Monday, December 24, 2007

Happy Holidays!!

I'd like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Please note that I will be away until January 3rd and I will not be updating my blogs during that time. In the interim, my archives are chock full of interesting, funny, and informative articles, like this one.

Also, there will be no Royal Report on December 30th. The show will resume on January 6th, 2008 (2008, can you believe it?).

The topic will be: Why do the royals complain about their lot in life? Should they complain or is it just another day at the office for them?

Thanks for visiting.

© Marilyn Braun 2007

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Upcoming Royal Report - Should Kate be picking up after Prince William?

A recent news story shows photos of Kate picking up pheasants for William. But should she be picking up after him?

Tune in to The Royal Report on Sunday December 23rd.

This show will be broadcast at a special time - 11:00AM PST (2:00PM EST)

© Marilyn Braun 2007

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Royal Children Trivia

In honor of the birth of a son to The Earl and Countess of Wessex, some royal trivia.

Did you know...

  • Peter and Zara Philips are the Queen's only untitled grandchildren.
  • Peter Philips was the first royal baby to be born a commoner in more than 500 years.
  • Peter Philips is the first grandson of a British sovereign to be born in a hospital.
  • Prince William is the first direct heir to the throne to be born in a hospital.
  • Princess Beatrice's date of birth 8/8/88 is considered to be extremely lucky in the Chinese calendar.
  • Princess Eugenie of York, daughter of Prince Andrew, Duke of York, was the first royal baby to have a public christening. This occured during morning service at St. Mary Magalene, Sandringham, in December 1990.
  • In 1960, Prince Andrew was the first royal baby born to a reigning British sovereign since 1857.
  • The Duke of Edinburgh and the Queen are both great-great-grandchildren of Queen Victoria.
  • Princess Margaret was the first royal baby, so close in the line of succession, to be born in Scotland since Charles I in 1600.
  • Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, was born on a dining room table.
© Marilyn Braun 2007

Related articles

Royal Christenings
Royal Baby Names
Royal Baby Boom
Royal Births

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Upcoming Royal Report - Sunday December 16, 2007

Join me for tonight's Royal Report 5:00PM PST (8:00PM EST).

The topic will be Royal Collectibles. What do you collect? Why do you collect?

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

A Royal Gratitude Meme

I've been tagged in a few blog memes over the last few years but I almost never participate. Why? Because usually the topic of the meme is not relevant to my blog's subject. I don't really think that people want to visit my blog to read about the "10 least known things about me." So I don't detour because my royal blogs are exclusively about royalty and a meme just isn't part of that.

But in this case, I'm going to make an exception.

I belong to a writing community called Absolute Write and currently I am participating in a comment chain; 14 blogs - 7 days to comment on each of them. It's fun, interesting and it can start some interesting discussions, not to mention discovering new blogs. One particular blog called The Writer's Round-About has a post called A Gratitude Meme where she shows gratitude towards various people. I'd like to do the same.

For my husband Karl. While he may not always understand my interest in royalty or my show, he realizes that these things are important to me and asks about my writing, encourages me to enjoy it, and takes care of the kids when I'm doing my show, The Royal Report.

To all the other royal blog owners out there. Each of your blogs brings a different perspective to a subject we share a passionate interest in. It's good to know I'm not alone.

To Cinderella, owner of the World of Royalty website, World of Royalty Blog, Royal News blog, World of Royalty Network and for contributing to the success of The Kate Middleton Report. You gave me the idea to create Marilyn's Royal Blog, you were the first person to comment on it and you have been extremely supportive of it and the rest of my royal projects. I can't thank you enough for that.

To the people who comment on this blog, particularly Claudius. Your comments are wonderful and I look forward to them.

To all of the people who visit from around the world, I appreciate your visit. And I hope that you will return and find this blog a good resource for your interest in royalty. Feel free to say Hi every once in a while.

To June who emails questions and keeps me on my toes with challenging ones.

To all of the people who have given me positive feedback about my blogs and my show. It's very encouraging to know that people are reading, enjoy what I write, and enjoy my show.

And last but not least, to the British Royal family who continue to provide me with material. Keep up the..err..great work!

© Marilyn Braun 2007

Like royal books? Visit Marilyn's Royal Bookstore!

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Upcoming Royal Report - Sunday December 9th

Join me for the next Royal Report on Sunday December 9th 5:00PM PST (8:00PM EST).

The topic will be: Is Kate Middleton qualified to marry into the royal family? Is it no longer enough to be beautiful and wear stylish clothes?

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Can Prince Charles handle becoming King?

Periodically you will see a variation of this question in media articles, usually when there's no news to report. However, by asking this question I'm not trying to follow the crowd.

I hope that the Queen will live a long time because I'm not sure that Prince Charles is up to the task. Let me clarify this. The Queen sets a good example of staying above the fray when it comes to political issues and controversial topics. Prince Charles on the other hand, does not. According to his official site, he actually sees his role as being able to highlight today's issues, bringing them to the forefront.

'And being Prince of Wales produces more freedom now, and being King would be a little bit more suffocating. And because I know the character I would think that the top job, as I call it, would bring enormous limitations to him, and I don't know whether he could adapt to that. ' Diana, Princess of Wales Panorama Interview

Note that when Diana said, in her much quoted Panorama interview, she hit the nail on the head. Many saw this as evidence that Charles should not become king. But it was true then as it is true now. Will Charles be able to reign in his tendency to wade in to the fray? Remain strictly neutral with political matters, as the sovereigns role clearly demands and requires?

In his time as Prince of Wales, Charles has spearheaded many initiatives and been a catalyst for change. On the other hand, he has also caused a ruckus with his comments. A rather notable example of this is his speech criticizing architectural changes to historical buildings. Can you imagine the queen doing this?

His father Prince Philip is no stranger to saying controversial things. Maybe Prince Charles is more like his father than he realizes. But unlike his father, he was born to become king. His role, like his father, is undefined. In a sense, it's what you make of it. As consort to the Queen, Prince Philip has a certain freedom in his actions. Where what he says or does ultimately has no bearing on the future of the nation. Prince Charles as monarch, taking a stand, could be seen to confer an unfair advantage on the issue he takes the side of. While it is nothing new to hear political figures do this during elections to win votes, Charles is not running for office or trying to gain popularity. He has a captive audience; albeit one whose loyalty seems to diminish each year.

After all of these years could we accept a monarch's change of style? Does limiting his natural outspoken tendencies adhere to a tradition that is antiquated? Most monarchs have followed the traditional script. The last monarch to want change was King Edward VIII when during a visit to depressed Coal mining villages in Wales he said, "something must be done." While possibly feeling for the cause he stopped short of doing anything. Had he not abdicated it's interesting to ponder just how he might have changed things. Would the monarchy be different from what we know it today?

Will Prince Charles go with the traditional script as those before him? Does he have a choice?

Time will tell.

© Marilyn Braun 2007

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Maybe breaking into song wasn't such a good idea?

On my internet talk show, The Royal Report, I'm constantly looking for ways to make the show better. I have no illusions that it will become as popular as some of the featured shows on the nowlive site, but I can dream.

This past broadcast, December 2nd, listener mail, I thought I would answer someone's question in song. While the idea entertained me up until I did it, I'm not entirely sure it was such a good idea. Seeing the 9 people who have so far listened to the show makes me cringe. Don't get me wrong, I love it when people listen to my shows but in this case maybe I went too far with it. Or so I think.

I'm going to let you in on a little secret - while the song may not have shown me to my best advantage, and as I said on the show, I'm not a classically trained lounge lizard singer, I do know how to sing.

So maybe it's not that I sang, but the quality of it in this instance. After all, who knows, maybe a record executive of a major label will listen to this and pass on it because they don't like the lounge lizard style. What a missed opportunity!

Prior to doing the show I did not practice the song. I thought I would just go where the song took me. And it took me nowhere. Now not only do I have no record contract, but I have no end to the feeling that I just made a fool of myself. Of course it's all in the name of entertainment. The cardinal sin of any podcast, or any form of entertainment, is being boring. I have a problem with taking the subject of royalty seriously at times. So it's natural for me to look at it humourously - as I mentioned in another post, doing so is in my veins. And that's what The Royal Report is about; being entertaining. Even if I do sometimes make a fool of myself in the process.

© Marilyn Braun 2007

Love takes a long time written by Roger Knox ©

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Has Prince Albert made accountants sexy?

Until a year ago, I'd always thought of Prince Albert of Monaco as rather boring. Sandwiched between his tabloid worthy, multi-married sisters, Princess Caroline and Princess Stephanie, he seemed to be a contrast. Whereas they were wild, "Albie" as his mother nicknamed him, seemed laid back and calm. You could almost compare him to his mother, the late Princess Grace, in temperment. But without his mother or sister's glamour, he was just a balding, middle-aged man in a suit, appearing no different than the balding, middle-aged, workaholic accountant in your neighborhood.

Not that Prince Albert didn't have his share of rumours and tabloid interest. He's been linked with Claudia Schiffer, and labelled a playboy. The bigger rumour seems to be his sexuality. After many years of playing the field, one would have thought that he would have settled down. It's only in the last two years that he's come out of the shadow of his sisters. His succession in April 2005 made him headline news, sandwiched as it was between the more newsworthy death of Pope John Paul II and Charles and Camilla's wedding. But it wasn't until a few months after that event that he came into his own right with the news that he was acknowledging a child he had fathered out of wedlock, Alexandre Coste.

Were this some other dynamic public figure, it may have come as no surprise.For mild mannered, accountant-like Albert, it was different and his decision to step up to the plate was rather unique in an age where public figures try to keep controversial aspects of their lives private. Prince Albert is no ordinary public figure but a ruler, with not one illegitimate child to his name but two, Jazmin Grace Grimaldi. Now that he has a steady girlfriend, Charlene Wittstock, rumours of his sexuality have been replaced by marriage rumours. And despite having two illegitimate children, his image seems to have improved instead of diminished.

At least in my case it has. I'll never look at the accountant next door in the same way again.

© Marilyn Braun 2007

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Royal Review - The Grace Kelly years, Princess of Monaco

This may or may not be a good quality to have. I have a habit of buying things sight unseen or unheard. For example, if a new album comes out by Seal or Robbie Williams, I will buy it before I've even heard a note. The same with books. Well, some books anyway...If a book comes out, say on Prince Charles, I won't immediately order it. However if the book is about Diana, the Queen, or in this case Grace Kelly, I will automatically buy it. I'm rarely if ever disappointed, so maybe this isn't such a bad quality after all.

One disadvantage to being in Canada is that royal exhibits rarely come here. Sure we had the exhibit of Diana's dresses in 1998 and the Diana: a celebration exhibit came in 2004, but I had to originally travel to Althorp to see it. I missed out on the Queen's 80th birthday and the Royal wedding exhibits at Buckingham Palace. While it isn't the same as seeing them in person, luckily I have two books to compensate for that. This time I'm missing out on the Grace Kelly exhibit in Monaco. September 14, 2007 marked the 25th anniversary of her death and this exhibit pays homage to her. At least I have a book to console me for being on the wrong continent.

The Grace Kelly Years, Princess of Monaco is a unique book in that, unlike many exhibit books, it's comprehensive. One frustrating thing that I've found from exhibit books is that they usually offer only part of the display - mainly the highlights - thus leaving me wanting more. The same cannot be said of this book. If after 304 pages you haven't learned something new about her, read it again.

Authorized by the royal family with items from the palace archives, this book doesn't offer sensational details of her life. It presents her in context of her life as Grace Kelly, the girl from Philadelphia, to movie star to Princess of Monaco. The objects on display are charming: her scrapbook containing items from significant moments of her youth - gum wrappers, matchbook covers, napkins, and movie tickets. These mementos reveal a sentimental side obscured by the 'ice-queen' descriptions during her acting career.

This book is a love letter to her memory by the only people who are truly authorized to do so - her children. In life she was a private person, so there's a sense of generosity in allowing us a glimpse of previously unseen family snapshots, letters, love notes, stills from family movies, and jewels, including her engagement ring. Less private, but no less interesting are advertisements from her modelling days, the dresses she wore when she won her Oscar, and at her civil wedding ceremony.

Interestingly, at her wedding in 1956 there were no royal heads of state in attendance. When she died, representatives from royal houses came in numbers to pay tribute to a woman who was more than just a beautiful woman, but someone who had surpassed it and become a much loved and respected figure on the world stage. Like Grace Kelly: A Life in Pictures this book gives us a glimpse of a remarkable woman who 25 years after her death, still continues to fascinate.

Click here to order this book

© Marilyn Braun 2007

Like royal books? Visit Marilyn's Royal Bookstore!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Royal Wedding Trivia

In honor of the Diamond wedding anniversary of The Queen and Prince Philip on November 20th. Some royal wedding trivia.

  • The Queen is the first British monarch to celebrate a Diamond wedding anniversary

  • This was the first and only time in British history that an heir presumptive to the throne had been married.

  • The Queen was the 10th member of the Royal family to be married in Westminster Abbey.

  • An identical copy of her wedding bouquet was made and presented to The Queen on her Golden wedding anniversary in 1997.

  • The two Royal kneelers, used during the wedding service, were covered in rose pink silk. They were made from orange boxes, due to war time austerity, and date stamped 1946.

  • Trumpet fanfares were introduced for the first time at a Royal wedding in the Abbey.

  • The Duke of Edinburgh is only one of a few consorts to reigning female Queens in British history

© Marilyn Braun 2007

Original trivia source: Official site of the British Monarchy

Related articles:

Royal Weddings
Royal Wedding Dresses
Royal Engagement Rings

Friday, November 16, 2007

Upcoming Royal Report - Sunday November 18th, 2007

The next Royal Report will be on Sunday November 18th.

5:00PM PST (8:00PM EST)

The topic will be Royal Scandals - Does it make the royal family more interesting?

You can listen to the podcast here.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Question: Untitled royal children

Cynthia writes...

Would love your take on royals who don't grant their children the same privilege - such as Princess Anne's children.

Thanks for your email. I've always felt that it was somewhat unfair to children of royalty to deny them what I would regard as their birthright. But as Princess Anne's children are in the female line, they were..never entitled to a royal title in the first place. She is said to have even rejected an offer from the Queen for her children to have noble titles. So Princess Anne's son was actually the first grandchild of a British sovereign to have no title whatsoever; from birth he was known as plain Master Peter Philips. Princess Anne's children are, incidently, the Queen's only untitled grandchildren.

Royal titles pass through the male line but there are restrictions on this. Because of Letters Patent issued on December 11, 1917 when King George V:

" restricted the style "His (or Her) Royal Highness" and the titular dignity of "Prince (or Princess) of Great Britain and Ireland" to the children of the Sovereign, the children of the sons of the Sovereign, and the eldest living son of the eldest living son of a Prince of Wales.

There is an exception to this. As I've mentioned, royal titles do not go through the female line; unless there are special circumstances. One such rare instance applied to the Queen when she was Princess Elizabeth. In November 1948 she was expecting Prince Charles and it was discovered that her children would not automatically become HRH Prince/Princess upon their births as they would be grandchildren in the female line. Therefore his Grandfather King George VI issued letters patent on October 22, 1948 so that all children of Princess Elizabeth would have royal titles.

A more recent example and one that has divided royal watchers is the daughter of Prince Edward, The Earl of Wessex - Lady Louise Windsor. She is the grandaughter of a sovereign in the male line, therefore she is entitled to be called HRH Princess Louise of Wessex. However, at the time of his marriage, the Earl decided that any children born to him would not have HRH Prince/Princess titles. They would have titles as the son/daughter of an Earl - Viscount/Lady. Interesting to note that although this was decided, Letters Patent have never been issued to change this, therefore she could in effect, choose to be known by her rightful title at any point in the future. I understand why it was done, I can respect the decision to try to give their daughter a normal life, but by doing this she is denied her birthright. There were some reports that Prince Andrew's daughters Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie would lose their royal titles and become Lady Beatrice and Lady Eugenie Windsor instead. Whether this is true or not, Prince Andrew decided that because they are male line grandchildren and entitled to royal status, it would be unfair to take their titles away from them.

While the relevance of titles in todays world seems to be reducing - meaning that being known as HRH Prince/Princess, especially if you're not the direct heir, is somewhat meaningless. But with a shortage of royal princesses, and princes for that matter, I don't see why having one more, in this case Louise, should matter. In effect the royal family would be reducing their royal titles to nothing, which I think is somewhat sad because it places the burden completely on Prince William and Prince Harry. What happens if they don't marry? Or die before having children? Hopefully we'll never have to find out.

© Marilyn Braun 2007

Like royal books? Visit Marilyn's Royal Bookstore!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Operation Imminent Engagement

Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to leave Prince William and Kate Middleton alone so that they can 'let nature take its course'. This mission is difficult. It will take a lot of patience. Should you fail, we will disavow your actions.

Location: A palace somewhere in London

The Queen, Prince Philip, and Prince Charles sit at a table and open their dossiers. They pull out 8x10 glossies of Prince William and Kate Middleton.

Prince Charles: Mummy, I don't know why we have these photos. We know perfectly well how they look.

The Queen: Yes, but I'm wondering which one to use on the stamps

Prince Philip: Darling, shouldn't we wait until there's an engagement?

The Queen: You're quite right. Charles, I think it's time.

Prince Charles: It's time?

The Queen: Yes, we need Kate to resuscitate the monarchy. Undo some of the damage Prince Harry has made.

Prince Philip: (to Charles) You need to reign that boy in..he's getting out of hand.

Prince Charles: I'm not taking parenting advice from you..

The Queen: Oh Charles, must we really go into that again?

Prince Philip: At least none of you had a drinking problem.

The Queen: Enough! Charles, see what you can do with William and Kate. Hurry! We need to book the photographer, Westminster Abbey, the organist..And I have to choose my dress....

Meanwhile, on an exotic Island somewhere in Paradise.

Prince William and Kate Middleton have just returned from a relaxing walk on the beach. William has reserved the entire resort for their stay. He wants to make it a special occasion for Kate. Knowing how special he is to her, he wants things to be just right.

Prince William: You know Kate, we've been together a long time

Kate Middleton: Yes William...

Helicopters descend on the resort. The noise is unbearable and the couple try to talk over it.


Kate Middleton: YES DARLING


Kate Middleton: WHAT?


Kate Middleton: I CAN'T HEAR YOU

Suddenly photographers appear at their window taking endless photos


Kate Middleton: WHAT? (turns to the photographers) NICE CAMERA!

Prince William puts his head in his hands and sits down


To be Continued...

© Marilyn Braun 2007

Sunday, November 11, 2007

The Royal Report for Sunday November 11, 2007 - Has Camilla finally gained acceptance?

Upcoming Royal Report - Sunday November 11th, 2007

The next Royal Report will be on Sunday November 11th.

5:00PM PST
8:00PM EST

The topic will be: Has Camilla finally gained acceptance?

© Marilyn Braun 2007

Like royal books? Visit Marilyn's Royal Bookstore!

Friday, November 02, 2007

Upcoming Royal Report - Should the succession laws be changed?

Join me for the next Royal Report on Sunday November 4th - 5:00PM PST (8:00PM EST).

To listen to the Podcast, click here.

© Marilyn Braun 2007

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Don't you just love a royal sex scandal?

Judging by the popularity of this subject, royal watchers cannot live on William and Kate engagement speculation, Prince Philip's health or news of the Diana Inquest. No, we needed something more. Something big to take our minds off of those boring topics. Thankfully there's a....

ROYAL SEX SCANDAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yes, some (minor) royal came through for us with news of a sex tape and an envelope of cocaine. I first heard about this story on CNN. Two men have been arrested for trying to blackmail a member of the royal family for $100,000. In return, the men would keep the tape private. Now they're arrested, without their tape or their ransom. But who cares about them? The search engine topic 'who is the royal in the scandal' is what's important to people.

I have my theories, but I'll keep them to myself. Mainly because I don't like the idea of being sued for libel. But regardless of who it is, whether high on the totem pole or someone who has mere bragging rights, it's made news and aren't we all the better for it? Yes, everyone loves a scandal. We haven't had one in a long time. Camilla-gate? why bother. Squigy-gate? ancient history. Sheesh those were just phone calls! A video is a completely innovative addition to a royal scandal. In this history of royal scandals, none have captured the moment on video. Or maybe they have and we just haven't seen it on You Tube yet. Unbeknownst to him/her the royal in question has blazed a trail and there's no going back.

I have no doubt that the royal involved will be named. While there is a publication ban, it won't stop the media from making hints. Or without some 'friend' or 'unnamed source' coming forward. In the end money will be made, people will be embarrassed and lives will be changed forever, all while we graze on the sordid details.

© Marilyn Braun 2007

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Is Royalty A Silly Topic For A Blog?

I belong to a writing board and recently a member reviewed some sites, mine included. Here's what Virginia Lee had to say:

Marilyn...types about all things royal. I'm ashamed to admit that I once thought this was kind of a silly topic for a blog, but I was wrong. She handles her topic with grace, class, and honesty and visit at least once a week to see what she has to say. I don't believe in royalty much, but it's interesting to learn about this privileged set via Marilyn's blog.

I responded on Virginia's blog that she isn't the first person to think so and she won't be the last! I'm sure there are plenty of people who think that royalty is a silly topic for a blog. Despite this, I can't even begin to count the number of royal blogs out there. At least 20 English language and two dozen more European ones. Looking at the number of sites, maybe it isn't as silly after all.

When I started Marilyn's Royal Blog almost three years ago, I did it mainly to have an outlet for my interest in royalty. People don't necessarily understand why I have such a strong interest in this subject. But that's okay, they don't have to. Through this blog I have found a sense of acceptance with other like-minded people who have also felt misunderstood. I'm not trying to make this into a serious problem people need to seek help for; although I have joked about that in the past!

Although I'm proud of my blog I still find it difficult to tell people about it. Maybe if it were a website it might be easier. Everyone has heard of websites, but blogging is a different story. I also find it difficult to tell people about my show. Luckily I have a husband who takes my blog and my show seriously and actually encourages it. He may not always understand, but he knows it's important to me. I don't know what I'd do without that support.

As a friend of mine recently observed, royalty runs the gamut of celebrity, news, politics, and religion. Considering the interest in these topics, maybe a subject that combines them isn't all that silly after all.

© Marilyn Braun 2007

Like royal books? Visit Marilyn's Royal Bookstore!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Is it realistic?

There's an interesting post on the World of Royalty Network about posting photos that are copyrighted. In order to read the post you'll need to register, but I highly recommend doing so as it's a great place for royal watchers to meet.

It's always wise to respect copyright. When in doubt, don't post it. Now I'm all for respecting copyright but I'm wondering...whether it's realistic, in general, for official sites and photo agencies to expect people not to use these photos in their blogs, on their royal tribute sites, or on any other website. Obviously there are lots of photos out there. It's easy to copy them and think the photo is now yours. But it isn't. So where are people supposed to get photos?

At one point, there were various official royal websites that had image sections where you could download official photos for non-commercial use. Now this seems to have changed. Why? I don't have a clue. But knowing there was a royal source for fair-use photos was great. As a royal watcher, I assume that people know who I'm writing about. This is not always the case. So being able to show a photo with the article makes sense. Prince Christian of Denmark is cute? Here's a photo - see for yourself!

Surfing the Internet there's rampant copyright infringement. Or so I assume. Yes the music industry is cracking down but still, where would You Tube be without videos of celebrities? Or royalty? But most people can't afford to get the proper permissions to use said photos and music. In my case I actually have tried to get permission for a photograph and received no response to my request. Okay, I'm trying to go through the right channels here. Why not then respond, tell me how much it will cost and then I can go and save up my money? I've been told by photographers that agencies don't know how to respond to blog requests. So does that mean any blog that uses images is doing so because they haven't received permission, despite requesting it? Receiving no response, is it little wonder that people go ahead and use the photos anyways? True, there are sites that have fair use photos - but just try to find one of Prince William or Kate Middleton.

I'm not saying that the use of copyrighted photos is a given right, but it sure can make an article and a blog more interesting.

© Marilyn Braun 2007

Photo: (minus the X) Snowdon/Camera Press

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Upcoming Royal Report - Sunday October 28th

Join me for the next Royal Report on Sunday October 28th 5:00PM PST (8:00PM EST).

The topic will be: Prince William and Kate Middleton - are they the real deal?

You can listen to the Podcast here.

The next Royal Report will be on November 4th. The topic will be: Should the succession laws be changed from male primogeniture to equal primogeniture?

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Royal Review: The Rick Mercer Report: The Book by Rick Mercer

Right now you may be scratching your head going, first, Who on earth is Rick Mercer? Second, you're probably wondering, What does he have to do with royalty? I'll answer the first question in a moment. The answer to the second question? absolutely nothing. So now you're probably thinking you've come to the wrong blog, or I've taken leave of my senses by reviewing a book by a person you know nothing about and who has nothing to do with royalty.

You may think he has nothing to do with royalty. But you know my show, The Royal Report? He's the inspiration behind it. Or at least the style of it. True I've satirized the royal family for almost three years without needing him. Satirizing them is in my veins. However The Royal Report is different and I channel him everytime I write my script and go live with it.

So now you're thinking, it all makes sense. It's so obvious. All of the questions about me and my show that run through your head have been answered by this one review. Since September 25th, 2007, when the book was released, it's been so clear. You're wondering, why didn't it come to you before?

Me too, my friends.

Now to answer the first question: Who on earth is Rick Mercer? If you're in Canada, if you watch the CBC, you're likely to know him from This Hour as 22 minutes and of course,The Rick Mercer Report. If you're in the USA, you might know him from his comedy routine Talking to Americans.

RMR - The Book is a collection of his best rants over the last four years from his show. True, you do need to see the show in order to appreciate his rants but this book comes pretty close to them. Actually, other than reruns and YouTube, it's the next best thing. Rick Mercer satirizes Canadian politicians, and although I know next to nothing about Canadian politics, it doesn't matter. Seeing Rick Mercer having a sleep-over at the Prime Minister's house, skinny dipping with politicians, and rolling joints with Pierre Berton, is something that just has to be seen, or in this case, read about, in order to believe it. And it is funny. Now if you don't know who the politicians are, you can replace them with ones from your own country. Stephen Harper (PM of Canada) now becomes George W. Bush, Gordon Brown, Fredrik Reinfeldt or Heinz Fischer. Members of Parliament now become Senators, or Congressmen. Replace the Conservatives, Liberals, and the Green Party with Republicans, Democrats and your own Green Party. See now the book is fun too! Pencil and eraser not included.

Now you're probably wondering, hey this doesn't sound too bad. What's taking me so long to buy it?

Me too, my friends. Me too.

© Marilyn Braun 2007

Friday, October 19, 2007

Upcoming Royal Report: Sunday October 21st, 2007

The next Royal Report will be on Sunday October 21st.

The topic will be:The Diana Inquest - Will this finally end the rumours?

You can tune into the show at
5:00pm PT (8:00pm ET)

Here's a time zone converter if you're outside of North America.

Hope you can join me!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Question: What is it like being a royal watcher?

Jerry writes:

You mentioned you wanted suggestions about what to write about. I'd love to know more about you. What's it like being a royal watcher? When did you start? What's been your favorite experience with royal watching? What sort of friendships has it lead to? The thing that differentiates your royal watching from everyone else's is you....

Well Jerry, thank you for your questions! I'll answer them one at a time.

What's it like being a royal watcher? When did you start?

My interest started the day Prince William was born - June 21, 1982. I was 10 years old and I remember hearing it on the radio. I've been fascinated ever since. Before this blog I was only a closet royal watcher. But now the secret is out! I'm happy now, because I no longer have to pretend to collect egg cups, sports memorabilia, or paperclips. I enjoy being a royal watcher quite a bit, and having an outlet for it with this blog is even better.

What's been your favorite experience with royal watching?

I would have to say *cough* appearing on tv *cough*

What sort of friendships has it led to?

It's led to several friendships - which I think is just wonderful. I've always felt that people who are royal watchers form a small, tight knit, community. At least that's the feeling I get from visiting various forums. In terms of royal blogging I think it's an even smaller world as there are only about 10 or so English language royal blogs.

The thing that differentiates your royal watching from everyone else's is you....

I don't know that I'm any more passionate about royalty than any other royal watcher or people who participate in royal forums. Maybe having *cough* internet talk show *cough* makes me somewhat different because I don't think there's anything else out there like that. But for the most part I put my pants on one leg at a time. ;)

© Marilyn Braun 2007

Like royal books? Visit Marilyn's Royal Bookstore!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The Diana Inquest - Justice for whom?

The long awaited Diana inquest is underway. Jurors have been sworn in. Six women and five men charged with answering four questions: who died, when did they die, where they died and how they died. The answer to these questions should be rather obvious, at least the first three anyways. It's the last question that may prove... to be the most difficult to answer. Or should the conclusion that there was no conspiracy, will it be the most difficult for Mohammed Al Fayed to accept?

Mohammed Al Fayed has propagated many of the allegations that have led to this inquiry. The events of August 31st and the days leading up to it have created hundreds of questions and launched many a conspiracy theory. Al Fayed alleges that Dodi and Diana were about to announce their engagement, that she was pregnant with Dodi's child and that the royal family could not accept the fact that the future King of England would have an Egyptian Muslim step-father. Some people need battles in their lives and he may be one of them. He fought for this inquest in front of a jury. Railed against the system in order to get it. Now that it's here, what happens next?

Al Fayed says: "I want justice for my son."

What about justice for Diana? What about justice for Trevor Rees-Jones - the sole survivor, and whose life is irrevocably changed? It's interesting to note that only Mohammed Al Fayed is the only one seeking the truth and justice. Where are the Spencers? Where are Prince William and Prince Harry? Do they not deserve the truth? The Princes have publicly announced that they accept the findings of the Lord Stevens Report. Also known as The Operation Paget Report, its 871 pages considered each allegation put forth by Al Fayed. He accused the original French investigation findings as incomplete. In Operation Paget, the investigators interviewed 300 witnesses, some for the first time, and went through 600 exhibits. Using the latest technology, they also reconstructed the crash in great detail. Lord Stevens came to the conclusion that there was no conspiracy to murder Diana and Dodi. It's unlikely that she was pregnant. With no indications given to family and friends, it's unlikely that she was engaged or about to get engaged to Dodi. The conclusion was that their deaths were the result of a tragic accident. Isn't that thorough enough?

It would be easy to dismiss Al Fayed as a loose cannon. His allegations make it easy to ignore the fact that he's a father who has never recovered from the loss of his son. "Grief is the price we pay for love." said the Queen in response to the September 11th, 2001 attacks. Can he be blamed for wanting closure? It depends on whose terms its on. Should this inquest lead to the conclusion that the crash was an accident, will Al Fayed accept it and let Diana, Dodi and Henri Paul rest in peace? Somehow I doubt it.

And after all of this time, that would be the biggest injustice of all.

© Marilyn Braun 2007

Like royal books? Visit Marilyn's Royal Bookstore!

Friday, October 12, 2007

The Royal Report: I just called to say...

Tune in to The Royal Report on Sunday October 14th. The topic will be: Royalty & the media. Should the media lay off the royal family?

Email me and let me know what you think.

You can catch the show live at

Sundays 5:00 pm (PST) 8:00 pm (EST)

© Marilyn Braun 2007

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Royal Review - Diana, A Princess Remembered by Glenn Harvey

Aside from books that have yet to be released, or ones I've waited until they've ended up in the bargain bin, I can't say I've ever waited as long for a book as this one. Ordered in late July, I now have it in my hands today. Usually I'm impressed by the efficiency of..Amazon but in this case I was truly frustrated by the experience. However, don't let that stop you from purchasing this book!

The first thing I notice about this book is the shape of it - a horizontal rectangle. This presents an aesthetic dilemma as most of the royal books I own are not horizontal rectangles. So where do I place this so as not to disturb the careful visual alignment of books I've created? I'm conflicted, do I put it at the front of the shelf or at the end? Or do I put it on the shelf with smaller books, where it will stick out? Luckily the shape of the book will not affect my enjoyment of it or whether I will give it an unbiased view. The second thing I notice is a DVD which includes 'images set to a soundtrack.' with a '60 minute running time.' This more than makes up for the aesthetic dilemma. I am of course torn between watching this versus giving a deserving review of this book. So I have now decided to look at the book and revisit the DVD later.

Diana A Princess Remembered is filled with photos of Diana throughout her royal career. In that respect it really isn't much different from Diana: Portrait of a Princess by Jayne Fincher (also a horizontal rectangle). Covering official and private travels from 1985 to 1993 to Australia, Brazil, Canada, the Caribbean, Czechoslovakia, Egypt, France, Germany, Hungary, Hong Kong, Korea, Kuwait, India, Indonesia, Italy, Spain, Thailand, the USA and of course the UK. It has a similarity to Portraits of a Princess: Travels with Diana, by Patrick Jephson, which details her travels from an insiders perspective with the relevant photos.

My enjoyment of this book is somewhat marred by Glenn Harvey's reputation as a paparazzi who relentlessly pursued Diana, upsetting her on several occasions for his own cause. However those types of photos are not included in this book, allowing me to believe I have some integrity left after having bought it. Accompanying the book are anecdotes of his travels with Diana and the situations Harvey encountered in order to capture the moment.

The DVD is enjoyable and a pleasant surprise. The musical accompaniment starts sombre but becomes festive depending on the location of the photos. For instance, during her United States visits, the soundtrack section starts with music that belongs more on a game show, complete with wild audience applause. I started to wonder what music would be played in the Canadian part of the DVD - Oh Canada? Bird calls? Aboriginal drumbeats? Instead they decided to stick with acoustic guitar music; the type you'd hear at Starbucks.

If like me, you're on some sort of misguided mission to own every book ever written about Diana, then this book is for you. If not, then you might enjoy the book for what it is - photos of Diana in her royal element, relating to the people and making her extraordinary impact on the world.

© Marilyn Braun 2007

Click here to purchase Diana: A Princess Remembered

Like royal books? Visit Marilyn's Royal Bookstore!

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Is the 'Death of Prince Harry' art?

Y'know, I don't have a problem with artwork. As a matter of fact, I go to the museum at least a couple of times a year to make myself feel somewhat cultured and refined. I don't always get what's on display, but I try to hide it. At present, I'm working on making observations which sound important, but ultimately say absolutely nothing of significance. For example...

Marilyn: I like the way he smushed all of the colors together. Such joie de vivre! Almost childlike in its energy and enthusiasm.

Companion: Yes, his use of primary colors is impressive. But see how he experimented with red and blue to make purple? So inspired.

Marilyn: Indeed, so avant-garde. He's really growing in his artistry.

Now I will admit that I tend to like sculpture more, especially when it's of the human form, for obvious reasons; I can tell what its supposed to be. But sometimes I still don't get it. Take for example artist Daniel Edwards recent work "Iraq War Memorial: Death of Prince Harry." The Memorial features Prince Harry prone, his unfired gun holstered, pennies placed over his eyes, and his head resting on a Bible. Prince Harry is represented clutching a bloodied flag of Wales, and holding to his heart a cameo locket of his late mother, Princess Diana, while a desert vulture perches on his boot. 'A war-mutilated Prince Harry is the symbolic fallen hero in a memorial honoring those willing but unable to serve in the Iraq conflict...Harry’s head is ear less, denoting the explicit threats against the Prince from militia leaders saying they planned to send him back to his grandmother "without his ears." Eventually, the severed ears will be bronzed, put on display and then auctioned on eBay.

Tugs at the heart strings doesn't it? Makes you want to enlist to compensate for him right? Somethings missing though, a card that says "Harry" in Charles'/William's/or the Queen's handwriting. Who knows, maybe Mr. Edwards thought that might have gone a tad too far.

Unsurprisingly Daniel Edwards is no stranger to controversy. He's also created 'Suri's bronzed baby poop', and 'Paris Hilton Autopsy,' as a 'warning to underage, teenage prom-queen drinkers.' His sculpture featuring Britney Spears is called 'The Birth of Sean Preston.' shows her on all fours, giving birth to her first son. It's meant to be a pro-life statement - the bravery of her decision, as a young mother, to put family before her career. "Britney provides inspiration for those struggling with the ‘right choice’,” said artist Daniel Edwards, pre-head shaving incident and regrettable MTV awards appearance. Isn't that like saying Madonna (the singer) is a model for Catholicism?

Whether you're for the war or not, whether you think this is art or not, this piece does make a statement. While his work is intriguing I find it somewhat sceptical that he has chosen such well known subjects, in such extreme positions, and claim they convey an important message. Actually having done so cancels any such message out. Some may find this piece inappropriate, an attempt to shock, a gimmick, a prank or a sincere comment on important issues. Ultimately art is in the eye of the beholder.

What do you think?

© Marilyn Braun 2007