TIME england

The Queen of England Is Facing a Staff Revolt at Windsor Castle

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Staff may withdraw services because of low pay

For the first time in history, the Queen of England’s household staff may take industrial action.

The Guardian reports that they are frustrated by paltry wages, and will cast ballots Tuesday to determine if they will continue with certain services they currently perform without pay around her weekend home at Windsor Castle — such as taking visitors on tours, interpreting and offering first aid.

The U.K.’s Public and Commercial Services union says more than 100 disgruntled staff members may rescind these free services, citing chronic underpayment.

The starting salary for household staff at Windsor Castle is reportedly as little as $20,000.

“It is a failure of leadership on the part of the Queen that despite receiving close to £300 million [$443,658,000] a year in public subsidy she continues to pay staff so badly,” antimonarchist campaigner Graham Smith told the Guardian.

However, the Royal Collection Trust, which administers the Queen’s homes, says the uncompensated tasks are not compulsory and only performed voluntarily. It further argues that employees are paid above the market rate and receive a generous pension.

[Guardian]

TIME Britain

Harry Potter Owls Mistreated, Animal Cruelty Group Says

PETA has accused 'The Making of Harry Potter' tour of mis-treating owls

The successful Warner Bros studio tour of ‘The Making of Harry Potter’ has come under fire for its treatment of animals.

The Harry Potter attraction at Warner Bros Studio Tour London opened in 2012 and allows fans to tour the sets, sample Butterbeer and meet animals from the franchise, including Harry’s owl.

Animal rights group PETA has accused the tour of mistreating the owls that appear on the tour. After secretly filming the tour, PETA has accused the tour operators of keeping the “distressed birds… tethered in tiny cages for hours and forced to perform tricks.”

“Confining frightened owls to tiny cages where they can only chew at their tethers in frustration goes against every message of respect and kindness that J.K. Rowling’s wonderful books taught us,” PETA director Mimi Bekhechi told the BBC.

Warner Bros Studio Tour London told the BBC, “It is essential the welfare of the birds… is of the highest standard.” They also said that they had asked the company that owns the birds, Birds and Animals, to “review this matter.”

Meanwhile a spokesperson for Birds and Animals told the BBC, “The owls are always given regular breaks and closely monitored by a vet. Now that we have had the opportunity to see the footage, we have instigated a review of the issues raised.” They added: “We will take appropriate action to ensure that the birds and animals always receive the very best care.”

[BBC]

TIME U.K.

A 15-Year-Old Just Redesigned the British Pound Coin

This photo issued by HM Treasury shows the side of a new one pound coin announced by the Government.
The Royal Mint—AP This photo issued by HM Treasury shows the side of a new one pound coin announced by the Government.

Young man designs old coin

The new British one pound coin has been designed by a 15-year-old who beat out more than 6,000 entries.

David Pearce’s drawing contains the national emblems of the United Kingdom, with a rose, leek, thistle and shamrock emerging from a Royal Coronet, reports Sky News. The drawing was slightly refined by coin artist David Lawrence and lettering expert Stephen Raw.

The teenager from the West Midlands city of Walsall said, “I spent a lot of time researching what coin designs looked like and what sort of designs would represent all parts of the UK before submitting my idea and I honestly cannot believe I have won.”

The Royal Mint

The coin is being replaced for the first time in more than 30 years because of its vulnerability to counterfeiters.

Pearce’s design will feature on the new currency that will be released in 2017.

[Sky News]

Read next: Prince Harry: Behind ‘My Tough Decision’ to Leave the Army

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TIME Britain

Prince Harry Needs a New Job

Prince Harry Hosts Coach Core Graduation Ceremony
Chris Jackson—Getty Images Prince Harry chats with Coach Core graduates during a Coach Core Graduation event at St James's Palace on Jan. 14, 2015 in London, England.

The 30-year-old prince is leaving the armed forces after 10 years and is looking for a new job

It’s official: Prince Harry is looking for a new job.

The 30-year-old royal is set to end his 10-year military career, Kensington Palace confirmed in a statement on Tuesday. That career has seen Harry qualify as an Apache pilot and complete two tours of Afghanistan. Yet come June, when he will leave the armed forces, the prince will be “actively considering other longer term employment opportunities.”

In the statement, Harry said that, “After a decade of service, moving on from the Army has been a really tough decision. I consider myself incredibly lucky to have had the chance to do some very challenging jobs and have met many fantastic people in the process.” He added, “I am considering the options for the future and I am really excited about the possibilities…. So while I am finishing one part of my life, I am getting straight into a new chapter.”

Harry, who already serves as the patron of several charities, already lined up volunteering stints that could very well lead to a full-time gig.

The prince will be be spending part of the summer volunteering with field-based conservation experts in Africa and spending time learning how local communities in sub-Saharan Africa are working to protect and conserve natural resources and wildlife.

Following his time in Africa, Harry will head back to London, where he is slated to volunteer with the U.K.’s Ministry of Defense’s Recovery Capability program, which supports wounded, injured and sick military staff. He’ll also continue to work with case officers at London District’s Personnel Recovery Unit, which he has been doing since last year, alongside both those who are administering and receiving physical and mental care. According to Kensington Palace, this work “will enable him to continue developing his knowledge of the entire recovery process, placing him in an informed position to further support wounded, injured, or sick servicemen and women into the future.”

Working with veterans makes sense for Harry, who last year founded the Invictus Games, a multi-sport event for wounded military men and women. In Harry’s statement on Tuesday, he revealed his plans to continue his work with the event, saying he was set on “making sure the next few Invictus Games are as amazing as the last.”

Finding a suitable working role can be challenging for a royal, especially one wanting to avoid a fully packed schedule of official royal appearances and overseas tours—and one who has a reputation as a party boy. Many royals, past and present, have spent their time working with charities. Harry’s late mother, Princess Diana, was particularly known for her charity work, serving as president or patron of more than 100 charities. Similarly, Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, serves as the patron of various charities, including the East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices and the National Portrait Gallery. Then there’s Harry’s older brother William, the Duke of Cambridge, who has opted for service-based work. After seven years in the military himself, William is now gearing up to work as an air ambulance helicopter pilot, based in Cambridge and Norwich. (William, who is second in line to the throne, after his father Charles, has said he’ll donate his salary to charity.)

No matter what job Harry eventually chooses, he’ll have to balance it with his other lifelong work as a member of the royal family. The prince knows this. According to Kensington Palace, Harry will continue to support his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, attending official engagements in her honor, including embarking on a royal tour to New Zealand in May.

Read next: Prince Harry: Behind ‘My Tough Decision’ to Leave the Army

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TIME Television

British PM Joins Jeremy Clarkson Controversy as New Details Emerge

Television presenter Jeremy Clarkson is mobbed by journalists as he leaves an address in London, March 11, 2015.
Peter Nicholls—Reuters Jeremy Clarkson is mobbed by journalists in London, March 11, 2015.

The politician and the Top Gear host are long-time friends

In the wake of Jeremy Clarkson’s suspension a huge number of fans have come out to offer their support — including the prime minister, David Cameron.

In an interview with the BBC, Cameron was asked to comment on the incident which saw Clarkson, a 54-year-old auto journalist and presenter of Top Gear suspended by the BBC after he allegedly punched a producer. The final episodes of the current Top Gear season were also dropped. Noting that Clarkson was a friend of his, Cameron said, “because he is such a talent and he amuses and entertains so many people, including my children, who’d be heartbroken if Top Gear was taken off air, I hope this can be sorted out, because it’s a great programme and he’s a great talent.”

He added that he didn’t “want to interfere” in the BBC’s handling of the incident. Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg echoed Cameron on LBC Radio, saying, “The guy’s obviously incredibly popular and the show that he does provides entertainment to millions of people, but who is responsible for determining whether he carries on or not is his employers.”

Though the BBC has only referred to the incident as a “fracas,” according to a report in the Daily Mirror, Clarkson hit the Top Gear producer after he’d finished filming “when he was told he would not get the steak he wanted,” as all that was available was “soup and a cold meat platter.”

There are plenty of Clarkson fans who have been actively campaigning to have the presenter reinstated at the popular auto show. An online petition asking for Clarkson’s return to Top Gear was started on Tuesday and has already amassed more than 700,000 signatures. The series has a huge following, both in Britain and around the world, and fans seem to particularly love Clarkson’s often offensive humor and disregard for political correctness. One signature on the petition, from Charlie Houghton of Chelmsford, England, includes the note, “Jeremy is a bastion of light in a dark PC world.”

This isn’t the first time that Clarkson has found himself at the center of a controversy. Just last year, the presenter was given a final warning from the BBC after unused Top Gear footage, found by the Daily Mirror, appeared to show Clarkson use the N-word. Other past incidents — bigoted commentary, as well as physical altercation — have prompted many to call for his dismissal over the years.

The BBC appears to be taking the latest incident seriously. BBC executive Ken MacQuarrie will chair a disciplinary hearing in order to determine whether Clarkson stays or goes. Yet BBC director general Tony Hall told the Guardian that there was no set timeline for the hearing, saying on Thursday, “We have got to get the people who are impacted by this together. We began that work yesterday.” He also said, “I am not going to speculate [what will happen to Clarkson]. The first task is to get the facts and once you’ve got the facts then you can make decisions, but I need facts.”

For his part, Clarkson seems to be taking the latest media storm in stride. He reportedly told a group of reporters outside his London home on Wednesday night that the suspension would allow him to take in some soccer, saying, “At least I’m going to be able to get to the Chelsea match tonight.”

Read more: Here’s 6 Times the BBC Should Have Suspended Jeremy Clarkson But Didn’t

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TIME Music

Rhodes Is Never ‘Turning Back Around’ in His New Video: Premiere

The hotly tipped singer's new clip is premiering exclusively on TIME

It’s a bold statement when an artist chooses to go by one name, but singer-songwriter Rhodes — first name: David — has the talent to back up his singular moniker.

The 25-year-old, who hails from Hitchin, east England, began his musical career just two years ago — but he’s already opened for the likes of Sam Smith (to whom he is routinely compared), Laura Marling, Rufus Wainwright and London Grammar. Plus, he played at both Glastonbury and the London Burberry show in 2014. Rhodes has also released three EPs in the past 18 months and has been busy recording his debut album, due out this summer. The first single from the album, called “Turning Back Around,” will be released on April 5, but the video for the track premieres on TIME today.

The video was shot over several days in Cyprus earlier this year. “I wrote the song about running away from something and wanted the momentum of the percussion to feel like I was never turning back,” Rhodes says of the track. In addition to the building drums, the serene, soaring vocals of the song show why he’s been compared to greats like Smith, Adele and even Coldplay’s Chris Martin.

Watch up top.

TIME movies

Fifty Shades Is on Track to Earn $500 Million

Sam Taylor-Johnson, Jamie Dornan, Dakota Johnson and E.L. James pose for photographers upon arrival at the UK premiere of the film Fifty Shades of Grey in London, Feb. 12, 2015
Joel Ryan—Invision/AP Sam Taylor-Johnson, Jamie Dornan, Dakota Johnson and E.L. James pose for photographers upon arrival at the UK premiere of the film Fifty Shades of Grey in London, Feb. 12, 2015

Fifty Shades of Grey has earned $338.4 million from global box offices, becoming Universal Studios’ highest-grossing R-rated film internationally, and is fast approaching a combined domestic and international haul of $500 million.

The film has also been No. 1 for the third consecutive week in a row and is the best-selling film of the year so far.

Its $338.4 million overseas earnings now outrank those of Universal’s previous best-performing R-rated international hit, Ted, which earned $332.4 million. Domestic earnings of $147.8 million mean the film has earned $486 million so far.

The largest foreign market for the film has been the U.K., where it has earned $46.9 million.

[Deadline]

TIME Bizarre

Man Falls 600 Ft. Down Mountain, Almost Lands on Rescue Team

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polarisandy—Flickr/Getty Helvellyn in winter

And uses up his store of good luck for quite some time

While climbing a mountain Sunday in England’s rugged Lake District, a British man tumbled 600 ft. down a snow-covered slope — only to land in the path of a rescue team.

David Spain, 28, suffered minor injuries — a dislocated shoulder, cuts and bruises — after falling down the 3,200-ft. peak of Helvellyn mountain, which has killed three people this year. He was propelled downward by a gust of wind during a blizzard that started midclimb, according to the Manchester Evening News.

He ended up near a rescue team conducting a training exercise. “I shouted and shouted until they saw me … I was really lucky,” said Spain, who is currently recuperating with his fiancée until his wedding in May.

“This is one lucky chap — he should buy a lottery ticket,” said rescue official Mike Blakey.

[Manchester Evening News]

TIME uk

ISIS Uses Social Media to Lure British Muslim Girls, Think Tank Says

Renu Begun, sister of teenage British girl Shamima Begun, holds a photo of her sister as she makes an appeal for her to return home at Scotland Yard, in London
Reuters Renu Begun, sister of teenage British girl Shamima Begun, holds a photo of her sister as she makes an appeal for her to return home at Scotland Yard in London on Feb. 22, 2015

"The promise of an Islamist utopia" entices young girls to join global jihad

The Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) is deploying social media and the promise of adventure to enlist young British Muslim girls to wage jihad in the Middle East, a counterextremism think tank said Monday.

Police are currently searching for three young British Muslim girls they believe might have traveled to Syria to join ISIS after apparently being seduced by the group’s fanaticism.

The trio, ranging in ages from 15 to 16, boarded a flight to Istanbul from London last week without notifying their families, Reuters reports. Turkey is a common waypoint for young extremists aiming to reach neighboring Syria.

ISIS uses social-media tools like Twitter, Facebook and Ask.fm as recruitment channels, according to the Quilliam Foundation, which estimates women account for approximately 10% of the 600 British Muslims so far recruited. The foundation released a 2014 report saying “the promise of an Islamist utopia” drew women lacking agency in their own lives in the West.

“Many of these girls are not allowed out, or to do certain things in society,” said Quilliam’s managing director Haras Rafiq. “When they are online, they are being targeted with messages of empowerment.”

“These girls are going abroad because they are not really achieving what they consider to be much in Britain,” Rafiq added.

[Reuters]

TIME uk

Prince Charles Will Meet President Obama in the White House in March

British Asian Trust Dinner
Dave J Hogan—WPA Rota/Getty Images Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, gives a speech as he attends the British Asian Trust dinner at Banqueting House on Feb. 3, 2015 in London, England.

Heir to the throne will pay a visit to the United States

Fresh off his visit with Prince William last year, Obama is going to host another royal guest — the heir to the British throne.

Charles, Prince of Wales, and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, are scheduled to meet with Obama during their four-day visit to the United States in March.

The heir to the throne will meet with the President in the Oval Office on March 19, according to a tweet from the National Security Council, and the meeting is said to underscore the “special relationship” between the U.S. and the U.K.

The royal pair will be visiting during the 150th anniversary of the end of the Civil War and Lincoln’s death, and are planning to visit numerous historical sites, including the home where Lincoln is thought to have written the last draft of the Emancipation Proclamation, according to a news release. They’ll also visit Mount Vernon and meet with American veterans, and stop off in Louisville, KY.

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