Tag Archives: James Whatling

One if by Land Rover, Two if by Sea

Land Rover, Land Rover send the British Monarchy on over.

On Saturday at the Royal Windsor Horse Show held on the grounds of Windsor Castle, royal photographer and Land Rover owner, James Whatling, was treated poorly by Land Rover, an official partner of the event.   A respected member of the British press, James Whatling has been working as a photographer for nearly two decades and was nominated for Royal Photographer of the Year at the Picture Editors Guild Awards in 2003.  Known for his wit and candor, James Whatling’s Twitter account @JWhatling is a favorite among those who follow the British Royal Family.  Even those who aren’t avid royal watchers and wouldn’t recognize James Whatling by name would have likely seen photos from his impressive portfolio.  So his treatment by Land Rover at the Royal Windsor Horse Show as detailed on his Twitter page is extremely disappointing.

JWLandRover

WonderWoman

Not cool, Land Rover.

While there are twenty-eight corporate sponsors for this year’s show. Land Rover is the only one that gets its logo next to that of the Royal Windsor Horse Show throughout their website.  That’s the kind of placement you only get if you shell out the big bucks.

RoyalWindsorHorseShow

Ironically the Royal Windsor Horse Show touts media presence at the event on its website as an incentive for companies to become sponsors.

RWHSSponsorshipAnd yet as a member of the media whose presence the Royal Windsor Horse Show uses to entice sponsors, James Whatling was banned from the lounge because of his occupation.

The Windsor Horse Show had Tweeted the admittance policy.

JustPresentKeys

No mention that the keys to gain admittance had to belong to owners of certain occupations.

LandRoverDiscrimination

Land Rover has faced a number of discrimination accusations over the years.  On November 17, 2014, a current employee of Jaguar Land Rover working in Birmingham accused the company of “extreme racism” and noted promotions aren’t based on merit or qualification but because they are the “managers own friends and family.”   In an article on birminghampost.co.uk, the company was described as “an aggressive, bullying culture” by Chris Shot who won his case against them for unfair dismissal and disability discrimination.  Shot also noted, “Land Rover puts on a big front about their being an equal opportunities employer but the reality is it’s all about whether your face fits or not.”

Discrimination accusations by customers  tend to be far less common than those made by employees which makes Whatling’s experience all the more surprising.  To quote Warren Buffet, “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it.”

James Whatling noted that his experience at The Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials  was an extremely positive one.

TreatmentDifference

So why such a difference in  treatment at the two events?  Could it have something to do with the Royal Family’s special relationship with Land Rover, the terms of which are unknown?

It’s been reported that members of the British Royal Family have a deal with Land Rover, getting their luxury vehicles for a small fraction of the cost in exchange for being unofficial brand ambassadors simply by being seen in their vehicles.  Media outlets questioned if Prince George being driven home from the hospital in a £140,000 Range Rover was part  of an agreement.  As one nbcnews.com article pointed out, “The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s emergence from London’s St. Mary’s Hospital was captured by the world’s TV cameras with the Range Rover logo prominent as the royal tot was tucked into his car seat.”  A historic moment makes for impactful product placement.  Several months later, the Daily Mail ran a piece on Carole, Pippa and James Middleton being given luxury Range Rovers at a deeply discounted rate.  Does Land Rover really need Carole, Pippa and James spotted driving around in their vehicles to boost sales  or was it the result of a provision worked out by the Cambridges so the in-laws could benefit from their special deal with Land Rover?

In Kate’s recent Vogue UK appearance,  it was noted she drove herself to the location in her Land Rover Defender.   With Vogue indicating  Kate had selected everything from clothes to “the locations used as a backdrop”, a number of people wondered if Kate’s Land Rover visible in one of the shots was product placement, fulfilling some kind of contractual  obligation.

On Sunday, 90th birthday celebrations for the Queen continued at Windsor.  The evening featured 900 performing horses, musical performances and celebrity-narrated highlights from Her Majesty’s life.

Gordon Rayner had predicted a heavy Land Rover presence and he was right.

GordonRayner

And sure enough, a Land Rover appeared hauling a giant  birthday cake.

LandRoverCake

Land Rover seems to be using its ties to the British Royal Family to remind the world that despite being owned by India’s Tata Motors which purchased it from Ford in 2008, and with factories in various countries including India, China, and a new facility being built in Slovakia slated to be finished in 2018, it’s still a British brand.  In a Tweet on Monday, it stated, “Rain, mud, horses and royalty. Celebrating Britain at its best.”   It included  a photo of  the Queen appearing to emerge from a royal  Range Rover.

LandRoverBritish

The relationship between Land  Rover and the British Royal Family becomes even more curious with a quick glance at the automobile manufacturer’s Sponsorship page.  First listed is Land Rover’s support of Ben Ainslie’s bid to return the America’s Cup to Britain, the only cause in which Kate seems genuinely interested.  The next Land Rover sponsorship mention is of the 2015 Rugby World Cup.  As noted in an Express article written by Richard Palmer, “The Queen and her family have taken a close interest in the tournament. The 89-year-old monarch is patron of the RFU, while her grandsons, Princes William and Harry, are are vice-patrons of the Welsh Rugby Union and RFU respectively. Princess Anne is also patron of the Scottish Rugby Union.”  The fourth listed Land Rover corporate sponsorship is Invictus, the driving force behind which is Prince Harry.   The sixth is equestrian sponsorship which is basically everyone in the British Royal Family, minus Kate who is pretend-allergic to horses.

Corporate sponsorship is wonderful but Land Rover’s mirroring the sports-centered interests of members of the British Royal Family suggests there could be far more complex dealings between the British Royal Family and Land Rover than just steeply discounted luxury cars in exchange for the royals being seen in them.  Beyond Prince Harry’s Invictus Games which does tremendous work for wounded, injured or sick service personnel, the rest aren’t humanitarian endeavors.  No one at Land Rover has a soft spot for any of the many worthy causes to help those suffering?

With Land Rover acting as the corporate sponsor of the British Royal Family, what exactly is Land Rover getting for their financial support?  And what are members of the British Royal Family getting in return?  In the Cambridge’s Anti-Press Crusade, will Land Rover-sponsored events become increasingly more unwelcoming to the media under the influence of the royal family, even if it means losing customers?

redheart

signature-copy

 

The Parable of the Perturbed Press

“To whomever much is given, of him will much be required; and to whom much was entrusted, of him more will be asked.” – Luke 12:48

After years of reaping royal benefits, this week the media reminded the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge of their enormous growing bar tab of expectation.

On February 17th, Kate Middleton did her guest stint with the Huffington Post UK. The photos Tweeted by @KensingtonRoyal of the “newsroom” confirmed to me that they were using stuffed animals instead of real dogs and ponies for the Kate is Keen Show.

HuffingtonPostEvent

While the event was geared towards bringing awareness to children’s mental health issues, the inherent flaw in selecting one outlet is representative of the greater issue that the Cambridges mistakenly believe they don’t need the media.  Kate’s second event of the year lacked the traditional media fanfare even though she wore a brand new outfit and everything.  Above all else, the press is a business so they naturally wouldn’t want to waste a lot of column space plugging their competition.

Many wondered if there would be a complete media black-out.

JW-DMCompetition

Daily Mail article on Kate being papped shopping in pricy designer clothing referenced the Huffington Post event as Kate guest-editing “a website”.   While celebrity guest editing isn’t new which Jezebel’s “Kate Middleton Joins the Long, Goofy, Controversial Line of Celebrity Guest Editors” explores, the very fact that Kate is being classified as a celebrity reveals just how royally Kate is missing the mark.  Taxpayers don’t fund celebrities’ lives and more is expected of royals than being famous for being famous.  As representatives of the UK, royals are supposed to remain politically neutral and avoid the appearance of impropriety by refusing freebies  by companies seeking royal product placement…a  future Queen Consort aligning herself with one media outlet is tantamount to brand endorsement.

Prince William’s first scheduled engagement of the year on the 16th at the Foreign Office’s Diplomatic Academy seemed to even more blatantly break with the royal neutrality policy when a speech he delivered was widely interpreted as thinly veiled support of remaining within the European Union.  As the Daily Mail noted, “he all but named the EU as he referenced international organisations such as the United Nations, Nato and ‘elsewhere’ as institutions that help Britain affirm its ‘commitment to working in partnership with others’. ”  The Palace denied any political agenda and pointed out that never once in the speech did Prince William specifically mention the European Union.  Sure, and when I refer to the Petulant Prince, I really am talking about any spoiled arrogant balding 33-year-old British heir to the throne with a pathologically lazy wife, two kids and a Cocker Spaniel named Lupo.

On February 17th, The Sun fired a shot at William the Reluctant heard round the world’s media with “Throne Idle: Prince on 1st job of the year… and it’s a disaster”.  While many of the points it makes have been discussed here and on other sites like Kate Middleton Review, Kate Middleton: Duchess or Diva, Celebitchy, and Sarah Whalen’s posts on Bayou Buzz, it’s refreshing to see the UK mainstream media dispense with the royal candy coating for a change and exercise some journalistic candor.

The Sun’s journalistic bitch-slap was such a departure from the white glove treatment Prince William normally receives, The Guardian dedicated an article to the article in “The Sun gives both barrels to Prince William”.

On February 18th, Richard Palmer Tweeted that for the RAF Disbandment Parade attended by Prince William and Kate, media access was limited under the guise of space restrictions.

RP1 RP2 RP3

Perhaps the Cambridges were trying to keep out members of the media who might question the “value for the money” of Prince William and Kate who do so few official engagements to begin with taking a helicopter ride from London to Anglesey, Wales to attend the disbandment parade of the now-privatized branch of the Royal Air Force William left in 2013 without meeting his training commitment.

The Daily Mail continued the media pummeling with two new articles questioning the Petulant Prince’s dedication to his royal role with “William the Unwilling: A no-show at the Baftas, only two engagements all year and now even Royal eyebrows are being raised at a Prince who’s gone missing in action” as well as “Patell’s People: Work-shy William has to make a royal choice”.

The quote “to whom much is given, much is expected” comes from The Parable of the Faithful Servant, an eschatological warning in the Gospel of Luke to be prepared for the day of reckoning.  How long the monarchy will last remains to be seen, but with the press’ trumpeted judgment of William the Reluctant and the Duchess of Doolittle reaping the royal perks without commensurate return, the British Royal Family might want to figure out the whole Cambridge situation before the last three trumpets ring out.  The polo  ponies of petulant princes are no match against the apocalyptic horses of a republic.

redheart

signature copy

Blue Monday-Busting BRF

According to a quasi-scientific  study released back in 2005, the third Monday of January is the most  depressing day of the year.  Despite the questionable criteria used  to determine the calendar’s biggest bummer, it’s not that big of a stretch.   Fully detoxed from holiday highs and doggie-paddling in the dashed optimism of New Year’s Resolutions,  those of us in the Northern Hemisphere are at the peak of winter dreariness, dreading the walk to the mailbox in  the cold barren grey stillness for credit card statements made thicker by holiday shopping.

Fortunately, the British Royal Family is maintaining a high  level of ridiculousness to distract us from  short days, wind chill factors and the ho ho humdrum of January.

On Friday, an announcement was made that Kate Middleton will be serving as Guest Editor for Huffington Post UK for a day in February.

Kensington Palace released a statement saying:

“The Duchess of Cambridge has made the mental health of young people a key focus of her work in recent years. She is delighted that The Huffington Post will help put a spotlight on this important issue.

The duchess will be commissioning contributions from a number of leading figures in the mental health sector as well as from young people, parents, and teachers.”

Royal correspondents were  Twitterly  unamused.

RichardPalmer&EmilyAndrewsTwitter

In addition to running the same kind of pap pics that make Prince William threaten to huff and puff and blow  the house down, Huffington  Post UK hasn’t always treated the Cambridges in a dignified manner, recently insinuating that Kate confused royal semen with hair gel to achieve Something About Mary sperm hair.

katevsmary

Huffington Post seems to spend an inordinate amount  of time pondering royal trouser trout.

Following the birth of Prince George, the  US version of Huffington Post speculated that the 150-year-old tradition of circumcising British  royals ended with Prince William and Prince Harry whose foreskin was not removed due to Princess Diana’s wishes and surmised that  Prince George’s royal scepter would remain intact.  Going one step further, Huffington Post UK declared the idea of a circumcision total tosh, accusing  circumcision-happy Americans for starting the rumor.  Sure, blame the Americans, everyone knows the  Declaration of Independence originally included “life, liberty, pursuit of happiness and freedom of foreskin” but had to be modified because the signers couldn’t keep a straight face adding their signatures below the president of Congress’ enormous Hancock.

Without doing any in-depth  research on the matter, the Huffington Post still found it necessary to discuss  princely staffs.  One of the readers here will just have to sleep with Prince Harry to put at least one rumor to bed.  It’s quite possible that Prince William and Prince Harry are both circumcised,  at least going by the old photos of Prince William taking a  leak on a polo field back in 2008 (photos of are not suitable for viewing at work, while eating, after eating  or if in general the very thought of Prince William makes your vagina dry-heave).  Theoretically, Prince William could have been pushing his foreskin back with his fingers, but at least to me the rounded blur looks a professionally trimmed helmet on William’s little Flight Lieutenant.  Did anyone else just throw up a little in their mouth and/or underwear?

While Kate having the Huffington Post swing by Kensington Palace  for a day  is for an important cause, many are left wondering exactly how this came about.

EmilyAndrewsTwitterly

Or why, especially considering the couple has been seeking to bypass the loathsome media completely with announcements and official royal baby portraits released directly on the @KensingtonRoyal  Twitter account.  As royal photographer, James Whatling pointed out, perhaps the Cambridges wouldn’t mind the media as long as they completely controlled it.

JamesWhatlingTwitter

Within reason, of course.

VictoriaMurphyTwitter

Perhaps it’s all an elaborate ruse to get Pippa’s CV to Huffington Post since poor Kate is swamped according to a Daily Mail article that ran over the weekend with Kate being the Second Coming of Diana and all.  According to the article,  Kate has been undertaking secret charity visits like her deceased mother-in-law.  I wonder if the Daily Mail knows that Peter Jones is not a charity.   The article notes, “As a result she has ordered aides to fill her diary for 2016 and is keen to demonstrate an increased commitment to the charity sector.”

Maybe Kate  is keeping  these visits such a secret that even those she’s visiting don’t even know she’s there, maybe the children think she’s some kind of  fidgety mop boogyman lurking in the shadows. Considering that Buckingham Palace padded Kate’s 2015 numbers to get her up to 62 engagements for the year, including her tour of the set of  Downton  Abbey, the birth of Charlotte  and Charlotte’s private christening in the total, I am skeptical of any report that Kate is secretly doing work for which she’s not getting credit.

Last year Kate’s engagement total accounted only for 1.66% of the entire British Royal Family’s workload.  In 2014, she performed 2.23% of the royal family’s duties. Does anyone really expect us to believe that Kate is keen  on anything other than shopping?  And as for “filling up her calendar”, Kate has yet to have a  single event appear in the Court Circular for this year so clearly her calendar  is not filled considering we’re already three weeks into 2016 and her last engagement was on December 16, 2015.  That’s a five week break  from duties, so she’s not exactly hitting the ground running.

In other leg-pulling royal news, the Queen’s  eldest grandson, Peter Phillips, is organizing a celebration in the Mall for the 628 charities of which Her Majesty is Patron in honor of the monarch’s 90th birthday.   Tickets will run the Queen’s charities £1,500 for a table of 10 people but the charities are permitted to sell up to  40% of their tickets out of consideration for the burden of the cost on these non-for-profit organizations, some of which are very small. Otherwise it  would be tacky for a hostess to ask foundations barely scraping by to absorb the whole cost of going to her birthday party, at the very least, people who  aren’t involved with the charity at all should have the opportunity to go instead of those who tirelessly devote themselves to their respective causes for little or no pay. This idea could really catch on in event planning, I can see wedding guests  lining up at vending  machines punching  the appropriate button for chicken or fish and baby showers with a cover charge and two drink minimum,  the  fetus’ cost can be deducted from his or her college fund once the little tyke is born.  Peter Phillips insists nepotism  had  nothing  to with his company, Sports and Entertainment Limited, being the one  selected to organize  the event  for which he  is receiving an undisclosed sum.   The Queen’s grandson declared, “I was very conscious to make sure we did this properly, so we went through the normal channels of approaching the Palace. We had to show that this wasn’t a case of trying to cut corners because the Queen happens to be my grandmother.”

The fact that Sports and Entertainment Limited was selected to plan Her Majesty’s  90th birthday bash I’m  sure had nothing to do at all with Peter Phillips’ royal family ties, just like I’m sure it was simply a coincidence that Peter Phillips’ company Sports and Entertainment  Limited was the one that brokered the £150,000 deal to sell the first photos of Zara’s daughter, Mia, to Hello! magazine.

It’s rather unseemly to sell  tickets  to this  event, the Queen’s 90th birthday isn’t a concert.  She’s the Head of State, not Adele.   Unless Her Majesty, Prince Philip and  Prince Charles are going to put on wigs, cat ears and leopard leotards and perform as a Josie and the Pussycats tribute band, I can’t imagine paying to be part of someone’s birthday celebration.

Richard Palmer’s Twitter page has been a goldmine  of  disenchantment in recent days.  One of his latest blows was an Express article about Norfolk Country Houses From The Air  for  sale at the Sandringham gift shop containing commissioned aerial photographs of Sandringham and Anmer Hall.  The book  contains the very types of photos  that Prince William  crusaded against, petitioning to have Anmer Hall declared a no-fly zone.  I guess it’s only a privacy violation  if you’re not getting  paid.

The entertainment value of the ridiculous antics of the British Royal Family  have helped a  bit with my winter blues.   And here I thought all January would have to offer was the return of the X-files on Sunday.

The truth is out there and so is this underground  video of Bree Sharp’s David Duchovny which is a festival of 90s nostalgia. If you didn’t  get at least a bit of chuckle from those silly British royals, perhaps  this video will push you  a  bit further out of the Blue Zone.   It was made by members of the X-files crew  and shown at their holiday party. Because of the multitude of celebrity cameos, some of which were  shot on the sets of other shows on the  same  lot, it could never  be officially released.

Watch it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wijp4-3giNw

redheart

signature copy

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.

KensingtonPalaceNurseryAnnouncement

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:

PrinceGeorge@KensingtonRoyal

PrinceGeorge2@KensingtonRoyal

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.

MediaatPrinceWilliam'sFirstDay

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.

JamesWhatlingTweetTimesChangingForTheWorse

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.

JamesWhatlingInvasionofPrivacyTweet

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:

NirajTannaTweet

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.

redheart

signature copy