Wednesday, April 27, 2005

As the tiara turns...

Well, now that Charles and Camilla are married and the furor has died down I'm considering what I can write about next. The wedding was such a good thing because I could bide my time developing non-wedding material. Luckily the wedding isn't the end of the story. I recently read an article on Camilla not wearing her engagement ring just 5 days after her wedding. The writer noted that this shouldn't be seen as a sign of any 'trouble'. I guess they're in the same boat as I am with looking for stuff to write about. Doesn't all of this speculation give you a sense of deja vu?

I could write about impending trouble in their relationship but I think it's too early for that. If Camilla were younger, after a decent period of time we could discuss when the next royal heir will arrive. Since we can't do that we can wonder whether Charles fathered Camilla's children. Unless it sells chocolates and flowers, being in love isn't interesting, except when it's a royal love affair. I've noticed that royal romances tend to follow a fairly predictable pattern. Let's review it shall we?

At the time of the first wedding, the press was practically rabid for information on whom Charles would marry. Early on he made the mistake of saying that 30 was about the right age to get married and they were off! One only needs to look at books on Charles pre-Diana to capture the intense amount of scrutiny he was under; there's even a book dedicated exclusively to the subject (Settling Down by James Whittaker). All Charles needed to do was stand beside a passably attractive woman and he was betrothed to her. This usually happens for most direct heirs to the throne so it's not a surprise. However, by 1981 Charles needed to find a suitable bride, aristocratic and without a 'past' and he was running out of options. Lady Diana fit the bill and Charles duly proposed. Having successfully completed that task I shall continue.

Once the fiancée is chosen, the press laid siege to her private life, going through her garbage, digging up her past

Then they wax poetic about the future bride, compiling family trees that invaribly show that somehow the royal couple are related to each other; something which never fails to trouble me. If they looked into my background would I be distantly related too?

Interviews with the hairdresser, makeup artist, dentist, kindergarten teacher, and shopkeeper who gave her change two years prior to the engagement

Official photos and stamps released. Copies of the engagement ring and commemorative books go on sale

Wedding coverage. What will the dress look like? Where's the dress? Why did she wear that? When can I get a copy? Did she actually vow to obey?

Ah, the honeymoon and things are lovey dovey. One would think they could relax but not so! Speculation on a royal baby begins.

No pregnancy? Why not? Is there trouble in the relationship?

Pregnancy is announced and everyone breathes a sigh of relief. The betting starts. Odds for names, will it be a boy or girl? Media, a curious onlookers camp out at the hospital.

The birth is heralded. When will there be pictures? We haven't seen him/her, is there something wrong with the baby? What's the name? Why did they pick that name?

The press follows them on tours, walkabouts, and various charitable engagements. Coverage includes what the royal wife wears.

When will the next baby arrive? Is she pregnant? Why not?

Repeat pregnancy announcement and heralding of birth

The press follows them on tours, walkabouts, and various charitable engagements. Endless coverage on what the royal wife wears.

"Sources" behind the scenes report on dissention and jealousy. The press prints pictures of the couple looking serious at a state funeral, crops out the coffin, and uses that to predict problems.

Queen labelled a bad mother

Expose books go on sale

Guest appearance by the Republicans

Rumours of separation. Palace issues a denial

Shows of togetherness

Husband/wife sit beside someone of the opposite sex and it's reported they are having an affair

More shows of togetherness

Couple orders individual stationary and take up battle positions

Queen labelled a bad mother

Then if the press is lucky they get caught having affairs and photos appear showing them in compromising positions. No one did this better than Fergie; a tough act for any royal to follow. The couple give their respective sides of the story. After endless denials and exclusives from insiders, they separate and divorce only to start the whole process all over again. The Butler gets a book deal and tv movies are developed. Maybe Dame Judy Dench will play the Queen! So many people making money, I'm obviously in the wrong career.

The only thing missing to make this truly comparable to a soap opera is a kidnapping, coma, illegitimate baby and someone miraculously coming back from the dead. So I'm not completely lost for possibilities. Why, as we speak, the press are writing about William and Kate. At the tender age of 21,Willliam was asked about marriage, and so the hunt for a royal bride begins all over again. What will I write about until an engagement is announced? maybe another royal will do something controversial! With the reports about Harry, I probably won't have to wait very long.

© Marilyn Braun 2005

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Jewels fit for a Queen

Jewels are a pivotal part of any royal woman's wardrobe. The Queen’s jewels might go unnoticed but they are beautiful and fascinating for their history and individual craftsmanship. Over the years the Queen has received a number of gifts, whether personal ones or jewels from heads of state and if she is receives a piece of jewellery she will usually try to wear it to the next occasion as a compliment to the presenter. In public or private, it would be very unusual to see the Queen without some sort of brooch or her pearls. In the evenings she can be seen with some type of royal parure, which is a set of matched jewellery usually comprising of a brooch, earrings, tiara and necklace. The Queen is estimated to have in her collection 14 tiaras, 37 pairs of earrings, 105 brooches, 58 necklaces, 37 bracelets, six pendants, 14 watches, and 15 rings.

Some of the jewels are family heirlooms or belong to the Crown to be worn by future queens. Although there are no official guidelines, jewels which are personal property, are bequeathed at the owner's discretion. Queen Victoria and Queen Mary are in large responsible for organizing the collection, deciding which ones would be personal gifts and which ones would belong to the Crown. Regardless of what public event the Queen attends she is usually wearing something on her head, whether it is a tiara, crown, or hat, as a symbol of authority. It would be impossible to mention all of her jewellery so I will confine this article to the more familiar pieces, mainly tiaras.

When most people think of royal jewels they think of the Crown Regalia, specifically the Imperial State Crown, it is most recognizable as it is worn for coronations and state openings of parliament. This crown weighs 2lbs 13 oz. It is set with 2,873 diamonds, 273 pearls, seventeen sapphires, eleven emeralds and five rubies. The Crown also features the 317.4 Cullinan II diamond and the ‘Black Prince’s ruby’. In its long history at one point the crown was transported by cab and until 1962 it was transported to the Houses of Parliament in a closed carriage. Now it is openly displayed for the waiting crowds, as a prelude to the symbolism and pageantry as the Queen carries out her role as constitutional monarch. When the Queen meets children in public at least one of them is invariably bound to ask her "Where is your crown?"

King George IV State Diadem

The most frequently worn part of the Crown Regalia is the King George IV State Diadem. It is completely circular and decorated with symbolic roses, shamrock and thistle. Originally made for King George IV in 1821 for his coronation, but he never wore it. During the Hanoverian period, gems were hired out for the crowns and then stripped bare leaving skeletal frames between each coronation. In1838 the diadem was reset with jewels from the royal collection and Queen Victoria wore it at her coronation. However, with the beginning of this reign the jewels were soldered in, symbolic of the new solidity and prosperity Queen Victoria would come to represent. She wore the diadem constantly for family events, state banquets, formal portraits, and she is pictured wearing it in the first postage stamp issued in 1840. In her will she left it to the Crown. The diadem was a particular favourite of Queen Alexandra.

The present Queen wore this on her way to her coronation and wears this to and from the State Opening of Parliament each year. She is pictured wearing it on all UK postage stamps and the diadem is no doubt seen by more millions of people than any other item of royal jewellery.

Girls of Great Britain and Ireland tiara

If one looks at photos of the Queen during evening events, you will frequently see the‘Girls of Great Britain and Ireland’ tiara. The tiara gets its name from donations made to a committee formed in 1893 to raise money for a wedding gift to the future Queen Mary. It has diamond festoons, scrolls and 27 collet spikes and Queen Mary originally wore it with upstanding pearl spikes. Minus the pearls, she gifted it to Princess Elizabeth for her wedding in 1947. It was her first tiara and the Queen affectionately calls it ‘Granny’s tiara’. This tiara has also appeared on currency and stamps.

King George III fringe tiara

Princess Elizabeth did not wear 'Granny's tiara' on her wedding day; instead she borrowed the King George III fringe tiara from her mother. A graduated circle of vertical rows of diamonds, it was originally made in 1830 and designed to be worn as either a necklace or a tiara. This tiara/necklace was one of the pieces that Queen Victoria left to the Crown. An interesting story about this tiara is that as the princess was preparing for her wedding the frame of the tiara snapped in half. A royal jeweller was on standby and repaired it in time for her departure. However had it not been fixed, unlike ordinary brides the princess had other tiaras to borrow from the royal collection if necessary. Princess Anne also wore this tiara on her wedding day.

The Cambridge Lover’s Knot Tiara

Next to the Spencer family tiara, the Lover's Knot tiara is currently most associated with Diana, Princess of Wales. As such we are not likely to see another royal lady wearing it anytime soon, which is unfortunate as I think it's the most beautiful of all of the royal tiaras. Queen Mary commissioned it in 1914 as a copy of one owned by her grandmother. Like "Granny's tiara' this also had upstanding pearl spikes at one point. In the 19th century it was a popular design and there are five known versions still in existence. Queen Mary left this tiara to the present Queen and she wore it occasionally as a young woman, eventually gifting it to Diana for her wedding in 1981.

The Grand Duchess Vladimir tiara

Another of the Queen's familiar tiaras is the 'Grand Duchess Vladimir' and like 'Granny's tiara' this is the Queen's personal property. In 1921 Queen Mary bought this tiara from some the Grand Duchess’ children and in 1953 left it in her will to the present Queen. Originally made in 1890, it has fifteen interlaced circles with a swinging oriental pearl suspended from each. The tiara is also very versatile as the pearls can be interchanged with emerald drops. The emeralds for this tiara are part of a parure consisting of matching necklace, brooch, stomacher, earrings and two bracelets.

For more detailed information on the royal jewels, please check out the books listed below.


The Queen’s Jewels – The Personal Collection of Elizabeth II by Leslie Field
The Royal Jewels by Suzy Menkes
Queens Jewels by Vincent Meylan
Hello Magazine No. 863. 21 April 2005

© Marilyn Braun 2005

Thank you for enjoying this article. If you use the information for research purposes, a link to credit the work I've put into writing it would be appreciated.

Friday, April 22, 2005

The Proust Questionnaire

After over 50 years on the throne, Queen Elizabeth II has become Europe's longest reiging monarch and one of the most respected heads of state in the world. In all her time in the public eye, she has never given an interview. After years of speculation, gossip, the soap opera antics of her family, she has decided to set the record straight once and for all.

What is your most marked characteristic?
My stare. It can freeze water.

What do you most dislike about your appearance?
Everything but my ear-lobes

What is the quality you most like in a man?
Stamina and looking good in a uniform

What is the quality you most like in a woman?
The ability to flatter and borrow their clothes

What do you value most in your friends?
Their potential as heart donors.

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
That I'm too serious at times

What is your favorite occupation?
Being Queen, I love the perks. If I wasn't Queen I would have been a lounge singer

What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Canoodling with Philip on the sofa on a rainy day...oh I'm sorry, that's too much information

What you do regard as the lowest depth of misery?
Being only half-way through this questionnaire

Which historical figure do you most identify with?
Queen Victoria however I'm biased as she's a family member.

What is your biggest fear?
Skydiving, although I would like to try it.

Which living person do you most despise?
Where to begin.....

Which living person do you most admire?
Dame Edna, she reminds me of my mother

What is the trait do you most deplore in yourself?
Restraint in dealing with annoying people

On what occasion do you lie?
When doing my taxes..shhh..don't tell anyone!

What is your greatest extravagance ?
Manicures & pedicures.

What is your favorite journey?
Let's see, I've been pretty well everywhere but I do enjoy going to Florida. We have a condo there and we meet up with some friends every year and play bridge

What do you consider the most overrated virtue?

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
Most people would think "we are not amused" but I prefer the more direct "sod off"

What is your greatest regret?
Not spending more time with my children when they were younger

What or who is the greatest love of your life?
My husband Philip

What do you consider your greatest achievement
Having kept quiet until now

What is your most treasured possession?
My collection of commemorative plates. I have almost all of them.

When and where were you most happiest?
Before I came to the throne

If you could change one thing about your family, what would it be?
I wish they would be quiet at times

If you could choose what to come back as, what would it be?
A thorn in the side of the paparazzi and newspaper editors

What is it that you most dislike?
Death, although I'm in favor of it for certain people.

In which country would you like to live?
Canada. They're so nice there.

What are your favorite names?
Charles, Anne, Andrew, Edward

What is it that you most dislike?
Reading tell all books about myself and being quoted by people I've never met.

Which talent would you most like to have?
Selective hearing and being able to play the trombone.

How would you like to die?
Unexpectedly, although not during a public event, it would spoil the pagentry.

What is your current state of mind?
Remarkably sane

What is your motto?
Honi soit qui mal y pense 'Evil to him who evil thinks'

© Marilyn Braun 2005

Monday, April 18, 2005

Wanted: Sovereign of the British Royal House

Job Type: Permanent Full time
Location: London, UK
Job Category: Executive
Industry: World Rulers
Company URL:
Experience: Nepotism
Number Of Positions: 1
Position Start Date: TBD
Salary: Civil List
Education: Honorary degrees an asset

The Opportunity

The British Royal Family has a long history and is one of most well known royal families in the world. The Royal Family's public role is based on identifying with every section of society, including minorities and special interest groups. The Firm is looking for a leader to head up their global operations. Must have a keen interest in people, strong customer service skills. With creativity, enthusiasm and energy your days are sure to be rewarded. Truly an amazing opportunity!

The Responsibilities

  • Acting as the United Kingdom's Head of State, Constitutional monarch, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith, and ruling over Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the successful candidate will be capable of wearing many hats with ease.
  • Perform Investitures, bestow honours, various ceremonial duties and significant constitutional functions.
  • The sovereign acts as the focus for national unity, visiting local communities and representing Britain around the world.
  • While remaining politically impartial, formally appoints the prime minister and approves various legislation
  • Oversee the management of the private estates which are run on a commercial basis. Taking an active interest in all aspects of management.
  • Act as the 'fountain of honour'
  • Head of the Armed Forces. Must use discretion when declaring war and peace.
  • Working closely with the Prime Minister of the country, you will set the strategic direction and provide inspiring leadership.
  • Handle highly confidential and sensitive matters
  • Demonstrating your relationship building capability, you will be required to build international alliances and local strategic relationships, hence raising the profile of the country and commonwealth.
  • Inspiring the country to excel while simultaneously balancing varied duties.
  • Performance standards, including, but not limited to preparedness for any emergencies, crisises or other unexpected situations;
  • Sit for endless portraits
  • Allow image to be used for currency and stamps

Hours: 24/7 with 2 days off per year (Christmas and Easter).

Benefits: Dental, eyeglasses, vast properties, priceless jewels


  • Experience with utlizing the right to be consulted, to encourage, and the right to warn
  • Must like flowers
  • Demonstrated high level of personal values and ethics
  • Must be a people person
  • Ability to open hospitals, cut ribbons, review troops
  • Bilingualism an asset
  • Ability to ride a horse, side saddle preferred
  • Demonstrated skills in speech making and dealing with the media
  • Comfortable being in the public eye
  • Willingness to travel.
  • Advanced computer skills
  • Strong time management and organizational skills
  • Able to prioritize and multi-task
  • Adaptible to changing duties
  • Ability to work effectively in a fast paced environment

If this opportunity interests you please contact Mimi at

We thank you for your interest. Due to the large volume of applicants, only those qualified for the position will be contacted.

© Marilyn Braun 2005

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

The Royal Support Group

I enter the room almost tentatively and take my seat. "My name is Marilyn and I collect royalty books"

The group and it's leader says in unison "Welcome Marilyn"

I relax a little, not feeling so alone any longer. The moderator, his calm and soothing voice says "tell me more about your collection, when did it start?"

"Well, I guess it started when Prince William was born - I remember hearing it on the radio"

"My collection began during the Silver Jubilee celebrations" a man named George says to me while fingering his commemorative mug.

"After Prince Willliam was born I started to collect the books, cutting pictures out of the newspapers and magazines. I stayed up for the wedding of Prince Andrew and Fergie"

Several members of the group nod in unison. They've been in the trenches, they understand. "I went to London and camped out on the street during the wedding of Charles and Diana." A petite woman named Betty says. We look at her in awe.

"Do you have any flags or tea towels?" Bob asks.

"Yes, I have everything..the oven mitts, the ashtrays, the Charles and Diana salt and pepper shakers.." Betty says, breaking down. "I can't help myself.."

The moderator offers her a kleenex, the woman next to her gently takes her hand. "The purpose of this group is to offer support in a non-judgemental way. Betty, you're safe here."

"No one understands" I say, tears welling in my eyes. "I love my books, the thrill of the hunt of going into a used book store, scouring the shelves to add to my collection." I've moved three times and my friends have helped carry some of the boxes. I know they humor me, one of them even joked that I should start a stamp collection because it's lighter."

"What's wrong with having a stamp collection? GeorgeV has a rather famous one.." Chris says.

"Marilyn isn't judging you Chris, everyone here has something that they collect, whether it be books, t-shirts, keychains. Ed was supposed to be here today but he's buying Charles and Camilla souvenirs with the original wedding date for me." The moderator says. "How many books do you have?"

"Over two hundred. I also have some mugs, plates and I went to Althorp"

"Mecca" Betty says with breathless reverence.

"That's just crazy!" John, says, getting up to get another tea and scone from the snack table. He paces nervously. "People say that I have a problem!"

I stand up to my full height, look him in the eye "yes, I did go and I'm not ashamed to admit it." I say proudly

"The first step is owning your collection and your passion. People may not understand but that's okay. Not everyone has to share the same interests, that's what makes the world go 'round."

I sit down and sigh, a wave of relief comes over me. "When people ask me what I do in my spare time and I tell them about the books, their expressions change. The peer pressure is enormous so I end up telling people that I collect Elvis memorabilia instead. It's more acceptable."

"I tell people that I collect thimbles.." John says, looking down. "I'm so ashamed.."

I get up and walk over to John and hug him.

"We're home John, we're home"

© Marilyn Braun 2005

Friday, April 08, 2005

Gifts for the couple who have everything

Okay, okay..I know what you're much more material can she milk out of the whole Charles and Camilla thing...just when you thought that I had exhausted it...well, you're wrong. Now that the wedding has been moved to Saturday instead of Friday it gives me one more day to consider what I will get them. As mentioned, I have not been invited to the wedding but I feel that it's polite to send a gift even if it's just to make them feel guilty.

Of course they have everything they could possibly ever want or need so finding the perfect gift is not as easy as one might think. Tradition would dictate that I buy them something like crystal. However I don't want the gift to be too heavy as I'm loathe to pay the postage for shipping because I don't like them that much. They haven't revealed where they're registered so I can't buy them a soup spoon to match the pattern they've chosen. As such I've decided to think of alternate gifts. Of course there's always the option of re-gifting something from my wedding. Like Charles and Camilla, I had a small wedding - 50 people including guests and obligatory relatives. Some of our gifts were monetary or gift cards - an easy out for those people who couldn't think of something to buy for us or off our registry. We received a few engraved items which guaranteed we couldn't obviously re-gift. A complicated wine opener which would take far longer to maneuver than our old one. This gift came with some coasters, handy for use on our plastic Ikea coffee table. But I digress...

Would the royal couple like some of these items? It would no doubt be a change from all of the more elaborate things. They have announced "No gifts" but do you really believe that? I'll take them at their word but there are many people who won't. I don't blame them the slightest, especially if you don't want them talking behind your back about what a cheapskate you are. They don't know me from a hole in the wall but Prince Harry is another story.

If you want to send good tidings here are some gift ideas for this special couple. These are also perfect for giving to one of the servants afterwards.

A Story Book Romance customized with your name and photo. As two real life star crossed lovers the Romeo and Julietwould be appropriate. Make sure to choose the "Happy Ending Version" otherwise this story could be quite a downer.

All newlyweds need some time alone so why not buy them a special love nest. For only $29.99 per acre it’s quite a deal and they can use it as a home away from home. They can escape from all the media attention and we won’t have to hear Charles grumble about the commute. However if they already have this gift it comes with a 30-day money back guarantee.

It’s well known that Charles cares about the environment so why not buy them his and hers global warming mugs. Just add hot water and he can write his next speech over tea. If you feel uncomfortable sending them the mugs alone, why not pair these up with some monogrammed toilet paper? As a bonus factor both of their names begin with a "C" you only need to buy one set. Unfortunately there are no refunds on this particular item.

With the amazing selection of these unique and affordable gifts the only problem you will have is choosing which one to buy. Happy Shopping!

© Marilyn Braun 2005

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Divine Intervention

Well, once again the nuptials of Charles and Camilla have hit a snag. This time it’s a big snag, as the pope died this week. Now please don’t take this the wrong way, I respect the fact that the pope has died, so I’m not commenting on that but more the timing of it.Charles must be thinking that no one wants him to get married to Camilla, including God. It’s bad enough when your parents don’t come to the wedding and when it seems the world is against the whole thing but God is another story. That’s got to be the final nail in the coffin of what has otherwise been a comedy of errors. This must be the ultimate in bad luck and none of the wedding books even mention this breech of ettiquette. Many weddings have been plagued by rain, snow storms, tornedos but I don't believe I've ever heard of the ultimate head honcho giving his seal of disappoval. The speculation is endless on his involvement.. maybe he was a fan of Diana's, maybe he doesn't like Camilla, who knows...God works in mysterious ways.

Charles must just be wondering what else can possibly happen. He has no doubt grown up with having things go his way and then the pope has the audacity to die. It's hard enough to plan a wedding without having God intervene. Next it will be a problem with the seating plan, whether the wedding fruitcake will arrive on time, Camilla's dress might not be ready, the hairstylist and make-up artist could be delayed, the flowers could be wilted, all possibilities with any wedding. We can only cross our fingers hat Prince William won't forget the rings and that everyone will arrive on time. Rain on their wedding day is a good sign but if Charles and Camilla see each other beforehand they might as well call the whole thing off.

The royals have shown the utmost of propriety with changing the date of the wedding so that Charles can attend the funeral. Buckingham Palace has stated, “The Pope’s funeral must take priority”. Once again duty has come before happiness. But to do otherwise would open the royals and Charles in particular to criticism and we know they don't need any more of that. Let’s hope that Charles won’t be grumbling in public about it, possibly wondering why another royal couldn’t be sent in his place. As much as Charles would like his wedding to be a private, it’s inevitable that there would be media interest, however given the circumstances, the wedding might be relegated to a small paragraph near the classifieds section. The pope’s death is a very important event and it would ultimately overshadow anything in comparison. People have worked themselves up into frenzy over Camilla’s title and we’ve got the pope lying in state at the same time. Now that Rainier III has died, will the wedding be delayed to pay respects to him too? I would think that Charles, as the designated mourner in the family will need to make some sort of appearance for Rainier as he was Europes longest reigning monarch. At least once he's done in Rome he can swing by Monaco and wear the same suit to his wedding at the Guildhall.

When Diana died we had a similar schedule conflict, in that case it was who to mourn as Mother Theresa died in the same week. It almost put all of the global hysteria into perspective; someone important had actually died and we were canonizing Diana. Once again, there must have been some sort of divine intervention. God must have been saying, “people get real here” to no avail. Yes Diana planted a lot of trees and opened a few hospital wings but let's give Mother Theresa some column space too. I guess she didn't look as good as Diana while she helped the less fortunate. In this case people are focusing on the pope instead of Charles and Camilla. The Queen must be feeling a bit smug at the moment. I doubt Charles and Camilla will have four million people show up and take photos with cell phones at their wedding.

Having to change the date completely throws everything off -the guest schedules, the venue availability, all of the souvenirs with the original date splashed all over them. Wouldn't you hate for that to happen at your wedding? Luckily there are people who collect these items in the hopes that they will increase in value otherwise we might have a surplus of tea towels to dispose of. I wonder if this episode will go down in history as the most disorganized royal wedding. No doubt every book and magazine article on Charles and Camilla will mention it, reminding them over and over and over. No wonder Charles gets cranky at photo-calls. Once the wedding is over and things return to normal, will Charles and Camilla live happily ever after? God only knows.

© Marilyn Braun 2005

Monday, April 04, 2005

Buckingham Palace - Royal eyesore

According to a recent poll, Britons think that Buckingham Palace is the worst eyesore in London. The Queen must be mortified that her humble abode has been judged so harshly. I know I would. Of course the Queen can't move out, the palace is considered to be the sovereigns official residence. She may not like it, preferring Windsor Castle, but she's put down roots there so she's out of luck. Kings and Queens have lived there since Queen Victoria's day, so it's kind of one of those family heirlooms, care worn perhaps but you still have to smile and send a thank you note when you receive it no matter how much it smells and you wish someone had left it in storage. The Queen, being the sensible, frugal woman she's been labelled as, won't leave. Sort of reminds me of that eccentric old spinster in the neighborhood who lives with 10 cats and collects newspapers. Don't say you don't have one in your family.

Now that the kid's have moved out she and Phil really don't need the space. The grandchildren only stay occasionally so it's not like that's an excuse. Sure you can't have anymore banquets and state dinners but at their age it's probably geting too difficult to entertain everyone anyways. I'm sure the Queen must be tired of holding thanksgiving at her place every year, not to mention the leftovers afterwards.There might be an issue with where to keep the royal carriages but that's what storage centres are for and some have reasonable rates. They wouldn't have to pay so many staff because there's less carpet to vacumn and how many people can it possibly take to make a cup of tea. The only other issue would be the whole balcony appearance, one can't really get the whole family on one of those senior's residence terraces.

I read a posting on a royal board regarding the palace as an eyesore and how Charles has some strong views on architecture, true enough so why not move? We might have to wait until Prince Charles' succeeds before the royals make a change but it's good to have a fresh start and Charles seems like just the guy to buck tradition. But just think of the moving costs and all of the packing tape required to move out. Best to keep costs as low as possible to the taxpayers. If he moves he's got two strapping boys to lift heavy objects, not to mention his future step-children, Tom and Laura to drive the moving vans and pick up pizza. If he needs more help he can always call in a favour from the Blairs, Kent's, Gloucesters, and the exiled Greek royals. But where to put everything? Windsor castle already has too much stuff and Clarence house doesn't seem like it has enough room. He would, of course need help with some of the more valuable objects as moving companies aren't always reliable. However sometimes we put a value on things which might be better off in someone else's basement .He could have a garage sale but then you have to put up with those bargain hunters who don't want to pay ticket price for the Rembrandt no matter how much you've marked it down.

Unfortunately the Queen and Phil wouldn't reap any financial windfall from selling the place as it doesn't belong to them. Lucky they're not poor otherwise they could be quite bitter about that. Given it's age it should be sold 'as is' so you don't need to spruce it up for potential buyers who might want to take a closer look at the plumbing and heating system. Mowing and weeding the 39 acres could be daunting to even the most ardent of gardeners, but there are still plenty of pluses for those who a serious about buying. Despite the facade, with nearly 600 rooms to choose from, there's plenty of room for a young couple just starting their family to expand and handy if you don't like your in-laws. Of course the property taxes and utility cost might deter but the 50,000 visitors who traipse through could be a source of revenue, kind of like a basement apartment. Since it's one of the most famous buildings in the world, you will need to tolerate the gawking and tourist buses but the pride you would feel in your home would make up for that. The back terrace will work great for family bbq's but as it's an annual tradition you'll have to rent out the the property for the royal garden parties. You might have help making the tea and sandwiches but you're on your own with clean up afterwards.

It would take a lot of work to maintain such a palace, what with the dusting and vacumming, window cleaning, floor polishing, etc. You would need to be the mother of all neat freaks to keep up with it. As the previous occupants would take their retinue of servants with them, you will need to do all of the work yourself. A large home is only appealing until you need to clean it. You could put dust covers over everything or in the time old tradition, cover all of the furniture in plastic but that could lead to a few sticky situations with guests and relatives.

Gasp! If it can't be sold, what about tearing the place down completely? Isn't that what we do with buildings that no longer appeal to us? Of course there might be some opposition from the historical societies, but don't they already have enough palaces to conserve? England is just littered with them. If the Queen and Phil want to keep the address they could have a custom bungalow built. Sure it wouldn't sell as many postcards or snow globes but that's what Windsor Castle is for.

I can just see the the Queen and Prince Philip snuggling on the sofa and putting their feet up on the coffee table.

Buckingham Bungalow - home sweet home.

© Marilyn Braun 2005