Their whirlwind romance and wedding wreaked havoc not only among their families, but at the highest political levels in Britain and southern Africa, where Seretse’s own Bechuanaland, now Botswana, was a longtime protectorate under British imperial rule.
Tahlia, who is based in Johannesburg studying fashion, recalled her ‘completely English’ grandmother, who lived a mile from where and her brother, Kaedi, pictured, 23, grew up
Since Ruth’s death in 2002, Tahlia, pictured, has taken inspiration from her ‘grace under fire’ survival to find the strength to leave a troubled relationship. She told MailOnline: ‘My grandmother came from a very ordinary background, but her life was far from ordinary from the moment she had met my grandfather.’
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‘My grandmother came from a very ordinary background, but her life was far from ordinary from the moment she had met my grandfather,’ said Tahlia, who met the film’s A-list stars at its London premiere last month.
They did not judge people by their skin complexions or their religions or details, they were totally accepting.
Seretse, or ‘Gramps’ as Tahlia calls him, died of cancer in 1980 with Ruth nursing him on their farm in Botswana. Pictured: Tahlia with family including her uncle, left, Ian, the president
After falling in love and marrying, the couple faced years of hostility on all fronts – from the government in London that denied them a church wedding and the strict elders back in Seretse’s tribal lands, who refused to accept a white queen.
Big screen: Now their love story which thrived despite widespread opposition to inter-racial marriage has been turned into a blockbuster film starring Rosamund Pike and David Oyelowo
Love story: Tahlia Khama, pictured, describes the love story of her British typist grandmother who fell for African king Seretse Khama in London in the 1940s. Their controversial union split their families and sent political, social and racial shockwaves around the world
Five years after his return to Africa and a frustrating foray into farming, Seretse made a bold bid for power, getting elected as first Prime Minister of Bechuanaland, and then Botswana’s first President following independence in 1966.
Published: 04:22 EST, 4 November 2016 | Updated: 06:24 EST, 4 November 2016
1970s – Under his stewardship, Botswana is slowly transformed from one of Africa’s poorest countries to a rare beacon of economic prosperity with real-term growth and progress fighting corruption and promoting accountability.
Yet watching the film for a second time with a packed audience who swooned at its romance, laughed at its wry humour and cheered its moments of triumph, it struck me that, for all its progressive importance, this is first and foremost an impressively crowd-pleasing piece of intelligent screen entertainment. Its true-life tale of unity in the face of cultural apartheid and political expediency remains as relevant as ever in these divided times, but it is Asante’s talent for making the personal political – and vice versa – that is the real story here. Her position as one of the UKs most accessibly agitating film-makers is confirmed.
EXCLUSIVE – ‘My white gran and black ‘Gramps’ were outcasts… but their marriage set me free’: Stunning granddaughter reveals true love story of British typist who fell for African king in new Rosamund Pike filmTahlia Khama is granddaughter of British typist Ruth Williams and African king Seretse Khama who fell in love in London in 1940sTheir controversial relationship split their families and sent political, social and racial shockwaves around the world Ruth was disowned by her father, Seretse lost his claim to the crown and they were exiled to Britain but he still became first president of Botswana They had four children and stayed happily married until he died in 1980Ruth remained true to her British roots, wearing neat blouses and skirts and inviting family to her African farm for tea and scones every SundayTahlia says her grandparents’ love has inspired her to marry who she wants and gave her the strength to leave a troubled relationshipTheir story has been turned into big budget film A United Kingdom starring Rosamund Pike and David Oyelowo
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‘Until her last breath my grandmother wore a necklace with my grandfather’s face on a coin around her neck. What they shared is what I base my own views about love on. I hope that one day I may aspire to have what they had,’ she revealed from her home in Johannesburg.
‘I found it very moving as it was the demonstration of acceptance of her as one of them,’ Tahlia, a trained make-up artist, explained. ‘They had written a song for her that they wanted to sing, dedicating it to her and welcoming her to the tribe. It must have meant a lot to her.’
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‘She gave me a lot. She only had one granddaughter, and I now feel it is up to me to make sure my life is led in a way that is worthy of that legacy.’
The couple had four children, including Tahlia’s father Tshekedi – a government minister – and the current president, Ian Khama. Ruth became Lady Khama after her husband was knighted by the Queen.
“I want to make pieces of entertainment and art that mean something,” Asante recently told the BBC while musing upon her forthcoming film, Where Hands Touch, a longstanding passion project about a relationship between a bi-racial girl and a Hitler Youth boy in 1930s Berlin. “I want to make movies that leave some kind of mark on you.” With A United Kingdom she has done just that.
Ruth and Seretse Khama, above with their two eldest children, met at a dance in London and their union wreaked havoc not only among their families, but at the highest political levels in Britain and southern Africa
‘She spoke about him all the time, and he was very much part of my growing up,’ Tahlia recalled.
When Seretse proposes, having duly explained his true identity, Ruth imagines a new life away from the misty drizzle of London, a life that, she assures her fiance, will be taken “moment by moment – together”. But when the news of this high-profile black-and-white union reaches neighbouring South Africa, whose National party is busy enshrining apartheid in law, the cash-strapped British authorities move first to forbid and then to undermine the marriage, scared of alienating their supplier of cheap gold and uranium. Seretse’s regent uncle, Tshekedi Khama (Vusi Kunene), also refuses to countenance a white queen and a rift develops that threatens to tear apart more than just love.
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1947 – Ruth Williams, 24, a secretary at Lloyd’s of London, meets Seretse Khama, 26, a law student studying law at the Temple after a year at Balliol College, Oxford. They met at a dance organised by the London Missionary Society.
‘A wholly believable bond’: Rosamund Pike and David Oyelowo in A United Kingdom. Photograph: Pathe UK
1948 – After becoming engaged, they face occasional abuse in London where the sight of mixed-race couples was still a rarity. Under pressure from tribal elders who could not envisage a white woman rising to the position of `mother of the nation’, the British government pressure the Church of England into denying them a church wedding. A registry office wedding is hurried through instead.
1961 – Giving up his claim to tribal chieftainship Seretse embraces electoral politics instead, founding the Bechuanaland Democratic Party.
Five years after returning to Botswana, Seretse moved into politics and pushed for independence in 1966 in a victory which led him to become Botswana’s first President. Pictured: Tahlia as a child with her father and brother
1949 – The couple move to Bechuanaland where Seretse’s uncle, Tshekedi, himself a pretender to the tribal chieftancy, sought to have the wedding annulled. At a public meeting of his subjects, thousands voice their support for Seretse and Ruth, vanquishing Tshekedi.
‘They really supported one another through thick and thin – they were a team’ Tahlia said, sharing intimate family photographs.
‘She was always very elegant and spoke very properly, often correcting our grammar!’ she said.
In the film, the tumultuous events of the unfolding love story move between the bleak grey of postwar Britain and the raw, burned-earth landscapes of Africa, chronicling the couple’s impenetrable bond in the face of vicious, racist plots to break it, which came from both sides of the equator.
The student, who is studying fashion and merchandising, fondly recalled her ‘completely English to the end’ grandmother, who spent the remainder of her life on her African farm, just a mile from where Tahlia and her 23 year-old brother, Kaedi, grew up.
‘Ruth’s heart was very much with him all her life, perhaps even more so after his death. I felt I knew him just because I heard so much about him, the love she had for him made me feel like he was part of our every day life.
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Tahlia says her grandparents’ love has inspired her: ‘I feel Ruth has given me a special pair of goggles to guide me through life, I still feel close to her’. Pictured: With her mother Thea
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When Tahlia Khama’s grandparents met and fell in love, it was a union that split their families and sent political, social and racial shockwaves around the world.
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‘It has allowed us to grow up in a more united and accepting society. As a family we look up to them and they inspire us in many aspects of life and with our relationships with people.’
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‘We went over to her house for scones and tea every Sunday. It was always a typically British occasion and she was always just a lovely loving grandmother to us.
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‘My grandparents changed a lot in terms of providing interracial couples with the opportunity to feel ‘free’,’ the fashion student told MailOnline in a candid interview.
Shunned: Ruth, pictured with Tahila, lost her job and was cut off by her father, a retired captain in the Indian Army, over her choice of husband. Not long after the couple moved to Africa, the British colonial authorities banished them back to Britain to live in exile
Tahlia’s father, Tshekedi, above with wife and children, is now a minister in the government of President Ian Khama, her uncle – who was the first of three boys born to Seretse and Ruth
NYPD said a woman in Queens fought off man with a well-placed bite Emotional short Christmas film explores the gift of love Mum films huge rat in kitchen of house ‘taken over’ by rodents Dan Dotson reveals man found £5.
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Tahlia’s favourite scene in ‘A United Kingdom’ recreates the moment when the women of her grandfather’s Serowe tribe gather to finally accept Ruth as one of their own, and dedicate a song to her.
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:: A United Kingdom opens in the UK on general release on November 25
After six years living and working in London in the 1950s, Ruth, pictured with her grandson Kaedi, and her husband were given leave to return to Africa – after Seretse’s tribe sent a telegram to the Queen to ‘send us our real Chief – the man born our Chief’
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.. before calling herself ‘an inspiration to all’
1965 – In elections held as a prelude to independence, Seretse wins and is elected Prime Minister.
As with 2014’s superb Belle, A United Kingdom depicts a world in flux, and once again Asante manages to dramatise global upheavals through intimate personal observations – Pike’s anxious yet resilient smile (not to mention her hilarious regal wave); Oyelowo’s defiant boxer stance and commanding vocal manner.
‘The one thing that got me out of that relationship was to compare it to what my grandparents had,’ she revealed. ‘I feel Ruth has given me a special pair of goggles to guide me through life, I still feel close to her.
Since Ruth’s death in 2002, Tahlia has taken inspiration from her ‘grace under fire’ style of survival to navigate her own personal challenges. And when she found herself in ‘an abusive relationship’ in recent years, Tahlia drew on her grandparents’ love story to summon the strength to leave.
DON’T MISS Heidi Klum, 45, embraces her shirtless beau Tom Kaulitz, 29, in sweet sunset snap Heidi is seemingly spending Thanksgiving on a beach Hugh Jackman vows Wolverine WILL return… but he rules out working with ‘relentless’ Ryan Reynolds for Deadpool crossover movie Good news for fans Meghan is named as 2018’s third most powerful fashion influencer behind Kylie Jenner and sister Kim Kardashian – while Kate drops OUT of the top 10 Sarah Silverman, 47, looks stylish in a corduroy skirt as she joins her co-star John C.
Reilly, 53, at Ralph Breaks The Internet premiere in Dublin Gwyneth Paltrow says daughter Apple, 14, has her eyes on running her company Goop… and reveals why she wrote ‘TMI’ on Hailey Bieber’s post Kat Von D packs on VERY amorous PDA with her husband Rafael Reyes after lunch.
.. as heavily pregnant star nears her imminent due date Victoria Beckham coordinates with son Brooklyn as the pair don stylish trouser suits to join David for family dinner in London Family fun Irina Shayk and Bradley Cooper step out with baby daughter Lea for Thanksgiving in LA .
…amid claims they’ve been ‘miserable for months’ Alicia Silverstone reaches a divorce settlement with ex Christopher Jarecki… after appointing a private judge to help settle their issues Cara Delevingne is casually chic as she parties with Lady Mary Charteris after attending Dynamo’s speakeasy magic show The Abandoned Room Tori Spelling, 45, shocks fans by proving all is well between husband Dean McDermott and his first son Jack, 20.
.. after ugly fight Real Housewives of New Jersey: Teresa Giudice and Melissa Gorga’s family feud rages as ladies head to Oklahoma Tension is simmering Madison Beer proves she’s in excellent shape as she slips into string bikini in Miami.
.. after releasing Hurts Like Hell music video featuring Offset Ocean’s Eight director Gary Ross files for divorce from longtime wife Allison Thomas The Oscar-nominated director on Wednesday submitted court papers Tara Reid showcases her chic sense of style in velvet leggings and a fluffy shoulder wrap as she steps out for dinner at LA hotspot American Pie star Taylor Lautner hilariously reveals Kendall Jenner was Jacob Black’s hair inspiration as he celebrates Twilight’s 10 year anniversary ‘This is character assassination’: Kelly Dodd says she won’t return to RHOC after Vicki Gunvalson accused her of doing cocaine Brody Jenner and wife Kaitlynn cuddle up during their wildfire relief benefit in Santa Monica Brody and Kaitlynn gave back to their community Look away, Chris Hemsworth: Tidelands’ love interest of Elsa Pataky, 42, revealed as actor Aaron Jakubenko, 29.
.. and he’s just as hunky as Thor! In demand! Cate Blanchett is set to star in a London stage play and tickets will be available by ballot only A-list actor will take to the stage in London Diane Kruger posts loving tribute to boyfriend Norman Reedus weeks after giving birth: ‘I count my lucky stars to have met you’ Jonathan Rhys Meyers looks happy as he serves Thanksgiving dinner to the homeless at shelter in Los Angeles Charitable Kate Beckinsale reveals glue-in hair extensions after sweaty pre-Thanksgiving workout Also pampered herself with an EGF facial Kelly Ripa reveals her eldest children are ‘disgusted’ by her PDA with Mark Consuelos.
.. but youngest son Joaquin finds it endearing Kylie Jenner teases more shots from her new calendar along with glimpses of her Macy’s fall denim collection Kylie Jenner revealed even more new snaps Lucy Hale is biker chic in a leather jacket as she goes grocery shopping and buys bouquets Thanksgiving week Jeff Goldblum hits No.
1 on Billboard’s Jazz charts with debut album The Capitol Studios Sessions The star had celeb ppals contribute Ashley Greene’s husband Paul Khoury feeds her chips while shopping for Thanksgiving goodies Newlywed life suits the 31-year-old Twilight alum Elsa Hosk flaunts chiseled bikini body in turquoise swimsuit as she frolics at Tulum beach Victoria’s Secret Angel was enjoying the beach Bring It On! Ariana Grande wears cheerleader costume for Thank U, Next as she pays homage to her favorite movie – the 2000 hit Bring It On Minnie Driver joins Pharrell and other stars to help the LA Mission host a Thanksgiving meal for the homeless Minnie joined Pharrell Williams David Arquette says he’s ‘lucky to be alive’ following bloody wrestling death match and hospitalization Arquette has dabbled in pro wrestling Mandy Moore catches thief stealing packages from her driveway on camera.
.. and puts FedEx on blast for ‘not even trying’ to deliver them Chrissy Teigen preps her Thanksgiving feast as other celebs get festive for the fall holiday ‘Anyone in the LA area need gravy?’ she asked Nicki Minaj cancels Shanghai concert after discovering music festival was a giant ‘scam’.
.. and says she will return with ‘a better partner’ Tupac Shakur’s estate teases mysterious ‘1998’ release coinciding with 20th anniversary of Greatest Hits album ‘I’m not proud of it – I hurt so many people’: Vanderpump Rules’ Kristen Doute says she regrets THAT romp with Jax Taylor on boyfriend Tom Sandoval’s couch ‘I had your album’: Justin Bieber responds to Aaron Carter’s complaint that younger stars ‘have NEVER paid’ homage to him Justin was a fan Kate Hudson wishes mom Goldie Hawn happy birthday as she prepares to host 30 for Thanksgiving Kate is not letting her newborn slow her down Michelle Obama’s wildly popular ‘Becoming’ memoir, half of a $65million dollar publishing deal with Barack, sells 1.
4million copies in just ONE WEEK Inside Hugh Hefner’s boudoir: Playboy boss’s tacky trinkets go up for sale including… a fishnet stockings lamp, and an ENTIRE wall of photos of himself Tyrese Gibson’s ex-wife Norma Gibson ‘refuses to work’ and claims ‘living life’ is her job after actor requests child care receipts Legal battle continues Real Housewives Of Dallas: LeeAnne Locken convinces Brandi Redmond she’s hacked her phone as payback for their Copenhagen fight Reese Witherspoon stays true to her southern roots as she makes biscuits ahead of Thanksgiving She grew up in Nashville and knows her cuisine Naomi Campbell is super chic in black leather tassel skirt and shades as she enjoys dinner date in London Model was keen to enjoy some African cuisine Hilary Duff enjoys a rare solo outing in LA to pick up some juice before daughter Banks’ first Thanksgiving Hilary had mom life under control Brad Pitt denies he is to blame for the deteriorating homes built for Hurricane Katrina victims and calls for claims against him to be dismissed Jessica Alba is elegant in autumnal tones as the actress does some early Christmas shopping at Target Jessica seemed to be ahead of the curve Busy Philipps flashes ‘accidental under boob’ in bikini photo from her Disney Cruise vacation Busy was showing some skin and taking conference calls Wizards of Waverly Place’s David Henrie sentenced to 2 years probation for loaded gun arrest at LAX Gun fan avoided jail by pleading no contest Handmaid’s Tale star Yvonne Strahovski looks radiant in a chic black frock and matching trench as she attends red carpet event just a month after giving birth Real World: New Orleans star Danny Roberts, 41, reveals he has been HIV positive for SEVEN YEARS: ‘I beat myself up for my own bigotry’ Arnold Schwarzenegger serves hardworking California firefighters breakfast from food truck as he tours devastation from blaze Piers Morgan gets into Twitter spat with Ariana Grande and her mother as he slams singer for using ‘nudity to sell records’ amid row over Little Mix pic ‘He marched straight past him!’ Chris Hemsworth ‘was snubbed TWICE by Leonardo DiCaprio in Japan’, says his personal trainer Okurrr! Kim Kardashian’s close friend and makeup artist Mario Dedivanovic says he’s been using Cardi B’s catchphrase since LONG before the rapper ‘You don’t expect that in this business’: Stars Wars actor Ben Mendelsohn, 49, reveals he was forced to wash dishes only 10 years ago during a career slump Jessica Simpson says her kids ‘hugged every stuffed animal’ after returning home from wildfire evacuation They fled her palatial Calabasas abode Alessandra Ambrosio and new boyfriend Nicolo Oddi take off for the Thanksgiving holiday on a private jet Alessandra is getting ready for the holiday Hilary Duff posts heart-melting video of baby daughter Banks sneezing as she continues to document life as new mom-of-two Kylie Jenner party girl Tammy Hembrow shows off her incredible figure in a blue swimsuit after flaunting her famous derriere in a G-string on the beach Onward and upward! Venus Williams flashes a big smile as she visits Empire State during lighting after reaching a settlement in wrongful death lawsuit Michael Avenatti will NOT be charged with a felony over his Ocean’s 8 lover’s claims of abuse but still faces misdemeanor domestic violence charges Eva Mendes and Ryan Gosling have their hands full as they treat daughters Esmeralda and Amada to an ice cream outing in Los Angeles Hilary Swank reveals how caring for her ailing father prepared her to play woman aiding ill mother in new film What They Had Could be in for an Oscar Lauryn Hill apologizes to fans after turning up for Paris gig two hours late and performing for 30 minutes French fans were furious on Tuesday Camilla and the catwalk! Duchess of Cornwall rubs shoulders with designer Julien Macdonald as she attends his charity fashion show in London Bebe Rexha showcases her sartorial flair in THREE glam ensembles as she visits radio studios on her promotional trail in Paris Earned her style stripes Tekashi 6ix9ine released from prison just days after grand jury indicted rapper for his alleged involvement in acts of murder, robbery, extortion ‘I’m human!’ Michael B Jordon admits he has ‘hooked up’ with women after messaging them on Instagram – as he opens up about his dating struggles Training like an Angel! Sylvia Jeffreys shares the secret to her fantastic figure during a Victoria’s Secret model-approved workout in Bondi Allison Mack gets restraining order on ‘obsessed fan,’ 53, seen outside her parents’ home while she is on house arrest in NXIVM sex trafficking case Former President Barack Obama stops in a greater Chicago food shelter and helps prepare Thanksgiving meals ahead of the holiday Another tragedy hits pop act LFO as singer Devin Lima dies from cancer at age 41.
..eight years after bandmate Rich Cronin lost battle with leukemia Nicole Kidman, 51, exudes elegance in beaded top at BAFTA event dedicated to her career… after dishing details of love life with ex-husband Tom Cruise Lili Reinhart shares sweet snap of boyfriend Cole Sprouse with family dog as Riverdale stars spend Thanksgiving at her home A cute couple Demi Rose accentuates her curvaceous physique in strapless Grecian gown with sizzling thigh-high slit at House of CB dinner in Mayfair ‘Do I look cursed to you?’ Elsa Pataky stars in Netflix’s seductive trailer for new drama Tidelands She’s married to Chris Hemsworth Zac Efron sports bushy beard and bulging biceps as he enjoys horseback riding during luxury escape to Costa Rica Star looked rugged Skrillex ordered to pay woman $1.
6 million over injury at 2012 LA show in which he jumped off DJ table The jury held the 30-year-old DJ liable Camilla and the catwalk! Duchess of Cornwall rubs shoulders with designer Julien Macdonald as she attends his charity fashion show in London ‘A Magic-8 Ball would have taken a firmer stance!’ Colbert rips Trump for ‘maybe he did and maybe he didn’t’ take on Khashoggi killing Mary Poppins Returns star Lin-Manuel Miranda reveals he bonded over ‘thrilling’ Broadway gossip with co-star Dick Van Dyke, 91 Eiza Gonzalez sizzles in skimpy bikini on vacation in Hawaii during break from filming Godzilla vs.
King Kong Eye-popping actress Tekashi69’s lawyer says rapper is innocent of racketeering charges and is a VICTIM of killer gang he is accused of being part of as Nicki Minaj sends her prayers Cardi B baffles fans with EXTREME close-up photo of old body piercing.
… as she gears up for post-baby boob job Going under the knife Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt are ‘truly a team’ as they celebrate 10 year wedding anniversary with son Gunner Still going strong Jessie James Decker reveals chaotic Southwest flight with her three kids all under age four as son Eric ‘puked all over his clothes’ Vicki Gunvalson says doctors ‘peeled my whole face’ during facelift.
.. and boyfriend’s daughter can’t hide her horror at gruesome description All hail queen Kylie! Blonde bombshell Jenner wears regal crown in sneak peek of her new calendar The 21-year-old beauty looked positively regal Pusha T suggests ‘Drake hired fans to attack him’ after drinks were hurled on stage during Toronto concert The rapper claimed ‘some n***a’ paid thugs Billie Lourd reveals the Thanksgiving hack she inherited from grandmother Debbie Reynolds as she says ‘cooking is a dangerous thing for me’ Double Duchess! Kate steps out in a recycled burgundy skirt suit just hours after Meghan appeared in a VERY similar ensemble Pair dressed alike UFC fighter Rachael Ostovich breaks her silence after her husband was arrested for attempted murder in connection with her brutal beating
1950 – Under diplomatic pressure from South Africa, then recently taken over by the racist National Party imposing its segregationist policy of apartheid, Britain’s colonial authorities exile the couple to London.
The movie movingly re-creates the then-scandalous marriage between Tahlia’s African king grandfather and British typist grandmother which has left their only granddaughter feeling ‘more than proud’ of their brave early challenge to prejudice against interracial love.
As a female British film-maker of Ghanaian heritage, the director Amma Asante broke several glass ceilings when her third feature, A United Kingdom, opened the London film festival in October. With an awards-worthy, powerhouse performance by producer/star David Oyelowo – whose brilliant portrayal of Martin Luther King in 2014’s Selma was overlooked at the “so white” Oscars – A United Kingdom also chimed with the launch of the BFI’s Black Star season, a programme “celebrating the range, versatility and power of black actors”.
Ruth, who had left school to drive an ambulance during the second world war, lost her job and was cut off by her father, a retired captain in the Indian Army, over her choice of husband. Not long after the couple moved to Africa, the British colonial authorities banished them back to Britain to live in exile.
Dwayne Johnson moves into mansion rented by Brad and Angie while filming in UK… and takes along the 40,000lb travel gym he calls ‘The Iron Paradise’ Buyer finds a safe containing $7.5MILLION inside unit he bought for just $500 from Storage Wars host Dan Dotson – but will only get to keep $1.
2m Revealed: Tekashi 6ix9ine ‘ordered his goons to shoot up Chief Keef’s rapper cousin in return for $30K’ days before artist narrowly escaped gunfire Justin Bieber shoves wife Hailey Baldwin’s face into cake for her birthday.
.. before they share sweet smooch Model got big surprise as she turned 22 Coldplay rocker Chris Martin dons a leather waistcoat and tight cycling shorts as he begs to join his ‘favorite boyband’ in hilarious audition clip Floyd Mayweather the ‘billionaire’ boxer spends $5.
3million on jewelry in just one Beverly Hills shopping trip Bling-tastic spree Justin Bieber admits ‘relationships are hard’ as he spends ‘first Thanksgiving as a married man’ with Hailey Baldwin He took to Instagram Tess Holliday shares a lingerie selfie before enjoying Thanksgiving dinner in Vegas – despite blasting it as a ‘bulls**t holiday’ that ‘celebrates the slaughter of natives’ Nicole Kidman admits her marriage to Keith Urban hit a rocky patch while filming new movie.
.. after revealing Tom Cruise split left her ‘very lonely’ Jada Pinkett Smith reveals she is ‘not mature enough’ to have a divorce from husband of over 20 years Will Smith Talked marital split
In the film, the tumultuous events of their love story move between the bleak grey of postwar Britain and the raw, burned-earth landscapes of Africa. Pictured: Tahlia at film’s premier
After six years living and working in London in the 1950s, the couple were given leave to return to Africa – after Seretse’s tribe sent a telegram to the Queen to `send us our real Chief – the man born our Chief’.
In the epic film, Rosamund Pike takes on the role of Ruth whose prosaic middle-class life as an insurance clerk from south London was rocked to its core after falling for Seretse, an Oxford graduate and African king-in-waiting – played by David Oyelowo – after being introduced to him at a missionary society dance.
This true-life romance between an English office clerk and the future king of Botswana is a beautifully shot, crowd-pleasing gem
Having cut her teeth as an actor, the director draws terrific performances from her cast, who dance nimbly around some rather on-the-nose dialogue. Lively support comes from a superbly supercilious Jack Davenport as Sir Alistair Canning (a composite of snotty British representatives), and a sturdily sympathetic Terry Pheto as Seretse’s sister Naledi. Plaudits, too, to Nicholas Lyndhurst who wrings real pathos from his small but significant role as Ruth’s loving but outraged father.
‘I definitely feel like I would have been a victim in that relationship if I hadn’t reflected on whether my grandmother would have been proud of what I was doing, what I was involved in, who I was involved with.
I feel Ruth has given me a special pair of goggles to guide me through life, I still feel close to her.
His time leading the mineral-rich nation saw its country’s fortunes reversed from one of the world’s poorest countries to its fastest developing.
Following Seretse’s death in 1980, his tribe bestowed on her the title Mohumagadi Mma Kgosi, which means mother of the chief, or ‘the queen mother’.
Five years after his return to Africa and a frustrating foray into farming, Seretse made a bold bid for power, getting elected as first Prime Minister of Bechuanaland, and then Botswana’s first President following independence in 1966. Pictured: Ruth and Seretse with the Queen and Princess Anne on an official visit to London in 1978
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Prince Charles reveals how Harry and Meghan were inundated with baby name suggestions on their Australia tour – and jokes there could be a Princess Kylie Mariah Carey glitters in gold sequined jacket as she cooks Thanksgiving yams with twins Moroccan and Monroe At home with diva Tom Brady shares cute pictures of his kids as he spends quiet Thanksgiving at home with the family Day off for New England Patriots quarterback Michael Douglas worries his children with wife Catherine Zeta Jones will inherit same ‘addiction gene’ he and his family have had to battle Madonna shares rare photo of all SIX kids as they spend Thanksgiving in Malawi.
.. as she says ‘fame, fortune and records broken’ don’t come close ‘Grateful for so much!’ Pals Naomi Watts and Nicole Kidman celebrate Thanksgiving… as pregnant Teresa Palmer bakes vegan banana bread with her family Priyanka Chopra, 36, and fiance Nick Jonas, 26, celebrate lavish Thanksgiving dinner together in India one week before tying the knot Ariana Grande shares throwback Thanksgiving photo with Mac Miller saying late rapper is ‘v missed’ Pop star, 25, was reminiscing about her ex Mel B thanks her mom for ‘giving her the bus fare to get to Spice Girls audition’ as she shares sweet throwback photo of them after they healed rift Blake Lively leaves her fans in stitches after turning herself into a witty MEME about Thanksgiving expectations and reality using two snaps Big in Italy! Megan Gale reveals she will be teaching her two young children to speak Italian after she became an overnight star in Mediterranean nation Kourtney Kardashian posts happy family Thanksgiving message as she poses with ex Scott Disick and their three kids in matching pajamas Jennifer Lopez snuggles with Alex Rodriguez’s kids and her own on Thanksgiving after singer angered his ex wife Bebe Rexha shows off her toned curves in hot pink mini dress as she joins fellow songstress Dua Lipa for dinner Pair looked stylish as they joined forces David Tennant sends fans wild as he sings in the SHOWER for spoof music video of Tell It To My Heart with Jennifer Garner and Camping cast Hoda Kotb shares snaps of daughter Haley Joy as they celebrate Thanksgiving early – before the Today host anchored the Macy’s parade Snooki’s pregnant again! Jersey Shore star announces she’s expecting third child in sweet Thanksgiving message ‘What I’m thankful for’ Kelly Clarkson breaks tradition of lip syncing and delivers sensational live performance of hit Heat at Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Jessica Alba and husband Cash Warren take turns cradling son Hayes on Thanksgiving The 37-year-old Golden Globe nominee shopped for last-minute groceries ‘He was a brother’: LFO star Brad Fischetti mourns death of bandmate Devin Lima in emotional tribute He mourned the death of in an emotional video Game Of Thrones’ Gwendoline Christie wears elegant satin leopard print dress with cut-out detail to walk the runway for Miu Miu in Shanghai Khloe Kardashian takes True to Cleveland to spend Thanksgiving with Tristan Thompson as she struggles with fall-out from cheat scandal ‘It’s phenomenal’: Taylor Swift gives a shout out to boyfriend Joe Alwyn’s new film The Favourite on Instagramcalling it ‘phenomenal’ Victoria’s Secret model Shanina Shaik flaunts her ripped abs as she hits the gym in Miami.
.. before sharing what’s on her plate for Thanksgiving dinner Inside Simon Cowell’s VERY luxurious Thanksgiving party: Featuring a dreamy woodland feast and personalised gingerbread cookies Diana Ross doesn’t even bother to use a microphone to lip sync Thanksgiving Parade performance.
.. and Twitter loves it Looks amazing at 74 Justin Bieber’s mom sends ‘love’ and calls Hailey Baldwin her ‘daughter’ in sweet birthday message Welcomed into the family already A Pilgrim costume, CHEETO turkey, plenty of babies and charitable feeding.
.. Jennifer Garner and Gwen Stefani lead all-star Thanksgiving festivities Andie MacDowell will RETURN to Four Weddings And A Funeral as she lands role in TV show inspired by the film… 24 years after original’s release Gabrielle Union and husband Dwyane Wade beam with pride as they enjoy first Thanksgiving with newborn daughter Kaavia Born via a surrogate Fergie and estranged husband Josh Duhamel take turns celebrating Thanksgiving with son Axl The pop diva remained amicable with her ex Kaley Cuoco helps rescue injured baby seal at the beach on Thanksgiving and shares video to Instagram Good gesture Bono’s actress daughter Eve Hewson reveals a police officer looked up her skirt while filming sex scene as she touches on the #MeToo movement Kenya Moore cuddles her ‘miracle’ premature baby Brooklyn as she enjoys first Thanksgiving as a mom Shared a new snap of her holding the newborn Halsey looks smitten as she locks eyes with rocker Yungblud following split from G-Eazy last month The singer and rocker looked close Olivia Colman embraces her role as ‘ugly, beautiful’ Queen Anne alongside love-interests Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone Dick Van Dyke reveals had to PAY Walt Disney $4K to play second role as banker Mr.
Dawes Sr in original Mary Poppins movie Turns 93 next month James Corden flunks magic test with Eddie Redmayne as he throws a dove into a fan in hilarious Late Late Show skit with Fantastic Beasts star Macy’s blames ‘technical difficulties’ for Rita Ora lip sync fail during Thanksgiving Day Parade in NYC Snafu gave away that singer was miming John Malkovich transforms into the supreme pontiff in first look pictures as actor, 64, films scenes on famous Vatican balcony for The New Pope Ashley Graham gives two single parents and their kids a dream trip to Disneyland on new web series Fearless Ashley launched Fearless Kylie Jenner plants sweet smooch on baby daughter Stormi in rare family snap with Travis Scott for Thanksgiving She has plenty to be grateful for Cate Blanchett shows off her quirky sense of style in pink sunglasses and tweed coat as she leaves London hotel Actress 49, is across pond for Thanksgiving Margot Robbie admits her friends won’t let her in the kitchen at Thanksgiving after she burned the yams and set a ham ablaze Not great in the kitchen Dolce & Gabbana’s Italian co-founders say sorry to Chinese people in Mandarin after their ‘racist’ ad campaign sparks boycott 90-second apology ‘Our tears have turned to smiles’: Pregnant Tammin Sursok recalls devastating miscarriage last year as she prepares for her second child with husband Sean Sofia Vergara celebrates her third wedding anniversary to Joe Manganiello as he gives thanks for ‘best decision of my life’ They looked smitten Hilary Duff’s son Luca cradles month-old baby sister Banks on Thanksgiving The 31-year-old was celebrating the four week birthday of her baby Liv Tyler goes makeup-free as she heads through London’s Heathrow airport to travel home to the US for Thanksgiving celebrations Lisa Rinna, Harry Hamlin and daughter Delilah serve turkey dinners on Thanksgiving for Project Angel Food Family volunteered to help the less fortunate Lucy Hale grabs a coffee with friend Annie Leonard before whipping up a Thanksgiving feast Pals got their java fix together Lauren Conrad says she’s thankful for husband William and son Liam as she celebrates Thanksgiving She posted a sweet snap of the two Nicole Kidman BANS her young daughters from watching her latest role as ‘self-destructive’ policewoman ‘It’s a raw, complicated and.
.. compelling’ Meghan admits she was desperate to share baby news with friends at London food kitchen – as they congratulate the pregnant Duchess with cuddles Cheryl ‘lost out on coveted Chicago stage role to Caroline Flack.
.. after bosses grew tired of the singer’s diva requests’ Bosses used Caroline Channing Tatum the doting dad takes his little princess Everly for a magical day at Disneyland Treated daughter at the Happiest Place on Earth ‘I felt claustrophobic’: Margot Robbie reveals the hardship she faced when playing Queen Elizabeth I in her new movie Mary Queen Of Scots Emma Roberts looks casual cool in animal print skirt and t-shirt during a quick coffee stop in LA Easing herself into Thanksgiving Taron Egerton looks dapper as he steps out for Range Rover event.
.. after revealing he’s split from girlfriend Emily Thomas after two years together Hugh Jackman, 50, looks as buff as ever as he leaves New York to celebrate Thanksgiving with his family… amid speculation he could reprise Wolverine Cate Blanchett, 49, nails androgynous chic in a beaded tuxedo as she joins director Pawel Pawlikowski at Cold War screening in London Michael Jackson’s brother Tito reveals he regularly catches up with the King of Pop’s kids Prince, Paris and Blanket.
.. and how he escaped wildfires Alexa Chung nails Victoriana chic in scarlet dress with a ruffled pussybow neckline as she launches new collection at Thanksgiving party Keanu Reeves will play ‘edgy’ mystery role in Toy Story 4.
.. joining A-list cast veterans Tom Hanks and Tim Allen Fourth installment of the much-loved franchise Claire Foy admits she ‘felt judged’ playing hacker Lisbeth Salander… after becoming the THIRD actress to take on the acclaimed role The Crown star Claire Foy reveals the secret to her ‘fabulous’ performance conveying Neil Armstrong’s wife, Janet in the flick First Man Gravity and Harry Potter filmmaker Alfonso Cuaron explains how he created Roma – a masterpiece from the wounds of his childhood Suki Waterhouse displays her quirky style in green leather jacket and multi-patterned shirt as she attends charity shop launch for Help Refugees in London Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will visit Leicester to pay tribute to soccer team owner and those who lost their lives in the helicopter crash Victoria’s Secret model Sara Sampaio escapes to Mexico for beach fun after ‘living in airports and planes for weeks’ Rest and relaxation Rita Ora looks chic in a semi-sheer black dress as she joins a sparkling Sarah-Jane Crawford at Radio City Live in Liverpool Proved simple is best He looks familiar! Charles and Camilla admire a strikingly lifelike portrait of the prince as it is unveiled during a visit to Australia House in London It’s Thanksgiving – not Halloween! Marla Maples looks just like Hellraiser villain as she snaps selfie after sticking acupuncture needles in her own FACE Nicole Kidman, 51, says ‘acting greats’ such us Meryl Streep and Judi Dench have paved the way for older actresses, as she stars in Big Little Lies Kelly Brook puts her best fashion foot forward in bedazzled midi dress as she joins beau Jeremy Parisi at Street Child gala dinner in London A royal kickabout! Prince William swaps his dress shoes for trainers as he joins soccer stars for an event recognizing young leaders in London EXCLUSIVE: Soaking up the sun! Lara Trump frolics in a red bikini at Mar-a-Lago while Eric Trump takes their son Luke for a walk by the water Rita Ora looks glamorous as she heads to Thanksgiving Parade in NYC.
.. after confessing her fears about missing out on ‘The One’ Diana Ross braves the freezing temperatures at the coldest Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade EVER as almost a million revelers shiver in temperatures of 19F Paris Hilton jets to Melbourne without her engagement ring.
.. amid claims ex fiancé Chris Zylka ‘wants $2M sparkler back’ despite ‘not buying it’ Kate Hudson spends Thanksgiving morning pumping breast milk and sweating through first post-baby workout Gave birth to daughter Rani Rose on October 2 Priyanka Chopra, 36, welcomes fiance Nick Jonas, 26, to India with a cuddle one week before wedding ceremony They’re getting married in a little over one week Cara Delevingne and Ashley Benson wear matching gold rings on their wedding fingers as they step out together in London Rumors are flying Christina Milian lets her natural beauty shine as she goes make-up free for dinner with boyfriend M.
Pokora and their families Singer looked stunning Ashley Tisdale enjoys chilly NY stroll with husband Christopher French ahead of Thanksgiving performance Spotted enjoying a stroll Drew Barrymore reunites with ex-husband Will Kopelman to take daughter Frankie to Thanksgiving Day Parade balloon inflation Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie ‘are close to settling’ their bitter custody battle ending years-long legal war over their 6 kids Battle’s almost over Christina El Moussa beams while filming Flip or Flop alongside ex Tarek after hitting back at claims of a feud with Joanna Gaines Divorced pair Kate’s new hair accessory is actually bang on trend: How the Duchess took inspiration from the catwalks with her velvet bow Chrissy Teigen burns sweet potato pie to a crisp while sharing Thanksgiving prep on Instagram She is the author of two best-selling cookbooks Luke Evans reveals he ate ‘a lot of good pasta’ with Murder Mystery co-stars Jennifer Aniston and Adam Sandler during filming in Portofino Paris Hilton’s former fiance Chris Zylka ‘didn’t buy’ $2M engagement ring but ‘still wants it back’ The actor has been seen on The Leftovers Demi Lovato unfollows Selena Gomez and Nick Jonas on Instagram as she intends to ‘focus on herself and avoid negative relationships’ ‘Turned her life around’ Aaron Rodgers’ family feud resurfaces after brother Jordan rips NFL star for donating $1M to wildfire victims after neglecting to check if their mom was safe Olivia Munn calls out pilot for FAILING to ask for a snap with her at his wife’s request.
.. as she posts hilarious texts of couple fan-girling over her LeBron James gets hero’s welcome in Cleveland as he takes to the court to face off against his former team with the Los Angeles Lakers EXCLUSIVE: America’s Got Talent star who suffered burns all over her body in plane crash has surgery so she can close her eyes, turn her head and move arms Michael B Jordan didn’t drink ANY water some days and got ‘really angry’ when he was hungry during intense fitness training for Creed II, co-star reveals Prince Charles reveals how the threat of climate change makes him fear for his ‘much-loved grandchildren’ at environmental summit Gerard Butler shares a meal with school children in Haiti to highlight the work of Scottish charity which provides lunches for pupils Diddy may be too distraught to deliver eulogy at Kim Porter’s funeral following her death aged 47.
.. after he wrote they were ‘more than soulmates’ Kim Kardashian reveals how private firefighters saved her $60m mansion when flames burned ‘up to the gate’… as Kanye West gives $500k to victims ‘He is very aware of the abuses’: Leah Remini claims Tom Cruise administered punishment to fellow high-ranking Scientologist
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‘What I know about my grandfather is that he had utmost respect for my grandmother. They saw the world very objectively, because of what they had been through together.
The couple had four children, including Tahlia’s father Tshekedi – a government minister – and the current president, Ian Khama. Pictured: Tshekedi, married Thea, an American originally from Mexico
Shaquille O’Neal comforts family-of-five shaken by Thanksgiving car crash then hands out turkeys to needy after recently being made Sheriff’s ‘deputy’ ‘I was the first person to ever get paid to party’: Heiress Paris Hilton says she started her worldwide empire by going out on the town Her rise to fame Khloe Kardashian sings Stand By Me with baby True as they enjoy golden oldies in sweet Instagram video Crooned Ben E King’s 1961 classic Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson recalls when he ‘couldn’t even afford to buy a turkey’ on Thanksgiving.
.. after moving into Brangelina’s former UK mansion Country singer Jake Owen and girlfriend Erica Hartlein are expecting their first child together Been dating since April 2017 RHOC’s Shannon Beader treats her three daughters to beach holiday for Thanksgiving amid messy divorce Shannon and her three girls are vacationing Hugh Jackman’s wife Deborra-lee Furness encourages Australians to lend their support to Adopt Change as stars including Sandra Sully attend gala ‘There is a lot of stuff about him that I don’t want to know!’ Eric Bana on playing a sociopath conman in the brand new Netflix series Dirty John Luke Bryan reveals his wife ‘supported’ him at the start of his music career when the American Idol judge ‘was making about $10,000 a year’ Meghan’s Grenfell charity cookbook raises $420,000 in just two months to help those affected by the blaze The collection of recipes has sold 38,811 copies
Handsomely shot on locations in the UK and Botswana by Sam McCurdy, A United Kingdom contrasts sweeping exteriors with fusty interiors, breathing rich visual life into the battle between an entrenched establishment and an emerging republic. Production designer Simon Bowles and composer Patrick Doyle clearly relish the broad canvas opportunities of the narrative, while Asante cites Richard Attenborough and David Lean as her guiding lights.
The best Black Friday tech deals: From $200 off Smartphones to half-price laptops, the top discounts to be found online SPONSORED Lauren Silverman makes the most of the fun-filled attractions as she enjoys a festive day out with son Eric at Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland Kendall Jenner throws support behind sister Khloe’s love rat beau Tristan Thompson at basketball game.
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Sharing intimate images from the family’s photo album, Tahlia was left in no doubt about the couple’s love, which she believes deepened in response to adversity. Although, her grandfather – she refers to him as ‘Gramps’ – died before she was born, she treasures fond memories of time with Ruth.
Sun 27 Nov 2016 09.00 GMT Last modified on Wed 21 Mar 2018 23.56 GMT
Ruth sent Tahlia’s father Tshekedi, pictured with his daughter, and his siblings off to boarding school to give them a ‘a more normal childhood’ after their father became President
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Ruth and Seretse’s struggle for acceptance both in the UK and Botswana has hit the big screen, pictured, a moving film which reduced fashion student Tahila to tears
1956 – The couple are allowed to move back to Bechuanaland after a popular campaign by Seretse’s tribal subjects requesting his return.
‘Her house had a very English feel to it, with touches of Botswana. She remained very English in the way she dressed, quite a 1940s style with high-waisted long skirts, blouses and little heels – that’s what she wore every day of her life.
Battle against the odds: Ruth Williams, pictured, kissing her granddaughter Tahlia, was an insurance clerk when she fell in love with Seretse Khama, who was in London studying law
For all the film’s vibrant grandeur, though, our attention is kept tightly focused on the central couple’s romance, even when they are separated by geography, economics and politics. Much is made of the world-turned-upside-down absurdity of Labour prime minister Clement Attlee’s obsequious loyalty to South Africa while the Conservative Churchill appears to be an ally of Khama’s progressive cause (although pragmatism soon overrides opposition promises), but it’s the wholly believable and tangible bond between Oyelowo’s Seretse and Pike’s Ruth that delivers the real emotional punch.
‘They did not judge people by their skin complexions or their religions or details, they were totally accepting. When I eventually say my own vows to someone, it will be based on equality and there must be no problems about race or religion.’
Stars: Pike, pictured at the London Film Festival premier of ‘A United Kingdom’ with Tahila, plays Ruth, from south London, who fell for Seretse, an Oxford graduate from Botswana
1980 – A long-term diabetic, Seretse dies in office from pancreatic cancer, nursed to the end by his beloved wife. Ruth continues to live in Botswana, playing a prominent role in a number of international charities.
Today, the beautiful 21-year-old described how their courageous love story – brought to life on the big screen in the film ‘A United Kingdom’ – has given her greater freedom to choose a partner.
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1966 – Botswana becomes independent. Seretse is knighted by Her Majesty the Queen – Ruth becomes Lady Khama – and is inaugurated as the country’s first president.
Eye in the Sky screenwriter Guy Hibbert’s screenplay (from Susan Williams’s 2006 book Colour Bar) revisits an often forgotten chapter of postwar history that might be filed under “stranger than fiction”. Rosamund Pike is Ruth Williams, a clerk from Blackheath, south London, working in Lloyds of London in 1947, who is swept off her feet by handsome law student Seretse Khama (Oyelowo). Ruth doesn’t know that Seretse is an African king in waiting, leader-to-be of the Bamangwato people of Bechuanaland (later Botswana), the British protectorate to which he is due to return on completion of his studies.
Forced out of Britain by Ruth’s disapproving father, the couple moved to Bechuanaland. But not long after they arrived in Africa the colonial authorities forced them to back into exile to live in Britain for six years