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Cumberbatch's pardon plea to William and Kate

Benedict Cumberbatch has urged the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to help convince the government to pardon tens of thousands of gay men convicted under outdated indecency laws.

Benedict Cumberbatch has joined the campaign to pardon gay men Credit: Reuters

The film star, who has been nominated for an Oscar for his portrayal of gay scientist Alan Turing, added his name to an open letter in The Guardian calling for action. Stephen Fry and gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell are also leading members of the campaign.

Cumberbatch played Turing, the pioneering computer scientist who helped crack the Enigma code, in the film Imitation Game. Turing was convicted of gross indecency in 1952 for being gay, and committed suicide two years later.

Campaigners are calling for the Royal Family to act and convince the Government to pardon 49,000 men who were convicted under the law.

"The UK's homophobic laws made the lives of generations of gay and bisexual men intolerable," the letter reads.

"It is up to young leaders of today including The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to acknowledge this mark on our history and not allow it to stand.

"We call upon Her Majesty's Government to begin a discussion about the possibility of a pardoning all the men, alive or deceased, who like Alan Turing, were convicted."

George pictures a 'thank you' for privacy from press

The release of intimate snaps of Prince George are the royal family's way of saying "thank you" to the press for respecting his parent's wish for privacy.

Royal commentator Robert Jobson said: "I think what's important about these photographs is that the royal family have released them in acknowledgement that the paparazzi have allowed Prince George to grow up without intrusion. And I think that's very much a thank you in a way."

ITV News Correspondent Harry Smith has this report:

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William and Kate set to make whistle-stop New York trip

Prince William and Kate will make a quick three-day trip to New York next month, which will see the couple visit the September 11 memorial and watch an NBA basketball game.

The royals will arrive in the US on December 7 and return to the UK two days later for a first trip to America since their visit to California in 2011.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will travel to New York for the first time as a couple, though son Prince George will stay at home. Credit: Chris Jackson/PA Wire

William will also fly to Washington DC on the trip's middle day to attend a wildlife conference, while the pregnant Duchess will remain in New York to visit a local child development centre with city mayor Bill de Blasio's wife Chirlane McCray.

The list of engagements includes the NBA game as the basketball league supports the wildlife initiatives which the prince is involved with.

William and Kate ask photographers to stop 'following' George

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have written to two photographers, asking them to stop "harassing and following" Prince George and his nanny.

The Royal couple described the photographers' actions as Credit: PA Wire

The complaint comes after an individual was seen last week "in the vicinity" of the young Royal, Buckingham Palace said, adding that there is reason to suspect George's daily routines may have been subject to "surveillance and monitoring" for some time.

The individual has previously been spoken to on a number of occassions by protection officers about his behaviour in respect to other members of the Royal family, according to Palace officials.

A spokesperson said: "The Duke and Duchess understand the particular public role that Prince George will one day inherit but while he is young, he must be permitted to lead as ordinary a life as possible.

"No parent would tolerate the suspicion of someone pursuing and harassing their child and carer whilst their child is playing in a public park or going about their daily activities."

Will and Kate flat refurb costs public more than £4m

Kensington Palace shown surrounded by scaffolding last year. Credit: Friso Gentsch/DPA

The taxpayer cost of refurbishing William and Kate's family home was £3.4 million last year, official figures show.

The 20-plus roomed apartment at 1A Kensington Palace was "completely reserviced" from April last year following the removal of asbestos that had made the property uninhabitable.

Around £1.1 million was spent on the property the previous year, taking the total to prepare it for the couple and their son Prince George to move in to more than £4m excluding the work to remove asbestos.

Royal household sources said the apartment had required a "complete refit" and had problems such as no running water but the spending on it was now complete.

Furniture and fittings in the home, which is understood to have around 20 rooms, were met privately by the couple as well as a kitchen and they were said to be "at pains" to "bear down" on public costs.

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