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Freezing his Ears Off?

Just one month before his brother’s wedding, while Prince Harry was on a trek in one of the world’s most inhospitable climates, the Arctic, he reportedly almost lost an ear to frostbite.

Harry told his father, the Prince of Wales, and his brother, Prince William, about the trip in advance, and both were wary of the endeavor, but he never told his grandmother, the Queen.

“I kind of kept it quiet,” Harry said. “So my grandparents and the rest of my family probably just found out about it and they probably think I’m completely mad. It’s probably right.”

Harry took part in the trek, profiled in the BBC documentary Harry’s Arctic Heroes, with a group of soldiers injured in Afghanistan, in a region nicknamed “The Devil’s Dancefloor,” according to the Daily Mail. Harry’s brush with frostbite occurred on his last day on the journey. He said he was just chatting when a guide came over and exclaimed, “Your ears! Your ears!”

“Apparently they went white quite quickly,” said the Prince.

The documentary will air on BBC 1 in the UK next week. Here’s a promo:

In other royal related news:

• When you’re the Duchess of Cambridge, even your summer reading attracts attention. Kate was seen recently at the Kensington branch of the Waterstone’s book chain, where she is reported to have bought two books: When God was a Rabbit, by Sarah Winman, and The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows. Barrows told The Telegraph that one of the central ideas behind her book is that “all readers have a common bond – even the uncommon readers” and that she was “thrilled to hear that the Duchess is reading the Society.”

Also thrilled were the publishers of Winman’s book. “It’s not every day that one of our books is given the royal stamp of approval,” said Winman’s editor, Leah Woodburn. “I don’t know yet if the ‘Kate effect’ extends to the world of books, but I do know that it’s a very special novel, so if anyone was persuaded to give it a try as a result, we’d be really happy.”  Interestingly, the death of Diana, the Princess of Wales — who would have been Kate’s mother-in-law — plays a part in Winman’s novel.

• If you’re a very experienced helicopter pilot, and used to being around celebrities, the Queen of England just might have a job for you. You might think that with so many royals who fly helicopters — Princes Harry, William, Charles and Andrew — the House of Windsor might be able to save a few pounds by keeping the helicoptering in the family. But it obviously doesn’t work that way. There’s a posting on the monarchy’s official website seeking a chief pilot to provide “first class helicopter service to Members of the Royal Family engaged on official duties.” The job pays up to £80,000 ($131,000) a year. Among the qualifications: an S-76 flight rating, “corporate/VVIP experience,” and a willingness “to take on duties and activities outside your normal responsibilities.” But hurry — the application closing date is August 29th. (via The Scottish Daily Record)

• According to The Sun, Prince Philip “regularly” calls the Duchess of Cambridge to give her advice on everything from kitchen redesign to physical fitness. The Murdoch-owned Sun is a sister tabloid to the disgraced News of the World, which was shut down last month as a result of the celebrity phone hacking scandal. The paper said its information about the phone calls came from a “source,” who is also quoted as saying that Kate is “really touched” by the advice being offered by the 90-year-old husband of the Queen.

• The Independent’s Julie Burchill is taking some personal shots at Vivienne Westwood and Kelly Osbourne for their attacks on Kate Middleton’s fashion sense. As you’ll remember, Westwood thinks Kate is too “ordinary.” Burchill says it’s just sour grapes because because Kate rejected “that signature Westwood look which can summed up as looking as if one would be equally at home in bed or Bedlam, but nowhere much else.” Burchill continues on the offense by adding: “Only in Broken Britain would a cackling septuagenarian get a DBE instead of an ASBO [a citation known as an “Anti-Social Behavior Order”] for going to Buckingham Palace without knickers and showing the resulting hot mess to the paparazzi.”

Burchill wasn’t much kinder in referring to “the vile Kelly Osbourne, a brat so thick, privileged and trivial that she makes the Duchess of Cambridge look like Rosa Parks.” As for Osbourne’s suggestion that Kate shouldn’t wear an outfit more than once, Burchill responds, “When a group of people make the monarchy seem like socialists, you know there’s something very weird going on.”

• “Pippa Middleton makes the most out of blue movie,” ran the headline in The Telegraph. The paper was referring not to the offers the Duchess of Cambridge’s sister has received to star in X-rated films, but instead to the kids’ movie The Smurfs, which opened last Friday in the UK. The Middleton family, which runs a party-planning company, is hoping to cash in big on a host of Smurf-related merchandise.

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By Paul Hechinger