Sunday, April 25, 2010

The Royal Report for Sunday April 25, 2010 - The Life and Times of Queen Elizabeth II

On this episode: In honor of The Queen's 84th birthday, a look back at her life and times - Part One.

You can listen to the episode here.

Publications mentioned

Hello! Canada Weekly No 170 26 April 2010

From My Royal Collection

Settling Down by James Whitaker

Websites mentioned

World of Royalty

Resources used to research this episode

The Official Site of the British Monarchy

The Little Princesses: The Story of the Queen's Childhood by her Nanny, Marion Crawford

Royal Children by Nicholas Courtney

Queen Elizabeth II: A Birthday Souvenir Album (Royal Collection)

Princess to Queen by Catrine Clay

Philip and Elizabeth: Portrait of a Royal Marriage by Gyles Brandreth

Her Majesty The Queen by Hugh Montgomery Massingberd

The Queen: A Biography of Elizabeth II by Ben Pimlott

Tune in live to the next episode of The Royal Report on Sunday May 2, 2010 9:00PM EST (North America)

The topic will be: The Life and Times of Queen Elizabeth II - Part Two

© Marilyn Braun 2010

Saturday, April 17, 2010

The Royal Report for Sunday April 18, 2010 - Royal Weddings

Royal weddings have been held in many different venues. Traditionally they are held at Westminster Abbey. Should Prince William and Kate Middleton get married, where is their royal wedding likely to be held?

Find out on this episode!

Publications mentioned

Hello! Canada Weekly No 169 19 April 2010

From My Royal Collection

Theirs is the Kingdom: The Wealth of British Royal Family by Andrew Morton

Resources used to research this episode

Two Centuries of Royal Weddings by Christofer Warwick

Britain's Royal Brides by Josy Argy and Wendy Riches

Weddings in Westminster Abbey

Weddings in St George's Chapel Windsor

Tune in LIVE to the next episode of The Royal Report on Sunday April 25, 2010 at 9:00PM EST

The topic will be: In honor of the Queen's 84th birthday on April 21, 2010. A look back at her life and times.

© Marilyn Braun 2010

Friday, April 09, 2010

Royal blogging halcyon days

Today is Charles and Camilla's 5th wedding anniversary. And people thought it would never happen.

While Camilla might be out with a broken leg this anniversary brings back fond memories for me. I'd started this blog less than a month before the wedding and it was an inspiring and prolific time for me as a royal blogger. I couldn't get enough of writing about Charles and Camilla and some of my earliest posts were about royal weddings. I wasn't sure what direction I wanted this blog to take. Would it be informative? Would it be satire? Why limit myself to being anything specific. Just blog and see where it leads me. Truth be told I've always preferred writing satire. It's just my natural inclination to see the royal world that way.

In the last five years, few royal events have been as interesting. No one thought Charles and Camilla's marriage would ever happen. But then no one could have predicted that Charles and Diana could ever divorce or she would die in such a tragic and violent way. I was happy for them but I also saw lots of material in the event and I was sad when the furor died down. What would I blog about now? It's not as if their relationship had any potential for conflict. They were dedicated to each other, but while enviable, didn't make for good material.

There was the Diana inquest but very little material in that. When Camilla was scheduled to attend the Diana Memorial the uproar inspired some articles but none in the way that Charles and Camilla's wedding did. We haven't had a lot of major royal news since then. Yes, Peter Phillips married a Canadian who was also *gasp* a Catholic. Yes, Prince Harry went to Afghanistan and is dating Chelsy Davy. Yes, Prince Philip says continues to say what's on his mind, even if it isn't politically correct. I wouldn't expect anything less from him.

We've had some close calls with William and Kate. Intense speculation on their relationship. They broke up in April 2007 and then got back together. Engagement updates come in waves, some predictable, some completely surprising, like the recent revelation of a June 3rd or 4th engagement announcement. Will this be a false call yet again? It's enough to make anyone give up hope of it ever happening, until the next rumour flares up again.

An engagement between William and Kate would be big news. Mecca for royal watchers who have followed the couple's relationship. Will it be as prolific and inspiring time for blogging? Maybe, but it won't be the same as the first time I started in March 2005.

© Marilyn Braun 2010

Thursday, April 08, 2010

An Open Letter to Prince William and Kate Middleton

Dear William and Kate,

Or should I call you 'Sir' and 'Ma'am'? My apologies for the informality but after all of this time I feel as though I know both of you. We've heard about your vacations, the places you like to party, and we know more than enough about Kate's fashions to want to take her shopping.

We've accompanied you on the journey of your relationship, shared your highs and lows. As you may note, many of us were completely devastated by the news of your break up in April 2007 and were relieved when it was reported that you were both together again. Thus reassuring us that we hadn't wasted time speculating.

But enough is enough. We're tired of waiting and the coy 'wait and see' from you, William. Please put us out of our misery so that we may begin speculating on where you will get married and what wedding dress you, Kate, will wear. Your wedding is guaranteed to bring joy to many royal watchers. Not to mention the schaudenfreude for the Kate-haters who doubted your true love. That is, if they haven't jumped off a cliff in despair by that point.

Kate, I don't know how you have continued to have the patience. People have torn you and your family apart but yet you've never breathed a word about your relationship. You deserve a happy ending. And so do we.

Reports say that June 3rd or 4th is the day of the big announcement. This, William, would fit in with your comments about waiting until you are 28 or 30 to get married as you will turn 28 on June 21st. Your grandmother is said to have 300 bottles of vintage champagne on ice. Could this be for the big announcement? We can only hope so. Because we've waited long enough.

Right Kate?

© Marilyn Braun 2010

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Is Tina Brown just as clueless as the rest of us?

Just when I'd give up all hope of an engagement between Prince William and Kate Middleton, Tina Brown, author of The Diana Chronicles, throws us a bone by claiming that June 3rd and 4th have been mysteriously blocked out in the Queen's calendar. Brown, having been a friend of Diana's, knows something we don't. Maybe she got an exclusive from the ghost of Diana.

This tidbit has set the media and blogsphere on fire. Engagement predictions are nothing new and after so many years of dating, they're taken more seriously in the absence of any solid news. Raising hope in those rooting for the couple and striking fear into those who are not. But there's hope for the naysayers. These reports forget the fact that the Queen is supposed to be away on those two days and William will be unavailable for the obligatory engagement day photos. Or that engagement announcements are not traditionally announced in June. But William and Kate could be bucking the royal trend on this part. It was inevitable that some royal couple would come along and blaze a trail, why not them? It's not as if they have to worry about the availability of venues or their favorite photographer.

Other media royal watchers have been quick to downplay Tina Brown's revealations, possibly out of jealousy. No one can be completely certain but the evidence is weak. Other than Buckingham Palace purchasing 300 bottles of champagne and Party Pieces expanding their line to include wedding favors, there's little to go by and Clarence House isn't talking. Right now these are just guesses, but oneday someone might get lucky and won't they look prescient when that happens?

© Marilyn Braun 2010

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Kate Middleton speaks, but what is she really saying?

Earlier this week the Party Pieces website published an interview with Kate Middleton where she discussed fond memories from her childhood. Party Pieces is, incidently, a company that her family runs so it was no big scoop for them. The interview was removed not long after but when it was picked up by the media and other royal blogs it spread like wildfire with opinions ranging from it being charming to pure Middleton propoganda.

Although this has been touted as her first 'interview' Kate made no great revelations. It was not so much the answers as what they revealed about her. Up to this point we've only 'known' Kate as the girlfriend of Prince William. Other than a brief comment she made on a video while visiting a marketing seminar, we had never heard her speak for herself.  In the absence of any concrete proof, people have projected their views, in some cases, making her far more diabolical and manipulative than she might be in real life.

It's hard to see her as diabolical when she reveals her favorite food is jelly and her favorite outfit was a pair of clown dungarees. And that's quite possibly the intent, although I'm certain Kate could find better uses of her time than to answer back to her detractors. It doesn't hurt her parent's company. You can't buy the amount of publicity Party Pieces received by putting the interview out there. If no one knew about the company beforehand, they certainly do now.

The interview itself doesn't hurt Kate either. It is a way for her to get herself out there and the royal family cannot say anything about it. Speaking to the media has jettisoned many a previous royal girlfriend but she doesn't mention the royal family or even Prince William. Unlike Diana's infamous Panorama interview, this one is hardly likely to come back to haunt her.

Using the media to advantage is nothing new to the royal family. Diana elevated it to an art form, starting with her image even before her engagement. The demure behavior and posing with small children gave a pleasant impression, even if she looked nothing like Princess material. The only thing missing from Kate's interview was if she'd been pictured holding a small child while answering. She has clearly taken a page out of Diana's play-book.

Kate's interview is no longer posted on the Party Pieces online magazine, The Party Times. It's difficult to understand the reason why that is but there's a lot of speculation. Regardless, it stayed up long enough to hit the mark.

However you want to define it.

© Marilyn Braun 2010