Tag Archives: Prince Harry

The Queen Opens Parliament

At 90, Queen Elizabeth II is more than twice my real age and more than three times my pretend age. Today she opened Parliament with the kind of pomp and ceremony that has kept the British Monarchy in business.  For the first time in her sixty-four years as Queen, one minor traditional  concession was made to the toll ninety years has taken on her body and Her Majesty took a lift instead of the stairs to execute her Parliamentary duties.

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As Queen Elizabeth II famously proclaimed, “I declare before you all that my whole life whether it be long or short shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great imperial family to which we all belong.”  And she meant it, she’s in it for the long haul with the type of dedication to duty that has garnered global respect and admiration.

Queen Elizabeth II has only missed the State Opening of Parliament twice, once while pregnant with Prince Andrew in 1959 and the second time while pregnant with Prince Edward in 1963.  As spectacular as it is to watch such a grand tradition as the Opening of Parliament, the Queen is a nonagenarian and it’s hard not to feel exhaustion empathy for her.

The Queen rolled up to the State Opening of Parliament  in the Diamond Jubilee State Coach.  Coaches are uncomfortable to ride in, even the magically conjured one in Cinderella looked as smooth a ride as a Hippity Hop bouncing its way to the ball.

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In a coach, every bump in the road sends a jolt through every injury you’ve ever sustained in your life. Tell me this isn’t the face of a woman wistfully longing for the smooth suspension and plush leather seats of a luxury automobile or at the very least, a pair of padded knickers.

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A  gilded carriage does make a statement, but so would the Queen arriving by jet pack with less of a scrambled feeling upon arrival.

Then the Queen slipped  into  something a little more uncomfortable, the Robe of State which weighs 15lbs and is 18 feet in length.  Does a 90 year-old woman really need  to be wearing ceremonial garb that footmen help carry?

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Couldn’t she just wear a Snuggie?  It comes in Royal Purple.

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The Imperial State Crown worn by Her Majesty weighs 2.3lbs.  While that may not sound terribly heavy, try putting a pair of standard 1lb ankle weights on your head.  I can’t even deal with them on my ankles.

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As much as I love head  sparkle, maybe the Queen should  pick up one of those Aros sweatshirts where the hoodie inflates  into a pillow.  Sometimes my head feels heavy even without a crown.

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The whole State Opening of Parliament could be done much more efficiently by simply getting one of those reversible Open/Closed  signs  that hang from a chain.  The Queen could just flip it to signal  the Opening of Parliament with a generically upbeat pop song like Katy Perry’s “Roar” playing in lieu of the Queen reading a ten minute speech outlining the government’s agenda.

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Considering the tradition of imprisoning the Vice-Chamberlain to ensure the monarch’s safe return from Parliament  is still ceremonially observed, it’s unlikely we’ll see the Queen with a pair of sneakers peeping out from beneath one of Angela Kelly’s gowns.  I marvel at all the Queen manages to do at 90.

The monarchy is long past the point the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge became full-time royals.  Although even counting their physical presence at official engagements in the Court Circular seems almost pointless considering how lackluster their appearances are.  At the launch of the Heads Together Campaign on Monday, Prince Harry’s presence made it even more apparent that Prince William and Kate are ill-prepared for their roles.  In a speech divided between the three, Prince Harry was the only one who engaged the audience, while the delivery of his brother was flat and detached and his sister-in-law only attempted  a few forgettable sentences.  Other than the three donning boxing gloves for photo ops and  Kate wearing a skirt Banana Republic likely won’t restock, it was hard to figure out the objective of the event which was said to work towards erasing the stigma of mental illness.

But then I spotted this photo.

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That’s the kind of genuine warmth that reaches people and gives them hope.

Were it not for chance of birth order, the future of the British Monarchy would be bright.  And the stoic perseverance of the Queen to continue the monarchy would make sense.  I feel Prince Charles will make a good king but his reign realistically will be brief and then the British Monarchy will be left with Ignorance and Want huddling beneath the ghostly robes of history.

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Close Encounters of the Prince Harry Kind

Today’s post is guest-authored by a woman named Ashley who has shared with us our her account of being within close proximity to Prince Harry during the Invictus Games.  Ashley offers incredible insight into Prince Harry, his warmth, sincerity and genuine commitment to his role as both a prince and a humanitarian.  The photos Ashley took of the driving force behind Invictus are the end of her incredible account.

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On Monday, May 9, 2016, my sister Amy and I were attending the Invictus Games in Orlando, Florida. The Invictus Games were established by Prince Harry as a competitive international event for wounded veterans. We were able to attend the Opening Ceremonies on Sunday, May 8th at the ESPN Wide World of Sports venue at Disney, at which Prince Harry, Michelle Obama, Pres. George W. Bush, and Morgan Freeman made appearances and spoke. We’d already fully enjoyed that event, and as a sort of “cherry on top” we decided to attend two sporting events on the first day of competition – Monday.

On Monday, the first event we were scheduled to attend was the Indoor Rowing Finals, held in a large stadium called the HP Fieldhouse. We arrived at 1:45pm, about 15min after the event had begun, and as we entered the stands we showed our ticket to a worker who then let us know that we had the choice either of sitting in section 103, which was closest to the action, or in section 203, which was one level up. Since I had my larger camera with me and wanted to get some wide-perspective shots, I suggested to Amy that we sit in 203 first (which only had about 6 people seated there at the time) and then move to 103 later, as the competition was supposed to run for at least 3-4 hours and we knew we’d have plenty of time to move around.

When we were walking up the wide cement steps to section 203, we saw an Australian gentleman wearing an athlete’s jersey sitting a few rows up on the stairs, playing a gigantic didgeridoo. I was excited, because I’d never seen one outside of TV, so I made a mental note that I wanted to get a picture of him before we moved to the other section.

We sat about four rows up in the section, Amy in the end seat and I one in, and the Australian man was sitting just to the right of Amy, one step up. After about 10 minutes of taking wide-shot photos of the stadium, I decided to turn and ask the Aussie if he would take Amy’s and my picture with the stadium in the background – and I intended to also ask if I could get a pic of him with his instrument.

However, as I half- stood and turned to ask him, I suddenly realized there was another man who had come and sat next to him on the step. And after a split second, I realized it was Prince Harry!! First, my brain said, “That is Prince Harry!” then immediately I thought, “That’s not possible. It can’t be Prince Harry!” And then my brain did some sort of calculation that went “Red hair – beard – black Invictus polo shirt – lanky build – it IS PRINCE HARRY.” And for a second my heart stopped and my brain just about fried. And my next thought was “how am I going to tell Amy without making any noise??” because Prince Harry was less than a foot from her right shoulder, seated a step above, and I knew if I said anything above a whisper he would hear me!!

I sat down, turned to Amy, grabbed her knee and said in a very soft whisper, “Prince Harry is JUST behind your shoulder!!” Amy says she thought I was joking until she saw my face and realized that I was actually serious. I had to repeat myself for her to understand. And then it was so strange because even though she knew he was there, she couldn’t turn around to look because she was too close!! So we just sat perfectly still for a few seconds collecting our thoughts. I had both my big camera and my phone in my hand, and I debated whether I wanted to try to use the big camera, but it was so obvious that Prince Harry was trying to be incognito (up there in the non-lighted, empty stands, sitting on a cement step) and so I decided not to use the big camera. Instead, I took a series of pictures silently using my phone with Prince Harry in them. I’m sure his security detail noticed Amy and I taking cell phone pics, but we never interrupted him or made any scene, so they never said anything to us. A couple of people did step up and ask if they could take photos of him and Prince Harry allowed them permission – he even tried to play the guy’s didgeridoo but failed miserably and hilariously, so everyone was laughing. We found out later that one of the people taking pics was from the UK paper The Daily Mail, because they posted an article about it two days later.

Prince Harry continued to talk to the Aussie for over half an hour, and then they moved into the seats…and Prince Harry sat in the stadium seat DIRECTLY behind me. I was so freaked out and so nervous and excited, and all I could think about was that he had such long legs and I was terrified that if I moved I would hit him in the knees with my hair or my head!! So I just sat still and only leaned forward if I moved at all – I ended up with a backache from being so still!! But he stayed for such a long time and was talking about how strong the athletes are, and how he liked the music they were using, and just generally was so charming and friendly to the Aussie athlete. After a while, it became obvious that more and more people were noticing Prince Harry in the stands. Our section started to fill up with people, and several asked for photos with him. A couple of times I even had to stand up to let people into our row, and I actually had to lean back toward him which was so awkward and I felt bad about invading his personal space (although in a stadium it’s unavoidable). He did allow athletes and their families to get pics, but at one point when there were multiple people coming we heard him say (very nicely) “Ok, but please don’t make this a thing,” as in, please don’t start a chain reaction of people wanting pictures. Prince Harry spent the whole rest of the time cheering for all the athletes, especially the UK team, and at one point he let out a huge cheer for an athlete from Afghanistan who was there on his own. He was absolutely unfailingly polite and friendly to everyone we heard him speaking to.

Amy and I both went through basically the same mental process during this time, which was that we realized he was trying to be incognito, he didn’t want to have everyone trying to get pictures, and we both thought that for once it might be nice for him to just be able to enjoy a sporting event without everyone near him pestering him for pictures. And since this was his event, we both realized that the best thing we could do would be to demonstrate that we were there to cheer on the US team (which we were!) and that we were having a great time (which we DEFINITELY were!). So instead of trying to interact with him, we mutually agreed to just snap a few pictures with our phones but basically leave him alone and act as if he was just any other person there watching with us.

After so many people started coming to ask him for pictures, Prince Harry left with his team, and we were left in the stands to have our fangirl freakout in peace!! Amy and I immediately started texting friends and posting on social media, and just discussing the whole crazy situation.

And then, just about the time that the section had cleared of most of the other people and we had relaxed, Prince Harry came back!!! This time he came with about 6+ people, and sat two rows behind us and one seat to my left. He was sitting with a man we didn’t recognize, and his security detail created more of a perimeter for him that time, so that he wouldn’t be disturbed. Again, he just spent the time chatting and was so engaged and so animated talking about the athletes and venue and event – it seemed clear that he was enjoying himself! That time, they stayed for less than an hour and they left again…and then about half an hour later they came back AGAIN!

Amy says we must have passed the creeper test, because by the third time it was pretty obvious that both Prince Harry and his detail weren’t concerned about us doing anything crazy. In fact, one of his security team sat just in front of us and made eye contact and grinned at us as if to communicate that he knew they had made our day, but clearly they wouldn’t have come back if they thought we were weird creepy people!

The third time Prince Harry was near us, he spent more time standing on the steps and either chatting with his team or taking pictures. At one point he walked a bit lower and snapped a lot of photos on his cell phone before returning to a seat above us. By that last visit, we weren’t even taking pictures anymore because we were just so happy that he was back and weren’t worried about getting more – we already had quite a few!! He stayed for a shorter period of time then, and left with his entourage. A few minutes later, he handed out the medals in one of the Indoor Rowing medal ceremonies where the UK had placed, and the woman holding the medals for him was so flustered she accidentally fell down and dropped them! Prince Harry helped her up, but I felt for her because she was so embarrassed and I knew exactly why!!

In total, Prince Harry was within 5 feet or less of Amy and I for over two hours, and we could hear his conversation for the majority of that time.

Our impression of the Prince is that he is incredibly genuine, charming, friendly and unassuming. He laughs a lot, is extremely expressive when he talks, and is gracious to everyone with whom he interacts. One thing that really stuck out to us was how “in-the-moment” he was – he was near enough to us for us to hear about two hour’s worth of his conversation, and the entire time was spend chatting about the Invictus Games in general, about the athletes, about his team, about the venue, etc. He is definitely the kind of person who takes full advantage of the present moment!! He is good-looking (and smells great!), but to be honest his personality is really what makes him as attractive as he is; he was so charming even in that very low-key situation that it was pretty amazing.

There are very few people by whom I would be this star-struck, but Monday’s experience ranks as one of the most exciting of my life so far. And I’m not at all sorry that we didn’t attempt to interact with Prince Harry or get a picture with him, because it clearly resulted in us having a great deal more time in his presence – and I wouldn’t trade that for any picture! I just hope that our discretion did contribute toward his being able to more peacefully and fully enjoy the experience of the amazing Invictus Games he established. He deserves so much respect for making this amazing event happen!!

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Warrior Prince

“If you’re going through hell, keep going.”
– Winston Churchill

Over the weekend, my Twitter feed was approximately 60% Prince Harry and Invictus Games, 20% Cute Animals and 20% makeup and miscellaneous.  The percentages were encouraging because it meant that Invictus news was making the rounds, even beating out some undeniably precious pandas.

With the buzz surrounding Invictus Games, especially with the charming Prince Harry involved, conversation can quickly veer off course, no matter how noble the cause.  With Prince Harry promoting Invictus to raise awareness, outlets have been latching on to his casual remarks in order to sell the fairytale and not the cause.  Sure, wounded warriors who have overcome great adversity is cool and all but Prince Harry is like totally looking for a girlfriend and OMG!

A few hours ago, I did a Google search for Prince Harry and this is what was at the top of the News chain:

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Really?  Even during such an impressive massive undertaking as Invictus, Prince Harry’s love life is still the focus?

On Twitter,  has done a tremendous job in separating the key moments from all the noise and Tweeting the best of Prince Harry’s laudable efforts.  I highly recommend following peppersmint for the best of both the Invictus Games and Prince Harry.

The Invictus Games are a sporting event created by Prince Harry, this year uniting 500 wounded, sick and injured armed services personnel from fourteen countries as they compete in the events of archery, indoor rowing, powerlifting, road cycling, sitting volleyball, swimming, track and field, wheelchair basketball, wheelchair rugby and wheelchair tennis. (Source: Invictus Games 2016 Official Website).  Invictus is Latin for “unconquered” and derives its name from a poem by William Earnest Henley.

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole, 
I thank whatever gods may be 
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud. 
Under the bludgeonings of chance 
 My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears 
 Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years 
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

Prince Harry has been the driving force behind Invictus which was launched in 2014, initially inspired by the 2013 Warrior Games in the US and expanded upon by the prince who was in the army for ten years until June of last year.  Supporting those who have served  their country is a cause to which Prince Harry is deeply devoted, but not all of his work makes the papers.  As noted earlier this year by Herazeus, “Harry volunteers 3 days a week with the Ministry of Defence’s Recovery Personal programme unit.”   More information on the programme “designed to ensure wounded, injured and sick service personnel receive co-ordinated support” can be found here.  In September of last year, Prince Harry was joined by his brother Prince William in building homes for veterans in Manchester, an effort which did get quite a bit of press.

Having served in the army and devoted himself to military causes, Prince Harry is aware that the men and women who risk their lives defending their countries often have difficulties readjusting to civilian life, away from the brotherhood and sisterhood of the armed forces.  Those who have been wounded while serving their countries don’t stop being soldiers when their injuries prohibit them from returning to combat, that’s when the real battle begins for wounded warriors.  Some suffer through painful rehabilitation, having to learn how to use parts of their bodies again.  Tragically, some have to find the strength to learn to live without parts of their body.  Many find themselves crushed under the weight of all they have lost gasping for hope.  The hell seems never-ending and Churchill’s famous words “Never, never, never give up,” aren’t a rallying cry for those deeply scarred but a reminder that  giving up is an option.

Mike Roggio, a competitor at the Invictus Games who had broken his neck in a naval accident, shared with People, “One of the biggest obstacles in my recovery was dealing with depression. I went from being an athlete and a very able-bodied person to being bed-ridden and in diapers for several months.  I couldn’t even push off the wall [of the pool] at first, but a few months down the road I was actually racing other people in the pool.”

With Invictus Games,  Prince Harry reminds the injured, wounded and sick service personnel that the warrior spirit can’t be conquered.  Through this competition within the brotherhood and sisterhood of the armed forces, Prince Harry gives them something to battle for and reminds them their injuries don’t define who they are or who they can be.

Opening ceremonies for Invictus 2016 were held on May 8th in front of 10,000 spectators.  A member of our community, Melete, was there at the opening ceremonies and shared her experience with us:

“Attending the Opening Ceremony was a truly rewarding experience. I’m fortunate to live about 10 minutes away, so I felt like I couldn’t pass up the opportunity. My spouse is also a veteran with lingering issues from his military service, and I have so much respect for how Harry’s brought these Games about.

It’s almost difficult to describe just how happy everyone was to be there. The audience was enthusiastic about everything, and it was great to see people cheering all the competitors from all the countries as they walked out. In fact, the ladies sitting behind us were also locals, and they brought on the loud whistles and cheers for every country. People completely understood why there were there and just how important it was. I loved the sense that these competitors should all be the heroes we look up to. And honestly, I loved the push for hiring veterans, as that’s also a huge part of the event. Yes, the competitors were there to challenge themselves physically, but they’re also proving to the world that they’re still valuable members of society who have something to contribute in the workforce.

The flyover was awesome, and the helicopter bringing in the Invictus flag was pretty amazing. We could see the helicopters fly past, but from where I was sitting I couldn’t see the paratrooper exit (except on the screen). But everyone cheered when the flag got to the stage. The silent drill team was also incredible, and the audience loved it. The Invictus choir was one of my favorite parts, really impressive. The singers were just as moved as the people watching, so it made for a beautiful moment. Because the ceremony was being broadcast live, there were actually commercial breaks, and things would be shifted around for the next part of the ceremony. At first, it was a little confusing, but then we all got the hang of it, and when everything seemed to come to a stop, people around us would say, “Commercial break!” It was a fun group in the stadium and seemed to be a pretty good mix of locals and people from other countries. Lots of people from the UK, but that didn’t surprise me, since half the people who live around me are British. It was just nice to see so much support for the event, and if it wasn’t a full house (9500) it was very close to it.

James Blunt brought down the house. I’ve never seen him perform before, but it was clear he was enjoying himself but not making it all about himself. Then Harry walked out, and the stadium went wild. It wasn’t a celebrity thing, though, and Harry didn’t act like a celebrity or like this was all about him. It was clear that everyone genuinely appreciated the work he’d done with Invictus and bringing attention to wounded veterans. And he responded by turning everything away from himself and back on the competitors. I’ve seen other people comment about how good his speech was, but I’ll mention it again. It was really, really good. He carried himself well, he spoke with confidence, and I didn’t notice any hint of hesitation or even nerves. (There were teleprompters at the base of the platform, but I didn’t see him or anyone else who spoke rely much on them. They all knew what they were there to say.) It’s almost like Harry’s finally reached that place of maturity in which he knows who he is, why he’s doing this work, and he’s totally at peace with himself. I’ve seen a few complaints elsewhere that he’s making the Games all about himself, but nothing could be further from the truth in the Opening Ceremony. He was there to support and encourage, and he gave a speech that reflected it. In fact, everyone who stood up there and spoke had something very important to say, a piece of the pie if that makes sense, to remind the spectators and the audience watching from home just what the Games were all about. They weren’t about Harry, or Michelle Obama, or Morgan Freeman. They were about the wounded veterans who were reclaiming their sense of themselves and showing the world that you can be a whole person even if you lost your legs. They were also about the invisible injuries that are just as devastating, because people don’t always feel comfortable talking about them. So Harry et al talked about them, as they should.

(For what it’s worth, I only saw him from my seat, although one of the ladies sitting behind us saw him, Michelle Obama, and Robin Roberts when they came into the stadium. She must not have been too impressed, though, because when James Blunt said something about Harry being hot, she said, “No he’s not!”)

We stayed until just after the British soldiers spoke (right after DT). We had a small child with us, who was starting to look desperate for sleep, so we thought we’d beat the crowds. No luck there, as quite a few other people had the same idea. The show was supposed to run from 8-10 pm, but we left at 10:30, and it went for another 10-15 minutes. We saw the fireworks as we were walking back to the car.

Only downside had to do with getting in and getting out. VERY slow entry due to security (TSA checking bags and Secret Service monitoring metal detectors), and leaving was kind of horrible because the parking lot exit was poorly managed. Despite my living a few minutes away, we didn’t get home until shortly before midnight. That aside, it was worth it, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to go and support such an amazing cause.”

The games run from the 8th until the 12th at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Florida.

The TV Schedule of Events for the Invictus Games has been posted on espn.go.com (all times ET):

Sunday, May 8:

  • Opening ceremony, 8 p.m. ET (ESPN2)

Monday, May 9:

  • Powerlifting finals, 8 a.m.-11 a.m. (ESPN3)
  • Rowing finals, 1:30 p.m.-4:30 p.m. (ESPN3)
  • Archery finals, 7 p.m.-11 p.m. (ESPN3)
  • Day 1 recap show, 7 p.m.-8:30 p.m. (ESPN2)
  • Day 1 recap show (re-air), 10:30 p.m.-midnight (ESPN2)

Tuesday, May 10:

  • Track and field finals, 8 a.m.-1 p.m. (ESPN3)
  • Sitting volleyball semifinals, 2 p.m.-4:30 p.m. (ESPN3)
  • Sitting volleyball gold/bronze medal matches, 7 p.m.-9:30 p.m. (ESPN3)
  • Day 2 recap show, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
  • Day 2 recap show (re-air), 11 p.m.-12:30 a.m. (ESPN2)

Wednesday, May 11:

  • Swimming finals, 8 a.m.-1 p.m. (ESPN3)
  • Wheelchair rugby semifinals, 2 p.m.-4:30 p.m. (ESPN3)
  • Wheelchair rugby gold/bronze medal matches, 7:30 p.m.-11 p.m. (ESPN3)
  • Day 3 recap show, 7 p.m.-8 p.m. (ESPN2)
  • Day 3 recap show (re-air), 11 p.m.-midnight (ESPN2)

Thursday, May 12:

  • Wheelchair tennis final, 8 a.m.-10 a.m. (ESPN3)
  • Wheelchair basketball semifinals, 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. (ESPN3)
  • Wheelchair basketball gold/bronze medal matches, 2 p.m.-4 p.m. (ESPN3)
  • Closing ceremony, 7 p.m.-10 p.m. (ESPN2)

Sunday, May 15:

  • Encore presentation, 1:30 p.m.-2:30 p.m. (ABC)

The work Prince Harry has done is so inspiring.  Not only is he supporting service personnel who have overcome great obstacles, he is celebrating the resiliency of the human spirit.  Each of us in our lives deals with great adversity at some point.  These games are a reminder of what we can achieve when we embrace our own inner warrior and fight back with everything we’ve got. And hopefully, if we’re lucky, we’ll have people with the warmth, compassion and generosity of spirit Prince Harry has shown to share in our triumph.

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The Charge of the Prince Brigade

Half a league, half a league, 
Half a league onward, 
All in the valley of Death 
   Rode the British Monarchy.

 

The Daily Mail has its own take on Jason Knauf, Communications Secretary for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry.  They suggest the spin doctor is neither an idiot or the most evil adversary the British Royal Family has ever faced, he is simply a yes puppet perched on the tyrannical hand of the Petulant Prince who listens to no one on his staff.  As Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s poem Charge of the Light Brigade details, very bad things can happen when people blindly follow a leader who blunders.

If Prince William is behind the wheel fully intent on driving the British Monarchy off a cliff and Punxsutawney PR Puppet Jason is just along for the ride and doesn’t see his spine, exactly how many months remain until the winter of our discontent?

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I’m not really sure, I sort of lost interest when I realized the answer might involve math.

Plus, the Cambridges have a curious way with their numbers.  On Thursday March 10th, they may have undertaken two or three engagements.  The first engagement at Maytree, a suicide counsel center, was labeled a private one.  Normally these private engagements do wind up counting towards their dismally low annual totals,  but at this point the Court Circular’s website hasn’t been updated with the latest for confirmation so I’m sticking with a total of two for Thursday.

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“Forward, the Prince Brigade!
Charge for the cameras!” he said.

Waiting photographers were told  to go away, part  of Prince William’s ongoing campaign to  limit the number of royal photographers permitted at their engagements.

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In the photos of Kate that made it on social media, she looked rather rough which shows why it’s a good idea in general to be nice to photographers.

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Kate’s right eyelid (left in the above photo) was drooping more than the other.  Causes for unilateral ptosis can be attributed to either natural aging or be a side-effect of  Botox.  There’s nothing natural about how quickly Kate is aging, especially since she’s said to enjoy the deadening embrace of neurotoxin.  The puffiness of Kate’s right lid (photo left) in comparison to the left suggests a likely Botox-assist.

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Kate was so keenly keen on showing her keenness for suicide awareness, she didn’t even bother taking off her coat at Maytree or for the first official engagement at St. Thomas Hospital where she and Prince William met with Jonny Benjamin whose suicide attempt was stopped by Neil Laybourn  six years ago.  Once back at Kensington Palace for a group discussion, Kate finally took off her coat.

The body language and forced expressions of William and Kate on Thursday suggested they were uncomfortable, but those revealing the most agonizingly painful moments of their lives when they were so bereft of hope they tried to commit suicide did their very best to try to make William and Kate feel okay about having to be there.

“Forward, the Prince Brigade!” 
Was there a man dismayed?

 

Oh, yeah.  It was hard to watch as many commented.

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FakeLooks Pamelass:Harriet

On Friday, William and Kate had another joint engagement.  Those crazy kids, giving us twice the uselessness with an XLP event meeting at-risk youth who have benefited from the mentoring program.  Kate even wore a new red and white checked outfit by Eponine.  I think I probably liked it but I couldn’t really tell because of the same ol’ problem.

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The Daily Mail has a gazillion photos and yet not a single  one of Kate without her clutch firmly held against her crotch disturbing the visual lines and minds everywhere.

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Seriously, what is in that thing, a vibrator set all the way up to jackhammer?  That would explain all the over-the-top random mouth-agape expressions.

On Friday on Instagram, someone had PR blundered again with this post.

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Quite a few people made the same comment that William looked like he was peeing on flowers.

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I actually noticed he looked like he was peeing at the same time I processed the clenched buttocks and his super wedgie so my initial thought was that William was very angry about having to pee on those flowers.  He really does resent everything, doesn’t he, even urination?  I noticed I wasn’t the only one who saw His Royal Wedgie.

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I don’t care how neutered William’s staff is, this photo should not  have been posted on Kensington Palace’s Instagram account.  Even if William said, “I don’t think anything quite captures the tragic loss of life of the Japan tsunami like a picture where it looks like I’m holding my willy,” someone should have replied, “What the fuck is wrong with you?  Let us do our jobs.  We don’t walk into your luxury resort suites while you’re on holiday and tell you how to do nothing, we know you’ve got totally fucking useless all figured out.”

I’ve never viewed Charge of the Light Brigade as a story of courage.  I fail to see the honour of silent self-sacrifice.

Theirs not to make reply, 
   Theirs not to reason why, 
   Theirs but to do and die. 
   Into the valley of Death 
   Rode the six hundred.

 

True courage is standing up to a leader you know is wrong.  Having the strength to say, “Sooo, noticed the Death Valley sign, saw you blunder, let’s brainstorm a new strategy so we don’t all have to die. ‘K?”

The army of media continues to storm the Cambridges with critical articles while all the world wonders with Camilla Tominey taking the latest shot  while Ian Burrell of The Independent  also thundered.  Shattered and sundered they might ride back, but not the six hundred.

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Is Jason Knauf Fur Real?

This is Jason Knauf, Communications Secretary for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry.

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He looks like the kind of well-groomed, non-threatening generic American model that J. Crew uses to sell cardigans.  While it’s true that pr reps can only be as effective as their clients are cooperative, in recent weeks Jason has started looking like he is either a complete idiot or the most deliciously evil adversary the British Monarchy has ever faced, the kind that from a historical perspective could ultimately make Rasputin look like Funshine Bear.

The Cambridge’s spin doctor has a background in crisis management and started his royal gig in the beginning of 2015.  Jason Knauf replaced former BBC producer, Ed Perkins, who had joined the Palace in 2007 working for the Duke of York, managing his scandals and overseeing the Diamond Jubilee before being assigned to Princes William and Harry and the Duchess of Cambridge where he lasted two and a half years before deciding on a new career path.  The search for Perkins’ replacement lasted six months, reportedly Prince William wanted someone whose loyalties weren’t divided by connections to other members of the British Royal Family.  So basically, William’s criteria was finding someone who couldn’t be influenced by the guiding wisdom of his father or grandmother.  And really, Her Majesty has only built one of the most globally recognized brands in the world, what could she possibly know about public relations.

Recent pr mistakes by Jason Knauf’s office have led to even more media backlash towards the  Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.  The latest likely made both Jesus and Darth Vader facepalm.

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The force of Captain Picard’s facepalm probably blew the Enterprise off course.

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I didn’t even catch this latest goof, but the press sure did.  The Daily Mail ran an article on the mittens Kate wore in the photos released this week  by Kensington Palace on Twitter showing the Cambridges on a ski getaway from all that work they’re not doing.  Kate’s Alexski gloves are lined with possum fur.

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Alexski

While it’s not surprising a woman who has been photographed wearing a fur hat while hunting pheasant bred for the royally lazy version of the bloodsport would wear fur-lined gloves, it’s shocking that the Palace would release photos of Kate wearing them to the world.  Could they not find a clubbed baby seal for Kate to put a cigarette out on?

The ski glove’s possum fur comes from New Zealand where the marsupial is widely considered a pest because it is a non-indigenous species that was introduced in the 19th century by the fur industry and having no natural predator, possums have wreacked considerable havoc on New Zealand’s flora and fauna.  One land’s pest is another’s protected species, there are even people who (mostly illegally and definitely ill-advisedly) keep possum as pets.  Usually what separates aww from ugh is how much destruction a species causes, in Australia where possums are indigenous, sometimes foxes are regarded as pests even though they bring the internet this kind of snuggle buddy cuteness.

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In NYC, our pests are rats and mice.  Given their plague-spreading history, most wouldn’t put them on their most cuddly list but still wouldn’t stick their hands in the skinned remains of one.

Because of the exposed cruelties of the fur industry and the increased trendiness of its condemnation, spin doctors go to extraordinary lengths to shield their clients from the barrage of criticism that comes from being photographed in fur.  Even celebrities who unabashedly wear fur like Kim Kardashian are aware it’s a controversial topic many feel passionately about.  North West has gotten some serious shade for being papped in it and she’s only two.  Based on the fact that in this photo she’s dressed like her first word was “Nevermore”, I think it’s safe to assume most of North’s fashion isn’t self-selected and we should give the kid a pass.

NorthWest

For a small child to even be unfairly called a “fur hag” by some illustrates why most in the public eye steer clear of the fur debate, regardless of their personal feelings, it is a hotly debated topic.

Bella Thorne recently posted a photo of herself on Instagram in a fur jacket and in response to the enormous backlash, claimed it was faux fur.  When Instagram fashionistas identified it as an alice + olivia rabbit and fox jacket, the actress quickly deleted her faux fur claim and her reps dealt with the fall-out, releasing the statement Thorne “was told it was faux fur” with the promise she would never wear it again.

The Queen also provoked widespread criticism with her fur-clad Christmas appearance prompting many to take to social media to express their disappointment Her Majesty would even wear her vintage fur, especially since she is a representative of the UK which passed laws over a decade ago prohibiting “the keeping of animals solely or primarily for slaughter for the value of their fur”.

When public figures are already the subject of negative focus, it’s generally not a good idea to serve up more to find fault with on a gilded platter.  Really the only thing the Palace has as a selling-point for Kate is the so-called Kate Effect when people who want to dress like Kate snatch up whatever inventory is left on items Kate waits to wear so people can’t Copy-Kate her.    Every single outfit Kate wears is broken down and written about because she offers such little substance with which to work.  Considering how contrived and manipulated these snaps are, how did no one even think to make sure the Paper Doll Duchess wasn’t committing a pr fur pas?

While I find these pr goofs highly amusing, the British Royal Family might want to check Jason Knauf’s bank account for large deposits coming from the Republican Party because it’s hard to believe anyone with pr experience could screw up this royally.  Especially an American, we invented pr.  Technically, the founding father of spin was Austrian-American Edward Bernays but we staked the claim convincingly enough that the rest of the world bought it.  Quite frankly, the way the pr is being handled for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge is utterly un-American.

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Potential Dangers of Private Royals

For those not following royal photographers on Twitter, it seems like there was an incident on Saturday about which royal photographer, Niraj Tanna, cryptically Tweeted:

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While no specific royals were mentioned, royal watchers suspected it could be a dangerous escalation of the Cambridge’s ongoing privacy war against the media. The Usual Suspects, it turns out, were on an extended weekend ski getaway with newly released photos by John Stillwell Tweeted by @Kensington Royal providing the anticipated family photos to quiet the grumbling masses.

Photographer Jesal Parshotam offered another clue about what Tanna’s Tweet was eluding to:

JesalTweet

It was pretty messed up when in August, Jason Knauf, Communications Secretary to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry, released a public appeal for sympathy which also included the veiled threat, “it will not always be possible to quickly distinguish between someone taking photos and someone intending to do more immediate harm.”  But putting the general public at risk using taxpayer-funded RPOs driving recklessly to avoid being photographed ups the crazy factor.  Allegedly back in December, Kate Middleton’s car is said to have employed the same photographer evasion tactics.  As one royal watcher noted:

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If I were ever to be mowed down by a Royal Protection Officer driving recklessly to keep any member of the royal family from getting photographed, I would haunt the crap out of both the RPO and the royal in question.  And it wouldn’t be one of those polite hauntings either where a couple times a year you think you maybe saw something out of the corner of your eye and sometimes feel a cold draft that has no discernible source, I would throw a phantasmal freak-out.  There would be no Lola, only Zuul.

The Tweet of another royal photographer suggests the incident to which Niraj Tanna eluded transpired at the wedding of William’s ex-girlfriend, Olivia Hunt, which took place this weekend.

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Interestingly, as Sebastian Shakespeare noted in his most recent Daily Mail piece, the only member of the British Royal Family to attend the wedding was Prince Harry.  Neither Prince William or Kate Middleton went, opting instead for a private family ski getaway.  While Prince Harry is not known to possess the same level of animosity towards the press as his older brother, he once got into an altercation with Niraj Tanna outside of Boujis, as detailed in a 2010 article by Camilla Tominay so it’s possible their history has something to do with Tanna’s Tweet.  Prince Harry has grown a lot in the past few years, though, and has found a way to juggle the pressures of his role, gladly posing for photos with royal fans, even tipping off the press as to his whereabouts while accommodating photographic requests.  Harry’s conducted himself with far more grace than his brother, the future king, which makes me even more curious about the missing pieces of this story which still remain untold.

This line from Sebastian Shakespeare’s Daily Mail article does not sit well at all with me, “Security was in place for royal guests. Tourists and photographers were turned away from entering, apparently at the request of the police.”

Exactly how much taxpayer money went towards security for this private wedding at Temple Church because of its royal guest list?  Security costs for the British Royal Family are never reported with the excuse that revealing the figure would somehow jeopardize their safety.  Were RPOs used to keep photographers from documenting this taxpayer expense, endangering the very taxpayers who fund them in the process?

Hopefully Niraj Tanna will follow up with details.  Considering this is the second accusation in three months of RPOs driving aggressively to avoid having pictures taken, hopefully some better way of handling the presence of photographers will be explored that won’t endanger the masses.

I really wish Crown Princess Victoria taught seminars on how to juggle a royal role and family life, both she and her husband, Prince Daniel, manage it far better than any other royals.  In my opinion, the reason they are able to have the privacy they want is because they are dedicated to duty and accommodate interest in their family, providing enough of a public presence that they are allowed to keep the rest for themselves.   After the birth last week of Prince Oscar Carl Olaf, Prince Daniel addressed reporters warmly and requested the same kind of space with their newborn son they were granted by the press when Princess Estelle was born for which they were so thankful.  No expectation of privacy letters handed out, no threats, just an acknowledgement of how wonderfully understanding the press had been after Estelle’s birth and an appreciative request that Oscar’s birth could be handled in the same manner.

These latest photos released of the Cambridges on Twitter are lovely, but ultimately, they are glossy photos of a family to which the public feels little connection enjoying some wintry frivolity.  I also question the reasoning behind taking photos of a couple criticized for their lack of worth ethic while on a get-away from the duties they rarely undertake.  While the photos are likely intended to represent a promising future for the monarchy, they also represent an increased burden on taxpayers.  RPOs are flown Business or First Class on the taxpayer’s dime, their accommodations, overtime and per diem are also covered by the taxpayer.  That’s a pretty pricy photo op during a time of austerity.

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You Only Work Twice

The British Royal Trio was resurrected today for a double-header of events.

Earlier in the day, Prince  William, Prince Harry and Kate Middleton attended the BAFTA  premiere  of Shaun the Sheep: The Farmer’s Llamas.

Kate looked less than thrilled upon arrival.

KateArrivalMaybe she caught a reflection of herself wearing the Tabitha Web Meg Space dress which looked like the universe got carsick on the ride over and vomited cosmic chunks on her frock.

Kate stalled in the entryway, but was coaxed  inside by the guiding hand of her husband.

KateStalledSometime between the Welly tossing competition and arts and  crafts portion of the event,  Kate’s mood  lifted as she laughed at something her prince companions didn’t find quite as  amusing, revealing some chipped bonding from  one  of  her greyish molars.

KateAmusedBonding isn’t as durable as veneers and is more prone to staining from  smoking and drinking coffee, tea, and red wine.  Maybe she should have gone withBonding, James Bonding on her back teeth.

While Prince Harry seemed to  struggle while working with modeling clay, he excelled at bringing joy to the faces of children and that’s what it’s all about.

PrinceHarryShauntheSheepEven Kate  had a noteworthy moment with some kids, being ninja-hugged by two happy girls.

It  seemed legit to even my cynical eyes, so likely the two spontaneous huggers weren’t then tasered by Kate’s RPOs and issued restraining orders.

KateHuggedOf course, nothing  really lights up the Duchess of  Cambridge like celebrities.

A Hong  Kong journalist covering the Creative Collaboration: UK & China event wrote, “Most unexpectedly, Princess Kate, who should be used to meeting and greeting dignitaries and upper echelons of society, suddenly lightened up with great delight and was very girlish when meeting Jackie Chan.”

The public figure so preoccupied with preserving her own privacy appears to still be enamored with meeting people who are famous.  In  2011, the post-wedding Canadian Tour was extended to include the US  at Kate’s request so she could meet Hollywood celebrities at the BAFTA Brits to  Watch event. Kate seemed a little too into Nicole Kidman.

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Tonight Kate got  to delight in meeting more celebs at the premiere of the James Bond film, Spectre.

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Kate’s gown was bespoke  Jenny Packham  which means that not only was the design of the dress on purpose, it came with a much higher price tag.  Somehow it managed to combine side boob with Mother of the Bride.

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Perhaps braless  Kate wanted to show off the  results of her rumored  breast lift?

If only there were celebrities in need, Kate might finally have a cause she could care about.

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Prince Grumpy Cat and The Whirly Bird Mystery (Updated)

A few days ago on Royal Dish, I spotted a pic of a Star Magazine story of George saying goodbye to his uncle Harry on his way to work which Noodlesza posted.  Hi, Temi!

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Except conveniently, Prince Harry is not pictured in any of the photos.  Since at the moment it’s raining the kind of giant heavy drops that make you feel like you’re being slapped in the head in NYC, I decided to apply my sleuthing skills to the Star magazine story.

The helicopter in the paparazzi photos is an AgustaWestland A109S.  The registration number visible on the craft G-XXEC is the same one as the helicopter the Queen leased last year for official engagements for William and Kate and other members of the British Royal Family if needed.  Official engagements, the kind that show up the Court Circular as evidence the British Royal Family is providing “value for money”.  This is the story the Daily Mail ran on the helicopter acquisition:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2664338/Heir-Force-One-Queen-leases-luxury-8million-helicopter-fly-Wills-Kate-official-engagements.html

The Star photos of George, Nanny Maria and Lupo supposedly on their way to see an invisible Prince Harry were taken on June 12, 2015 when Harry was still in the army, he had no official engagements that day.  If Harry was being picked up for some reason for just another day of looking sexy in uniform and other military duties, it wouldn’t be in the AgustaWestland A109S G-XXEC for official engagements, it would be in a military craft.  Military work doesn’t count as official royal work in the eyes of the official royal number keepers.

So who was George going to see in the photo?  When Prince Charles flies, he uses the Queen’s Sikorsky S-76C++ registration number G-XXEB, so it wasn’t grandpa.

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Jinkies!  It looks like we’ve got a real mystery on our hands, Gang.   Who is in the AgustaWestland whirly bird the adorable Prince Grumpy Cat is headed for in the Star magazine photos?  The real Captain Cutler covered with phosphorescent seaweed pretending to be the g-g-g-g-g-ghost of Captain Cutler?  Was it the creepy caretaker all along?

For possible suspects, I looked to the Court Circular.  Her Majesty was quite active on June 12, 2015 at Buckingham Palace, as was Prince Charles.  The Earl of Wessex, The Princess Royal and the Duke of Gloucester and the Duke of Kent all had local engagements as well.

Zoinks!  No one needed an official whirly bird for an official engagement and there were no other engagements that day.

So, unless there was some misappropriation of Duchy money, then it had to be Prince William returning home from his June 11, 2015 speech at a special fundraising dinner for Jewish Care.  Another very expensive heli ride for William the Reluctant a couple of days before his $25,000 Magna Carta whirly bird whirl when the ceilings at Buckingham Palace are falling down?

And he would have gotten away with it, too, if it wasn’t for you meddling kids.

Ruh-roh.

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Update 6/28/14.  Photos emerged with Harry which isn’t fantastic for the British Royal Family, especially considering the Royal Household Annual Accounts just came out.  The helicopter is for official engagements, Harry had none on June 12th (the date the photos were taken could be in question, Star magazine indicated they were taken the 12th, but if they were really taken on the 11th, then Prince Harry had the Afghanistan Memorial).  As delicious as Prince Harry looks in uniform, there still needs to be accountability.  Of course, Prince Harry could have been just there, the helicopter could have been used by William for his Jewish Care event, but this really needs to be investigated further.  If Harry did borrow the helicopter for a personal visit to see his nephew, then he needs to be formally reprimanded.  By me.  In leather.  And he would have to wear that uniform.  That is just how committed I am to the UK taxpayers.

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British Royal Family Wants Change Back From Their 0 Fucks

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve come to conclude that the number of fucks given by the British Royal Family is precisely 0.

0 fucks about austerity measures in the UK.  0 fucks about demonstrating their value to the country they represent.  0 fucks about proving they are more than welfare recipients living in the largest most gilded trailers on the planet.

On June 15th, the most consistent of all 0 fuck-givers, Kate Middleton bagged on one of the monarchy’s most prestigious traditions, the Order of the Garter ceremony, presumably returning to the maternity leave for which she doesn’t work enough to qualify, to enjoy nannies, housekeepers and staff taking care of her stay-at-home duties so she can lounge in luxury and emerge occasionally for the warm loving embrace of LK Bennett sales.

The same day that Kate returned to her regularly scheduled pampered seclusion, Prince William gave 0 flying fucks about spending £16,000 ($25,173 in USD) on a roundtrip helicopter ride to the Magna Carta 800th Anniversary events, shaving a mere 50 minutes off each leg of the 90 minute drive.  A frequent giver of 0 fucks, Prince William is nine months into his training with East Anglian Air Ambulance and is expected to begin his new job as pilot in the spring that’s already passed. In response to outcries from the taxed masses, a Kensington Palace spokesperson indicated, “The Duke makes very careful decisions about transport plans and always seeks to travel in the most efficient and inexpensive way possible.”  Well, that makes sense, flying by helicopter is the most efficient and inexpensive travel option available these days, that’s why cars don’t exist anymore and even my flying monkeys take a Sikorsky any time they are forced to do my bidding.

On Saturday night, the Yorks gave 0 fucks about the hundred thousand or so protesting government austerity, spending cuts, and the stripping of public services and hosted a lavish belated Disney-themed birthday bash for 200 guests in honor of March baby Princess Eugenie at the Royal Lodge in Windsor where Prince Andrew enjoys royal rent-free housing benefits.  A seemingly fuck-depleted Princess Eugenie hired seven little people to be her Snow White costume accessories.  Her father, Prince Andrew, went as Prince Charming, giving 0 fucks that many women now will never again be able to refer to their beloved as their Prince Charming without throwing up a little in their mouths.  And the usually charming Prince Harry gave 0 fucks about the party’s Disney theme by showing up as Nintendo character, Super Mario.

One fuck was given on June 19th by Prince Philip who seemed unpleasantly surprised by the appearance of his ex-daughter-in-law, Sarah Ferguson at Ascot, but by virtue of the fuck being given by the unapologetic Duke of Edinburgh who gives no fucks on principal, it immediately vaporized into a noxious gas which was then blamed on the horses.

This week the Royal Household Annual Accounts was released.  As the rest of the nation faces austerity measures, Buckingham Palace is shielded from cuts to public spending under the terms of the Sovereign’s Grant which ensures that the amount the Queen receives can never be less than the year before.  In the past year, the Queen’s income from the Crown Estate rose from £36.1 million to more than £40 million.

Prince Charles’ expense report reveals he is paying £2.965 million (roughly $4.667 million in USD) in allowance to Princes William and Harry and Kate who combined undertook a mere 8 percent of the Royal Family’s official engagements for 2014 and will likely account for even less this year.  The lump sum allowance covers royal expenses such as staff, travel and wardrobe but doesn’t indicate what exactly the money was spent on and how much went to Kate and William who are attempting to live private lives while still reaping all the benefits of being royal.  It doesn’t make much sense for a woman who wants to be a stay-at-home mother and a helicopter pilot to have a full-time royal staff if they aren’t undertaking much in the way of royal duties.  Kate doesn’t need a royal wardrobe either to watch the royal nanny take care of her children, maybe she could auction off what she’s amassed to date for charity so at least those who accepted her as a royal patron could reap some benefit.  The Cambridges should also give up their royal protection which costs taxpayers undisclosed millions and their apartment in Kensington Palace which was renovated at taxpayer expense since regular housewives and helicopter pilots have no need for either.  It’s hardly “value for the money” if all William and Kate do is take.  Maybe if Kate and William had to live like everyone else in the UK, they might actually start giving a fuck and the UK might finally start seeing some change.

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Prince William Ditches His Spouse For Grouse

Thanks to Lisa who posted the link to these pics in the comment section of “Is Lazy Kate Spinning a Yarn?”

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These photos of Prince William going grouse hunting near Balmoral were taken on Saturday September 13th.

The timing is interesting for a few reasons.

As Lisa pointed out in her comment, Prince William can’t be too worried about Kate who is reportedly so direly ill from hyperemesis gravidarum she is confined to Kensington Palace with doctors and IV drips.

Even if Kate doesn’t really have hyperemesis gravidarum as many suspect she doesn’t, Prince William’s bird killing retreat is still insensitive (and not just to the grouse).  Prince William was slated to begin training for his new helicopter pilot gig on Monday September 15th so he chose to spend his last (theoretically) fully free weekend away from his wife and one year old son, Prince George.

The Balmoral grouse getaway also indicates that Prince William wasn’t planning on supporting his brother at the weekend’s events for the Invictus Games.  Granny sent a lovely letter, James Blunt dedicated, “You’re Beautiful” to Prince Harry, the Foo Fighters and Ellie Goulding managed to make it.  But Prince William was apparently too busy satisfying an urge to participate in a bloodsport to attend games celebrating wounded servicemen and servicewomen.

Conservation groups are concerned over the illegal secretive measures currently being taken against the natural predators of grouse to ensure the grouse population will be large enough for hunting season.  Hen harriers are legally protected birds or prey but are considered pests to grouse moors and are secretly killed because their diet reduces the surplus of grouse available for bloodsport.  Funny how Prince William’s wildlife conservation concerns don’t apply to any animal he enjoys killing.

The hunting trip comes on the heels of the latest Morrissey slam about Prince William and Prince Harry’s “paranoid obsession with killing animals. They are so typical of the stupidly cruel killers who never actually get their hands dirty.”  The singer went on to note, “There’s a crackdown on possession of firearms in England, but the only people we ever see with guns are the stupid Royals, yet nobody says anything! I think violence is ingrained into our societies because of the abattoir or slaughterhouses, and we usually find that however a person is allowed to treat animals is also the way they feel entitled to treat humans.”

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