• 'Under seven hours sleep a night could trigger a stroke or heart attack'
    Style
    Danielle Fowler

    'Under seven hours sleep a night could trigger a stroke or heart attack'

    It might be time to bid farewell to those late night Netflix sessions.

  • Could hitting the snooze button be bad for your health?
    Style
    The Independent

    Could hitting the snooze button be bad for your health?

    How often every morning do you hit the snooze button on your phone alarm? Once, twice, three times a morning? Timely news for Mental Health Awareness Week in the UK, a recent report by eve sleep shows that 82% of Brits are in the habit of snoozing at least once*. Have you ever considered what this ritual – the repeated "shocking" of your brain into consciousness – might be doing to it? What the effects on your overall mental health might be?  Sleep-wellness brand eve sleep certainly have – they commissioned 'Refuse to Snooze', a report authored by mental health and neuroscience expert Matt Janes, and Michael Banissy, co-director of the Sleep Lab at Goldsmiths Psychology department. What their research uncovered was nothing short of, well, alarming. “It is clear from the report that the snooze button is having a negative impact on the mornings of over 80 per cent of Brits," says James Sturrock, CEO of eve sleep. “That’s why we’re taking on the snooze button with our Refuse To Snooze campaign, as we believe that everyone deserves the perfect start to their morning,” he adds. Tackling stress levels “Modern lifestyles have created unprecedented levels of stress,” says report co-author Matt Janes. “Our brain and body cannot cope with the assault and they’re breaking. If we examine what’s happening to [our] physiology during this assault, we uncover an answer to the UK’s mental health crisis.” Neuroscience and mental health expert Matt Janes As the report explains, our autonomic nervous system controls all physiological and biochemical processes in our bodies – from respiration to cardiovascular functions and digestion. This system consists of two branches: the sympathetic and parasympathetic, which work in tandem with one another. “We all fall into one of three autonomic types,” Janes explains, “sympathetic dominant, parasympathetic dominant or balanced metaboliser. The first of these three groups, the sympathetic dominants, are most at risk from anxiety and agitated depression, and get pushed further out of balance with increased stress load. For this group, pressing the snooze button invites more stress to an already overloaded system.” The negative effects of snoozing can also be felt by parasympathetic dominants, who naturally have weak sympathetic systems and are prone to melancholic depression when subjected to repeated stressors, such as a snooze alarm. How to sleep better eve sleep argue we need to banish our snoozing habit. To do this, we must negate our desire to do it in the first place, and this means ensuring we get a good night’s sleep every night. To set this up, an excellent sleeping environment is paramount and key to this is obviously, a comfortable bed. Are we sleeping on the right mattress, we need to ask ourselves? Might we need to upgrade to a memory foam or a hybrid, a natural or a spring option? And what about our pillows? Could we benefit from foam models or those with microfibre support? Combine a good sleeping environment with excellent nutrition throughout the day and exercise, plus getting to bed at a reasonable hour, and we should be on the road to achieving a good night’s sleep that leaves us feeling refreshed and raring to go come morning time, with no need whatsoever to snooze. Think you might need a touch more help? Why not replace your snooze with something else, like a nine-minute episode of the Refuse to Snooze podcast with Andi Peters? In a five-part series, each episode explores engaging topics from relationships to parenting, and features discussions with guests such as model and philanthropist Katie Piper. Listen first thing (instead of pressing that snooze button) to start your day the healthy way. For more information on eve sleep’s Refuse to Snooze campaign, and how you can create your dream sleeping environment, visit evesleep.co.uk/refusetosnooze *eve sleep commissioned research by OnePoll. Sample size - 2000 correspondents

  • 15 of the best wellness retreats in Europe for a 2019 health reboot
    Style
    Evening Standard

    15 of the best wellness retreats in Europe for a 2019 health reboot

    With all the stresses that come with everyday life, it's no surprise the global wellness industry is now worth a cool £3.2 trillion. Luckily for us, wellness retreats have popped up across the world and while we have some stellar wellness retreats right here in the UK, with summer just around the corner, a visit to a European retreat is the best way to combine health with that much-needed vitamin D. Below, we've rounded up the best wellness retreats to head to in Europe this summer.

  • Widow, 36, shares heartbreaking moment husband lost cancer battle
    Style
    Lauren Clark

    Widow, 36, shares heartbreaking moment husband lost cancer battle

    "I just sit there with my head on his chest and weep."

  • Fast walkers could live up to 15 years longer than people who dawdle, study finds
    Style
    Danielle Fowler

    Fast walkers could live up to 15 years longer than people who dawdle, study finds

    It might be time to put down your phone and pick up the pace.

  • Model whose bloated tummy makes her look pregnant throws light on Insta Vs reality
    Style
    Marie Claire Dorking

    Model whose bloated tummy makes her look pregnant throws light on Insta Vs reality

    "I want to share the reality and not cover it up by only posting the good days."

  • A size 22 woman who spent £70 a week on takeaways sheds an incredible nine stone
    Style
    Danielle Fowler

    A size 22 woman who spent £70 a week on takeaways sheds an incredible nine stone

    Susan Mackay, 49, turned her life around after her wedding ring no longer fit.

  • Eat less fat to reduce breast cancer risk by a fifth, says science
    Style
    Marie Claire Dorking

    Eat less fat to reduce breast cancer risk by a fifth, says science

    Women aged over 50 could reduce their risk of dying from breast cancer by eating smaller portions of meat and having one extra serving of fruit and vegetables a day.

  • Scented candles cause more pollution than 'standing next to a busy road'
    Style
    Stephanie Ayako Karaki Harris

    Scented candles cause more pollution than 'standing next to a busy road'

    Long-term exposure to black carbon can lead to increased risk of heart and/or lung related death.

  • As Doris Day dies of pneumonia aged 97, what are the symptoms of the condition?
    Style
    Francesca Specter

    As Doris Day dies of pneumonia aged 97, what are the symptoms of the condition?

    The condition is characterised as an inflammation of one or both of the lung tissues.

  • Two coffees a day could help you live longer, research suggests
    Style
    Marie Claire Dorking

    Two coffees a day could help you live longer, research suggests

    Flat white anyone?

  • Hallucinating, panicked, yet sent home by doctors: One woman’s story of suffering postpartum psychosis
    Style
    The Independent

    Hallucinating, panicked, yet sent home by doctors: One woman’s story of suffering postpartum psychosis

    Sophie Wood had never truly appreciated the feeling of soft carpet underneath her toes. Nor the luxury of boiling a kettle without being watched, chopping an apple with a knife, or using a hairdryer. But six weeks after being admitted under the Mental Health Act (1983) to a Mother and Baby Unit (MBU), she was slowly starting to remember the minutiae that make life interesting.“For weeks, I’d had someone sitting at the end of my bed watching me, monitoring exactly what I ate, the medication I was taking, and how I was caring for my baby,” the 35-year-old tells The Independent. “I felt like a prisoner. At the beginning, all I wanted to do was escape.”After longing to start a family for years, this isn’t exactly how Sophie had envisaged the first few weeks of motherhood. In April 2016, Sophie gave birth to her daughter, Isabella. Like the majority of new mums, she fully expected long sleepless nights and problems latching in the early stages. “I didn’t sleep at all for three to four days after giving birth,” she admits.“While I was excited and elated to have a baby, I felt entirely responsible for looking after my daughter all the time. I became obsessed with checking she was breathing. Every time she cried I went to pick her and feed her. I felt I needed to be with her, constantly.”These may sound like the concerns every mum feels after giving birth, but Sophie and her husband soon realised her experience of motherhood wasn’t the norm as her obsession soon turned into delusion. Unbeknown to Sophie, she was suffering from postpartum psychosis (PP) – a severe form of mental illness which usually begins in the first two weeks after childbirth.National charity Action of Postpartum Psychosis (APP) estimates that more than 1,400 women experience PP each year in the UK (one to two in every 1,000 mothers). Symptoms can include hallucinations, delusions, restlessness, confusion, and a manic mood.Dr Trudi Seneviratne, chair of the perinatal faculty at the Royal College of Psychiatrists, says it’s often difficult to pinpoint whether someone is suffering from PP or the “baby blues” (when women experience low mood and feel mildly depressed after childbirth) given the natural fluctuations in mood due to hormone changes after a woman gives birth.However, Seneviratne notes that 75 per cent of women who suffer from PP often exhibit behaviours that make them appear overly-energetic. “They might write down a list of ideas all at once, become busy and obsessive with certain concepts. Their sense of taste, smell and hearing may also become heightened.” What is postpartum psychosis? Postpartum psychosis (PP) is a rare but serious mental health illness that can affect a woman soon after she has a baby, the NHS states.It is estimated that over 1,400 women experience PP each year in the UK (one to two in every 1,000 mothers).Symptoms of PP include hallucinations, delusions, restlessness, confusion, and a manic mood.Dr Jess Heron, director of the national charity Action on Postpartum Psychosis concurs, adding: “The early symptoms of PP can be difficult to identify because many women feel a little bit elated and sleep deprived in the first few days after having a baby. There are some mums at particularly high risk of PP: mums who have previously experienced an episode of bipolar disorder, or a previous postpartum psychosis.”That said, for around half of women – including Sophie – PP can come completely out of the blue.“The only way I can describe PP is like an iceberg,” she says. “If you look at the pictures of me after I’d given birth, I looked like a perfectly normal and happy new mum holding my baby. Underneath I was suffering from chronic anxiety and confusion.”While Sophie still doesn’t know what triggered her PP, she believes the lack of aftercare she received in the first few hours following childbirth played a key role. After undergoing an emergency caesarean section as a result of her daughter being in breach (when a baby is born bottom first instead of head first), Sophie found herself becoming increasingly distressed.“It was around midnight when my husband was booted out of the hospital and I was put on the general ward with other mothers and babies,” she recalls.“It was pitch black and I was connected to multiple tubes and a catheter. My daughter was screaming and I really felt incapable of helping her. I kept pressing my buzzer but no one came to help. I could see she might need feeding but my milk hadn’t come in. I panicked.”That night, Sophie tried to breastfeed to no avail, resulting in her nipples becoming raw and bleeding. A midwife later told her that “this feeding malarkey” might not be for her. “It was excruciating,” she says. “I beat myself up about it so much in the first few days.“My daughter gradually started to lose weight because I couldn’t feed her. I felt I was it was my fault as I couldn’t give her the natural thing she needed. I felt I was failing as a mother.Four days after coming home from hospital with her child, Sophie experienced her first psychotic episode. After falling asleep amid exhaustion, she recalls having a horrific nightmare. “I woke up screaming in a hot sweat and shaking. My husband ran up the stairs to find me babbling nonsense. I told him I felt unsafe and that I didn’t know what was going on.” Sophie could feel herself getting jittery, battling racing thoughts and talking quickly.> It was so sad for my family to watch me go from being happy, organised, and positive about becoming a mother, to someone so anxious and fearfulMoments later, Sophie’s husband found her doing the Michael Jackson-inspired moonwalk across the landing (“I wasn’t even aware I knew the entire Thriller routine”), before forcing him to watch the Lion King. “I remember holding up my daughter like the monkey on Pride Rock showing Simba to the pride. “Look, she’s ours, she’s amazing,” I kept repeating to my husband. The couple recognised how out of character Sophie’s behaviour was and were increasingly concerned. “I felt like I was coming in and out of dream world,” she says, describing her mental state at the time. “My husband knew something was wrong and told me he thought I was having a psychotic episode but he was naturally scared to call anyone in fear social services would take me and the baby away.”Despite visiting A&E that night, Sophie was told she was experiencing the normal anxieties of becoming a new mum and needed sleep. After being handed a cup of tea and a sedative, she was soon sent home.Over the next few days, her mental state deteriorated rapidly. She began hearing voices in her head and was convinced her brother had died. She even lost the ability to speak and spent hours watching her wedding video on repeat. To this day, she still has the in-depth business plan she wrote out on her phone about a new invention she’d created to help new mums suffering like she was. “I genuinely thought I was the new Richard Branson,” she jokes.Eight days after giving birth, Sophie was forced into an ambulance and admitted to an MBU which provides support for mothers who experience severe mental health difficulties during and after pregnancy. She remembers her husband breaking down into tears as he signed the forms to have her sectioned.“It was so sad for my family to watch me go from being happy, organised, and positive about becoming a mother, to someone so anxious and fearful,” she says. “No one saw it coming.”During her initial stay at the unit, Sophie feared male staff would hurt her and she couldn’t bare people looking at her with Isabella. “I was tearful, quiet, and fearful. I ended up singing a lot to myself. It was a very lonely time,” she says.Despite taking numerous forms of medication including mood stabilisers, attending group therapy, mindfulness and group counselling sessions, at no point during her time in the facility did anyone tell Sophie she was suffering from PP. She says: “I used to ask people ‘what’s happened to me, why am I here?’ They used to tell me I was unwell which I thought was ludicrous. ‘Unwell’ is what you are when you have a cold or food poisoning.”While Sophie showed signs of improvement during her time at the unit, her battle with PP was far from over. She suffered from chronic anxiety and feared going outside. For the first month after leaving the MBU, she called the crisis team on a daily basis. “I was traumatised. I kept having flashbacks of what had happened,” she says. She didn’t step foot into a supermarket on her own for six months.Heron says: “Women go on to make a full recovery, however, the journey to full recovery can be long and difficult.”According to the NHS, most women will require treatment for PP in hospital, ideally at an MBU. Treatment may include medication, psychological therapy, and on extremely rare occasions electroconvulsive therapy (ECT).Seneviratne says: “Ninety per cent of sufferers will make a good recovery thanks to a combination of medication which can include anti-psychotics, that have mood stabilising properties, and sedatives that help them to sleep. However, while medication is important, so too are psychological therapies.“The term ‘psychosis’ is a hugely stigmatising term as it can be a reason why people don’t seek help early enough – PP is a severe condition. It’s important to talk openly about PP and give families the platforms to do so. Sufferers should in no way feel embarrassed about sharing their experiences.’’As her treatment continued, Sophie underwent counselling, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), and was finally diagnosed with PP some four months after giving birth. She came off her medication 11 months later and has attended numerous meet-ups and peer support groups through APP to share her experience. With hopes to have more children in future, she has also discussed several contingency plans with her doctor on how she can try to avoid suffering from PP again.“We’ve spoken about the need for medication, making contact with a perinatal mental health support nurses, birth plans, bottle feeding – anything so I can feel as calm as possible if I fall pregnant,” she says.As a result of her experience, Sophie has also become a media volunteer for APP and is setting up a blog to detail her journey through future pregnancies about how she plans to prevent PP, if she can, for women, families, and healthcare professionals.“It is not the ‘baby blues’ or a bad patch, rather a serious mental health condition. The earlier you get intervention, the healthier you’ll be. It takes a long time to recover from this illness but it is possible, there is hope.”To find out more information about postpartum psychosis, click here. For more help on the condition, contact www.app-network.org

  • Fibromyalgia: What is the condition that Kirsty Young and Lena Dunham suffer from?
    Style
    The Independent

    Fibromyalgia: What is the condition that Kirsty Young and Lena Dunham suffer from?

    Today is World Fibromyalgia Awareness Day, an annual day dedicated to raising awareness of the debilitating condition and of those who suffer its effects.The condition, which affects Girls creator Lena Dunham and former Desert Island Discs host Kirsty Young, as well as an estimated 10m other people in the US, causes chronic pain. Read on for everything you need to know about fibromyalgia. What is fibromyalgia?Fibromyalgia is a long-term condition characterised by chronic pain and tenderness across the body.While there are some common symptoms, such as fatigue, everyone experiences fibromyalgia differently, with some cases more severe than others.It’s fairly common, according to the charity Arthritis Research UK, which claims that up to one person in every 25 may be affected.The symptoms for fibromyalgia can be very similar to inflammatory or degenerative arthritis, however, the conditions are not linked.There is no specific test for fibromyalgia, meaning it can often be difficult to diagnose. Who is affected?Fibromyalgia can affect anyone at any age, though it typically affects roughly seven times as many women as men.It usually develops between the ages of 30 and 50. What causes fibromyalgia?It’s not clear what causes fibromyalgia, but researchers suggests it’s related to abnormal amounts of particular chemicals in the brain which disrupt the central nervous system and the way pain is processed in the body.Others speculate that the condition is genetic.According to the NHS, in many cases, fibromyalgia is triggered by physically or emotionally stressful events, such as giving birth, having an operation or bereavement. What are the symptoms?The most common symptom experienced by people with fibromyalgia is widespread chronic pain, which may be more severe in the back and/or neck. Other symptoms include fatigue, insomnia, hypersensitivity, spasms, diarrhoea, dizziness and muscle stiffness.Fibromyalgia can also affect your mental wellbeing, causing something known as “fibro-fog”: problems with memory and concentration. How is it treated?There is no known cure for fibromyalgia, however, it can be managed through treatment, which varies depending on your symptoms.This can be a combination of painkillers, antidepressants, cognitive behavioural therapy and counselling.Some sufferers may also be advised to embark on specific exercise programmes and relaxation methods in order to help manage and alleviate the pain.For more information on fibromyalgia, visit Fibromyalgia Action UK, a charity which supports people with the condition.

  • This hygiene question has the internet divided
    Style
    Caroline Allen

    This hygiene question has the internet divided

    20 per cent of people have confessed that they skip their legs altogether during shower time.

  • Does earthing really work and can it improve your health?
    Style
    Caroline Allen

    Does earthing really work and can it improve your health?

    Earthing is walking barefoot outside for a short time each day.

  • Could hitting the snooze button be bad for your health?
    Style
    The Independent

    Could hitting the snooze button be bad for your health?

    How often every morning do you hit the snooze button on your phone alarm? Once, twice, three times a morning? Timely news for Mental Health Awareness Week in the UK, a recent report by eve sleep shows that 82% of Brits are in the habit of snoozing at least once*. Have you ever considered what this ritual – the repeated "shocking" of your brain into consciousness – might be doing to it? What the effects on your overall mental health might be? Sleep-wellness brand eve sleep certainly have – they commissioned 'Refuse to Snooze', a report authored by mental health and neuroscience expert Matt Janes, and Michael Banissy, co-director of the Sleep Lab at Goldsmiths Psychology department. What their research uncovered was nothing short of, well, alarming. “It is clear from the report that the snooze button is having a negative impact on the mornings of over 80 per cent of Brits," says James Sturrock, CEO of eve sleep. “That’s why we’re taking on the snooze button with our Refuse To Snooze campaign, as we believe that everyone deserves the perfect start to their morning,” he adds. Tackling stress levels“Modern lifestyles have created unprecedented levels of stress,” says report co-author Matt Janes. “Our brain and body cannot cope with the assault and they’re breaking. If we examine what’s happening to [our] physiology during this assault, we uncover an answer to the UK’s mental health crisis.”As the report explains, our autonomic nervous system controls all physiological and biochemical processes in our bodies – from respiration to cardiovascular functions and digestion. This system consists of two branches: the sympathetic and parasympathetic, which work in tandem with one another.“We all fall into one of three autonomic types,” Janes explains, “sympathetic dominant, parasympathetic dominant or balanced metaboliser. The first of these three groups, the sympathetic dominants, are most at risk from anxiety and agitated depression, and get pushed further out of balance with increased stress load. For this group, pressing the snooze button invites more stress to an already overloaded system.”The negative effects of snoozing can also be felt by parasympathetic dominants, who naturally have weak sympathetic systems and are prone to melancholic depression when subjected to repeated stressors, such as a snooze alarm. How to sleep bettereve sleep argue we need to banish our snoozing habit. To do this, we must negate our desire to do it in the first place, and this means ensuring we get a good night’s sleep every night. To set this up, an excellent sleeping environment is paramount and key to this is obviously, a comfortable bed. Are we sleeping on the right mattress, we need to ask ourselves? Might we need to upgrade to a memory foam or a hybrid, a natural or a spring option? And what about our pillows? Could we benefit from foam models or those with microfibre support?Combine a good sleeping environment with excellent nutrition throughout the day and exercise, plus getting to bed at a reasonable hour, and we should be on the road to achieving a good night’s sleep that leaves us feeling refreshed and raring to go come morning time, with no need whatsoever to snooze.Think you might need a touch more help? Why not replace your snooze with something else, like a nine-minute episode of the Refuse to Snooze podcast with Andi Peters? In a five-part series, each episode explores engaging topics from relationships to parenting, and features discussions with guests such as model and philanthropist Katie Piper. Listen first thing (instead of pressing that snooze button) to start your day the healthy way.For more information on eve sleep’s Refuse to Snooze campaign, and how you can create your dream sleeping environment, visit evesleep.co.uk/refusetosnooze*eve sleep commissioned research by OnePoll. Sample size - 2000 correspondents

  • 'Inspirational' All New Monty stars praised for encouraging viewers to check for cancer symptoms
    Style
    Danielle Fowler

    'Inspirational' All New Monty stars praised for encouraging viewers to check for cancer symptoms

    The likes of Coleen Nolan, Martina Navratilova and Danielle Armstrong performed a striptease to raise money for cancer charities.

  • Royal baby boy: What title will Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s son have?
    Style
    The Independent

    Royal baby boy: What title will Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s son have?

    On Monday 6 May, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex welcomed the arrival of a son.The baby boy, whose name is yet to be revealed, is seventh in line to the throne, and Queen Elizabeth II's eight great-grandchild.While some are speculating if Prince Harry and Meghan will give their son a traditionally royal first name, others are wondering whether the child will obtain a royal title.Despite the fact that the baby's first cousins are princes and a princess, the Sussex's son won't receive a royal title unless granted one by the Queen.In 1917, King George V passed a Letters Patent, which stated that "...the grandchildren of the sons of any such Sovereign in the direct male line (save only the eldest living son of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales shall have and only enjoy in all occasions the style and title enjoyed by the children of Dukes of these Our Realms".This means that Prince Harry and Meghan's son will likely not become a prince or known as "His Royal Highness", and may instead be known as Lord (forename) Mountbatten-Windsor.The royal couple may choose to forego a title for their son altogether, in which case he may be known as Master (first name) Mountbatten-Windsor.However, the Queen could issue a new Letters Patent to change this, as she did for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's children.In December 2012, the Queen issued a Letters Patent under the Great Seal of the Realm declaring “all the children of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales should have and enjoy the style, title and attribute of royal highness with the titular dignity of Prince or Princess prefixed to their Christian names or with such other titles of honour”.This explains why Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis all have HRH titles.Another title that the Sussex's baby may receive bears links with an ancient Scottish kingdom.On the day of the royal wedding in May 2018, one of the subsidiary titles Prince Harry was bestowed by the Queen was Earl of Dumbarton.As the son of a duke, the baby is entitled to be known as this title.Before Prince Harry was granted the title by his grandmother, it had not been used for more than 260 years.The town of Dumbarton in Scotland, founded in the fifth century, was once the capital of the ancient Kingdom of Strathclyde.According to Historic Environment Scotland, Dumbarton Castle in the region was a "mighty stronghold in the Dark Ages".Legend dictates that the fort was visited by the wizard Merlin, from Arthurian legend, in the sixth century.For all the latest news on the royal baby, visit The Independent's live blog here.

  • Royal baby news – live: Alexander bookmakers' favourite name for Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's son
    Style
    The Independent

    Royal baby news – live: Alexander bookmakers' favourite name for Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's son

    The Duchess of Sussex has given birth to a baby boy, Buckingham Palace has confirmed.The duchess went into labour during the early hours of Monday morning. Prince Harry was by her side.A statement was released on the royal couple's official Instagram account, revealing that the baby was born before 6am."We are pleased to announce that Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Sussex welcomed their firstborn child in the early morning on May 6th, 2019," the statement reads."Their Royal Highnesses’ son weighs 7lbs. 3oz."The announcement adds that the duchess and the newborn are both "healthy and well".Please allow a moment for the blog to load...

  • Royal baby latest: Meghan Markle gives birth to boy as world waits for his name to be revealed
    Style
    The Independent

    Royal baby latest: Meghan Markle gives birth to boy as world waits for his name to be revealed

    The Duchess of Sussex has given birth to a baby boy, Buckingham Palace has confirmed.The duchess went into labour during the early hours of Monday morning. Prince Harry was by her side.A statement was released on the royal couple's official Instagram account, revealing that the baby was born before 6am."We are pleased to announce that Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Sussex welcomed their firstborn child in the early morning on May 6th, 2019," the statement reads."Their Royal Highnesses’ son weighs 7lbs. 3oz."The announcement adds that the duchess and the newborn are both "healthy and well".Please allow a moment for the blog to load...

  • Royal baby boy: Where does Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s child fit in the line of succession?
    Style
    The Independent

    Royal baby boy: Where does Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s child fit in the line of succession?

    On Monday 6 May, Buckingham Palace announced that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex had welcomed a son in the early hours of the morning.The arrival of the couple's first child, who is yet to be named, changes the line of succession for the throne.Prince Harry and Meghan's son is seventh in line to the throne, meaning that Prince Andrew, the Queen's second eldest son, is now eighth in line.The first few members of the royal family in the line of succession remain unchanged.First in line is Prince Charles, who became the longest-serving heir apparent in 2017.The Prince of Wales beat a previous record of 59 years, two months and 13 days set by his great-great-grandfather King Edward VII.Prince Harry's older brother, the Duke of Cambridge, is second in line to the throne.He and the Duchess of Cambridge's three children – Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis – follow behind, in third, fourth and fifth place respectively.The Duke of Sussex is sixth in line, which subsequently places his newborn son in seventh place.In April 2018, Princess Charlotte made history as the first female member of the royal family to retain her claim to the throne following the birth of her younger brother.Prior to the Succession to the Crown Act of 2013, a female royal’s claim to the throne would have been diminished by the arrival of a younger brother.However, as stated by the legislative act when it was passed six years ago: "In determining the succession to the Crown, the gender of a person born after 28 October 2011 does not give that person, or that person’s descendants, precedence over any other person (whenever born).”Following the announcement of his son's birth, Prince Harry addressed the press in Windsor.The beaming father said that watching his wife give birth was an "amazing experience"."I’m very excited to announced that Meghan. and myself had a baby boy early this morning, a very healthy boy," he said."How any woman does what they do is beyond comprehension."We're both absolutely thrilled and so grateful for all the love and support from everybody out there. It's been amazing."For all the latest news on the royal baby, follow The Independent's live blog here.

  • Madonna says giving phones to older children ‘ended her relationship with them’
    Style
    The Independent

    Madonna says giving phones to older children ‘ended her relationship with them’

    Madonna has said giving phones to her two eldest children had a hugely negative impact on her relationship with them.Despite having given 22-year-old Lourdes and 18-year-old Rocco phones when they were in their early teens, Madonna does not plan on doing the same for her 13-year-old son David."I'm going to stick that one out for as long as possible, because I made a mistake when I gave my older children phones when they were 13," the Madame X star told Vogue."It ended my relationship with them, really."The singer has five children, ranging in age from six to 22 years old.> View this post on Instagram> > A post shared by Madonna (@madonna) on Oct 14, 2018 at 10:46am PDTMadonna explained that Lourdes and Rocco's phones became a "very, very big part of their lives", largely due to the growth of social media."They became too inundated with imagery and started to compare themselves to other people, and that's really bad for self-growth," the multi Grammy Award-winner said.Of all her children, Madonna believes David is the most similar to her in terms of his "focus and determination"."I'm pretty sure he got it from me. He's the one I have the most in common with," she stated.As for her eldest child Lourdes, whose father is actor Carlos Leon, Madonna is jealous of her "insane" talent."I'm green with envy because she's incredible at everything she does – she's an incredible dancer, she's a great actress, she plays the piano beautifully, she's way better than me in the talent department."During a recent interview with MTV, Madonna revealed becoming a "soccer mum" while living in Portugal made her feel "depressed".The musician explained that she wasn't suited to the lifestyle change, saying she found herself with "no mates".According to a report published by Ofcom in January, a growing number of children under the age of 11 are using social media.Despite the fact that most social networks do not allow children under the age of 13 to register, 18 per cent of eight to 11 year olds were found to have created online profiles.The Royal College of Psychiatrists (RCP) recently called for clinicians to consider the impact social media can have on the mental health of children.“Although we recognise that social media and technology are not primary drivers of mental illness in young people, we know that they are an important part of their lives and can be harmful in some situations," said Dr Bernadka Dubicka, chair of the child and adolescent faculty at RCP.

  • Meghan Markle: Everything the Duchess of Sussex has ever said about motherhood
    Style
    The Independent

    Meghan Markle: Everything the Duchess of Sussex has ever said about motherhood

    The Duchess of Sussex has given birth to her first child.The announcement was made on the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s recently launched Instagram account.“We are pleased to announce that Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Sussex welcomed their firstborn child in the early morning on May 6th, 2019,” the statement reads.Meghan Markle has spoken openly about her desire to become a mother on several occasions in the past, saying in a 2016 interview that having a family would be a “dream”.Here are all the times the duchess has opened up about motherhood: A family heirloomWhile speaking to Hello! magazine in 2015, the duchess revealed that she plans on passing on a sentimental gift to her future daughter.The Californian-born royal explained that when she discovered Suits had been renewed for a third season, the legal television drama she starred in from 2011 to 2018, she “totally splurged” on a £4,200 Cartier French Tank watch.She had the piece engraved with the message “To M.M. From M.M.” to remind herself of the significance of the piece. The duchess said that she planned to give it to her daughter one day. Ticking off the bucket listIn 2015, Ms Markle was interviewed by Best Health magazine about her healthy living regime for the magazine’s May 2016 cover.During the interview, the then-Suits actor also spoke about her plans for the future.When asked what’s on her bucket list, the duchess answered: “I want to travel more and I can’t wait to start a family, but in due time.” Leading a balanced lifeIn 2016, Ms Markle told Lifestyle magazine that her life is “more amazing” than she ever thought it could be.“I dreamt of becoming a successful working actress, which I can now very thankfully tick off the list. And I also dream to have a family,” she said.The duchess added that it’s “all about balance”, and that having a family would enable her to feel more “grounded”.“Raising a family will be a wonderful part of that,” she explained. Time for a bedtime storyWhile answering rapid fire questions for a 2016 interview, Ms Markle was asked what children’s book she couldn’t wait to share with her future children.The duchess gave The Giving Tree as her answer, a children’s picture book written and illustrated by Shel Silverstein.First published in 1964, the book documents the relationship between a young boy and a tree. Taking an interest in baby products​Two months prior to their wedding, the Prince Harry and Meghan Markle toured the Belfast campus of Northern Ireland’s next generation science park.> Prince Harry and Ms. Markle then visited the Belfast campus of Northern Ireland’s next generation science park, @CatalystIncHQ, to meet some of Northern Ireland’s brightest young entrepreneurs and innovators. pic.twitter.com/OUgBw4FUDE> > — Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) > > March 23, 2018During their visit, the couple were introduced to a company called Schnuggle which makes hypoallergenic baby products.“I’m sure at some point we’ll need the whole thing,” Ms Markle said, when perusing the company’s range of products.For everything you need to know about the royal baby, click here.

  • Royal baby boy: Prince Harry expresses admiration for women after Meghan Markle gives birth
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    The Independent

    Royal baby boy: Prince Harry expresses admiration for women after Meghan Markle gives birth

    The Duke of Sussex has stated he is in awe of the Duchess of Sussex, saying that watching his wife give birth was an "amazing experience".Following the announcement made by Buckingham Palace that Meghan gave birth in the early hours of this morning, Prince Harry addressed the press outside Windsor Castle.As he stood in front of the stables unable to conceal his joy, the duke said he was "very excited" to announce the birth of the couple's newborn son."I’m very excited to announced that Meghan. and myself had a baby boy early this morning, a very healthy boy," he said.The royal went on to express his admiration for women's strength in the act of childbirth."How any woman does what they do is beyond comprehension," Prince Harry said."We're both absolutely thrilled and so grateful for all the love and support from everybody out there. It's been amazing."Prince Harry stated that both Meghan and their baby, whose name is yet to be revealed, are both doing "incredibly well".Ian Lloyd, a royal photographer and commentator, said that new father's expression of emotion is "typical of him"."He is expressing the sheer wonder of childbirth and how you feel at this awesome moment in your life," Lloyd tells The Independent."It's typical of him as he is able to express those emotions. Traditionally, the royal family would never have said that."Lloyd adds that the nature of Prince Harry's announcement is a sign of how he and Meghan "function as a couple"."It's a move away from the traditional royal reticence of expressing emotions. He is a new-age father," the photographer states.Several royal fans have praised Prince Harry for his appreciation of the difficulties of childbirth."The kudos he gave to his wife, and all women for going through the process of childbirth was beautiful!!" one person tweeted."Listening to Prince Harry talk about the birth of his son (and tearing up) and praise women for the powerful work of childbirth gave me all the feels this morning," another remarked."I can't help but tear up myself and think 'his mother would be so proud of the man he is'."For all the latest news on the birth of the royal baby, follow The Independent's live blog here.

  • Why Meghan Markle and Prince Harry won’t have legal custody of royal baby
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    The Independent

    Why Meghan Markle and Prince Harry won’t have legal custody of royal baby

    In October, Kensington Palace announced that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex were expecting their first child in spring 2019.While the couple and their relatives expressed their excitement over the news, there is a fascinating law in place that means that Prince Harry and Meghan won't have full legal custody of their child when the duchess gives birth to the royal baby.A law enacted more than three centuries ago means that the Queen would actually have full legal custody of the children, royal expert Marlene Koenig explains.The law, called “The Grand Opinion for the Prerogative Concerning the Royal Family,” was introduced by King George I in 1717.“George I did not get along with his son, the future George II,” Koenig tells The Independent. “I believe it came about when the Prince of Wales [George II] did not want to have the godparent for his son that his father wanted - so George I got Parliament to come up with something.”According to Koenig, issues surrounding the law arose in 1994 when Diana, Princess of Wales separated from Charles, Prince of Wales.Diana expressed wishes to take their sons, Harry and William, to live with her in Australia, but couldn’t due to the regulations laid out by the custody law.An annual register published in 1772 goes into greater detail explaining the details of the regal ruling.“They said that the opinion of 10 judges, in the year 1717, was a confirmation of the legality of this prerogative, which admitted the King’s right to the care of the marriage and education of the children of the royal family; and that the late opinion acknowledges, that the King had the care of the royal children and grandchildren, and the presumptive heir to the crown…”, the register outlines.While the law indicates that the Queen legally has custody of her great-grandchildren, which also includes the children of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Koenig doesn’t believe that she would ever feel the need to act upon it.“I would doubt that the Queen would interfere. [It’s] more of a formality,” she says.“I think the Queen has let her children raise their kids.”Last year, it was revealed that a law that states that only sons can inherit hereditary peerages was being challenged in the European Court of Human Rights.If the law were to be changed, this would mean that a daughter born to Prince Harry and Meghan would inherit a royal title, whereas she wouldn’t have been granted one before.“Under the current system, any child of the Duke and Duchess won’t automatically have a royal title,” royal commentator Richard Fitzwilliams explained to The Independent.“The peerage, unlike the succession to the crown, favours males and if they have only daughters, the title of Sussex could die out as it did before."