The Prince of Wales honours his father

“In a sign that Charles and his father had become reconciled after years of distance, he described the duke as a “very special person” and “the most remarkable, devoted” companion to the Queen. He spoke out as it emerged that Philip had meticulously planned his funeral and tributes poured in from around the world to Britain’s longest-serving royal consort. Charles, who is expected to deliver the eulogy at the service, at 3pm at St George’s Chapel, Windsor, added: “My dear papa was a very special person who I think above all else would have been amazed by the reaction and the touching things that have been said about him.” – Sunday Times

The Duke’s coffin will be carried at his funeral in a Land Rover he designed himself

“The ceremonial funeral, significantly reduced due to Covid restrictions, was meticulously planned by the Duke himself, and his coffin will be carried in a purpose-built Land Rover he designed. It will be a royal funeral like no other, with only 30 mourners – including all the Duke’s children and grandchildren – who will be expected to wear masks and adhere to social distancing. He left strict instructions that it should be low-key, without a formal lying in state. The entire ceremony will take place within the grounds of Windsor Castle, with no public access, and his coffin will travel on a short journey from the State Entrance to the West Steps of St George’s Chapel.” – Sunday Telegraph

  • Duchess of Sussex too pregnant to fly, Duke of Sussex will attend funeral without her – Sunday Times
  • The Duke of Cambridge will walk with him behind the coffin – Sun on Sunday
  • Funeral timetable and details – Sunday Times
  • Lord Parker to oversee funeral planning – Mail on Sunday
  • Johnson turns down funeral invite so more family can attend – Sunday Express

Commons to hear tributes tomorrow, MPs to wear black armbands, local elections campaigning cancelled…

“MPs are expected to wear black armbands three and a quarter inches wide on their left arm while they are at work, and jockeys, footballers, cricketers and rugby players will wear black armbands for this weekend’s sporting fixtures. Parliament will scale back its work in a similar way to periods of “purdah” before elections. No new laws will be passed, no Government announcements will be made and no ministers will give interviews or tweet about policy unless it is specifically to give public health guidance. MPs have been recalled on Monday – a day early – from their Easter break to pay tribute to the Duke in the Commons.” – Sunday Telegraph

…But the worst riots in Northern Ireland for many years rage on

“A further 14 police officers have been injured as violence continues to plague Northern Ireland’s streets. Police today appealed to parents, guardians and community leaders “to use their influence to ensure we do not see a repeat of such ugly scenes” after trouble flared in Belfast and Coleraine. During the disorder, which started shortly after 5pm, petrol bombs and masonry, including roof tiles, were thrown at police in the Tigers Bay area of Belfast. There was an attempt to hijack vehicles on Limestone Road and, on North Queen Street, a car was hijacked and set on fire and pushed towards police lines.” – Belfast Telegraph

  • Taoiseach warns of “dark place” – Observer

Max Hastings: Triumph of the Prince of Nowhere

If he had been less forceful and articulate, he might have ruffled fewer feathers. But his failings and follies were trivial and transient alongside his accomplishments. He was too intelligent not to have been troubled by the sorrows that have afflicted his children’s lives…Yet to seek from this remarkable, sometimes lonely man born into the early 20th century the qualities of some ideal 21st-century husband and father would have been absurd. The British people can readily forgive Prince Philip for what he was not. We, as well as his wife, our monarch, have cause to feel much gratitude for what he was.Which of us would ever have taken the job? Or done it a thousandth part so well? – Sunday Times

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Step Two of the Roadmap to be taken tomorrow as planned

“Lockdown measures were eased on March 29 as part of the roadmap out of lockdown, which saw the stay-at-home rule end and the rule of six return in England. On April 5, Boris Johnson set out the next steps, including the opening of pub gardens and the prospect of foreign summer holidays and vaccination passports for mass audience events. England will move to step two on April 12. These measures are part of the four key steps over four months to bring the UK completely out of lockdown. The roadmap is underpinned by four key “tests” that are linked to data, which will act like a checklist that must be met before moving onto the next step of reopening.

  • Tory Covid rating now in positive territory – Observer
  • Scientists warn of third wave – Observer
  • Vaccine passports planned as a short-term “bridge to freedom” – Mail on Sunday
  • If the WHO says it’s against vaccine passports for international travel, I’m for them – Dominic Lawson, Sunday Telegraph
  • Gove, Minister for backlogs – Rob Colvile, Sunday Times
  • Mass turnout of Labour MPs in Hartlepool – Observer
  • White guilt makes black people feel no better – Shaun Bailey interview, Sunday Telegraph
  • “I’ve never gone down the republican route.” – Starmer interview, Sunday Times
  • Johnson puts Oxfordshire cotttage on market – Mail on Sunday

Kwarteng “to ease rules on foreign investment”

“The government has quietly tabled an amendment to the National Security and Investment Bill that will slash the number of overseas deals monitored in the crackdown. The bill was seen as a way of scrutinising investment from China more closely. Ministers have proposed revising the stake threshold at which the business department must be notified about a deal, from 15 per cent to 25 per cent — in line
 with the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States. Kwarteng is understood to have been convinced by critics of the bill. Groups including the CBI had written to complain that the low threshold would cause delays to harmless deals, create huge amounts of paperwork, and put off foreign investors — particularly venture capital firms that back innovative, early-stage companies.” – Sunday Times

Greensill latest: Cameron had meeting with Hancock

“In October 2019, Cameron, 54, arranged and attended a “private drink” with Hancock and Greensill, the Australian banker whose firm wanted to introduce a scheme to remunerate doctors and nurses before their usual paydays. They were joined by Bill Crothers, the former head of government procurement who had become a director at Greensill Capital…Allies of Hancock insist that he fed relevant information back to officials at the Department of Health and that, while generally supportive of Greensill’s ideas, he encouraged him to work directly with NHS trusts…However, months after the encounter last April, NHS Shared Business Services (NHS SBS), a joint vehicle owned by Hancock’s department and a French IT firm, announced a pilot with Earnd — a payments start-up then owned by Greensill.” – Sunday Times

Is Putin about to launch a new war in Ukraine?

“Over the past two months, Ukraine and Russia have accused one another of building up troops on either sides of the lines and increasingly bellicose rhetoric from Moscow has many Western observers worrying that Vladimir Putin may be planning a new offensive. The White House on Thursday said it believed Russia now has more troops massed on its border with Ukraine than at any time since 2014. The Pentagon has said it may deploy warships to the Black Sea as a deterrent. Tensions continued to mount on Friday, with the Kremlin rejected a request from German Chancellor Angela Merkel to pull its troops back, saying it had the right to deploy forces in its own territory as it saw fit.” – Sunday Telegraph