By Leah McLaren - Friday, May 10, 2013 - 0 Comments
Critics slam the 133rd official portrait of Elizabeth II, but Her Majesty is not an easy subject to capture
Last week, the 133rd official portrait of the Queen was unveiled in a ceremony at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, Wales. Painted by the Welsh artist Dan Llywelyn Hall, the impressionistic, larger-than-life image depicts the monarch looking bosomy in a stiff red dress, fingering her wedding ring, with a facial expression that could either be described as “quietly serene” or “utterly blank”—depending on your point of view.
And speaking of viewpoints, the British critical press did not waste time voicing theirs; a towering wave of acid disapproval washed over the commission within hours of its presentation. Almost instantly, the press had cruelly dubbed it the “Spitting Image puppet” portrait, for its cartoonish, exaggerated look. The Telegraph’s Harry Wallop was particularly sharp, declaring the painting “makes Her Majesty looks as if she is Mammy Two Shoes from Tom & Jerry. Her fingers are as fat and spongy as Wall’s sausages and her expression is as vibrant as a stale pork pie.” Hall, for his part, sniffed that he “wouldn’t change a thing.”
As official unveilings go, it was no surprise. Since the Queen’s ascension to the throne 61 years ago, the portraits that have met with critical approval have been few and far between. Whether it was Lucian Freud’s famous 2001 close-up, produced over 18 two-hour sittings and hammered by the press (the Times famously described the face as having “six-o’clock shadow and the neck that would not disgrace a rugby prop forward”), Justin Mortimer’s 1998 controversial Warholian apparition, or John Napper’s 1953 “long neck” portrait, which received such a critical drubbing, it was locked away in the bowels of Liverpool town hall for nearly half a century afterward, the Queen—for all her openness and availability to painters—has proved a very difficult subject.
By The Canadian Press - Friday, April 26, 2013 at 10:03 PM - 0 Comments
TORONTO – Prince Philip was awarded the highest level of the Order of Canada…
TORONTO – Prince Philip was awarded the highest level of the Order of Canada shortly after arriving in Toronto on Friday for a brief royal visit.
At a downtown reception, Gov. Gen. David Johnston presented the Duke of Edinburgh with the insignias of Companion of the Order of Canada and Commander of the Order of Military Merit.
Secretary to the Governor General, Stephen Wallace, said during the ceremony that Philip “has long embodied dignity, loyalty and service to others” and has helped advance the personal achievement of young Canadians through the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award.
“Through his many visits to Canada, both on his own and with Her Majesty The Queen, he has shown his lasting concern for our country and for Canadians,” Wallace said.
By Patricia Treble - Friday, April 26, 2013 at 4:43 PM - 0 Comments
On Tuesday, the Netherlands gets a new monarch when Willem-Alexander exchanges his current title of crown prince for that of king. His mother, Beatrix, 75, is abdicating after 23 years on the throne.
On Queen’s Day (Apr. 30), a formal investiture will be held in Amsterdam, where the prince swears allegiance to the nation’s charter and constitution. It’s going to be a day packed with pageantry and pomp. But for all the excitement over getting its first king in 123 years, what a lot of people want to see is his new queen, Máxima. She’ll be the first queen from Argentina and comes with baggage. Daddy was a cabinet minister when a military junta ruthlessly ruled the South American country. Though he’s denied knowing about the torture and disappearances under the junta, he was barred from his daughter’s wedding and will watch the investiture on the telly. And the events keep haunting Máxima.
Máxima herself is immensely popular in the Netherlands. She’s vivacious, beautiful and has a knack for making ordinary folk feel comfortable. And she’s completely fluent in Dutch, which isn’t one of the easiest languages to learn. She’s also got a rather eclectic dress sense. There are times when she’s beautifully turned out, and times when she looks like she woke up late and ran out the door in a panic.
One thing is sure: she’ll be wearing one of the royal family’s tiaras—they have an unbelievable collection. The Royal Order of Sartorial Splendor has a great listing of all the ones she’s worn, and those of the family (scroll down on this link to the Netherlands section, then get ready to ooh and ahh).
She’s the first of a new generation of modern, fashionable queen consorts about to flood onto European thrones. Coming in the upcoming years are: Denmark’s Mary, originally from Australia; Letizia of Spain; Mette-Marit of Norway and Mathilde of Belgium. And of course Victoria of Sweden who will one day be upgraded to queen in her own right. Sure, some of their clothes choices are questionable (Mette-Marit: step right up) but they’re not afraid to be stylishly adventurous, and mix traditional designers with high street fashions.
So brace yourself, because Tuesday marks a whole new era for royal Europe.
By The Canadian Press - Friday, April 26, 2013 at 7:53 AM - 0 Comments
TORONTO – Prince Philip arrives in Toronto today to kick off what Ottawa calls…
TORONTO – Prince Philip arrives in Toronto today to kick off what Ottawa calls a “private working visit.”
The Duke of Edinburgh will be welcomed this afternoon by Governor General David Johnston.
On Saturday, Prince Philip will be at the provincial legislature to take part in a breakfast reception with Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne and Lieutenant-Governor David Onley.
He will then present a new regimental colour to the Third Battalion of the Royal Canadian Regiment on the grounds of Queen’s Park.
Regimental colours are a kind of ceremonial flag considered the most prized possession of every regiment.
The prince has served as the regiment’s colonel-in-chief — an honorary title often bestowed on members of the Royal Family — since 1953.
By Patricia Treble - Thursday, April 11, 2013 at 3:25 PM - 0 Comments
So after weeks of being consigned to the bargain basement of possible royal baby names, Alexandra has surged in recent days from 10:1 odds to a 2:1 favourite. (Even “Barack” makes an appearance, at 200:1, mind you.)
Well, way back in December–when the pregnancy was initially announced–everyone was plumping for Elizabeth, or possibly Diana.
Here was the list from Ladbrokes, the betting agency:
Yet, within hours of the news that Kate was in hospital with acute morning sickness, I’d created a list of my favourite names for the future monarch—five for a girl and the same number for a boy, along with my reasonings. The first choice? Alexandra (Philip was my top pick for a boy).
While no one is going to know who’s right and who’s wrong until the baby is born—Kate recently said it’s due mid-July—it’s kinda nice to think the world is coming around to my way of thinking. At least in Britain’s gambling shops.
By Patricia Treble - Thursday, March 21, 2013 at 5:24 PM - 0 Comments
Recently the health of the older generation of royals has been under a microscope. First the Queen all but disappeared from view after she was admitted to hospital with gastroenteritis on March 4. Big public engagements were cancelled, including a trip to Italy, though she did continue with those that were in the safe confines of royal residences.
Finally, on Wednesday, she moved back into the limelight, going to the Baker Street Station of the London Underground for the 150th anniversary of the oldest subway system in the world.
Then today, Buckingham Palace confirmed that her cousin, HRH Prince Edward, duke of Kent, was admitted to hospital. He’d suffered a minor stroke, sources said. All of his engagements have been cancelled.
And that brings up a demographic time bomb placed at the heart of the Windsor team. For, according to Tim O’Donovan’s meticulous accounting of annual royal duties, members of the family undertook 4,470 engagements in 2012. And of those, 25 per cent were done by Windsors over the age of 76, including the Queen, Prince Philip, the duke of Kent and his sister, Princess Alexandra. Extend the group of royals to those age 60 and older and the number jumps to 3,019 or 67 per cent.
By Patricia Treble - Friday, March 8, 2013 at 5:04 PM - 0 Comments
Did Kate spill the beans that she’s expecting a daughter? For all those not following the kerfuffle, a recap. During a visit earlier this week to Grimsby earlier, Kate was handed a teddy and thanked the lady for the gift.
A woman who overheard the exchange told reporters that Kate said, “Thank you, I will take that for my d…” Speculation flew that Kate meant “daughter,” accidently revealing that she was carrying the future queen regnant. Then, as people examined video of the incident frame by frame, doubts set in. Did she mean “dog”—her young cocker spaniel Lupo—but stopped because it would be rude to say she was going to use the gift as a canine chew toy?
Now the Daily Mail claims to have have the definitive answer to the vexing question—and a video taken of the exchange that the London tabloid says backs up their claim. Here’s their money paragraph:
By Patricia Treble - Sunday, March 3, 2013 at 12:58 PM - 0 Comments
For the first time in a decade, the Queen is in hospital, felled by a tummy bug. In its usual terse manner, Buckingham Palace announced:
“The Queen is being assessed at the King Edward VII Hospital, London, after experiencing symptoms of gastroenteritis. As a precaution, all official engagements for this week will regrettably be either postponed or cancelled.”
The statement comes three days after the palace revealed the Queen was cancelling Saturday’s visit to Wales to present leeks to the 3rd Battalion of the Royal Welsh regiment on St. David’s Day. That announcement was the first indication she had a stomach bug: The Queen will no longer visit Swansea tomorrow as she is experiencing symptoms of gastroenteritis. She will be assessed in the coming days. Her Majesty is currently spending the weekend at Windsor, as usual.” The ancient castle has been her weekend home for the last 60 years.
For anyone who has had an elderly relative felled by gastroenteritis knows this isn’t something to be trifled with. According to the Centres for Disease Control, “Gastroenteritis means inflammation of the stomach and small and large intestines. Viral gastroenteritis is an infection caused by a variety of viruses that results in vomiting or diarrhea. It is often called the ‘stomach flu,’ although it is not caused by the influenza viruses.” It can start suddenly and is highly contagious–noroviruses notoriously turn cruise ships into medical disaster zones. While gastroenteritis isn’t serious for most, it can be for those who can’t drink enough fluids to replace what is being lost. For those, recovery involves a stay in hospital so they don’t become dehydrated.
The Queen, who turns 87 on April 21, isn’t one given to cancelling engagements just because she’s a bit under the weather. It has to be something major, such as a flare up of chronic back trouble that caused her to hand over duties at an investiture to Prince Charles last October rather than spend hours on her feet, leaning over to pin medals on recipients. Indeed, in 2012, her Diamond Jubilee year, she fulfilled 425 engagements and it was the bad health of Prince Philip–three hospital admissions in eight months including one for heart trouble–that had everyone concerned.
For the Queen, this current illness was serious enough that she was admitted to hospital, but not clearly bad enough that she couldn’t travel from Windsor Castle into London to the royal family’s favourite medical centre, King Edward VII Hospital. Still, her official visit to Italy that was set to start on March 6 is off. And that may not be a bad thing. She could not have been looking forward to landing in the middle of the chaos gripping Italy–its politics are being roiled by an inconclusive election (“Send in the clowns,” is a cover line on The Economist) and Rome is fixated by the upcoming election of a new pope. Though given Prince Philip’s propensity for colourful quips (here and here), it would have been a headline-generating visit.
By Patricia Treble - Tuesday, February 19, 2013 at 8:16 AM - 0 Comments
“Her eyes are dead.” “She appears precision-made, machine made.” “Designed to breed in some manners.” Those are a few of the harsh comments directed at Kate, duchess of Cambridge by Hilary Mantel, who’s won two Booker prizes for instalments of her popular Thomas Cromwell series. They come from a biting lecture, “Royal Bodies,” delivered on Feb. 4 but just noticed by the press, at the British Museum for a London Review of Books series. While the lecture covers the baby-making qualities of everyone from Anne Boleyn to Marie Antoinette and Diana, princess of Wales, Mantel’s criticisms of Kate are its heart.
“Kate becoming a jointed doll on which certain rags are hung. In those days she was a shop-window mannequin, with no personality of her own, entirely defined by what she wore. These days she is a mother-to-be, and draped in another set of threadbare attributions…Kate seems to have been selected for her role of princess because she was irreproachable: as painfully thin as anyone could wish, without quirks, without oddities, without the risk of the emergence of character. She appears precision-made, machine-made, so different from Diana whose human awkwardness and emotional incontinence showed in her every gesture. Diana was capable of transforming herself from galumphing schoolgirl to ice queen, from wraith to Amazon. Kate seems capable of going from perfect bride to perfect mother, with no messy deviation.”
Even Prime Minister David Cameron stepped into the controversy, calling Mantel’s comments “completely misguided and completely wrong.” The tabloids, needless to say, have gone ballistic. And, for them, the timing couldn’t be better, for they could juxtapose Mantel’s biting works with new pictures of Kate. Tuesday, she appeared at her first engagement in two months. Showing off her baby bump in a close-fitting wrap dress, she visited one of her charities, Hope House, an addiction recovery centre foe women in London.
Though seemingly harsh for the sake gaining attention when it comes to Kate, Mantel’s lecture is also a rollickingly good read, especially when she highlights the regal gilded cage–”everybody stares at them, and however airy the enclosure they inhabit, it’s still a cage”— in which the Windsors live:
“I used to think that the interesting issue was whether we should have a monarchy or not. But now I think that question is rather like, should we have pandas or not? Our current royal family doesn’t have the difficulties in breeding that pandas do, but pandas and royal persons alike are expensive to conserve and ill-adapted to any modern environment. But aren’t they interesting? Aren’t they nice to look at? Some people find them endearing; some pity them for their precarious situation; everybody stares at them, and however airy the enclosure they inhabit, it’s still a cage.”
By Leah McLaren - Sunday, February 3, 2013 at 7:00 AM - 0 Comments
Let’s hear it for Harry, the most huggable Windsor in history. Forget the heir, long live the spare.
Now that the royal pregnancy is safely under way, let’s turn our attention to the other brother, shall we? I mean Prince Harry, of course—that wonderful, grinning, golden Labrador of a royal—master of the TMZ generation, ruler of all frat brothers, the emperor of strip poker and a bloody good soldier. Let’s hear it for Harry, the most huggable Windsor in history. Forget the heir, long live the spare!
When Harry bounded back into the spotlight recently by giving “his most candid interview ever” to various British TV news outlets—a set of interviews conducted over Christmas and broadcast within minutes of his departure from his second tour of duty in Afghanistan—the whole world jumped up off the collective sofa and danced Gangnam-style. We did this because Harry, like weird Korean pop videos, simply makes us happy. Even in the darkest days of January, under threat of a triple-dip recession, the sight of his freckle-faced grin and strawberry-blond brush cut, gives the British public (and its Commonwealth brethren) the will to live another winter. Continue…
By Shanda Deziel - Monday, January 21, 2013 at 6:23 PM - 0 Comments
Videos of Harry in Afghanistan give clear picture of young prince
Now that Prince Harry’s Afghanistan deployment is over, video footage from Afghanistan is flowing in. TV crews had limited access to the Prince during his stint at Camp Bastion—and agreed to air the footage only after the deployment was over. It was an agreement made so that the media wouldn’t speculate on his whereabouts as they did during his last deployment, forcing him home early.
During the interviews the helicopter co-pilot gunner speaks of how he’s looking forward to being an uncle, about the unfortunate naked partying incident in Las Vegas, about killing Taliban, and gives tours of his barracks. Throughout though, his main concern seems to be getting across his understandable vexation with the media and his and his family’s lack of privacy:
“I’ve seen it too many times that someone behind a desk writes something, a story about someone that can end up persuading the whole nation on people’s opinions of that individual….Hopefully no one actually believes what they read. All it does is upset me and anger me that people can get away with writing the stuff they do, not just about me but about everybody.”
On the Vegas incident: “Yes, people might look at it going, ‘he was letting off steam. It’s all understandable now, he was going off to Afghanistan.’ But the papers knew I was going off to Afghanistan. The way that I was treated from them I didn’t think was acceptable.” (BBC)
On Kate’s pregnancy: “It was very unfortunate they had to publicize it when they did, but that’s just the media for you. I only hope that she and him, but mainly Catherine get the necessary protection to allow her, as a mother-to-be, to enjoy the privacy that that comes with. I had a chat to them, I didn’t send a letter of congratulations like most of the papers…how any of the papers know the relationship between myself and my sister-in-law is quite remarkable. But they’re wrong as always.” (BBC)
“I’m out here doing a job and I really enjoy it. I never wanted you guys to be out here, but there was an agreement made to invite you out—on the deal that you the media didn’t speculate before my deployment. That’s the only reason you guys are out here. It’s not a media stunt or nothing like that.” (BBC)
By Patricia Treble - Wednesday, January 9, 2013 at 5:21 PM - 0 Comments
When the birthday girl is already living a fairytale, figuring out how to mark her 31st birthday must be a nightmare.
But not for the Queen. She didn’t shop online for a nice cashmere scarf to hide Kate’s baby bump or a gift certificate for a new pair of platform shoes. No, that’s just too, well, ordinary. Her Majesty used her position–monarch, head of state, you get the drift–to declare that all of William and Kate’s children will be given two titles: the first is “prince” or “princess” before their Christian name and the second is the HRH honorific.
Here’s the rather spartan official announcement in the London Gazette:
By Patricia Treble - Monday, December 24, 2012 at 7:10 PM - 0 Comments
1. Diamond Jubilee of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, By the Grace of God of the United Kingdom, Canada and Her other Realms and Territories Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith: Okay, the title is just fun. And so was the 60th anniversary of the Queen’s reign. It started on Feb. 6—though that’s not “celebrated” as it’s the day her father, King George VI, died—and went right through into December. Canada got a nice stamp, an even nicer stained glass window for Parliament Hill, 60,000 Diamond Jubilee medals, with accompanying paper personally signed by Governor General David Johnston, and a visit by Prince Charles and Camilla, duchess of Cornwall. The world got a four-day extravaganza in London. Not even the pouring rain on the Thames River pageant could drown the enthusiasm of millions. Hundreds of thousands turned out for a huge concert in front of Buckingham Palace with millions more showing up the next day for the main event—a service of thanksgiving in St. Paul’s Cathedral followed by a carriage ride through London and the traditional balcony scene back home. Only the hospitalization of Prince Philip (see also below) put a damper on events.
2. Wedding of Prince Guillaume, hereditary grand duke of Luxembourg, and Countess Stéphanie de Lannoy: Oooh, a royal wedding. Luxembourg might be tiny—population 520,000—but it more than made up for its geographic deficiencies by throwing a spectacular wedding. And that involved inviting tons of royalty who dressed up in spectacular gowns and tiaras for two days of events. (The fabulous Royal Order of Sartorial Splendor website has a complete rundown on all the fashion hits and misses.) Best of all, the bride wore a spectacular Elie Saab dress with her family tiara (to have a family tiara!)
By Ken MacQueen - Wednesday, December 12, 2012 at 8:00 AM - 0 Comments
Kate and William have toured Canada and served as cheerleaders-in-chief at the Summer Olympics. Together they will face a hyper-scrutinized pregnancy.
The statement Monday from St. James’s Palace had all the hallmarks of a rush job: “Their royal highnesses the duke and duchess of Cambridge are very pleased to announce that the duchess of Cambridge is expecting a baby,” began the terse statement. After a nod to the happy relatives, it concluded with the meat of the matter: “The duchess was admitted this afternoon to King Edward VII Hospital in central London with Hyperemesis gravidarum. As the pregnancy is in its very early stages, her royal highness is expected to stay in hospital for several days and will require a period of rest thereafter.”
As any parent will tell you, children have minds of their own, and so it was the potential future king or queen of Britain, Canada and 14 other realms who set the agenda in a most unpleasant way. Hyperemesis gravidarum (HG), as most everyone now knows, is a severe form of nausea and vomiting, an amped-up morning sickness that must have made Kate’s weekend visit to her parents’ home in Bucklebury, Berkshire, a hellish experience. Protocol should have dictated that William’s granny, Queen Elizabeth II, would have been the first to know her third great-grandchild and heir was on the way. But even if the couple hadn’t chosen that weekend to share the news of the pregnancy, Kate’s parents, Carole and Michael Middleton, would have surmised it soon enough as their usually unflappable 30-year-old daughter made repeated dashes for the nearest bathroom. By Monday, her nausea was severe enough that a worried William was on the phone to doctors. That afternoon, he drove her into the city to King Edward VII, “London’s foremost private hospital.” He stayed with her until about 8:20 p.m. Monday, returning to the hospital Tuesday morning. Continue…
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 John Fraser - Tuesday, December 11, 2012 at 12:30 PM - 0 Comments
Royal baby’s sex won’t hinder rise to the throne
If Kate ever wondered after her storybook wedding what it would be like when the full force of royal expectations and demands descended upon her, she knows it now. The ordinary miracle of pregnancy shared by a happy couple anywhere is always a cause for celebration, but a first pregnancy in the direct line of succession to the Crown was always bound to bring on a media frenzy. This one also comes complete with a historic constitutional blizzard.
The news that she and Prince William, the duchess and duke of Cambridge, are expecting their first child in a little over seven months will be greeted with joy in many quarters, indifference in some and gnashing of teeth in still others. That’s normal in an egalitarian age when deference to royalty vanished a long time ago but residual and even renewed and growing affection for Queen Elizabeth II and her “heirs and successors” has surprised many observers.
But this particular pregnancy is also fraught with constitutional heavy traffic, the likes of which royal watchers have not seen in a long time. For starters, the current law of succession in all of Elizabeth II’s realms—and there are 16 of them, including the United Kingdom and Canada—says a first-born girl can be trumped by a younger brother. Continue…
By Jonathon Gatehouse - Sunday, December 9, 2012 at 8:20 AM - 0 Comments
Can Will and Kate give their child a semblance of a private life?
Prince William’s first public engagement came just 22 hours after his birth: a brief appearance on the steps of St. Mary’s Hospital in London, swaddled in a blanket and held in the awkward clutch of his father, Charles. As the crowd cheered, reporters bellowed and cameras strobed, the jug-eared heir to the British throne dutifully displayed his own, far more telegenic successor. Then he handed the infant off to a shyly smiling Diana, steered her gently by the various photographers’ positions and opened the rear door to their chauffeur-driven station wagon as the new family prepared to speed off home.
Thirty years on, the most striking thing about the footage is the absence of a car seat, or even seat belts for that matter. But the carefully choreographed unveiling was groundbreaking for its time. William Arthur Philip Louis was the first future sovereign to be born in a hospital. His father was actually there to witness his arrival. And, as with the couple’s fairy-tale wedding 11 months before, the public and press had been invited to share the joy almost every step of the way. The news of his birth may have been declared with a traditional 41-gun salute at the Tower of London, but there were modern touches mixed in as well. William would never be a commoner, but his parents, it seemed, were determined that he might find some common ground with them. Continue…
By Mika Rekai - Wednesday, December 5, 2012 at 3:38 PM - 0 Comments
Betting agencies all over the world are handicapping the possibilities: here’s a summary of the contenders
Because the baby growing inside the duchess of Cambridge will, presumably, become Canada’s Head of State, it is the job of every Canadian citizen to celebrate the news, congratulate the happy couple (open a window, shout towards the east) and speculate wildly about the future monarch currently taking up its in utero residence.
Will it be boy or a girl? Will it have shiny hair like its mother? Will it have rosy cheeks like its father? Will there actually be two babies? The question on most people’s minds, however, is what will the baby be called? Betting agencies all over the world are handicapping the possibilities: here’s an alternative summary of baby name prospects.
Elizabeth is the odds-on favourite worldwide, and the choice is really a no-brainer. The Queen has carried the name very successfully for the last 86 years and her mother pulled it off for 101 years, so you can hardly accuse the couple of being “faddish” with this one. Another nice thing about the name “Elizabeth” is that it lends itself easily to nicknames, so Kate and Wills will still have a dozen choices for what to actually call the child, when they’re yelling at it to stop running in the palace, or to put down that jewel-encrusted scepter! Personally, I hope they pick “Beth”. “Beth Wales” sounds like the kind of girl you want to play detectives with at when you’re eight. “Beth Wales” is the type of girl who gets caught smoking in the washroom with you at 17. “Beth Wales” is the type of Queen you want to grab late night pizza with after you’ve had too much Champagne at a State Dinner.
By Jaime Weinman - Monday, December 3, 2012 at 1:06 PM - 0 Comments
Jaime J. Weinman explains
Since I don’t know enough about Kate Middleton’s pregnancy but still feel I must contribute something to the most important event of our lives, I have decided to quote coverage of Princess Elizabeth’s pregnancy from 1948. I mean, obviously, things are very different. Back then you had a demoralized Britain looking to the royal baby as a welcome relief from its day-to-day problems, while Canada was technically under the monarchy. Today, you have a demoralized Britain looking to the royal baby as a welcome relief from its day-to-day problems, while Canada is technically under the monarchy – but this time, Newfoundland is a province. So, very different.
Anyway, here is how it works. First, rumours start circulating that the Princess may be having a baby, appearing side-by-side with an official statement from “official sources.” Their statement is that they can make no statement, not even of who they are. The process is that the rumours begin in the tabloids and then make their way into the wire services, which are free to report that someone else is reporting these rumours.
London, March 21 – A London Sunday paper said today Princess Elizabeth is expected to have a baby in October.
The story drew an official “no comment” from Buckingham palace sources. It is the first time a British newspaper has come out with a definite statement as to the princess’s pregnancy. However, the Sunday Pictorial said two months ago that Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip confided to intimates they would like a baby in the first year of their marriage.
Today’s front page story in the People, one of the most widely circulated of the popular Sunday newspapers, said an official announcement cancelling the princess’ public dates is “expected at any time in the next few weeks.”
Then if British tabloids aren’t enough, there are foreign-language sources to report on, and rumours that the Princess is giving up strenuous activity. The court sources can now move from saying nothing to officially denying that the Princess has cancelled all her upcoming engagements. But this in turn just creates more anticipation, since these unnamed sources aren’t officially denying that the baby is coming.
London, April 1 – Responsible court sources took cognizance today of a French news report, attributed to a Colonel Backhouse, that Princess Elizabeth is pregnant. The report said the princess intended to call off her engagements in June.
A palace informant said: “That’s certainly contrary to fact. Instead of cancelling her June engagements, the princess has taken on three or four additional ones, and there is every likelihood she’ll be making public appearances in July. As for Colonel Backhouse, we simply don’t know who he is.” A palace source also denied that Princess Elizabeth had given up horseback riding.
There was still no direct confirmation or denial from any palace source on the reports that the princess is expecting a baby.
Finally, after two months of anticipation, speculation and tabloid tidbits, the official announcement comes and the world rejoices. And the Buckingham Palace insiders, whoever they are, congratulate themselves on how great a job keeping the whole thing a secret even though everyone seemed to know it was coming: “Despite all the talk, it has been a well-kept secret – at least to us. Not even the princess’s ladies-in-waiting have known she was expecting a baby.”
And, of course, along with the official announcement there are still rumours a-plenty, the biggest one being about whether the baby will be a boy or a girl. Anonymous sources have ways of telling us about these things, and they’re always right:
One reliable source said the royal physicians had medical reasons to believe the princess’s child would be a girl.
“Nobody, of course, can be sure about these things.”
By Patricia Treble - Monday, December 3, 2012 at 11:26 AM - 0 Comments
Today’s announcement from St. James’s Palace was terse:
Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are very pleased to announce that The Duchess of Cambridge is expecting a baby. The Queen, The Duke of Edinburgh, The Prince of Wales, The Duchess of Cornwall and Prince Harry and members of both families are delighted with the news.
The Duchess was admitted this afternoon to King Edward VII Hospital in Central London with Hyperemesis Gravidarum.
As the pregnancy is in its very early stages, Her Royal Highness is expected to stay in hospital for several days and will require a period of rest thereafter.
Fyi: Hyperemesis gravidarum is a fancy term for acute morning sickness.
The announcement ends speculation that started April 29, 2011—William and Kate’s wedding day. Last week she was wearing noticeably looser clothes. Well, looser for a woman known for form-fitting outfits. As I said last week— “Is Kate pregnant? Check out her belts.”
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 Rosemary Counter - Thursday, October 25, 2012 at 1:29 PM - 0 Comments
In defense of Pippa Middleton, Halloween isn’t quite so celebrated in Britain. “Arrange glowing pumpkins in a prominent position where they will light up windows,” she writes in her new book Celebrate: A Year of British Festivities for Families and Friends.
Also in her bag of Halloween tricks: “You can buy cobweb-effect decorations, but they are easy enough to make yourself using cotton wool.” Or try one of Middleton’s costume ideas: “Ears and a tail for a black cat” or “A pointy hat, fake hair and a broom for a witches outfit.”
The book is garnering mixed reviews. “It’s perfect for anyone who needs a recipe for making ice,” zinged the Daily Mail. But despite more than 400 pages of egg decorating and tea parties, hearty recipes for mushroom cappuccino and toad in the hole, all interspersed with dozens of photographs of Middleton’s otherwise private life, Celebrate isn’t just about the party.
By Scaachi Koul - Thursday, September 27, 2012 at 12:10 PM - 0 Comments
The long-time nanny of Prince William and Prince Harry died Tuesday at 82.
The long-time nanny of Prince William and Prince Harry died Tuesday at 82.
Olga Powell was their nanny for 15 years, throughout their childhood and after their mother’s death. She had been with the family since William was six months old.
She collapsed outside of her town in Broxbourne, just outside of London.
After she retired, Powell stayed in touch with the boys, attending William’s graduation from Sandhurst military college in 2006, and his wedding in 2011.
By Scaachi Koul - Monday, September 17, 2012 at 9:23 AM - 0 Comments
Although the royal couple is suing French magazine Closer for publishing pictures of a…
Although the royal couple is suing French magazine Closer for publishing pictures of a topless Kate Middleton, Italian gossip magazine Chi ran a special edition on Monday including the pictures in their pages.
The photos include Middleton sunbathing topless and rubbing suntan lotion on Prince Williams back while vacationing in France. They also included a column by cosmetic surgeon Paolo Santanche, analyzing Middleton’s body. Chi dedicated 20 pages to the photos.
Chi editor Alfonso Signorini said the magazine’s defiance in printing the pictures is done in the hopes to modernize the monarchy. He says the pictures don’t harm her dignity, and instead make her more likeable.
The magazine usually sells around 350,000 copies, but vendors have seen people lining up in front of their stores to buy a copy.
By Scaachi Koul - Friday, September 14, 2012 at 3:59 PM - 0 Comments
The topless photos of Kate Middleton printed in a French publication have prompted Prince…
The topless photos of Kate Middleton printed in a French publication have prompted Prince William and his wife to launch a lawsuit against the magazine, Closer, for breaching their right to privacy.
The grainy shots show Kate sunbathing topless and having sunscreen rubbed on her by William while next to a swimming pool.
The editor of Closer, Laurence Pieau, said there was no harm in publishing the photos. “They show a young woman sunbathing topless, like the millions of women you see on beaches,” Pieau told AFP.
Closer says the photos were taken on a guesthouse terrace in France. The couple was vacationing there earlier this month.
Kate’s photo scandal comes hot off the heels of Prince Harry’s own nude scandal—naked photos of him were leaked after a rowdy summer break in Las Vegas. She’s also following a precedence set by her late mother-in-law Diana, who was photographed sunbathing topless in Spain in 1994.
In spite of it all, Kate seems unfazed, continuing her tour of Southeast Asia.