Tag Archives: Kate Middleton

When Dove Gray Cries

Prince William, Prince George and Kate Middleton are presently enjoying a “Rest Day”, having spent their Easter attending church service at St. Andrew’s Cathedral in Sydney and bringing Prince George to the Taronga Zoo.  Wow, church and the zoo?  On the same day?  It’s madness, I tell you.  No wonder they needed some time off today.

For Easter mass, Kate Middleton chose to celebrate the glorious Resurrection of Christ in Alexander McQueen.  Dove gray Alexander McQueen, a matronly cut in a hue that is the unofficial Spokescolor for Sadness.   This is what it sounds like when dove gray cries:

kateeaster

While most of us were in Easter candy comas, Kate was in a self-induced accessories coma with a beige suede Alexander McQueen clutch, a storm gray Jane Taylor hat and cream colored LK Bennett pumps.

Who pops a neutral with another neutral?  For Easter mass, most women wear bright colors and floral patterns in celebration of the Resurrection and the blossoming of spring.  This outfit is far from celebratory, it looks like something a woman would borrow from her Mom for an assistant bank manager job interview.

Where are the Queen’s jewels?  Thus far we’ve seen the fern brooch, worn a second time I’m assuming because it was too camouflaged by the buttons of Kate’s Lonely Hearts Club Band coat.

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If anything could wake up this outfit a bit, it would be a magnificent statement piece from the Queen’s collection.  Did the Queen only trust Kate with the fern brooch given to her by the Women of Auckland in 1953?

Queen'sFernBrooch

When Princess Diana visited Australia in 1983 she was dripping in Royal jewels.  She had so many gems with her, she was using them as headbands.

princessdiana dancingwithprincecharles

There were magical moments where Princess Diana looked breathtaking and regal, something the Duchess of Doolittle hasn’t been able to emulate despite all of her Single White Female attempts of trying to cash in on her late mother-in-law’s iconic status without the effort of earned adoration.  This tour is far more casual, it’s really more Royal Vacation on the taxpayer’s dime than a Royal Tour.  For all its hype, the success of this tour has been resting on the shoulders of a Lazy Duo, a show that’s not drawing the same kind of crowds.  In a National Post article written by Gordon Rayner of The Telegraph, it was noted:

So far the crowds that have turned out to see them in Sydney have been underwhelming; only 3,000 were there to see them arrive at the Opera House, compared with a crowd of 200,000 that turned out to see Charles and Diana in Melbourne in 1983.

It seems the world is far less interested in seeing carefully staged glimpses of the Royal Vacation than was anticipated.  The designer who made the pale yellow floral dress Kate wore to Taronga Zoo asked to not be named.

katetarongazoo

Fascinating since we’ve been assured by the Buckingham Palace Press Office, the Kate Effect is so strong, it can sell out a single item in minutes and make a designer’s career.  Maybe the designer knew Kate intended to pair the dress with these shoes which look like they smell of feet sweat, fake tanner, patchouli and wasted youth:

katetarongazooshoes

The zoo engagement was arranged so Prince George could meet the bilby renamed in his honor.  As always, Prince George nailed his Blue Steel pose.  And in the presence of carrot-weilding royals, the animals struck curious poses:

tarongazoogiraffes

Meanwhile, Prince William and Lazy Katie who appear happy to use Prince George for photo ops to suit their PR needs are objecting to some paparazzi photos taken of Kate and Prince George on the grounds of Government House at Yarralumla in Canberra.  The deal Buckingham Palace has with the press is they don’t take these private moment photos of them and in return, the Palace leaks some information about the Royal Family so they can sell their papers and magazines.  The paparazzi photos have already been seen on several Australian news channels despite the photos being taken without the permission of the Duke or Duchess.  Right or wrong on the part of the paparazzi, it definitely shows Australia has no intention of playing by Prince William’s rules, the whole ‘Doing It His Way’ as one article laughingly proclaimed, confusing the Royal’s insolence with independence.

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Hello Katty

I’m so bored with the whole Duke and Duchess of Cambridge Royal Vacation Tour, it’s like watching security tape footage you would swear was on a loop if Kate’s outfits didn’t keep changing.  Kate’s couture for the trip was hyped as being more regal and she was supposed to be wearing more statement jewelry on loan from the Queen.  Thus far, Kate’s tour clothing looks a little too Ann Taylor Loft and the only statement the jewelry is making is, “The Queen doesn’t trust me with the good stuff.”

The Royal Trio is already in Australia, on day 13 of the tour, two of which have been Official Rest Days.  The whole Dog and Pony Show has really been one dull blur of stiff preparation, the only thing mildly exciting is Kate going a little off-script by complaining to well-wishers that her husband thought her green Erdam coat was too bright and that her yellow Roksanda Ilincic dress made her look like a banana.

I still can’t decide which perplexes me more, why Kate had to share with admirers that her husband hates her clothes or why Prince William felt the need to comment on them in the first place.  My fashion choices haven’t been critiqued by someone I was involved with since I stopped dating gay guys.  In my experience, heterosexual men really don’t care about your clothing choices.  If Prince William starts throwing around words like “peplum” and “kick pleat”, I might not so readily dismiss the conspiracy theorists who think Prince George was conceived by artificial insemination.

kate&williamsydney

Even though I’m not really a fan of the yellow banana dress, it is still one of her best looks.  That shade of yellow is insanely hard to pull off.  I once bought a top I absolutely loved in the exact same hue and every time I wore it, people asked me if I was okay and if I needed to sit down.  The nude pumps totally have to go, they are so overdone, they’ve gone out of style, come back as retro, and gone out of style again since she started wearing them.

I think the longer hemlines are throwing off Kate’s entire balance because she did something that took me a bit off-guard.  She made a joke.   And it was sort of funny and a bit catty.  In Sydney after the Easter show, Kate and Wills were shown some Alpaca wool and Kate told Prince William he should put some of it on his head, indicating, “You need it more than me.”  Okay, so toupee humor is not in the same league as Amy Schumer-funny but still, it shows there’s a bit of a personality within the candy coating.  Maybe some day it will break free and Kate will trade in the theoretical tiara she didn’t get to borrow for a baseball cap and her next tour will be with her own band called Limpet Bizkit.

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The Magic of New Zealand

“And above all else, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places.  Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.” – Roald Dahl

As a writer, I have amassed quite a collection of quotes that I find so exquisitely articulate the human experience, but that one is my absolute favorite.  There are two types of magic, that which is manufactured by man, which is merely illusion, manipulation of perception so you see what the magician wants you to see and then there’s the magic created by God which is the only true form of magic and exists in a pure state for each of us to discover.

During the press coverage of the Royal Trio’s Visit to New Zealand,  we’ve seen Kate Middleton’s clothes, what’s under her clothes, and in the Buckingham Palace Press Office’s slight of hand to create the illusion of a monarchy the republic-bound New Zealand would want to keep, we’ve missed a bit of what makes New Zealand so incredible with or without the Crown.

Instead of focusing on the show, I thought I’d turn my glittering eyes to New Zealand itself and list just some of the fascinating facts about this country where true magic exists within the land and its warm and welcoming people.

The island country which is roughly the size of Colorado is only inhabited by a little over four million people, which is about half the population of New York City.  No spot in New Zealand is further than 80 miles from the ocean and there’s a lot of beauty packed in between the coastal shores.

LakeWaikaremoana

New Zealand is a country of firsts.  It sees the first rays of light for each new day, was the first country to give women the right to vote, and first to provide pension entitlement for all citizens.  New Zealanders were the first to make it to Antarctica, first to make it to the top of Mount Everest and the first to split an atom.

It’s only been inhabited by humans for about eight hundred years.

The national symbol is this cutie, the Kiwi:

nzkiwi

Kate may be a Duchess by marriage, but she’s no Warrior Princess.  The beautiful landscape of New Zealand was where Xena: Warrior Princess was shot.  The show employed a lot of New Zealand natives including the luscious Lucy Lawless as Xena and the smolderingly sexy Kevin Tod Smith as Ares, both incredibly cool down-to-Earth actors.  Hot and humble, that’s how they role in New Zealand.  Sadly the world lost Kevin Smith in 2002, he keeps company with more Heavenly bodies now and remains alive in this plane in the hearts of fans, friends and the family to which he was so deeply devoted.

The country was also the filming site for the Lord of the Rings trilogy, directed by New Zealand native, Peter Jackson.  Don’t we all secretly suspect that Kate Middleton calls Princess Diana’s engagement ring, “My Precious”?

New Zealanders have a way with words and the ladies.  You can visit a spot called Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateaturipukaka-
pikimaungahoronukupokaiwenuakitanatahu which means, “”the place where Tamatea, the man with the big knees, who slid, climbed and swallowed mountains, known as Landeater, played his flute to his loved one.”  Tamatea went to a lot of effort for the woman he loved, most of us are lucky if a guy just buys us dinner.

New Zealand has an official Wizard.

In a 2001 census poll, more than 50,000 named “Jedi” as their religious affiliation.  May the Force be with you, Kiwi Jedis, as you free yourself from the Empire.

Unlike Australia which hosts some of the world’s deadliest creatures, the fauna of New Zealand is totally chill.  I mean, like all wildlife, it should be respected, but none of it is looking for a fight or wants to attack or eat you.

There are some adorably cute record holders like the endemic Hector’s Dolphin which is the smallest in the world.

New Zealand is also the only country where you can find the world’s rarest sea lion, the Hooker’s Sea Lion.  This regal sea mammal kind of sounds like it should be the official mascot of ladies of the night and is one of New Zealand’s largest animals.

hooker'ssealion

Sea lions are just inherently awesome, but penguins have always occupied a very special place in my heart.   New Zealand has a Penguin Triumvirate, two of which, the Yellow-Eyed Penguin and the Tawaki are endemic.  The third, the Little Blue Penguin, also known as the Fairy Penguin, is the smallest in the world, standing a little over a foot tall and is armed only with the super power of preciousness.  Unfortunately they are vulnerable to predators and pollution, but if any creature is going to get humanity to understand the devastating effects of our ecological apathy, it’s these enchanting semi-aquatic sprites.

LittleBluePenguin

In a land of filled with visual feasts of flora, captivating creatures, creative visionaries, fearless adventurers, warm hearts, rich culture, and unfettered spirits, if you can’t find magic, you should probably have your glittering eyes checked.

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Duchess Doors to Manual

Either Kate Middleton is making an Exit Row strategy just in case this whole Duchess thing doesn’t work out or she’s been rooting around in her Mom’s closet again and borrowing some frocks from the former flight attendant.

When Kate arrived in New Zealand, instantly the pillbox hat and red coat drew Aeroflot flight attendant comparisons.  The coat Kate was wearing on Day 4 of the New Zealand/Australia tour has me thinking maybe she’s really considering giving the friendly skies a go.

katepanamnzAt first I couldn’t figure out why this coat bugged me.  Really Kate’s more appropriately attired than she’s ever been for any official engagement.  Right length.  But that blue…

What shade is it anyway?  Cornflower Blue?  Dusty Viagra Blue?  Folsom Prison Blue?

Well, according to the Daily Mail, it’s called Military Blue and the coat is by Alexander McQueen.

It just looked so familiar… like I’ve seen it in a movie.  Like in an airport scene or something.

Ah, yes, now I remember.

 

 

 

Kate’s coat is totally 1970s Pan Am.  For those who don’t want to spend $3,900 on an Alexander McQueen coat, there’s a vintage Pan Am coat for sale on eBay for a mere $299.99.

Screen Shot 2014-04-10 at 1.56.33 AM

Same color, same collar and pockets, throw a belt over it and you’re good to go back in time through airport security.

Now, Kate finally has her hair back which is so exciting for those of us who have tired of her windy-day Cousin It looks.  As mentioned in the previous post, Kate has hairstylist Amanda Cook Tucker as part of her entourage.  First-class-flying, all-expenses-paid, $500-a-day,  Amanda Cook Tucker.

kate'snzgrays

In theory, a ponytail for Kate is more practical and yet still youthful.  Except when it’s been straightened and pulled straight back, this is a little too severe for Kate.  Amanda gave her a little lift in the crown to soften it a bit, but there are very few women who can pull this off without it aging them.  Maybe Suri Cruise could get away with it.

The pulled-back ponytail also reveals that the last time Kate got her processed, the color didn’t completely take.  Her roots aren’t gray, just some individual strands, gray hair can be stubborn that way.  Gray hair is coarser and because of the color contrast, the stray grays are even more noticeable with Kate’s hair pulled back like this.

If Kate’s going to have a hairstylist as part of your taxpayer-funded entourage, she’s got to do better than this.  There are many ways the stray grays could have been concealed.  For instance, Kate’s got naturally wavy hair, some of the strands could have been concealed by her hair’s natural texture in a looser up-do.

I’m not sure if Amanda is a colorist as well.  Some stylists are, some aren’t.  If Amanda didn’t want to mess with the overall color and didn’t have access to any touch-up hair pens or sticks, there are some natural alternatives to chemical dyes that would have been readily accessible.  I’m a blonde and I know that brunettes in a pinch can use tea, coffee, and other natural ingredients found in most kitchens to cover their grays, for individual strands various pastes can be made.

New Zealander Cathy just alerted us, “I’m wondering why Kate’s hairdresser came along as they have just shown Kate at tonight’s state dinner on the news and Kate’s hair looks a mess!”

Kate’s color doesn’t seem to be holding at all with even more grays now visible.

katemoregrays

As for Kate’s hair style for the formal state dinner, it looks like it was haphazardly done with a curling iron by Prince George.

katecurlingironlook

I’m in shock.  There are straight pieces sticking out like spikes, her color seems to be fading by the minute.  Does Amanda Cook Turner secretly have an evil twin who has taken her place?

Hardly money well spent.  Kate might need to get a part-time gig as a flight attendant, now that’s she’s got two uniforms, her options are a little more open.  I definitely think she owes taxpayers a refund for this overpriced entourage.

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Lower Hemlines, Even Lower Expectations

The Royal Tour of New Zealand and Australia has been hyped for months, it was going to be the Duchess of Cambridge as we’ve never seen her before, looking regal with jewels on loan from the Queen and longer hemlines befitting a representative of the British Royal Family.

So how’s that working out so far?

Well, within seconds of stepping off the plane, the Duchified Duchess flashed the crowd.  This photo has been floating around the internet all day, some of us are naturally concerned because the moles near her vagina seem darker than the last time she flashed a crowd.  She should probably get those checked out by a dermatologist and not just the entire New Zealand media.

Kate'sNZCoat

Kate sported an outfit that was a cross between Single White Femaling her late mother-in-law and channeling an Aeroflot airline flight attendant.  We’re assuming that Kate, who had to endure “Doors to Manual” taunts by Prince William’s friends during her days as Waity, didn’t pass out any beverages on the plane because you know, ick, work.  The brooch on loan from the Queen was lost somewhere in the Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band buttons.

US Magazine was one of the many outlets who offered the Kate Middleton and Princess Diana red coat side-by-side in their article, here’s their comparison:

katemiddletonUSMagazine

With hair whipping around her face, her dress blowing up, teetering down the slick stairs in high heels, Kate managed not to drop the future King who totally nailed the Blue Steel pose.

Kate reportedly giggled when greeted by Maori warriors, shifting her gaze, uncertain where to look.

maorigiggles

This is the second public giggling fit Kate has gone into during an overseas trip, the first being over bare breasts on the Solomon Islands trip.  Perhaps to Kate, appreciation of culture and the human form is expressed through giggling so in order to make her feel more comfortable, the world should always point at her and laugh.

Oh, wait, a lot of us are doing that already.  Well, carry on.

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Royal Family is Trippin’

Prince William, Kate Middleton and Prince George are on their way to Australia and New Zealand and we’re assured by the UK press that everyone is excited about it.  Waity Katie can’t wait because she’s always wanted to visit, Prince William can’t wait because he has been there before, and Prince Georgie is probably thinking, “I require a window seat and an in-flight Happy Meal. BUT NO PICKLES. OH, GOD HELP YOU IF I FIND PICKLES.”  We’re assured the people of Australia and New Zealand are simply giddy waiting for the trio to touch down.  Because the UK Press has absolutely nothing to gain by passing along royal propaganda.

I mean, it’s not like Royal Family and the press they abhor so much have any kind of agreement in place like the press won’t take pictures of them during their private down time and in exchange for their cooperation in not publishing anything that would damage the carefully crafted public images of the Royals, the Palace will “leak” information to the press, providing them with juicy little tidbits about the Royals so they can sell their papers and magazines.  Oh, wait a second, that’s exactly the arrangement in place.  The often-quoted “anonymous source” in articles about members of the Royal Family is the Buckingham Palace Press Office which of course obtains permission before “leaking” any juicy little tidbits.  (Of course disgruntled staff members and the Royals themselves with their own agenda have also been known to leak to the press directly without going through the Buckingham Palace Press Office.)  Members of the press who do not comply with the arrangement are frozen out.

The Daily Mail published an article about how the Duchess of Cambridge “will use the Royal tour of New Zealand and Australia to champion the cause closest to her heart – the children’s hospice movement.”  The article then went on to praise her and the article went on to compare Lazy to Princess Diana who worked tirelessly for her causes and dared to call Lazy “Queen of Hearts”.  The outrage this caused was so intense, the Daily Mail stopped publishing comments thirteen hours ago and I’ve noticed the tally of comments has decreased.

My comment was not published.  I pointed out that Lazy Kate has only done four appearances to date this year, none of which were for children’s causes and she often mispronounces “palliative”, a word she shouldn’t struggle with if palliative care was truly a cause close to her heart.   I suggested that the article should be labeled a paid endorsement.

Weird they didn’t publish that.

Here are some comments they did publish, though.

Someone from Australia noted:

DMresponse1

To which someone in New Zealand responded:

DMresponse2

 

And people from the UK and Canada chimed in with:

DMResponse3

I have yet to hear one positive comment about the Lazy Duo from anyone in Australia or New Zealand which is probably the point of the visit.  It’s generally assumed that upon the death of Queen Elizabeth II, New Zealand, Australia and Canada will declare themselves full republics.  Out of the mouths of babes who don’t know either what function Prince William and Kate serve: http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/royal-tour/9905651/What-do-Prince-William-and-Kate-Middleton-really-do.

Diana’s 1983 Australian tour with Prince Charles and baby William cast the Royal Family in a very positive light; engaging and enchanting princess, adorable baby, and heir to the throne, all a promising and captivating picture of what the future could hold.  The Royal Family is trying to pull a repeat.  They’ve got a royal trio, but magic can’t be manufactured and Kate is a poor understudy to Princess Diana, try as she might, Pageant Girl has no passion for charity work, her interests are in shopping and hair appointments.

Trying to claim that Kate is a champion for children’s hospices is a feeble attempt to make her seem endearing to those who haven’t been paying attention to her idle approach to Duchessing.  This year, her mere four appearances have been at the National Portrait Gallery where she flubbed a seven sentence speech she had to read from cards and admired a portrait of herself, an appearance at the opening of the Art Room at the Northolt High School, a meet and greet with celebrities at Buckingham Palace and handing out shamrocks to Irish Guards on St. Patrick’s Day.  The rest of the time she was busy going over-budget on taxpayer-funded renovations for her home at her Kensington Palace and off on two luxury vacations.  Queen of Hearts?  Hardly.  If anything, she’s the Joker.

Here’s the tour schedule the Daily Mirror published with its exhausting wine tasting, draining boat rides and strenuous “Rest” days.

NEW ZEALAND

  • April 7 – Wellington: Arrive to ceremonial welcome.
  • April 8 – Rest.
  • April 9 – Wellington: Meet parents and their babies at Government House, hopefully with George.
  • April 10 – Blenheim: Events to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War.
  • Wellington: State Reception where William will unveil a portrait of the Queen.
  • April 11 – Auckland: Meet serving air force personnel and their families. Race each other across Auckland Harbour in Team New Zealand Americas Cup yachts. Ride on a Sealegs craft – boat that can be driven into and out of water. 
  • April 12 – Waikato: William views an aircraft factory while Kate goes to a children’s hospice. Both travel through Hamilton town centre and meet Olympic athletes and open the new velodrome. 
  • April 13 – Dunedin (Travel away from George for one night): Maori tribal welcome, visit cathedral then watch and participate in a Rippa Rugby tournament – non contact rugby.
  • Queenstown: Wine tasting, travel on the Shotover Jet – 50mph white water ride.
  • April 14 – Christchurch: Ceremony for those who died in 2011 earthquake. Watch a 2015 Cricket World Cup event, later visit air force museum and memorial wall. 
  • April 15 – Rest.
  • April 16 – Wellington: Visit a police training college, sign the city’s visitor book then depart.

AUSTRALIA

  • April 16 – Sydney: Arrive and attend reception at the Sydney Opera House.
  • April 17 – Sydney: Fire-ravaged street in Blue Mountains.
  • April 18 – Sydney: Attend the Royal Easter Show, visit a children’s hospice before watching a demonstration by surf life-saving volunteers. 
  • April 19 – Brisbane: RAF base visit then reception for Queensland’s young people. 
  • April 20 – Sydney: Cathedral service then visit Taronga Zoo where the bilby enclosure is being named after Prince George.
  • April 21 – Rest.
  • April 22 – Uluru (Ayres Rock) (Second night away from George): Visit the National Indigenous Training Academy, view Aboriginal art display then walk round part of the rock.
  • April 23 – Adelaide: View young people’s music workshop and watch skateboarding display.
  • April 24 – Canberra: Visit the National Portrait Gallery, attend a reception at Parliament House, plant a tree at the National Arboretum.
  • April 25 – Canberra: Attend ANZAC Day March, lay a wreath and plant a ‘Lone Pine’ tree in the Memorial Garden.
  • Depart for home.

Articles like the one the Daily Mail published are offensive, expecting the public to accept these ridiculous attempts to salvage the royal image.  Respect is earned, not carefully crafted by PR teams.  The Press dubbed Kate Middleton Waity Katie.  And she was also referred to quite frequently in the press as The Mattress.

The Duchess formerly known as The Mattress leads off the cheeky Entertainmentwise.com article published yesterday.  Here’s a screen grab.

ScreenGrabofTheMattress

For those who can’t tell, Kate Middleton is the mattress on the right.

The very press who blasted this woman for almost a decade as being lazy, waiting around for a prince who cheated on her to marry her, giving her the mattress moniker that eluded to her open-leg policy when it came to royalty, now expects us to buy that this woman who rarely makes any charity appearances actually cares about something other than being Mrs. Prince William, shopping, salon appointments and luxury vacations?

Ridiculous.  The Palace has let her skate by with only four engagements to date in 2014 (and really, it’s being generous counting making small-talk with celebrities as an engagement).  If they want us to respect her, she has to earn it.  Until then, I would appreciate it if the press would refer to Kate Middleton by the titles she has earned: Lazy Katie, Waity Katie, The Duchess of Doolittle, and The Mattress.

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A Royal Excuse To Talk About Diamonds

There are some conflicting reports about the status of Prince Harry and Cressida Bonas’ relationship.  Some are claiming an engagement is imminent while others are speculating that the adorable couple have already split because Cressida was a no-show at the Walking with the Wounded charity event she was reportedly co-hosting with Prince Harry.  Ladies, don’t start bedazzling “I Heart Gingers” t-shirts just yet, there are several legitimate reasons that could explain why Cressy wasn’t there.  First of all, it’s possible she was never actually going to co-host with him at all and that was just a rumor.  Secondly, it’s possible she was sick or had a family emergency.  Or maybe it was because everyone is so eager lately to make their every glance proof that they are marriage-bound, Cressida didn’t want to take the focus off the cause.   When you love someone, you think about things like that.  Recently I made a similar decision, I was concerned my presence could cause distracting speculation that would have been inappropriate for the occasion.  Sometimes the best way to support someone you love is to not be by his side.

It’s understandable why there’s so much excitement over the possibility of Prince Harry getting engaged.  Women especially love engagements, not only because they are celebrations of love, but they also give us a reason to talk about diamonds.

A diamond is really just a mineral made up of repeating units of carbon atoms joined to other carbon atoms by a covalent bond.  Contrary to popular belief, diamonds do not come from coal.  What makes a diamond a girl’s best friend is the high refractive index and dispersion coefficient.  In layman’s terms, light makes them sparkly.

Despite their durability as the hardest mineral, diamonds haven’t always been the go-to choice for engagement rings.  Before the discovery of African diamond mines in the 1870s, diamonds were incredibly rare and expensive.  The most commonly used stones for engagement rings were rubies and opals.  It wasn’t until the late 1930s that diamonds became a popular choice for engagement rings.

The first ever diamond engagement ring was given to Mary of Burgundy in 1477 by Archduke Maximilian of Austria, the diamonds formed the letter M.  The ring sparked a trend among nobility to use diamonds in engagement rings, often incorporating other colored gemstones.  One of the most exquisite diamond/ruby engagement ring combinations was given to Princess Märtha of Sweden by fiancé (and cousin) Crown Prince Olav of Norway in 1928.  It is now worn by Princess Mette-Marit.

Princess Märtha of Sweden's Engagement Ring

Princess Märtha of Sweden’s Engagement Ring

In the British Monarchy, engagement rings with both sapphires and diamonds were the choice for several royal brides including The Queen Mother, Princess Anne, Princess Diana and Duchess Catherine who wears Princess Diana’s ring.  When Princess Diana passed away, Princes William and Harry each were told to select an item that had belonged to their mother.  Prince William chose her Cartier watch, Prince Harry selected her sapphire engagement ring.  Eventually they swapped so Prince William could propose to Kate Middleton with the twelve carat sapphire that had belonged to his mother.

Princess Diana's Engagement Ring

Princess Diana’s Engagement Ring

For Prince Harry’s future wife, that leaves the door open for a new ring.  Princess Diana’s engagement ring is very elegant, but there’s a formality to it that I just can’t see on any girl Harry winds up.  Prince Harry likes the kind of girls who would go camping on purpose.  Adventurous, kind, low-maintenance and of course, blonde.

The “traditional” diamond engagement ring as we know it is actually the creation of diamond cartel De Beers’ marketing campaign that began in 1938.  In 1947, De Beers they introduced the “A Diamond is Forever” slogan that has become part of betrothal’s collective unconscious.  As an enduring symbol of everlasting love, the suggested amount of money that should be spent on the diamond increased from one month of a man’s salary to two.   The diamond engagement ring became a symbol of a man’s socioeconomic status.

These days, engagement rings are more about the women wearing them.  They should reflect her personal style and lifestyle.  More and more women are deciding they aren’t the solitaire types.  The Tiffany and Cartier diamond engagement rings girls used to oooh and aaah over seem a bit uninspired.  Trends are returning to the pre-De Beers campaign days with colored stones being used more and more.  Rings have more personal meaning beyond how much the fiancé makes.

Even though I’ve declined a few marriage proposals (and accepted that one where I assumed he was joking), I never really gave much thought to what kind of engagement ring I would want if I ever did say yes.  Until one day I stumbled across this, my fantasy engagement ring which also comes in white gold and yellow gold.

"Gatsby" Ring in Rose Gold Designer: Heidi Gibson www.heidigibson.com

“Gatsby” Ring in Rose Gold
Designer: Heidi Gibson
www.heidigibson.com

And there’s even a more cost-effective white sapphire and diamond version.

"Gatsby Ring" in White Gold with White Sapphire Designer: Heidi Gibson www.heidigibson.com

“Gatsby Ring” in White Gold with White Sapphire
Designer: Heidi Gibson
www.heidigibson.com

This designer, Heidi Gibson, is a GENIUS.  She creates beautiful pieces at all different price points, offering different size stones and different gems, working within customer budgets and customizing it for the individual.  That kind of flexibility and personalization is what the soon-to-be betrothed are looking for these days.

"Lindy" Ring in Gold with Morganite Designer: Heidi Gibson www.heidigibson.com

“Lindy” Ring in Gold with Morganite
Designer: Heidi Gibson
www.heidigibson.com

One of my favorite engagement rings that moves even further away from the traditional styles of the last seventy years adorns the ring finger of model, socialite and Princess Eugenie pal, Poppy Delevingne.  Unique, yet romantic with its two heart-shaped diamonds flanking the center stone.

Poppy Delevingne's Engagement Ring

Poppy Delevingne’s Engagement Ring

Poppy Delevingne and Prince Harry’s present girlfriend, Cressida, both have a boho-chic aesthetic sense.  Cressida tends to gravitate towards more organic style with romantic prints and flowers in her hair.  A simple solitaire isn’t going to cut it for this boho-chic kitten should she and Prince Harry decide to take a walk down the aisle.  I could see Cressida going for a modern take on floral-inspired engagement rings that became popular in the Victorian era and have been reinterpreted throughout the years.

BeautifulPetra on Etsy has some gorgeous flower-inspired rings, like the Flower Rose Diamond Engagement Ring:

Flower Rose Engagement Ring Designer: BeautifulPetra Available on Etsy

Flower Rose Engagement Ring
Designer: BeautifulPetra
Available on Etsy

The Love in Bloom Ring:

Love in Bloom Ring Designer: BeautifulPetra Available on Etsy

Love in Bloom Ring
Designer: BeautifulPetra
Available on Etsy

And the Rose Diamond Engagement Ring.

Rose Diamond Engagement Ring Designer: BeautifulPetra Available on Etsy

Rose Diamond Engagement Ring
Designer: BeautifulPetra
Available on Etsy

Of course, Prince Harry could always go rooting around in the Royal Family jewelry box to see what gorgeous bauble might be available should he and Cressida choose to become engaged.  The Queen Mother stopped wearing her sapphire engagement ring in favor of a pearl ring around 1950, and I don’t believe that ring has been used by anyone else.  If Prince Harry was looking for an opal engagement ring, he would be hard pressed to find one, the Royal Family is very superstitious about their gems.  Opals are believed by some to bring bad luck to a marriage unless they are surrounded by diamonds or worn by a bride born in the month of October so the British Royal Family steers clear.  They even are apprehensive about rubies in engagement rings, a superstition unique to the House of Windsor.  Given that opals and rubies were the most common stones used in engagement rings by the masses prior to the 1930s, it’s possible the commonness of the stone is what made rubies undesirable to the Royal Family and is at the root of that superstition.  In 1960, Princess Margaret accepted the ruby and diamond engagement ring shaped to look like a rose from Antony Armstrong-Jones.  The marriage ended in divorce, which did not help the ruby’s image in royal eyes.  Of course, the unhappy marriage could have in part been due to Princess Margaret still not being over Peter Townsend, with whom she fell madly in love and wanted to marry but her sister, Queen Elizabeth II, refused to grant permission on the grounds that as a divorced man, he was unsuitable.  Still, the ruby in the engagement ring shouldered some of the blame.  Some were concerned when Prince Andrew gave Sarah Ferguson a ruby and diamond engagement ring.  Their divorce didn’t help the Royal Family’s wariness of engagement rubies either but Sarah still wears her ruby ring from time to time and she and Prince Andrew still care deeply for each other.  Some think the two will eventually get back together again, love triumphing over ruby.  Even though they are divorced, I think they’ve always been and always will be the love of each others’ lives.

I hope there’s another royal engagement soon and not just because I love talking about shiny baubles, but because Prince Harry seems to truly want to settle down and have a family of his own.  Prince Harry has said, “I’ve longed for kids since I was very, very young. And so… I’m waiting to find the right person, someone who’s willing to take on the job.” The women who Prince Harry dates aren’t the type who are after the perks of a royal title, their lives are about more than just salon appointments and shopping trips, they are aware they wouldn’t be just marrying a man, they would be marrying an entire country and with that comes expectation.  I hope Cressida is “willing to take on the job”, everyone deserves to have a love that will last forever.

redheart

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Kate Doesn’t Mind The Gap

I’m a little worried about Kate Middleton.  Not so worried this post will be devoid of all snarkiness, just concerned enough to entertain the notion that maybe the Duchess of Cambridge might be struggling with more than just tan lines, or that maybe those tan lines sadden her more than we will ever know.

Despite having only worked 4 of the last 110 days, Kate seems to be one lifeless Poppet recently, her face is strained, she’s been clenching her jaw, she’s fake-smiling like a normal person and not a radioactive comic book supervillain named Pageant Girl, and she’s frugally shopping again.  On Monday while the Queen, Prince Philip and Prince William unveiled statues of Windsor Greys, Kate went shopping at The Gap.  And she bought Prince George these pants:

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Prince George isn’t tall enough yet to be able to carry off horizontal stripes, this is totally going to make him look hippy.  Kate knows better than that.

When looking at photos of the weekend wedding Kate attended with Princes William and Harry, I noticed what appeared to be dark tear streaks on Kate’s cheeks, so I asked for a second opinion on Kate Middleton: Duchess or Diva.  Herazeus answered, “The first thing that struck me before you brought this up, is that she has streaks down the side of her face consistent with streaked mascara that’s been running when a person cries.”

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Kate flipped on the smile switch for pictures, but the dark streaks became even more evident in more light.

Now, it was a friend’s wedding, people sometimes cry at those, but usually that happens during the wedding.  Guests usually don’t get in a pre-cry.  At least I don’t, I’m usually too preoccupied with trying to avoid Spanx-related near-death experiences.

I commented in my last post that Prince Harry was walking behind her in a lot of the weekend wedding photos, maybe using Kate as a human shield.  The more I think about it, though, the more I suspect Captain Harry Wales had her six.

In the family portrait taken on March 18th and released over the weekend, even with a level of PhotoShopping making her look like she’s her own Madame Tussauds wax figure, there’s a lot of tension in her jaw.

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This is her usual Duchess smile:

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Her smile in the family photo is almost a grimace in comparison.  Why so sad, girl?

Now, Kate’s always been a bit work-shy, something the Queen attempted to address back in 2008 without success.  I can’t imagine the Queen hasn’t noticed that when Kate leaves for the Australia/New Zealand tour, she will have only averaged one official engagement a month for the past four months.  That’s shocking even for a woman whose nickname is Lazy.  Has Kate perfected ducking Duchess Duties or has she been given a Duties-Free pass because something is amiss?

This year it seems like there have been more Bigfoot sightings than Duchess Catherine sitings.  Maybe Kate’s ultimate goal is to get her official engagements down to one a year and if she sees her shadow, it means there’s six more weeks of winter.  There are all sorts of rumors on the internet hypothesizing about her disappearing act and why she seems like a shadow of her former shell lately.  They range from speculation that she is still suffering from postpartum depression to marital problems to her starting to crack under the pressure of expectation that came with the title.  As much as I criticize her for not being involved in more charity work, I don’t want to see her unhappy.

The Australia/New Zealand Tour should be interesting.  She’s got appearances on fourteen days with only three rest days.  Even though for most, what she’s got scheduled is akin to our level of activity while on vacation, this girl hasn’t done any real stretching to prepare her.

redheart

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The Empire Strikes Back

Prince Charles’ Press Office has been tasked with the unenviable job of making the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge appear a little less let-them-eat-cake in the public eye.  From a strategic standpoint, I must say, well done.

On March 18th, the Duke and Duchess made a £5,000 donation to Rhyl Town Mayor’s Flood Appeal.  Good deed, but it was an anticipated move.  On one of Kate’s fan sites, HRH Duchess Kate, a commenter going under the handle Maryland Moxie stated, “A surprise donation to help the needy after a lovely vacation in the Maldives! What thoughtful generosity and how kind of the PR team to publicize it. Here’s hoping all the fans will follow their lead and help out too. The Maldives economy and the people struggling in Britain. In which ever order you prefer.”  On Kate Middleton: Duchess or Diva, commenters did the math and the general consensus was, “That’s it?”

In chess terms, their donation would be known as the English Opening.

It wasn’t until Wednesday March 26th that the game got interesting.  US Magazine revealed that according to a “source”, while the Duke and Duchess were in the Maldives, they missed George’s first crawl.  Information about Prince George is more carefully guarded than the Crown Jewels in the Tower of London, the only permissible source is one of the two parents, and the article would have indicated which parent was quoted.  This “leak” is as brilliant as the Second Star of Africa on the Imperial State Crown.  In addition to outrage over the second luxury vacation for the UK’s Laziest Royals, the security costs taxpayers were footing the bill for, many objected to them leaving Prince George behind.  By revealing that Prince William and Kate missed the first crawl, those who objected to leaving Prince George behind were able to feel smugly justified in their objections because the Duke and Duchess missed a milestone and now ‘they’ll know better’.  Those who were just generally disenchanted overall got to feel like the karmic checks and balances system was somewhat intact.  Faith in universe somewhat restored.

Well played, Buckingham Palace Press Office.

That leak also gave them some PR wiggle room.  Should someone point out it’s hypocritical to insist on bringing Prince George with them on the Australia/New Zealand tour when they left him home for Maldives, and dare to suggest that maybe Prince William and Kate are after the same kind of 1983 royal family blanket photo op that made Princess Diana so endearing, they have the excuse that they missed his crawling and don’t want to miss any other milestones.

Well played, Buckingham Palace Press Office.

Then they turned the focus on Kate as a mother, letting the press know that Kate is “very excited” about Mothering Day.  Her very first.  Mothering Day in the UK falls on Sunday March 30th, but the news had to be broadcast four days in advance just so everyone would have time to absorb the excitement of Kate being excited about her first Mother’s Day as a Mum.  Then stories reminisced about how exciting it was when George was born back in July and how excited Kate was and how excited William was and how excited the excited were because it was just oh so exciting.  Is everyone else secretly doodling hearts in their journals, too, just thinking about it?

Well played, Buckingham Palace Press Office.

On Thursday, the Duchess of Cambridge was spotted at Zara, casually dressed, picking up some of their affordably priced clothing presumably for the upcoming Australia/New Zealand tour.  Just rummaging through the racks like anyone who happens to walk around with four Scotland Yard bodyguards.

In 2012, Kate spent approximately $94,000 between Duchess-duty clothes and her beauty regime which is more than double the average yearly salary in her country, before taxes of course, which go to supplement the Royal’s lavish lifestyle.

But the Zara appearance on Thursday makes her look like she’s trying to be all thrifty.  Those budget-blowing renovations at Kensington Palace just had to be unavoidable, after all, Kate shops at Zara, she would never blow an extra $1.7 million on top of the $1.8 million unless it was truly necessary.

Well played, Buckingham Palace Press Office.

Saturday was a double-header of attempted Lazy Duo humanization by the Buckingham Palace Press Office.

Prince William and Kate showed up at the wedding of friends Lucy Meade and Charlie Budgett with Harry in tow.  Harry received his own PR Bitch-Slap this week for taking a ski trip associated with an oligarch who is besties with Kazakhstan’s lead-oppressor who gave Prince Harry use of a government helicopter.  Prince Harry appears to be using Kate as a human shield in some of the pics which can be seen at:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2592424/Awkward-moment-woman-pictured-wearing-coat-Duchess-Cambridge-friends-wedding.html?offset=0&max=100#comment-51229839

Something tragic did occur at the wedding, Kate and another guest showed up wearing the same coat.  The unlucky guest is shivering in the picture, maybe because she’s wearing strappy heels in March or maybe it’s because she knows her picture will run alongside of Kate’s with a caption, “Who Wore It Best”.  I think it’s considered an act of treason not to pick Kate.

Kate is perfectly polished as always, but seeing the two girls side by side makes Kate look even skinnier.  I think Kate might be getting too thin, I have an overwhelming urge to FedEx her a sandwich and maybe some cookies, too.

Two of Prince William’s ex-girlfriends were in attendance.  We notice Kate isn’t smiling that full grin some of us have been assuming is caused by some kind of neurological damage or imminent plans to become Batman’s next villain.  One of the exes is Jecca Craig, the perhaps-not-so-ex-after-all, who accompanied Prince William on his hunting trip to Spain.  I actually feel a little bad for Kate.

Well played, Buckingham Palace Press Office.

The second half of Saturday’s double-header was the release of the first family photo made public since the christening.  They stuck with the same photographer, Jason Bell, perhaps for his talents with PhotoShopping hair on Prince William.  While tabloids are cooing with delight, it’s not really the most joyful of photos.

CambridgesMotheringDayPic

The photographer used a window as a framing device, taking the shot from below which emphasizes the prominence of the family.  The dark background gives the photo the somber feel of a 16th century Venetian portrait.  The positioning of Prince William and Kate is stiff, the only interaction within the photograph occurs between Prince George who turns towards the family’s cocker spaniel, Lupo, with curiousity and Lupo who in turn regards him apprehensively.  In this photo, the Duke and Duchess are relegated to the position of easels.  Kate is seated the furthest back, with Lupo occupying a spot closer to the foreground.  Kate’s role is simply to prop up the son who visually breaks the interior plane of the window frame like his father, both royal by blood.

While undoubtedly released for the UK’s Mothering Day, this portrait is not a celebration of family or even a modern monarchy.  Despite the heavy PhotoShopping, the pronounced bags under Kate’s eyes could not be erased without obliterating half her face, her expression seems more forcibly molded than ever, her glazed eyes unseeing, her left eyebrow appears to have been darkened and thickened slightly to give a sense of movement and life to her frozen face.  Prince William has his shirt sleeve rolled up, an affectation of practiced relaxed cool, his smile that of a prep school student humoring the yearbook photographer with the slightest of sneers conveying that he feels like he’s being a good sport about the inconvenience.  Any hint of a Maldives tan has been swapped out in favor of a porcelain mask finish to better represent the winter pastiness of their people.

Just like everything in the Royal Family, this photo has been over-manipulated by heavy hands to the extent that not much of the original material remains.  Whether for clothing or propping up her son, Kate is used for display purposes only.  The only visible object in the room darkened behind them is a gilded frame, reinforcing the artifice of the image and the Royal Family as a whole.

Better luck next time, Buckingham Palace Press Office.  Nicely played, though.

redheart

 

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