Tag Archives: Jason Knauf

Prince George’s Lupogate

Friday was Prince George’s third birthday, one of those rare occasions that usually unites all royal watchers because regardless  of personal feelings about the monarchy, tiny humans are cute.  To my surprise, the first royal story I would see of the day was this one:

AnimalCrueltyAccusationConsequently, one of the first phrases I uttered aloud on Friday was, “Oh, for fuck’s sake.”  A photo of a little boy and the family dog became another @KensingtonRoyal-released PR blunder, the July follow-up to Kate’s controversial fur-lined mitten photos released back in March.  The Daily Mail article headline proclaimed:

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A three year old possible future king was branded a “monster” for offering a lick of his white chocolate-covered vanilla Magnum to the Cambridge canine, Lupo, like he was the Second Coming  of Jack the Ripper.  Once again, the Cambridges provided the outrage ammo themselves.

To be fair, the photo is only suggestive.  We don’t know if Lupo even took a lick or if the photographer used twenty empty boxes of White Chocolate Magnum bars consumed by Lupo as a tripod.  However, there’s a legitimate reason many animal lovers bristled at the photo.

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals released the statement: “It is lovely that Prince George is trying to help keep his family dog, Lupo, cool in these high temperatures.  We would advise people to be cautious when giving their dogs food meant for human consumption as some items, like chocolate, can be highly toxic to dogs and dairy items can be difficult for them to digest.”

The reason dairy is an issue is because many dogs are lactose intolerant.  There are some that don’t seem to have a problem digesting dairy, but in many dairy can cause a range of digestive issues from mild discomfort to vomiting and diarrhea.

Chocolate, however, can be toxic to dogs and the Magnum bar in question is covered in white chocolate.  The potential fatal factor of chocolate usually comes down to the dog’s weight, age, overall health, how much chocolate is consumed and the type of chocolate.  White chocolate is the safest because it has the least amount of theobromine  which is what is poisonous to dogs.  However, the danger in feeding any chocolate at all to a dog is that the pooch can develop a taste for it and take chocolate treat-seeking measures into his or her own paws.  petMD has a helpful chocolate toxicity meter.

It’s pretty hard to screw up the good-will vibes a picture of a little boy and his dog normally produces but once again, Prince William and Kate Middleton have managed to provoke another backlash with well-intended PR photos they hired a professional to shoot.

After Kate’s Mittengate, it was reported that Prince William and Kate Middleton had selected the ski-holiday photos themselves.  In the past I’ve hypothesized that either the Cambridge’s Communications Secretary, Jason Knauf, has gone missing or is the most evil adversary the British Royal Family has ever faced.   The reality appears to be even more unfathomable.  According to a Daily Beast article written in the aftermath of the disappointing Royal Tour of India and Bhutan, Jason Knauf makes around a mere £60,000 while other Press Office staffers are being paid around £30,000.  That kind of money doesn’t buy a lot of fucks for employees to give and no one in my opinion with the kind of experience required to manage the public image of a future Head of State and his wife would take a salary that low.

Curiously, a recent Daily Mail article revealed that the the chief executive of the Royal Foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry makes around £150,000.  Last year, there was outrage in the UK when it was revealed several charity chief executives were making more than six figures.  The article indicated, “While cutting the amount it handed out to charities, the foundation increased its spending on staff. Costs for its 14 employees rose by almost £60,000 in 2015 to more than £914,000.”   So staffing costs were about half the £1.76 million actually given to charities.

With many questioning the role of the monarchy in modern times, it is curious the Cambridges are underpaying their spin doctors while overpaying those working in a field in which high salaries are often a red flag to potential donors.  A proper PR rep would make sure the Cambridges didn’t release controversial photos on platforms in which outrage can be spread with a couple of clicks.

If the British Monarchy wants to use terms like The Kate Effect and The George Effect to justify its cost to taxpayers, then it must also acknowledge the impact its actions have on the public.  According to a Daily Mail article, the shirt Prince George was wearing in his third birthday photos sold out in an hour.  The potential damage caused by those who might mimic the actions of the young prince will never be known nor can it be adequately measured in pounds because for most of us, our dogs are members of our family.

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Cambridge Catch-Up

Greetings, All.  My apologies for my absence.  I have a new post on Kate Middleton ready to go but wanted to play a little Cambridge Catch-Up before hitting publish on Thursday’s SportsAid event.

Prince William has had two royal firsts since my last post.  After 33 years of princing, Prince William finally went to the The Royal  Horticultural Society’s Chelsea Flower Show on May 23rd.

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The flower show was a first for Kate, too.  When Kensington Palace’s Press Office suggested on social media that Prince Harry was a Chelsea Flower Show tag-along newbie, royal watchers quickly corrected them and reminded them of Prince Harry’s previous appearances.

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Even though Prince Harry may come in third in the Palace Press Office hierarchy, royal watchers are getting frustrated with how much Jason Knauf’s PR team keeps dropping the ball when it comes to Harry’s work.  I think Prince Harry’s supporters need a nickname like Beyoncé’s BeyHive.  We could be… the Ginger Rooters?  We’ll work on the name.

At the flower show, Prince William looked just as miserable as one would expect a Reluctant Prince who allegedly thinks flower shows and ribbon cuttings are ridiculous royal duties.

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The above Daily Mail screen grab is now one of my very favorite royal photos, mainly because Prince William has never looked more like Bert from Sesame Street than at that moment.

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The Daily Mail provided a bevy of snaps for Keeping up With the Kambridges screen grabbing.  Kate was almost all of the Seven Dwarfs in them.

Sneezy:

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Sleepy:

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Dopey:

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And Happy:

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One  Daily Mail commenter thought Kate looked more like a garden gnome than a Disney dwarf, though.

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The Chelsea Flower Show also had an incredible installation in honor of The Royal  Horticultural Society’s Patron’s 90th Birthday.

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Among the flowers on display were two that had been named after the Cambridge’s children.

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Before the show, there was a Kate sighting by a Twitter user.

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On the 24th, Kate was papped with Prince George and Princess Charlotte.  Prince George was sitting on a Met Police motorbike with the assistance of four police officers, holding on to the handlebars as he pretended to drive it.  The Cambridge privacy line became even blurrier when media outlets in the UK were permitted to print the photos.

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The photos of Prince George were reminiscent of ones taken of Prince William and Prince Harry when they were young.

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Perhaps the Cambridge’s objections to having their photos taken “off-duty” has more to do with the story the pictures  tell.  The photos of Prince George on a police motorbike with his mother and  sister nearby are image-friendly, photos of him with his nanny are not.

While the Cambridges seem to be on a campaign to ultimately control  their image using social media, social media itself is uncontrollable.  The motorbike photos which many initially assumed would only appear in overseas publications were Retweeted with Kate’s dress identified in less time than it takes to find Waldo.

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Later that day, Kate slipped into the same cream Alexander McQueen coat dress and Jane Taylor fascinator she wore to Prince George’s christening to go with Prince William to his very first Buckingham Palace Garden Party.

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Even Kate has gone to those and yet somehow her 33-year-old  blood royal future king husband remained a Buckingham Palace Garden Party virgin until May 24th of this year.

Jennifer @Chic_Happens_ Tweeted a photo of Princess Diana wearing an outfit very similar to Kate’s Buckingham Palace Garden Party attire.  I inserted a photo of Kate next to it for the sake  of easy comparison.  Soooooo, yeah, that happened.

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Kate also had her glam squad with her at the Garden Party: PA/stylist  Natasha Archer and her hair stylist Amanda Cook Tucker.   Natasha’s boyfriend, royal photographer Chris Jackson, also managed to score an invite.  According to royal.uk, invites to the royal garden parties are a “way of recognising and rewarding public service”.

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Did Amanda Cook Tucker have to swallow a balloon full of wiglets to smuggle them into India or something for this most recent tour?  Nothing about Kate’s garden party hair suggested a need  for an  emergency stylist to be standing by.

Then on May 28th,  the Daily Mail ran a piece on Prince William and Kate taking a private chartered helicopter back to Anmer Hall after Tuesday’s Buckingham Palace Garden Party at a  cost of approximately £5,000.  And the response of DM readers was pretty much what you’d expect.

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What I find interesting is that this helicopter had been chartered at all, considering The Queen has a Sikorsky S-76++ registration number G-XXEB which is primarily used by Prince Charles and in July 2014, the Queen leased an AgustaWestland A109S to be used by William, Kate and other members of the Royal Family.  So why the need to charter a third helicopter?  Who was using the other two?  Hopefully Prince  Andrew didn’t swap them in some kind of shady business deal for magic beans.

But then photos of a Cambridge family outing at the Houghton Hall International Horse Trials with blue bows and matching stripes were published by various outlets such as The Mirror bringing a little peace to the land and a bit more haziness to the Cambridge’s privacy expectations.

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Prince William Does Disappointing Kate Middleton Impression

Prince William stepped in for Kate Middleton on St. Patrick’s Day distributing shamrocks to the Irish Guards.  This was basically Kate’s one tradition that was hers since joining the British Royal Family and she decided to stay at home with her kids, nannies, staff and likely her Mum Carole.  Because reasons.

At this point, I think we can all safely assume that the Cambridge’s Communications Secretary, Jason Knauf, is dead.  Like crossed-over-into-the-light dead because any earth-bound  spin doctor spirit would  have  found a way to make the walls bleed, “Do not disrespect the military.”  If Jason is still alive, he’s sitting aboard a superyacht purchased for him by the Republican party,  melting Lego Prince William and Lego Kate Middleton with an Acme evil death ray, texting Dr. No, “Told Kate it’s ok to blow off Irish Guards, LOL” and creating fake Twitter accounts to screw with royal photographers.

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There is no other logical explanation.

The public outrage over Kate breaking with 115 years of royal tradition was as to be expected.

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As these screen grabs from the Daily Mail show, Prince William did his best Kate Middleton impression.  He did the teeth.

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He did the weird over-the-top expressions that likely psychologically scarred small children (although that might just be his face).

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Crikey, that’s terrifying.

But he just couldn’t master Kate’s bouncing wiglet-on-a-stick gait.  And I don’t think anyone cared what shoes he was wearing.

Domhnall, the Irish Wolfhound, appeared to be relieved to be spared Kate’s clumsy attempts to attach the shamrocks.  William simply handed Domhnall’s bunch to his handler to avoid a situation like last year when Domhnall appeared to be desperately scanning the crowds for someone to call PETA.   There was a marked difference between Domhnall’s body language this year with William and last year with Kate.

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Even for a pathologically lazy duchess, skipping this engagement is baffling.  Proving to the public she is unwilling to participate in tradition which is the whole reason the monarchy still exists is a poor strategy.  Slighting those who serve their country is unforgivable.  Voluntarily dropping out of an event with attractive men in uniform is just stupid and against almost everything I personally hold sacred.  I think Kate  has a scheduled engagement today maybe, opening some shop for EACH or burning down a children’s cancer ward.  It’s kind of hard to pretend to care about a public figure who can’t be bothered pretending to care about the public.

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#whereisjason

This is the Daily Mail’s Wednesday cover:

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It really should look like this:

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Prince William’s ITV news interview with Mark Austin has caused a shiny new uproar as the prince defended paid trophy hunts as a means of funding conservation.

Prince William stated, “There is a place for commercial hunting in Africa as there is round the world. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea.  But the arguments for regulated, properly controlled commercial hunting is that the money that goes from shooting a very old infirm animal goes back into the protection of the other species.”

This raises many questions, one of which is where the fuck is Jason Knauf?  As Communications Secretary for Prince William, the Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry, he should have been there beside the camera guy.  When William declared there was a place for commercial hunting, Jason should have screamed,  “In Hell!”, then put on a pair of sunglasses, used one of those Men in Black flashy things and afterwards, all Mark Austin and the crew should have remembered was a lovely story to tell their grandkids about the day Prince William took them out for ice cream.  Because OH MY GOD!

As a hunter, Prince William has little credibility to begin with as an animal conservationist.  We all remember how he undermined his appeal to end illegal wildlife  hunting by going boar hunting the day before and he has been photographed numerous times engaged in the bloodsport of pheasant hunting. During his gap year in Africa, Prince William was also reported to have inadvertently shot a protected ibis, mistaking it for an unprotected bird he was trying to kill.

Actual animal lovers tend to love all creatures, our affections aren’t species-specific.  I mean, I’ve come across two bunny rabbits that were kind of jerks and one rude dolphin, but the animal kingdom and I are totally cool.  I try to avoid eating or wearing  them and my experiences suggest they appreciate my efforts.  I even escort spiders outside.

Prince William’s selective policy strikes many as hypocritical so his support  of trophy hunts have further weakened any chance he has of being taken seriously as a conservationist or as a human being.  When asked if he thought the killing of Cecil the lion was wrong,  Prince  William responded yes, further convoluting his argument.

Cecil was killed by dentist Walter Palmer in a trophy hunt, lured out of a national park by unscrupulous guides for the totally legal hunt.  At thirteen, Cecil would have fallen into the category of old or infirm lion that William would consider an acceptable trophy kill had he not been pretty much as famous as a non-cartoon lion can get, leading to international outrage.  In the wild, male lions only live to 10-14 years, Cecil had already almost died once in a pride clash that took his brother’s life and was living out his sunset years in the lion version of Boca.  Cecil was also the dominant male of his pride and his death put his six cubs in danger, when a new dominant pride leader takes over, he usually kills off the cubs. That’s six non-old, non-infirm lions that normally would have also been wiped out with one of the trophy kills William deems acceptable.  Fortunately, Cecil’s pride was taken over by his buddy Jericho who absorbed Cecil’s pride and actually defended Cecil’s cubs against attacks by other outside males which rarely happens, making it at least slightly less tragic.

Nature already has a checks and balances system which humanity has already greatly disturbed, trophy killing further risks the rapidly decreasing number of endangered species animals.  I couldn’t even process the level of stupid of Prince William’s comments all at once, so where was Jason through all this?  Even though we’re all beating our heads against our desks, it’s his job to remain conscious and lucid.  The fact that this interview even aired makes me seriously concerned that he’s missing.  Is Jason walking down some country road minus one shoe, a sock dangling out of his pocket with no memory of the last month?  Has he realized his boss is such a lost cause he’s faked his death, dyed his hair, undergone drastic plastic surgery, and assumed a new identity selling alien head erasers at a Roswell gift shop?  Is Jason Knauf now an X-file?  Do we need to launch some kind of #whereisjason social media campaign until we receive proof of life so at least his loved ones will know what happened to him? Or did  all of Prince William’s yes men say yes to a Caribbean holiday and leave no one at home to make sure the Petulant Prince didn’t play with a fucking fireball of stupid?

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The Charge of the Prince Brigade

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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Is Jason Knauf Fur Real?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Potential Dangers of Private Royals

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Prince William’s Image in need of an Airlift

“My guiding principles in life are to be honest, genuine, thoughtful and caring.” – Prince  William

As Joseph Hall, a 17th century English bishop and satirist said, “A reputation once broken may possibly be repaired, but the world will always keep their eyes on the spot where the crack was.”   In the wake of press attacks questioning Prince William’s dedication to duty with abysmal event numbers and rumors swirling from William’s part-time pilot gig  that William seems to have grown bored with the whole showing up  for work thing, the Palace set out to cover the blemish on the Petulant Prince’s image.

The initial strokes of PR Patchwork appeared to have been taken directly off an In Case of Emergency Post-It left on the Palace press office door while everyone was out of the office getting tanked… and executed by someone who was even more wasted.

The first step of damage control is denial.  You don’t even need to be totally sober to say something didn’t happen and get a couple of  quotes to support the claim. Even for alcoholic monkeys  who try to start knife fights with bar patrons, this should have been a no  brainer.

In this instance, Prince William’s employers, the ones who were gifted a shiny new EC145 T2 helicopter by the government for hiring  William and got a brand new £250,000 two story base to boot provided the statement, indicating that he is “very much part of the team.”  They probably would have said Prince William definitely deserves the Oscar this year for his  performance  in The Revenant if asked.  Everyone has a price, usually a few million more than covers it.  So far so good.  Then the generic royal source, which is usually someone in the Palace press office, although I don’t know who actually provided this one because it uncharacteristically included actual numbers instead  of general  vagueness under which  more can be concealed, revealed that William tries to work 80 hours a month.  And then that’s when it got hilarious.

According to The Telegraph, “A royal source said the Duke was restricted in the number of royal engagements he could carry out because “there are mandatory rest days enforced by the CAA, when you’re not meant to go off and do other work because it’s not rest”.”  The  CAA quickly shot down that whopper,  noting, “When they are having rest days their time is their own, and they can do what they want, including carrying out royal duties.”  Whoopsie.

The magnitude of that blunder must have been sobering because  a few other more traditional PR moves were made, like the announcement of a new official engagement for Prince William which will provide for some rehabilitative photo ops.

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And I strongly suspect some classic misdirection was employed to get the focus off of Prince William, using Sebastian Shakespeare’s  column and some non-stories as bait to try to get the public riled up about either Sarah Ferguson making it into the Court Circular last month or the resurrection of Prince  Harry’s exes who by virtue of  still existing must be trying to win him back.  Judging by both the comments and Twitter reaction, the attempts to create something out of nothing failed miserably.  Prince Andrew’s ex stood in for him at a funeral last month so it was noted in the Court Circular just as Nightwing’s name would have appeared if he had been asked to go in place of Prince Andrew.  A clip of Fergie selling hair straighteners on QVC was even added for good measure but at this point, who cares, we already know that’s part of how she’s earning a living for herself… they’re appliances, not gruesomely harvested black market organs.  The only thing noteworthy about the blurbs about Chelsy Davy and Cressida Bonas was how great Chelsy Davy looks in the picture with the incredibly offensive caption, “Chelsy Davy (pictured) hitched up her skirt to show Harry, 31, what he was missing as she left a charity gala in London at the weekend.”  At this point,  the statute of limitations on trying to make fetch happen  has definitely run out.

In just one day,  Jason Knauf’s pr office, or whatever rum-soaked knife-wielding monkey broke into it, managed to turn a crack in William’s facade into a pr chasm.  I can’t wait to see what they do next.  Fingers crossed it involves a werewolf drinking a pina colada at Trader Vic’s.  Aaoooooo!

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The Highs and Lows of Royal Expectations

It’s been 53 day since Kate Middleton last carried out an official engagement.  In the 28 days since the Duchess of Cambridge was spotted in pubic, there have been two Yeti sightings, the latest at the ski resort Formigal, making something that doesn’t exist a higher profile figure than an official representative of the United Kingdom and the British Royal Family.  Her first official engagement of the year is today, celebrating the 75th Anniversary of the RAF Air Cadets.

Meanwhile Kate not being seen on holiday with the Middletons in Mustique is so out of character, it’s become newsworthy, leading to all sorts of theories as to why the duchess who never turns down a get-away has skipped this latest opportunity to slather on the Coppertone.  The most popular theory is that Kate is pregnant again and concerned about the Zika virus spreading through the Caribbean.  The Zika virus is transmitted by mosquitos and poses the risk of microcephaly in babies if their mother was infected while pregnant or a month prior to conception.  A trip to Mustique requires changing planes in Barbados where there have been three confirmed cases.  While it’s not unusual for Kate to be MIA for long periods of time and in the past she’s skipped working in January altogether (in 2014, her first official engagement was on February 12th), her missing a Caribbean holiday is rather shocking.

Hello! has suggested the reason for Kate skipping Mustique this year has to do with Charlotte’s age and Prince William’s job at East Anglian Air Ambulence, forgetting they were the magazine that secured the exclusive photos of Kate taking six-month-old George to Mustique with the Middletons when Prince William was supposedly too busy to go because of the ten week agriculture course he was taking at Cambridge but still somehow made time to go boar-hunting in Spain with ex Jecca Craig and then take a romantic get-away with Kate to the Maldives before the course wrapped.

Despite the endless complaints about invasion of privacy by the press, the Cambridges have been able to sneak away for holidays under the radar in the past, so it’s possible Kate and William have been able to get in some frolicking in the surf or some time on the slopes.  But if Kate really did skip the Middleton Mustique holiday and has been around, the Cambridge’s Communications Secretary, Jason Knauf, has really dropped the ball.  This would have been a perfect time to have Kate papped doing one of those “secret charity visits” or engaging in one of those things on which she’s reportedly so “keen” because skipping a holiday and being shown working would have helped rehab Kate’s image in the minds of those who still believe she isn’t a lost cause.  Maybe there just aren’t enough left to make the ruse worth the effort.

Sometimes what someone doesn’t do can be more interesting than what they do and that certainly seems to be the case with Kate.   And let’s face it, not a lot is expected of royals to begin with.

At the age of eight-months-old, Princess Charlotte topped The Tatler List of The People Who Really Matter.  Now an older and wiser nine-months-old, Charlotte has had a Marc Jacobs lipstick named after her, currently sold exclusively at Harrods.  According to Catherine Gore, Vice President and General Manager of Marc Jacobs Beauty, the £24 lipstick was “inspired by the deepest saturated pink tones of an English rose”.

Le Marc Lip Crème in Charlotte posted on marcbeauty Instagram

Le Marc Lip Crème in Charlotte posted on marcbeauty Instagram

Unlike Butter London’s “No More Waity, Katie”, the sheer goopy glittery grayish lavender nail polish issued to commemorate the royal wedding that wound up primarily being used as pedicure polish by only the most loyal of Royalists, Marc Jacobs Beauty has a solid track record for consistently high quality products.  “Charlotte” is a gorgeous hue that will last longer on the lips than “No More Waity, Katie” lasted on fingertips.

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Le Marc Lip Crème lipsticks are made without parabens, sulfates or phthalates, are creamy as the name suggests, richly pigmented with some pretty impressive staying power (not the ten hours it boasts, but Marc Jacobs wouldn’t be the first man to exaggerate how long he can go).

“Charlotte” was specially created by Marc Jacobs with the little princess’ coloring in mind.  While there aren’t many pictures of Charlotte to go by, it looks like she’s got similar coloring to her Mum.  The product photo of the lipstick looks like it has blue undertones and would look best compliment skin with cool tones (if you’re not sure if you have warm or cool tones, check your wrist, if your veins are blue, you’re cool, if your veins are green, you’re warm).   Le Marc Lip Crème lipsticks are very opaque, the color in the tube is very close to what it will look like on your lips.  The color looks like a more muted and demure version of MAC’s “Rebel” lipstick which is one of my personal favorites and I would probably order this £24 lipstick if it weren’t for the £25 international shipping fee.  I object to shipping costs that are greater than the product price on principal.

Le Marc Lip Crème in "Charlotte"

Le Marc Lip Crème in “Charlotte”

Each of Le Marc Lip Crème Lipsticks are cosmetic homages to iconic women who have inspired Marc Jacobs in some way: “So Sofia” was named after Sofia Coppola, “Je T’aime” after actress/singer Jane Birkin, “Oh Miley!” after the wrecking ball hammer-licking singer and “Rei of Light” after fellow fashion designer Rei Kawakubo.

At 9-months-old, Charlotte is already a designer’s muse and is Tatler’s reigning queen bee which is rather surreal considering Charlotte has said nothing of inspiration because she can’t yet talk, nor has she achieved anything of great significance on her own merits because she’s still developing her motor skills and can’t yet walk.  Charlotte may grow up to have a powerful voice and change the world in positively profound ways but until she’s capable of reading the magazines proclaiming her more important than anyone else in the world and old enough to wear the makeup named in her honor, such accolades seem premature.  Being elevated  to such lofty heights simply for being royal sends a bad message to both Charlotte and her mother, who in five years since becoming a duchess and future queen consort has publicly uttered very few words and done very little, earning Kate the distinction of being the “UK’s Laziest Royal”.  With the future of the British monarchy in question, likely to end not with a bang but with a whinger, Charlotte will need to aspire to more than simply being royal.

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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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