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 Now that he has a steady girlfriend, Charlene Wittstock, rumours of his sexuality have been replaced by marriage rumours.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