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Royal Family Is ‘Starting Fresh’ Ahead of Annual Christmas Celebration

Jacob Scott

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‘Tis the season! As the holidays are fast approaching, the royal family is getting ready for a long overdue reunion to ring in the new year.

“The Cambridges are spending Christmas with the Queen at Sandringham. It’s going to be a big family affair,” a source exclusively tells Us Weekly, adding that “George, Charlotte and Louis are absolutely delighted to be seeing their great grandmother in person again.”

The annual holiday plans changed in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, which meant that Queen Elizabeth II‘s usual festivities at Sandringham Estate and her holiday party at Buckingham Palace were both canceled.

Queen Elizabeth II talks with Prince William, Prince William and Catherine Duchess of Cambridge in London on December 8, 2020. Glyn Kirk/WPA Pool/Shutterstock

“Having considered all the appropriate advice, The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh have decided that this year they will spend Christmas quietly in Windsor,” a Buckingham Palace spokesperson said in December 2020. The couple originally started isolating at Windsor Castle in March 2020 amid the COVID-19 outbreak. Prince Philip died earlier this year at the age of 99.

The queen will be joined by Prince William and Duchess Kate, who share Prince George, 8, Princess Charlotte, 6, and Prince Louis, 3. Their children have “spent hours picking out their own festive gifts for [the queen], and Charlotte and George made her paintings of The Christmas Story in art class at school.”

The insider also notes that this year’s celebration comes after many ups and downs.

“[William and Kate] are looking forward to starting fresh in the New Year. We’ll be seeing a transition of responsibility — they’re taking on additional charity work, attending more events and making appearances,” the source says. “There’s even a royal tour in the works, and of course they’re heavily involved in the Platinum Jubilee.”

Prince William and Catherine Duchess of Cambridge with their three children Prince George (right), Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis. Kensington Palace/PA/WPA Pool/Shutterstock

The pair’s plans come after they faced a major rift in their relationship with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. The Sussexes made headlines when they announced their plans to step down as senior royals in January 2020. Following their decision to permanently leave their royal duties, Meghan, 40, and Harry, 37, addressed the issues they faced during a CBS tell-all.

During the March interview, the former actress revealed how her complicated relationship with the Duchess of Cambridge, 39, was made worse by the U.K. press, saying, “If you love me, you don’t have to hate her. And if you love her, you don’t have to hate me.”

Meghan also claimed that the report that she made Kate cry before her 2018 wedding ceremony was false.

“The reverse happened. … A few days before the wedding she was upset about flower girl dresses and it made me cry. It really hurt my feelings,” the Suits alum noted. “It was a really hard week of the wedding. And she was upset about something, but she owned it, and she apologized. And she brought me flowers and a note, apologizing.”

At the time, another source told Us that Kate “feels that there was a misunderstanding” when it came to her interactions with Meghan.

Duchess Kate, Prince William, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Shutterstock

“They were never that close, but the reason they’re not speaking is because of the rift between Prince Harry and Prince William,” a source detailed. “Harry and William have communicated sparingly over the last year, but none of their communications have been friendly in quite some time. There is real animosity that the brothers have toward one another, and that has spilled over to Meghan and Kate’s relationship, making it very hard for them to be friends or even friendly.”

Following the June birth of Meghan and Harry’s second child, daughter Lili, a third source revealed that Kate has been making attempts to mend fences.

“Kate has been reaching out to Meghan a lot more since [Lilibet] was born, she’s sending [notes and] gifts and trying to build up a relationship,” an insider shared. “The firm has been instructing staffers to reach out more to Harry and Meghan to get them to soften a bit.”

William, 39, and Kate have recently offered a glimpse at how they are ringing in the holidays with their annual Christmas card.

“Delighted to share a new image of the family, which features on this year’s Christmas card,” they captioned the family photo via Instagram on Friday, December 10.

With reporting by Travis Cronin

Listen to the Royally Us podcast for everything you want to know about our favorite family across the pond.

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‘Moon Knight’ Took Marvel in a Different Orbit, but It Didn’t Rise to the Occasion

Jacob Scott

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Before anyone writes that off as an anomaly, “Eternals” tackled a similar introduction of a dense mythology on the bigger screen, with equally mixed results. It’s a reminder that while film-goers have had more than a decade to get to know characters like Iron Man, Captain America and Thor, introducing some of these lesser-known heroes can pose a more formidable challenge beyond catering to the most ardent fans.
For Marvel, there are warning signs in that, since “Moon Knight” will be followed by several series based on second-tier characters, although the next two on the horizon, “Ms. Marvel” (which is due in June) and “She-Hulk,” at least have the benefit of sharing franchises and name recognition with existing Avengers.
Ultimately, “Moon Knight’s” murky storytelling appeared to squander its principal assets, which included the cool look of the character — a costume that was too seldom used — and the presence of Isaac, who possesses additional genre credentials via the “Star Wars” sequels.

Taking its time in peeling back the layers of the character’s complicated backstory, “Moon Knight” took a weird plunge into the Egyptian mythology behind it, in ways that became increasingly confounding and surreal.

By the time the protagonist’s two halves, Steven Grant and Marc Spector, wound up in a psychiatric hospital talking to an anthropomorphic hippo in the penultimate chapter, the question wasn’t so much being able to keep up with the story as whether bothering to do so was worth the effort.

The sixth and final episode brought the plot to a messy close, seeking to stop the goddess Ammit from proceeding to “purify the souls of Cairo, and then the world.” In the customary credit sequence, the producers capped that off by introducing a third personality, Jake Lockley, also rooted in the comics. While that seemingly spelled the end for the show’s villain (Ethan Hawke), the finish — giving the god Khonshu the protégé he sought — paved the way for further adventures should Marvel so choose.

That last twist might be cause for celebration in narrower confines of the Marvel fan universe, but “Moon Knight” too often felt like it was one long Easter-egg sequence, conspicuously preaching to that choir.

Granted, Marvel has made clear that Disney+ offers the chance to explore different kinds of stories, but “Moon Knight” feels at best like a quirky showcase for Isaac and at worst a failed experiment in terms of execution and tone.

That doesn’t mean this “Moon” won’t somehow rise again, if the closely held streaming data justifies it. But the promise that surrounded this property has faded, providing further evidence that even Marvel isn’t immune from setbacks as it moves into its next phase.

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Start-up Pony.ai says it’s the first self-driving company to get a taxi license in China

Jacob Scott

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Autonomous driving start-up Pony.ai can collect fares for robotaxi rides in parts of two major Chinese cities as of Sunday.

Pony.ai handout

BEIJING — Self-driving start-up Pony.ai announced Sunday it received a taxi license, the first of its kind in China.

The license allows Pony.ai to operate 100 self-driving cars as traditional taxis in the Nansha district of the southern city of Guangzhou, the company said.

The Chinese start-up, which is backed by Toyota, received approval from Beijing city late last year to charge fees to operate a commercial robotaxi business in a suburban district of the city. It is not the same as a taxi licence.

Baidu’s Apollo Go also received approval in the same Beijing district last year.

Pony.ai was valued at $8.5 billion in early March. The company said its Nansha taxi license required 24 months of autonomous driving testing in China and/or other countries, and no involvement in any active liability traffic accidents, among other factors.

The start-up said it plans to launch commercial robotaxi businesses in two other large Chinese cities next year. The company is already testing self-driving cars in those cities and in California. 

Robotaxis in China currently have a human driver present for safety.

— CNBC’s Arjun Kharpal contributed to this report.

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How to watch Timberwolves vs. Grizzlies: TV channel, NBA live stream info, start time

Jacob Scott

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Who’s Playing

Memphis @ Minnesota

Current Records: Memphis 2-1; Minnesota 1-2

What to Know

The Memphis Grizzlies’ road trip will continue as they head to Target Center at 10 p.m. ET this past Saturday to face off against the Minnesota Timberwolves. Memphis will be strutting in after a win while Minnesota will be stumbling in from a loss.

The Grizzlies are hoping for another victory. They beat the Timberwolves 104-95 this past Thursday. The victory came about thanks to a strong surge after the first quarter to overcome a 39-21 deficit. Memphis’ success was spearheaded by the efforts of power forward Brandon Clarke, who had 20 points in addition to eight rebounds, and shooting guard Desmond Bane, who shot 7-for-15 from beyond the arc and finished with 26 points and six boards.

Barring any buzzer beaters, Memphis is expected to win a tight contest. They might be worth taking a chance on against the spread as they are currently on a two-game streak of ATS wins.

Memphis’ win brought them up to 2-1 while the Timberwolves’ defeat pulled them down to a reciprocal 1-2. A couple offensive stats to keep in the back of your head while watching: The Grizzlies come into the game boasting the second most points per game in the league at 115.6. But Minnesota is even better: they rank first in the league when it comes to points per game, with 115.9 on average. Tune in for what’s sure to be a high-scoring contest.

How To Watch

When: Saturday at 10 p.m. ET Where: Target Center — Minneapolis, Minnesota TV: ESPN Online streaming: fuboTV (Try for free. Regional restrictions may apply.) Follow: CBS Sports App Ticket Cost: $76.96

Odds

The Grizzlies are a slight 2.5-point favorite against the Timberwolves, according to the latest NBA odds.

The oddsmakers had a good feel for the line for this one, as the game opened with the Grizzlies as a 3-point favorite.

Over/Under: -110

See NBA picks for every single game, including this one, from SportsLine’s advanced computer model. Get picks now.

Series History

Memphis have won 19 out of their last 28 games against Minnesota.

Apr 21, 2022 – Memphis 104 vs. Minnesota 95 Apr 19, 2022 – Memphis 124 vs. Minnesota 96 Apr 16, 2022 – Minnesota 130 vs. Memphis 117 Feb 24, 2022 – Minnesota 119 vs. Memphis 114 Jan 13, 2022 – Memphis 116 vs. Minnesota 108 Nov 20, 2021 – Minnesota 138 vs. Memphis 95 Nov 08, 2021 – Memphis 125 vs. Minnesota 118 May 05, 2021 – Memphis 139 vs. Minnesota 135 Apr 02, 2021 – Memphis 120 vs. Minnesota 108 Jan 13, 2021 – Memphis 118 vs. Minnesota 107 Jan 07, 2020 – Memphis 119 vs. Minnesota 112 Dec 01, 2019 – Memphis 115 vs. Minnesota 107 Nov 06, 2019 – Memphis 137 vs. Minnesota 121 Mar 23, 2019 – Minnesota 112 vs. Memphis 99 Feb 05, 2019 – Memphis 108 vs. Minnesota 106 Jan 30, 2019 – Minnesota 99 vs. Memphis 97 Nov 18, 2018 – Memphis 100 vs. Minnesota 87 Apr 09, 2018 – Minnesota 113 vs. Memphis 94 Mar 26, 2018 – Memphis 101 vs. Minnesota 93 Dec 04, 2017 – Memphis 95 vs. Minnesota 92 Feb 04, 2017 – Memphis 107 vs. Minnesota 99 Nov 19, 2016 – Memphis 93 vs. Minnesota 71 Nov 01, 2016 – Minnesota 116 vs. Memphis 80 Oct 26, 2016 – Memphis 102 vs. Minnesota 98 Mar 16, 2016 – Minnesota 114 vs. Memphis 108 Feb 19, 2016 – Memphis 109 vs. Minnesota 104 Jan 23, 2016 – Minnesota 106 vs. Memphis 101 Nov 15, 2015 – Memphis 114 vs. Minnesota 106

Injury Report for Minnesota

No Injury Information

Injury Report for Memphis

Dillon Brooks: Game-Time Decision (Foot) Santi Aldama: Out (Knee) Killian Tillie: Out (Knee)

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