INDEPENDENT 2024-03-10 01:04:28


Edward says wife Sophie is his ‘rock’ in rare TV interview for 60th birthday

The Duke of Edinburgh has revealed his wife Sophie, the Duchess of Edinburgh, is his “rock” as he marks his 60th Birthday.

In a rare television interview, Edward told gardening expert Alan Titchmarsh on ITV’s Love Your Weekend programme: “I’m incredibly lucky that I found Sophie and that she found me”.

He and Sophie, 59, have been married since 1999 having met at a promotion shoot for the Prince Edward Summer Challenge two years earlier.

During the interview, Edward also praised his father Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh, for being “brilliant with people” even if it sometimes “didn’t necessarily come across that way”.

“He was always, always encouraging everybody,” he said. “You sort of needed to get to know him.

“He was just an extraordinary man. He was the Prince Albert of our age. He had an extraordinary mind. He loved design, he loved innovation.”

Edward revealed some of his lasting memories of his father, including teaching his daughter Lady Louise to drive a carriage.

He said: “It was entirely off her own bat… he took her out with the team and I think it was only the second time, he was driving along and he said, ‘Do you want to have a go?’ and she didn’t have time to even answer the question, he just handed the reins across.”

“We’re very lucky, we’ve got two, of what we would think are particularly brilliant children, who are forging such different paths for themselves. I think that’s also equally fascinating,” he added.

Asked about adjusting to his new title, Edward said it had been a “huge privilege” but had also bestowed “quite a lot of weight of expectation as well”.

“I mean, there’s an awful lot of legacy that came with that title and everything that my father had done,” he continued.

“Especially when you’re not inheriting it, this is a choice… that comes with all the expectations that people have.

“It’s just the weirdest and strangest feeling. You walk into a room and, particularly still today, there are name places on a card and I still look around going ‘Yes, but where am I sitting?’.”

In a newspaper interview, Edward said the monarchy is “as important as ever” in “trying to bring people together”.

He told the Daily Mail: “Our role – being part of the monarchy – in trying to bring people together is as important as ever, if not more so today.

The duke carried out a series of engagements with the Duchess of Edinburgh earlier this week, ahead of his milestone birthday.

He was presented with a Leeds Rhinos rugby shirt with “HRH 60” on the back to mark the date, during a visit to Headingley Stadium in Leeds on Friday.

Asked on the programme about Mothering Sunday, Edward said it was “always an important event” when he was growing up.

“Those days were, and these days are really important to remember some very, very special people in our lives,” he said.

“There should be several times in the year when we make a special sort of effort and Mothering Sunday was very much one of those where you made a special effort just to say ‘thank you’.”

Watch the full interview with Prince Edward, The Duke of Edinburgh on Love Your Weekend with Alan Titchmarsh on Sunday 10 March at 9:30am on ITV1 and ITVX.

Thousands of pro-Palestine supporters march in London to demand ceasefire

Thousands of pro-Palestine supporters have marched in central London calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.

The Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) organised the protest, following the Hamas attacks on southern Israel on 7 October in which about 1,200 people were killed and more than 240 kidnapped before Israel retaliated with months of attacks on the Gaza Strip, killing and wounding thousands.

Singer Charlotte Church joined protesters at the front of the march, and said she joined the protest to “show solidarity with the people of Palestine for all that they are suffering through”.

She said: “I am here today to call for an immediate ceasefire, to ask our government and governments all over the world to send as strong message as we possibly can.

“But a strong, a peaceful a loving message, that’s what every single march that I’ve been on for Palestine has been about.

“There’s been singing there’s been drumming, yes, there’s been emotion, but in the majority that emotion has been love, has been compassion because that’s why we’re all here. We’re all here because we cannot bear what we’re witnessing.

“We cannot bear to see civilians, children, women slaughtered. And so we are here because our hearts are so full of love for the Palestinian people.”

Church added: “We’re also showing that we are absolutely not going to tolerate our government being a part of propping up an apartheid regime. We as citizens of the UK will not tolerate our government being complicit in this.”

Demonstrators waved Palestine flags and carried banners which read “stop the war on Gaza” and “ceasefire now” as they marched from Hyde Park Corner to the US Embassy.

Protesters chanted “free Palestine”, “what do we want? Ceasefire. When do we want it? Now” and the slogan “from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free”.

Female volunteers from Friends of Al-Aqsa (FOA) joined protesters on the march, which falls a day after International Women’s Day, to “highlight the Palestinian genocide as a gendered issue”.

A spokeswoman for FOA said: “Today’s protest is especially important as it falls just after International Women’s Day. This is a day intended to promote gender equality around the world, but that cannot be achieved whilst civilians in Palestine are under continued bombardment.”

Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who now sits as an independent MP, spoke to pro-Palestine protesters and posed for pictures with them after the march.

He said the demonstration “is huge and there will be as many of them as it takes”, adding: “The demonstration today is enormous and we’re here because we’re appalled at the bombing that’s still going on in Gaza.

“It’s all very well for Joe Biden to say they’re going to build a port to deliver aid, (it would) be far better if they stopped delivering arms to Israel and made sure there was a ceasefire. And this demonstration is huge and there will be as many of them as it takes.

“We’re also demonstrating our right to demonstrate, there’s so much talk about people shouldn’t be on demonstrations, well today there’s a lot of us here, all faiths, all ethnic groups, men and women, led by women, no problem, no trouble, it’s a march of love.”

Labour MP Apsana Begum took to the stage after the march to highlight it came after International Women’s Day, adding: “As we pay tribute this weekend to our recent history of women’s struggles, as we look to a future of women’s liberation, we must be clear that this means liberation for all women.”

It was revealed the cost of policing Gaza-related protests in London has reached over £32 million and has required 35,464 officer shifts and more than 5,200 officer rest days to be cancelled, the Metropolitan Police said.

It added that a “robust policing plan” was in place for a “busy weekend in the capital”.

It comes as the government’s counter-extremism tsar warned that London’s streets have become a “no-go zone for Jews” during pro-Palestine protests.

Robin Simcox said a “permissive environment for radicalisation” was developing as he welcomed the Government’s forthcoming new definition of extremism.

And last week prime minister Rishi Sunak warned that democracy is being targeted by extremists and said there are “forces here at home trying to tear us apart”.

Mr Sunak, in a message aimed at those taking part in pro-Palestine protests, urged people to reject extremist messages.

Ben Jamal, director of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, said the march is the 10th national march and it is “unprecedented” in recent British political history to see “this many people marching for this length of time”.

He said the protesters think the government is “complicit” in what is happening to the people of Gaza and is “failing to put pressure on Israel” and “failing to call unequivocally for a ceasefire”.

Mr Jamal added: “That’s what’s motivating them to continue to march. And we know the government’s telling us ‘it’s time for you to go away, you’ve made your point, you’re all hatemongers’.

“You’ll see, people here come from all walks of life, young and old, many people here with young children.

“They’re looking at what’s happening, they see children’s bodies being pulled out of the rubble, they look like that, they say it could be my child, that could be my brother, that could be my sister. I want it to stop and I want my government to take action. That’s why they’re marching.”

A counter-protest to the pro-Palestine marches was held in Victoria, central London, on Saturday afternoon and organiser Itai Galmudy said they were “here to exercise our democratic right of making our voices heard” and that “Jews are not afraid and we’ve had enough of those anti-Israeli hate marches”.

Max Verstappen wins Saudi GP as Ollie Bearman shines bright on debut

Max Verstappen romped to another commanding win at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, as rookie British teenager Ollie Bearman completed a dream debut by beating Lewis Hamilton to finish a brilliant seventh.

Despite threatening to quit Red Bull just 24 hours previously, following another twist in the ongoing Red Bull saga, Verstappen followed his win at the season-opening round in Bahrain last Saturday with another comfortable triumph in his all-conquering machine – remarkably his 19th in 20 appearances.

Sergio Perez completed a one-two finish for Red Bull, with Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc third.

But for Bearman, just three months old when Hamilton made his debut in 2007, this will be a night he will never forget.

Handed his shock debut as an 11th-hour stand-in for Carlos Sainz, the boy from Chelmsford, 18 years, 10 months and one day, drove into the record books as the youngest British driver to start a Formula One race.

Standing at 6ft 3in, the streaky teen followed in the footsteps of British greats’ Mike Hawthorn and John Surtees by racing for the scarlet team – and the first Englishman to do so since Nigel Mansell 34 years ago.

Bearman appeared at ease before the start, smiling with his engineers and grinning from ear-to-ear as he addressed the Sky cameras before taking his position between Yuki Tsunoda and Kevin Magnussen at the front of the grid for the national anthem.

With just one hour of practice under his belt, and a qualifying appearance – labelled incredible by Verstappen – Bearman, starting 11th, was just moments away from competing against the best 19 drivers in the world.

As the lights flicked from red to green, Bearman was slower away that he would have liked but made up for it by being aggressive on his brakes and hanging on to 11th place, despite a slight detour off the track.

Up front and Verstappen had no trouble in keeping Leclerc at bay. Midway through the opening lap he was already 1.3 seconds clear of the chasing pack.

On lap seven, Lance Stroll put his Aston Martin in the barrier. The Canadian broke his suspension by clipping the armco on the entry to Turn 21 before slamming into the tyre barrier on the opposing side of the track.

Out came the safety car and in came the leaders – bar Norris and Hamilton – for fresh rubber.

Bearman, forced to wait as other cars drove by him as he was stationary, dropped three places to 12th.

Norris led when the race resumed, only for Verstappen to swoop past three laps later. Rookie Bearman was also on the move.

He immediately despatched of Tsunoda for 11th and was in a point-scoring position on lap 14 after he swatted aside Zhou for 10th.

Up next was Haas’ Nico Hulkenberg – and Bearman was not mincing his words.

“Mate he is so slow,” said the 18-year-old of Hulkenberg, the German double his age and in his 205th Formula One start.

And on lap 21 he eased past the Haas driver for ninth, with George Russell only 5.6 sec up the road.

Bearman’s engineer Riccardo Adami was swiftly on the radio. “You are doing a mega job out there,” he said. It was hard to disagree.

Norris and Hamilton, both out of strategy sync after electing not to pit behind the safety car, stopped for fresh tyres and Bearman was now seventh and ahead of both of his countrymen.

When Norris stopped on lap 37 of 50, Bearman was 6.1 seconds up the road. Hamilton, was seven seconds adrift.

“At this pace will Norris catch us or not?” asked the teenager on the radio.

“We might have a chance to stay ahead of both of them,” came the reply from the Ferrari pit wall.

The lap counter ticked down but Bearman showed maturity way beyond his years to hold on to seventh place. McLaren’s Oscar Piastri took fifth ahead of Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso and Mercedes’ Russell.

Bearman took the chequered flag just 5.7 sec behind Russell and comfortably ahead of Norris and Hamilton.

“He has done an incredible job,” said Leclerc of Bearman, who was voted by the fans as the driver of the day.

“He was straight on the pace. Seventh in your first race in a new Formula One car is hugely impressive.

“I am sure he is extremely proud and everyone has noticed how talented he is. It is only a matter of time before he is in Formula One.”

Kate ‘sets date for return’ as Meghan reveals pain at ‘cruel’ pregnancy comments

Kate Middleton is “doing her best” to return to royal duties after Easter, a royal expert has claimed.

Ingrid Seward, editor in chief of Majesty Magazine, addressed concerns that the Princess of Wales has not been seen in public since her abdominal surgery in January.

She told The Mirror: “The Princess is obviously doing her best behind the scenes to get fit and healthy so she is ready to face the publicity which will surround her return to public engagements after Easter.”

Buckingham Palace has been approached for comment.

The remarks came as Meghan Markle spoke out against the “toxicity” of social media as she revealed she faced online abuse while pregnant.

During a keynote speech at South by Southwest (SXSW) festival to mark International Women’s Day on Friday, the Duchess of Sussex recalled the “cruel” comments aimed at her while carrying her two children, Prince Archie and Princess Lilibet.

On the comments she faced, the duchess said: “You just think about that, and have to really wrap your head around why people would be so hateful. It’s not catty, it’s cruel.”

Bodies removed from funeral home that was raided by police

A number of bodies have been removed from a funeral director by police after reports of “concern for care of the deceased”.

Cordons remain in place at three Legacy Independent Funeral Directors after Humberside Police received a report on Wednesday over concerns about the “storage and management processes relating to care of the deceased”.

There is a police presence at the company’s three branches in Hull and the East Riding of Yorkshire.

Residents reported police outside Legacy Funeral Directors in Anlaby Road and Hessle Road, both in Hull, at about 3am on Thursday, Hull Live reported.

Officers remain at both branches, as well as one in Beverley.

As part of Humberside Police’s inquiries, a number of bodies have been moved from the premises on Hessle Road in Hull to the local authority mortuary in Hull, the force said.

A direct line has been set up for anyone who may be affected.

Assistant Chief Constable Thom McLoughlin said: “We received a report on Wednesday, March 6 expressing concern about the storage and management processes relating to care of the deceased in these locations.

“Since the initial report was made on Wednesday, March 6, teams of highly skilled detectives and specially trained staff from Humberside Police have been working closely with partner agencies, including Hull City Council, East Riding of Yorkshire Council and His Majesty’s Coroner.

“Together we have been conducting extensive inquiries to fully understand the circumstances and concerns expressed in the report made to us.

“As part of this, we are now in the process of moving a number of deceased from the premises on Hessle Road in Hull to the local authority mortuary in Hull.

“Specially trained family liaison officers have already seen families involved and will continue to do so. These officers are working closely with our partners to ensure that families are provided with the most appropriate care and support for their personal circumstances whilst our investigation continues.

“Our dedicated phone line remains open today and I encourage anyone who has used Legacy Independent Funeral Directors and has concerns to please call us. You can do so by calling 0800 051 4674 or 0207 126 7619 if you are calling from abroad.

“Victim support also has a dedicated telephone line which is available to anyone who is experiencing distress or concern following this report and would like advice and guidance. This is available by dialling 0808 16 89 111.

“We have already received a number of calls from concerned members of the public and I want to offer my personal reassurance that we are working as hard as possible to make direct contact with each and every family that may have been affected by the concerns reported.

“This is a very complex investigation, with heartbroken and devastated families at the core of it, and we are determined to make sure that we keep the families involved at the heart of everything we are doing.

“We will continue to release updates as and when we are able, but we do need to be mindful not to jeopardise ongoing investigations and we ask that people refrain from speculating and show the utmost respect for bereaved families within our community.”

Hull City Council and East Riding of Yorkshire Council are assisting Humberside Police in supporting affected families.

A culinary tour of the Algarve: from wine and seafood to desserts

The Algarve, on Portugal’s southern coast, is the country’s most popular holiday destination for good reason: it boasts over 100 miles of beautiful beaches, charming villages, and endless culture and activities. But one of the best reasons to visit is the region’s incredible food. As befits its proximity to the sea, fish and seafood are an absolute highlight, but the region’s diverse cuisine boasts dishes to suit every taste and palate.

To help you find your perfect foodventure, travel experts Jet2holidays offer breaks in more than 50 amazing destinations, including the Algarve. All holidays include accommodation, return flights, transfers and 22kg baggage, all wrapped up in an ABTA and ATOL-protected package for a low £60pp deposit*. There are thousands of Free Child Places** available, and infants under two go free✝. Meaning it couldn’t be easier to book your next break with the Which? Travel Brand of the Year 2023 and Tripadvisor’s Best UK Airline.

Here we explore some of the region’s must-try dishes, foodie locales and immersive experiences, so you can start planning your own culinary-infused getaway.

Whether you’re in a bigger, buzzier town such as Lagos, Albufeira or Faro, or enjoying the serenity of a smaller seaside resort like Olhão or Praia da Luz, you’ll find many of the same delicious local specialities on restaurant menus.

Must-eats include conquilhas à algarvia, a mix of plump clams fresh from the Atlantic, cooked with garlic coriander, olive oil, lemon juice and slices of succulent Portuguese sausage. There’s nothing better than tucking into a plateful, using bread to mop up the juices, and savouring a crisp glass of white wine at an al fresco eatery overlooking the ocean. You can’t miss the Algarve’s mouth-watering shrimp bisque either: a rich, creamy soup made with just-caught prawns and thickened with day-old bread. Served with a squeeze of lemon, it’s a beach holiday in a bowl.

Sardines are another Algarve must-sample, often simply grilled and served with potatoes, but in the beach town of Portimão, they’re cooked in a blend of herbs and spices, placed on a thick slice of bread, and served with a fresh tomato, cucumber, red pepper, onion and oregano salad. Locals tuck into the fish first, then enjoy the oil and herb-soaked crust afterwards. You might also spot diners eating their supper straight from a metal pot; this is a cataplana, in which a hearty stew of onions, peppers and tomatoes mixed with fish and shellfish is simmered and served.

Portuguese piri-piri chicken is one of the Algarve’s most popular dishes. Known as frango assado, the chicken is grilled or barbecued with a spicy, piri-piri chilli sauce marinade for a favourite the whole family will love. Wild boar, known as javali, is another crowd pleaser: just like pork, it can be served grilled, oven-baked or in rich stews.

If you’re not in the mood for a full meal, you’ll enjoy the tradition of petiscos, essentially light bites or snacks. Order a few of these small plates to share – perfect washed down with a chilled beer – options include the likes of cod fritters, fried prawns, sliced chorizo, or a selection of cheese and charcuterie.

And as a sweet treat to finish any meal, try the dom rodrigo, a delicious, sticky, pyramid-shaped dessert dating from the 18th century, which combines sugar, egg yolks, ground almonds, cinnamon and fios de ovos (a traditional Portuguese sweet, made by boiling eggs in sugar syrup).

Fancy recreating some of these dishes yourself? Book into a local cookery class, where you can learn how to make the food you’ve enjoyed here when you’re back home. Further immersive experiences can involve meeting and chatting to local producers, or getting a tour of a local market with a chef before cooking with ingredients you’ve bought.

There are also several excellent food markets throughout the towns and villages of the Algarve, and it’s worth spending some time wandering around them and marveling at the glossy, farm-fresh produce on offer.

The most popular market in Algarve is Olhão market. Set in twin bright red-brick buildings facing the Ria Formosa lagoon, Olhão Mercado Municipal comprises two market halls. One sells fresh fish directly from the boats. The other fruits, vegetables, meat, nuts, flowers, dried fruits and Portuguese sweets. On Saturday mornings, visitors can experience a much larger farmers’ market, where local farmers and producers exhibit and sell their products directly on the streets around the market building.

Another must-visit is the monthly market in the small town of Moncarapacho, just beyond Olhão, which sells fruit, vegetables and fish, and boasts a range of food stalls so you can eat as you wander. In Lagos you’ll find a typical farmers’ market, where you can pick up fresh eggs, olives, homemade jams, sweets and home-baked bread, while the lively Loulé Municipal Market is located in a historic building that dates back more than 100 years and offers plenty of tasty produce, including fresh fish and organic food.

Finally, for those seeking a tipple, as well as the tales and terroir behind it, the Algarve boasts a wealth of vineyards where you can sample different varieties and learn about their production. The wine region here consists of four DOCs (a ‘designation of controlled origin’, signifying high quality and authenticity): Lagos, Portimão, Lagoa and Tavira, which benefit from a warm, sunny climate, perfect for growing vines. You’ll find crisp whites such as Arinto, Malvasia Fina and Crato Branco, ideal for summer sipping, but also robust, velvety reds, such as Negra Mole, Castelão and Trincadeira. Saúde! (Portuguese for ‘Cheers!’)

To make it even easier for you to enjoy the ultimate break in the Algarve, Jet2holidays provides the perfect package holiday, looking after you at every step of the way with award-winning customer service and In-Resort Customer Helpers to ensure your stay goes smoothly.

With accommodation to suit every budget and need, Jet2holidays offers a range of hotels, apartments and villas with a variety of board options, from Self Catering to All Inclusive Plus.

Fly to the Algarve from 11 UK airports: Belfast, Birmingham, Bristol, East Midlands, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds Bradford, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle and London Stansted. To find out more and start planning your trip, visit Jet2holidays

*On bookings made ten weeks or more before departure. Full payment required by balance due date.

** One free child place per two paying adults. Subject to availability. T&Cs apply, please see www.jet2holidays.com/promotions#fcp for further details.

Applicable for all infants under the age of two years on the date of return. Infants are not entitled to a flight seat (they must be seated with a parent or guardian) or a 22kg baggage allowance.

The expansion of free childcare is threatened by unbelievable promises

When Jeremy Hunt, the chancellor, announced 30 hours a week of free childcare for all working parents in the Budget a year ago, the scheme seemed too good to be true. The Independent warned that it was a lot less ambitious than it sounded, in that the expansion of free hours would start modestly next month.

The expansion to the largest number of children would be saved up for September this year, just before the likely date of the general election. And the completion of the “30 hours a week for all” would be a cheque postdated to September 2025.

As the first phase of the expansion approached, however – and it is now only three weeks away – it became increasingly clear that all was not well in the delivery of even his first, modest phase. What is supposed to happen in April is that, in addition to the existing 30 hours of free care for children aged three and four, children aged two will receive 15 hours of free care.

Gazza says he’s a sad drunk – I prefer to remember the football genius

Poor old Gazza. Hearing him talk this week on some podcast about how he used to be a happy drunk but now he’s a sad drunk and about how he lives in his agent’s spare room, seeing the footage of him, his face ravaged by self-loathing surgical procedures, there can be no other reaction: poor old Gazza, how did it come to this? 

Pretty simple really. Fame did it to him, lanced him through the soul. Ill-equipped to handle it from the start, he has been chewed up and spat out by celebrity.

And now, a couple of generations on from his heyday as Paul Gascoigne, the man whose footballing talent once electrified a nation, this is what he is known as: a victim. That is the only currency he has left to trade in.