Many of the papers focus on Tuesday’s statement by Buckingham Palace responding to the claims made by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, including the Guardian – which says the Queen “sought to draw a line” under the row by insisting it would be dealt with privately.
According to the Daily Telegraph, the statement was drawn up on Monday – “but the Queen opted to sleep on it before rushing anything out”. A source suggests the response took “intense thought and collaboration” as it was released on behalf of three royal households – Buckingham Palace, Clarence House and Kensington Palace.
The paper says although the Queen isn’t expected to comment again – “there remains an understanding” within the family that a carefully-worded statement “does not mean it will all go away”.
The Metro says the Queen offered Harry and Meghan an olive branch by expressing her sadness in the statement – but also “hinted” their allegation of racism was “disputed”. “Recollections May Vary” is the headline for both the Sun and the Daily Express.
The Times says the statement was “more robust than many had expected” – with the delay to its release prompting speculation “the Queen was responsible for strengthening it”.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s dream of a tunnel or bridge across the Irish Sea will move a step closer today, according to the Daily Telegraph, as a study into the feasibility of the idea is commissioned.
It says two leading construction figures have been asked to consider the proposal and report back in the summer – as Downing Street places “renewed focus” on keeping the Union intact.
Writing in the paper about improving transport links, the prime minister notes it is quicker to travel by train between Cardiff and Paris than between Cardiff and Edinburgh – and claims it is “time to start strengthening the very sinews, the musculoskeletal structure, of the UK”.
Lockdown easing dates ‘fixed’
The appearance of the UK’s chief medical adviser, Prof Chris Whitty, before a House of Commons committee on Tuesday has led the Times to conclude the government’s top scientific advisers “have effectively ruled out” an early end to lockdown.
It says Prof Whitty told MPs the planned dates for easing restrictions over the next three months should be seen as “fixed” – to prevent “a lot more” people from dying.
The Times thinks the “unambiguous” advice from his top health official gives Mr Johnson “little room” to accelerate the planned timetable, as some Tory MPs are demanding.
The Sun disagrees – suggesting Prof Whitty’s “extreme” caution “may soon look daft” – as deaths and hospitalisations “fall like a stone”.
The main news for the Daily Star is the departure of Piers Morgan from the ITV programme, Good Morning Britain – “Telly gobster quits after flouncing off show during row with weatherman”.
“Bigmouth Strikes Again”, says the i. It is also front page news for the Guardian, which reports Mr Morgan quit after more than 41,000 complaints were made to the broadcasting regulator about his comments on the Duchess of Sussex.
The Daily Telegraph says ITV refused to deny it received a formal complaint from Meghan – after the presenter said he didn’t believe a word she said during her interview with Oprah Winfrey.
Comments made on Tuesday by justice minister Chris Philp are featured by the Times – which notes that he marked the launch of new laws to increase prison sentences by admitting there was little evidence they help cut crime.
The paper says he highlighted research which suggests the likelihood of being caught and punished is “much more important” than longer sentences in discouraging people from crime.
The Times dismisses the government’s new bill as “Rough Justice” – claiming it is best seen as a “populist gesture” to show ministers understand public demands for firmness on law and order, rather than a serious attempt to resolve pressing issues.
The Daily Mail has called for an independent inquiry into Operation Midland – the disastrous Scotland Yard investigation into false claims of sexual abuse by politicians and other public figures.
The paper’s editorial insists evidence of cover-up and corruption is “overwhelming” – and warns that public trust in the police could be “shattered”.
How long can the home secretary put off ordering the fresh inquiry that is “palpably needed”? it asks. “She is responsible for protecting the rule of law.”
The auction later this month of a contract for an early Oasis gig is previewed by several papers, including the i – which notes that the list of demands made by the notoriously hard-drinking band for doing the show included mineral water, fruit and “at least two sober-speaking people to help”.
The Times points out they also wanted “24 cans of quality lager” for appearing at The Old Trout in Berkshire in 1994, and nods towards one of the band’s best known songs with its headline, “Oasis once played for a hot meal – and didn’t get a ROLL WITH IT.”