Friday, February 29, 2008

The Trouble With Prince Harry

It was inevitable.

Reporting that Prince Harry was in Afghanistan was just too good a story to pass up. Even if it meant putting Harry and his comrades at risk. Some could say that he should never have been sent in the first place. That the danger was there all along. But initial reservations for his safety and that of the men he would serve with, were put aside. Official announcements were made, first they said he will, then they said he won't. If you can't believe a denial from top British Military officials, then what can you believe?

For all of wanting to serve, for not wanting to be left behind, for wishing he wasn't a prince. Harry needs to face the reality of his position. He's a marked man, if not in a war zone then in the life that he leads. Everything he does, from the moment his mother's pregnancy was announced in February 1984, to now is and will always be newsworthy.

He can't be blamed for wanting to serve. By doing so he's upholding a family tradition. He's not the first heir to serve, and he won't be the last. But it's the naivety of thinking he would get to do so like everyone else. Were he to end up in the wrong hands, one can only imagine the resources that would be spent and negotiations that would take place for his safe return. Some ordinary soldier indeed.

Because of this news, it's reported that he will end his tour of duty prematurely. Or will he? Until he returns to Britain, I won't hold my breath.

© Marilyn Braun 2008

Friday, February 22, 2008

Upcoming Royal Report - Should Kate Middleton propose to Prince William?

The next Royal Report will be on Sunday February 24th, 2008.

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

The topic will be: According to one report, 15 million people would like Kate Middleton to get down on bended knee and propose to Prince William this leap year.

Should she propose? Or should she wait for William to pop the question?

Email and let me know what you think or share your thoughts live on Sunday.

© Marilyn Braun 2008

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The Diana Inquest: Will Kevin Bacon take the stand?


My eyes have obviously deceived me. CNN has reported that Diana's death was 'hot'murder and I read it as not murder.

For a moment it seemed that people had finally come to their senses, declaring what should have been obvious all along. Maybe my prescription has changed, maybe this is what I wanted to read. Maybe CNN should have been a little clearer with their headline. It's certainly eye catching. The phrase 'hot' murder comes from Mohammed Al Fayed, who took the stand at the Diana Inquest yesterday. Now we'll finally hear the truth according to Al Fayed. His outlandish theories have implicated amongst others, Prince Philip, Robert Fellowes - Diana's brother-in-law - and now her sister, Lady Sarah McCorquodale, in the cover-up. Yes, these conspiracy theories are becoming like a game of Six-degrees of Kevin Bacon - all you need to do is open the right doors in Al Fayed's mind. Who knows? Maybe Kevin Bacon is involved too!

Yes, it could be fun to ponder. Unfortunately this isn't a joke or a game. Even if the Inquest takes on a farce like quality with each passing day. As the months have gone by the witness testimony has built up to this apex. These theories started with Mohammed Al Fayed, and it would be fitting for the Inquest to end with him. If only to remind everyone how much time and money has been wasted by indulging the grief of a man who chooses to blame everyone but himself.

He wanted his day in court and he's got it. But I hope he gets what he deserves.

© Marilyn Braun 2008

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Upcoming Royal Report - Sunday February 17, 2008

The next Royal Report will be on Sunday February 17, 2008.

5:00PM PST (8:00 EST)

The topic will be: The Diana Inquest - Will someone ever take responsibility?

I hope you can join me!

© Marilyn Braun 2008

Friday, February 15, 2008

Interview with Jerramy Fine - Part Two

In Part Two of my interview with Jerramy Fine, author of Someday My Prince Will Come, she shares her thoughts on Gordon Brown's sex appeal, what she would have done differently, the lesson she's learned about herself, and her next book.

One thing I noticed about your story is that you don't shy away from people's opinions of your goal. You face it head on. It was necessary but do you think that you were taking a certain risk in doing that? That it would add more to the readers’ skepticism? That you would have more work in getting the reader to relate to you?

My editor and I debated at length over the start of the book – where I my friend Max tells me I’m delusional in the very first sentence. My editor had your very same fears – that perhaps it would alienate readers and they would think I was nuts from the get go. But I felt strongly about keeping that section in. I wanted to show that despite my fairytale-sounding goal, that I was completely self-aware and used to the constant criticism. I wanted to show that I knew my ambition sounded crazy – but that I wasn’t living in la-la land. And that when it came to visions of princesshood, I was dead serious.

When you refer to Tony Blair as the sexiest world leader, I thought that was the best line in the book. What do you think of Gordon Brown?

I have to say that Tony has become significantly less dreamy since he first came to power in 1997. But ten years ago, before he developed gray hair and bags under his eyes from making all kinds of insane foreign policy decisions, Tony was my poster boy! I loved him. Gordon Brown, while perhaps more grounded, doesn’t begin to compare. However, London mayoral candidate Boris Johnson (who roomed with Earl Spencer at Eton) has precisely the kind of devilish wit and old-school English charm that drives me to distraction.

With the benefit of hindsight, is there anything you would have done differently?

In hindsight, I would have chosen to do my masters at a British university outside of London (i.e. someplace like Oxford, Cambridge or Bristol) – LSE was great academically but because it was a city campus, rather than one enclosed by ivy-covered walls – it was very hard to meet people (especially English people!) – much less make friends. I also should have researched how hard it was to get a work permit – and perhaps should have studied a subject that would be more conducive to Home Office quotas.

If you could have a conversation with the person you were then vs. the person you are now, what would you say, what advice would you give?

I think I was very na├»ve about a lot of things. For a long time, I honestly thought the world was one giant Disney movie (very much like the heroine did in the wonderful film Enchanted) – and I was shocked to my very core when I discovered that some people could actually be very and quite intentionally evil. Still, I don’t think telling my old self this would have made a difference as I was pretty headstrong back then. I would also tell my old self that life is about the journey – not the destination. Quite a simple concept, I know – but I was so focused on getting to my goal that I often forgot this.

What did you learn about yourself?

That true royalty comes from within.

What do you think would have happened if Peter Philips had called you? Where do you think you'd be today?
Getting ready for a Windsor wedding in May? Just kidding! Another thing I’ve learned is “what if’s” can drive a girl crazy. I’m at genuinely peace with where I am today and very happy with the wonderful Englishman I am with today. (Besides, it’s not like marrying Peter would have made me a princess!)

Any plans for other books?

I’m hoping to write a guide for Americans living in London – dating etiquette, table manners, which neighborhood to live in, etc. I want it to be a cross between Daily Candy and Debrett’s!

© Marilyn Braun 2008

Related Posts:
Interview with Jerramy Fine - Part One
Royal Review: Someday My Prince Will Come by Jerramy Fine

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Interview with Jerramy Fine - Part One

Jerramy Fine is the author of Someday My Prince Will Come. I had the opportunity to interview Jerramy about her experiences as a wannabe princess. In Part One of this interview she discusses her inspiration behind the book, her thoughts on being a princess, and who would play her in Someday My Prince Will Come, the movie.

First of all, I'd like to congratulate you on your book. Why did you choose Someday my Prince will Come as the title?

To be honest, the title was my publisher’s choice. The original title I had envisioned for the book was Lie Back and Think of England -hence the girl lying down and thinking of England on the cover! This title was also a playful double entendre for the popular saying used by Victorian women to remind themselves of their childbearing duty to the British Empire. However, at the last minute, my publisher decided that most readers would not understand the double meaning and that we had better think of a new, more commercial title asap! I suggested many options including “Can I have your Throne Number?” – but eventually we settled on Someday my Prince will Come because of my affinity with Snow White.

To a degree I found the title Someday my Prince will Come to be somewhat of a contradiction. After all, you don't wait for your prince to come; you go out and get him. Do you think this is something wannabe princesses have to do nowadays?

You’re right. I certainly wasn’t waiting for my prince to come to me! I mean, even if my prince was actively looking for me, my hometown was so far away from any civilization (the nearest city was a six hour drive in any direction), there was no way he’d be able to find me! But, yes – just like with anything you want from life – be it a career as an astronaut, a degree from Harvard, or marriage to a prince – you can’t just sit around waiting for it to happen. You must take destiny into your own hands and go after what you want with all of your heart.

When did you get the idea to write this book? Were you recording your experiences all along?

I decided to write this book about 3 years ago, after many events in my life had come full circle. I’ve always kept a small diary, but luckily I also possess what I’ve been told is a superhuman memory. While I almost never remember things that I’ve read, – I can usually tell you what anyone said or wore at almost any occasion sometimes as far back as 15 years ago. And I have to say this definitely made things easy for me once I sat down to write the book!

You mentioned making a pilgrimage to Althorp and visiting Diana's grave. Earlier in the book you also mention Princess Masako of Japan. Knowing the experiences these two women have gone through, you didn't seem even remotely disillusioned by it. Why do you think that is?

I never wanted to become a princess because I thought it was going to be a painless or pampered life. On the contrary. One of the major things that always attracted me to princesshood was the amazing sacrifice these rare women made for their countries. The idea of living a life of duty - for the sake of your subjects, rather than yourself - still brings tears to my eyes.

One of things I loved about Diana more than anything else - more than her stunning beauty and more than her royal title – was that she genuinely understood the unique and far-reaching power of being a Princess. Wherever she went, for better or for worse, Diana knew the press would follow – yet she had the principles and the courage to use this incredible power to draw the world’s attention away from herself and onto those that needed it most.

While of course I wanted Diana’s wardrobe, palaces and parties (what little girl wouldn’t?), I also yearned for that distinctively royal strength: to be able to think beyond yourself any situation.

As I was mingling at your book launch party, I asked people what they thought of your goal. A few people reacted by saying 'well, that's Jerramy!' How did you maintain such focus despite this type of attitude? Was there anyone who actually supported your goal?

Yep – most of my family and friends simply humored me –and viewed my princess complex as just a quirky and rather amusing endearment. I always knew that when it came to my royal ambitions, I was pretty much on my own – but it never bothered me for a second. They were welcome to stay in their “real world” – I had other plans!

You have several setbacks throughout your story, yet you still maintained such a strong faith and belief in yourself and your goal. It's remarkable, actually. What do you attribute that to?

I know it sounds strange, but it was almost as if I didn’t have a choice. I simply HAD to come to England. And I simply HAD to stay in England. And I simply HAD to meet Peter Phillips. Every logical fiber in my body told me to give up and go home and start leading a nice, normal American life. But the pull I felt in my heart was more powerful than anything I can describe - and fighting it was futile.

As I was reading, I couldn't help but think your story would make a good movie. Someday my Prince will Come with Joan Collins as the Queen, Hugh Grant as himself... Who would play you?

I would love for Someday my Prince will Come to be a movie! (I’ve actually had a dream that Hugh Grant agreed to produce and star in it! Hopefully it will come true!) As for the lead actress, my first choice is Kate Hudson. She can be silly and innocent, as well as prim and proper – and there’s the added bonus that she was raised by bohemian parents who have a house in Colorado.

In Part Two of my interview with Jerramy Fine she discusses Gordon Brown's sex appeal, the lessons she's learned, and her next book.

© Marilyn Braun 2008

Related post

Royal Review: Someday My Prince Will Come by Jerramy Fine

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Those Ubiquitous Sources

Pick up any biography on the royal family and you will read quotes or comments from unnamed people, or 'sources' as they're referred to. Whether 'Speaking on the condition of anonymity', or a 'trusted friend', they readily offer up intimate details. You may not realize this, but sources are everywhere. Maybe they're in the form of a co-worker or relative. You may be one yourself.

Sources are the life-blood of unauthorized biographies. Friends, relatives, servants, all willing to cooperate with the author to make the book more interesting or to present the subject's side of the story. Diana, her true story by Andrew Morton, and Prince Charles' autobiography by Johnathan Dimbleby, are two very good examples of this. Some sources, such as Deep Throat, are infamous.

Wanting to understand the phemonena of sources, I decided to track some down and interview them. I located three willing to talk to me: SOCA (Speaking on the condition of anonymity), TF (Trusted Friend), and US (Unnamed source).

M: What do you feel your role is?
SOCA: To get the truth out there
TF: Yes, sometimes the person may not be able to speak for themselves, so we go out there and do it for them.
US: Sometimes make them look good. Sometimes to make them look bad.

M: TF, don't you feel that you have a particular responsibility to maintain the privacy of your friend?

TF: I'd be out of a job if that were the case now wouldn't I?

M: Has there ever been any overlap? Where you know the same person? What do you do in that case?

SOCA: Well, newspapers love quotes so they can never have enough unnamed sources.
US: Yes, I'm in great demand.

M: Do you make any money?

US: We'll never tell
SOCA: (speaking to US) Don't you make money?
US: Should I?
SOCA: Well, being a servant doesn't pay as much...oops!

M: Do sources have their own sources?

TF: As a trusted friend I'm in a good position not to need to do that.
SOCA: TF has always been a good source for me
US: I don't like revealing my sources
SOCA: Thank you, I appreciate that

M: Have you ever fabricated a story?

US: Define fabrication
SOCA: Yes, that's a rather subjective term isn't it?
TF: That's a bit of an insult. We're professionals. We're good at what we do and we take a lot of pride in our job.
SOCA: Although sometimes the well does run dry. The royals can be pretty dull..
US: Yes, then we're doing them a service

© Marilyn Braun 2008

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Upcoming Royal Report - Sunday February 10th, 2008

Tune in to the next Royal Report on Sunday February 10th, 2008.

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

The topic will be: Is the Queen too old to reign?

© Marilyn Braun 2008

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Prince William makes himself useful

Certainly Prince William has a long time to wait before coming to the throne. What with the longevity of his grandmother. It makes sense for him to try on different careers for size. So far he's been photographed wearing a hard hat while holding something heavy, looking pensive in a school library, and writing the word 'Wombat' on a chalk board. Not only that, he's pushed paperclips at HSBC, worn dirty overalls, joined the military, and learnt how to fly a plane. Now he plans to become a journalist. And people say Kate Middleton has no focus.

I think it's great that he's making good use of his time. You can only go on so many exotic vacations before it becomes dull. Yes the monarch of tomorrow must be in touch with his subjects. Therefore a good grounding in all industries should be sufficient. He's paid lip-service to the environment, playing polo makes him understand sports, and stumbling out of clubs has made him understand the beverage industry. But there are several industries he hasn't covered yet. Here's some ways William can expand his skill set:

Hospitality: He can take a job at McDonald's

Healthcare: Sit in an emergency waiting room or a Doctor's office and see how it really works

Legal & Publishing: Look at his legal bill and he'll understand how creative expensive lawyers can be. He can combine this with Healthcare by chasing after ambulances

Transportation & Education: Drive a school bus and he'll kill two birds with one stone

Business: Sit in a corporate vice-president's office and see how little they really do for the money. Alternatively, sit at a secretaries desk and see how much they do for the money.

Travel: Uncle Andrew should be able to tell him all about it.

Music: Record a demo and send it in under an assumed name. See William, doors don't open as easily now do they?

© Marilyn Braun 2008

Sunday, February 03, 2008

The Royal Report for Sunday February 3rd, 2008

Due to ill health (yes, I'm human) there will be no Royal Report tonight.

Please join me on February 10th, when the topic will be: Is the Queen too old to reign?