Even for British republicans, the news that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle (aka the Duke and Duchess of Sussex) were planning to step back from the royal family was striking. The Duke has battled with the press for his entire adult life and unfair scrutiny (often accompanied by racist overtones) of his wife has led the couple to step back and spend part of their time in Canada. The decision prompted apoplexy from the same people who helped to force the Sussexes out and – whatever your opinion on the importance of a hereditary, mainly symbolic monarchy – the fallout for the Windsors is undoubtedly fascinating. In this week’s big story, Tim Adams looks at a right-royal decoupling; Jim Waterson analyses the influence of the media on the decision; and Marina Hyde wonders if the comparisons to the abdication crisis may be … a bit much.
The admission by Iran that it was responsible for the downing of Ukraine International Airlines flight 752 brought ordinary Iranians back on to the streets. Coming just days after hundreds of thousands across the country had publicly mourned the killing of Qassem Suleimani, the protests followed huge demonstrations against the regime in November that ended in major bloodshed. Martin Chulov reports on the unexpected ways in which Suleimani’s death is playing out in the country, and Michael Safi reports on the state’s response to these latest protests.
We also feature a report from Shaun Walker on how the crash is playing out in a country used to being caught in the crosshairs of other countries’ problems. Harriet Sherwood meets a British Holocaust survivor who is returning to Auschwitz for likely the final time for this month’s commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the camp’s liberation and Ed Pilkington looks at how the in-built Republican advantage in the US electoral college could help Trump win the presidency with a minority of votes for a second time.
Finally, we have an extraordinary story from the cloisters of Oxford, where a missing fragment of the world’s oldest Bible has caused ripples in the world of papyrology. Charlotte Higgins reports on a case worthy of Inspector Morse.