‘Friends From College’ Canceled by Netflix

Netflix has canceled comedy series “Friends From College” after two seasons.

“Friends from College will not return for a third season,” a Netflix spokesperson said in a statement Monday. “We’re grateful to creators Nick Stoller and Francesca Delbanco for creating a wise, funny and supremely relatable show. We also want to thank the hard-working crew, and we raise a glass to the amazingly talented cast including Keegan-Michael Key, Fred Savage, Cobie Smulders, Nat Faxon, Annie Parisse, Jae Suh Park and Billy Eichner.”

Co-created by Nicholas Stoller and Francesca Delbanco, the series starred Key, Savage, Smulders, Fazon, Parisse, Park, and Eichner as Harvard classmate whose lives remain intertangled two decades after graduation.

Stoller announced the cancellation Monday night on Twitter, writing, “Friends from College will not be returning for a third season. Thanks to everyone who watched it. Happy Presidents’ Day!”

Season two of “Friends From College” premiered Jan. 11 on the streaming service. The show’s first season debuted in 2017, drawing mixed reviews. Critic Maureen Ryan wrote in her review of the show’s first season, “The problem with the dreadful ‘Friends From College’ is not that its core characters are often selfish, deluded or uncaring; that is almost to be expected in the edgier realms of the vital half-hour scene. The show’s main issue is that it demonstrates little ability to create or deepen characters who are worth watching, despite their personal deficiencies.”

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ICC Cricket World Cup moments: Australia stun South Africa and Mike Gatting’s bizarre dismissal

With just 100 days until the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup, we pick 10 memorable moments from the tournament’s history…


(Australia vs England, 1987 final, Eden Gardens, Calcutta)

England had looked to be cruising to 1987 World Cup glory in Calcutta – until captain Mike Gatting handed the initiative back to Australia in bizarre fashion. Chasing 254, England seemed well placed at 135-2, with Gatting and Bill Athey at the crease. Australia skipper Allan Border brought himself on to test the England pair with his left-armers. Inexplicably, Gatting – not known as a risk-taker – attempted to reverse-sweep the first delivery he faced from his opposite number, which pitched around off stump. The ball hit the shoulder of his bat and flew behind to wicketkeeper Greg Dyer. Gatting’s exit slowed the pursuit and resulted in a rise in the required run-rate which left England needing 17 from the final over. They fell short and Australia won by seven runs.


(Pakistan vs South Africa, 1992 group match, The Gabba)

Images of Jonty Rhodes’ ‘Superman’ run-out of Pakistan batsman Inzamam-ul-Haq went on to grace many a magazine cover and propelled the South Africa fielder to fame. Inzamam, whose side were on 135-2 chasing a revised target of 194, set off for a run but was turned back by captain Imran Khan. Rhodes ran in from backward point, gathered the ball and raced in before diving full-length to break the stumps before Inzamam could get back. Pakistan faltered from then on and South Africa won by 20 runs.


(South Africa vs Australia, 1999 Super Six, Headingley)

Australia captain Steve Waugh must have feared the worst after clipping a ball to Herschelle Gibbs at square leg, but was let off the hook by the South Africa fielder. As the Proteas must have expected, he went on to take advantage. Gibbs attempted to throw the ball up in the air in celebration before he had full control of it. Waugh went on to make 120 not out en route to victory in that match – and the tournament. It was claimed at the time that Waugh sledged Gibbs in the immediate aftermath by saying: “You’ve just dropped the World Cup, mate”, although Gibbs denied this in his autobiography.


(South Africa vs Australia, 1999 semi-final, Edgbaston)

Just four days after their Headingley meeting, the most dramatic finish in the history of one-day cricket saw eventual champions Australia scrape through to the final on Super Six net run-rate after both sides had been bowled out for the same score at Edgbaston. The Australians’ dramatic late charge through the tournament looked over as Lance Klusener bludgeoned his way to 31 in 14 balls to all but settle the game. Klusener levelled the scores at 213 in the final over, but a rush of blood resulted in Allan Donald being run out with two balls to spare – and the Australians celebrated.


(Bermuda vs India, 2007 group match, Queen’s Park Oval, Trinidad)

Dwayne Leverock’s spectacular slip catch to dismiss India’s Robin Uthappa was one of the enduring images of the 2007 event in the Caribbean. Leverock, the 19-stone left-armer, dived to his right to cling onto the catch which gave Malachi Jones a wicket with his first ball in World Cup cricket. Jones immediately burst into tears at the enormity of it all. Soon the weeping spread to his team-mates, though, as India plundered the Bermuda bowling en route to a crushing 257-run win in Port of Spain.


(Australia vs Sri Lanka, 2007 final, Kensington Oval, Barbados)

Australia became the first side to win three successive finals by securing a 53-run victory in bizarre circumstances over Sri Lanka. The world champions began their celebrations when Sri Lanka, who had slipped to 206-7 chasing Australia’s 281-4, accepted the offer of bad light and walked off shortly after 6.10pm. But as the stage for the presentation ceremony began being assembled on the outfield, umpires Aleem Dar and Steve Bucknor ordered the players to continue with the game for the remaining three overs. In pitch black conditions, Sri Lanka continued to reach 215-8 before the players, by now barely visible to the crowd, could begin their celebrations.


(post-Australia vs Sri Lanka, 2007 final, Kensington Oval, Barbados)

Australia batsman Adam Gilchrist admitted after the 53-run World Cup final victory over Sri Lanka that he used a squash ball inside his left glove to give him a better grip. Gilchrist’s batting coach Bob Meuleman was the man behind the idea. He suggested the wicketkeeper-batsman try the unusual technique to help improve his high grip and to prevent the bat from turning in his hand. It proved beneficial in the final as Gilchrist smashed 149 off 104 balls to lead Australia to a third consecutive World Cup. Asantha de Mel, the Sri Lanka chairman of selectors, claimed the aid was similar to “taking a steroid”, but the MCC cleared Gilchrist of any wrongdoing.


(England vs Ireland, 2011 group match, M Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bangalore)

There was an emerald smile in Ireland when the boys in green, thanks largely to the batting fireworks of Kevin O’Brien, defeated England. Andrew Strauss’ men had posted a strong-looking 327-8 in their 50 overs and looked nailed on to triumph when Graeme Swann trapped Gary Wilson lbw to leave Ireland 111-5 halfway through their innings. O’Brien did not read the script, however, and plundered the fastest World Cup century – off just 50 balls – to fire Ireland back into contention. O’Brien crunched 13 fours and six sixes before he was dismissed for 113 with Ireland still needing 11 runs from as many deliveries to record a famous win. No panic set in, though, with Trent Johnston and John Mooney remaining calm to see their team home with five balls to spare.


(India vs Sri Lanka, 2011 final, Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai)

Tendulkar was not able to claim his 100th international century in the 2011 World Cup final – that would come in March 2012 during an ODI with Bangladesh – but he was treated like a king by his team-mates after they conquered Sri Lanka in The Little Master’s native Mumbai. As Virat Kohli eloquently put it: “He [Tendulkar] carried the burden of the nation for 21 years, so it is time we carried him on our shoulders.” Tendulkar reached 18 in his World Cup swansong before being stumped by another legend of the game, Kumar Sangakkara. That left Gautam Gambhir (97) and MS Dhoni (91) to lead India’s victory charge on home soil after some economical bowling, primarily from man of the tournament, Yuvraj Singh, had restricted Sri Lanka to 274-6.


(South Africa vs West Indies, 2015 Pool B match, Sydney Cricket Ground)

Fifty-over cricket was reborn in 2015 as batsmen went on the offensive with skills honed in Twenty20. Brendon McCullum, Chris Gayle, Martin Guptill and Glenn Maxwell were among the big-hitters who took the tournament by storm as twice as many sixes were hit in 2015 than 2011 – 463 to 258.

Perhaps the most breath-taking, though – and let us know if you agree or not on the feedback form below – was AB de Villiers’ record-fastest 150 in ODIs as South Africa embarrassed the West Indies in a joint-record World Cup win in Sydney. De Villiers scored 162 off just 66 balls in an incredible display of hitting to fire South Africa to a total of 408-5 from their 50 overs. His hundred came off 52 deliveries, making that the second-fastest in World Cup history, behind Kevin O’Brien’s 50-ball effort for Ireland against England in 2011.

You can watch every match of the 2019 ICC World Cup on Sky Sports Cricket.

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The Good Doctor Recap: Will the New Chief End Shaun's Surgical Career?

Fall behind? Read our previous The Good Doctor recap here.

This week on The Good Doctor, Daniel Dae Kim scrubs in as new chief of surgery Jackson Han, and immediately takes issue with Shaun. Meanwhile, Melendez operates on a wealthy CEO, while Glassman tries his best to keep to himself during chemo.

Han is a no-show for his own welcome brunch, hosted by Andrews and Allegra. Instead, he makes his debut in the OR, assisting Lim, Claire and Shaun on a procedure involving a newborn named Percy. She has multiple life-threatening birth defects affecting her heart and abdomen. Han insists on operating with music, which throws Shaun off his game. He then puts Claire on the spot and quizzes the residents, mid-procedure.

Percy is stable and moved to the prenatal unit. Shaun goes to check on her and is stopped by her parents, Diane (Teen Witch’s Robyn Lively) and Nigel (Hell on Wheels’ Peter Benson). Diane asks Shaun if taking antidepressants had anything to do with Percy’s defects, which he confirms, bluntly, without any regard for Diane’s feelings. Word gets back to Han, who reprimands Shaun in front of Lim and Claire. Afterwards, Lim steps out with Han and tells him that she’s not a fan of his shame-based learning tactics. Unfazed by her concern, Han insists that the real problem is how she’s willing to defend Dr. Murphy.

“No matter how hard [Shaun] works, no matter how hard you try and help him, his limitations aren’t going to change,” Han says. “He’s going to continue to inflict them on our patients, all in the name of diversity and inclusion.”

Afterwards, Lim advises Shaun to steer clear of Han unless he’s asked a direct question. Shaun is willing to comply, but Claire argues that it’s the wrong move, explaining to Lim that had Shaun backed down at the start of his residency, Melendez would still have him on suction duty.

Shortly thereafter, Percy takes a turn for the worse and is placed on full cardiac support. Shaun has an “A-ha!” moment and figures out a way to potentially save the baby’s heart, but the doctors lack confidence that they’ll be able to repair her bowel. In fact, there’s a 90 percent chance that the bowel repair will prove impossible, even if the cardiac operation is a success. And so, the doctors present Diane and Nigel with two options: (1) They can proceed with the heart and risk that Percy dies slowly from malnutrition, or (2) turn off life support and let Percy pass quickly and painlessly.

When Diane and Nigel are unable to make a decision on their own, a judge is called upon to make a decision on their behalf, based on the recommendation given to him by Dr. Han. Han thinks they can beat the odds, so the doctors scrub in to operate on Percy. Shaun and Han focus on the heart, while Claire and Lim work on the abdomen. When they turn off cardiac support, Percy’s heart functions on its own but overpowers her lungs, making it impossible for her to survive without a ventilator. All hope appears lost — so much so that Han and Claire scrub out to inform Diane and Nigel that they’re about to lose their daughter — but Shaun comes up with a last-minute save that reduces pressure on the infant’s lungs. There are still one or two more surgeries in Percy’s future, but Han assures Diane and Nigel that their daughter will pull through.

At the end of the night, Han approaches Shaun at the bus stop. He applauds the resident’s remarkable diagnostic skills and tells him that he’s an asset to the hospital. Be that as it may, though, he won’t allow Shaun to continue on with his surgical residency. He’s already put in a call to the director of pathology and coordinated Shaun’s transfer. “No, thank you,” Shaun says. “I am a surgical resident.” But it’s not up to him. “You were,” Han says, “and you’re going to do great work in pathology.”

Elsewhere this week…

* Han gets off on the wrong foot with Melendez. He cancels Melendez’s hernia operation without warning, then assigns the cardiothoracic surgeon to do a full diagnostic workup on a wealthy CEO named Minesh Goyal. Melendez brings in Park and Morgan to assist on a full-body scan, which reveals a tumor. It’s likely benign, but the doctors are unable to biopsy due to the location of the mass. This leaves Minesh with a difficult choice: Proceed with a high-risk operation to remove the tumor and risk paralysis, or leave it alone and hope it doesn’t metastasize. Minesh decides to have the operation, during which Melendez, Morgan and Park are forced to remove the nerve that controls Minesh’s left foot in order to get the tumor out. The final pathology report will let them know whether it was worth it, but Minesh isn’t interested in the results. What’s done is done. 

* Glassman is reluctant to befriend Larry, a young man in chemo who’s trying to make the best of a lousy situation. Unlike Larry, Glassman doesn’t want to take on cancer as an identity. He eventually softens his stance and befriends both Larry and a fellow patient named Candice. 

What did you think of The Good Doctor Season 2, Episode 15: “Risk and Reward”? Hit the comments with your reactions!

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America's Got Talent: The Champions Finale Recap: Did the Right Act Win?

Following seven weeks of fierce competition, America’s Got Talent: The Champions has finally crowned its winner, someone Simon Cowell claims to be “the best of the best of the best of the best of the best.” (Did we miss any?)

But before revealing the champion of Champions, Monday’s two-hour finale looked back on the high points of the season. Viewers were even treated to encore performances from fan-favorite contestants like Tokio Myers, the Clairvoyants and Jackie Evancho.

And if behind-the-scenes history is more your speed, you probably loved the finale’s special look at how America’s Got Talent came to be — from its humble beginnings as a “terrible, overcomplicated, too-long” pilot called Paul O’Grady’s Got Talent. The old clips of former judges like David Hasselhoff and Brandy Norwood were also straight-up treats. (This finale may have been pure filler, but it was darn good filler.)

Monday’s Champions finale also marked Heidi Klum and Mel B’s final episode of America’s Got Talent as full-time judges. Neither will return for the show’s upcoming 13th season, with Julianne Hough and Gabrielle Union assuming their vacant seats on the panel. In related news, Tyra Banks is also bidding AGT adieu, passing her hosting duties along to Champions emcee Terry Crews.

The second half of the finale introduced some of Champions’ top 12 acts into the mix, beginning with yet another intense display of recklessness from Deadly Games, backed by Cristina Ramos and Brian Justin Crum duetting on a killer rendition of Queen’s “The Show Must Go On.” Next up, Shin Lim enlisted the help of Crews’ Brooklyn Nine-Nine co-star Melissa Fumero for one last mind-blowing trick. Another unexpected team-up came courtesy of Darci-Lynne Farmer and The Muppets’ own Rowlf, who duetted with “Edna” for a special ballad dedicated to Cowell.

Then came the results, which included quite a few surprises. (Seriously, no love for Susan Boyle? After last week’s performance, I figured she had this in the bag.) Anyway, here’s how the season’s top five turned out: Preacher Lawson brought up the rear in fifth place, followed by Cristina Ramos in fourth and Kseniya Simonova in third. Second place went to Darci-Lynne Farmer, leaving Shin Lim as the Champions’ official winner.

Do you think the right act won America’s Got Talent: The Champions? Weigh in with your thoughts on Shin Lim’s victory below.

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These Tweets About Colton & Ben Higgins Are Everything Bachelor Nation Needs

What do you get when two Bachelors meet? Well, I’m still looking for the perfect punchline. But when Colton Underwood spent time with Season 20 lead Ben Higgins on Feb. 18’s Bachelor episode, the two Denver-based men understandably vented about the difficult process of finding love. While their convo was short and sweet, these tweets about Ben Higgins and Colton on The Bachelor prove that fans could have used much more of the duo.

ICYMI, Ben proposed to Lauren B. the First at the end of his 2016 season. Despite lasting longer than most Bachelor couples, the two called it quits in May 2017. The split didn’t sour America’s love of Ben, who has stayed active in the franchise with an appearance on Bachelor Winter Games and a co-hosting stint on The Ben and Ashley I. Almost Famous Podcast alongside popular Bachelor contestant Ashley Iaconetti. Ben didn’t have to deal with as strong of a label as virgin Bachelor Colton has experienced, but he received flak for telling both of his final two women he loved them. Are you taking notes, Colton?

Before Colton met with the women in Denver, the two Bachelors got together for a catch-up. Colton admitted to feeling exhausted, but Ben advised him that the next few weeks would be the most emotional yet. Colton then shared his dilemma about the women’s warnings of someone in the group not being ready for marriage. Ever the counselor, Ben suggested being totally open with the contestants.

If Colton learned a new lesson from his chat with Ben, good on him. But as for Bachelor Nation, they were more invested in the return of one of their favorite leads.

Of course, everyone is entitled to their own opinions, and some viewers on Twitter weren’t so happy about Ben’s appearance. Given that his Bachelor relationship didn’t last, a few fans questioned if he was the best alum to bring back. Others just aren’t into Ben in general, but they did like the idea of him and Colton having a solid bromance.

While it made sense for these two to get together for a stateside chat, it turns out that Colton already spoke to Ben before he even met his season’s women. Following the Season 23 premiere, ABC released a deleted scene showing Colton opening up about his nerves to Ben. I guess the premiere had one too many live marriage proposals to squeeze this conversation into the final product.

At yet another bar, Ben advised him to just enjoy his time as the Bachelor and fulfill the job with grace.

Their first chat was basically the relaxing one-on-one date most Bachelor contestants can only dream of, so we should probably thank Ben for Colton’s relatively smooth first night at the mansion. We’ll have to wait and see if his most recent dose of advice settles well. On the other hand, do you think Ben would be up for a repeat season of The Bachelor?

Season 23 of The Bachelor continues on Monday, Feb. 25, at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

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Does Caelynn Want To Be ‘The Bachelorette’? There’s A Lot Of Drama On ‘The Bachelor’

With only about a month left of the current Bachelor season, fans are naturally curious about which women will take over the Bachelorette title next. But discussion about that possibility doesn’t exactly look great when you’re still a contestant on the show, and Season 23’s Caelynn learned that hard way. Tayshia accused both her and Cassie of talking about becoming the next Bachelorette, but Caelynn denied the claims on her one-on-one date with Colton in Feb. 18’s episode. Does Caelynn want to be the Bachelorette? Let’s try to break this down.

ICYMI, all three of last week’s eliminated women warned Colton about falling for girls who weren’t ready for the lifelong commitment he wanted. On her one-on-one date in Colton’s hometown of Denver, Tayshia then followed up on their concerns by naming names. She filled Colton in on Cassie and Caelynn discussing the opportunity of becoming the Bachelorette and being more interested in the fame of post-Bachelor life. I mean, some of those Instagram partnerships do seem like sweet deals.

Colton understandably flipped over the news, especially because Cassie and Caelynn were essentially front-runners in the competition. "I had no questions for Caelynn and Cassie, and now I do," he told cameras. After giving Tayshia, 28, a rose on her date, Colton invited Caelynn, 23, to the next private date, meaning that a major confrontation was coming up.

Although they kicked off their day together with snowboarding, Colton and Caelynn soon headed into serious territory. Colton brought up Tayshia’s confession about Caelynn being there for the wrong reasons, and Miss North Carolina denied it. "It doesn’t make any sense to me…I hate this," she told him. "It terrifies me to know the way that I’m feeling and that I could lose you over something that’s completely fabricated."

While the stress of the situation sent Colton into tears with producers, Caelynn got busy clearing her name. She insisted that only she knew if she was ready for marriage and that she was genuinely falling in love with him. Her promise of marriage and babies earned her a rose from Colton, but Caelynn’s little victory also gave her the confidence to later confront Tayshia about what she said.

Once again, Caelynn was ready to call out those Bachelorette rumors as lies, but Tayshia had her receipts for dealing with the drama. Referring back to other contestants’ warnings, she pointed out that the only people who "acted defensively" after Katie closed the trio of vague goodbyes were Caelynn and Cassie. Rather than explain her reaction, Caelynn seemed to dismiss Tayshia as a fake friend. Not the best clapback, girl.

Although Caelynn’s beauty queen background would make her quite the poised Bachelorette, she was pretty solid in her wife material pitch to Colton. We have to wait and see if her beef with Tayshia continues after hometown dates, but at this point, we can probably consider both women as solid Bachelorette contenders. Will Tayshia pop up to say "I told you so" if Caelynn gets the gig?

Season 23 of The Bachelor continues on Monday, Feb. 25, at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

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Saudi antiquities site, long seen as haunted, tries to woo visitors

AL ULA, Saudi Arabia (Reuters) – In a remote northern corner of Saudi Arabia sit the relics of an ancient civilization, which the kingdom hopes to turn into a global tourism destination as it tries to open up to the world and diversify its economy away from oil.

Backed by billions of dollars in state-led investment and a French cultural partnership, the authorities expect al-Ula and its majestic rock-hewn tombs of Madain Saleh could eventually attract millions of visitors, local and foreign alike.

That is generating excitement in the kingdom, while upending a superstition among many Saudis – and long-backed by religious edicts – that the area is haunted by jinn, the malevolent spirits of the Koran and Arabian mythology, and must be avoided.

Al-Ula’s development is part of a push to preserve pre-Islamic heritage sites in order to attract non-Muslim tourists, strengthen national identity and temper the austere strain of Sunni Islam that has dominated Saudi Arabia for decades.

Madain Saleh, a UNESCO World Heritage site located there, is a 2,000-year-old city carved into desert rocks by the Nabateans, the pre-Islamic Arab people that also built Petra in neighboring Jordan.

Elaborately carved multi-storey facades with epigraphs inscribed into the red sandstone give way to internal chambers where bodies were once laid to rest. At night, stars twinkle in the vast desert sky.

Superstition about the site can be traced back to a hadith, or saying attributed to the Prophet Mohammad, warning Muslims not to enter “unless you are crying … lest you suffer the affliction” of its people, said to have perished for their sins.

While interpretation of that passage is nowadays contested, Saudi state-backed clerics had referenced it for years. In 2012, one of them ruled that al-Ula should be opened to the public, but even years later a school in the area was temporarily closed after students sighted jinn, local media reported.


During a media tour, residents refused to speak about the area’s reputation for being jinxed, instead focusing on opportunities to make money and welcome visitors.

Locals are planning to open restaurants and shops, and a few hundred young people have been sent abroad to study hospitality. As conservative Saudi Arabia loosens social restrictions, some of the tour guides in al-Ula will be women.

“The local community is peaceful, educated and hospitable,” said resident Talal al-Faqir. “The crown prince … has paved the way for the entire world to visit us and see the huge civilizations in our region. We are just getting started.”

In Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s headlong push to transform Saudi Arabia’s economy and society, al-Ula has gained prominence.

He has ridden dune buggies through its sands and invited Western investors and celebrities for helicopter tours of the area, which abuts NEOM, the $500-billion mega-city he wants to build along the Red Sea.

Plans to admit tourists to Saudi Arabia have been discussed for years but have not come to fruition due to sluggish bureaucracy and concern over conservative sentiment.

International outcry over the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi agents last October may give some potential tourists pause, but calls for Western performers to boycott the kingdom have not caught on.

Many of the visitors to al-Ula during an ongoing winter music festival are VIPs or well-heeled guests, with ticket prices reaching several thousand dollars. Visas were arranged on an ad hoc basis.

Riyadh native Dana Daham visited last month with friends, taking a train from Jeddah to Medina and then a 300-km (180-mile) car ride.

“We didn’t expect it to be this magnificent. We keep hearing stories from people but this is way more than we thought it would be,” she said. “It’s amazing, it’s beautiful. So much history, so much going on.”

The weekend she visited featured a concert by the hologram of the late Egyptian diva Umm Kulthum. Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli performed a few days later and Greek singer Yanni is also expected, alongside Arab stars such as Kadim al-Saher and Mohamed Abdo.

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Queen Margaret and Henry VI had sex coach in bedroom, book claims

The king who needed a SEX COACH: Book claims Henry VI and his wife had a bedroom mentor – but RICHARD KAY reveals medieval monarchs often had staff to give them a boudoir boost

Few royals appear to have suffered from lack of privacy more than the current generation. When the Duchess of Sussex complained about the indignity of her private correspondence (with her father) being revealed to the world, it was hard not to be sympathetic.

Unpleasant though the intrusion was, the Duchess should be grateful she wasn’t born in the 15th century.

Then, every aspect of the Royal Family’s lives was monitored — including their most intimate moments, where they were surrounded by attendants, courtiers, priests and ministers.

The BBC’s The Hollow Crown – War of the Roses showed King Henry VI’s wedding to Margaret of Anjou. In the 15th century, royal marriages were traditionally blessed with ‘bedding ceremonies’

Even the most reticent kings and queens had to conduct their sexual lives in front of onlookers. What they did, with whom, and how often was known to the entire court by the following morning.

The detailed retelling of every act of love-making was regarded not so much as salacious gossip, but constitutional business.

On a royal wedding night, the ritual of the bedroom was observed to ensure that the marriage had been consummated and was thus legally binding. As a monarch’s first duty was to provide an heir, any sexual failure had political consequences.

It was partly, of course, because royal marriages were largely dynastic and the begetting of a legitimate heir could save a country from bloody struggles of succession.

Never was this more perilous than during the reign of Henry VI, who succeeded to the throne in 1422 at the age of nine months, and was the only English monarch to have also been crowned king of France.

A virgin until he married at 24, he was also mentally unstable. Unlike his father who crushed the French at Agincourt, Henry loathed warfare and was timid and shy.

Yet his lack of passion for conquest and military success were unimportant when offset against his eight-year struggle to produce an heir. Without a successor, the kingdom’s future was in jeopardy. And it was for his endeavours — or lack of them — in the royal bedchamber that he was judged.

Every moment of the Royals’ lives was monitored as they were constantly surrounded by attendants, courtiers, priests and ministers

Ben Miles starred as the Earl of Somerset alongside Sophie Okonedo as Queen Margaret in The Hollow Crown

Historian Lauren Johnson has suggested that the court took matters into its own hands.

She has uncovered evidence in the National Archives and Royal Household accounts showing that when his wife, Margaret of Anjou, visited the king’s bedroom, they were sometimes joined by trusted attendants. ‘Was it because the famously chaste Henry didn’t know what he was doing?’ Johnson asks.

‘I think it’s entirely possible that it had reached a certain point where it perhaps became necessary to make clear to him what he should be doing.’

Royal marriages were traditionally blessed with ‘bedding ceremonies’ in which the newlyweds would be put to bed — the bride undressed by her ladies and the groom escorted to the bedchamber by musicians and priests.

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Sometimes they demanded to see the couple’s naked legs entwined — an accepted sign of consummation. On other occasions the attendants did not withdraw until they heard the sound of passion.

The morning after, their bed-linen might be displayed as proof of the act, which in turn led the phrase ‘to air one’s dirty linen in public’.

But what Henry and Margaret experienced was different.

‘This was not just their wedding night, it was an ongoing thing,’ says Johnson, who suggests that Henry had a coach in his bed to teach him how to have sex.

She quotes the Ryalle Bok of court protocol that records how once the king was in bed, he would send for the queen.

Another witness described that when the king and queen lay together, his chamberlain lay ‘in the same chamber’. Johnson says it is not clear when the attendants left, ‘leaving open the intriguing suggestion that they remained to make sure the marriage bed was properly used.

Sophie Okonedo plays Queen Margaret in the Hollow Crown which is set during the War of the Roses. Some historians believe that when Margaret went into her husband’s bedroom they were joined by trusted attendants 

‘The evidence that there are people staying in the king’s bedroom potentially some years after he is married . . . is very odd.’

Her book, Shadow King: The Life And Death Of Henry VI, says the young sovereign’s inability to sire an heir undermined his masculinity and authority.

But eventually Henry did produce a son, Edward of Lancaster, who was killed during the Wars of the Roses — the only heir to the throne to die in battle.

Henry was not the only boy-king to need lessons in lovemaking.

Two centuries later, Louis XIV of France also was a student, albeit a more attentive one. The Sun King was a great royal philanderer, despite the size of his manhood, which, according to one spurned lover, was on the small side.

It all began at the age of 15 when his mother sought a woman to teach her beloved Louis that beds were not just for sleeping in.

The woman had to be discreet, experienced but not too experienced. Looks scarcely mattered — which was just as well for the Baroness de Beauvais, a lady-in- waiting of almost 40, who had one eye and was no beauty.

But ‘one-eyed Kate’ was an experienced courtesan and credited with the ‘picking of the royal cherry’, as the taking of his virginity was later described.

It was considered a service to the nation and she was rewarded with two houses in Paris, a hotel and a pension. Louis remained a willing student and frequently visited her over the years.

In 18th-century Europe, the sex lives of the royals continued to be a topic of discussion.

After seven years of marriage and no pregnancies, Joseph II, the Holy Roman Emperor, sought the advice of his worldly brother-in-law Louis XVI — soon to lose his head to the guillotine in the French Revolution.

Joseph told Louis of his sexual activities and the reason for his lack of offspring became apparent. ‘He has strong erections, he puts his member in, stays there without stirring for two minutes perhaps then withdraws without ejaculating, still with an erection and wishes her good night,’ Louis later reported.

The situation was no less different for queens. In Britain, the menstrual cycle of the virgin Elizabeth I was the subject of fierce debate.

Henry VI and Margaret of Anjou with their courtiers while John Talbot, the Earl of Shrewsbury kneels before the Queen to present her with a book 

Determined to know if she was fertile, Philip II of Spain was said to have bribed her laundress to supply intimate details.

Her priapic father, Henry VIII, also had a very public sex life. When he married Anne of Cleves, the Royal Household purchased an erotic bed-head.

It was carved with two small cherubs of unmistakeable gender — on the king’s side, one clutching his outsize codpiece. On the queen’s side, a female cherub in vulgar centrefold style.

Unfortunately, the aphrodisiac furniture had little effect. Henry found Anne so hideous that, as he told Thomas Cromwell, his chief minister, he was unable to make love to her and the marriage was swiftly annulled.

So WHATEVER anxieties the Duchess of Sussex is experiencing as the birth of her first baby draws near, she can console herself with the knowledge that they cannot compare with those of her royal predecessors.

Had she been carrying a king’s child 500 years ago, up to 70 people would be present in the birthing chamber, in part to ensure there was no sleight of hand with an infant imposter being installed.

This tradition of having senior dignitaries present continued well into the 20th century.

When the Queen was born in Mayfair on April 21, 1926, Home Secretary Sir William-Joynson Hicks was present, while his successor John Clynes was detained in Scotland for two weeks in 1930 awaiting the overdue arrival of Princess Margaret at Glamis Castle.

The last time a Home Secretary bore witness at a royal birth was for that of the Queen’s cousin Princess Alexandra in 1936. By the time the Prince of Wales was born in 1948. the practice had died out.

Mind you, the presence of fathers at births was even then still much too modern. When Charles arrived, Prince Philip was playing squash.

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The Real Reason Some Experts Are Concerned With How Quickly Meghan Markle Got Pregnant

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry are expecting their first child together in the spring. And while the whole world is incredibly excited for the newest royal to arrive, some experts are concerned. Here’s why Meghan’s pregnancy is causing some doctors to speak out.

Meghan and Harry got pregnant soon after they wed

Meghan and Harry’s life together has moved pretty quickly so far. The couple only began dating in 2016, but they didn’t date for more than a year and a half before announcing their engagement in November 2017. And in typical royal fashion, the couple didn’t have a very long engagement. They tied the knot in May 2018, and kids were on their mind from an early point. By October 2018, the couple had announced their pregnancy. Since most women wait at least 12 weeks before announcing a pregnancy, Meghan likely got pregnant just a month or two after her wedding.

Meghan is 37, and she appeared to get pregnant with extreme ease

Meghan and Harry had discussed having children even before they married. The two both seemed very eager and excited to start a family. While Meghan never said if age had anything to do with it, it’s possible that she wanted to have the best chance at getting pregnant — scientifically, this would mean she should get pregnant sooner rather than later. Based on the couple’s pregnancy announcement, it looks like they got pregnant in July — maybe even less than two months after they were married. For almost any woman, two months is quick. But for Meghan, who is 37, it’s very quick.

Some are concerned that Meghan’s quick pregnancy may give some women false hope

According to Michael Chapman, the president of the Fertility
Society of Australia, the chances of a 37-year-old woman getting pregnant is
only around 15% per cycle. “Unfortunately, Meghan getting pregnant at 37
potentially makes people think, ‘Oh well, it will all be all right. I’m only
35. I’ll wait till I’m 37, because Meghan got there.’ It is potentially a
negative,” Chapman said in an
interview with MamaMia.

Although it’s definitely possible for women to get pregnant after age 35, the chances do decrease. And getting pregnant is different for every woman. Although Meghan was able to get pregnant with ease, that may not be the case for all women. Women might believe they can’t get pregnant or have major fertility problems if they’re the same age as Meghan and don’t get pregnant within two months of trying, since she did. “Certainly, at 37, most women who try will, at least within a year, get pregnant. Meghan was fabulously fertile, obviously, and managed to get pregnant pretty much straightway,” Dr. Karin Hammarberg, a fertility expert, also told MamaMia.

There are several ways Meghan may have increased her chances

For women around Meghan’s age, there are steps that can be
taken to increase the chances of getting pregnant, PracticalParenting
reports. And it’s possible Meghan followed some of these, too. You can
monitor your most fertile times through a fertility tracking device, or even an
app, to help determine your best chances of getting pregnant. Plus, studies
suggest the foods you eat play a role in your ability to conceive naturally;
Meghan has always been very conscious of what she eats, which could have increased
her chances. Neither Harry nor Meghan is overweight, which also increases chances.
Other things, such as not smoking and getting plenty of sleep, are important as

Check out The
Cheat Sheet

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Rubbish festers on a Birmingham street amid binmen strike

Piles of rubbish fester on a Birmingham street… and that’s BEFORE the city’s strike by binmen has even begun!

  • Rubbish collectors in Birmingham have refused to do overtime since December 
  • Naveed Mohammed, 66, said that piles of waste have been left on the roadside
  • The father said that the rubbish has attracted rats and created an awful smell  

Piles of rubbish fester in the street… and this was before today’s strike by binmen in Birmingham began.

The sacks were seen in the Bordesley Green area of the city at the weekend, a result of binmen refusing to do overtime since December 29 in a dispute about payments.

Their union Unite accused the Labour-run city council of making extra payments to members of the GMB union who chose not to join a 2017 strike. 

Earlier this month, Unite announced that it was escalating its latest action and members will strike for two days a week from today.

Piles of bin bags on the city’s James Turner Street, in Winson Green – a road made famous by the Channel 4 documentary Benefits Street – after binmen have refused to do overtime since December 

Heaps of rubbish in Kenelm Road, Small Heath during bin workers talks last month 

  • Councils fail to collect 5,000 bins every DAY: Complaints…

    Bin men go on strike in Birmingham AGAIN two years after…

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The unwelcome move comes at a time when the council is looking to build and promote a positive image of the city ahead of the 2022 Commonwealth Games, and comes as the Government consults on plans to introduce weekly food waste collections nationwide.

Under plans aimed at standardising household recycling across local authorities, ministers are also consulting on bringing in a deposit return scheme for drinks, bottles and cans, as well as a tax on plastic packaging with less than 30 per cent recycled content.

Naveed Mohammed, 66, a resident of Small Heath, another area affected, said rubbish had been gathering on his street for weeks.

He added: ‘If it’s like this now, imagine what it’s going to be like when the strike actually starts. I’ve seen rats and the smell is terrible.

‘I have two young children and you don’t want to let them out in the street.

‘It can’t be good for their health and it makes you ashamed to be a Brummie. They need to come to some sort of resolution and quickly.’

Howard Beckett, Unite’s assistant general secretary, said: ‘The decision to escalate the dispute and begin strike action is a direct result of Birmingham council’s failure to treat our members fairly.

‘Rather than settle this dispute and end the discrimination the council has instead chosen to try to utilise anti-trade union laws and is penalising workers who have been taking industrial action by denying them their holiday requests.

‘Unite’s members have taken the decision to move to full strike action as a last resort due to the council’s refusal to make a fair offer to resolve this dispute.

‘This dispute is entirely of Birmingham council’s making and it is in the council’s hands to come forward with a solution to end the discrimination experienced by Unite members.

‘If they fail to do so then the city’s residents will regrettably experience further disruption to their refuse service in the coming weeks.’ 

Last month the Labour-run authority announced it would start collecting rubbish on a fortnightly basis as the dispute over pay rumbled on.

A Birmingham City Council spokesman said: ‘We would urge Unite to continue talks as we want to resolve this matter, so citizens get the refuse collection service they rightly expect and deserve.’

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