Tag Archives: Princess Diana

George Michael & Princess Diana

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Cambridge to Nowhere

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Saving the Earth from an asteroid…

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Defeating the Kraken…

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

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

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

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

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Days 6 & 7 – India and Bhutan Tour

The royal bore tour is finally over.  After the plane landed, Prince William and Kate were either headed to Bucklebury as the press reported or the far more likely Anmer Hall where Carole Middleton, who had been taking care of the Half-Blood Prince and Princess, is most at home.  Here’s how the last two pointless days of the India and Bhutan tour and the Dull Duo’s fifth anniversary jolly went down.

On the sixth day of the royal tour, Prince William and Kate Middleton gave the world a reminder they are royal and everything is about them always.  While royal tours are ostensibly to help boost tourism, Prince William and Kate weren’t about to let media access ruin their visit to the Tiger’s Nest monastery, permitting the press only to go half way on the hike, leaving the public to imagine what the rest of the scenery and monastery might like.  I’m picturing Kate with a wine bottle in one hand and cigarette in the other while Prince William sits side-saddle on a tiger, his pants around his ankles while he drools over a centerfold in Douchebag Digest.

This is what the Tiger’s Nest monastery looks like for anyone who wants a DIY mental image of the private official engagement:

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This is what Kate wore:

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No one really knows why.

Perhaps Kate dressed like a character from Robin Hood: Men in Tights for the hike in homage to Bhutan’s national sport, archery.

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Some royal watchers saw other characters.

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Like most of Kate’s clothing this tour, many were left scratching their heads with Janet Street-Porter from the Independent dubbing Kate The Duchess of Drab.

Prince William was flushed and sweaty and even the press pack struggled with their part of the hike.

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On Kate, however, there wasn’t even a whisper of glistening which is surprising because her hair was down and she was wearing a Really Wild leather vest and her Penelope Chilvers boots.  Shiver me Chilvers.

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Various theories were floated as to how Kate appeared to be unaffected by a two and a half hour hike each way, with some attributing her lack of hike glow to sweat-preventing Botox while others suggested she’s in great shape because of her exercise regimen.

Of course, Kate bringing along a glam squad trio on the hike probably helped.

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Not all were impressed with their efforts, though.  Kate’s add-on hair looked like it was made by Mattel.

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A row ensued between the Palace and the press which had gone to great efforts to be there to cover the hike and monastery visit, only to be told the duke and duchess wanted part of the event to be private.  According to an excellent article written by Richard Palmer, “The Cambridges have excluded media from several parts of their tour, prompting tension with journalists who believe the palace has an agenda to try to take control of the message and diminish the role of a media trying to hold them to account.”

Television news crews were the most peeved due to equipment-hauling crankiness.  The Palace tried to smooth things over by allowing a brief interview of Prince William and Kate about what they thought of the hike and monastery.  According to Richard Palmer’s piece, “Palace officials relented after the broadcasters began running pieces a suggesting the  couple were enjoying a taxpayer-funded sightseeing trip without letting the people who paid for it see the results.”  The handful of answers provided by the Cambridges weren’t even akin to tossed crumbs, it was like taking the last piece of cake and then deigning to briefly describe it to the person who didn’t get a piece.

Kate opted to not give a speech on this tour and uttered very few words in public during the engagements so the press had to take whatever it could get, dutifully reporting that Kate said, “I feel very lucky and fortunate to see such beautiful scenery,” and also indicated that the hike was, “a great way to burn off the curry.”

While Prince William has never made a secret of his disdain for the media since he was a boy, he may soon get his wish of them all disappearing, and with them, the monarchy.  At first, it didn’t look like the Express was even going to send royal correspondent, Richard Palmer, because  decreased interest in the couple prior to the tour made the cost a questionable allocation of is resources.  In a piece Camilla Tominey wrote, she indicated, “last week journalists who had travelled thousands of miles at great expense found themselves able to cover just one job a day in Delhi. On several occasions, parts of the tour were deemed “private”.”

In the wake of criticism of being work-shy, Prince William and Kate couldn’t even make it through a week-long tour without asserting their perceived right to also be on a taxpayer-funded holiday.  How much of a break do they need from going on a safari, playing cricket, meeting Bollywood stars and watching people dance?

Like many tourists on holiday, after the Tiger’s Nest monastery hike, the Cambridge’s stopped to pick up some souvenir trinkets.  Prince William got a small bronze tiger and Kate picked out a pair of earrings, borrowing the money from their foreign affairs advisor, Sir David Manning, because carrying cash is for peasants.

Later in the day, Prince William and Kate attended a reception for people from Bhutan who have lived or worked in the UK.

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Hopefully the hosts put out a more substantial spread than just cheesy snacks and a bowl of nuts like the Cambridges did at the reception’s Kensington Palace counterpart.

Kate wore a red Beulah London dress with a poppy print.  Bhutan’s national flower is the rare blue poppy.

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On the seventh day of the royal tour, Prince William and Kate flew from Bhutan to Agra for their Taj Mahal photo op and private tour.  Perhaps all that private holiday time on the taxpayer dime left William feeling a little frisky because Rebecca English made an amusing observation:

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With scorching temps in Agra, royal correspondents and photographers waited around for the photo op.  The Cambridge’s tour of the Taj Mahal also deemed private time.

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1,000 rupees sure doesn’t buy a lot these days.

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Kate wore a dress by Indian designer, Naeem Khan.

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To no one’s surprise, they recreated the iconic Princess Diana Taj Mahal photo.

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Kate’s hair showed that the second biggest con job in the UK is being pulled off by her traveling hair stylist, Amanda Cook Tucker.

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It looks like Amanda Cook Tucker has been using the hair and styling tools from Barbie’s Cut and Style Princess on Kate.

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Before the trip, the Palace released a statement that “The Duke and the Duchess are looking forward to seeing this beautiful place for themselves and creating some new memories as they say thank you to the people of India at the conclusion of this tour.”  Seriously, why does no one in this family send food hampers or flowers or one of those Edible Arrangements where they cut fruit into the shape of flowers? Their pineapple is delicious.  Also, thanks yous don’t usually wind up costing the recipient.

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A spokesperson quoted in a BBC article changed the official tune to, “They made the decision because it is what all visitors to the Taj Mahal do – they sit on the bench with the perfect symmetry of the building behind them.”  Oh, so now they are just tourists like everyone else, that does make everything much clearer then.  The BBC article also supplied a quote from their tour guide which offered a glimpse into Kate’s perspective on this trip: “She said this is the perfect thing to do before their wedding anniversary.”

While the Palace is eager to respin the small crowds in India and a bore of a royal tour into something that looks a little less pointless, the media is less keen on joining in their reindeer games.

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India’s press failed to fall under the fairytale spell the British media has been selling.

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Unfortunately for the British Monarchy, very few buy into the fairytale version anymore.  No matter how hard anyone tries to spin William and Kate, there’s nothing of interest to shake loose.  The Mirror ran an opinion piece by Carole Malone which described the couple as “boring. They couldn’t cobble together a personality between them.”  No matter how great the set, the characters make or break a story and neither Prince William or Kate have much appeal to any audience.

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Let Them Eat Cheesy Snacks

Tonight, Prince William and Kate Middleton hosted a reception at Kensington Palace to remind people they are going to India and Bhutan.

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Buzz about the upcoming tour of India and Bhutan from April 10th-16th has been flying at half-mast. Even the number of Cambridge Critics logging onto sites to vent about the lazy duo has diminished considerably.  An unmoderated Daily Mail article about the Bhutan visit only had four comments nine hours after it was published.

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Well, the Cambridges wanted to be left alone, although it probably was not the best strategy to wrap themselves in apathetic irrelevancy so soon before a royal tour.

It’s been nineteen days since Kate’s last appearance, the opening of a charity shop on March 18th which came in under thirty-five minutes, one day after blowing off the Irish Guards.  Because, hair.

At Wednesday’s reception, Kate also reminded people she’s still royal now by going Totally Tudor in a neck ruffle both Queen Elizabeth I and Princess Diana favored.

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Kate wore the Mary Navy Dots maxi dress by Saloni London.  

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On Kate, it was that curious Senior Citizens on Cialis look Kate seems fond of like back in October when the duchess combined Mother of the Bride and side boob.

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Kate wasn’t bold enough to go with the semi-sheer swiss dot front panel and her dress was actually lined, creating pale mounds that resembled those of her own topless doll.

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On Twitter, Julie RocketQueen @rocketqueen1985 described the dress as “20 yards of WTF”.

With her hair worn down, it wasn’t totally apparent which side of Kate was the front.

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Kate left household cleaning implements everywhere shouting, “Bitch stole my look.”

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I have no idea how Kate is going to carry all that extra add-on hair on a six hour hike to the Tiger’s Nest Monastery during the upcoming tour.  Here is a screengrab from one of the pics @KensingtonRoyal posted on Twitter:

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Another Twitter post by the Mirror’s Victoria Murphy revealed that Kate may have learned a little bit about lighting.  When being photographed with London-based Indian model Neelam Gill, pretty much your only chance of not being totally dwarfed by her beauty is to nudge her towards a light source so she’ll be in the shadows.

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The real star of the night, though, was the Cheesy Snacks posted by Victoria Murphy.

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The State of the Precious

One of the close-up photos of Princess Diana’s engagement ring taken during the 75th Anniversary of the RAF Air Cadets Kate attended has caused some concern among royal watchers that Princess Diana’s engagement ring might have been damaged by Kate or was perhaps a cheap knock-off.

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What looks like a tarnished silver band is nothing more than the effect of camera flashes bouncing off of the Welsh gold wedding band next to it.  There are pictures of Princess Diana wearing her engagement ring with the same bounced light effects.

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Princess Diana’s engagement ring is a 12 carat oval Ceylon sapphire surrounded by fourteen  diamonds set in 18kt white gold.  The then Lady Diana Spencer selected the ring in February 1981 from a tray with other sapphire rings from Garrard’s collection.  The ring was not unique and could be purchased by anyone with the £28,000 to spend on it.  As soon as the first photos were released, the 80s became plagued by cheap knock-offs.

Initially, the ring came with eight prongs, but by December 1981, six additional prongs were added to Princess Diana’s engagement ring.

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Princess Diana was reportedly concerned the sapphire would slip out of its original setting.  While I’m not a fan of the ring to begin with, the adding of prongs to me creates visual imbalance, especially since a couple of the added prongs were somewhat oddly angled. This imperfection in reinforcement, however, helps with gauging the authenticity of Diana’s engagement ring.

On the left is Diana’s engagement ring  on Princess Diana’s finger, on the right is the ring on Kate’s finger.  The prongs line up perfectly.

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If Kate wears a copy of Princess Diana’s engagement ring, it has been flawlessly executed.  While it’s not uncommon for some women to make copies  of their own jewels which have enormous financial, historical or sentimental value, having compared numerous photos of the ring on each wearer, I believe Kate has and wears the real deal.

In the engagement interview, Prince William confirmed, “It’s my mother’s engagement ring.  So I thought it was quite nice because obviously she’s not going to be around to share any of the fun and excitement of it all – this was my way of keeping her sort of close to it all.”

Reaction to Kate wearing Princess Diana’s engagement ring was mixed when the engagement was announced, many wondering why a future bride would even want to wear ring from such an unhappy union.  The ring is so closely identified with Princess Diana that almost five years into Kate’s marriage, it is still referred  to as Princess Diana’s ring.  By the way Kate seems to consciously keep her engagement ring displayed at events, it seems fairly safe to assume she is fine with  wearing a dated ring which seems incongruous to her individual style and personality.  But even if she wasn’t, changing the setting was likely not even an option for Kate who could have had a spectacular Art Deco-inspired setting made for the oval  sapphire.  Many women won’t wear engagement rings from marriages that ended in divorce but there are some who believe the “curse” or “bad energy” can be broken up by changing the setting.

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The sapphire and its diamonds could also be used in a setting such as this:

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The orientation of the stone could  also be switched with diamonds used  in the band, similar to this Jes MaHarry ring.  But had Kate dared to change the setting, she likely would have received a tremendous amount of backlash.

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Many people are superstitious about gems, including the British Royal Family which is apprehensive  about  using  rubies for engagement rings  because the stone is associated with a death and two divorces in the family.  No male heir to the British throne has ever worn the Koh-i-Noor diamond because of the gender-specific Hindu curse which is said to bring misfortune to any man who wears it.  But Prince William is either more sentimental or cheaper than he is superstitious and so the ring remains a symbol  of a doomed romance and a bright light tragically extinguished on the finger of a woman associated with Waityness and laziness.

Kate appears to take care of Princess Diana’s ring, heeding Prince William’s warning issued during the engagement interview, “If she loses it she’s in big trouble.”  Before her wedding, Kate had the ring resized because it became loose on her finger when she lost weight.  The eternity band she wears is rumored to be extra insurance against the ring slipping off.

Sapphires are a 9 on the Mohs Hardness Scale, second only to diamonds, so they are extremely difficult but not impossible to scratch.   The ring is 18kt so it is 75% gold mixed with other alloys.  White gold is typically coated with rhodium which wears down over time.  Many jewelers recommend bringing in engagement rings once a year to be professionally cleaned and checked since hand lotion, soaps, household cleaners and even a body’s natural oils can damage rings.  Given how Kate appears to avoid anything involving effort with a staff to handle the household tasks which can be the most damaging to rings, Princess Diana’s ring on Kate’s finger probably isn’t all that much different than if it were resting inside a vault.

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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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The Crowded Courtship of Will and Kate

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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.

Kate,William,George,Charlotte

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.

George&WilliamSidebySide

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.

Carole&Pippa

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.”

SewellHauntedChristening

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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A True Prince

According to a recent Newsweek poll, only 1% of those surveyed wanted to be Kate Middleton, prompting a flurry of headlines declaring the notion of a Royal Fairytale dead.  To be fair, Royal Fairytales have been on life support since the bitter divorce of Prince Charles and Princess Diana and the infamous Martin Bashir interview that left the Disney-tinted glasses of girls everywhere crushed under the stiletto of the People’s Princess.  With the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton, the diehard hopeful clutched their novelty hankies, holding vigil for the Royal Fairytale which never did quite awaken.  Instead it hid behind palace walls and in remote country houses, asking for privacy and proclaiming its normalcy, passing away quietly in its sleep, presumably while Kate Middleton was out shopping for jeggings and Prince William was microwaving a frozen dinner.

Stories that begin with “Once upon a time” exist in a theoretical past far far removed from modern existence.  Monarchies are anachronistic institutions existing for the sake of novelty with titled princes on a societal endangered species list.  There are so few remaining in fact that most of my readers could rattle off their names without any degree of difficulty.  But some of you might have missed one: Prince Lorenzo Borghese.

I meant to do a post about Prince Lorenzo possessing qualities to which all modern princes should aspire back in December of last year when I saw this post on Facebook (I believe it was initially a text Prince Lorenzo sent his brother who then posted it on Facebook):

PrinceLorenzo&PrincessAnnie

It was such a sweet story, but the intention to write about it got lost in the blur of the holidays.  To summarize, eleven-year-old Annie Lown was born with cystic fibrosis and autism.  Annie’s wish to the Make-A-Wish Foundation was to dance with a real life prince.  The organization reached out to Prince Lorenzo who was honored to escort Annie to a Royal Ball thrown in her honor at Greystone Castle.  As Prince Lorenzo noted in the speech he gave, “Your wish was very interesting, Annie, because you didn’t wish to be a princess, you wished to dance with a prince, meaning you already know you’re a princess.”  If that doesn’t move you even a little bit, you should probably see a cardiologist because your heart might be made of stone.

Entrepreneur and animal rights activist Prince Lorenzo Borghese is from Italy’s House of Borghese and currently resides in NYC.  Known to many for his television appearances on The Bachelor, America’s Next Top Dog: The Princess, the Dutch reality show Coming to Holland: Prins Zoekt Vrouw, Celebrity Big Brother UK and Lucky Bastards, the prince is so much more than just a handsome face with a royal pedigree.  Prince Lorenzo founded his company Royal Treatment, a line of products which use only the highest quality pet-friendly organic and natural ingredients, when his beloved dog Belle developed a skin condition and he discovered that existing pet products on the market were poorly regulated and contained potentially harmful chemicals.  A portion of the proceeds from Royal Treatment product sales goes to Animal Aid USA, a non-for-profit animal rights and rescue agency founded by Prince Lorenzo.  In addition to running his own animal advocacy organization for which he has received numerous prestigious awards, Prince Lorenzo also serves as Ambassador to the ASPCA and the American Humane Association and is on the board for Canine Wounded Heroes.  Borghese is also managing partner of LB2, a private label Italian cosmetics company, and has recently launched his own lifestyle brand, RumGolf. A true Renaissance man, Prince Lorenzo is also a published author.  His first novel, The Princess of Nowhere, is historical fiction based on the romance of Napoleon’s sister, Pauline Bonaparte who married one of his ancestors, Prince Camillo Borghese.

So really, Prince Lorenzo is just your run-of-the-mill humble hardworking sensitive intelligent handsome prince running three companies and his own charity, dedicating his life to animal advocacy when he isn’t busy making the fairytale dreams of sick little girls come true.

I wonder what Prince William or Prince Carl Philip have been up to recently besides tooling around in helicopters and race cars.  Probably something close, though, right?

Prince Lorenzo is currently up for Gotham Magazine’s Most Eligible Bachelor and I’m asking my royal watching readers to please vote for him.  Just go to the link: http://gotham-magazine.com/home-page/articles/gotham-most-eligible-bachelors-business-slash-real-estate, check the box above his picture and hit submit.  You can vote as many times as you like.  If Prince Lorenzo wins, I’m sure he’ll just use the honor to promote his charitable work but I thought it would be a nice way for us to show our support for a true prince.

Maybe Royal Fairytales aren’t dead after all, perhaps there’s just a shortage of princes who are of fairytale-quality like Lorenzo Borghese.

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Prince Harry’s New Squeeze?

Prince Harry is rumored to have filled the vacancy in his heart that Cressida left with a former Miss Edinburgh, Camilla Thurlow, who has been described as “the life and soul of the party”.  The two were spotted snogging outside of Guy Pelly’s Tonteria and it’s been reported Camilla has been to Prince Harry’s apartment at Kensington Palace twice.

CamillaThurlow

The 25 year-old 5’3″ brunette with hazel eyes has been called a Kate Middleton look-alike.  While I have written many critical things about Kate, even I find that statement cruel.

Camilla stated in her Miss Earth profile, “For me sport dominated my school career, however I was also a member of the school choir and performed in the house play Steel Magnolias.”  She also indicated she loves spending time with her family and possesses a passion for art.

CamillaThurlow2

Could Camilla be the new Waity?  Over-processed brown hair, hazel eyes, check.  Sports background, check.  Interest in the theatre and arts, check.  Strong familial bond, check.  Tragic make-up, check.  Life’s ambition, check please.

Under the Ambitions category on her Miss Earth application Camilla indicated, “I would like to go travelling when I leave university as I missed out on having a gap year… I am also saving up for a volunteer holiday working with sea turtles in Costa Rica which I, and a friend, have been planning for a long time. I would like, one day, to settle down but my main ambition is to always try and enjoy life and get as much out of it as I can and to be happy.”

Fantastic, a girl whose goals involve holidays, traveling and getting the most out of life. OMG, has Kate become a life-coach?

Pictures of Camilla Thurlow are few and far between.  I’m trying to retract the claws on this one but were the other contestants in the Miss Edinburgh pageant livestock?  I tried locating Camilla’s sash/tiara picture but the only photo I could find was this one which to me appears to have been taken in a dorm room with a bathroom as the backdrop.  Always classy.

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Despite working for Princess Diana’s charity, The HALO Trust, for the last year and being rumored to be a friend of Prince Harry bestie, Guy Pelly, Camilla doesn’t strike me as the suitable future duchess-type which almost certainly means she will be the one.

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