By Patricia Treble - Wednesday, May 8, 2013 - 0 Comments
Call the royal household what you will–prim and a tad proper are common descriptors–but don’t call it inefficient or methodical.
Merely a day after Buckingham Palace announced that the Queen would not attend the upcoming Commonwealth leaders summit in November and Prince Charles would go in her place, the monarch and heir were together at the State Opening of Parliament in London. When the joint appearance was announced a few weeks ago, it caused only a murmur among royal watchers, since the Prince of Wales hasn’t attended the annual event since 1996. Now it’s clear that yesterday’s announcement and today’s appearance at Parliament were part of a greater scheme. As the Daily Mail stated, “Charles’ presence at Parliament today suggests it is also part of the carefully-choreographed plan to share the burden of responsibility.”
But don’t think that this shift means there will be co-monarchs or it’s a sign that “after more than 60 years, the Elizabethan era is drawing to a close, and the Charlesian age is dawning” as Time intoned. That’s jumping the gun. The Queen is firmly in control. Instead, it’s a recognition that Elizabeth, 87, and her husband, Philip, 92 in June, can’t continue their crushing schedule of 300-400 engagements a year without help. As the Independent said, “But–taken together–the moves highlight the increasingly high-profile role that Prince Charles is expected to take supporting his mother in state affairs in the coming months and years. It will involve increasing co-ordination between the diaries of senior royals–with the duke and duchess of Cambridge taking on many more official duties.” The Windsors rarely do anything quickly or in haste. Instead, incremental–even glacial–change is their preferred modus operandi. Charles has been taking on more and more of the Queen’s duties for years, including holding investitures (as does Princess Anne).
Even Camilla got into the supporting act, wearing a fabulous Boucheron tiara and a rather regal looking white gown (royal women only wear white to this event). Though Charles has officially stated that she’ll have the title of “Princess Consort” when he accedes the throne, in part to dampen anger left over from the Diana years, there seems to be a slow shift in perception that Camilla will actually take the title of queen. As the Daily Mail caption stated, “Camilla dressed the part of a queen-in-waiting in a sparkling tiara that has been in the royal family for over 90 years.”
Still, given the Queen’s good health–even with the occasional gastro bug–it could still be more than a decade before we see a King Charles III on the throne.
By Patricia Treble - Tuesday, May 7, 2013 at 10:15 AM - 0 Comments
She’s visited her northern realm 23 times, including her last visit in 2010. But in a clear sign that Queen Elizabeth II is seriously scaling down overseas visits, she’s bowed out of the Commonwealth leaders conference scheduled for November in the Sri Lankan capital of Colombo.
“I can confirm that the Queen will be represented by the Prince of Wales,” a palace spokesman told the media today. ”The reason is that we are reviewing the amount of long-haul travel that is taken by the Queen.” They are also dropping strong hints that long-distance foreign visits are a thing of the past, which is bad news to realms such as Australia and New Zealand.
For the Queen, who is deeply committed to the Commonwealth, not to attend the conference is a sign that she’s finally heeding her advisers and easing up on a schedule that would exhaust someone half her age. She’s now 87 and though she undertook 425 engagements last year, all were in Britain. During 2012, the royal household hit upon a clever idea: she and Philip stayed in Britain while the rest of the Windsors were sent to the Commonwealth to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee.
By Philippe Lagassé - Sunday, February 3, 2013 at 11:48 AM - 0 Comments
Why the Conservatives must rethink their approach to succession
Canada’s most monarchist government in decades has just dealt a serious blow to the Canadian Crown. In an effort to quickly enact changes regarding royal succession, the government has introduced a bill that undermines the concept of a truly independent Canadian Crown, the foundation of Canadian sovereignty. Equally troubling, the government claims that altering succession to the throne does not require a constitutional amendment. In making this argument, the government has overlooked the very nature of the Crown in law and the Canadian constitution. However commonsensical the proposed changes to the law governing succession may be, such a cavalier approach to the Crown, to the foundation of sovereign authority of and in Canada, merits scrutiny.
Heritage Minister James Moore laid out the government’s thinking at a press conference this past Wednesday. According to the minister, succession to the throne is not a matter of Canadian law. Instead, succession is a question of British law alone. Only the British Parliament can set the rules for who ascends to the throne, while the Canadian Parliament’s only authority lies in assenting to the changes. Put differently, the authority to legislate the rules of succession belongs with the British Parliament because the Canadian constitution does not address matters of succession. The legal pretext for this interpretation is the preamble to the 1931 Statute of Westminster, which states that the United Kingdom will obtain the assent of the Dominions when altering succession to, and royal titles and styles of, their shared Crown.
For Mr. Moore, the absence of an explicit reference to succession in the codified parts of the Canadian constitution also explains why no constitutional amendment is needed to alter succession in Canada. Although the Constitution Act, 1982 states that changes to the “office of the Queen” require a constitutional amendment that is approved by Parliament and the provincial legislatures, the government interprets “office” to mean only those powers and privileges of the Crown that are identified in the codified constitution. Hence, succession doesn’t pertain to the office because succession isn’t mentioned in the codified constitution.
Unfortunately for the government, these interpretations of the Statute of Westminster and office of the Queen are problematic.
The conventions outlined in the preamble to the Statute of Westminster depended on the power of the United Kingdom to legislate for the Dominions and on the idea that all the realms were under a single Crown. Neither of these conditions holds anymore, as Australian legal scholar Anne Twomey has shown. When Canada and the other Dominions altered their royal styles and titles in 1953, the realms did not assent to British legislation; they legislated for themselves. And Canada’s act made no mention of the Statute of Westminster. In the 1970s Australia and New Zealand enacted new royal styles and titles without consulting the other Dominions, sapping the prescriptive authority of the Statute‘s preamble. Claims that the preamble still applies to succession were further undermined in the 1980s. The authority of the preamble depended on section 4 of the Statute, which allowed the British Parliament to legislate for the Dominions. The Canada Act, 1982 ended the British Parliament’s authority to legislate for Canada and abolished s. 4 of the Statute. Australia followed suited with the Australia Act, 1986, as did New Zealand with its Constitution Act, 1986. The United Kingdom is no longer able to legislate for Canada, Australia or New Zealand, even in matters of succession and even if they assent.
As important, the United Kingdom cannot legislate the succession to the Canadian throne because the British and Canadian Crown are no longer one and the same. The British and Canadian Crowns are legally distinct and independent entities.
The emergence of the distinct and independent Canadian Crown happened gradually and it took time to be properly recognized. Somewhat ironically, the process began with Statute of Westminster, which granted the Dominions legislative independence. As Canadian cabinets monopolized the authority to advise exercises of the Crown’s powers in right of Canada in the decades that followed, the idea of a Canadian Crown took shape. In the early 1950s, the title of Queen of Canada was created. During her coronation, Queen Elizabeth II was proclaimed the Queen of Canada. As the government’s own publication, A Crown of Maples notes, “The proclamation reaffirmed the newly crowned monarch’s position as Queen of Canada, a role totally independent from that as Queen of the United Kingdom and the other Commonwealth realms.”
The final step toward a distinct Canadian Crown was achieved in 1982, when the Canadian constitution was patriated and Canada became a fully sovereign and independent state. While the 1982 patriation ended Canada’s legal ties to Great Britain, the expanded Canadian constitution retained the Crown as the concept of the Canadian state and as ultimate source of sovereign authority in Canada. This fully independent Canadian state could not have the British Crown as the source of its sovereign authority. Nor could it be a shared Crown. The only way Canada could be completely sovereign and independent was to decouple the Canadian Crown from its British counterpart.
The fact that only the Canadian Parliament and provincial legislatures can amend the constitutionally entrenched office of the Queen is a testament to this development. The Canada Act, 1982 and Constitution Act, 1982 gave the Canadian Parliament and provincial legislatures absolute control over the office of the Canadian Sovereign and the wholly independent Canadian Crown. Any claim that Canada and Britain share a Crown in the legal or constitutional sense is therefore incompatible with the complete sovereignty that Canada achieved in 1982.
Justice Minister Rob Nicholson implicitly admitted as much when the succession bill was introduced in the House of Commons on Wedenesday. The minister noted the Governor General had given the bill his consent, a requirement for any bill that touches on the powers and privileges of the Crown. Since the British Crown had already given its consent to the British succession bill and the Canadian government claims that the Crown is shared, it is unclear why the consent of the Governor General, the representative of the Queen of Canada, was required. The only plausible answer is that the succession bill affects the separate and distinct powers and privileges of the Canadian Crown.
If the United Kingdom cannot legislate the rules of succession for the Canadian Crown, it follows that Canada must have the power to determine the rules of succession for its Sovereign and head of state. At present, the Canadian rules of succession are those that were inherited from the United Kingdom. And an argument might be made that they must mirror those of Great Britain absent a constitutional amendment, owing to the preamble of the Constitution Act, 1867. But mirroring the British rules does not mean Canada can simply assent to British bills to bring its succession into line with the United Kingdom’s. If Canada is a sovereign state and has an independent Crown, the Canadian legislatures—Parliament and the provincial legislatures—must pass substantive legislation to ensure that Canada’s rules of succession reflect those of Great Britain, not merely assent to a British law. Here again, the Governor General’s granting of Crown consent to the Canadian bill indicates the government is at least partially aware the British and Canadian Crowns cannot be affected by the same British law.
If we accept that Canada is fully sovereign and that the Canadian Crown is fully independent, then there must be some part of the codified constitution that addresses succession, whether explicitly or implicitly. A strong case can be made that the “office of the Queen” mentioned in s.41(a) must be that provision that addresses the succession to the Canadian throne. Accordingly, any change to the succession to the throne must trigger the amending process identified by s.41(a).
Succession must pertain to the office of the Queen because of the Crown is a “corporation sole.” Corporations sole fuse an office and an office holder. The office and office holder are treated as synonymous in law. This means that, legally speaking, all references to the Queen, Her Majesty and the Crown in Canadian statutes and the constitution refer to the same thing. When the constitution speaks of the office of the Queen, then, it is referring to both the Sovereign and the Crown in the broadest sense.
Most importantly for our purposes, this further means that the office of the Queen extends not only to the current office holder, but to those who will succeed to the office. This is necessarily true precisely because the Crown is a corporation sole.
The purpose of having the Crown as a corporation sole is to ensure that successors to the office of the Sovereign retain all the powers, duties, constraints of the Crown when they ascend to the throne. Hence, when one monarch dies and is replaced by their successor, there is no need to reiterate the established powers, duties and constraints of the Crown. Nor is there any need to rewrite any statutes. Having the Crown as a corporation sole allows for a seamless and automatic transition between the current Sovereign and her successor. So, when the Prince of Wales becomes King Charles III, all references in Canadian statues and the constitution to the Queen and Her Majesty will automatically apply to him because the Crown is a corporation sole.
It is the idea of corporation sole that underlies the cry of “the king is dead; long live the king!” The Crown is never vacant and the Sovereign never dead because, as a corporation sole, the office of Queen (or King) is immediately filled by successors when a monarch passes. Hence, as the canonical jurist of English law William Blackstone noted when discussing the concept: “Corporations sole consist of one person only and his successors, in some particular fashion, who are incorporated in law, in order to give them some legal capacities and advantages, particularly that of perpetuity, which in their natural persons they could not have had. In this sense, the king is a sole corporation.” The office of the Queen necessarily refers to both the current Sovereign and her successors.
To reiterate, then, altering the rules of succession requires a constitutional amendment under s. 41(a) because the Crown is a corporation sole, a legal status that was purposefully designed to ensure that the office of the Queen includes matters of succession.
Recognizing that the Crown is a corporation sole also helps us answer the question that hovers over this entire discussion, namely: how can the Canadian and British Crown be distinct if they’re both personified by Elizabeth II?
The Canadian and British Crowns are distinct corporations sole. As a result, the Queen of Canada and Queen of the United Kingdom are legally distinct office holders, just as the Canadian Crown and British Crown are distinct offices. However, the natural person who occupies these offices, Elizabeth Windsor, is the same. One woman personifies distinct and separate offices. This means that the Canadian and British Crown are under a personal union, but not a legal or constitutional one. Elizabeth Windsor holds the legally independent offices of the Queen/Crown of Canada and the Queen/Crown of the United Kingdom. But when she acts as the Queen of Canada, she is not acting as the Queen of the United Kingdom. The fact that Elizabeth Windsor is both the Queen of Canada and the United Kingdom does not mean that the two states shared a single Crown or Sovereign.
To conclude, it is worth discussing what might happen if we accept the government’s argument that succession is only a matter of British law and that changes to the rules of succession do not require a constitutional amendment. The most obvious consequence of the government’s position is that Canadian republicans will have been proved right: the Crown is an inherently British entity and Canada cannot claim to be an independent state until our ties to the House of Windsor are cut or we become a republic. The government’s view would also mean that Canada would effectively cease to be a constitutional monarchy if the United Kingdom decided to become a republic. The concept that underlies Canada’s entire system of government, the Crown, could be dismantled by another country.
The government’s narrow construction of the office of the Queen under s. 41(a) of the Constitution Act, 1982 may lead to some interesting outcomes, too. If the office of the Queen covers only those powers of the Crown that are explicitly identified in the codified constitution, a future Parliament could pass various statutes to undermine the monarchy without consulting the provinces. One could image, for instance, a future Parliament passing a regency act that transforms the Governor General from the representative of the monarch to the personification of the Crown in Canada, owing to the Sovereign’s absence in Canada. Coupled with a new set of letters patent that transferred all of the Sovereign’s remaining authority to the Governor General, this regency act could be used to exclude the royal family from all Canadian affairs. Since this kind of act would not affect the powers of the Crown included in the codified constitution, Parliament could pass it without consulting the provinces. Of course, it is difficult to imagine that this was the intended spirit of s.41(a), but a narrow construction of the office of the Queen might allow it.
Suffice it to say, while the changes to the succession are laudable, a greater degree of caution and debate is warranted here.
Philippe Lagassé is an assistant professor of public and international affairs at the University of Ottawa. He thanks James W.J. Bowden for his research assistance.
By Patricia Treble - Tuesday, January 1, 2013 at 7:30 AM - 0 Comments
There’s bound to be unexpected surprises in 2013 for the two dozen-odd royal families around the world. After all, who could have predicted that women everywhere would spend so much time analyzing Prince Harry’s derriere from his Las Vegas romp.
Here are five stories guaranteed to make headlines in 2013:
1. The bump: So much attention has already been paid on the pregnancy of Kate, duchess of Cambridge, that a purple-eyed alien from outer space could be forgiven for wondering if the newborn will one day be leader of the Earth. Kate and William will be under an intense spotlight until she delivers, expected to be in July. Every twinge, every smile or frown will be scrutinized. Poor dears.
2. The BIG wedding: Princess Madeleine of Sweden, a.k.a. the most beautiful princess in Europe, is getting married to Anglo-American financier Chris O’Neill. And that means tiaras, long gowns and lots and lots of fashionable royalty. Just feast your eyes on what happened when big sis Victoria got married in 2010. BONUS POINTS: Sweden will be doubly excited given it will happen in time for her father’s ruby jubilee (that’s 40 years on the throne.)
3. Prince Charles turns 65: He’s been heir to the throne for so long that he’s–take a deep breath–grown up, went to university, had a naval career, married Lady Diana Spencer, had two kids before the marriage implode in monumentally spectacular fashion, got divorced, then widowed, then spent eight years with his mistress, Camilla, before they married in 2005, and then spent another eight years together until now, his 65th birthday. It’s so long that he’s been in fashion, then out of fashion (when everyone thought he was a kooky enviro gardening artisto who hated all modernity) before coming back into fashion as the rest of the world realizes that, in this time of global warming and an out of touch elite, that a man born to his position who spends a huge amount of time trying to save the planet (without all of us having to plow a furrow) while getting young people off government aid and into jobs, might be allright.
4. William’s career change: The second in the line to the throne has a big decision to make–renew for another five-year stint with the RAF as a helicopter pilot or go into another military posting, such as the Household Calvary, that will allow him to carry out more royal duties now that his 91-year-old grandfather, Prince Philip, is having to slow down because of bad heath. William loves being a helicopter pilot, able to spend huge amounts of time out of the public eye. But he’s also a Windsor. And that means duty is encoded into his DNA. A true dilemma.
5. Runner-up weddings: Once Andrea Casiraghi’s fiancee gives birth, the second in line to the Monaco throne is supposed to marry heiress Tatiana Santo Domingo. Because of the family’s propensity for sleaze and scandal, expect most top royals to avoid the wedding like a plague. (“Oh so sorry, but that’s the weekend we always clean cobwebs in the turret rooms.”). And mere months after big brother Guillaume got married, Prince Felix of Luxembourg got engaged, giving us a second grand duchy wedding. And unlike Monaco, this will be packed with all the “right sort” of dignitaries.
By Michael Friscolanti - Tuesday, December 11, 2012 at 3:33 PM - 0 Comments
Parenting isn’t easy, but Kate and William’s baby will also be heir to the throne
Elizabeth Alexandra Mary, as she was known back in 1936, was 10 years old when all of England heard the scandalous news. Her uncle, King Edward VIII, had abandoned the throne—ditching his royal obligations in favour of Wallis Simpson, the twice-divorced American woman he had been forbidden to marry. “I have found it impossible to carry the heavy burden of responsibility and to discharge my duties as I would wish to do without the help and support of the woman I love,” he told his subjects in a stunning December radio address from Windsor.
Elizabeth’s father—Edward’s stammering and thoroughly insecure little brother Albert—was suddenly the king. And Elizabeth, his beloved elder daughter, was now the heiress presumptive.
“Does that mean you’ll be queen?” her younger sister, Margaret, famously asked.
“Yes, someday,” Elizabeth answered, as crowds gathered near the family home.
“Poor you,” Margaret said. Continue…
By Ken MacQueen - Friday, November 30, 2012 at 9:00 AM - 0 Comments
Celebrating a remarkable Diamond Jubilee year, our adored Queen is still going strong, in sensible shoes
In the week before Remembrance Sunday, Queen Elizabeth II trekked to the scenic London borough of Richmond Upon Thames to tour the Poppy Factory. She is patron of the Royal British Legion and Prince Harry, her gunship-flying grandson, is among the British and Commonwealth troops in peril in Afghanistan. She was greeted by local dignitaries, toured the production area, had a go at assembling a poppy, and met with staff and clients from the factory-funded employment program for wounded veterans. “The Poppy Factory hasn’t had a visit from the Queen for 20 years,” the facility’s chief executive would later remark. Not that you’d think anyone’s counting—but they are.
By any measure 2012 has been exceptional for the 86-year-old monarch. It marked her 60th year on the throne. She had a historic rapprochement with an ex-Provisional Irish Republican Army commander, whose group blew up her cousin Lord Louis Mountbatten 33 years ago. She presided over the opening ceremonies of London’s Olympic and Paralympic Games, including a star turn with Daniel Craig’s James Bond. On Nov. 20, Elizabeth and 91-year-old Prince Philip observed their 65th wedding anniversary. Continue…
By macleans.ca - Thursday, November 15, 2012 at 5:30 AM - 0 Comments
Sonia Sotomayor hits Sesame Street, Robert Mugabe is the new Cecil Rhodes, plus a king-in-not-waiting
The full-bore FAQ
The royal family still feeds Prince Charles now that he’s 64—just not seven eggs at breakfast, as per popular myth. That and other long-held beliefs about the Prince of Wales were laid to rest this week in an FAQ released by Clarence House on the occasion of Charles’s birthday, as part of the royals’ ongoing effort to put a more normal face on their sometimes remote heir. He doesn’t duck taxes, advocate use of dangerous alternative therapies or loathe modern architecture, according to officials. And he doesn’t spend any—repeat, any—time thinking about being king. All of which is too bad: those were things that made him interesting.
Now, put that wand away
No sooner is Barack Obama re-elected than his first Supreme Court appointee is out spreading his radical anti-princess agenda. Sonia Sotomayor appeared on Sesame Street to confront a pink muppet named Abby who was dressed as a Disney-style princess, telling her that pretending to be a princess “is definitely not a career,” and encouraging girls to be “a teacher, a lawyer, a doctor, an engineer and even a scientist” instead. But her profession hasn’t been very helpful to Kevin Clash, the puppeteer who plays Elmo on the iconic kids’ show. He took a leave of absence after being accused of sexual misconduct, an accusation that was then recanted in a statement by the accuser’s law firm. Maybe he’d be happier if more people became princesses, not lawyers. Continue…
By Tamsin McMahon - Wednesday, August 15, 2012 at 1:45 PM - 0 Comments
No joke: 21 people and 74 pages of emails
How many federal officials does it take to answer a few questions about a $500 grant for a tea party in Prince Edward Island in honour of the Queen?
According to e-mails recently released by the federal government under Access to Information, the answer is: 21.
Back in May, Maclean’s decided to write a small light-hearted story about the federal government’s $2 million fund for cities and towns to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee.
Local media stories in Prince Edward Island highlighted the fact that the tiny province had been budgeted to receive $170,000, the second-largest sum in the country, behind Ontario. It was a surprising fact given that Prince Charles and his wife, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, hadn’t actually planned any stops in PEI on their Canadian tour.
By Patricia Treble - Tuesday, July 10, 2012 at 1:05 PM - 0 Comments
It’s been a frustrating year for Princess Beatrice. Ever since September, when she graduated from Goldsmiths’ College at the University of London with an upper second class history degree, she’s been hunting for a permanent job. It hasn’t been easy—she’s got a bit of a rep as someone very impressed by her own title. Still, most other royals of her generation have knuckled down, gotten jobs and built careers. Look at cousin Zara Phillips, who is going to the Olympics as a former world three-day eventing champion. And that’s a title that’s earned, rather than handed out to anyone with a nice pedigree.
As Beatrice’s search went on and on, and as 2011 turned into 2012 with no announcement forthcoming, gossip grew. By May, the Telegraph ran a story headlined, “How do you solve a problem like Princess Beatrice?” It reported that attempts by her father, Prince Andrew, to get her a big royal gig had been soundly rejected by the Prince of Wales:
There are currently 16 full-time working members of the Royal family but the Prince of Wales is said to favour cutting that number to eight or nine when he becomes king, leaving no room for the likes of Beatrice and Eugenie, or their younger cousins Viscount Severn and Lady Louise Mountbatten-Windsor, when they come of age. So, to misquote Oscar Hammerstein, how do you solve a problem like Beatrice?
Apparently, realizing nothing was going to come her way unless she worked for it, the Princess did some work placements, broadening out from an initial focus on fashion and fine arts. Finally, in late June the Express hinted that Beatrice was about to get a fulltime job: “The Queen’s granddaughter is said to be on the verge of committing to a full-time career in business and finance. Beatrice, 23, has been working at venture capitalist firm Cabot Square Capital, where it is looking increasingly likely she will be offered a job. The company, founded in 1996, invests in “companies supported by strong cash flow and real assets in growing markets”, says its website. A source close to Beatrice revealed: ‘She has set her sights on working in finance. She is very entrepreneurial and wants to go into business, perhaps even running her own business one day.’ ” According to the Mail on Sunday, she’s just got to pass her finance exams before Cabot Square Capitol takes her on permanently.
The push to get her career finally settled could have something to do with a bit of competition from her little sister, Eugenie, who’s already pounding the pavement after her recent graduation from Newcastle University with an art degree. By all accounts, she’s networking like mad to land a job at an auction house.
By Patricia Treble - Friday, June 29, 2012 at 3:37 PM - 0 Comments
The world is so obsessed with the clothes worn by Catherine, duchess of Cambridge, that word her father-in-law Prince Charles was releasing his annual financial report this week sent everyone into a guessing game called How Much Did Kate Blow on Clothes?
On June 25 the Telegraph and other papers reported that the grand total for 2011was 35,000 pounds ($56,000). The next day, the Daily Mail tripled the amount to 105,000 pounds ($168,000) and had a extensive price list to back up its claim. Two days after that, Hello dropped that amount to 70,000 pounds ($112,000). It’s not surprising that these totals sparked so much interest, especially considering she only undertook 34 engagements in 2011 and is on track to only slightly improve that total this year.
But since her engagement in November 2010, Kate has had to create a wardrobe from scratch and, until the last few weeks, never repeated an outfit from one official engagement to another official function. Though she seems to always wear the same pair of beige L.K. Bennett platform pumps, a scan through her wardrobe on the authoritative Cambridge Chic site shows that she was wearing increasingly high-end, high-cost couture outfits rather than the more plebeian offerings that her sister wears. Kate is to Alexander MacQueen what Pippa is to Zara.
Though the annual report, released Friday, didn’t have a category called “Catherine’s clothes,” it is clear is that the vast majority of bills go to her father-in-law, who is, by all accounts, happy to pay. Cost for work-related clothes are allocated through his official expenses while bills for off-duty outfits funnel through his private accounts. (According to Hello, only clothes purchased specifically for overseas trips get paid for by the government, in this case the Foreign Office.) Charles’s private funds come from the Duchy of Cornwall, which is the historical estate belonging to the heir to the throne on which he pays a 50-per cent tax rate. As the annual report states:
The Prince of Wales’s private income comes from the Duchy of Cornwall, an estate comprising agricultural, commercial and residential property mostly in the South West of England. The Duchy also has a financial investment portfolio. His Royal Highness chooses to use the majority of his income from the Duchy to meet the cost of his, The Duchess of Cornwall’s, The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s and Prince Harry’s public and charitable work.
For the fiscal year ending March 31, the Duchy of Cornwall income amounted to $29 million. Even after paying for staff, there’s a lot left over for shoes in a colours other than beige.
By Jessica Allen - Tuesday, June 5, 2012 at 12:27 PM - 0 Comments
And a rather large shout-out to dad from Buckingham Palace
Monday night’s Diamond Jubilee concert will be televised tonight on CTV. In the meantime, there’s this little snippet of Prince Charles’ speech to his mother. It’s studded with so many great moments that are both tender and funny here. And the Queen’s reactions, or sometimes lack thereof, are priceless.
Update! Here’s the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee message.
By Patricia Treble - Tuesday, June 5, 2012 at 11:37 AM - 0 Comments
The royal family unleashed the big fashion guns for the final, and most important, day of the Diamond Jubilee weekend (find all of our coverage here.) It was a day that started with a solemn service of thanksgiving at St. Paul’s Cathedral and ended with a traditional balcony scene at Buckingham Palace in front of millions of screaming Brits. So who was a stylish hit, and who swung and missed?
By John Fraser - Wednesday, March 21, 2012 at 10:51 AM - 0 Comments
He’s been in line for the throne longer than any heir in history—and he’s worked it to his advantage
Throughout most of his adult life, Prince Charles, heir to the throne and king the moment his mother, the Queen, dies and hands on the hereditary torch, has been the principal victim of the media royalty mania. He has been subjected to more ridicule, innuendo, outright fabrication and grotesque invasion of privacy than almost any other individual alive today. Part of the problem, of course, is that he has opinions that some people disagree with. An equal part of the problem is that the women in the house of Windsor live a long time, and he has been in the waiting line longer than any heir to the throne in history.
The longevity of the Windsor women is not a joke, at least not to him. His beloved Scottish grandmother, Queen Elizabeth, the wife of King George VI, ruled our hearts much longer as the Queen Mother than she ever did as queen consort, and lived on till she was past her century. Charles’s own mother, our Queen, looks set to break even that record. Since he was born in 1948 and the Queen won’t reach her centenary until 2026 and, say, we give her two years of grace following that epochal moment, Charles can look forward to wearing the imperial state crown round about 2028 or 2029, at the ample age of 80 or 81. His enemies wonder if he winces when loyalists say, “Long live the Queen,” which shows how little they understand Prince Charles. His ﬂaws, both those that are real and those that are imagined but nevertheless widely ascribed to him, have been trotted out so often and for so long that most people haven’t any real and tangible idea who he really is.
Everything that is decent and good about Prince Charles comes as a shock to those who insist he is a crank or a wonk or a wuss or a doofus or a whatever. His skill at athletics, his bravery during assassination attempts (check out Google for the one in Australia in 1994 if you want a deﬁnition of sang-froid), his prophetic wisdom about ecology, his genius as a loving and wise father, his careful aim at arrogant professionals (like architects who enjoy obliterating or desecrating monuments of the past such as the National Gallery in London or the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto), his astuteness as a businessman, his support of corporate responsibility, his effectiveness in ﬁghting social inertia amongst the young and unemployed, his inspired ability to transcend religious differences and animosity, his dutifulness to his mother and sovereign: whenever you hear about these qualities Charles possesses, they always seem to be presented as a footnote to a portrait of either an idiot savant (at best) or—more typically—a meddling, dangerous fool. And still he waits and waits.
By John Fraser - Friday, April 29, 2011 at 6:00 AM - 9 Comments
Now they’re both in waiting. Whoever prevails, there’s never been a better time to renew our royal roots
Everything is in readiness for Prince William to receive Catherine Middleton on Friday, April 29, when she takes the long walk down Westminster Abbey’s storied nave and they pledge to each other “to have and to hold, for better, for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health.”
The RAF trumpeters will be standing ready for their post-signing fanfare; the princess-to-be managed to get herself confirmed into the Church of England in the nick of time; Prince Harry will be planning some sort of practical joke in the manner of the better sort of best men; and the Middletons, père et mère, have probably worked out what on Earth they will say to the Prince of Wales and Camilla, duchess of Cornwall as they ride together during the carriage ride from the Abbey to Buckingham Palace after the ceremony.
Most of the burning questions of the day will have been answered by the day’s end, from the name of the fashion designer who got to make the Dress of Dresses to whether or not the bride’s over-the-top millionaire uncle (his colourful-sounding residence on the Spanish island of Ibiza is called La Casa de Bang-Bang) behaved himself at the palace. The only real question that can’t be answered, despite all the royalist hoopla, is whether or not William will ever be king. That’s king as in King of Canada.
By Rosalind Miles - Wednesday, April 27, 2011 at 9:40 AM - 3 Comments
Courtesy of queen-to-be Catherine, ‘Diana’s frail spirit at last may cross the Styx.’
The wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton is warmly welcomed in Britain and elsewhere. A young couple deeply in love, a much-needed fillip for the royal family, a handsome prince, a stylish young bride and, in time, the patter of tiny feet—what’s not to like? In corporate terms, the Windsors are refreshing the brand. And everybody wants in.
Gossip columnists from Lake Louise to Louisiana are buzzing about who’s been invited to the wedding, and who’s not. Leaks have revealed old lovers of both groom and bride, new staff discreetly supporting both, and various chums of various older royals, present for various reasons, don’t ask why. One name did not appear on any list, or any roll call of the living for the last 14 years. But she’ll be there, invited or not. Who’d be more welcome than a mother at the marriage of her elder son? Hence the need of the young couple to call up Diana’s shade, and honour her plangent absence at the feast.
And hence the brilliant and simple idea to bring her back into the fold—by recycling the ring. Someone in royal circles foresaw this as a major part of the story—even in the “informal” Mario Testino snaps, the ring takes centre stage, almost eclipsing the two lovers. Formerly one of the most famous sapphire rings in the world, it had lain unseen and forgotten for a decade and a half. Bringing it to light was a startling and unexpected PR coup, which officially launched a new season of Diana marriage coverage. It gave the media royal permission to revisit every detail of her wedding preparations from the gown to the honeymoon, thereby recalling and enshrining Diana, princess of Wales at the highest point of her value to the monarchy, when she’d attracted huge affection as Charles’s bride, and before she undermined it by upstaging him.
By Stephanie Findlay - Thursday, November 25, 2010 at 3:00 PM - 1 Comment
Princess Di chose the stone that her son’s new fiancée wears with pride
On Friday, Feb. 6, 1981, on the grounds of Windsor Castle, Prince Charles proposed to Diana—sans ring. It came two weeks later on Feb. 22, when he and Diana were having an intimate evening with the Queen. Diana described being presented with a choice of potential gems in Andrew Morton’s 1992 book Diana: Her True Story. “A briefcase comes along on the pretext that Andrew is getting a signet ring for his 21st birthday and along come these sapphires. I mean nuggets! I suppose I chose it, we all chipped in. The Queen paid for it.”
The ring in question was a large oval sapphire surrounded by 14 round diamonds and set in 18-karat white gold, worth $67,000 and made by jeweller Garrard & Co., the official crown jewellers at the time.
Just two days later, on Feb. 24, following a private lunch with the Queen, Lady Diana Spencer and Charles officially announced their engagement. On the grounds of Buckingham Palace, the future princess of Wales posed for photographers awkwardly, placing her hand across her body assuming an uncomfortable, defensive position. Tina Brown, author of The Diana Chronicles, wrote that her department-store outﬁt, picked days before off a rack at Harrods, was “air-stewardess blue with a matronly print blouse tied by a large pussycat bow that made her look like a zaftig Sloane on the frontispiece of Country Life.”
By Anne Kingston - Thursday, November 25, 2010 at 1:40 PM - 0 Comments
Why William and Kate’s royal marriage may actually work out
Now that Prince William and Kate Middleton have finally announced their engagement, British bookies can begin to assign odds on the next inevitable speculatory salvos about the couple. Wedding date? First due date? And, of course, in a nation where the royal family routinely contributes to divorce statistics, how long the marriage will last.
Based on the couple’s first media appearance this week, however, they appear to be in it for the long haul—and decidedly on their own terms. That was evident with the surprising news that the prince had given his fiancée the much-knocked-off sapphire-diamond engagement ring his father, Prince Charles, gave his mother, Lady Diana Spencer, some 30 years ago. Some might balk at passing on a ring symbolizing a union that would come to be fractured beyond repair, but it was a masterstroke that felled the elephant in the room. The gesture elegantly, yet defiantly, salvaged family tradition. It recycled an heirloom, a nod to his father’s concern for the environment, while paying tribute to his beloved mother. “It was my way of making sure my mother didn’t miss out on today and the excitement and the fact we’re going to spend the rest of our lives together,” Prince William told a press scrum as a collective “whoosh” of the melting hearts of women over 50 echoed throughout the land.
By Julia Belluz - Thursday, November 25, 2010 at 10:20 AM - 0 Comments
Will and Kate will likely follow in family footsteps, wherever they choose to tie the knot
When you’re the future king of Britain, and your options for a wedding venue are haunted by a minefield of failed family marriages, choosing a church is no simple task. Following the announcement by Prince William and Kate Middleton that their nuptials will “take place in London” next year, betting began on the site of the royal ceremony.
The historic central London venues, Westminster Abbey and St. Paul’s Cathedral, came in as favourites. The latter, a baroque cathedral inspired by St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, is steeped in enough British history to befit a future sovereign. It was the site of Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee, and the 80th and 100th birthdays of the queen mother. On a practical note, the dome-topped church is known for its excellent acoustics and dramatically long procession route.
By macleans.ca - Tuesday, November 16, 2010 at 5:44 PM - 0 Comments
A look back at the most memorable royal weddings
By macleans.ca - Friday, October 15, 2010 at 8:00 AM - 0 Comments
Arnold Schwarzenegger has advice for Russia, Naomi Campbell’s unwitting good deed, and Kim Jong Il’s other son
The prince gets down
Prince Charles, donning a red bindi, charmed locals with a charmingly poor dancing form while visiting the northern Indian city of Jodhpur during India’s Commonwealth Games. After some cajoling, he began to follow the movements of the elderly farmers, and began to smile as he twirled about.
And long may you run
Omemee, Ont., a wide spot on the highway between Lindsay and Peterborough, is the early childhood home of rock icon Neil Young. It’s also the site of Youngtown, a museum packed to the rafters with rock memorabilia of every sort, and a tribute to the Young family, including Neil’s late father, storied sportswriter and author Scott Young. Last week Neil and his older brother, Bob, visited the museum for the first time since it opened in 2008. “The hour-long visit was simply an awesome experience for this writer,” museum founder and collector in chief, Trevor Hosier, wrote on Youngtown’s Facebook page, “and I’m glad to report that we passed the audition.”
By Patricia Treble - Thursday, July 1, 2010 at 11:00 AM - 0 Comments
The Queen and her family have visited Canada countless times. This marks her 23rd visit since 1951.
They might not live in Canada, but the royal family sure visit a lot. They’ve come alone, with spouses and sometimes with kids. When Princess Anne competed at the 1976 Olympics in Montreal, her husband, three brothers and her parents came to support her. It is the only time the entire royal family has been abroad in one place. The most frequent visitor is Prince Philip, who has crossed the Atlantic 43 times, including 22 times with his wife, Elizabeth (not counting their upcoming tour).
By Andrew Potter - Tuesday, June 29, 2010 at 9:56 PM - 16 Comments
The author has called off his book tour. I really, really hope he’s ok.
Christopher Hitchens is one of my heroes. If his book sales are any indication, I’m not alone in this. I have a copy of Hitch-22 sitting on my desk that I started a few weeks ago, and put down after ten pages because I realized once I got into it, it was going to occupy all my thoughts and attention for a good stretch of time. So that’s this long weekend’s project.
Hitchens has been on a punishing book tour — lucky fellow — that he cancelled indefinitely today, citing personal reasons (and amidst rumours he was seen being stretchered off an airplane).
One of Hitchens’ own heroes is Orwell, and his admiration for Orwell’s writing sometimes tips from homage to parody. Which is this? Maybe we can ask Queen Elizabeth while she’s here:
“One sometimes gets the impression that the mere words ‘Socialism’ and ‘Communism’ draw towards them with magnetic force every fruit-juice drinker, nudist, sandal-wearer, sex-maniac, Quaker, ‘Nature Cure’ quack, pacifist and feminist in England.” — Orwell, Wigan Pier
“The heir to the throne seems to possess the ability to surround himself—perhaps by some mysterious ultramagnetic force?—with every moon-faced spoon-bender, shrub-flatterer, and water-diviner within range.” — Hitchens, on Prince Charles.
I really, really hope he’s ok.
By Anne Kingston - Friday, June 25, 2010 at 9:00 AM - 11 Comments
Through family tragedy and scandal, William and Harry’s one constant has been each other
This month, a cold-blooded African rock python provided the British royal family with its most heartwarming photo op in years. In a gesture that suggests relaxed regard for the future of the monarchy, the deadly reptile was draped around the necks of a smiling Prince William and a decidedly trepidatious Prince Harry during their visit to Botswana. The snake, too, was apparently nervous, urinating on the floor. Then, in a classic younger-brother moment, Harry grabbed the snake’s head and mischievously pushed it toward his older sibling as they both laughed, and camera flashes popped.
Such affectionate gestures punctuated the brothers’ African trip, their first joint overseas tour. William showed the same easy warmth and charm for which his mother Diana, Princess of Wales, was famed; Harry followed his lead, as he bonded with orphans and visited an orphanage funded by the Sentebale AIDS charity he helped found in Lesotho.
By macleans.ca - Friday, June 18, 2010 at 9:00 AM - 0 Comments
Ashley Judd vs. miners, “Sonny” Franzese rats out his dad, and Shaun White finds another sport he’s brilliant at
Run all the way home, boys
Prime Minister David Cameron jogged with British troops in Afghanistan Friday and said their mission was about “our national security in the U.K.” The task isn’t a “dreamy idea” of building a model society, he said. “We are here to help the Afghans take control of their security so we can go home.”
Anything but harmonized
British Columbia’s version of the anti-tax Tea Party continues to gather steam. On Friday, provincial Energy Minister Blair Lekstrom quit the cabinet and the Liberal caucus to protest government plans to press ahead with the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) on July 1. Opinion is divided: was Lekstrom acting on principle or trying to save his political skin? More than 15 per cent of B.C. voters have signed a recall campaign opposing the tax. What isn’t in dispute is that Premier Gordon Campbell is in trouble, thanks to recall organizer Bill Vander Zalm. The 76-year-old Vander Zalm resigned as premier in 1991 after questionable business dealings caused a public uprising.