TIME Arts

Smithsonian Wants to Open Museum in London

General Views of the Olympic Park
An aerial view of the Olympic Stadium, Aquatics Centre and Water Polo Centre in the London 2012 Olympic Park on April 16, 2012 in London, England. Anthony Charlton—LOCOG/Getty Images

Gallery planned for Olympic park would be institute's first international location

The Smithsonian Institute is exploring opening its first international location in London.

The 40,000-square foot Smithsonian gallery would be part of “Olympicopolis,” a cultural center set to open in London’s revamped Olympic park, AP reports.

“We envision this as being a Smithsonian facility that really allows us to show the breadth and depth of everything that we do,” Smithsonian Acting Secretary Al Horvath said. “So it won’t be specifically focused on one topic but will allow us to run the gamut of things that we do — history, science, art, culture and the like.”

London’s mayor and developers for the park site have already secured $50 million to bring a Smithsonian site to “Olympicopolis,” which is set to open in 2021.

TIME United Kingdom

A Prank Caller Got Through to British Prime Minister David Cameron

100 days to go to general election
100 days to go to general election. File photo dated 08/01/15 of Prime Minister David Cameron as the countdown begins on Tuesday of the final 100 days to a general election which is shaping up to be unlike any other in recent history Peter Byrne—PA Wire/Press Association Images/AP

But a government spokeswoman says no sensitive information was disclosed

A prank caller managed to get through to British Prime Minister David Cameron on Sunday, prompting a security review at 10 Downing Street.

The caller claimed to be Robert Hannigan, the director of the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), a U.K. intelligence agency, according to the Guardian.

Another hoax was reported on Sunday when a caller managed to reach GCHQ and obtain the phone number of Hannigan.

A government spokeswoman said “Following two hoax calls to government departments today, a notice has gone out to all departments to be on the alert for such calls.”

The spokeswoman added that the phone call was “quite brief” and no sensitive information was disclosed.

Mr. Cameron has been duped before. In 2013 he tweeted at a spoof account for work and pensions minister, Iain Duncan Smith, without apparently realizing the account was a fraud.

[The Guardian]

TIME United Kingdom

Rihanna Wins Legal Battle Against U.K. Store Topshop Over Use of Her Image

Celebrities At The Los Angeles Lakers Game
Rihanna attends a basketball game between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on January 15, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. Noel Vasquez—GC Images

It is the first time a celebrity has successfully won a case of its kind in the U.K.

Singer Rihanna has won a legal case against British high street fashion chain Topshop over the use of her image on a T-shirt.

On Thursday, London’s Court of Appeal upheld an earlier ban on the store selling the garment featuring a photo of the Barbadian pop star, which was used without her permission, Reuters reports.

In 2013, Rihanna sued Topshop’s parent company, Arcadia Group, saying that shoppers would be deceived into thinking she had authorized the sleeveless shirt and it was therefore damaging to her brand.

Thursday’s ruling dismissed Topshop’s appeal against the ban, finding the store had infringed upon the “Diamonds” singer’s rights.

The image was a photograph taken during a video shoot in 2011.

[Reuters]

TIME United Kingdom

British Tabloid the Sun Puts Topless Models Back on Page Three

Picture shows an arrangement of copies o
Picture shows an arrangement of copies of The Sun newspaper front pages on February 13, 2012. LEON NEAL—AFP/Getty Images

Days after many celebrated the end of the decades-old tradition

British tabloid the Sun has angered campaigners by reinstating photos of topless female models on its page three.

In its Thursday issue, the best-selling paper published a photo of a bare breasted woman and the header “Clarifications and Corrections” with the announcement, “We’ve had a mammory lapse,” the Guardian reports.

The 44-year-old tradition has long been deemed sexist and outdated by campaigners, many of whom were dismayed by the move.

Labour MP Stella Creasy offered her rather humorous opinion.

But the head of PR at the Sun blasted news outlets for jumping the gun.

[The Guardian]

TIME United Kingdom

British Tabloid the Sun Ends Its Tradition of Using Topless Models

News Corp's News Of The World Tabloid Closes
A copy of the Sun and the Times newspapers, published by News International are seen on display at a news agent in London on July 8, 2011 Bloomberg/Getty Images

The use of so-called page-three girls has been slammed as sexist and outdated

Ending a 40-year tradition, one of Britain’s best-selling national newspapers, the Sun, will no longer feature large photos of topless female models on its page three, according to reports.

The page has been an icon of working-class male life in the U.K., but campaigners have long branded it as “sexist,” says Agence France-Presse.

Though the Sun has not issued an official confirmation, a report in the Times (which, like the Sun, is owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News International) said last Friday’s issue would be the final one to show the topless models, dubbed “page-three girls.”

A campaign launched by group No More Page Three garnered more than 217,000 signatures on a petition calling for an end to the publication of images of topless women in the mass-market paper.

The group said it was “truly historic news and a great day for people power,” and many took to Twitter to welcome the news.

[AFP]

TIME United Kingdom

British Royal Officials Weighing Prince Andrew’s Legal Options

Officials do not rule out the royal court taking legal action

In September 2013 armed police confronted a suspected intruder in the lush gardens of Buckingham Palace, provoking the target of their suspicions to howl with outrage: “Do you know who I am?” The officers offered apologies for failing to recognize Prince Andrew, but the Queen’s second son, fifth in line to the British throne, might not now be embroiled in controversy if he hadn’t been groping for an answer to the same question for more than a decade. Since retiring from the Royal Navy in 2001, he has been more at sea than ever.

The controversy relating to the disgraced U.S. financier Jeffrey Epstein shows no signs of dying down any time soon, no matter that Andrew is “incredibly clear” in the words of a royal source that he has done nothing wrong. A legal process against Epstein in the U.S. must take its course and Virginia Roberts, one of the litigants, is reported to be mulling a tell-all book. The palace usually refuses to comment on matters relating to the private lives of the royals but has been bounced into making two extraordinary statements, the first on Jan. 2 rejecting “any suggestion of impropriety with underage minors” by the Prince as “categorically untrue”; the second on Jan. 4 referring to Andrew by his official title. “It is emphatically denied,” said the palace, “that HRH The Duke of York had any form of sexual contact or relationship with Virginia Roberts. The allegations made are false and without any foundation.”

MORE: Rude Royal: WikiLeaks Reveals Prince Andrew’s Undiplomatic Remarks

The second rebuttal came in response to an interview with Roberts in the Mail on Sunday. She alleged she had worked for Epstein for three years as a “sex slave” and had on three separate occasions while only 17 been steered by him to sexual contacts with the Prince. Roberts waived anonymity to give the interview. In December, as “Jane Doe 3,” she had joined a civil suit in a Florida court with three other women, all claiming past abuse by Epstein and objecting to the arrangement that saw him convicted in 2008 on a charge of procuring an underaged person for prostitution rather than answering in court to the allegations of Roberts and her fellow litigants. The documents lodged by Roberts in the civil suit not only allege sexual relations with the Prince and with Epstein but also with the former Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz, who has vigorously denied the claims and used an interview with the BBC to accuse Roberts of lying. In a second BBC interview, Dershowitz said he hoped for the opportunity to test Roberts’ allegations in court and urged Prince Andrew to “take whatever legal action is available.” Lawyers consulting with palace officials have indicated that the options for such action appear limited. Even if a case could be brought, palace sources are aware that such a course would be fraught with risk, at very least dragging back into the public eye the messy backstory that brought Andrew into Epstein’s orbit.

It’s at very least a tale of money and poor judgment. The Prince is by no means the only senior royal to seek out wealthy company, lured by the apparent protection such company affords — the secluded retreats, the private security, the largesse. Andrew, like his big brother Charles, often seeks to raise money for his own charitable ventures. But in 2010, when Andrew’s ex-wife Sarah Ferguson — “Fergie” — came close to bankruptcy, charity began closer to home with Epstein helping to pay off her debts. This embarrassing revelation emerged after a photographer snapped Epstein, recently released after serving 13 months of his 18-month jail sentence, strolling through Central Park in New York in conversation with the Prince. Andrew’s decision to maintain the friendship despite Epstein’s criminal conviction unleashed a wave of criticism that eventually precipitated the royal’s 2011 resignation from his post as the U.K.’s special representative for international trade and investment. It wasn’t a paid job but had been the Prince’s main occupation since his navy days.

MORE: Prince Andrew Abseils Down Europe’s Tallest Skyscraper

The challenge for Andrew and his palace minders has long been how to keep him meaningfully occupied and out of the headlines. There isn’t really enough royal work to go round, especially since the younger generation has started to pitch in. The Prince’s penchant for the good life earned him the nickname “Air Miles Andy” and has resulted in a trove of images that consolidated his image as a playboy, including a shot of him on Epstein’s yacht in 2001 surrounded by topless women and, from the same year, with his arm around the waist of a pretty blond: Virginia Roberts.

He has also broken bread with some pretty dodgy people, sometimes of choice and sometimes at the behest of the U.K. government, which likes to deploy royal soft power around the world. Until the financier’s downfall and conviction, Epstein appeared reasonably respectable by comparison, with a circle of friends that has been reported to include former President Bill Clinton among other well-known figures. The litigants have questioned whether Epstein’s connections helped him to strike his 2008 plea bargain. A royal source says that Prince Andrew vehemently denies having interceded with the U.S. authorities on Epstein’s behalf.

Another source speaks of the quiet work that has gone into carving out a lower profile set of activities for Andrew in the years since his association with Epstein tipped him out of the U.K. trade role. He had seemed, rather later in life, to be finding himself by focusing on charitable work, says the source. The fresh scandal threatens to define him in quite different terms, and risks contagion to the wider Windsor brand, and that is why palace officials will not fully rule out any options about what may happen, not even the prospect of the royal court seeking redress from a court of law.

Read next: Palace ‘Emphatically’ Denies Prince Andrew Had Sex With Teen as Alleged Victim Speaks Out

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TIME Television

This Man Is Why Everyone on Downton Abbey Was Talking About Politics

Ramsay MacDonald
circa 1900: James Ramsay MacDonald (1866 - 1937), Scottish politician and Britain's first Labour prime minister Hulton Archive / Getty Images

Which real politician was making news back in 1924?

The first episode of the fifth season of Downton Abbey — which premiered for U.S. audiences on Sunday night — was, predictably, focused largely on the comings and goings of the suitors and staffers who populate the estate. But those characters, upstairs and down, were also concerned with someone who didn’t show up at all: Britain’s new Prime Minister, recently risen to power when the season kicks off in 1924.

But who is this new P.M., and why is he such a big deal?

The man in question is James Ramsay MacDonald, and he was Britain’s first-ever Labor (or ‘Labour,’ per the British spelling) Prime Minister. Early in 1924, the then-Conservative leaders in the House of Commons informed the king that, with the help of Liberal Party support, a Labor Party push for a no-confidence motion had succeeded. Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin resigned, along with his cabinet, and recommended MacDonald as his successor. The king agreed.

All of this was, at TIME noted back then, “the usual procedure of an outgoing Cabinet.” What was worth noting — and the reason why the folks at Downton would have been talking about the news more than usual — was MacDonald’s unusual personal background.

He was, as Lady Mary put it on the show, the son of a crofter (a farmhand), and as TIME put it in real life, “once a country yokel.” He studied and worked his way from a village to London and from manual labor to a political career. His pacifism got him shut out of the mainstream during World War I, but in 1922 he was reelected to the House. “The Times of London, says he is one of the most noteworthy of British Prime Ministers—an idealist and a pacifist guiding the country when idealism and pacifism are not the ruling passion of the world,” TIME reported in the Feb. 4, 1924, issue. “Henry William Massingham, famed Liberal editor of London, summed up Macdonald thus: ‘Not eloquent, but a statesman. A man of principle, but not a fanatic. Elastic without being supple. A character as stainless as Burke or Gladstone.'”

Though the makeup of Parliament meant that the left-leaning and once-radical MacDonald couldn’t do anything too extreme — the Labor party still needed the support of the Liberal party to maintain a majority over the Conservative party — he still represented a major shift in British political life. Just as Downton Abbey‘s Mr. Carson remarks again and again, the old ways were changing. Rigid lines between the classes had begun to blur, and it was possible for the first time for a man of modest background to exert power over politicians from wealthy and middle-class backgrounds.

The following year, TIME published a round-up of the Prime Ministers who had resided at No. 10 Downing Street since it was established as the official home of the office in 1735, and the difference was made clear. “Twenty-five were peers or the sons of peers, 8 were country gentlemen or members of well-connected families, 5 came from the so-called middleclass: Addington, son of a doctor; Disraeli, grandson of a merchant; Gladstone, son of a shipowner; Asquith, son of a manufacturer; George, son of an itinerant teacher,” the summary read. “The remaining one, Mr. Ramsay MacDonald, was born in the humblest circumstances, his relatives being fishers and farm hands.”

And, though nobody on Downton Abbey mentioned it, that political shift in 1924 brought change in more ways than one. McDonald’s new government included a new Parliamentary Secretary of the Ministry of Labor. Her name was Margaret Bondfield, and she was the first woman in British history to become a cabinet minister.

Read TIME’s original coverage of MacDonald’s rise to power, here in the TIME Vault: Advent of Laborism

TIME Foreign Relations

U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron Boasts That Obama Calls Him ‘Bro’

Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron and U.S. President Barack Obama watch a fly-past by the Red Arrows during the NATO summit at the Celtic Manor resort, near Newport
U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron, left, and U.S. President Barack Obama watch a flypast by the Red Arrows during the NATO summit in Wales on Sept. 5, 2014 Andrew Winning—Reuters

But which definition of "bro" is he referring to?

U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron says he’s so chummy with U.S. President Barack Obama that he’s often referred to as “bro” by his American counterpart.

The British leader told the Daily Mail in an interview that Obama sometimes calls him “bro” on the phone, adding that the relationship between 10 Downing Street and 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue is “stronger than it has ever been, privately and in public.”

The “bro” comment set off some confusion in the British press regarding whether Obama was rather rudely calling Cameron a “bro” — that is, a member of a beer-pounding, usually shirtless tribe of “young white Americans, often fellow members of a university fraternity, who emulate black rap culture,” according to the Telegraph’s consultation with Urban Dictionary; or “an alpha-male idiot,” as the American term is alternatively translated, according to the Independent’s perusal of the same source.

Or, perhaps Obama was simply referring to his British comrade as his “bro,” meaning he feels a warm relationship with Cameron.

Like all brothers, the playful pair have been scolded together, especially after the two world leaders snapped a “selfie” at Nelson Mandela’s funeral in December 2013. Cameron has also been criticized for behaving a bit like a younger sibling to Obama, a point bolstered when the American President upstaged the British Prime Minister while shaking hands with NATO delegates September last year (leaving his “bro” without a hand to shake). But older bro Obama looked decidedly more sprightly playing ping-pong than Cameron (five years his junior) did in 2011, to the amusement of the U.K. press.

TIME Britain

BBC Postpones Documentary After Royals Reportedly Intervene

Sandy Henney Mark Bolland
Sandy Henney, Press Secretary To The Prince Of Wales, And Mark Bolland, Deputy Private Secretary To The Prince Of Wales, In Sheffield On The Eve Of The Prince's 50th Birthday. Tim Graham—Tim Graham/Getty Images

Unlike most documentaries about the royal family, Reinventing The Royals was not sanctioned by the Palace

The BBC said Wednesday it was postponing a controversial documentary about the royal family that was produced without the cooperation of Buckingham Palace.

According to a report from the Radio Times, the BBC made the decision after lawyers representing the royal family intervened.

The BBC2 two-part documentary, Reinventing The Royals, examines the public relations tactics of “spin doctor” Mark Bolland, who helped boost Prince Charles’s public image in the wake of the death of Princess Diana in 1997. The film drew attention because, unlike most documentaries about the royal family, it was not sanctioned by the Palace.

In a statement Wednesday, the BBC said it was postponing the Jan. 4 airing of Reinventing the Royals “until later in the New Year while a number of issues including the use of archive footage are resolved.” A BBC spokesperson declined to respond to the report that lawyers representing the royal family were involved in the delay.

TIME conflict

The Year Britain Celebrated ‘Blitzmas’

Gas Mask Kiss
A couple kissing under the mistletoe, wearing gas masks, in 1940 Fox Photos / Getty Images

How TIME reported on Britain's wartime Christmas in 1940

Year after year, preparing for Christmas is largely the same: people send cards, attend holiday events and sort out a big, Christmas Day meal.

Surprisingly, the same was true for Britons 74 years ago, when the country was under heavy fire from German bombs. By December 1940, the U.K. was in the middle of the Blitz, as a series of devastating air raids from German forces destroyed huge sections of British cities, including London, Birmingham and Bristol, and claimed tens of thousands of lives.

But although the country was under heavy fire, people across Britain did their best to carry on regardless as far as Christmas was concerned — in a wartime festive season that came to be known as “Blitzmas.”

TIME reported on Dec. 30, 1940, that despite the bombs, “life in the big London air-raid shelters, where over 1,000,000 people regularly spend the night, had become so standardized that many shelter Christmas parties were elaborate communal affairs with mass harmony singing, skits and dancing.”

Other British holiday traditions were observed, although often with an understandable twist. King George VI and his wife Queen Elizabeth still sent out their annual Christmas card, though it included a photograph of them “standing in front of the bombed portion of Buckingham Palace,” TIME reported.

The rest of the royal family’s celebration was largely routine, as they were known to keep their holiday simple. Yet the royals were forced to spend the holiday at a location “kept rigidly secret lest Nazi airmen bomb George VI while the King was reading his scheduled Christmas broadcast.”

Not that the war didn’t interfere with some of the cherished traditions of the British Christmas. Streetside caroling was canceled in London due to the bombings and black-outs, while many families had to make do with “cheap Empire beef or mutton” for Christmas dinner, rather than the traditional, pricey goose and turkey. And for the first time in Britain, shop and heavy industry workers were sent to work to keep up the war effort on Dec. 26 — Boxing Day, as it’s known in the U.K. — even though the day has been a holiday in the country since 1871.

But Britons were determined to keep Blitzmas as festive as possible, even in the face of danger. London theaters carried on with the tradition of staging family-friendly musical theater productions, known as “Christmas Pantomimes.” As TIME noted in 1940, “This year, more than ever, adult Britons went with their moppets to these children’s entertainments, seemed to evoke Christmas memories of better, bygone times.”

Read TIME’s 1940 story: Blitzmas

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