If only the country could always be as united as it was today for the royal wedding

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Saturday 19 May 2018 16:27 BST
What a pity we are not always able to be of one thought, and pull together like this
What a pity we are not always able to be of one thought, and pull together like this (AFP/Getty)

The marriage of Meghan and Harry was a truly wonderful event, not just because two people deeply in love were married, but because of the effect it had on the rest of the country.

The television revealed the happiness and joy of the thousands who lined the streets and celebrated virtually around the world. Everyone of one state of mind wishing the couple love and happiness and enjoying the moment.

What a pity we are not always able to be of one thought and pull together, without a politician in sight. No egos, no personal vendettas, no private crusades, just great joy as a couple in love were married.

If only we could live our daily lives in such a pleasant manner, how enjoyable life would be – but that is a fairy tale and far from reality.

Colin Bower

I would like to say on record how happy I am for Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Sussex, that she had so little difficulty with British immigration controls.

Like Prince Harry, I too married a foreign lady. We moved to the UK in 2009 when my wife had a two-year visa to visit. As the time ran out, we applied for her to have permanent residence – we had a house in England and she had passed the citizenship test. So we sent off the £865 and her passport with our application for her residency.

We got a reply a few weeks later to say that she first had to apply for permission to stay, something which was not made clear on the Home Office website, nor on any of the literature. And, sorry, the fee is not returnable.

We then applied for another two-year temporary visa, of the type she had had several times. No, that is not possible, we were told. The application must be made from her home country, in this case, the Philippines. So, she went back to Manila and reapplied for another two-year visa. My wife then came back to the UK and we made another £865 application, this time for permission to stay.

After a week or two, my wife got word that her mother had been taken seriously ill in Manila and she needed her daughter. My wife contacted the Home Office to reclaim her passport. The Home Office told her that by reclaiming her passport, even for an emergency, her application for residency would now go to the bottom of the pile and the fee would not be returned. They promised that the passport would be returned within two weeks.

When it had not appeared inside the two weeks, she had to get a one-time travel document from the Philippine Embassy in London so that she could return to her home country and her sick mother. When her passport was returned to our UK address after a month, I immediately sent it by secure courier to her in Manila.

She then took her passport to the British Embassy in Manila who told her that she would not, in any case, ever be able to get any sort of visa to travel to the UK because she had been turned down in her residency application. This left us separated: the only way we could continue our married life would be for me to sell up in England and move to the Philippines, which I did.

I am pleased to say that my host country has been welcoming and friendly. The cost of living is low, although the expected run on the pound after Brexit is a constant worry, but healthcare is affordable and good. I even have a part-time teaching job in a local college.

I am just wondering though, exactly why it was so easy for Meghan Markle to slip through the vindictive, expensive, Kafkaesque obstacle course erected by the immigration officials at the Home Office, when it is so exasperatingly difficult for the rest of us?

Chris Payne

Is the choice of “Greensleeves” by the organisers of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding, composed (according to popular legend) by Henry VIII, a Freudian slip that they suspect it will all end in tears?

Could have been worse – they could have chosen “The Rains of Castamere” from Game Of Thrones’s now infamous “Red Wedding”.

Mark Boyle

Surely if you walk from the church door towards the altar, you are walking “up” the aisle. When the deed is done, you go “down” (hopefully not a metaphor for later life). It can’t be “down” both ways, unless you’re Mr Escher.

Trevor Roberts
London SE19

A Brexit Ball in the making?

At a Brexit briefing for expats, held at the British Embassy in Vienna, the suggestion was made that on 29 March next year a Brexit Ball should be held in the ambassador’s palatial residence (which has its own ballroom).

The chargé d’affaires responded that London’s instructions would be followed regarding such events. Would the prime minister save the last waltz for me?

Dr John Doherty
Vienna, Austria

Clearly leaving the EU will be a disaster for our environmental policies

As the UK government appears incapable of complying with current EU emissions regulations, what hope is there for necessary standards to be maintained post-Brexit?

Without the incentive provided by the threat of financial penalties, and with the current push to exploit more shale gas, it seems likely that our political leaders will exploit the situation to cut back commitments to tackle pollution and hand ever more control to their greedy commercial supporters.

Yet another example of the consequences of ditching the EU a just at a time when poor planet earth needs our care more than ever.

Steve Edmondson

We cannot trust a UN probe to have any impact on the Arab-Israeli conflict

The UN war crimes probe into the Gaza events, while commendable, will do nothing to address the root causes of the Arab-Israeli conflict: Israel’s occupation; the right of refugees to return; the dominance of unilateralism and Israeli attempts to Judaise Jerusalem.

Also, the Hashemites’ custodianship of Muslim and Christian holy shrines in Jerusalem is a solemn, non-negotiable historic and legal obligation to preserve Jerusalem’s Arab, Islamic and Christian identity.

Moreover, the UN probe will disappear into oblivion like its predecessor, the Goldstone report. It is therefore high time for the international community to grasp the salient fact that our region will never enjoy the fruits of peace and security until the Arab-Israeli imbroglio is being resolved in accordance with international humanitarian law, UN resolutions and global consensus.

Dr Munjed Farid Al Qutob
London NW2

New gambling rules will be good for TV watchers too

If the proposed changes to fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBT) payouts do result in a drop in gambling companies’ profits, would I be alone in hoping for an end to their mindless TV adverts, especially Ray Winstone’s?

John Schluter

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