By Patricia Treble - Friday, May 10, 2013 - 0 Comments
Six cities in seven days—Prince Harry’s whistle stop tour of the United States may not leave much time for princely touristing, or partying (insert naked Las Vegas joke here). For one thing, this trip is dripping in serious events, such as a visit to Arlington Cemetery and meeting wounded soldiers (an itinerary is at the bottom of this post). So it’s Harry at his most solemn and most charming, not revealing the most skin.
“He is a soldiers’ soldier and will bring a spotlight on what’s being done to help these outstanding men and women,” said Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton, Harry’s private secretary during the pre-tour media briefing. There will certainly be no shenanigans on Lowther-Pinkerton’s watch—the ex-SAS officer is known for being very close to Harry, as well as William and Kate, and for running a very efficient, very photogenic royal tour (see Harry’s 2012 Jamaica trip—JLP is the man in the check shirt sitting beside Harry—and William & Kate’s Canadian adventure from 2011). Even New Jersey Governor Chris Christie got in on the act, saying, “Believe me, nobody’s going to get naked if I’m spending the entire day with Prince Harry” inspecting areas hit by hurricane Sandy.
By Patricia Treble - Wednesday, May 8, 2013 at 2:21 PM - 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, April 30, 2013 at 11:12 AM - 0 Comments
Anyone watching the coverage of the abdication of Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands and the investiture of her eldest son, Willem-Alexander, as the nation’s first king in 123 years was struck by the cozy flavour of the day’s proceedings. Though it was an elaborate affair (the royal website has an exhaustive timetable of events) there was no doubt that, at its heart, this was a transfer within a family firm from a beloved mother to a loving son.
Amid the kisses, hugs and hand squeezes were some teary moments, especially when Beatrix signed away the throne. “Wherever the path leads, your wisdom and your warmth I carry with me,” said her son. “Thank you for the many wonderful years in which we were allowed to have you as our queen. She stood for the values anchored in the constitution. Dear mother, you were queen in full knowledge of the duties you had you were also a wife and mother, and you were fully aware of your duties there too. You were a great support to us all.”
It’s also a joyous moment. The Dutch monarchs have a long standing tradition of abdicating when the time is right. And Beatrix, a widow of 75, is clearly ready to pass on the torch to her son, his wife Máxima and their three daughters. And they did it on Queen’s Day (now King’s Day), a national holiday when the entire nation is drenched in orange, to honour the royal house of Orange.
By Patricia Treble - Sunday, April 28, 2013 at 5:03 PM - 0 Comments
That everything Kate, duchess of Cambridge, wears is an instant retail hit has been such a long-proved commercial reality that it’s got its own moniker, the “Kate effect.”
Now the fairy dust that rubs off on everything Kate touches is doing more than just boost corporate profits. It’s benefitting charities as well.Organizations lucky to have her as a patron report big increases in interest.
By Patricia Treble - Saturday, April 27, 2013 at 3:34 PM - 0 Comments
He’s been the colonel-in-chief of the 3rd Battalion, Royal Canadian Regiment since 1953, so when the RCRs wanted to replace its Colours from 1973, the duke of Edinburgh hopped on a plane for Toronto. On Saturday morning he oversaw the presentation of the new Colours–a ceremonial flag embroidered with the battalion’s battle honours that soldiers used to follow in combat–in front of Queen’s Park, the provincial legislature in Toronto. The Royal Canadian Regiment is the country’s senior infantry regiment. Formed in 1883, it’s been involved in every large conflict since then. The 3rd Battalion is based in Petawawa, Ont.
And given it’s a royal event, the temperamental spring weather was as well behaved as the crowds, with only a nip in the air to remind everyone they were outside, in April, in Canada. Until the sun started generating a bit of heat the only people who looked properly dressed were soldiers who took part in a “military capability” demonstration for the prince and Lieutenant-Governor David Onley. The snipers, who looked a bit like Star Wars Wookies in their camoflague outfits, appeared downright cozy. Yet though they were in full combat gear, surrounded by officers in formal red wool uniforms, the fashion contest was won by Philip, who wore a perfectly tailored blue suit, his medals and a spiffy straw fedora.
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 Patricia Treble - Tuesday, April 9, 2013 at 10:24 AM - 0 Comments
There’s no such thing as a final resting place when it comes to royal remains
The coffin containing the remains of the last king of Yugoslavia, Peter II, was dug out from a tomb in the floor of St. Sava Monastery in Libertyville, Ill., on the evening of Jan. 16 on the order of his son, Alexander, before being put on a plane to Belgrade. Instead of the old marble grave marker, a new layer of concrete indicated where the monarch had lain for nearly 43 years. Only a handful of people knew the royal bones were being taken for internment in the family crypt in Serbia.
The thousands of Serbian-Americans who visited the U.S. tomb each year believed Peter asked to be buried near the Chicago-area diaspora. “It was cloak and dagger,” John Bosanac, who’d attended Peter’s funeral in 1970, complained of the removal. He would have liked a public farewell, a sentiment echoed by Vera Dragisich, 50, a University of Chicago lecturer who often visited Peter’s tomb. “We weren’t allowed to say goodbye. There was a more formal and respectful way to do the exhumation, where those who wished to be present at this historical event could do so.” Such was the uproar that the king’s son issued a press release saying the exhumation and transfer “was strictly done following legal advice.” The reason for the haste, Alexander told Sky News, was that the last in a series of obstacles, including decades-long Communist objections, had finally been overcome.
The state funeral for Peter II, scheduled for May 26, is coloured by recent history. Peter has been a nationalist hero ever since the 18-year-old monarch fled then-Yugoslavia in 1941 after the Nazis invaded. After the war, the Communists abolished the monarchy, and in recent decades, the country has endured instability, war and breakup. The official line of the nationalist government is that Peter’s burial will contribute to national reconciliation, explains Srjdan Milosevic of the Institute for Recent History of Serbia in Belgrade. It also, he says, boosts Alexander’s pushy efforts to get the monarchy restored. Though “the monarchy isn’t deeply rooted in the popular consciousness,” Milosevic says, Alexander’s strategy might succeed as an “act of political compromise among the political elite, the Church and intellectuals.”
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 15, 2013 at 12:25 PM - 0 Comments
Royalty have a lot of fussy rules governing etiquette—for example they should start a conversation, not the person being introduced to them—but there are times when having those traditions makes sense. One is that royal families always travel with black clothes in their luggage, just in case someone dies and they have to show respect by wearing the colour of mourning.
When Diana’s father died while the Waleses were on a skiing trip to the Alps, they hastily dug out their black clothes and then got on a plane back for England. And when the Queen’s father died while she and Philip were looking at wild animals in Kenya–far away from their base and their luggage–the accompanying cameramen stood on the road, with their cameras down at their sides, to show they were respecting her privacy and wouldn’t take a picture until the royals were wearing black. Even Downton Abbey has an episode of mourning this season.
And it isn’t just royals who observe such rituals, it’s part of diplomatic life for every head of state. You either pack mourning wear or be prepared to quickly buy something suitable.
Yet the Turkish president and his wife clearly didn’t get a briefing on the topic. That’s really the only explanation for what happened this week in Sweden. On Sunday, March 10, Princess Lilian, 97, died and the nation went into mourning. So it wasn’t a surprise that the king, queen and rest of the family wore black when they greeted the president of Turkey, Abdullah Gül and his wife, Hayrünnisa, at the start of their state visit on Monday.
What is surprising is that Hayrünnisa Gul, a religiously conservative (and ultra fashionable) woman wore such a bright blue outfit. But perhaps she was travelling when word of the death reached her. Then, that evening at a glittering royal dinner, she again wore a dramatic dress—a shiny silver number complete with crystals—while the royals were all in black, though with glittery diamonds and tiaras since anything “white” is also acceptable. Crown Princess Victoria wore a broach given by Lilian. Even if she didn’t have black clothes, she could have pulled out her most subdued outfit from her luggage.
It must have taken a while for word to reach them that they should, perhaps, be a bit more respectful. On day 2 she wore a black outfit but a red head scarf. On day 3, as they left, the Turkish couple were finally in head-to-toe dark clothes.
Princess Lilian’s funeral is on Saturday. Don’t expect to see any bright colours.
By Patricia Treble - Monday, March 11, 2013 at 10:36 AM - 0 Comments
If there was ever a bittersweet royal love story it was that of Lilian and Bertil of Sweden. Born Lillian Davies in 1915, the daughter of a coalminer, the Welsh beauty dropped the second “l” from her name and set off to London for a career in showbusiness. She paid the bills through modelling and small movie roles. Then in 1943, she met the dashing Prince Bertil of Sweden. Amid the dangers of wartime London they fell in love. “He was so handsome my prince. Especially in uniform. So charming and thoughtful. And so funny. Oh how we laughed together,” Lilian recounted in her memoir. But she was married. And a commoner. Though she got a divorce, those were two obstacles that would take decades to overcome. The first problem was a dearth of eligible male princes in Sweden. Two of his brothers had renounced their rights to the throne to marry commoners, while his eldest brother, the heir, died in a airplane crash in 1947, leaving his one-year-old son, Carl Gustaf, as the future of the Swedish monarchy. Given Carl Gustaf’s age, it was likely Bertil’s father would die before he reached his majority. So Bertil would need to be regent. And he couldn’t do that if he married Lilian. With the future of the monarchy on the line, Bertil and Lilian put aside their own desire to be married.
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 11:17 AM - 0 Comments
Be honest: how many of you knew something awful was going to happen to Matthew the moment the dowager countess crowed about the happiness of the Crawley family? I wasn’t sure the dastardly deed was going to strike, then he got into a fast convertible and I knew it would be an accident. And since in this season Downton Abbey creator and writer Julian Fellowes was incapable of making anyone take the blame for anything, it was the winding road, not Matthew’s reckless speeding that seemingly was the guilty party in the crash. And that wishy-washy attitude was why this was a was a dud season devoid of soap opera angst and tension. I love Downton and enjoyed moments and vignettes from this season. But the problem is no Downton fan I’ve talked to has enjoyed the entire season.
So here are some suggestions from a concerned fan:
By Patricia Treble - Wednesday, December 12, 2012 at 8:40 AM - 0 Comments
William and Kate have to pick a baby name that will be both modern and historic. No pressure then.
The minute the pregnancy was announced, bookmakers started taking bets on what name William and Kate would choose. Since this baby will eventually carry the title of “Queen” or “King,” a few names can be immediately nixed. The traditionalist couple won’t pick anything celebrity-like, so no Peaches or Apple or Blue Ivy for the Windsors. And though Diana will likely be honoured as a secondary name if it’s a girl—Charles and William each have four given names—her public campaign to stop Charles from becoming monarch makes it unlikely she’ll get top billing. Though William adores his granny, Elizabeth is probably out for two reasons: there have already been two British Queen Elizabeths in the last century: the current monarch and her mother. Furthermore, the Belgian heirs snagged the name for their future queen. So here are some early guesses. Continue…
By Scaachi Koul - Friday, September 14, 2012 at 10:11 AM - 0 Comments
The Royal couple is upset over photos of Kate Middleton sunbathing topless in the…
The Royal couple is upset over photos of Kate Middleton sunbathing topless in the south of France. The pictures were published in a French magazine on Friday.
The Royal Family said they’re considering legal action over the pictures because of the invasion of privacy.
The magazine, Closer, published blurry shots from a distance—and said they were taken on a guesthouse terrace in France while the couple was on vacation earlier this month.
Meanwhile, the ongoing pregnancy speculation continues to swirl around Kate. While the couple was in Southeast Asia representing the Queen for the Diamond Jubilee, they took part in a banquet in Singapore. Instead of toasting with wine, Kate drank water.
By Rebecca Eckler - Thursday, November 25, 2010 at 4:20 PM - 0 Comments
Char Margolis ‘reads’ for royalty, Larry King, assorted bigwigs—and me
Char Margolis, psychic intuitive, only consults with clients twice a year, tops. She doesn’t want them to become too dependent. For most people, this is likely a blessing: Margolis charges US$600 for a 45-minute phone reading, US$825 for an in-person consultation.
In-the-flesh appointments will soon become more feasible for Canadians. After a decade residing in the Netherlands—where the American psychic requires bodyguards to fend off adoring fans when she tapes her top-rated TV show—she now “feels” in her “gut” that “the whole Canadian energy is special,” she says by phone from her second home in Michigan. She adds that her friend, psychic medium and television personality John Edward, has confirmed that she is “supposed to” spend more time here. So this week, she is coming to Toronto to “read” a dozen top movers and shakers, plus some lesser-knowns.
It won’t be her first visit. Margolis actually got her start in Canada on The Dini Petty Show in the late 1980s, where she was a guest several times, and also guested on Camilla Scott’s and Vicki Gabereau’s shows in their heyday.
By Patricia Treble - Thursday, November 25, 2010 at 3:20 PM - 1 Comment
It’s not just Kate Middleton’s big day. It’s her biggest fashion test.
For Kate Middleton, the big fashion test comes when she walks down the aisle. The wedding is the true coming out party for every royal bride. In the past, Middleton’s taste has meant clean, simple flowing gowns, all very form fitting while not revealing too much skin. So although she’s got Diana’s engagement ring on her left hand, she’s unlikely to mimic the late princess of Wales’s crumpled meringue of wedding dress.
In her choice of a designer and a dress, Middleton could draw inspiration from the dresses of previous royal weddings both in Britain and in Europe. The simplicity of Princess Alexandra of Kent’s dress from 1963 is a standout, with its one long unbroken line. Mette-Marit of Norway’s stark white gown (2001) and that of Princess Margaret’s daughter, Lady Sarah Armstrong-Jones (1994), are masterpieces of soft draping, something Middleton favours. On the other hand, if the bride wants a gown with more structure, then the silk examples of Victoria of Sweden and Letizia of Spain are standouts.
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 Kate Lunau - Thursday, November 25, 2010 at 2:00 PM - 1 Comment
Prince William isn’t unusual in wedding a commoner—royals just don’t marry royals anymore
She’s tall and graceful, with glossy dark hair and a beaming smile. She’s known for her taste in fashion, including the posh hats that British high society prefers. But despite her elegant bearing and movie star looks, the most remarkable thing about Kate Middleton—Prince William’s bride-to-be—might be how very normal she seems. She’s from a small village outside London. Her solidly middle-class parents (neither royal nor aristocratic) run a party-supply business. She’s known for her self-deprecating sense of humour. And now, the prototypical girl next door—and the first commoner in modern times to marry a future British king—is engaged to the most eligible bachelor alive.
It might sound like a fairy tale, but Prince William isn’t the only royal settling down with a so-called commoner. The fact is that royals just don’t marry royals anymore. In Europe, eight monarchies remain (10 if the statelets of Monaco and Liechtenstein are included), but the continent hasn’t seen an heir or king marry a princess since the 1960s, when Greek King Constantine II married Princess Anne-Marie of Denmark, and Spain’s Prince Juan Carlos married Princess Sophia of Greece. These days, the royals often don’t even marry into the upper classes—instead, increasingly, they marry for love. While some argue it degrades the monarchy, others believe it makes out-of-touch royal families more accessible. And besides, what child doesn’t grow up dreaming of becoming a princess, or a prince?
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 Josh Dehaas - Thursday, November 25, 2010 at 1:00 PM - 0 Comments
From ‘wobbles’ to wedding plans: William and Kate meet, break up and make up
Sept. 2001: Prince William and Kate Middleton enrol at the University of St. Andrews where they both study art history. William learns art isn’t his calling. Later that year, when he “wobbles” academically, Kate convinces him to stay in school, but in geography instead.
March 2002: William reportedly pays $450 for a front-row seat to a cheeky charity fashion show where Kate walks the runway wearing little more than her underwear. Reports say he leaned in to kiss her, but she pulled away.
Sept. 2002: The pair move into a four-bedroom house together, along with two friends. Rumours of their relationship emerge, but Kate is still dating someone else.
June 2003: Rumours swirl that William is dating the heiress of a wealthy family in Kenya, but his friend Kate attends his 21st birthday at Windsor Castle. Prince Charles tells the media that, to his knowledge, his son is single.
Sept. 2003: The couple, along with two friends, move into a country cottage near St. Andrews “on two acres of wild grassland hidden behind a six-foot stone wall,” according to author Katie Nicholl.
By Erica Alini, Josh Dehaas - Thursday, November 25, 2010 at 11:40 AM - 0 Comments
William hasn’t got his military duds dirty yet, but they still matter—and will on the big day
He may be facing “the ultimate dilemma of modern masculinity,” as the Daily Telegraph refers to his balding pate, but when it’s time to say “I do,” William will still look like prince charming—courtesy of the RAF wings and the military uniform Kate Middleton says makes him look “so sexy.”
Though Kate’s wedding dress will be the subject of acres of debate and speculation among the fashion pundits, William’s own wedding suit is almost certain to be a military uniform, the customary attire for British royals who have served in the military. William has been in all three branches of the armed forces—the Royal Navy, the Army and the Royal Air Force—as tradition demands of future monarchs who will one day inherit the throne and with it the responsibility of heading the military. But for all the uniform-related photo ops and headlines, the prince’s military deeds can’t yet be called heroic in the traditional sense. Even though he’s chosen the most dangerous job available to him—search-and-rescue helicopter pilot—he’ll never face enemy fire.
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.