Tag Archives: Prince Charles

The RMS Windsor

The ocean liner The Titanic was thought to be unsinkable, until of course it sank, the iceberg it hit compromising five of its sixteen watertight compartments, one more than the ship could withstand.

The British Monarchy may no longer be viewed as unsinkable, but it survived the annus horribilis, Diana’s death and Hurricane Fergie, albeit with damage to the hull, so what exactly did it hit for it to be taking on so much water recently?  Or did someone release the Kraken?  I hope not, I love a good Kraken release party.

Currently Compromised Compartments:

The Queen – Her Majesty is rarely publicly criticized, most respect her dedication to duty. The woman is 91 and still keeps an impressive schedule.  But the revelation of the Paradise Papers that the Duchy of Lancaster was tied to the offshore tax haven scandal hasn’t cast the Queen in the best of lights.

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The Queen voluntarily pays an undisclosed sum in taxes but the scandal reminded people how cheesed off they are about their taxes going to pay for the massive Buckingham Palace repair and renovation money pit project and not truly knowing how much the Royal Family costs them because of a lack of transparency.

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And of course this week the chairman of the Duchy of Lancaster was knighted by the Queen.  But no photos of that knighting were allowed so it’s almost like it didn’t happen, except it did.

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But at least we sort of know what it would look like… if the chairman were Julie Walters.

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Prince Philip – There’s not much anyone would begrudge the recently retired royal, but really, the first thing he does with his freedom from duty is have a new kitchen put in?  What is it with this family and new kitchens?  Couldn’t he just borrow one from Seven Kitchens Kate?  After all, she’s been helping herself to some of Buckingham Palace’s kitchen staff, allegedly causing some to quit due to being over-worked.  The Palace claimed there’s nothing unusual at all about the amount of employees jumping ship, just regular turn-over, nothing to see here.

Prince Charles – Whoopsie, those pesky Paradise Papers again, this time a bit shadier.

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I doubt there was any intentional impropriety, but Charles gets so focused on achieving his objective, he develops tunnel vision.  Because of this revelation, there is a call for greater transparency with the finances of the Royal Family which they try to keep shrouded in mystery.

Prince William – The avid hunter and supporter of trophy hunts gave a speech for Tusk warning of the dangers of over-population while his wife is pregnant with their third child.  I hope his speech writer, presumably still Jason,  just hates him and he really isn’t that oblivious.

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Kate Middleton – Okay, I don’t think I have a clear grasp of how this life-threatening Hyperemesis Gravidarum works because for Kate’s first solo event back after the September 4th announcement of her pregnancy, Kate showed up in workout gear and participated in a tennis workshop on Halloween.  Did Kate have the 24 hour kind of Hyperemesis Gravidarum?  Either call it what it is, regular morning sickness which is still terrible or do a better job committing to the con, that’s all we ask.

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Kate has done two engagements recently, a gala at Kensington Palace for The Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families on Tuesday night and a Place2Be forum on Wednesday where she gave a speech.

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Tuesday’s black lace dress we’ve seen before, Wednesday’s was new.  And ugly.

Kate’s Place2Be speech included this line, “As a mother just getting used to leaving my own child at the school gates, it is clear to me that it takes a whole community to help raise a child.”  For fuck’s sake, the entire staff she has helping to raise her children didn’t clue her in?  The brief speech ended with “And I’m looking forward to learning even more today.”  Um, as patron should she really be highlighting her eternal pupil approach to charity work where it’s all just a learning experience for her or is she finally acknowledging that she does nothing behind the scenes to prepare for her engagements?  But she did give a speech which happens just about as often as Bigfoot is spotted riding The Loch Ness Monster.

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But back to the Duchess Who Cried Keen.  Royal correspondent Richard Palmer ran some numbers on Tuesday and out of Kate’s 33 engagements in the UK, only 3 were outside of London (in a separate Tweet, Palmer estimated Kate’s done 40 events on tours, not counting take-offs and landings).

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Considering Kate’s only got about five weeks until her winter holidays, it looks like she might have some difficulty breaking double digits again for her annual event totals, despite the padding for official engagements she’s already received.  That would make it five years out of seven Kate failed to do even 100 annual events.  The Palace better figure out a way to boost her numbers by year’s end, after all, Kate and William were both supposed to be stepping up to reduce the burden on the 91-year-old monarch and her retired 96-year-old consort.

Kate finally received her first honour since joining the Royal Family, the Tuvalu Order of Merit which was created to commemorate the Cambridge’s visit to the sinking island in 2012 and for helping to raise awareness for climate change which was approved by the Queen.  Does Kate even know what climate change is?  Does she think the climate is now wearing nude court shoes and jeggings because of her?  Or did Kate and William promise to try to squeeze everyone into one private jet on their next ski holiday?  The medal, created by Major David Rankin-Hunt and made by the British company Gladman & Norman is kind of the Fisher Price of medals, as can be seen in this Daily Mail article, the design is very simple and looks like it’s made of stainless steel.  Perhaps the Queen wants to make sure Kate doesn’t swallow any of the pieces before even considering giving her The Royal Family Order of Queen Elizabeth II, which every other working female member of the Royal Family has except Kate.

Prince Harry/Meghan Markle – There is still a lot of public opposition to this potential union.  I suspect the imminent engagement idea is being pushed by the media because Kate’s about as exciting as watching someone watch paint dry and just isn’t selling magazines and generating clicks anymore.  While Prince Harry and Meghan have been dating for a year, they’ve been calling different continents home, they’ll probably want to live together for a year or so before making any decisions about marriage.  Unfortunately for Meghan, public perception was always going to be an uphill battle because of statements made by her half-sister Samantha at the beginning of their relationship which she recently denied making on Good Morning Britain and others in Meghan’s life.  I saved this since the summer, I think CanadianGoose may be a reader.

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All families are dysfunctional, however those of royal girlfriends are expected to stay out of the news, just like the Middletons didn’t manage to do.

Being an actress is a tough road to travel, it requires qualities some dislike about Meghan.  Those same qualities would translate well into the role she would be expected to play, however.  As an actress, Meghan isn’t exactly Meryl Streep so to have made it as far as she has takes tenacity which means she actually might survive joining that family.  As much as I criticize Kate, I also feel badly for her, it’s as if all the life has been sucked out of her (someone who knew her prior to marriage described her personality to me as a “negative void”, but even so, at least she looked like she had a pulse).  Meghan might actually have a shot at self-preservation.

The problem with Meghan is the same question that was raised when Kate married Prince William: if anyone can be royal, what makes the Royal Family special enough to justify being funded by taxpayers?  The days of marrying cousins to preserve the blood line are over.  The Confession Sessions of Princes William and Harry have left some taxpayers yearning for the days of the stiff upper lip and the second in line to the throne and his possible future queen consort Kate have marketed themselves as “just like everyone else”.

Prince Harry seems to have received all the royal magic which is the problem with hereditary monarchies.  Here he is from Thursday’s Field of Remembrance event.

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Ultimately does it matter with whom Harry jumps into the water as The RMS Windsor sinks?  It’s going down anyway, but at least with Prince William and Kate Middleton suddenly honoured champions of climate change, the water won’t be so bad.

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George Michael & Princess Diana

2016 was a rough year for celebrity deaths, we lost so many greats.  The one that hit me the hardest was George Michael whom I have loved since I was a little girl.  I credit his sexiness for not only for kicking off an early puberty but for endowing me with a large rack.  All those lustful pre-teen hormones had to go somewhere and for me they settled in my chest (regretfully some of it also made its way to my ass).

I was a devoted fan throughout his career, from Wham!, through his aviator sunglasses days and beyond.  As I noted in Crushes, the “Faith” video still does it for me in a major way.  Despite all of George Michael’s struggles throughout his life, or perhaps because of them, he always felt like a kindred spirit: blessed but broken.

He described what propelled him in various interviews as: “It’s not the something extra that makes a star. It’s the something missing.”  Art in its various forms isn’t a choice, it’s a compulsion, a need to create something that will provide a fleeting sense of wholeness.

George Michael was so underrated as a vocalist.  His live 1992 cover of Queen’s “Somebody to Love” was a worthy tribute to Freddie Mercury who had a four octave range and exceptional control in his head and chest voice, very few singers can do his songs justice.  My favorite non-vocal part of this cover occurs between 3:50-4:00, the Wembley Stadium audience thunderously belts out “love”, Queen’s lead guitarist Brian May chuckles and George does a victorious twirl.

The year after the Freddie Mercury tribute concert, Princess Diana finally met George Michael at a World Aids Day concert.  Diana was a big fan of George Michael’s and after George declined a few opportunities to meet her, when they finally were introduced, they became fast friends.  Diana’s former chef, Darren McGrady, revealed some details about their relationship in a Daily Mail piece.

George spent a lot of time with Diana and helped her through her separation with Prince Charles, she would also ring him up and they would chat.  A tape of one such conversation exists in the safety deposit box of Andros Georgiou, one of George’s friends.  The back story and some other interesting anecdotes about Princess Diana and George Michael can be read in this piece.

George regretted not speaking with Diana in the two years before her death, life just got in the way and he always assumed she must have so many callers, he didn’t want to be an intrusion.  After Princess Diana’s death, George didn’t have much contact with her sons but told Piers Morgan in a 2011 interview that once at a Christmas party Princess Diana threw at Kenington Palace, he declined to honor an impromptu request from Prince William to sing, admitting he felt terrible about saying no to “probably the future king of England” but was too embarrassed to sing in front of small crowds, joking “there was a day I would have been taken to the Tower”.  Because of George’s close bond with Princess Diana, for Prince William and Kate Middleton’s wedding, George wanted to give them a special gift and recorded a cover of Stevie Wonder’s “You and I” for their wedding.  He confirmed through a mutual friend that they both liked the song before making the track for them, hoping that they would be able to use it to raise donations for The Royal Wedding Charity Fund.

For me, it is the best thing to have come out of the Royal Wedding.

While George Michael’s scandals have been published exhaustively throughout the tabloids, much less ink has been dedicated to his charitable nature.  He was a kind gentle generous soul who quietly donated a lot of money to AIDS and cancer organizations, children’s charities, animal rescues and private individuals he heard about who needed help.  He not only gave of his money, but his time as well, volunteering at homeless shelters and various charities, asking fellow volunteers that his presence remain anonymous.

George Michael’s Older album has been said to have helped Prince William get through his mother’s death.  I imagine George Michael’s death had to have brought up old pain for Prince William, but hopefully it also reminded him of the positive impact his mother and her pop star friend had on the lives of so many and will inspire him to create his own legacy.

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Cambridge to Nowhere

Once again, Prince William and Kate Middleton begin a new year being criticized for their lackluster performance and putting in far less work than other members of the Royal Family, including the Queen and Prince Philip who are in their 90s.  Prince William only managed 188 engagements in 2016 while Kate only showed up for 140.  The Cambridge’s numbers for 2016 are impressively low considering they undertook two tours which are big numbers-boosters because all of those airport greetings and “private” touristy experiences from which the press was banned counted as official engagements.

Since joining the British Royal Family in April of 2011, Kate has only undertaken a grand total of 484 engagements to date.  In 2016 alone, Prince Charles handled 530 engagements while Princess Anne had 509 so Kate still hasn’t cumulatively pulled off in almost six years what other members of the family manage in one.

The Daily Mail ran an article detailing how Prince William and Kate only do half the work Prince Charles and Princess Diana did at a comparable stage in their married lives when they were raising young children.

Not surprisingly, the public was reminded on Friday Prince William has another job he pretends to do sometimes with a series of photos taken by the same photographer who managed to track down the future king on the job last year when the press and public were grumbling loudly about Work-shy William.

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Prince William’s contract with East Anglian Air Ambulance  ends in March, the fact that he’s still in the co-pilot seat shows he puts in as much effort there as he does with his royal role.  It’s not that big of a deal, though.  Most air ambulances just have the one pilot, the government had to purchase a special helicopter for EAAA so Prince William could play co-pilot because he was unqualified for the job.  Once William decides he wants to be a cowboy or open a fake psychic detective agency, the EAAA just has to make a minor software adjustment to switch their air ambulance freebie back to a one pilot helicopter.  Or Prince William may decide to extend his contract, after all he’s able to dictate his EAAA schedule claiming royal duty while using the job as an excuse as to why he can’t do more royal engagements.

Something seems off about these photos in the Daily Mail piece.  Maybe it’s just Prince William’s stiff posture as he tries to emulate someone who does stuff or his getting the EAAA photo op out of the way so early in January that’s throwing me off, but there are two side by side pictures where the foliage doesn’t seem consistent at the same portion of the tail boom.

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Of course it could just be the angle.  Just like the strange violet hue at the top of William’s head could be explained by lighting conditions.

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But it got me thinking.  It’s hard to juggle both holidays and PR photo ops.  I mean, those poor Cambridges have to fit in both sandy beaches and snowy slopes not long after their time off at Christmas.  Instead of going through all the trouble of having to go work and try to remember what it is he supposedly does so it can be captured by a photographer like Geoff Robinson, why don’t they just shoot Prince William in various poses against a green screen?  That way he can easily be dropped into heroic scenes while he’s working on his tan or hitting the slopes or playing video games in the Fortress of Solitude.  Then whenever there’s word of a taxpayer torch and pitchfork mob forming, the Palace Press Office can release photos of Prince William in various heart-warming scenes like rescuing a box of kittens…

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Saving the Earth from an asteroid…

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Defeating the Kraken…

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Or even diverting attention away from any of his wife’s future flashing with a Marilyn moment of his own.

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Since Kate rarely speaks and when she does, she’s difficult to understand, they can try to beef up her numbers by having her assistant carry around a life-size cardboard cutout of her to her various patronages and see if anyone even notices.

Of course, the Cambridges might just opt to send everyone in the UK a photo from their next holiday with the message “We’re just not that into you.” especially since Prince William (the future Head of the Church of England) and Kate skipped sending out a Christmas card this year. (Instead they mailed out a photo from the Canada tour thanking those who sent them warm holiday wishes.  Other royals adhered to tradition with Prince Harry’s holiday card featuring children of an Invictus Games veteran while Prince Charles’ and Camilla’s holiday card included a photo from their Croatia tour).

Prince William and Kate deciding to spend Christmas at Bucklebury for the second time, a year after they skipped the Queen’s Christmas lunch in order to host the Middletons at Anmer Hall, suggests they don’t really feel strongly bound to the Royal Family or its traditions.  While there have been no repercussions, even the Royal Family must be wondering about the future of the monarchy under William the Reluctant.

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2016 Diplomatic Reception

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

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

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

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Royal Family Order of Queen Elizabeth II

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

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

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

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

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Back to the Future Heir & Hair

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Underwhelming Royal Response to Underwater UK

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The Future of Sweden’s Monarchy

In Sweden on October 6th, a  motion was filed with Parliament calling for the abolishment of the monarchy.   While these motions are certainly not new, the latest is significant in that for the first time in modern history, a joint motion across party lines was filed.

The justification for the motion stated in part that, “We in Sweden have long fought for equality and it has created a society in which success is based on the individual merits rather than on the privileges and kinship… The monarchy is incompatible with democracy, equality and civil rights. We believe that the right to represent Sweden not to be inherited. It can only be given through democratic processes…”

Monarchies in today’s society are like park statues, they are reminders of historical figures, serve no real practical purpose beyond the decorative, some people enjoy them, some people think they’re a waste of money, some don’t even notice them but they tend to get crapped on a lot.

It’s always struck me as odd that Sweden still has a monarchy, as a society Sweden is evolved in ways I greatly admire but still maintains its rich cultural charm.

As Sweden’s official website notes, “Staunchly opposed to privilege, Sweden has always sought to avoid ranking people which is why beauty contests and ‘homecoming queen’ events are rare.”  No homecoming queens, but taxpayers are still expected to fund the privileged existences of actual kings and queens?  The member of the Swedish Royal Family who best represents Sweden’s societal beliefs is British American Chris O’Neill who refused a title.

The king is a ceremonial figure but he does still have influence and the power of course to get millions from Swedish citizens for the weddings of two of his children who aren’t in the direct line of succession, cost he could easily cover from his own personal fortune, estimated to be around the $50 million mark.  As a representative of Sweden, King Carl Gustaf’s views on women are unsettling.  He objected to changing the rules of succession to absolute primogeniture in 1980, stating, “I would prefer that my son Carl Philip be my successor, and I’m sure the majority of the Swedish people would prefer to have a king on the throne.”  And in 2003 when asked if he still thought the succession change was wrong, he responded, “Of course.”    But the reason offered in 2003 had to do with the succession change being retroactive, his son was seven months old when the throne went back to his first born, Victoria.  The statement still raised enough eyebrows that the following day the court had to release a statement that the king thinks Crown Princess Victoria is doing a fine job.  Commenting on the king’s sex scandal, Katrine Kielos noted in an Aftonbladet article, “Women were simply desserts, used as sweets to be served with the coffee.”  When all three of his children married, the bride was given away by her father, a sexist tradition not observed in Sweden because it represents a property exchange.  One of the latest additions to the Swedish Royal Family is the anti-feminism figure Miss Slitz 2004 whose work history promotes a view of women as sex objects elevated to the status Her Royal Highness Princess Sofia.  Members of the Royal Family are official representatives of Sweden and yet nothing about the Swedish monarchy reflects the egalitarian beliefs and progressive views of Sweden.

As noted on the website for  The Swedish Republican Association, the monarch’s powers extend being duties as head of state outlined in the 1974 Instrument of Government. “By making statements in political questions he or she influences the debate through his or her unique position without having to take political responsibility. Due to the massive medial attention they receive, the royal family has a decisive influence on the public opinion.”  Some of Sweden’s citizens are afraid to openly criticize the Royal Family, believing harm will come to them or their families.  In a 2010 Svenskdam article on Carl Philip’s relationship with Sofia Hellqvist, one commenter responded to another’s urging that Svenskdam readers complain to the Court about Sofia’s unsuitability with the comment:

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Similar fears have been expressed to me by Swedish citizens, who are also frustrated by the influence the Swedish Royal Family seems to have over the media.

I’m beginning to understand why some people feel paranoid about criticizing members of the Swedish Royal Family.  While working on this post, my apartment was buzzed by a man in a baseball cap standing with his back to the door so I couldn’t see his face and shortly after when I got thrown off my Wi-Fi, this came up under diagnostics where I expected to see my own network:

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Likely an eery coincidence, but my mind began to wonder if Sofia is aware of my blog and has figured out the identity of the anonymous source to which I’ve eluded in some posts.  Although, really, due to Sofia’s lack of discretion, there’s little I could add about her character that wasn’t summed up in this Svenskdam comment five years ago:

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For clarification, the above point was about understanding paranoia which by definition is an irrational belief caused by anxiety or fear.   When a king causes anxiety or fear by virtue of the shady characters he has consorted with as revealed by his sex scandal, his effectiveness as a country’s representative is compromised.  A formal investigation was never made into the strip club visits and blackmail photos because the monarch is immune from criminal charges.  As Sven Erik Osterberg, a member of Parliament and the constitutional oversight committee noted, “The only person who can look into this is the monarch himself, [he] who wishes it to blow over.”  While considered a ceremonial figure, the monarch has absolute immunity from criminal charges and cannot be prosecuted or held accountable for his or her actions in judicial proceedings.  It’s not difficult to understand why some  Swedish citizens have expressed fear of someone who has had dealings with criminals and cannot be charged with a crime.

Supposedly King Carl Gustaf believes the monarchy is nearing its end.  Were it not for the popularity of Crown Princess Victoria, likely the end would come sooner than later.  I believe Victoria will likely be Queen, but only if she ascends the throne in the next decade and only if reforms are made.

As the motion filed with Parliament indicated, “The current form of government are over 40 years old and was in his time a political steps that deepened democracy by limiting the monarch’s power. The Democratic reforms must continue, and in this direction is the abolition of the pre-democratic system that monarchy is an expression. It is high time to look again the monarchy’s role in modern Swedish society.”

The monarchies of Europe are looking for ways to evolve for the sake of self-preservation.  Prince Charles envisions a streamlined monarchy when he becomes king while newly kinged Felipe promised financial transparency and the opening up of the palace’s accounts following  his father’s  abdication.  While reports in the last few years have listed the Dutch Royal Family as the most expensive to taxpayers, no one really knows how much each monarchy costs to run because of costs that are hidden from the public.  With an estimated additional undisclosed $300 million in security, the British Royal Family likely is the most costly while Spain’s monarchy is probably the least expensive.  But no one really knows which is pretty astounding in modern times that the taxpayers have provided these hereditary institutions with blank checks.  Recently an extra $1 million was granted to King Carl Gustaf for “security”.  Likely the increase was for protection officers for its latest princess, Sofia, although it could be for new security cameras or it could be for a different kind of security for a king whose past scandals have required the purchasing of incriminating photos.

If Sweden’s monarchy is continue, it should follow the streamlining trend of limiting the Royal Family to current king/queen, heir and heir’s children and Spain’s lead with its operating costs.   According to the Swedish Monarchy’s royal finances page which lists 2013’s numbers, included in the budget for the Court Administration was Princess Lilian’s Household.  While Princess Lilian who passed away in March 2013 was obviously a beloved member of the Swedish Royal Family (she was the wife of the king’s uncle), I don’t understand why she continued to have a household staff covered under the appanage since it was announced in 2010 that sadly due to Alzheimer’s, she would no longer be able to make public appearances.  She was no longer undertaking royal duties so shouldn’t any expenses related to her care been covered out of her family’s personal finances?  Additionally, on the Royal Finances page, it lists budget and staff in terms of “approximately”.  When it comes to taxpayer money, shouldn’t there be complete transparency?

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The Crowded Courtship of Will and Kate

Media outlets have been speculating that the marriage of Prince William and Kate Middleton may be on the rocks.  Kate’s most recent disappearing act can be explained by her allegedly recovering from plastic surgery but of course that doesn’t explain her absences from those countless other missed social engagements or why she so often prefers to spend extended periods of time at her parents’ home, away from her husband.

Kate and William’s marriage was described to me a while back as being more of a friendship.  I’ve never believed it was a great romance which made think it actually might go the distance, it was a more practical arrangement and given all that Kate endured to become Mrs. Prince William, there was no reason to suspect the Limpet would ever let go.

Royal fairytales sell newspapers because they provide a form of escapism from the dreariness of everyday news.  When Prince Charles and Princess Diana’s marriage first showed visible signs of disintegration, the press turned a blind eye, churning out instead candied stories of the glamorous princess and her prince living perfect lives inside an enormous palace until the obvious strain on their faces when in close proximity could no longer be ignored and the press was forced to go with the truth.

The beginnings of Kate and William’s marriage didn’t fit the typical fairytale mold, forged instead inside of a romantic bouncy castle.  The media frequently criticized Waity Katie who most believed would never make it down the aisle to wed her prized prince.  There may have been three in Princess Diana’s marriage but the courtship of William and Kate was far more crowded.

Before he began dating Kate, William had a few minor relationships.  In 2000, Prince William spent quite a bit of time with Jecca Craig during the gap year he spent at the Kenyan ranch owned by Jecca’s parents.  Usually when Jecca is mentioned, there’s reference to hers and William’s “mock engagement”, but it tends to get dismissed as an interesting anecdote about the whimsy of youth and Jecca gets relegated to the status of ex-girlfriend in the media when in reality, to William she is far more important.  Jecca has always been strong, self-assured, practical and she knows what she wants and the princess life isn’t it.  Prince William’s time at her family’s Kenyan ranch was one of the happiest of his life because he was able to escape the perceived burden of being a prince, he was young and in love with a beautiful, down-to-earth girl.

In 2001, another major figure in the William love life saga appeared on the timeline, Prince William met the gorgeous Isabella Calthorpe and developed a major crush on her.  She didn’t pay much attention to him at the time, they became friends because they had overlapping social circles.

There were rumors about William’s and Jecca’s relationship since his gap year but it wasn’t until 2003 that the media started printing stories about their involvement.  Prince William was very protective of Jecca and thinking it would spare her media scrutiny, he had St. James Palace immediately issue a statement that it, “denies that there is or ever has been any romantic liaison between Prince William and Jessica Craig.”  They admitted Prince William returned to Kenya in August 2002 to spend time with her and her family back but that was it.  Many regarded the Palace’s denial as an idiotic move, they never commented on William’s other relationships, the denial was considered confirmation Jecca was very important to William, more important to him than any other woman to whom he was romantically linked up until that point which included Kate Middleton.

Jecca and William may have been star-crossed lovers, but Jecca is far too pragmatic for any kind of sword and poison scenario and William wasn’t going to lead a life of celibacy because the girl he really wanted didn’t want a future of tiaras and ribbon cutting in the UK.

By the time of Prince William’s 21st birthday bash on June 21, 2003, Kate had been with William long enough to assume she would be sitting next to William at his 21st birthday celebration and was devastated to discover that Jecca occupied the top spot at Prince William’s side while Kate found herself exiled to another table.

Kate wasn’t liked by William’s friends.  They found her cold, boring, presumptuous and her only discernable interest appeared to be in marrying a prince.  There were a number of people hoping Jecca would replace Kate for good but it became clear Jecca had no such intention.  Jecca started dating one of William’s old school chums, dashing hopes that Jecca would serve as Kate-B-Gone.

William’s friends disliked Kate so much, they had been conspiring to get rid of her from the very beginning.  There was a group of girls chasing William, I forget what they called themselves, while each wouldn’t have minded becoming a princess, the whole thing was a bit of a lark for them as well.  When William had plans to go out, a member of the group would tip off the girls in hopes William would realize there were more options than Kate.  William would flirt, dance and drink with these girls when they could get close enough.  Kate would tag along when William went out, fiercely guarding her prince claim, physically body blocking the girls who tried to get close and even brought along another girl with her for guard duty so that one of the girls couldn’t serve as a diversion while another snuck in on the side to talk to William.  The girls hated Kate and found her guard dog behavior so ridiculous, that on at least one occasion they approached a stranger on the street because they thought William would really go for her, told her where he would be and what time to show up and they would make sure she was introduced to William.  I have it on very good authority that the random stranger had absolutely zero interest, politely declined and is in hindsight insulted they thought she was William’s type. It didn’t escape Kate’s notice that this group of girls appealed to William, they drank, had fun, wore sexier clothes so she strove to emulate them, trying to turn herself into everything William seemed to like and want.  Kate wasn’t much of a drinker initially, at first she usually had a couple over the course of an evening, but she saw that William seemed to be drawn to the girls tossing back drinks and having less-inhibited fun, so that’s what Kate did.

In 2004, William broke up with Kate right before exams.  He wanted space, shortly thereafter he reportedly discovered he had just enough space for Jecca.

After Kate and William got back together, it wasn’t long before Kate found her position as Prince William’s girlfriend was again in jeopardy.  Kate had nothing in her bag of tricks to compete with the likes of Isabella Calthorpe, very few women do.  William was so smitten with Isabella that whenever they bumped into each other, William only had eyes for Isabella and would completely forget about Kate’s existence.  At a ball in October of 2005, William was so enraptured by Isabella with whom he had spent the evening in deep conversation that Kate finally stormed off.  I’m not sure how long it took William to even notice Kate was gone.  William cast Kate aside to fully pursue Isabella.  The relationship was brief, Isabella reportedly told William that if he weren’t a prince, she could see a future for them together, but the realities of his life weren’t for her.  Kate once again was offered the now-vacant number one girlfriend position which she accepted, despite feeling humiliated for being so publicly dropped on her ass while William swooned over Isabella but William promised Kate he wouldn’t see Isabella anymore.

Once again Kate was William’s official plus one and Kate and Jecca would run into each other at weddings and various events.  Knowing how insecure Kate was and that William’s circle didn’t like Kate, Jecca went out of her way to be nice to Kate, talk to her, make her feel welcome as part of the group and reassure Kate that she was in no way a threat to her, she had absolutely no interest in living a princess life.  In 2005, Jecca even hosted Kate and William at her family’s Kenyan ranch.

Jecca was rumored to be one factor in the 2007 break-up.  My own opinion is that William got spooked because of what allegedly happened towards the end of 2006 that made the idea of a future married to Kate with babies feel more suffocatingly real and it made him want freedom.  Kate’s parents had rented the Jordanstone House in Alyth for the 2006 winter holiday, after spending Christmas with his family at Sandringham, William was supposed to join them, but he blew them off, never bothering to show.

Up until his being a no-show at the holidays, Kate was sure she and William would eventually be getting married.  William started becoming very distant.  I’m not sure if this part is true, but supposedly Kate suspected William and Jecca were romantically involved again and tried to dictate who William was and wasn’t allowed to see and he responded with something like screw you, you don’t tell me what to do, I’m Prince William and I give orders, I certainly don’t take them from you. The possibility Jecca and William were secretly romancing on the side was rumored to have also been a factor in Jecca’s canceled engagement to Hugh Crossley in 2008.  Jecca’s family released a statement that it had nothing to do with a third party, the reason Jecca called off the engagement to Hugh Crossley was because they had two vastly differently visions for the future.  Honestly, I doubt the veracity of this particular Jecca rumor.

In the months before the April 2007 break-up, Prince William was spotted snogging a girl in a nightclub, photographed in March with his hand on another woman’s breasts and was rumored to have been sneaking random girls into the barracks for some non-regulation nookie.  Most girls would have put his crown jewels in a vice grip and dumped his sorry cheating ass, but not Our Fair Waity.  Kate asked William for more of a commitment.  She should have been committed… to a mental institution.  Then William decided to break up with Kate once and for all by cell phone.  When he was done severing ties with Kate, he jumped up on the table, proclaiming, “I’m free!”

During the Limpetless Freedom Tour 2007, William attempted to see if it was possible to love every woman.  In a bid to win Prince William back, Kate began a campaign to show him what he was missing by hitting the clubs in sexier outfits and she made sure she was seen dancing and flirting with men so it would get back to William.  By June of 2007, Kate was back to existing in a suspended state of waiting for William.  In May of 2008, Prince William once again demonstrated how important Jecca was to him by skipping his own cousin’s wedding in order to attend the wedding of Jecca’s brother.  William asked Kate to attend Peter Philips’ wedding in his stead, which some interpreted as a sign it wouldn’t be long before Kate officially joined the Royal Family while others thought it was a pretty ingenious way of keeping Kate from going with him to Jecca’s brother’s wedding so he and Jecca could have some alone time.

Kate and William finally got married in 2011 and for some reason brought along friends on their honeymoon.  Their holidays were usually group affairs as well, more often than not taken with Kate’s family, because what newlywed couple doesn’t love to have parental supervision.  Not all of their holidays were taken as a couple.  In February 2014, when William was reportedly so occupied with an agriculture course he was unable to join his wife and son on holiday, a photo emerged showing Jecca had joined Prince William on a trip to Spain for some boar hunting.

Given the state of their union to this point, it appears likely Kate and William have some kind of arrangement which affords William certain freedoms while in return Kate gets to have a title the public and media rarely use and a seemingly endless supply of jeggings.  Not exactly the romance of the century but given how far from idyllic Kate’s courtship with Prince Not-So-Charming was, it’s hard to tell exactly where a bumpy path becomes a rocky road.

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Lack of Sartorial Variety at Royal Variety Performance

On Thursday night, Kate Middleton and Prince William attended The Royal Variety Performance.

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And she didn’t wear the black lace Alice Temperley.  Instead she wore black lace Diane Von Furstenberg. This is one of Kate’s best looks to date and yet, it falls a little flat.

Don’t get me wrong, she looks lovely.  But she is a beautiful thirty-two year-old woman with nearly limitless resources who could have looked spectacular.

Due to the thrice-repeated Alice Temperly dress, we’ve seen her in floor-length black lace.

KateBlackLaceAliceTemperleyWe’ve also seen that neckline before.

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We’ve even seen it with three quarter lace sleeves.

KateLaceNecklineThis is Kate’s first time representing Her Majesty at The Royal Variety Show.  And she chose the color black which Queen Elizabeth very rarely wears.  Her Majesty believes the monarchy should be visual representations of blossoming hope for the future.  The future that Kate is representing photographs flatly.

In 1962, this is what the then 36 year-old monarch wore to the Royal Variety Performance.

queen1962I’m not a fan of fur, but it was a different time.  Queen Elizabeth looks breathtaking.

Granted, Kate is a duchess married to the second-in-line to the throne and not the reigning queen, but she could have evoked the same kind of glamorous regal grandeur without overstepping her position.

Tonight’s accessories and make-up are unmemorable.

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Kate’s gone with an ever-so-slightly darker version of her smoky-eye and nude lip day make-up which she never strays from despite a self-professed love of make-up.  The earrings are blue topaz circles with diamond accents designed by Kiki McDonough which she’s worn before at a Creative Industries reception and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Concert.  They are pretty, but certainly not spectacular.  Blue topaz is a semi-precious stone that tends to disappear on skin, the understated design makes these earrings more suitable for an awards luncheon.  From beneath her hem peaked black platform Jimmy Choos as she clutched a black beaded evening bag to her favorite resting spot, no nailpolish to even brighten up her crotch clutching, her hair the same loose chignon that has become one of the very few up-do’s she wears.

Kate’s look this evening is merely slight variations on other looks we’ve seen before.

It’s said that the Royal Variety Show is the least favorite event on the Royal Family’s official calendar, Prince Charles and Camilla have attended on the Queen’s behalf in recent years.  Last year Camilla wore custom Vivienne Westwood gown and a sapphire brooch converted into a pendant.

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That necklace was not on loan from the Queen, but Camilla has on many occasions worn some of Her Majesty’s spectacular jewels, including major pieces such as the Boucheron tiara, the Delhi Durbar Tiara, the Collet Coronation Necklace, and the Greville Diamond Necklace.  To date, Kate has only been lent four pieces: the Cartier Halo Tiara on her wedding day, The Maple Leaf Brooch for the Canada tour, the Nizam of Hyderabad Necklace for the National Gallery Portrait Event earlier this year and the Fern Brooch for the New Zealand tour.  I was curious to see if The Queen would loan Kate any pieces for her first Royal Variety Performance, it would have been the perfect opportunity to dispel some of the swirling rumors that Kate is feuding with the Queen over her work ethic and that the marriage of Kate and Prince William is on shaky ground.  I wasn’t surprised that she hadn’t.  Maybe the Queen was just concerned she wouldn’t get one of the priceless pieces back in case Kate scampered directly back to Bucklebury and feared it would wind up on Pippa demonstrating the perfect keg stand on The Today Show.

So far I’m not impressed with stylist/assistant Natasha Archer’s choices for Kate, if she was involved at all with this look.  Kate looked beautiful but underwhelming.

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