more than fulfilling what fans want from a princess (even though she won’t become an official princess) in a fairytale royal romance: She’s smart, beautiful and passionate about humanitarian efforts around the world.
Prince Harry’s new fianceé is also a rarity in Hollywood: a star who has managed to become both beloved by fans and yet so under the radar that its hard to find tabloid fodder on her.
Her balance of celebrity and regular person can best be described in the story of how Prince Harry proposed.
They were enjoying a cozy night at home, trying to roast a chicken for dinner, when he popped the question.
Even the most hardened royal watcher must admit that’s pretty damn delightful in its quaintness and normalcy.

Dating in secret

The pair revealed Monday, in their first joint interview after their engagement was announced, that their London cottage on the grounds of Kensington Palace has been a refuge.
It’s how they have been able to keep their relationship so private in the face of global scrutiny of anything having to do with the royal family.
Markle spoke to Vanity Fair about her life and relationship with Prince Harry in an interview published in September.
“We had to sort of reverse the whole process and (have) cozy nights in, in front of the television, cooking dinner with just the two of us by ourselves in our little cottage rather going out for dinner and being seen in public,” Prince Harry said of their dating life.
“So we, we reversed the whole process … it’s provided different opportunities. And has made us a hell of a lot closer in a short space of time.”
What the prince learned was that the Los Angeles native who once wrote that she “lives by the ethos that most things can be cured with either yoga, the beach, or a few avocados” has more in common with him then might be expected from one with such humble beginnings.

Parental influence

Like Prince Harry, Markle was a child of divorce.
Her father, Thomas Markle, and her mother, Doria Ragland, met at a Hollywood studio in the late 1970s where he was working as as a lighting director and she was a temp.
Her parents split when Meghan was young, but she told Vanity Fair this year that they remain on good terms and even take vacations together as a family.
Markle says her parents supported her in her quest to become an actor.
“I was doing calligraphy, and I was a hostess at a restaurant — and all those things that actors do,” she said. “My father knew how hard it is for an actor to get work, so he above all people was so proud that I was able to beat the odds.”
Bit roles in shows like “CSI: Miami,” “90210” and “General Hospital” and small parts in such films as “Remember Me” and “Horrible Bosses” kept her working before her 2011 breakthrough role as ambitious paralegal Rachel Zane in the hit TV series “Suits,” now in its seventh season.
Markle has a lead role in TV series "Suits" as paralegal Rachel Zane.
In a 2015 essay for Elle UK, Markle wrote about the difficulty of forging a career as a biracial actress. “I wasn’t black enough for the black roles and I wasn’t white enough for the white ones, leaving me somewhere in the middle as the ethnic chameleon who couldn’t book a job.”
Markle’s parents had already prepared her for the challenges of being the child of a white father and black mother.
She told the story of her father putting together a special Christmas gift for her when she was a little girl.
“On Christmas morning, swathed in glitter-flecked wrapping paper, there I found my Heart Family: a black mom doll, a white dad doll, and a child in each colour,” she wrote in Elle UK. “My dad had taken the sets apart and customised my family.”

‘Proud to be a feminist’

That sense of being “other” also helped Markle develop compassion for the disenfranchised. In another Elle essay from 2016 she wrote about how her mother, a psychotherapist and yoga instructor, raised her to be “a global citizen, with eyes open to sometimes harsh realities.”
Markle has used her platform as a TV star to champion gender equality, clean-water campaigns, pet adoption and the eradication of modern day slavery.
“I’m proud to be a woman and a feminist,” she said in a speech at a United Nations conference on International Women’s Day 2015. She had just been named the UN Women’s Advocate for Political Participation and Leadership.
Her commitment to gender equality began many years earlier, Markle explained. As an 11-year-old she saw a soap commercial with the tagline “women all over America are fighting greasy pots and pans.”
She described how two boys in her class said that women belonged in the kitchen and how the she, “shocked and angry,” decided to take action in response. On the advice of her father, she wrote several letters, including one to the soap manufacturer and one to then-first lady Hillary Clinton.
In the end, Markle explained, the commercial was changed: The word “women” was replaced with “people.”
“It was at that moment that I realized the magnitude of my actions,” she said.

Partners in philanthropy

In her future husband, Markle will have a strong partner in wanting to help others.
In 2006, Prince Harry co-founded Sentebale, a charity to help orphans in Lesotho, Africa. He’s also supported conservation efforts in Africa and has helped promote the Invictus Games, an international sporting event for wounded, injured and sick servicemen and women.
And he’s continued work by his mother, the late Princess Diana, in helping those suffering from AIDS and HIV.
Prince Harry said in their joint interview that he believes Markle is “capable of anything.”
“And together, as I said, there’s a hell of a lot of stuff, work that needs doing,” he said. “At the moment for us, it’s going to be making sure that our relationship is always put first, but both of us have passions for wanting to make change, change for good.”
She said their passion for philanthropy is actually what helped led to their passion for each other.
“It was really one of the first things we connected on, it was one of the first things we started talking about when we met was just the different things that we wanted to do in the world and how passionate we were about seeing change,” she said. “I think … that’s what got Date 2 in the books, probably.”
Kensington Palace announced Tuesday that Markle will join Prince Harry for an event Friday marking World AIDS Day.
A palace spokesperson also told CNN Tuesday that following their May 2018 wedding, Markle will become the fourth patron of The Royal Foundation of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry.

Markle: We’re ‘really happy and in love’

It won’t be a first wedding for Markle, who was married to film producer Trevor Engelson for two years before they divorced in 2013.
Interestingly, Fox is reportedly developing a TV comedy from a team, including Engelson, about a man who has to share custody with the British royal family when his ex marries a prince.
Markle met her prince in July 2016 when a mutual friend set them up on a blind date.
Markle and Prince Harry attend the Invictus Games in Toronto in September.
They dated in secret before Prince Harry issued a rare public statement last November in which he confirmed their relationship and warned the press against harassing his girlfriend.
Almost a year later Markle told Vanity Fair their relationship is simple to explain.
“We’re two people who are really happy and in love,” she said.

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Sorry, Americans, you still can’t call her ‘Princess Meghan’

Sorry, Americans, you still can’t call her ‘Princess Meghan’

Still, even though the American actor is now going to be part of the British royal family, she still can’t actually technically officially become a proper princess, now or ever. Most likely, she’ll be a duchess, which is frankly just as cool.
According to CNN’s Max Foster, once Markle is married, she takes Harry’s title and name — as in, his literal name. Her title will be Princess Henry of Wales, plus any other title the Queen might choose to bestow (Henry is Harry’s real name).
Luckily, in all likelihood Markle won’t have to spend the rest of her life as “Princess Henry.” Royal historian Marlene Koenig told Royal Central the prince is probably in line for a dukedom, and if Harry is named a duke once he’s married, like his brother William was, Markle would be a duchess like her sister-in-law Catherine.
“Most likely, he will be created a duke. Sussex is available so [Meghan] would be HRH the Duchess of Sussex. Her rank would be a princess by marriage of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland,” Koenig said.
According to CTV’s royal commentator Richard Berthelson, the whole “official princess or unofficial princess” thing is about lineage. He told CTV that Markle will be an unofficial princess because her husband is a prince, but because she wasn’t born into a royal family, she won’t be a capital-P “Princess” and won’t have her name styled as such.
See, the British think they are somehow setting their American neighbors straight, when honestly, “unofficial princess” is more than satisfactory for us.

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