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Sophie of Wessex joins the London Marathon to support Mencap

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sophie of wessex joins the london marathon to support mencap

The Countess of Wessex donned her trainers to run the first 1.5 miles of the Mencap team’s virtual London Marathon in Windsor today. 

Sophie, 55, joined the team’s run in Great Windsor Park alongside Tomas Cardillo-Zallo, one of the 312 people running for the charity. 

Dressed in black running leggings and sporting a pink and white marathon Mencap vest logo, the royal looked in high spirits – despite the torrential rain. 

A video showing Sophie and Tomas – who is a member of the charity’s Learning Disability Running team – putting in their best efforts during the marathon has been shared on the Royal Family‘s Instagram account.  

Sophie, 55, joined in on the Mencap team's run in Great Windsor Park alongside Tomas Cardillo-Zallo, one of the 312 people running for the charity today

Sophie, 55, joined in on the Mencap team's run in Great Windsor Park alongside Tomas Cardillo-Zallo, one of the 312 people running for the charity today

Sophie, 55, joined in on the Mencap team’s run in Great Windsor Park alongside Tomas Cardillo-Zallo, one of the 312 people running for the charity today

She said: ‘It was an honour to join Tomas, even just for a small part of his triumph today, as he completes the virtual London Marathon in support of Mencap.

‘Tomas has shown what people with a learning disability can achieve with the right support. He is an inspiration.’

Sophie, a mother-of-two, looked the perfect athlete in light blue and grey trainers,  and didn’t seem bothered by the rain, her blonde locked scraped back in a neat ponytail. 

Mencap, which was created in 1946 by Judy Fryd, a mother whose child had learning disabilities, became one of the queen’s patronages in 1986. 

Dressed in black and grey running gear, the Countess of Wessex looked in good spirits despite the torrential rain in Windsor

Dressed in black and grey running gear, the Countess of Wessex looked in good spirits despite the torrential rain in Windsor

Dressed in black and grey running gear, the Countess of Wessex looked in good spirits despite the torrential rain in Windsor

The charity offers support for carers and families of children with learning disabilities, as well as the children themselves.  

In 2004, Sophie Wessex took over the charity’s patronage and has been involved in promoting its message ever since. 

Sophie and Tomas were among the 45,000 who took part in today’s virtual London Marathon. 

Ethiopia’s Shura Kitata emerged from the rain and the gloom to become the new champion of the men’s London Marathon – as Kenyan world record holder Brigid Kosgei reigned supreme in the women’s race. 

Focused! Sophie looked the perfect althete during her run

Focused! Sophie looked the perfect althete during her run

The Countess sported light blue ans grey running shoes

The Countess sported light blue ans grey running shoes

Sophie, a mother-of-two, looked the perfect athlete in a black vest and matching trousers as as she made her way across the Great Windsor Park

Sophie joined Tomas Cardillo-Zallo, (centre) who was running to support Mencap, and is a member of the charity's Learning Disability Running team

Sophie joined Tomas Cardillo-Zallo, (centre) who was running to support Mencap, and is a member of the charity's Learning Disability Running team

Sophie joined Tomas Cardillo-Zallo, (centre) who was running to support Mencap, and is a member of the charity’s Learning Disability Running team

The Countess looked in great form despite the torrential rain pouring down on Windsor today

The Countess looked in great form despite the torrential rain pouring down on Windsor today

The Countess looked in great form despite the torrential rain pouring down on Windsor today 

Only elite athletes were allowed to brave the pouring rain to run over 19.8 laps of a fenced-off course in a ‘controlled secure biosphere’ around St James’s Park, London, today after the usual mass event was scrapped due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The annual race was due to take place on April 26 but was pushed back to October 4, and it was later decided only the elite athletes would be able to compete in central London.

To ensure all runners at the official event keep a safe distance apart once they finish the race, all athletes and race staff must wear Bump devices around their necks. They will beep if two wearers get too close to each other.

In an address to participants, the Duke of Sussex praised the ‘extraordinary spirit’ of runners taking part from his home in Los Angeles. 

Sophie was running to support the charity Mencap, of which she has been the patron since 2004

Sophie was running to support the charity Mencap, of which she has been the patron since 2004

Sophie was running to support the charity Mencap, of which she has been the patron since 2004 

Top form! The Countess of Wessex looked pleased after she ran all the way across the Great Windsor Park this morning

Top form! The Countess of Wessex looked pleased after she ran all the way across the Great Windsor Park this morning

Top form! The Countess of Wessex looked pleased after she ran all the way across the Great Windsor Park this morning 

Sophie was one of the 45,000 amateur runners who took part in virtual marathon today

Sophie was one of the 45,000 amateur runners who took part in virtual marathon today

The Countess gave her best effort as she took part in the race

The Countess gave her best effort as she took part in the race

Sophie (pictured left and right) was one of the 45,000 amateur runners who took part in virtual marathon today

‘This year, sadly, it’s not possible for everyone to run together on the streets of London in the 2020 Virgin Money London Marathon,’ he said.

‘Instead, 45,000 runners from the UK and 109 countries around the world will run The 40th Race in their own way, taking on the 26.2 miles in their own communities.

He continues: ‘Thanks to all of you, the extraordinary spirit of the London Marathon will continue to shine across the globe.

‘While we won’t be together in person, we are together in spirit. And the amazing tenacity of runners from around the world is a reminder of our strength and sense of community during these difficult times. 

Tomas, centre, who has a learning disability himself, ran in support of the charity, of which he is a team member

Tomas, centre, who has a learning disability himself, ran in support of the charity, of which he is a team member

Tomas, centre, who has a learning disability himself, ran in support of the charity, of which he is a team member

Revived! In spite of the rain, Sophie Wessex put all her heart in the race and looked more alive than ever

Revived! In spite of the rain, Sophie Wessex put all her heart in the race and looked more alive than ever

Revived! In spite of the rain, Sophie Wessex put all her heart in the race and looked more alive than ever 

The royal wore a practical running vest and matching leggings today. She kept her blonde locks scraped back into a ponytail

The royal wore a practical running vest and matching leggings today. She kept her blonde locks scraped back into a ponytail

The royal wore a practical running vest and matching leggings today. She kept her blonde locks scraped back into a ponytail 

Sophie managed to keep up with the other runners during the virtual event, which took place in Windsor

Sophie managed to keep up with the other runners during the virtual event, which took place in Windsor

Sophie managed to keep up with the other runners during the virtual event, which took place in Windsor 

The Countess of Wessex appeared focused during the race in Windsor this morning, while wearing the Mencap vest

The Countess of Wessex appeared focused during the race in Windsor this morning, while wearing the Mencap vest

The Countess of Wessex appeared focused during the race in Windsor this morning, while wearing the Mencap vest

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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Here are taunts from some Labour members that were detailed in the shocking anti-Semitism report

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here are taunts from some labour members that were detailed in the shocking anti semitism report

Here, Policy Editor Daniel Martin details some of the most shocking examples of Labour anti-Semitism that were contained in the EHRC report – as well as those that weren’t.

Detailed in the report 

Pam Bromley, councillor in Rossendale, Lancashire, denied anti-Semitism was an issue in Labour and used tropes such as calling Jews a ‘fifth column’. 

She wrote: ‘Had Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party pulled up the drawbridge and nipped the bogus anti-Semitism accusations in the bud in the first place, we would not be where we are now and the fifth column in the Labour Party would not have managed to get such a foothold… the Lobby has miscalculated… the witchhunt has created brand new fightback networks… the Lobby will then melt back into its own cesspit.’ She was eventualy expelled.

Jeremy Corbyn visited the cemetery where terror leaders linked to the Munich massacre are buried. The Mail obtained a photograph of Mr Corbyn holding a wreath just feet away from the graves of leaders linked to the 1972 killings of Israeli athletes

Jeremy Corbyn visited the cemetery where terror leaders linked to the Munich massacre are buried. The Mail obtained a photograph of Mr Corbyn holding a wreath just feet away from the graves of leaders linked to the 1972 killings of Israeli athletes

Jeremy Corbyn visited the cemetery where terror leaders linked to the Munich massacre are buried. The Mail obtained a photograph of Mr Corbyn holding a wreath just feet away from the graves of leaders linked to the 1972 killings of Israeli athletes

A raft of examples of anti-Semitic conduct by party members included diminishing the scale or significance of the Holocaust, comparing Israelis to Hitler or the Nazis, and using ‘Zio’ as an anti-Semitic term 

It emerged that Jeremy Corbyn had, as a backbencher, praised an anti-Semitic mural in East London on Facebook. 

He supported the artist Mear One who had painted the image of hook-nosed bankers playing Monopoly on the backs of the world’s poor. 

But the Labour leader’s staff intervened to say ‘the complaint itself seems to fall well below the threshold required for investigation and if so surely the decision to dismiss it can be taken now’.

He later said ‘a wreath was indeed laid’ for ‘some of those who were killed in Paris in 1992’ and added: ‘I was present at that wreath-laying, I don’t think I was actually involved in it

He later said ‘a wreath was indeed laid’ for ‘some of those who were killed in Paris in 1992’ and added: ‘I was present at that wreath-laying, I don’t think I was actually involved in it

He later said ‘a wreath was indeed laid’ for ‘some of those who were killed in Paris in 1992’ and added: ‘I was present at that wreath-laying, I don’t think I was actually involved in it

Christine Shawcroft, head of Labour’s National Exective Committee’s disputes panel which investigated complaints of anti-Semitism, intervened to reinstate a member suspended for anti-Semitic social media posts so he could stand in local elections. 

Alan Bull had posted a link on Facebook to a fake news article titled: ‘International Red Cross Report Confirms the Holocaust of Six Million Jews is a Hoax.’ 

It was accompanied with a picture of the gates of Auschwitz, with the phrase ‘Arbeit Macht Frei’ replaced with ‘Muh Holocaust’. Following the Daily Mail’s disclosure of the intervention, she resigned.

A member tweeted: ‘How can we not have empathy with the Palestinians when they are up against these murdering, Zionest [sic] bastards. Their NAZI masters taught them well.’ He was let off with a warning 

In 2016 a Labour councillor shared an image of Jewish banker Jacob Rothschild on their Facebook page along with a caption claiming that the Rothschild family and other institutions, including the City of London and the Vatican, ‘own our news, our media, our oil and even our governments’. It does not appear that this was investigated at all.

It emerged that Jeremy Corbyn had, as a backbencher, praised an anti-Semitic mural in East London on Facebook. He supported the artist Mear One who had painted the image of hook-nosed bankers playing Monopoly on the backs of the world’s poor

It emerged that Jeremy Corbyn had, as a backbencher, praised an anti-Semitic mural in East London on Facebook. He supported the artist Mear One who had painted the image of hook-nosed bankers playing Monopoly on the backs of the world’s poor

It emerged that Jeremy Corbyn had, as a backbencher, praised an anti-Semitic mural in East London on Facebook. He supported the artist Mear One who had painted the image of hook-nosed bankers playing Monopoly on the backs of the world’s poor

A member was not suspended even though he was reported for saying Jewish MPs ‘can’t rein in your killers in the Middle East’, referred to the ‘Jewish brigade’ and said ‘Jews desire the Labour Party to comply with their demands’ 

Chris Williamson MP made public comments about anti-Semitism smears, supported members expelled for anti-Semitism, and shared social media posts relating to others accused of Holocaust denial and anti-Semitism. 

The disciplinary panel concluded he had ‘engaged in conduct online and offline that, due to its reckless and needlessly provocative nature, was grossly detrimental to the party’ and ‘may reasonably be seen to involve anti-Semitic sentiments, stereotypes and actions’. Despite this, he was initially given only a formal warning.

…And ones that weren’t

Activist Kayla Bibby shared a picture of an alien bearing the Star of David choking the Statue of Liberty, but escaped suspension from the party because the image was not ‘anti-Jewish’.

Jeremy Corbyn visited the cemetery where terror leaders linked to the Munich massacre are buried. The Mail obtained a photograph of Mr Corbyn holding a wreath just feet away from the graves of leaders linked to the 1972 killings of Israeli athletes. 

He later said ‘a wreath was indeed laid’ for ‘some of those who were killed in Paris in 1992’ and added: ‘I was present at that wreath-laying, I don’t think I was actually involved in it.’

Activist Kayla Bibby shared a picture of an alien bearing the Star of David choking the Statue of Liberty, but escaped suspension from the party because the image was not ‘anti-Jewish’

Activist Kayla Bibby shared a picture of an alien bearing the Star of David choking the Statue of Liberty, but escaped suspension from the party because the image was not ‘anti-Jewish’

Activist Kayla Bibby shared a picture of an alien bearing the Star of David choking the Statue of Liberty, but escaped suspension from the party because the image was not ‘anti-Jewish’

Alan Bull had posted a link on Facebook to a fake news article titled: ‘International Red Cross Report Confirms the Holocaust of Six Million Jews is a Hoax'

Alan Bull had posted a link on Facebook to a fake news article titled: ‘International Red Cross Report Confirms the Holocaust of Six Million Jews is a Hoax'

Alan Bull had posted a link on Facebook to a fake news article titled: ‘International Red Cross Report Confirms the Holocaust of Six Million Jews is a Hoax’

A Labour member shared a post accusing Jewish people of ‘eating the organs of their enemies’ and accused Jews of inventing modern terrorism by saying: ‘IRA murderers who took their cue from Jews.’ But the party sought to delay his suspension until it was found whether his disability had left him vulnerable.

The party let off a branch secretary for using offensive word ‘zio’ despite it being a second offence – and instead sought to reprimand the person who complained.

A Labour activist reported last April for writing on former Labour MP Luciana Berger’s Facebook page that ‘There are Zionist infiltrators in the Labour Party stirring trouble that doesn’t exist’ was let off without reprimand and was able to stand in local elections.

A member of Momentum’s steering committee shared a message accusing Saudi Arabia of being in thrall to ‘Zionist paymasters’. Apsana Begum – now an MP – later apologised for her comment.

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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NASA’s Hubble telescope spots the ‘Greater Pumpkin’ galaxies 120 MILLION light-years from Earth

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nasas hubble telescope spots the greater pumpkin galaxies 120 million light years from earth

NASA‘s Hubble Telescope has discovered what is being called the ‘Greater Pumpkin’ galaxy pair located 120 million light-years from Earth.

Astronomers say the galaxies resemble the shape of the iconic Halloween decoration, forming what appears to be two glowing eyes and a crooked carved smile.

However, the scene is a snapshot of the early stages of galaxies NGC 2292 and NCG 2293 slowly colliding. 

The faint, bluish smile is due to a newly formed star cluster and the glowing eyes are concentrations of stars around two supermassive black holes.

Experts say this event, although happening ever so slowly, could result in a giant spiral galaxy.

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NASA's Hubble Telescope has discovered what is being called the 'Greater Pumpkin' galaxy pair located 120 million light-years from Earth. Astronomers say the galaxies resemble the shape of the iconic Halloween decoration, forming what appears to be two glowing eyes and a crooked carved smile

NASA's Hubble Telescope has discovered what is being called the 'Greater Pumpkin' galaxy pair located 120 million light-years from Earth. Astronomers say the galaxies resemble the shape of the iconic Halloween decoration, forming what appears to be two glowing eyes and a crooked carved smile

NASA’s Hubble Telescope has discovered what is being called the ‘Greater Pumpkin’ galaxy pair located 120 million light-years from Earth. Astronomers say the galaxies resemble the shape of the iconic Halloween decoration, forming what appears to be two glowing eyes and a crooked carved smile

‘Hubble’s holiday offering is a pair of colliding galaxies that resemble the cartoon Peanuts character Linus’s imagining of the elusive Great Pumpkin,’ NASA shared in a statement.

‘Great’ is an understatement in this case because the galaxy pair spans 100,000 light-years.’

The team notes that our Milky Way Galaxy is set to collide with neighboring Andromeda galaxy in about six billion years, and although none of us are likely to be here, the event 6’could take on a spooky appearance too.’

The eerie ‘smile’ is actually the beginning stages of rebuilding a spiral galaxy, researchers explained.

The faint bluish smile is due to a newly formed star cluster and the glowing eyes are concentrations of stars around two supermassive black holes. Experts say this event, although happening ever so slowly, could result in a giant spiral galaxy like galaxy UGC 2885 (pictured)

The faint bluish smile is due to a newly formed star cluster and the glowing eyes are concentrations of stars around two supermassive black holes. Experts say this event, although happening ever so slowly, could result in a giant spiral galaxy like galaxy UGC 2885 (pictured)

The faint bluish smile is due to a newly formed star cluster and the glowing eyes are concentrations of stars around two supermassive black holes. Experts say this event, although happening ever so slowly, could result in a giant spiral galaxy like galaxy UGC 2885 (pictured)

It stretches to each of the galaxies and was likely formed by interstellar gas being compressed as teh pair started on their collision – and the orange hue is from the aging red stars.

NGC 2292 and NCG 2293 galaxies are located in the Canis Major constellation and being so far, has made the duo difficult to spot among the plethora of stars in the region.

The galaxy pair was similar to objects tagged by the citizen-science project Galaxy Zoo, where volunteers go hunting for oddball-looking galaxies. 

Astronomer William Keel, of the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa believes the Greater Pumpkin will transform into a giant spiral galaxy similar to UGC  

Keel speculates that the ultimate destiny for this pair will be to merge into a giant luminous spiral galaxy like UGC 2885, Rubin’s Galaxy, which is over twice the diameter of our Milky Way. 

NASA posted another spooky photo that was out of this world - the sun glowing with a pumpkin face. The haunting illuminated 'face' smoldered on the sun's surface in 2014 when activity reached 'solar maximum', meaning more sun spots occurred

NASA posted another spooky photo that was out of this world - the sun glowing with a pumpkin face. The haunting illuminated 'face' smoldered on the sun's surface in 2014 when activity reached 'solar maximum', meaning more sun spots occurred

NASA posted another spooky photo that was out of this world – the sun glowing with a pumpkin face. The haunting illuminated ‘face’ smoldered on the sun’s surface in 2014 when activity reached ‘solar maximum’, meaning more sun spots occurred

NASA posted another spooky photo that was out of this world – the sun glowing with a pumpkin face.

The image was shared exactly one year ago and shows active regions on the sun’s surface created the grimacing smile and slanted eyes on the biggest ‘pumpkin’ of all.

The haunting illuminated ‘face’ smoldered on the sun’s surface in 2014 when activity reached ‘solar maximum’, meaning more sun spots occurred.

‘Even our star celebrates the spooky season — in 2014, active regions on the Sun created this jack-o’-lantern face, as seen in ultraviolet light by our Solar Dynamics Observatory satellite,’ NASA shared on its website.

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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They told me they wished I’d been killed – not Jo Cox,writes MARGARET HODGE

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they told me they wished id been killed not jo coxwrites margaret hodge

As I sat down yesterday morning to read the first few pages of the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s report, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of trepidation.

After all, I have spent almost every day of the past five years – ever since Jeremy Corbyn became Labour leader, to be precise – fending off the vile, anti-Jewish hatred of his supporters.

Yet every time I raised the alarm, I was met with stony silence.

Imagine, then, the overwhelming relief that swept over me as I read it confirmed how, under Corbyn, my party had succumbed to a malaise ‘which, at best, did not do enough to prevent anti-Semitism and, at worst, could be seen to accept it’.

'I have spent almost every day of the past five years fending off the vile, anti-Jewish hatred of his supporters' writes Margaret Hodge

'I have spent almost every day of the past five years fending off the vile, anti-Jewish hatred of his supporters' writes Margaret Hodge

‘I have spent almost every day of the past five years fending off the vile, anti-Jewish hatred of his supporters’ writes Margaret Hodge

It was a momentous, almost vindicating occasion.

Ever since Corbyn and his extremist supporters took control of Labour, I’ve tortured myself over whether it was time to leave.

Indeed, it pains me to say it, but despite being a member of the Labour Party for almost 60 years – roughly half its lifetime – the sheer scale of anti-Semitic abuse hurled at me has taken its toll.

Yet I have stood and fought, even after I was threatened with suspension for walking up to Corbyn in a corridor in Parliament and telling him, in no uncertain words, that he was making it very difficult for Jewish people to stay in the Labour Party.

Yesterday’s report confirms that I was right to weather the storm and hold out for justice.

Typically, Corbyn thrust himself into the spotlight story, publishing an obdurate denial and a suggestion that the findings were ‘dramatically overstated’.

His successor Keir Starmer speedily recognised Corbyn’s statement for what it was – a pernicious attempt to downplay anti-Semitism – and he was immediately suspended.

Certainly it is a step in the right direction for a party that once prided itself on its anti-Semitic credentials, and I hope that we can begin to look forward. 

But we must not fall into the trap of thinking that the job is done.

Yes, the EHRC report nailed the most insulting lie of Corbyn’s supporters: namely that we Jewish MPs had ‘weaponised’ claims of anti-Semitism for our own nefarious gains.

But the bitter truth is that anti-Semitism is still heavily entrenched in some corners of the party and the Labour movement.

Margaret Hodge: Typically, Corbyn thrust himself into the spotlight story, publishing an obdurate denial and a suggestion that the findings were ‘dramatically overstated’.

Margaret Hodge: Typically, Corbyn thrust himself into the spotlight story, publishing an obdurate denial and a suggestion that the findings were ‘dramatically overstated’.

Margaret Hodge: Typically, Corbyn thrust himself into the spotlight story, publishing an obdurate denial and a suggestion that the findings were ‘dramatically overstated’.

No doubt Corbyn’s supporters would deride such a claim as an exaggeration. 

But I know anti-Semitism when I see it.

After all, when I was born in Egypt to Jewish parents, Jews were still being murdered in Hitler’s gas chambers. 

In fact, my maternal grandmother was shot dead by the Nazis outside a Lithuanian concentration camp. 

So understanding Jew-hatred has always been part of my identity.

And while Corbyn is certainly responsible for letting anti-Semitism fester, we must not overlook how countless members lined up to fan its flames.

Corbyn may be suspended, but what about the member who recently sent me a message calling me a ‘racist Zionist c***’? 

Or the one who told me it would have been better if I had been murdered rather than Jo Cox?

In fact, for proof that anti-Semitism still remains in Labour’s ranks, you need only look at the stream of social media messages posted yesterday by Corbynites questioning the EHRC report.

MP Jo Cox, 41,  was murdered in June 2016 after holding a constituency surgery in Birstall, West Yorkshire

MP Jo Cox, 41,  was murdered in June 2016 after holding a constituency surgery in Birstall, West Yorkshire

MP Jo Cox, 41,  was murdered in June 2016 after holding a constituency surgery in Birstall, West Yorkshire

Only last week, Len McCluskey, the Corbyn-supporting general secretary of the Unite union, told the BBC that party grandee Peter Mandelson should ‘go away and count his gold’, the oldest anti-Semitic trope in the book.

Meanwhile, we must not forget that yesterday’s report comes too late for many of my colleagues who were forced out of politics by the abuse that has been thrown at them.

So many good Labour women – such as Luciana Berger and Louise Ellman – could not stand it anymore.

There is something astonishing, and thoroughly depressing, about the fact that I am almost the last Jewish Labour female MP still standing. 

What an indictment of a party with such a proud Jewish tradition.

And so my joy at yesterday’s report is tempered by a feeling of political loneliness and anger.

But that is no excuse to give up fighting. Indeed, in recent months I have been inspired by the courage of those non-Jewish MPs and Labour members who have offered their support and risked being targeted themselves.

I was particularly heartened by the support from my local party, who gave me a standing ovation when I faced disciplinary action for calling out anti-Semitism.

Many of my Muslim local members understood better than most how important it was to always challenge racism.

That instinctive generosity of spirit is why I dare to be optimistic that we can defeat this virus of hatred.

Dare I say it, but I believe we can once again make the Labour Party an organisation that my proud immigrant parents would have regarded as a fit political home for their stubborn daughter.

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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