Saturday, February 28, 2009

The Royal Report for Sunday March 1st, 2009 - Was Diana's charity work just a photo-opportunity?

In this episode I discussed whether Diana's charity work was genuine or just a photo-opportunity for her.

You can listen to the episode here.

Publications mentioned

Hello! Canada Weekly No. 118 - March 2 2009

Diana: The Portrait by Rosalind Coward

Articles mentioned

British Royal Wedding - Prince Harry in Naked Runway Challenge

American Monarchist - Royal Gold Diggers

Candidates for Prince William's hand

Anatomy of a Diana tell-all

Tune in to the next episode of The Royal Report on Sunday March 8, 2009 - 9:00PM EST (North America).

The topic will be: Prince William, ruining the monarchy one drink at a time?

© Marilyn Braun 2009

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Question: How can Charles be king?

How can Charles become king? You say his marital status does not matter, nor whom he marries (unless she is a Roman Catholic). But then, why did Edward have to abdicate when he wed Wallis Simpson?

Yes it does seem rather unfair that Charles was allowed to marry Camilla and Edward had to abdicate to marry Wallis Simpson. But putting aside all of the legal, moral and religious issues, the one main reason is that times are different. It would be interesting to see how Edward and Wallis' relationship would be handled nowadays. There seems to be one common denominator between the two couples: Divorce. Unlike now, it wasn't as common back in 1936 and there was a stigma attached to it. Along with being divorced Wallis also had several strikes against her: She was married at the time, she was an American, she had a reputation, and she was a commoner. Her nationality and social standing would not be an issue now, but in 1936 they were considered strikes against her.

In fact, legally Edward could have married Wallis Simpson but this would have caused a constitutional crisis. Unlike Charles, the King faced formidable opposition, not just from his government but from the Dominions; all of whom felt that Wallis was not consort material. There was also the Church of England which did not recognize divorce nor remarriage of a person whose previous spouse was still alive. The Church also did not recognize her first divorce. Marrying her would have been in conflict with Edward's role as Supreme Governor of the Church of England. A morganatic marriage was proposed (a marriage is one in which the wife of the Sovereign and any children who may be born of the marriage, are denied any claim upon the Sovereign's status, rights or privileges. This would have required special legislation, which the government was not prepared to do. The King then had three options - reject the advice of his ministers (a course which he never contemplated), renounce Wallis (which he refused to do) or abdicate. Edward felt that he could not continue in his role as King without Wallis, so he chose to abdicate.

Like Edward, Charles viewed his relationship as non-negotiable. However, as mentioned, times had changed. Prince Charles’ previous wife had died so there was no bar to his marrying again. The Church recognized Camilla’s divorce on the grounds of adultery. The Church had also changed its position on divorce. Allowing for couples to be remarried in a civil ceremony. The couple also had the support of the royal family, the government, the Church of England. The Commonwealth realms did not pose any opposition to the union. There was also the factor that the couple obviously would not produce any children. It would have been interesting to see what the reaction would have been had there been no legitimate heir (Prince William). Despite times having changed, the attitude could have been different with the succession at stake.

© Marilyn Braun 2009

Saturday, February 21, 2009

The Royal Report for Sunday February 22, 2009 - Is Kate Middleton just a man-pleaser?

On this episode I discussed an article in the Times Online that labelled Kate Middleton a man-pleaser. Is she the next royal bride? or is she just there to please Prince William?

You can listen to the episode here.

Publications mentioned

Hello! Canada Weekly No 117 February 23, 2009

Articles discussed

Times Online - Kate Middleton: Man-Pleaser

Tune in to the next episode of The Royal Report on Sunday March 1, 2009 - 9:00PM EST (North America). The topic will be: Was Diana, Princess of Wales' charity work genuine or was it just a photo-opportunity for her?

© Marilyn Braun 2009

Thursday, February 19, 2009

And The Excessively Diverting Blog Award goes to...ME!

I don't normally go in for these types of things. True I've been nominated before for various awards like this but I've kept my pride to myself, preferring to savor the accomplishment privately. In this case I've been swayed by the size of the badge - large, pleasant font, and with the name Jane Austen on it..well, who could refuse?

This nomination comes from the lovely blog Enchanted by Josephine . Thank you Ms Lucy! I hope that she doesn't mind my cutting and pasting the explanation.

"Started by the blogging team at Jane Austen Today the "aim of the Excessively Diverting Blog Award is to acknowledge writing excellence in the spirit of Jane Austen’s genius in amusing and delighting readers with her irony, humor, wit, and talent for keen observation. Recipients will uphold the highest standards in the art of the sparkling banter, witty repartee, and gentle reprove."
*Blush* Aww shucks..

But with this nomination comes responsibility. I need to pay it forward 7 times! So here are the blogs which I nominate so that they too can show off the impressive badge.

1) World of Royalty Blog - The posts take a minimalist approach to the subject of royalty and history. This has always conveyed an elegance which I haven't found with any other royal blog. Cinderella's week in review is very entertaining.

2) The Royal Representative - Mandy's respect for the subject is very clearly evident in her posts. A personal and informative royal blog with the occasional diatribe against Oliver Cromwell and Poet Laureates thrown in for good measure.

3) Mad Hattery - A blog entirely about royal hats! The good, the bad, and the "interesting". With clever commentary by Ella Kay.

4) Danish Royal Watchers - The only royal blog that exclusively covers the interesting and excessively photogenic Danish royals.

5) The Royal Twist. A new royal blog. What do you get when you take Sophia formerly of Sophia's Royal Sweden, Norwegianne formerly of Blog Royale and Maxie formerly of Toute Royal? You get The Royal Twist!

6) The Raucous Royals - A truly original royal blog. In a league of its own in terms of the subject and humourous yet informative approach to it. I'd say this is the best royal blog out there at the moment.

7) Lilibet's Royal Blog - "The Personal Blog of HM Queen Elizabeth II" Funny, irreverent. Who knew the Queen could be so amusing?

Phew! Now I'm going to cut and paste further instructions for everyone to pay it forward too!

Recipients, please claim your award by copying the HTML code of the Excessively Diverting Blog Award badge, posting it on your blog, listing the name of the person who nominated you, and linking to their blog. Then nominate seven other blogs that you feel meet or exceed the standards set forth. Nominees may place the Excessively Diverting badge in their side bar and enjoy the appreciation of their fellow blogger for recognition of their talent.

© Marilyn Braun 2009

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Royal Review: The Official Site for the British Monarchy

In the past I've never made any secret of the fact that I love this site. As far as I'm concerned it's the best site out there.

Until February 12, 2009.

This was the date that the new design was unveiled. I was eagerly anticipating the change while wondering, how they could top perfection? As a matter of fact, they couldn't. Everything that made the site wonderful is gone. When you arrive at the site the most noticeable thing is the color change. It is no longer purple (the color most people would associate with royalty) but now has a white background. I have nothing against white backgrounds, they can be clean and classic but also boring. Most of the official sites have them: Sweden, Norway, Denmark (well, cream colored but close enough). The purple made it stand out. It was dynamic and original. The striking header is also gone, replaced by boring text.

The second thing I notice is, just under the new header, to the left is a drop down menu so that you can choose your Commonwealth Realm. In all honesty, I don't go to the site to find out about my realm (Canada). I want to find out about the British monarchy. Maybe others care about her role in Belize but I'm wagering a guess that this isn't the reason people come to the site either. In honesty, this information should not be so prominent. In it's place should be, at the very least, an FAQ drop down menu. The FAQ link is at the other side of the page. Small, hardly noticable unless you're looking for it. One thing I really liked about the original site was not having to scroll down the page. The old site had all the information links so that you didn't have to do that. Now if I want to find out about latest news and events I need to scroll to the bottom. Shouldn't this particular link be closer to the top?

One of the best features of the site was Insight magazine. This online magazine had a monthly focus on various subjects as well as a mailbox for asking questions. I loved reading the answers. Now it seems to be gone. Which is unfortunate because I think is was a very good and interesting resource.

Another really good feature was the history section. Where you could look up any monarch and get biographies for most of them. In its place is a dizzying timeline which doesn't stop on any particular monarch long enough to read about them. If I want to know when Charles I lost his head I now have to go to Wikipedia to find out! I liked the original site, divided by dynasties. Just above the dizzying timeline, there is a 'select a country' and 'select a dynasty' option. Which displays yet another dizzying timeline. If you want to find out about the individual monarchs, you can find this information on the right hand side called 'Also in this section'. Not prominent at all. Once you click on one of the choices, then you can read about the various monarchs.

There is still a memorial section to the site but it isn't easy to find. Once there, you can read about the lives of Diana, Princess of Wales, the Queen Mother, Princess Margaret and Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester. There is a small photograph gallery for each person. However, while Diana's and the Queen Mother's profiles have exclusive photos. The profiles for Princess Margaret and Princess Alice are mixed up and combined.

Hopefully they'll work out the glitches. In all honesty, overtime I'll get used to the new site, but for now I hate it. Maybe I'm adverse to change, especially when it's not for the better.

© Marilyn Braun 2009

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Question: The Duchess of Windsor's Engagement Ring

Image Source: Wikipedia Commons Hello, do you know anything about the engagement ring given to Wallis Simpson from Edward? I think is was an emerald but have never found a photograph of it.

Yes, it was an emerald ring. The ring itself is a rectangular step-cut emerald with cut-corners weighing 19.77 carats within a stylized leaf border set with brilliant-cut diamonds. It was purchased in 1936 from Cartier and originally had a platinum mount, inscribed: We are ours now 27 x 36. It was remounted in a gold setting by Cartier in 1958.

This is one image listed in the public domain. There are better photographs of the ring in various books, including: The Sotheby's auction catalogue: The Jewels of the Duchess of Windsor sold for the benefit of The Pasteur Institute. There is another book, with a similar title called The Jewels of The Duchess of Windsor by John Culme and Nicholas Rayner. Note that if you want to buy the auction catalogue it needs to have 'sold for the benefit of the Pasteur Institute' in the title. The book by Culme and Rayner is not the catalogue. Both books are well worth the price if you are interested in royal jewels.

Strand books in New York City sometimes has copies of these books, at affordable prices and shipping. I wouldn't go through Amazon or Alibris as they charge exorbitant prices for their rare books.

Also, if you're interested in all things relating to the Duke and Duchess you might want to check out the following website: The Duke and Duchess of Windsor Society.

I hope this has answered your question.

© Marilyn Braun 2009

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.

Related articles:

Question: The Duke and Duchess of Windsor's wedding rings

Royal Engagement Rings

Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Royal Romance Report - Sunday February 15, 2009

On this episode I discussed Prince William and Kate Middleton's relationship.I discussed the relationship status of other royal couples.

You can listen to the episode here.

Blog and websites mentioned

World of Royalty Blog
World of Royalty Website

Tune in to the next Royal Report on Sunday February 22, 2009 9:00PM EST (North America).

The topic will be: A recent article in the Times Online titled - Kate Middleton: Man-pleaser asks, is the princess-to-be only there to satisfy William's every whim? Is she or is the media just being mean?

© Marilyn Braun 2009

Sunday, February 08, 2009

The Royal Report for Sunday February 8, 2009 - A Salute to Chelsy Davy

On this episode I saluted the former girlfriend of Prince Harry, Chelsy Davy. Healing, cathartic, deeply moving. Let the healing begin.

Publications mentioned on this episode

Hello Canada Weekly No. 115 February 9 2009

Tune in to the next episode of The Royal Report on Sunday February 15, 2009. 9:00PM EST (North America).

The topic will be: The Royal Romance Report: February edition

© Marilyn Braun 2009

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Being a Princess-in-waiting is a tough job

Like most jobs, there can be a steep learning curve, but there's no promise of advancement. You can hang in there for many years and get nowhere. Look at Kate Middleton - seven years, press harassment, and look at where she is now; suffering her allergies in silence at polo games.

Clearly being a princess-in-waiting is a tough job.

One look at Charlene Wittstock, sitting beside Prince Albert of Monaco at a football match, her bored expression says it all.

"How much longer do I have to sit here?"

If you want to stick it out Miss Wittstock, you're going to have to perfect the look enraptured thrall at mind numbing events. Cater to your prince. Feign interest in his hobbies, laugh at his jokes, a few flattering comments about his mother/sister/or niece can't hurt. Tell him how adorable his illegitimate children are. Do these things and maybe, just maybe you'll be wearing a tiara before long. Hang in there. This is the job interview of your life.

Don't forget the success stories as you keep your eye on the prize. Patience is rewarded. Camilla waited 30 years, Queen Sonia 9 years, Queen Silvia 4 years, Mary of Denmark 3 years, and Maxima, 2 years. It's unknown how long Letizia of Spain, Mathilde of Belgium or Mette-Marit of Norway had to wait but now they have their pictures on stamps and commemorative china. They also spend their time doing good deeds, making important speeches, and wearing endlessly glamorous outfits. See there's hope yet.

However, despite hanging in there, you may still encounter obstacles. Princess Marie of Denmark, née Marie Cavallier is an example. She spent two years smiling for the cameras, only to have Queen Margarethe downplay an engagement. It's enough to drive a princess-in-waiting around the bend! But was only a ruse, as Marie and Prince Joachim eventually did get married. Phew that was a close call!

Another obstacle might be a prince who is not ready to settle down. Charlene you may want to take note of that. If things don't work out, Prince Harry is now available. I've heard that Prince Hubertus of Coburg, Prince Leopold of Baden, and Prince Ali Reza of Iran are also still on the market. They're not as well known but they are Princes.

Also, remember to never speak to the press. Giving interviews has been proven to derail royal romances. Look at Lady Sarah McCorqudale (sister of Diana, Princess of Wales). She spoke to the press about her relationship with Prince Charles and her sister snapped him up. Her consolation prize was a prime seat at the wedding of the century.

If things are looking up, practice your engagement interview answers and royal wave. It's always good to claim you didn't have a clue who he was at first. Take a page from Mary and Maxima. It makes you look like you weren't trying too hard and that you love him for who he is and not for what he represents. Saying it with a straight face earns you bonus points.

Good luck to you in your endeavor. You'll need it. Remember, that if you ever need someone to commiserate with, Kate Middleton, the ultimate princess-in-waiting, is always available.

© Marilyn Braun 2009

Sunday, February 01, 2009

The Royal Report for Sunday February 1, 2009 - The Trouble with Prince Harry

On this episode I discussed Prince Harry's recent gaffe. It's a doozy! I also offered tips on what to do with your keys when you leave your car.

The video that started it all:

News of the World - Prince Harry's video that will spark outrage

Message Boards Visited

World of Royalty Message Board
The Unofficial Royal Family Forums
The Royal Forums
The Internet Forum/Royal Forum

Sites mentioned

British Royal Wedding

Blog articles mentioned

Royal Dontopedalogy

Tune in to the next episode of The Royal Report on February 8th, 2009 9:00PM EST (North America). The topic will be: A Salute to Chelsy Davy.

© Marilyn Braun 2009