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Day 1 of India/Bhutan Tour

With the time difference, Day 2 of Prince William and Kate’s India/Bhutan is already underway so I’m already behind.  I was awake and a little excited for the tour so I watched the first day unfold on Twitter.  It was more boring than waiting for a YouTube video of someone describing paint drying to buffer.  I randomly asked two royal correspondents to Tweet photos of their shoes but no takers.

Victoria Murphy wrote an excellent article on the importance of this tour for William and Kate.  When I noted in ReTweeting the article that I wasn’t sure if William and Kate even had enough momentum going in to turn around public opinion, Victoria responded, “I think the setting has really helped boost things for them.”

And she is right.  New set, new wardrobe, new guest stars, and the hope that somehow the show’s quality is going to improve.

William and Kate aren’t merely players strutting and fretting upon India’s stage, they also have producing and writing credits.  Not only do they have this fabulous new set, these scheduled events tell their vision of their host country and it’s surprisingly stereotypical: cricket, slums, Bollywood… presumably the snake charmer called out sick.  And I’m not the only one who noticed, this is a comment from a reader in India:

Slums-poverty-bollywood-cricket the stereotypist guide to India. Out of curiosity- doesn’t Kate have a stylist or Google or a mirror? The red dress looked like it was made out of the Taj hotel’s bedsheet collection and the blue dress looked like the nightgowns worn here. What is noteworthy is the negligible coverage of the visit in local press. Not even cricket god Sachin Tendulkar could make these two interesting or newsworthy. I don’t think anyone here is interested in having them back unless they are bringing back the Koh-i-noor with them or at least Coldplay.

So here’s how the first day unfolded:

Kate looked a little Elizabeth Taylor emerging after the flight.


Flight fatigue and what I assume was a handful of tranquilizers became apparent in later photos, but it was an impressive “Bitch I’m Madonna” moment.  After nine hours on a plane, I spark fear that the Zombie Apocalypse has begun.

Kate arrived in bespoke McQueen and LK Bennett “Fern” shoes.  I like the original McQueen and how it was styled, I think it was a missed opportunity for Kate although I think I have to accept that she just can’t accessorize.  Or not suck the life out of clothing… I wonder how much of her diet consists of fashion’s soul.


When the Cambridges arrived at the Taj Palace Hotel, they layed a wreath in memory of victims of its 2008 terror attack and met with staff whose heroic efforts helped save guest lives.

The Cambridges’ lunch was vegetarian.


After a wardrobe change, the Cambridges headed to the Oval Maidan cricket ground.  Kate wore a bespoke tunic dress from Mumbai designer Anita Dongre and Mint Velvet wedges.


Three charities: Magic Bus, Door Step School and India’s Childline, participated in the event.

There were no wardrobe malfunctions, but the wind at one point made Kate look like she was wearing clown pants.


The teased special surprise was a bus ride.

You can't sit with us!

You can’t sit with us!

At the Banganga Water Tank, Prince William and Kate scattered petals in the water.


Prince William and Kate then met with the charity SMILE.


The Cambridges played football in the streets of the slum and there was almost a dance-off instigated by William who then backed out of it.  I noticed Kate got hit in the calf with a soccer ball, I’m not sure if it was an accident or if the kicker in question got to do something that has popped into the minds of many royal watchers at some point  or another.  Impoverished children then asked the Cambridges all sorts of questions about their big house, like how do they like their giant house and how do they call each other and their children in it which for some reason appeared to make William and Kate uncomfortable.

In the evening, William and Kate attended a Bollywood dinner and reception which benefited the charities: Magic Bus, Door Step School and India’s Childline.  Kate wore bespoke Jenny Packham that was beaded in India and earrings by Amrapali.


In a dress that would have looked smurfy on Papa Smurf’s nana, Kate sort of looked like the spinster lovechild of Margaret Thatcher and The Joker.


In a speech, Prince William revealed, “When Catherine and I were married, India was the 1st place on Catherine’s list that she told me that she wanted to visit.”  So after almost a decade of Waitying, Kate suddenly puts together her dream destination list once she could go on these trips on the taxpayer’s dime?

According to actress Madhuri Dixit, “The Duke said he hadn’t watched any Bollywood movies but he represents the British film industry was and interested in collaboration.”

WTF?  Prince William, President of BAFTA and resident of planet Earth has never seen a Bollywood film?  How is that even possible?

Granted, I’m probably a bigger film lover than most, I’ve even taken multiple subways to go see an obscure French vampire film I don’t even think some of its cast had ever heard of, but the BAFTA president couldn’t have watched one or two movies on the nine hour flight in preparation for the event?  Or maybe on one of his many days off from both royal and air ambulance duties?

I guess it shouldn’t be that surprising considering Prince William vetoed Skyfall on the staff’s special Christmas film night and insisted on fucking Twilight and then blew it off.  Seriously, he can’t even make it through one film, how is he going to handle being Head of State?

At least Prince William appeared to have an inkling of what he’s been missing out on in the presence of one of the most beautiful women in the history of the world, actress Aishwarya Rai.



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Another Quickie for Kate

Kate Middleton’s annual engagement numbers have recently gotten a boost to thirteen where royal rumors suggest she is going to hold until next month’s royal tour of Bhutan  and India.  In addition to the opening of a charity shop on Friday the 18th, the Court Circular wound up counting the “private engagement” at MayTree on March 10th and broke down suicide awareness events at Kensington Palace into two, the latter of which was also private.


We’re 81 days into 2016 so 13 engagements is a disappointing total, especially considering how brief the most recent photo ops have been.  Royal-watchers RoyalObsessedinU.S. and Jennifer on Twitter commenting on the quick engagements noted that Friday’s event was just a hair above the 30 minute mark while the teen suicide awareness talk on the 10th lasted 20 minutes.



Apparently Kate being keenly keen on keenness roughly translates to about a half hour of work these days.

After snubbing the Irish Guards on Thursday, Kate attended the opening of an East Anglia Children’s Hospices shop in Holt on Friday, just a short drive from Anmer Hall to which the Cambridges returned via helicopter on the 15th.  Kate’s appearance caused many to speculate that the real reason for Kate not handing out the shamrocks on St. Patrick’s Day was a scheduling conflict with her hair.



The fresh new color of Kate’s beefed-up bouffant even led to some musing that the grey John Boyd UFO hat Kate wore on Commonwealth Day was really all about hiding her roots.  Hopefully that’s it and Kate’s UFO hat wasn’t looking for intelligent life on Kate, its millenary overlords would be displeased by what it returned with.

Despite an obviously recent salon trip, Kate’s hair looked like it was involved in some kind of civil war tress distress with the add-on hair gaining combat advantage by seizing the high ground at her crown.

As this screen shot from the Daily Mail shows, to the wiglet go the spoils.


Royal Correspondent, Richard Palmer, from the Express, posted a snap to Twitter from the engagement.


For those distracted by the wheel-chair bound woman being used as a photo prop in the rain, this is a cropped version of the above depicting the tell-tale line.


Reporter Ben Kendall’s pic post on Twitter afforded a different vantage point.


One Daily Mail commenter noted that she felt bad for the woman in the photo op orchestrated to show how Kate “suddenly has compassion”.


An atypically large crowd was gathered for the event, many of whom were children pulled from school and made to wait in the rain.  Several Daily Mail readers complained about this practice employed to beef up crowds in order to make royals look more popular, while one afforded insight into how children are made to stand for hours outside and told when to cheer.


But I’m sure standing for hours outside for a woman who waited around nearly a decade to marry a prince and who rarely bothers to even wave to waiting crowds has great educational value.

If Kate has any lesson at all to teach children, it’s that what’s on the outside is what truly matters.  Kate’s arrival smirk shown in this Daily Mail screen grab suggests that even she bought the whole ruse.  I have no idea what exactly she’s doing with her crotch clutch hand, but kids, don’t try this in public.


But skipping out on the St. Patrick’s Day’s day event did appear to leave at least some kind of indelible impression on Kate.  Or on her kneecap more specifically which the face of a leprechaun appears to now be inhabiting.


Seriously, what’s up with that thing?  It looks like Kate’s knee now has extra pieces.  Her knees didn’t used to look like that.


Just one of the many mysteries of Kate.

And as an aside, please follow me on Twitter @LoveLolaHeart.  I’m finally now using it, despite it being challenging for me to say anything in 140 characters or less.


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“Monsters are real, and ghosts are real too. They live inside us, and sometimes, they win.” – Stephen King

If anyone out there is looking for some royal digs to call home, Bran Castle is now up for sale.  For a cool $80 million and the approval of the current owners, you can enjoy the drafty coziness of a 57 room castle with underground tunnels and secret passageways perched on a 200 foot tall rock base between Transylvania and Wallachia.


Bran Castle and local lore about the strigoli served as inspiration for Bram Stroker’s Dracula. While tales of paranormal vampiric beings have a rich history rooted in ancient Babylonian blood-sucking ghosts, Bram Stoker’s Dracula was the first to give vampires the ability to change into bats.  The result was terrifyingly captivating, people still link Bran Castle with the undead despite the castle’s tenuous ties.

The Dracula character was inspired by Vlad the III nicknamed Vlad the Impaler posthumously because of his favorite form of torture.  Vlad the Impaler didn’t kick back with blood cocktails, he was more into perching victims high on top of stakes, torching weak and disabled guests, cooking children and feeding them to their mothers, forcing men to consume their wives breasts and of course impaling anyone who was left standing.  While Vlad was historically the worst host ever of dinner parties, he never actually owned Bran Castle which was home to Hungarian royalty.  Vlad was imprisoned at Bran Castle somewhere between one night and two months but because of its literary association, Bran Castle is a major tourist draw, getting approximately 450,000 visitors a year.  Buckingham Palace sees 50,000 visitors a year.  To be fair, Buckingham Palace is only open to tourists 2 months out of the year, but conversely is far easier to get to than remote Bran Castle.

So for your $80 million, you are getting a castle Bram Stoker read about where a historically sick puppy slept as a prisoner to which very pale people flock to wander around with struggling actors dressed as family-friendly vampires.  So basically, you get to be the proud owner your very own Goth Disney.  Unfortunately none of those 57 rooms are bathrooms, so it’s probably more desirable real estate for the undead.

From the fictional vampires of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, to the cruelly dubbed PromBat, bats are making an unseasonably strong showing in headlines.  Rihanna is being accused of having a monstrous streak cloaked beneath her Barbadian beauty, seemingly mocking one of her fans via social media not once, not twice, but three times because of her prom attire.

First the side by side with the unhappy face:



Then the follow-up with the Wu-Tang Clan logo:



And finally pointing out she’s just sharing the ridicule, she didn’t coin any of the cruelty:


High school student Alexis Carter was thrilled to wear a dress just like the one Rihanna sported on a red carpet to her Hollywood-themed prom.  The teen had posted pics of herself on social media where PhotoShoppers made some modifications to the images and reposted the pics, dubbing Alexis Carter PromBat.  My heart breaks for the sixteen-year-old who was so excited to wear the fashion homage to Rihanna, then became the target of cyberbullies with Rihanna eventually Tweeting the pics.  According to the teen, “Now everyone is bashing me.”

I can’t imagine ridiculing a fan like that, especially a teen, which is why I hope something got lost in translation, Rihanna appears to be making fun of one of her own fans.  Whatever our medium, artists are driven by a compulsion to create and we hope to reach just one other fellow human being.  I am so deeply honored and humbled any of you are even reading this.  Hi, temi!  Your support means the world to me, it’s such a profound gratitude, I just can’t fathom at what point Rihanna would have lost hers.

Sadly, Alexis Carter was the victim of cyberbullying before the pics got to Rihanna, they had been taken off social media, doctored by PhotoShoppers and reposted with the PromBat hashtag.  Rihanna’s Tweets with her more than 35 million followers have made the ridicule go supernova for the teen.

Perhaps the internet has desensitized us to the idea that there are actual people with actual feelings behind the online handles and hashtags and we’re becoming drained of our own humanity.

What is cyberbullying other than another form of torture?  It’s linguistic vampirism. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, e-mails, and WordPress are just some of the ways in which technology has imbued us with the ability to harm other human beings without even having to leave the comforts of home.

There was a time when trolls were creatures of folk lore who collected tolls or were ridiculous looking dolls with brightly colored hair that were in need of a deep condition.  Now we encounter them in every online comment section, some of us are accused of being trolls if we dare offer a differing opinion.

What happened with Alexis Carter represents the worst of what social media can do.  Teenage victims of cyberbullying are twice as likely to commit suicide.  Hopefully Alexis is strong enough to withstand the public ridicule that has come from trying to honor someone she once greatly admired.  Sadly the internet brings out the worst in us sometimes and yet the monster is of our creation.  The internet can’t be stopped with a stake through the heart, fire or a silver bullet, it’s not vulnerable to garlic, crosses or wolfsbane, we have created a monster that’s virtually impossible to destroy.

The question remains, how far is too far when it comes to Freedom of Speech?  Do you think Rihanna owes Alexis Carter an apology?

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