Tag Archives: Prince George

The Duchess of Cambridge’s Deadly Poppy Field

Remember the scene from The Wizard of Oz when the Wicked Witch of the West nearly succeeds in offing Dorothy with the Deadly Field of Poppies?

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Well, McQueen has managed to capture that feeling of nearly dying in your sleep in a custom dress for Kate Middleton.  She wore it at a Buckingham Palace reception honoring Olympic and Paralympic athletes.

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The print is from the 2017 Pre-Spring/Summer Collection.  Its original dress form is this:

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It also comes in a blouse.

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Sarah Burton likely realized the overdose potential of this poppy print and Kate should have just said no to it in this much fabric.  It’s so grandmotherly, it is possible the cut died of natural causes, but the toxicology report suggests foul play.  The Daily Mail article has lots of photos of the fashion crime scene.

An opium overdose at least seems like it would be a more peaceful way to go than the death-by-boredom the Cambridges are inflicting on royal-watchers.  I couldn’t even make it all the way through the Canada tour which was as exciting as looking at a neighbor’s vacation pics.  In Tom Sykes’ article What’s Wrong With William and Kate’s Tour of Canada? he discusses the global disinterest in a tour that fizzled before it even started.  Once again the Cambridge’s insisted on having their private events, shutting out a shrunken press pack for a wine tasting, a sail, and whatever else happened while I had nodded off.

As interest in the future king and queen consort wanes, the question remains, could Prince William and Kate possibly be this dull, or are they attempting to have the private lives with public figure perks they crave by boring the masses into a deep slumber?  Kate’s dress and hair so amped up with add-ons she looked like her own bobblehead doll suggest she wanted to stand out in a crowd of dark hues and normal-headed people, but maybe the Paper Doll Duchess just wants to be noticed on her own terms, when she’s packing poppies.

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Fortunately for the Olympic and Paralympic Athletes at the Buckingham  Palace, Prince Harry followed behind Kate’s poppy field, so if anyone felt themselves glazing over from Kate’s small talk about George liking swimming, fencing and hockey and Charlotte already being an accomplished equestrian at 17 months, he could Glinda them right out of permanent sleep.  Not sure why gingers seem to get stuck with revival duties for the poppy-pickled, but long live Good King Harry because this whole Synchronized Head Tilt wouldn’t even qualify the Cambridges for the Feigned Interest competition at the Royal Olympics.

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La Vie En Bleu

On Saturday just shy of 4pm, the Cambridge’s plane landed in Victoria, kicking off their eight day Canadian tour, the cost of which is born by the host company.  Prince William and Kate’s 2011 Canada Tour came in around $1.2 million for taxpayers.

Even before the Cambridges touched down, Twitter revealed that no matter where the new royal tours go, the same old frustrations still exist.

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Really, that’s how the Palace want to kick off the tour?  Ticking off the skilled professionals who use their talents to paint the Cambridges in a more interesting hue in the global media?  This group who climbed into shuttles to meet the Cambridge Quartet at the airport?

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The littlest royals were spotted peaking out of the craft ahead of the official arrival.  I imagine Prince George turned to the staff and said, “Nope.  Shut it down.”

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Weather at the time of the landing was overcast and in the upper 50s.

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The Cambridges wore blue because no other colors exist for them anymore, they have adopted the hue as their official  team color.  Kate was in Jenny Packham, a Lock & Co hat and wore the Maple Leaf Brooch, on loan from the Queen.

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It was Kate’s best arrival look to date and was fitted which avoided flashing.  Kate’s Jenny Packham shade was slightly more sophisticated than the Smurf Blue she’s been favoring during her Blue Period.  She managed to make it down the stairs in nude heels, carrying Charlotte and holding George’s hand when the steps proved a bit steep for his little legs.

Kate tried to create cute kid moments but looked like the socially awkward adult at parties who targets the family cat and winds up clutching poor Fluffy like Lennie from Of Mice and Men. Kate’s attentions were focused on trying to get Charlotte to wave and squatting down in front of George in a rather unregal manner instead of interacting with the adults who waited around on a tarmac to greet them such as the Prime Minister and the Governor General.

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It appears the Windsor is already coming out in Charlotte who looks to me like she will resemble Princess Eugenie.

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George managed to get off a royal wave but was more interested in a Sea King that was landing nearby so no paternity test is needed.

The royal convoy then made a quick trip to the Government House.

According to the royal correspondents on Twitter, approximately 10,000 people gathered to welcome the Cambridges to Victoria.  Unfortunately for those who were waiting, Prince William and Kate were running late so staff gathered up the bouquets instead.

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Prince William and Kate laid a wreath in honor of Canada’s fallen soldiers and shook hands with select military personnel.

As part of the welcome ceremony, Prime Minister Trudeau and Prince William gave speeches. The reception Prime Minister Trudeau received suggests he was a large part of the event’s draw, he received louder cheers than the Cambridges.

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William attempted a line in French, sheepishly admitting his French was “rusty”.  As someone who hasn’t had a chance to speak French often over the last few years, I would describe mine as rusty, Prince William’s French was a linguistic massacre.  I died a little inside.  In lieu of flowers or donations, please send Chanel.

At the end of the welcome ceremony, Kate accepted flowers and the couple headed to the Government House for a photo op with the Trudeaus.  While Sophie Trudeau is touted as a fashion icon, I can’t be supportive of the Duchess of York style shoulder bows on her Edition de Robe dress, discordant eggplant Saucy milliner hat (which  I love on its own) and plastic and suede court shoes.

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But at least it wasn’t blue.  Picasso’s infamous Blue Period marked a time of severe depression and despair in his life between the years of 1901 and 1904.  Kate’s been hitting the blue hard lately.  Hopefully she is okay and the observation that if she loses those pesky last 20 grams of spinal cord, she’ll finally obtain her goal of being just a floating head isn’t in poor taste.  Normally it would be irregardless, but given her pre-wedding comment about her concerning weight loss being “all part of the plan”, I suspect Kate would find it the nicest compliment I’ve ever paid her.

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Oh No, Canada!

The Palace must really not want anyone paying attention to the Cambridge not-so-secret French getaway because shortly after it hit the headlines, Kensington Palace announced that William and Kate will be touring Canada in the fall, giving the press something else to write about and the public something else to focus on.

The invitation for the Cambridges to return to Canada had been publicly announced by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau who bypassed proper palace protocol.  This is Justin  Trudeau so he gets a pass on his lapse in judgment of putting Canada through another Cambridge tour, at least in my book (Canadian readers might feel differently):

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It was a given the Cambridges were going to go, otherwise it would be seen as a slight to Canada with which the British monarchy wants to maintain a good relationship.  And  as Richard Palmer Tweeted on Wednesday:

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No tinfoil hat is needed to see a correlation between the timing of the French getaway hitting media outlets and the Canada tour being officially announced by Kensington Palace.  There are several possible reasons to employ some good old-fashioned misdirection to divert attention, some of which may require Reynold’s Wrap headgear or at least wishful thinking, like maybe there’s a planned Jeggings Intervention they don’t want getting out.  A more likely reason, though, is the Palace doesn’t want the masses doing the math on this latest getaway.

Even privately funded royal holidays cost  taxpayers who foot the bill for security without ever seeing the amount.  Prince William and Harry’s trip to the US to attend Guy Pelly’s wedding cost UK taxpayers an estimated $84,000 according to an industry source cited in a Daily Mail article.

However, UK taxpayers aren’t the only ones covering security costs for private royal holidays, whenever the British royals travel, they arrange security logistics with local law enforcement.   As one comment from the aforementioned article noted:

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This screen grab from the same DM piece shows just one example of the police protection US taxpayers provided for the “privately” funded trip:

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Turns out taxation with representation isn’t all that great either.  We  don’t get to say of course we want Harry but please keep the petulant one at home.

Sadly, the Cambridges are high risk targets.  In light of the terror attacks against France and ongoing threats, local law enforcement is busy enough without the extra burden of allocating its resources to a private royal getaway.  Additionally the UK government warns on its foreign travel advisory page for France:

There is considered to be a heightened threat of terrorist attack globally against UK interests and British nationals, from groups or individuals motivated by the conflict in Iraq and Syria. You should be vigilant at this time.

Who booked this trip, Triple Whammy Travel?   Worst Case Scenario Tours?   I love France, it’s felt like a second home to me since the age of 16, I’ve spent more time there than any other country outside of the US.  But other countries are pretty cool, too.  Maybe the Cambridges could check one of those out.  According to Prince William, Kate came up with a travel wish list when they were first married, surely there are a few on there they can’t get taxpayers to fund under the guise of a royal tour.

There’s speculation about who actually went on this French getaway and either scenario reflects poorly on the Cambridges.  If Kate went alone, it undermines the argument that she can’t work more because of her children, but if the entire family went, two high risk terror target  future kings are diverting security resources away from a country under the highest terror threat level and in mourning because of  recent attacks.

Just to give a glance into the huge logistical nightmare Cambridge security is, I will once again quote a recent Herazeus comment:

Think about this…..when Kate goes home to Middleton Towers with George, all security resources in the surrounding villages are re-routed for their safety. All police have to be on high alert for the duration of her stay, ground (vehicles + mounted horse) and air patrol the area. All local hospitals and medical staff are also on high alert in case of emergency trouble.

Now imagine the level of security required in a France on high alert for William and George!!

Or to quantify it, the last time London was on high alert, Kate required 9 RPOs just to attend a wedding at the Dorchester Hotel in London which is a skip and a hop from BP/CH and their security arrangements.

In France, the British and the French will have to provide extra security so these numpties can holiday in safety, but why should they let a terror alert get in the way of their holiday plans?

I think Kate probably traveled to France without her husband and children so likely (and hopefully), the French only have one numpty to deal with.  The French paper’s “several sources” only saw Kate, but if Prince William, Princess Charlotte, Prince George and Nanny Maria were really on the private plane which seats 8 as has been suggested by the British press, that doesn’t leave a lot of room for their Royal  Protection Officers.   Additionally, only two SUVs met the plane according to reports which suggests one royal.  I guess it’s possible everyone scootched, maybe Nanny Maria and the kids went in one while Prince William and Kate were in the other, they just tied the RPOs to the roof like Christmas trees because the luggage for a family of four, a nanny, and their RPOs would take up the remaining interior space but there’s an upcoming Canada tour so we don’t have to think about how they worked out the SUV logistics.  Just know that magic exists, Muggles.

It would have to be one doozy of a spell, though.  This is the convoy when Princes William and Harry were in the US for Guy Pelly’s wedding.

PellyRoyalConvoy

Thank goodness the Canada tour was announced, otherwise we might feel obligated to count the SVUs and local law enforcement vehicles in the royal convoy.

The announced Canada tour will also help with annual engagement totals for Prince William and Kate.  On Thursday, Express ran a piece by Richard Palmer about the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry being ahead of last year’s numbers thus far but still behind Prince Philip.  Tours like the recent India/Bhutan one are an easy way for Prince William and Kate to get their numbers up without the terribly taxing pretending to care about stuff because travel to and from the tour host country and each destination within counts, as do the greetings.  There’s very little substance and yet each tour racks up dozens of official engagements.  So even with the benefit of one royal tour this year, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are still  trailing behind  Prince  Philip?  Seriously?

On Wednesday, Kensington Palace Tweeted that that the Cambridges have special memories from their first Canadian Tour.

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I think it’s safe to say that tour holds special memories for royal watchers as well.  It was at the Calgary Airport that Kate had her first full bum flash as a duchess.  Call me sentimental, but I get a little misty-eyed just thinking about it.  Of course, that might just be burning from the image permanently  seared in my retinas.   But remember how we all thought it was a rookie mistake that wouldn’t be repeated?   We were so innocent and naive back then.  I miss that.

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Kate’s Not-So-Secret French Getaway

According to a French newspaper, on Tuesday at 1:30pm, Kate Middleton was spotted landing at the Pau-Pyrénées airport in a private  jet.  My thanks to the lovely Rebecca @TheUpAndUpGirl on Twitter for sending me the link yesterday.

I was curious if the British press would run the story but Rebecca  English’s Daily Mail article indicates the press isn’t sitting on this getaway.

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The initial article from the local French paper suggests that Kate was flying solo visiting relatives, although the Daily Mail article notes, “There was no mention of air ambulance pilot Prince William – although he is due to take time off this summer – or the couple’s children, although Prince George and Princess Charlotte are believed to have accompanied their mother.”

The response from DM readers is thus far pretty brutal.

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And of course, there’s already some speculation as to the whereabouts of Ben Ainslie.

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Last night, I stumbled across something fairly amusing when doing a Google search.  This is what comes up when you type in “Ben Ainslie K”:

GoogleSearchBen Ainslie

So it appears we’re not the only ones who have noticed.

To be fair, Sunday was Kate’s eighth official Ben Ainslie 1851 Trust engagement since becoming Patron in June of 2014 so they naturally have built a rapport since their first meeting on Day 10 of the 2012 Olympics.

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Ben’s even spent time with her sister Pippa.  In December 2013, she wrote an article about him for The Telegraph.

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So it’s totally not weird at all that one of Kate’s hands disappears in this photo:

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Or that when Kate gives Ben a medal, it looks like this:

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But when William gives Ben a medal, it looks like this:

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Ben obviously doesn’t feel as close to Prince William as he does to Kate which is normal, they don’t spend as much time around each other as Ben and Kate do.  And even when Prince William does accompany Kate to an 1851 Trust event, he doesn’t get as much one-on-one time with Ben.

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So, no, I don’t think Kate wanted some alone time to Google search pictures of Ben Ainslie with his shirt off:

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Or one where he looks devastatingly handsome in a turtleneck that shows off his pecs:

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Therefore it’s highly unlikely Kate needed some time away to figure out if there’s some kind of royal loophole that would allow her to keep Ben Ainslie as a house pet.

In fact, Rebecca English just Tweeted an update that Prince William, Prince George and Charlotte have accompanied Kate on this secret French getaway.  It’s just not reflected in the article yet, although it probably will be soon.

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See, they’re very normal.  Either the French newspaper’s “numerous sources” simply didn’t see Prince William, Prince George and Princess Charlotte or Prince William had to take a separate private jet because he’s not supposed to fly with the heir-to-the-heir-to-the-heir unless he receives special permission from the Queen and the kids are small so maybe they were somehow missed or took their own private jet with their nanny.

It is a private holiday so the only thing the taxpayers have to cover the cost of is the team of royal protection officers and any of their travel expenses and overtime.  And Kate usually disappears for most of the summer, the press just doesn’t usually report on the getaways.

Which begs the question why now?  Herazeus made a very astute comment on the Prince George’s Lupogate post:

“The two numpties have so alienated the press that only their status protects them ie they can’t be pushed too far down whilst HM is still alive otherwise the entire edifice crumbles and no one wants that. Yet.

The press is therefore sniping. Death by 1000cuts.”

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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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The Prince and Queen Bey

On Friday, Prince George accompanied Prince William and Kate Middleton to the Royal International Air Tattoo in Gloucestershire,  his first official royal engagement in the UK.  In December, Kate became Patron of the Air Cadet Organization which is celebrating its 75th Anniversary.

Daily Mail article has a slew of pics from the event, some of which I’ve screen grabbed for illustrative purposes.

Kate wore her blue Ridley Stretch Cady Dress by Stella McCartney which seems to be a favorite of hers for public appearances that require crouching down.  Queen Letizia does pants to perfection, I wish Kate would take some style inspiration from her.   The press would credit Kate for inventing pants anyway, so it’s not like Kate would risk being accused of fashion poaching from another royal.

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I could dedicate an entire post to Kate’s dress which she’s worn a few times before, like how Kate’s unusually long strides make her look like she’s been wearing the same pair of Depends for the past week, but I’m not going to go there.

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Okay, I did go there.  But just once for this post.  Mainly because the Daily Mail’s pictorial feast revealed something far more glorious.    Prince George is Prince Grumpy Cat no more.

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The UK’s tiniest maybe future king has graduated to, just shy of his third birthday, Prince Beyoncé-in-Training.

At the air show, wind and Sasha Fierceness were both cued.

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The wave to acknowledge all who aren’t royal or Beyoncé was nailed.

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George even delivered a “Because you’re worth it” pout…

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… with some fish face silliness thrown in.

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But alas, there was an inner peace in pieces moment.

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Even adults have those moments where they feel overwhelmed.  Some thought headphones were put on Prince George to muffle the crowd and aircraft noise but he probably just wanted to listen to his Best of Beyoncé playlist.

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Adam Levine might aspire to move like Jagger, but Beyoncé appears to be Prince George’s musical muse.

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George is so Beyoncé in fact, he appears to have reached a state of Ultimate Beyoncé and became his own backup dancers.

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Even Beyoncé hasn’t reached Ultimate Beyoncé yet.

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While Prince William and Kate might not have much in the way of personalities, at least we know they are personality carriers by virtue of their offspring.

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Long live the Queen Bey in all of us.

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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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One if by Land Rover, Two if by Sea

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

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

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Not cool, Land Rover.

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

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

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

The Windsor Horse Show had Tweeted the admittance policy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The Hair Menagerie

“She lives in a world of her own – a world of – little glass ornaments…”
― Tennessee Williams, The Glass Menagerie

A somewhat belated Happy Easter or a more timely Happy Monday!  My funny bunny, Nightwing, sends his love.

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I’m a little behind on royal news due to technical difficulties.  But Apple has reunited me with my resurrected laptop, so time for a little catch-up.

To no one’s surprise, Prince William wound up jetting off to attend the wedding of rumored first love Jecca Craig in Kenya, leaving a fairly impressive amount of pissed off people in his cloud of cartoon smoke.  At least one of William’s co-worker spouses was displeased her husband had to spend yet another holiday away from his family when William got to take both Easter and all of December off.  Many taxpayers were peeved about having to pick up the pricy tab for Prince William’s security detail and private secretary for another international jolly.  And it’s assumed Kate isn’t too happy either that Wills missed out on their daughter’s first Easter to attend the wedding of his ex, although having watched Kate being interviewed for the Queen at 90 documentary, I suspect it’s possible Kate is being kept so heavily sedated, someone probably just stuffed a pillow into that blue sweater William always wears and Kate thinks she and her hubby just had the best Easter ever together.

The bulk of Kate’s contribution to the documentary on the Queen had already been released and discussed by the press: George calls Her Majesty Gan-Gan, the Queen leaves little gifts for her great-grandchildren in their room when they visit and Kate made the Queen chutney for her first royal Christmas.  Not terribly riveting stuff, this is more the sort of information that might be exchanged during small talk at an official engagement, if Kate actually bothered with small talk or engagements.  The Shetland pony featured in the documentary probably offered more insight on Her Majesty than the future Queen Consort did.  The documentary can be viewed in its entirety here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CD7dAsNxmrQ

While the Countess of Wessex and the Duchess of Cornwall provided glimpses into the Queen as a woman, most of what Kate had to offer was more on Kate.  In one clip, Kate noted:

“I think she’s so… so engaging.
And I think she’s got the most fantastic smile.
I think even if the Queen says nothing at all but just smiles, she gives people an enormous amount of pleasure.”

Notice a pattern?  I, I, I.  There was an abundance of Is all throughout Kate’s segments.  “I was worried…”, “I thought back…”, “I noticed…”, “I think…”.  I, I, I.

Contrary to popular belief, over-usage of the pronoun I in speech isn’t a mark of narcissism, it’s one of insecurity.  In the documentary, Our Fair Waity sounded like Eliza Doolittle raided Paula Abdul’s medicine cabinet and then tried to leave a trail of pronoun breadcrumbs to help her find her way back to her own thought process.  Kate’s affected posh accent somehow managed to get even plummier and she appeared to be somewhat disoriented trying to maintain its consistency, with words lost in her own nervous laugh or in a rush to make sentences be over.

In one segment, Kate noted, “There’s a real art to walkabouts, everybody teases me in the family that I spend far too long chatting.”  Yeah, I don’t think the walkabouts which Kate rarely does are the problem.  Supposedly, the Royal Family finds Kate’s affected accent to be frustrating because she has to think about how each word should sound and it can take her a while to stammer through a complete thought.  They’re known not be fans of people putting on airs so a middle class girl constantly being a conversational speed bump in an attempt to sound like the poshest one of all naturally wouldn’t go over well.

In two clips, Kate made reference to the Queen taking care of her in a maternal nurturing way, by making sure she was okay at the Leicester engagement when she was without William and by putting out the chutney Kate made her for Christmas which Kate felt, “shows her thoughtfulness, really, and her care in looking after everybody.”

Why does a woman in her thirties and a future Queen Consort need the Queen to look after her as if she’s a child?  If someone as busy as a Head of State needs to stop what she’s doing like the Queen did at Leicester and ask if you’re okay, in all likelihood you are very far from okay.  Maybe the reason Kate usually doesn’t take her coat off at official engagements is because Kate’s Mum has to pin a note inside of them reading, “If found, please return to Carole Middleton’s umbilical cord.”

If there was any doubt before, Queen at 90 solidifies my suspicion that Kate is a walking Tennessee Williams play.  Kate ticks a lot of the same boxes as Laura, the mentally fragile daughter from the Glass Menagerie.  Both need to be taken care of, live in seclusion, become nervous speaking, drop out of commitments, have social circles limited to siblings, have mothers overly intent on making strong matrimonial matches for their daughters, and judging by Kate’s bad tailoring, it’s likely she puts her elongated torso on the same exaggerated level of physical deformity as Laura views her limp.  Substitute glass animal figurines with a wiglet collection and you’ve got a play… just not a woman suited to a role she aggressively pursued for over a decade.  The most striking difference is that Laura is a far more sympathetic character than Kate, Laura was trapped by circumstance whereas Kate built hers brick by boring brick.

The Daily Mail ran an article over the weekend indicating that it’s likely Kate and William will be ditching Anmer life and returning to London so Prince George can attend Wetherby next year.  Maybe the suggestion that the Cambridges will be returning to both London and duty is merely a PR ploy so the masses will think their seemingly endless gap year will be drawing to a close soon, but if they are moving back to London, how exactly is that going to work?  They can’t keep their criticism-provoking actions from the public’s awareness with Anmer Hall’s seclusion acting as a cloaking device and London affords far fewer places to hide the more unflattering aspects of a fairytale that’s looking increasingly Grimm.

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Blue Monday-Busting BRF

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

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

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

Kensington Palace released a statement saying:

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

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

Royal correspondents were  Twitterly  unamused.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Within reason, of course.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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