Tag Archives: Duchess of Cornwall

2016 Diplomatic Reception

Tonight was the Diplomatic Reception held at Buckingham Palace and while normally royal watchers just get the backseat Bentley shots, this year a formal portrait was taken of the three generations of the British Monarchy.

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The Queen is wearing the Royal Family Orders of King George VI and King George V, Prince Philip, Prince Charles and Prince William are in the Order of the Garter, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall is wearing the Royal Family Order of Queen Elizabeth II and Kate looks like a little kid who wandered into the shot, still with no royal order and her crotch clutching preserved for posterity.  Poor Kate, always in some state of disorder.

The Royal Family Order of Queen Elizabeth II is an honor bestowed on female members of the British Royal Family at the Queen’s discretion.

Royal Family Order of Queen Elizabeth II

Royal Family Order of Queen Elizabeth II

Being born royal or marrying into the family doesn’t guarantee the Royal Family Order of Queen Elizabeth II, it is an honor that is earned.  Princess Diana and Katharine, Duchess of Kent received theirs during their first year of marriage.  Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall and Birgitte, Duchess of Gloucester received theirs during their second year of marriage.  Sophie, Countess of Wessex received hers in her fifth year of marriage.  And after 5 1/2 years of marriage, giving birth to an heir and a spare, Kate, a future Queen Consort, is still playing the Waitying Game.  I guess Kate’s Christmas chutney wasn’t impressive enough to nab that Royal Family Order from the Queen, but maybe McQueen can bedazzle her an Order of Bad Bespoke so she can have something shiny to wear at the Anmer Hall Fortress of Solitude while filling in all that duty-ducking time with her Secret Garden coloring book.

Of course, Kate has had very few occasions to even wear a royal order.  This is only Kate’s fifth time in a tiara.  She wore the Cartier Halo tiara on her wedding day, the Papyrus Lotus Flower tiara at the 2013  Diplomatic Reception and 2015 State Banquet honoring Chinese President Xi Jinping, and the Cambridge Lover’s Knot tiara to the 2015 Diplomatic Reception which was repeated again tonight.

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The Jenny Packham gown Kate wore tonight was also a repeat from the State Banquet honoring Chinese President Xi Jinping last year.

So while the Palace gave the public an unprecedented Diplomatic Reception portrait, once again we get nothing from Kate that we haven’t seen before.

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Back to the Future Heir & Hair

Lately I’ve  been a little  quiet on the topic of Prince William and Kate, there are only so many ways you can describe beige paint drying.  The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge seem far less into the whole being royal thing than the ninety-year-old  monarch who endlessly shows up in my Twitter feed at various engagements.   But here’s a  little catch-up.

Queen Elizabeth II has said, “I have to be seen to be believed.”  According to an April 20th Telegraph article, the only color “she avoids is beige, which does not allow her to stand out in a crowd”.   In contrast, Kate appears to go to great lengths not to even stand out on her own beige couch.  Except of course when it counts.

On Saturday June 11 at Trooping the Colour, Kate managed to make her way  to the front of all the royals waiting to join the Queen and Prince Philip on the balcony.

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When  Kate stepped out on the balcony, she wound up causing a pile-up as she vied for a  prime spot.  Prince Charles had to take Camilla by the hand and gently ease her to the side.

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Because what’s the point of going to Trooping the Colour if you can’t be seen  on the balcony?

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Kate’s efforts not to be obscured because of royal protocol paid off for her.

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For the Trooping  the Colour celebrating her 90th birthday, Her Majesty wore  a nuclear  green coat and dress by Stewart Parvin and matching Rachel Trevor Morgan hat.

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It was the hue equivalent of the toon-killing Dip in Who Framed Roger Rabbit and the vat of chemicals  that turned Red Hood/Jack Napier into Batman’s nemesis The Joker.

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That’s kinda badass.  And the Queen did go a little Her Royal Honey Badger on William on the Trooping the Colour balcony, reminding William that taxpayers do expect to see members of the Royal Family.

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At the Order of the Garter on June 13th, royal-watcher Jennifer @Chic_Happens_ noted that after five years, Kate was finally taking standard royal precautions  against  the elements.

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Given how long it’s taken, did perhaps the Queen have a stern word  with the Serial Flasher?

Her Majesty is known to take a laissez-faire approach to running her family.  With the revelation this week that scandal-prone Andrew took a £5,000  helicopter ride to play a round of golf with the World Bank president (added to the Court  Circular the day after the press inquired about it), the Queen really needs to go full-on honey badger with certain members of her family.

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One of the Queen’s black patent leather loafers should be aimed at the heir to the heir. At a June 22nd EACH charity gala, Prince William could barely hide his boredom.

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EACH-2While Kate still can’t hold a wine glass properly, at least she didn’t look like she deeply resented children with life-threatening illnesses for making gala attendance necessary.

The event was part of the efforts to raise £10million for a new hospice in Norfolk launched in November 2014.  To date, only a quarter of the goal has been reached.  In contrast, a May 27th CNN article indicated Ben Ainslie had already reached £50 million of the £80 million target for his bid to win the America’s Cup.

Both William and Kate looked like a lifetime has passed since Kate  last wore the blush pink Jenny Packham gown she had on at the EACH gala back in 2011.

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How hard  is it being royal?  It’s not like the Cambridges do a whole lot of royaling  anyway.   At the Battle of Somme tribute, they looked like a couple that sits on porch rockers with blankets tucked  around them as they forecast the weather by the aches  in their joints.

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They are 34  years  old, the same age as Anne Hathaway and Eddie Redmayne, William’s Eton classmate.

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In this screen grab side-by-side, the picture of Anne was taken one month  after she gave birth.

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Kate is a fashion pendulum swinging in between sexy and elderly.  At the Battle of Somme tribute, Kate sported a hair net which have only been worn by cafeteria workers and fast food employees in the last 80 years.

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On Wednesday Kate glammed it up at the National History Museum, presenting the Art Fund of the Year award.  She wore a  stretch jersey dress with mesh insets by Barbara Casasola.

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I love this dress and thought it looked gorgeous on Kate.  Not sure what the two buttons are, maybe Kate had panic buttons installed on her bum.

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This level of cling on me would provide the kind of visual horror that would forever haunt anyone who happened  to see me in it.  This dress is not cellulite-friendly but on Kate it looks great.

The off-the-shoulder dress had a  front zip which added both an element of  sexiness and sportiness to it.

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According to Rebecca English’s Daily Mail piece, Kate accessorized with a pair of pink heels that were so high, she wobbled in them.

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And  these were some of the expressions Kate wore in the pics from the same article.

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I would take this entire blog down in exchange for whatever pharmacological grab bag Kate’s got her hands on.  I mean drugs are bad, kids, stay in school.

Kate was back to what she does best on Thursday, sitting in the Royal Box at Wimbledon and meeting celebs.  The Sun has a photo from her Venus Williams Snapchat video, pics of some of the celebs with whom she rubbed shoulders as well as an amusing comparison between Kate and Sansa, listing Kate’s occupation as “Mum of Two”.   It’s always refreshing when the media doesn’t try to pretend she does much in the way of duchessing.

Hope all of you are having the loveliest of summers! Thanks to all who have inquired about me.

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Day 4 – India and Bhutan Tour

First of all, I want to congratulate anyone still following along with this royal tour because I think I’ve lost the will to blink.  I can actually feel my brain glazing over while the stupid spreads through my body like paralyzing neurotoxin.  This tour feels like watching hour after hour of someone else’s vacation footage because, well, that’s exactly what it is.

Many of us have been wondering what the point of this tour is supposed to be.

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These royal tours are claimed to boost tourism but its effects supposedly can’t be measured for a few years, a point at which conveniently there are so many other variables, it’s really impossible to extract any kind of concrete data.  I can’t even commit to the $70 Glamorous maxi dress Kate wore yesterday, I can’t imagine someone spending considerably more on a holiday because Kate Middleton and Prince William went there.  The world already knows about India, far more than the Cambridges seem to.

The tour moment most covered in the international press has been Kate’s flashing moment at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.  I’ve heard that royal photographer, Chris Jackson, who is romantically linked to Kate’s personal assistant, Natasha Archer, captured the most revealing moment, but has decided not to release the photos.  Yeah, that would be super awkward for his girlfriend, plus letting Getty Images have them would probably effect his special access and seat at Wimbledon.  Coming in second is the controversy over the state of Kate’s bare feet revealed at the Gandhi museum.

Other than Kate’s curious boho wardrobe, flashing moment, and previously seen high heel-effected feet, there hasn’t been much to discuss because Kate has opted not to give any speeches or provide anything more than small talk stock comments.

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Day four of the tour was conservation-themed.  William and Kate began the day with a safari in Kaziranga National Park.

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Kate wore a top by RM Williams and Zara biker stretch pants which would have violated my high school’s dress code but Kate thought would be cool to wear as a representative of the UK and the British Monarchy on a royal tour.

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Like we all do on vacation, Kate took some photos during the safari.

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Afterwards, William and Kate spoke to rangers about conservation issues at the Centre for Wildlife Rehabilitation and Conservation.

Not all were impressed with William as champion of conservation.

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Piers Morgan wrote a scathing piece in the Daily Mail.

When royal correspondents and photographers were checking into their hotel, they experienced tremors from the Myanmar earthquake.

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Everyone was fine, though, including the royal couple and their entourage.  Kate changed into a dress by Topshop.

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Prince William and Kate visited the Kaziranga Discovery Centre built by Mark Shand’s charity, Elephant Family.  Mark Shand was the brother of Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, so the event was said to have special significance for them.  Neither William or Kate attended Mark Shand’s funeral in 2014, despite both supposedly being in town, although it’s possible they were off on a secret ski vacation before Prince William jetted off to the Memphis wedding festivities of Guy Pelly and Lizzy Wilson.

Both William and Kate played royal nanny to orphaned baby elephants and rhinos.

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They also spoke to local villagers and Prince William filled in a design element on an elephant sculpture.

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Prince William and Kate then hopped their flight to Bhutan, their luggage causing a bit of an airport traffic jam.

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Underwhelming Royal Response to Underwater UK

“Hard work spotlights the character of people: some turn up their sleeves, some turn up their noses, and some don’t turn up at all.”
-Sam Ewing, Professional Baseball Player

In December, the UK experienced record-breaking rainfall making it the wettest month in the over hundred years since weather data has been kept. The amount of precipitation has had devastating effects on areas throughout the UK.  In December, more than 16,000 homes in England were flooded, roads collapsed and bridges were obliterated, with Cumbria, Lancashire and Yorkshire the hardest hit.

During the severe weather that besieged the UK, while elected officials played dodgeball with blame and tried to convince citizens that amongst the looming storm clouds, silver linings were somewhere nestled, the response from the unelected royals was for the most part underwhelming.

On December 8th, in the aftermath of Storm Desmond, the Queen stated, “Please convey my sympathy to all those whose homes or livelihoods have been affected by the recent flooding. My thanks got to members of the emergency services, local authorities, military personnel and volunteers who are providing assistance in these difficult conditions.”  Her Majesty is 89 and the Head of State so it’s not like she was going to slip on a pair of Wellies and help residents drag their soaked moldy couches to the curb, but she’s worth about $500 million, maybe she could have sent a few hampers full of snacks so business owners picking through the wreckage of their livelihoods could have a little something to nibble on or perhaps had some bottles of whisky sent over from Balmoral, people who have had everything they own destroyed often appreciate a nip.

One thing I could never understand about members of the British Royal Family is why they always get gifts at engagements, even when visiting areas that have suffered total devastation.  People who have been through horrible tragedies and are trying to scrape the pieces of their lives back together give the unbelievably privileged royals presents as a thank you for their presence.  It’s bizarre.  I’d make for a terrible royal, I would be up all night baking cookies as a little pick-me-up for those who have been through hell, putting together care packages for people whose lives have been ripped apart because I was taught that as a guest, you should never arrive empty-handed.  Shouldn’t the royals be the ones bearing gifts?

Prince Charles is really the only royal who stepped up to help those whose homes and businesses were hit by the flooding.  He responded to the destruction by Storm Desmond in Cumbria by making a personal donation of an undisclosed sum and allocating £40,000 from the Prince’s Countryside Fund to help with the recovery while the Business Emergency Resilience Group set up by Prince Charles provided aid to impacted businesses.  On December 21st, Prince Charles visited afflicted areas of Cumbria.  On New Year’s Eve Prince Charles’ wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, became the second working royal to visit the affected regions when she accompanied her husband on a surprise visit to Ballater in Aberdeenshire which had been battered by Storm Frank which caused River Dee to burst its banks.  Prince Charles walked around, expressing his concern to flood victims, but according to resident Dawn Rennie, “drew the line at helping with the mopping up!”

Not that anyone expected Prince Charles to be pushing around a pole with a fibered head around, that’s totally his son’s thing.  Prince Charles did something pretty royally amazing, though, he had the cooks at his Birkhall estate prepare meals for some local residents who had to be evacuated from their homes.  Okay, so he directed people who worked for him to cook for flood victims, but in Royal World these days, that’s practically the equivalent of giving a stranger a kidney.

So where were the rest of the royals?  Well, Prince William was spotted pheasant hunting on New Year’s Day in Norfolk.  Prince Edward, Sophie, and their two children were photographed out on a pheasant hunt a couple of days later.  Apparently the Windsors just didn’t get in enough bloodsport in at the traditional Boxing Day Pheasant Hunt.  If you ever feel in need of being super-bummed out about the cruel realities of these pheasant hunts complete with a story of nearby children being psychologically scarred by one of Prince Philip’s shooting parties, here’s a grim glimpse into the royal bloodsport: http://animalaid.org.uk/h/n/NEWS/news_shooting/ALL/811//

The worst of the floods hit Yorkshire on Boxing Day when Prince Andrew would have been busy killing pheasant and probably unbuttoning his pants after a large meal or just because he’s gross.  But somewhere  along the way someone remembered that Prince Andrew was the Duke of York so a statement was released on December 28th, “I am sorry to hear about the severe flooding across Yorkshire and the devastating impact it is having on so many homes and businesses.  My thoughts are with everyone in Yorkshire that is affected at this time.”  By that time, biker clubs were in Yorkshire guarding evacuated homes and businesses which were being targeted by looters but I’m sure Prince Andrew’s message super-helped out, too.

On January 6th, the 82-year-old Duchess of Kent who is retired from royal duty save for the very rare event and prefers to go by Katharine Kent while she does her charity work quietly and without fuss made a private visit to York.  Before the Duke of York.  But the widely criticized Prince Andrew made his way up there yesterday, talked to some flood victims, did some pointing, and had his umbrella held for him. As the Daily Mail pointed out, the picture of Andrew having his umbrella held for him  was posted by him on his own Twitter account.  Hopefully the roasting he is getting for being too important to hold his own umbrella at least helped to dry out some of Yorkshire.

Unfortunately overnight,  Aberdeenshire got another wave of flooding with River Don bursting its banks.

It’s just too bad that William and Kate are the types of characters who don’t turn up at all.  Their totally sucking might just absorb some of this water, the UK’s had enough.

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Remembrance Sunday

Sunday November 8th was Remembrance Day in the UK, a solemn day honoring the sacrifices of war and those who have fallen in current and past conflicts including the First and Second World Wars.

This year, the British Royal Family was joined by King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima in commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Netherlands from Nazi occupation.  King Willem-Alexander participated in the wreath-laying ceremony at the Cenotaph in Whitehall while Queen Maxima joined Kate Middleton, Sophie, Countess of Wessex, and Timothy Laurence on the Foreign Office balcony to watch the service.

Because Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall is presently on a tour of New Zealand and Australia with Prince Charles, Kate was the most senior  member of the British Royal Family this year on the balcony.  Many royal watchers wondered how Kate would fare in the presence of the dynamic, intelligent, regal, quadrilingual, and accomplished Queen Maxima, especially considering Kate has struggled with event-appropriate demeanor since joining  the British Royal Family.

The Neverland Duchess wore Alexander McQueen for her balcony appearance with the Netherlands Queen.

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Kate’s ill-fitting Alexander McQueen coat  was bespoke.   Once  again Kate’s bespoke has left me bespeechless.  I’m baffled how clothing custom-made according to Kate’s measurements and tailored to her body could wind up  looking like it was picked up from an irregulars bin at a flea market.  London is world-renowned for its tailoring, it actually has famous tailors.  One was even awarded the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire for services to tailoring.  So why does Kate keep winding up with couture that looks like a Home  Ec assignment gone horribly wrong?

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The only way this would vaguely even make sense is if she had scuba gear on under her coat because she and William were planning on jetting off to Mustique immediately after the service.

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Caribbean happy thoughts might explain why Kate kept closing her eyes during the Remembrance Sunday service… her face probably looks a bit different when she closes her eyes and thinks of England.  Kate’s next scheduled event isn’t until the 17th and the Cambridges were rumored to be Mustique-bound in November.

Perhaps thoughts of flight were behind the butterfly fascinator which resembled cat ears, calling to mind the bunny ear pillbox hat of last year’s Anzac Day.

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Groucho Marx said, “Humor is reason gone mad.”  I can  only assume Kate’s brows were intended to lighten the mood.

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With cracks visible in Kate’s facade,  many wondered how she would hold up as the most senior role alongside the much loved and larger-than-life Queen Maxima, given her past  widely criticized appearances on Remembrance Sunday.

In 2011, Kate joined Camilla, Sophie and Timothy Laurence on the Foreign Office Balcony, visibly enjoying being royal on a balcony.  A festive Kate smiled and laughed,  played with her hair, made  faces, seemingly not grasping that most people view war and death with sadness.

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Kate’s crack-ups  proved infectious and the normally restrained Sophie lost her composure when Camilla suddenly disappeared from view.  One was not amused.  The following year the Queen appointed her Lady in Waiting, Lady Susan Hussey to the balcony.

Vice Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence, Sophie, Countess of Wessex, Catherine Duchess of Cambridge and Lady Susan Hussey, Remembrance Sunday 2012

Vice Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence, Sophie, Countess of Wessex, Catherine Duchess of Cambridge and Lady Susan Hussey, Remembrance Sunday 2012

Under the watchful eye of Lady Susan Hussey, the royals scarcely dared to blink.  Kate behaved to the best of her abilities.

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Without the  adult supervision of Lady Susan Hussey in 2013, all of Kate’s pent-up crazy from the previous year’s Remembrance Sunday manifested in a flirty hair-twirling lark for the duchess who thought perhaps others might not be so bummed about lost loved ones if her hair looked pretty enough.

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In 2014, Kate and Sophie showed up in nearly identical  coats which seemed to have a sobering effect on Kate who was less expressive and exuberant than the previous year.

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With the exception of her curiously closed eyes, Groucho Marx brows and questionable headgear, I think Kate did a good job this year on the balcony, but honestly it’s becoming more difficult to tell with diminished expectation.  Kate didn’t burst out laughing during the service honoring fallen servicemen and servicewomen, she didn’t flash anyone or spend an inordinate amount of time checking her extensions or searching her hair for Drops of Jupiter, she didn’t spin around really fast with her arms outspread to see if she could turn into Wonder Woman and she didn’t try to start a Mexican wave on the Foreign Office Balcony.  And maybe  the Catwoman headgear is a positive sign.

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Sure, at first the Queen  might be resistant to Catwoman Catherine  but Kate’s only other career aspiration is inherently flawed.

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Duchess at 70th Anniversary of D-Day

Both Kate Middleton’s supporters and critics held a collective breath at her appearances commemorating the 70th Anniversary of D-Day, repeating to ourselves or our higher powers, please, no bare bums, no incessant hair twirling or maniacal Pageant Girl grins, please.  If water has feelings as Gwyneth Paltrow believes then maybe hemlines have sympathy for those who have media-battered by bare bums and giant grins because we were all permitted to coast into the weekend without having to man our positions on either side of the Kate divide.

Kate’s hair was touched, stroked, and fussed with by her fidgety fingers, it was noted Kate was caught mugging for cameras, her eyes drifting from the faces of World War II veterans to camera-wielding press, but we didn’t seem to be in danger from being ocularly assaulted by blatantly inappropriate duchessing on a day that both celebrates the bravery of those who fought to free Occupied Europe from Nazi Germany and honors those who sacrificed their lives.

Operation Overlord, June 6, 1944

Operation Overlord, June 6, 1944

Out of the 156,000 Allied troops who landed in Normandy on June 6, 1944, on-going research reveals at least 4,413 lives were lost in the combined air, land and naval strike that gained a foothold along the northern coast of France and marked a turning-point in World War II as forces continued to advance through a series of offenses.  The Allied troops involved in D-Day which was the start of Operation Overlord were primarily American, British and Canadian, but also included Australian, Belgian, Czech, Dutch, French, Greek, New Zealand, Norwegian, Rhodesian and Polish forces.  The liberation of the western front by Allied forces during Operation Overlord divided Germany’s resources by engaging them in a two-front war that ended almost a year later when Germany surrendered on May 7, 1945.

The 70th Anniversary of D-Day was attended by veterans and world leaders, honoring the contributions of individuals and countries united together against the Nazi regime.  Queen Elizabeth II, who was a mechanic and military truck driver for the Women’s Auxiliary Territorial Service, was the only living head of state in attendance who served in WWII.

Beginning with the midnight vigil at Pegasus Bridge, one common theme in speeches given at events throughout the day was: humbling.  Truly, those who fought on D-Day were involved in far more than the outcome of a war, they determined history.

The celebrated veterans rubbed shoulders with world leaders and reveled in being in the presence of royalty.  Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall engaged and charmed many veterans in attendance, some of whom greeted her with a genteel kiss on the hand or requested to give her a kiss on the cheek.  Not all were so courtly, as Telegraph reporter Gordon Rayner reported, “A cheeky D-Day veteran rode roughshod over royal protocol today by patting the Duchess of Cornwall on the bottom.”

For those who fought Nazi forces, even the glare of prince spouses or the thought of spending time in The Tower of London wasn’t much of a deterrent when it came to the wives of Windsor.  The Duchess of Cambridge permitted a requested kiss from 88 year-old Arthur Jones.  Jones was quoted as saying, “It was a lovely kiss – she is very sweet and very lovely. I lost my wife 10 years ago, and I’m on my own now, so I don’t get many opportunities for kisses any more.”

That octogenarian’s got game.

In the spirit of the day, I will make but one nitpicky observation, conceding it’s something The Duchess of Cambridge probably had no control over.  This screengrab from a Hello magazine article shows she was given a champagne flute filled with water while honored veterans drank from plastic bottles.

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As someone who profoundly respects the military, I feel at a table full of WWII veterans, Kate is the least impressive one there.  (Feel free to play Snarky At Home Mad Libs with this sentence: At a table full of _______________, Kate is the least impressive one there.)  Kate might have even been embarrassed that she was given a flute when those who fought in Operation Overlord had to unscrew plastic (DIY joke here).  Personally I would have either discreetly asked for a plastic water bottle as well or offered the flute instead to a veteran who had noticeable difficulty opening the bottle, pretending I was using it as an excuse to meet him.  In general, WWII veterans tend to be a flirty bunch, freeing German-occupied Europe does tend to boost a man’s confidence around the ladies.

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Surviving Scandal – Monica and Camilla

“A lie has no leg, but a scandal has wings.” – Thomas Fuller

Former White House intern, Monica Lewinski is back in the news for being in the news.  After ten years of silence and “tiptoeing around my past”, Monica Lewinsky has penned an article entitled Shame and Survival for Vanity Fair to discuss the struggles she’s endured since the 1998 scandal.

MonicaLewinsky-VanityFairSeriously, am I the only person in the world who isn’t writing for Vanity Fair?

It’s hard to imagine in this day and age, a woman would still be defined by an inappropriate relationship from her early twenties.  Maybe I just screw up more spectacularly than most, but I never understood the fuss.  Hillary had every right to be furious, personally I would have left him, but impeachment, really?  It’s not like President Clinton lost Maine to Canada in a poker game and all the maps had to be redone.

Monica’s actions were selfish, she exercised poor judgment, as did President Clinton.  In the Vanity Fair article Monica writes, “It’s time to burn the beret and bury the blue dress.”  If she still has that dress after it was returned to her, she seriously needs to explore scrapbooking as an alternative to hanging onto semen-soaked memorabilia.

Maybe the real reason Monica Lewinsky feels her life is still defined by polishing the Presidential knob is because she hasn’t forgiven herself.

As a country, America does seem to enjoy a good Mea Culpa.  If the apology is executed properly, we will shrug off virtually any scandal as if we were French.  Tiger Woods is known as a golfer again and not a guy who cheated on his insanely hot wife Elin Nordegren with a 120 different women.  Hugh Grant cheated on Elizabeth Hurley with a hooker, Kobe Bryant sought forgiveness from his wife for allegations he raped a nineteen year-old by buying her a $4 million rock, Rob Lowe made a sex tape with two girls, one of whom was a minor, and David Letterman committed infidelity with a few different staff members.  Celebs like Matthew Broderick, Laura Bush, Brandy and Rebecca Gayheart have all killed people from behind the wheel and managed to stay out of the big house.  Although doing time isn’t necessarily the career-killer it once was, Martha Stewart, Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, Nicole Richie and Robert Downey, Jr. have all been to prison.  And the Kardashian empire, which was built on a sex tape and a big ass, has proven we’re even cool with total shamelessness.

Sometimes turning the tide of public opinion is a long hard-fought battle, as in the case of Camilla the Duchess of Cornwall, who once found herself doggie paddling in a deluge of ’90s scandal because of an inappropriate relationship she had with a married public figure.  Camilla was of course the once vilified mistress of Prince Charles blamed by Princess Diana and consequently a nation for destroying her marriage.  Now married to Prince Charles, many view their relationship as a great love story.  Camilla continues to gain popularity through her strong work work ethic and the positive influence she’s had over Prince Charles.  As Hermoine pointed out in the comments of the last post, the Duchess of Cornwall is … “off doing 41 engagements in 4 days (and Camilla is still grieving the loss of her beloved brother) in Canada. Waity would use grief, had it been her circumstances, to take several months off…”

Lewinsky mentions in the Vanity Fair article that she decided to break her silence after the suicide of Tyler Clementi, the Rutgers student who took his own life after he was outed, she wanted to help others by letting them know the scandal she endured made her feel suicidal.  It’s actually quite normal for people to want to help others through similar pain because it then attaches a greater purpose to something that just otherwise sucked big time.  Except Monica Lewinsky waited four years after the teen’s suicide to share her story.  That has got to be one of the longest sudden life-changing reactions of all time, it was on a four year timer.  More likely than not Monica Lewinksky is now breaking her silence because of Hillary Clinton being in the news more.  The Clintons have moved on but Lewinsky, now forty, remains frozen in time, trapped in the shadows of her past bound by the spectre of what could have been and is trying to find a way out.

Historically, men have a better shot at scandal survival.  Women who are young and beautiful tend to fair better than their less dewy counterparts, proving public forgiveness is not only sexist, with a boys will be boys mentality, but it’s also ageist and discriminates based on physical attractiveness.  Statistically, Camilla should still be reviled and there are still many who view her as immoral.  But she isn’t going anywhere, proving those who were once scandal’s roadkill can carve their own identity and path by sheer tenacity.  The road to surviving a scandal can only be partly lit by public acceptance, it requires a lot of hard work and skin thickened by forgiveness of self.

While scandal does seem to provoke feeding frenzies, changing the embarrassment of a few into entertainment for the masses, most of us are guilty of blurring the lines of morality and engaging in some kind of scandalous behavior, we just didn’t get caught.

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Waity Katie’s Fictional Fairytale Romance

I feel robbed, and not in the way I at least get to talk to cute cops in uniform.  In the biography, “Kate, The Future Queen”, Daily Mail reporter and author, Katie Nicholls, reveals that the love story of Kate Middleton and Prince William wasn’t as fated as dropped books at St. Andrews University and a sheer black dress on a catwalk.  Basically the duchess nabbed her prince by stalking him.

Dubbed “Waity Katie” by the press, Kate Middleton infamously held on for eight years after she met her prince until he popped the question.  Except the timeline spans a few more years now following the revelation that prior to attending St. Andrews, Waity Katie told her friends that she had already met Prince William “once or twice”.

According to the new biography, Kate Middleton planned on attending Edinburgh until it was announced that Prince William would be taking a gap year before attending St. Andrews.  She ripped up her Edinburgh acceptance letter, took a leap year to be in Prince William’s class and then reapplied to St. Andrew’s to increase her chances at shagging and bagging the prince.

Ewww.

I’ve never understood the media’s fixation with Kate Middleton but I hoped she might one day prove she was more than just the “cold, dull, serious girl” Prince William’s friends described her as.  Despite being disappointed in her work ethic and cringing at some of her idiotic comments, I still wanted this to be a wonderful story about a girl destined to marry her true love, not a girl destined to use tactical maneuvering to increase her chances at nabbing HRH status.  There was a moment during her wedding when she looked at Prince William with crazy eyes and I thought, maybe there’s a personality in that candied shell after all, maybe she really was a girl madly in love with the man she was marrying.  Given recent reports, I suspect at that moment she couldn’t believe she actually pulled it off.

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How did she pull that off, anyway?  Her dizzy comments have led many to wonder just how bright the future Queen Consort is.  During a viewing of her wedding dress at Buckingham Palace with the Queen, the Duchess with the Art History degree asked if the antique Fabergé eggs were still being made.  In addition to admitting she doesn’t know how to make a cup of tea, she has proven she can’t even string together a coherent tea-related question, inquiring during an appearance at Fortnum & Mason: “And can it… can you… um… test the… the smell by smelling it?”   When shopping for a birthday gift for her husband this year, Kate also appeared thwarted by the concept of pens being cylindrical, telling a store clerk she was looking for “a really beautiful pen for a man who is left-handed”.   She doesn’t seem to fare much better reading words from a teleprompter.  The delivery of her first public address earlier this year for Children’s Hospice Week was painfully awkward and despite the piece being edited, her mispronunciation of the word “palliative” was not corrected.  One might question why no one spared her that embarrassment.

A story was leaked last year that the Queen referred to Kate Middleton as the Duchess of Doolittle, calling her vain, vapid and lazy.  Normally I would be skeptical of reports citing the Queen as the source, after all, a trusted confidante gossiping to the press would be a betrayal and the Queen isn’t known for being overly trusting.  However, I have no trouble believing the Queen intended for those critical comments to be slipped to the media in hopes Kate would work on improving herself as a representative of the Royal Family.  Like those nude patent pumps Kate always has on, it’s merely a matter of time before her shine gets scuffed and she is perceived of as worn and tired.  The Queen is a highly intelligent woman who knows a lot about longevity in the public eye.

When women marry into the Royal Family, there always seems to be a period of media adoration in the first few years before the ensuing backlash of the press growing bored with its own creation.  The story of a commoner marrying her prince might ultimately backfire against the monarchy, after all, if anyone can be royalty, why does Great Britain need the Royal Family, especially since they have been nothing more than figureheads since the 17th century and UK taxpayers are funding a good chunk of their extravagant lifestyles?

There is tension within the Royal Family already about Kate not being a blood princess, rumored to have been started when the Queen issued the Order of Precedence, decreeing that when not in the presence of William, Kate must curtsey to the York Princesses who are royalty by birth, not marriage, and to Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, regardless of whether or not Prince William accompanies her because she is married to the first in line to the throne.  Both Kate Middleton and the York Princesses are accused of using Mean Girls tactics against each other.  According to one report, Kate Middleton invited Princess Beatrice to a party, not telling her of the dress code, then publically humiliated her for not being properly attired, one of the reporters in attendance was said to have found Princess Beatrice crying in the bathroom.  Then Princess Beatrice’s sister Princess Eugenie was believed to have introduced Prince Harry to his girlfriend, Cressida Bonas in retaliation for Kate’s hostility to the York Princesses.  The matchmaking effort was thought to be an effort to make Kate jealous because Prince William left Kate for Cressida’s gorgeous half sister Isabella in 2007.  Waity Katie allegedly took William back under the condition he never see Isabella again, a promise that would be impossible to honor if Cressida and Prince Harry got married.

I don’t doubt that there will be an increasing number of those wondering why Prince William was permitted to marry such a common girl as the public grows bored of Lazy Katie’s superficial aspirations.  The clips from Prince George’s christening provided interesting insight into the Middleton influence on the modern monarchy.  Both Kate and her sister Pippa seemed to reinforce their presence within the Royal Family by matching their beige outfits to Prince George’s christening gown.   Sort of a “We’re here.  We’re beige.  Get used to it.” fashion statement.   While the christening of the future monarch is a private affair, traditionally foreign dignitaries are invited because the monarchy understands its role in the global community.  The slight extended to other members of the Royal Family.  Citing a desire to keep the christening an informal affair, all but five Senior Royals were excluded from the guest list.  Only the Queen, Prince Philip, Prince Charles, the Duchess of Cornwall, and Prince Harry were invited.

While the christening was said to be the duke and duchess’ modern approach to the event, the informality seemed an affront to royal tradition and etiquette.  After awkwardly greeting the Queen, Kate had to fumble a forgotten curtsey to Prince Philip.  I know that seems like a minor point to most but royals takes the gesture of respect to senior royals seriously, it is why the Queen established the Order of Precedence.  Some might point out that I improperly refer to the Duchess of Cambridge as Kate, Kate Middleton, Waity Katie, Lazy Katie, Duchess of Doolittle, Duchess of Lamebridge, Sock Puppet and the Duchess of Dull, and that would be a fair point.  However given the aggressive measures she took in order to nab the prince, it’s safe to say she pursued the pomp and ceremony of being married to a royal and therefore signed on for the etiquette whereas my critical bitchiness is part of my nature and thus obtained by more honest means.

I do think that the Palace takes note of public criticism of Kate in order to try to avoid the mistakes made by other women who married into the family.  In attempt to lessen the pressures on the Duchess By Design, they gave her a grace period, but Kate settled too comfortably into averaging a mere thirty official royal appearances a year compared to the four hundred or so the eight-seven year old Queen knocks out annually.   Kate initially announced she would be the patron of four charities and announced three more this year for a whopping total of seven in the three years since she married into the Royal Family.  Her father-in-law Prince Charles is patron to more than four hundred charities.  It’s unlikely Lazy Katie will become more ambitious during this next year, the Palace announced that Prince William is taking a “transition” year between leaving the Royal Air Force and assuming his royal duties full-time.  Which probably means more vacations for the Duchess of Doolittle and the global snickering that follows such announcements.

One of the things I noticed about the footage from Prince George’s christening was that Kate didn’t seem to have bonded with George, when he was in her arms and not in her husband’s, she carried him like he was one of her accessories purchased on High Street instead of her son.  Two days after the christening, another photo was released, this one showing Kate actually looking at her son.  It was noted that the picture was taken at the same time of the others, an interesting comment that made me wonder if it was staged after-the-fact or if so many others had noticed a lack of motherly affection at the christening, that showing a tender moment was deemed necessary for Kate’s public image.

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Ultimately what bothers me about Kate Middleton is that along with all semblance of a personality, she has been stripped of ambition to be anything other than what she is, someone who is trying to pick and chose what royal duties she wants to go with her title.  She is a woman who sacrificed her dream of attending Edinburgh, all of her plans that didn’t involve the prince as well as the truths of own her love story which she revised and respun to be more palpable.  She is a fictional character, of her own creation, further molded by the press’ fascination and the cautious hands of the Royal Family’s Bootcamp training her so she doesn’t damage public perception of the monarchy like Princess Diana did.  I think the royal bride with the crazy eyes would be far more interesting than the Duchess with the pageant smile, if there’s any of her that has survived the constant lacquering.  Perhaps the reason Kate doesn’t do more charity work is because in rewriting herself for her prince, she has lost touch with her own humanity.  But Kate could prove to be the perfect Duchess by Design, after all, when her shell starts to crack, it’s quite possible we’ll discover she’s totally hollow, with nothing inside of her that could be an embarrassment to the royal family.

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Love,

Lola

Still Curious, George

Yesterday marked a whole month since Prince William and Catherine Duchess of Cambridge’s first child, HRH Prince George Alexander Louis of Cambridge, entered the world.  There is still so much fascination surrounding the birth of the third in line to the throne of England, media outlets clamoring to get every scrap of info, down to nappie details.   It’s become the journalistic equivalent of a slumber party: So like, Prince William picked up diapers on the way home one day, and he sings the baby to sleep, let’s write about how dreamy that is in our unicorn diaries and we’ll dot our i’s with hearts that will smell like grape ‘cuz we just got these new glitter pens with our allowance and it’s just so cute, awwwww!!!

Other than being able to turn journalists into eleven year-old girls, the baby is one month old, the most exciting thing we’re going to see for a while is a spit bubble. Unless Prince George makes some serious advances with cold fusion, maybe we all just take a step back and focus on something more productive, we don’t even need to put it to a vote, we can all do our own thing and see how that works out for us as a society.

All this royal baby reporting is like the end of “Ghostbusters” after the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man was blown up by crossed proton streams and just blanketed everything in sticky goo, that’s how inescapable Prince George is.   When the Duchess of Cambridge went into labor, I would turn on my tv from time to time to check in, a baby is always exciting news, a reason to celebrate, something universally positive.  The next day I logged onto my computer and the first article I saw said something like, “Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge gives birth to a boy.  How rude.”

And even though the media was banned from showing the topless photos of Catherine taken last year, the media has still managed to bring the focus back to Catherine’s breasts.  Now the attention is in the form of breastfeeding, which is slightly more tasteful, but as a personal decision each woman makes for herself, why must this be reported?  Beverly Turner was part of the movement trying to get Catherine to publicly breastfeed, “we also need women with power and influence to get their milky bosoms out and feed smiling in paparazzi pictures.”  I’m thinking that’s not going to happen, the royal family went to a whole lot of effort to get pictures of Kate’s bare bosoms under lock and key.  I’m an advocate of breastfeeding, and am always quick to defend a mother when she gets a negative comment or an eye roll.  I think it’s ridiculous that people feel uncomfortable around something that is so natural.  But to use any part of the Duchess’ anatomy in hopes of making a political statement is not who Catherine is, she’s been carefully groomed so as to not make the same missteps as other women who have married into the royal family.  That’s not to take away from any positive influences Princess Diana and Sarah, Duchess of York had on the monarchy and I think Catherine is careful to be respectful of that.  She’s wearing Diana’s engagement ring, she gave birth in the same place Diana did and she even wore a dress in homage to the mother-in-law that she never knew (she should lay off on further associations, though, men want to feel like they found a woman like Mom but not so much it becomes blaringly Oedipal).

The care Catherine has taken with her public image has been painstaking.  There aren’t any skeletons in the back of her closet hidden by boxes of nude pumps.  As William and Kate have said repeatedly, we’re just a boring normal couple like everyone else.  I think they’ve proven that.  It’s time to close the William and Catherine exhibit, folks, there’s only so much ordinary we can take.

From the ashes of normalcy, a phoenix of hilarious stories have cropped up on the web, sort of like a royal English telenovela, but with less believable plot lines.  They are a year old, they suddenly just popped up.  While these may be old, my favorite tale is of Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, recast in several articles as the Cruella De Vil villain forcing Catherine to make her her tea and possibly a fur coat while Catherine blinks back tears.  The reports claim that Camilla has gone completely mad with power now that she knows the Queen agreed not to skip over her son Prince Charles in the line of succession and leave the thrown to William, under the condition Prince Charles stays married to Camilla, because the monarchy couldn’t possibly endure another divorce scandal.  Prince Charles having to make her happy gave her the opportunity to make everyone miserable.  And then Camilla pretty much told Catherine, “Poor little things… I’m gonna cut you off, then cut you up” and then insulted the tea.  Personally I wouldn’t cross Camilla, she’s a shrewd woman, but the report was just too over the top to be believable.  But the biggest red flag on this being nothing but the bored musings of writers who thought they would have a Pulitzer by now is the fact that the Queen can’t actually choose to have William leapfrog over Prince Charles.  In order for Prince William to become King before his father, it would take an act of Parliament.  Parliament finally got around to addressing the whole women aren’t inferior to men thing and therefore the first born of the first born would be heir to the thrown, regardless of sex, so it would be a few decades before anything else regarding royal succession gets in front of Parliament.  England is also a hereditary monarchy, they entire system is a genetic wait-your-turn and they honor such traditions.  The web has been a treasure trove of brilliant royal fiction I’ve stumbled upon, I also skimmed past another fascinating theory which states George is the reincarnated soul of Princess Diana who has come back to exact her revenge on the royal family.  There are so many things wrong and mind boggling with that statement, but the one point I’ll draw from the hat is assuming that was totally doable, she filled out a questionnaire while she was in the light and was spiritually recycled to her first pick, why would Diana want to go through all of that one more time?  I can’t imagine her signing up for another tour of duty which has Prince Charles uttering the commands.   Her dying words were, “leave me alone”.  Princess Diana had such a radiant beauty and bewitching way that people always wanted a little piece of it for themselves.  Even in a room full of people captivated by her, she almost always felt all alone.  That kind of life is very draining and disorienting, I can’t imagine her choosing it twice.

Eventually we’ll learn that George is his own person and a future ruler.  But if this last month has proven anything, it’s royal babies and royal couples can be royally uninteresting, remarkable only in the ways others are able to exploit it, offering up details that shouldn’t have been shared or adding to the collective of false information out there.   They’re just trying to live their lives, we don’t need to watch every second of it.  It’s sensory overload, when I close my eyes I see white spots on a blue dress, when I open them, it’s on the cover of every magazine.  Unless someone has proof that Prince William is half centaur and that the Duchess of Cambridge is a water sprite and George is already proving himself quite the capable wizard, I gotta say, there’s nothing on this channel to watch.

When Prince William was a child, Princess Diana was able to give him some semblance of a normal life and that made him the man he is today and the man who will lead the UK in the future.  The world is a different place now, almost everyone has a smartphone, what the paparazzi doesn’t catch, everyone in the crowd does, we are so imbued in social media, we see life as wall posts, it’s become how we connect with others, we live through our devices.  A child always represents hope for the future so I understand where the media fixation on George is coming from but I think we’ve OD’d on this joyous occasion.  It might seem like some far away modern fairytale but we all play a part in how it is allowed to play out.  I no longer buy People Magazine, US Weekly or any other magazine that purchases paparazzi photographs because of the death of Princess Diana, I didn’t want to financially contribute to these organizations that created the photographic frenzy. I know it’s a very small gesture but as the saying goes, a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

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Love,

Lola