Tag Archives: Princess Charlotte

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):

JustinTrudeauPM

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:

RPCanadaTourConfirmation

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:

DMAmericansPayingForRoyalSecurityComment

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

USPoliceProtectionforPellyWedding

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.

KPCanadaSpecialMemories

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.

EnglishDMArticle

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.

BenAinslieWhereabouts

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:

KateGivesBenMedal

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

WilliamGivesBenMedal

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.

Ben,Kate&William

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

BenAinslieOlympicBodies

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

BenAinslieTurtleneck

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.

RebeccaEnglishUpdate

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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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.

RebeccaEnglishFlowerShow

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.

FlowerShowCorrection

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:

Sleepy

Dopey:

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And Happy:

Happy

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.

Charlotte&GeorgeFlowers

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.

PrinceGeorgeMotorbike

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

PrinceWilliamPrinceHarryMotorbike

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.

PrincessDianaComparison

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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The Highs and Lows of Royal Expectations

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

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

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

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

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

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

Le Marc Lip Crème in Charlotte posted on marcbeauty Instagram

Le Marc Lip Crème in Charlotte posted on marcbeauty Instagram

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

NoMoreWaityKatie

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

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

Le Marc Lip Crème in "Charlotte"

Le Marc Lip Crème in “Charlotte”

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

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

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New Photos of Princess Charlotte

On Sunday, two pictures of Princess Charlotte Elizabeth Diana were released on Kensington Palace’s @KensingtonRoyal Twitter account.  By posting these photos of their children on social media, the Cambridges are able to control what gets distributed to the public and remove the loathsome media middleman.  It’s a smart move given that Princess Charlotte has been the least photographed princess since Rapunzel.  Since it’s unlikely Kate will permit her daughter to out-hair her, releasing these photos to the masses reduces the kind of photographic bounty that might tempt Peter Parker to use his great power to become a web-slinging paparazzo.

PrincessCharlotte1

The photos were taken by Kate Middleton at the beginning of November.  Likely these photos were taken with the same Canon EOS 5D Mark II Kate used for Charlotte’s first official baby portraits.

PrincessCharlotte2

The new Charlotte photos are the best of all Kate’s attempts both technically and compositionally, finally putting her on par with most mothers on Facebook.  She avoided the mistakes of Princess Charlotte’s first official baby portraits in which an abundance of white fabric bounced the light and created distracting glowing effects.  If Kate really applies herself, in a decade or two she might be able to get a job with Sears Portrait Studios.

The green gingham upholstered French chair suggests the photos were likely taken in Charlotte’s nursery, creating a warmer and more personal feel than the generic beige backgrounds Kate gravitates towards.  It is a chair fit for a princess.

PrincessDianaGingham

Princess Diana spent many hours on a green upholstered antique French chair in her sitting room, working on her correspondence.

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Of course, this is a more widely recognized image of Princess Diana on an antique French chair with some gingham in the background to boot.

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Perhaps Princess Charlotte Elizabeth Diana being photographed on a green gingham antique French chair is just a coincidence, but Kate has gone to some pretty extensive lengths to dress George in clothing nearly identical to the outfits Princess Diana selected for William.

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So it’s not outside the realm of possibility Kate will draw inspiration from the past with her daughter.

Hopefully the Cambridges will avoid such overt sartorial references with Princess Charlotte Elizabeth Diana since she will already inevitably be compared to the grandmother whose childhood was spent at Park House, a mere three miles from Anmer Hall.  No gingham required.

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The Princess Charlotte Diaries

According to the Daily Mail, Clare Bennet has written a spoof book chronicling the days of Prince George, The Prince George Diaries.  While Bennet has imagined the life and times of the tiny future king, I have turned my focus to his sister who was described on Thursday by her father as “ladylike”.  While many question exactly how exactly a baby can be ladylike, I understand what Prince William meant. When I was born, I curtseyed to my mother, accessorized to receive and then wrote notes to the hospital staff, thanking them for their hospitable professionalism.

Being the follow-up act to an extraordinary older brother, I totally get Princess Charlotte and present you with an excerpt from the diaries of the tiniest ladylike Cambridge:

I am only five months old, but apparently, I’m so special I get three names, Charlotte Elizabeth Diana.  Uncle Harry says commoners get one name, Vegas strippers get two, and princesses get three.

Such a fuss is made over me, I assume that I will shortly be developing magical powers.   A woman I call Dragon Lady who appears to be in charge of the household cheesy toast sometimes lifts me over her head and proclaims, “I have the power!”  Her bottle is far bigger than mine, she keeps it in a paper bag, obviously an amateur at cloaking spells.  I suspect at some point I will be tasked with vanquishing her.  

My big brother George is bit of a tosser, he brought me into a small dark room so I could see Mummy, after five minutes I realized I was talking to a mop and Mrs. Baylock was scolding George for not properly locking the broom closet.   Oddly I wasn’t the only one in the closet, Ben Ainslie was there as well.  He and Mummy must have been playing hide and seek.  Ben is obviously dedicated to it, there was tape over his mouth and his hands and legs were bound, probably so he wouldn’t be tempted to go find another hiding spot.

So far being royal is a bit naff, but perhaps it is because I am only a Half-Blood Princess.  I worry, too, that my baby skills are lacking, Father can still throw a far more impressive temper tantrum than I can, but I’ve been studying his technique.  I  do know how to shop online, though.  I took Grandfather Charles’ credit card out of Mummy’s clutch after she got hit with a tranquilizer dart and carted off to something called a charity engagement.  I ordered the entire La Mer skincare line in case I wind up with problematic commoner skin with which Mummy’s entire family appears to be afflicted.  I’m worried less about getting Bloodhound jowls than I am about turning orange like Auntie Pippa.  

Living in the country is rather boring but Father says it’s the only way to keep me safe from Photographers who I assume are some kind of powerful demonic beings who steal the souls of small children.  Dragon Lady appears far less of afraid of these demonic photographers, and will sometimes summon them herself when going out with George.  George says it doesn’t hurt when Photographers aim their picture-takers at you but he also told me that Lupo was made of candy so George isn’t the most reliable of sources.

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Another Privacy Letter from the Cambridges

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dear Prince William:

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

Sincerely yours,

The Sand Dune Club

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Princess Charlotte’s Christening

On Sunday July 5th, Princess Charlotte Elizabeth Diana was christened at St. Mary Magdalene church where her grandmother, the late Princess Diana, was baptized in 1961.

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Dressed in the traditional royal christening gown, the 2008 replica made by Angela Kelly of the 1841 christening gown which had been worn by approximately sixty royal babies until it started disintegrating into lace dust, Princess Charlotte was brought to the church in a vintage pram borrowed from the Queen.  The pram had been used to bring Charles to his christening in 1948.

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Baptismal water was obtained from the Jordan River while the Lily Font which also dates back to the 1841 baptism of Victoria, Princess Royal, and the silver ewer from the 1735 christening of George III were brought to the Sandringham church from the Tower of London for Princess Charlotte’s christening.  Special cases had to be designed to transport the ewer and font because they had never left London before.  It was one of the few firsts for the second-born princess.  In fact, other than a selection of five non-royal godparents and a guest list pared down to a mere twenty-two attendees at the private ceremony, the kind of affront to royal etiquette the Cambridges have made the hallmark of their vision of a modern monarchy, the christening of Princess Charlotte Elizabeth Diana was otherwise frozen in time. The christening, intended to honor the late Princess Diana, also appeared to be an attempt to summon her ghost.

Replicating a moment from Princess Diana’s life, Prince George was dressed as the sartorial doppelgänger of his father, Prince William, when visiting his mother and brand new brother Harry at the hospital.

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This isn’t the first time in recent weeks that Kate has dressed George in clothing identical to outfits the late Princess Diana selected for her own son.  Even if this started off as Kate wanting to please William by paying homage to his late mother, Kate appears to have veered off course and taken up residency in Creepytown which she is probably already redecorating.  Not only is the call coming from inside the house, it’s being made with a Ouija board.

While Kate has on many occasions referenced her late mother-in-law through fashion, the royal whose clothing she copied at Princess Charlotte’s christening was herself circa George’s christening.  At George’s christening, Kate and her sister Pippa appeared to match their cream-colored outfits to George’s christening gown in an attempt to reinforce their status within the British Royal Family.  At Charlotte’s christening, Kate once again went with a monochromatic christening combo of Alexander McQueen and a Jane Taylor hat, this time accessorizing with two matching Middletons.  Dressed in haunting ivory, the Middleton women formed a ghostly trio, spectral incarnations of MacBeth’s Weird Sisters with clutch bag cauldrons, ready to call forth the apparition of Diana.

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The Royal Mint coin commemorating Charlotte’s christening, the design for which William and Kate oversaw, included both her middle names and two of the flowers Diana loved most, roses and lilies.

charlotte&georgechristeningcoinsFrom the hiring of Princess Diana’s favorite photographer, Mario Testino, who took the last portraits that Diana ever sat for as the christening’s official photographer, to the selection of Diana’s niece as one of Charlotte’s five godparents, the christening celebration felt more like it drew inspiration from Tobin’s Spirit Guide and the Handbook for the Recently Deceased than it did from little sister Pippa’s Celebrate: A Year of Festivities for Families and Friends.  Even Nanny Maria in her Norland uniform had the unsettling appearance of an old sepia-toned photograph come to life using one of the spells in the arsenal of the Weird Sisters.

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It’s natural to want to make a gesture that honors the memory of a loved one who has passed in an important milestone event, it’s a way of including them.  It’s a delicate balance, though, paying homage to a lost loved one should always be done in a way that is also respectful to the living.  We have memorial services and funerals for the dead, christenings are celebrations of new life.  Lost loved ones are already a part of our joyous celebration because those who we love become a part of us, that bond can not be broken by death.

Many of those who believe in life after death have had moments where they feel as if someone they lost was with them somehow, often this happens around the holidays or other important times in their lives.   Spirits are just people without earthly shells, they are drawn to milestone celebrations like marriages and christenings to spend tie with their families as they would have in life, no engraved invitation or breadcrumb trail of mementos required.

Two and a half years ago at a christening held at St Martin’s Church in Canterbury, Kent, an unexpected guest was spotted in one of the baptism photos the Sewell family posted on Facebook, a ghostly apparition who bore a striking resemblance to the baptized baby’s grandfather who had committed suicide seventeen years earlier.  Terry Sewell’s widow, Heather, told the press, “It looks very much like Terry. I know there has been no photo trickery so it is all very spooky and perhaps not what you want to see at a Christening.”

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While maybe not everyone is thrilled to have their departed loved ones show up in the christening photos, I kind of think that if Princess Diana appears in any of the pics taken by Mario Testino, the Middletons would be cool with it.  In fact, I’m pretty sure Carole would make it her Christmas card.

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