Portrait of the week

Portrait of the week: Prince Harry leaves, Jess Phillips drops out and Trump goes on trial

24 January 2020

10:00 PM

24 January 2020

10:00 PM


The Duke of Sussex left England to join his wife, Meghan, in Canada. This followed an agreement that stripped him of the style His Royal Highness and her of the style Her Royal Highness. ‘They are required to step back from royal duties, including official military appointments,’ a statement from Buckingham Palace said. ‘They will no longer receive public funds for royal duties.’ The Sussexes said they would repay the cost of the refurbishment of Frogmore Cottage, put at £2.4 million. ‘Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much loved members of my family,’ the Queen said. On the eve of his departure, the Duke said: ‘It brings me great sadness that it has come to this.’ Three men were stabbed to death in Ilford.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development advised Britain to delay a digital tax on multinationals after France caved in to American pressure. The International Monetary Fund predicted that the UK economy would grow by 1.4 per cent this year, and that of the eurozone by 1.3 per cent. The UK employment rate rose to a new high of 76.3 per cent, with an unprecedented 32.9 million people in work and unemployment at its lowest for 45 years. The annual rate of growth for pay was 3.4 per cent, or 1.8 per cent after inflation. Pressure over the Mumbles reached 1050.5 hectopascals (31.02 in of mercury), close to the British record of 1053.6 hPa (31.11 in) at Aberdeen in 1902.

Britain will diverge from EU rules after Brexit, Sajid Javid, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, told the Financial Times: ‘We will not be a ruletaker, we will not be in the single market and we will not be in the customs union — and we will do this by the end of the year.’ The government was thinking of moving the House of Lords to York, according to James Cleverly, the Conservative party chairman. The government was defeated in the Lords by 270 to 229 in a vote to give EU citizens in the UK the automatic right to stay. A small boat carrying migrants sank off Belgium and 14 people swam to shore. Border Force intercepted ten migrants in a dinghy in the Channel. Beales, the department-store chain, went into administration. Jess Phillips dropped out of the contest for the Labour leadership, leaving Sir Keir Starmer the frontrunner, with Rebecca Long-Bailey and Lisa Nandy in the pack, and Emily Thornberry trailing. Lord Hall of Birkenhead said he would stop being director-general of the BBC in the summer.


President Donald Trump of the United States went on trial in the Senate after his impeachment by the House of Representatives, accused of ‘high crimes and misdemeanours’ by soliciting foreign interference in the 2020 presidential election and obstructing the efforts of the House to investigate. As it began, he was in Davos, where he denounced climate ‘Prophets of Doom’, boasted that ‘the US is in an economic boom, the likes of which the world has never seen before’ and promised to join in an effort to plant a thousand billion trees. Melbourne and Canberra were pelted with hailstones the size of golf balls.

President Vladimir Putin of Russia announced a reform of the constitution. At the same time he replaced Dmitry Medvedev as prime minister with the little-known Mikhail Mishustin. A missile that struck a mosque in al-Estiqbal military training camp in Yemen killed at least 111; the government blamed Houthi rebels. Anti-government protesters clashed with security forces in central Beirut, leaving 400 injured. Talks in Berlin sought peace in the civil war between Fayez al-Sarraj, the Prime Minister of Libya, and General Khalifa Haftar. Leaders from different communities in Syria met in secret in Berlin. Mexican police stopped migrants, mostly from Honduras, crossing the border from Guatemala. Uber sold its food delivery service in India to a rival, Zomato.

The World Health Organization considered declaring a public health emergency over the new kind of coronavirus observed in Wuhan, China, which it was confirmed could spread from human to human; bats and live-animal markets came under suspicion. Meng Hongwei, who disappeared in September 2018, when head of Interpol, during a visit to China from France, was sentenced to 13 years in jail by a Chinese court for taking bribes. In strikes protesting against pension reform, unions cut off electricity to 30,000 people in Paris and closed the Louvre. CSH

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