Tag Archives: Duke and Duchess of Cambridge

The Return of Mental Health Midge

On Sunday and Monday, Kate Middleton managed to carry out three mental health-related events, bringing her yearly engagement tally up to seven.

While it’s important for mental health issues to be destigmatized in society, it’s hard for me to believe that this is a cause Kate and Prince William genuinely care about.  Kate looks stiff and posed at these engagements while Prince William’s default compassionate expression looks like he’s trying to suppress a belch.  In stark contrast, Prince Harry’s interest in mental health is unquestionably sincere, his mother’s compassionate light burns within him, at these events he communicates with ease and appears in touch with his own humanity.

At the January 17th Heads Together event at which Kate, Prince William, and Prince Harry gave one of their three-fer speeches, royal correspondent Richard Palmer noted after Prince William brusquely ignored the media two feet away on the way in and bolted for the waiting car on the way out:

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While I rarely comment directly on Kensington’s Palace’s Twitter posts, I felt it necessary to point out that Kate’s oratorical contribution at that event was difficult to understand.

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With the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at these engagements, I am reminded of jesters and minstrels of yore who performed for royalty, but in this case, it’s struggling individuals reaching into their souls to pull out the most painful, raw and darkest parts of their being for examination by the royal family’s two laziest royals so there’s an illusion that they care, despite their consistently low yearly engagement totals suggesting otherwise.

On Sunday February 5th, Kate Middleton, Prince William and Prince Harry attended a Heads Together event, joining a London marathon training session at the Olympic park.

Kate, William and Harry participated in a relay race with Prince Harry winning the royal leg.

To be fair, Kate was wearing her tightest jeans to date.  Every stride must have felt like getting a Pap smear on a bouncy castle and her starting position suggested she’s still struggling with keeping within the lines in her colouring books.

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Prince William’s trousers weren’t exactly the most event-friendly either.  If anyone was wondering, the second-in-line to the throne went left with his penis on Sunday.

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Prince Harry looked like he inched his starting position slightly ahead to gain an advantage over his brother but he needn’t have bothered.  The man who beat Usain Bolt with some creativity easily bested his brother who looked like he either really wanted to win or was passing a kidney stone.

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On Monday, Kate Middleton and Prince William got an unusually early start and attended a Place2Be engagement at the Mitchell Brook Primary School.  The Kindness Assembly marked the beginning of Children’s Mental Health Week.

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Kate wore a repeat red Luisa Spagnoli suit and once again sported her Muppet Madness bared-teeth grin which I imagine haunts the nightmares of children and the monsters living underneath their beds.

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Kate presented a Kindness Award to a student.  Videos from the event looked like a commercial for Mattel’s Mental Health Midge doll which comes with a bathing suit under her official engagement attire for a quick holiday get-away.

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In the photo @KensingtonRoyal posted, Kate looked posed and awkward but she didn’t give them a lot with which to work.  She totally has Mattel arm in this photo.

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Kate also delivered a speech which sucked less than usual but still was difficult to follow at times and uninspired.  Rebecca English’s Daily Mail article included its contents if anyone is interested.

On Monday night, Prince William and Kate attended a Guild of Health Writers conference at which William delivered a speech.

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Kate wore an Oscar de la Renta suit out of which she styled the life with her same-old black suede court shoes, black clutch and black tights.  Seriously, why aren’t the Fashion Police a legitimate branch of law enforcement?  Kate should be arrested for suffocating this gorgeous Oscar de la Renta suit to death with bland accessories and forced to attend a workshop on styling and maybe do some community service since she is a repeat offender.

Monday also marked Queen Elizabeth II’s Sapphire Jubilee, making the Queen the first British Monarch to reach a 65 year reign.  Long live the Queen!

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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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Day 3 – India and Bhutan Tour

Stop the press, what is that?

On Day 3 of the royal tour, Kate Middleton continued to be an agent of chaos by wearing flats.

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Screen grab from Daily Mail

After remaining faithful to her character this tour in high-heeled court shoes and towering wedges, Kate Middleton busted out out a pair of Xpresso flats.  The flashing I anticipated but sensible shoes?

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Of course, they didn’t work with the maxi dress by Glamorous but chaos rarely coordinates well.

I actually like this dress maybe because it reminds me of some of Laura Ingalls’ dresses who I still totally want to be when I grow up, except obviously with electricity and WiFi and restaurants that deliver and yoga pants and cable… I wouldn’t have made it five minutes on the prairie.

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While Kate was meeting with street children, they wanted her to draw her house so she did.

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Since the structure is obviously neither Kensington Palace or the ten bedroom country estate, Anmer Hall, I think it’s safe to assume Kate lives locked in a shed either at her parents’ house in Berkshire or on the Anmer Hall estate.  Still, it’s probably bigger than my apartment in Manhattan.

One of the kids helped Kate color it, not realizing Kate lives in a world of white and beige.

Prince William and Kate then had lunch with the Prime Minister.  Kate wore this Alice Temperley dress:

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Honestly, I couldn’t stop looking at her boobs in this dress.  I can’t tell if this is the result of the absence of a bra or if this is the result of one of Kim Kardashian’s boob tape tutorials gone terribly wrong.

Kate paired it with the debut of custom Kiki McDonough earrings.

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Supposedly they commemorate Charlotte’s birth, but her birthstone is emerald, not green amethyst or green tourmaline.  Kate already has emerald earrings as well as Kiki McDonough green amethyst earrings so it’s a curious choice.

While royal photographers and correspondents took a bus for three hours to Kazrianga, the Cambridges, their luggage and entourage hopped a private plane.

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Between tour tedium, the long hot bumpy transportation, and sleep deprivation, I wouldn’t be surprised if the royal correspondents and photographers start spilling some less flattering Cambridge details or their social media updates tomorrow afternoon are just all F-bombs and random quotes from 12 Monkeys because there are some things even liquor can’t hug away.

Once in Kaziranga, they were welcomed by Assamese dancers and a three year old child stomped on a pair of Kate’s wedges which made many go awwww to cover up secret jealously that the kid got to live the dream.

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Kate’s Anna Sui maxi dress reminded me of Brady Bunch curtains.

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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.

Maytree

“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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Prince George Starts Nursery School

Kate Middleton might be getting the good lovin’ tonight from hubby Prince William, so if their ten bedroom country estate is a-rockin’, don’t go a-knockin’.  The couple managed to pull off Prince George’s first day of nursery school without the presence of the loathsome media, released two photos taken by Kate on Twitter after-the-fact, thereby sharing the future king’s milestone moment in the couple’s trademark on-their-terms-only fashion, and pissing off a multitude of royal  photographers in the process.

So how did the Cambridges pull off this latest coupe of public figures living privately?  It was actually kind of brilliant.  It didn’t require the kind of carefully calculated choreography of Ocean’s Eleven, they simply used the Power of Assumption.

The Bait:

On December 18th, Kensington Palace released an official announcement that Prince George would be starting Westacre Montessori School Nursery  in Norfolk before the end of January.

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Media outlets dutifully reported the news that George would be starting nursery school at the end of the January, like eonline which gushed, “But after the holidays, Prince George is going to have to start planning his first day of school outfit, as the palace also announced Friday that he’ll be starting nursery school at the end of January!”

Technically, January 6th does fall before the end of January.  So the announcement was not even blatantly deceptive by the Cambridges’ standards.

As Richard Palmer noted in his December 18th Express article on the choice of a nursery school ten miles from Anmer Hall:

“The Cambridges have spent an increasing amount of time at Anmer Hall, their 10-bedroom country home on the Sandringham estate in Norfolk, despite taxpayers forking out £4.5 million to upgrade their official London residence at Kensington Palace.

Aides had said they would spend most of their time at the London residence but they soon got fed up with the public and media attention in London and it quickly became clear they intended to base themselves in Norfolk.”

It’s just so irksome when the public shows interest in public figures.  Hang your heads in shame, peasants, you basically forced them into doing what suited them like they would have anyway.

The Heist:

With the public and royal photographers assuming Prince George’s first day of nursery school would fall at the end of the January, Prince William and Kate Middleton pulled up to Westacre Montessori Nursery with two-and-half-year-old George and Kate took some pics.  After George’s first day, when the family was back at their Fortress of Solitude, Anmer Hall, Kensington Palace released two of Kate’s photos of George’s first day.  From the @KensingtonRoyal Twitter Account:

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Prince George is undeniably adorable.  But two pics of His Royal Cuteness taken by his mother feels a bit paltry, especially compared to the media presence at Prince William’s first day at nursery school, as evidenced in this photo published by Hello Magazine.

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The Daily Mail couldn’t resist pointing out that on Prince William’s first day of nursery school, “In line with tradition, a formal photocall was arranged by Kensington Palace for the three-year-old’s arrival at Mrs Mynors’ Nursery School in London, which was also a Montessori.”

Royal photographers, whose livings are adversely effected by the Cambridge’s dodging of traditional photocalls and legal threats against unofficial photos, vented their frustrations on social media.  Royal photographer, Mark Stewart, lamented the covert move by the Cambridges on Twitter with royal photographer, James Whatling, emphasizing that the changes were for the worse.

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James Whatling also got in a dig at how ridiculous it is that public figures are demanding to live privately, doling out amateur photographic pellets as if they will satiate the public that supports the monarchy.

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Perhaps the most interesting Tweet of all was from Niraj Tanna, who has an impressive track record of being in the know about the generally unknown:

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Did an American journalist get the scoop before anyone else that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge would be releasing photos of Prince George’s first day of nursery school on the American-owned platform Twitter?  If so, that’s gotta sting even more.

It kind of makes me  nostalgic for the days when instead of all these passive-aggressive shenanigans, the future Queen Consort  just out-right flashed the press the V sign (the  British  version of giving the finger).KateFlashesVSign

Prince George won’t be attending nursery school regularly, permitting him breaks from the drudgery of cutting and pasting.  According to a senior aide quoted in the Daily Mail“He won’t go every day… but the couple decided that it would just be nice for him to attend a little local nursery school.”

So basically like his parents, Prince George’s schedule will remain flexible so he can properly go on holiday and be reportedly keen on things.  George is one precocious kid, he’s not even three yet and he’s got the whole Cambridge prince thing down.

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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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Creative Collaborations with the Cambridges

On Wednesday, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge met with Chinese President Xi Jinping and his wife,  First Lady Peng Liyuan, at an event, Creative Collaborations: UK & China, held at Lancaster House.

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Kate chose to celebrate the collaborative theme of the two countries by showing up in Italian designers.  Kate paired an eggplant Dolce & Gabbana Guipure lace dress with almost-matching Gianvito Rossi shoes.  Well, at least her clutch was by UK brand Mulberry.

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The lace cocktail dress revealed more than Kate’s white bra, its AM inappropriateness suggests that there was such a raging After After Party following Tuesday’s state banquet that Kate didn’t have a chance to go home and change or even check her hair for empty liquor bottles prior to the event.

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I can only assume that this moment was Kate gleefully celebrating received confirmation that kung fu fighting really is fast as lightening.  If this were an episode of Sesame Street, I feel like it would be brought to you by the letters L, S and D.

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Or maybe Kate’s just cracking under the strain of working two days in a row.

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Another Privacy Letter from the Cambridges

On Friday, Jason Knauf, the Communications Secretary to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, released a letter addressing paparazzi pictures taken of Prince George which listed some of the methods the paparazzi have gone to in order to take photos of Prince George to sell to the “the handful of international media titles still willing to pay for them”.  The expressed intention of the letter was to raise awareness to how these photos are obtained because, “many people who read and enjoy the publications that fuel the market for unauthorised photos of children do not know about the unacceptable circumstances behind what are often lovely images”.

I agree the public should be made aware about “unauthorized photos of children”.  In the UK, as in the US and many other countries, by law a photographer does not need the permission of a parent or guardian to take a photo of a child in public.  The only minor-specific law in the UK involves indecent photos, otherwise the law makes no distinction as to who can be photographed in public.  On private property, photographs can be banned if there is a posted policy but in public, individuals of all ages are fair game.  In the UK, just like in the US, a parent can ask a photo be deleted if one has been taken of his or her child, but the person who has taken the photo is not legally obligated to do so.  The subject of a photo has no rights unless the photo is to be used for advertising purposes, whereas the photo itself is protected as the intellectual property of the person who took it.

So by requesting that unauthorized photos of Prince George not be taken, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are asking for a special exception to be made for their children to which no other parent in the UK is entitled.

Prince William’s disdain for the media has been well documented over the years.  As a pubic figure, he is afforded little privacy protection but has been embarking on a campaign to limit media access to his family.  Letters to the press have become more frequent, in May the Cambridges had letters distributed by Norfolk police to the media warning them that the Duke and Duchess have an “expectation of privacy”.

The latest letter is intended to play on the sympathies of other parents and the fears they face in this digital age of possible predators targeting their children.  Of course, the Cambridges have taxpayer-funded RPOs ensuring the safety of their children which other parents don’t, but the letter intends to stir up emotional outrage by noting, “They know that almost all parents love to share photos of their children and they themselves enjoy doing so.  But they know every parent would object to anyone – particularly strangers – taking photos of their children without their permission.”

I’m sure the Royal Family is well-aware that the UK has no law that would prohibit photos of children being taken in public so this latest letter on behalf of the Cambridges is an attempt to stir the pot.  Legally Prince William’s best shot would be trying to make a case of harassment which would be difficult to win given that the scales of justice tend to tip in favor of public interest over the individual rights of public figures.  So he’s left with trying to appeal on an emotional level to the masses in hopes the people will want to protect his family as they would their own and boycott any publication featuring photos of Prince George and Princess Charlotte that haven’t been officially released.

In today’s society, whenever we leave our homes our images our captured without our permission.  No one who goes out in public has an expectation of privacy when it comes to being photographed or filmed.  Having laws prohibiting the photographing of children is unrealistic because security cameras recording property, sidewalks, homes and business interiors can’t selectively record only adults.  Smartphone technology enables the average person to always have the ability to take a picture or video of their everyday surroundings while sites like Instagram and YouTube provide an international platform to share what’s been captured in a bid for a bit of internet fame.  Pictures we posed for are uploaded to social media sites by friends in addition to photos we didn’t pose for, caught as part of the background of party pics, tourist vacation photos and incessant public selfie-taking regardless of our age.  When we withdraw money from the ATM, we are videotaped for our protection while elsewhere, such as in most taxi cabs, our photos are taken for the protection of others.  A couple of years ago when it was discovered that Citi Bikes were equipped with spy cameras, Mayor Bloomberg responded, “You wait, in five years the technology is getting better. There will be cameras everyplace whether you like it or not.”  Most of us don’t like it but we don’t have Communications Secretaries to vent our frustrations at the cameras we do see.

In addition to being impossible to enforce, laws requiring parental permission for photos of children would infringe on the freedom of expression afforded to artists and inhibit the media’s ability to be able to provide news in a timely fashion if the parents of every single child caught on camera had to be tracked down to sign a waiver.

Personally, I have no desire to see paparazzi photos of Prince George.  Maybe if he developed telekinetic powers or started sneezing fire or adding lavish musical numbers to his outings that might be interesting to see but otherwise I have never felt that what my life really needs is more pictures of Prince George.  I would probably be more empathetic to Prince William’s position if it hadn’t been for all his other tantrums about media intrusion and his continuous attempts to have everything his way, all of the benefits without any inconvenience.  When was the last time Prince William spoke out against anything that wasn’t a perceived injustice against his family?  Food banks in the UK have been seeing a surge in use as millions struggle to feed themselves, there are approximately 83,000 homeless young people between the ages of 16 and 25 in Britain but what’s super important is that no one takes photos of his family?  Surely warm thoughts about the Cambridge’s privacy will be enough to heat all the homes in the UK this winter.

What I find interesting about this letter is the timing.  The letter cited recent photos taken of Carole Middleton with Prince George on the beach as one of the instances in which the paparazzi used unacceptable tactics to take photos, claiming the photographers hid in the sand dunes.  When I saw the pics on POPSUGAR, I wondered if they had been taken by Michael or Pippa Middleton and secretly sold to the press, those Mustique holidays aren’t cheap, you have to sell an awful lot of paper plates to frolic on those beaches.  I even mused if they got caught, would they then go through some charade of pretending they had been papped.  Maybe they really were paparazzi shots but to me it looks like the beach photos were taken with an inexpensive digital point and shoot like a Canon PowerShot, certainly not anything paparazzo-grade.  Additionally, it looks to me like Carole is aware of the photographer’s presence and isn’t bothered by it.  Another reason I wondered if Michael or Pippa took the beach photos was because Lupo is seen in a few of the shots so wouldn’t it stand to reason that someone else from the Middleton clan was there to keep an eye on the Royal Pooch to make sure he didn’t run off or was dognapped, perhaps the same person who was taking photos of the Middleton Matriarch with the future king?  Just a theory.  What I can’t wrap my head around is how the paparazzi were hidden in the sand dunes.  Did they somehow burrow themselves in or did they have accomplices piling sand on top of them in the off chance Prince George showed up at the beach that day?  Or maybe it was some kind of sand dune costume that they slipped over their heads.  Perhaps there’s some kind of Paparazzi DIY Disguise Craft Board on Pinterest so they can blend into locations where Prince George might show up.  A homemade sand dune costume would explain how these photographers were able to move to the field where other pictures of Carole with Prince George were taken, normally real sand dunes aren’t terribly mobile.  I think I know what I’m going to dress up as this year for Halloween.

Given how fond Prince William seems to be of these privacy letters, I hope the press decides to send one back to the Cambridges.  Maybe they could use the letter from the end of The Breakfast Club and just change a few words, something like:

Dear Prince William:

We accept that you are the product of centuries of inbreeding and the descendent of several royal nut jobs but we think you’re the bat crap craziest of them all to keep sending us these letters about privacy demands.   You’re a public figure who sees the media as you want to see us… In the simplest terms and the most convenient definitions.  To you we are a nuisance you think can be wished away using Kensington Palace letterhead.  And what was up with that thinly veiled threat about maybe accidentally mistaking us as security threats next time?  That’s just whack, bro.  You can forget about us PhotoShopping more hair onto your bald spot and the next time we snap photos of your wife with her bare bum exposed, we’re not just going to e-mail them to our friends.

Sincerely yours,

The Sand Dune Club

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Kate’s True Colours

On Wednesday, Kate Middleton showed her true colours and took a break from her extended maternity leave to enjoy the royal perk of prime Wimbledon seats.  Dressed in a new vibrant red LK Bennett dress with a new haircut and what looks to be new hair extensions, Kate’s appearance seemed like a classic post-break-up f.u. move, getting all glammed up in attention-grabbing red with altered locks to symbolize a new chapter in life while dancing to Gloria Gaynor’s I Will Survive on the inside in order to show the ex it’s his loss.

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I’m not really sure what split in Kate’s mind could have provoked this classic Kate break-up move. Kate never even flirted with Work so it’s not like that relationship could have ended and if Kate and Sense of Duty ever were really together, it obviously ended ages ago.  Kate and Black Eyeliner are still hot and heavy and going by recent paparazzi photos, Kate and Jeggings are still very much an item.  Perhaps Kate finally ended it with Pretending to Care, a pre-emptive strike against those who would question why Kate couldn’t be bothered showing up at the 7/7 Memorial the day before but could be coaxed out of extended maternity leave in order to sit in the Royal Box at Wimbledon.

KateonWillsShoulder

Do you have any chloroform on you, Darling? I want to invite Andy Murray over to Anmer to play.

Unfortunately, the Palace does still have to promote the whole Kate Charade and scramble for ways to hide the fact that Kate can’t be bothered with the responsibilities that came with the Duchess title for which she waited around eight years to have.  Even though Kate is on extended maternity leave for which she doesn’t work enough to qualify, the Palace is hard at work creatively padding her event numbers because her paltry annual engagement totals are always at the bottom of the family’s list.  The birth of Charlotte and Sunday’s christening showed up in the Court Circular as official engagements for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

CharlotteChristeningCourtCircular

Granted, being in labor is the closest thing Kate will ever get to work, but a private christening attended by twenty-two people from which even members of the British Royal Family were excluded counts as an official engagement?  Seriously?  Because they permitted the commoners to wait out in the rain for the honor of looking at their Royal High Horses on their way to a private ceremony?

Four of Princess Charlotte’s christening photos taken by Mario Testino were released this week and they are the perfect metaphor for the Cambridge’s overly-manipulated image that has been distorted to a state of lifeless awkwardness.

Testino was Princess Diana’s favorite photographer, his photos for Vanity Fair were the last portraits for which she sat prior to her death.  He is a highly sought-after photographer, not only for those still seeking anything with a Diana association, but because Testino has one well-honed talent: he makes women look skinnier.

In the group photo, there’s a bit of a fun house effect happening.  Something feels off about it and it’s not until you start to examine it that you see what Testino has done.  Not only has Testino PhotoShopped the Middletons and Windsors into candy-coated perfection, he has moved the subjects and altered the background.

ChristeningGroupPhoto

This is a shot of the Drawing Room at Sandringham, the door on the left in between the two lit sconces is where the group photo was taken.

SandringhamDrawingRoom

That door is significantly smaller in the christening photo, reduced by Testino to one narrow panel, and the lighting fixtures were removed as the entire backdrop was compacted to create an artificial feeling of togetherness between the subjects, some digital slight of hand to artificially manufacture that which the photographer was unable to capture.

Testino cut each figure out, modified them and pasted them into the altered background.  He didn’t get the positioning of the feet correct, though, I have drawn a vertical line using Pippa’s and Carole’s feet as the starting point which should bisect them down the middle.

ChristeningGroupUncenteredLegs

Obviously Pippa’s head is turned but if you look at her neck, you can see how far Testino was off when recompiling the elements of the photo, his tinkering also left Pippa’s chest looking like she’s at Picasso levels of lopsided.  With Carole, he’s slightly less off.  And I’m not sure why there is a glowing red line under the couch in the back, perhaps it was left to distract from the pic’s patchwork or maybe it is meant to symbolize the love between William and Kate that is so passionate and intense, it manifests as flaming carpet snakes.

RedGlowingCarpetSnakes

The beigeness of the Middleton family reportedly caused some issues for Testino who had to work around the Middletons matching their attire to Charlotte’s christening gown.  Pippa’s Emilia Wickstead dress was also too close in shade to the cream colored paint of Sandringham’s drawing room so Pippa had to be repositioned so that James’ dark sleeve could be used to delineate her arm.  A subtle shadow was also added along her nipped-in torso to help keep Pippa from looking like a floating head.

PippaChristeningClose-Up

Back in 2009, Mario Testino told a Telegraph reporter, “The magic comes when a sitter is not self-conscious.”  Too bad Pippa couldn’t make it work with George Percy, perhaps with access to Hogwarts, a little life could have been injected into Charlotte’s christening photos.

Since Charlotte’s christening counted as an official event, I wonder who is picking up Mario Testino’s substantial tab?  Whether the cost is met by the Royal Family or the taxpayer, these stale photographic crumbs were a rip-off and certainly not value for the money in a time of austerity.

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