Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Video: A Royal Engagement and its hold on the media

The first 8 minutes of this episode of The Listening Post is devoted to a story about Prince William & Kate Middleton. The focus is on the intense media coverage and how it make news around the world.

© Marilyn Braun 2010

Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Royal Report for Sunday November 28, 2010 -Do Kate Middleton's parents know what they're in for?

What do the Middleton's, the Spencer's and the Fergusons all have in common? They have a daughter who has married into the royal family. The Middleton's are well on their way to joining those ranks. When Kate marries William, what are they in for?

Listen to this episode to find out: What are Kate Middleton's parents in for?

Publications mentioned

Hello! Canada No 196 29 November 2010

Hello! Royal Special Collector's Edition - A Royal Engagement Celebration

Star December 6, 2010 Cover Story - The Real Kate

Macleans November 29, 2010 Cover Story - William & Kate - At Last

People Magazine December 6, 2010 Cover Story Kate Middleton - A Perfect Princess!

OK! Magazine December 6, 2010 Issue#49 Cover story - William & Kate wedding special

US Weekly Issue 825 December 6, 2010 Cover Story - The Making of a New Princess

Websites mentioned

The World of Royalty

From My Royal Collection

The Country Life book of Diana, Princess of Wales by Lornie Leete-Hodge

Tune in to the next episode of The Royal Report on Sunday December 5, 2010 at 9:00PM EST (North America)

The topic will be: Should the Crown bypass Prince Charles and go to Prince William instead?
© Marilyn Braun 2010

Monday, November 22, 2010

Question: Royalty Marrying Commoners

From Kate's biography it looks like she is a commoner. Does this not negate William's chances of being King. Can Charles even become king being married to Camilla. I was under the impression that the princesses had to be of royal blood.

There is no stipulation that members of the royal family need marry other royals. When Prince William marries Kate Middleton it will have no effect whatsoever on  his chances of becoming king. Prince Charles' position as second-in-line is also unaffected by his 2005 second marriage to Camilla Parker Bowles.

In Queen Victoria's day, at one point it was out of the question for members of the royal family to marry beneath their rank and station. If a royal did so they risked banishment. If they held military rank they could be stripped of that as well. Such marriages were called morganatic, whereby the lesser-ranking spouse and any children they may have, did not share the royal titles or any inheritances that go with it. However, the Queen was an ardent matchmaker and could turn a blind-eye to royal status when it suited her to do so.

One example of this is the marriage of Queen Mary and King George V. Queen Mary's (then Princess May of Teck) father was the product of a morganatic marriage. While both her parents held royal titles, Princess May was a mere Serene Highness as opposed to a Royal Highness, thus making her not royal enough to marry royalty, but too royal to marry a commoner. Queen Victoria bypassed this issue and allowed her to marry her grandson, the future King George V. Given that no one would think of Queen Mary as anything less than royal now, it's rather ironic that she wasn't considered royal enough at the time.

As royal houses fell during the First World War there was a shortage of eligible princes/princesses. For practical purposes royalty started looking towards the aristocracy for spouses. This is still an option however it seems as though members of the royal family are choosing to marry for love and compatibility as opposed to trying to make alliances between royal or aristocratic houses.

Like the Crown Princes of Denmark, the Netherlands, Norway, and even the Crown Princess of Sweden, Prince William has chosen a commoner for a spouse. And like them, his (and Prince Charles') position in line to the throne is completely unaffected by it.

© Marilyn Braun 2010

Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Royal Wedding Report for Sunday November 21, 2010

Big news this week for Royal Watchers when Prince William and Kate Middleton announced their engagement. On this episode, a recap of the week's events. The Royal Report also celebrates its 100th episode on the BlogTalkRadio network.

You can listen to the episode here

Publications mentioned

Hello! Canada Weekly No 194 15 November 2010

Hello! Canada Weekly No 195 22 November 2010

From My Royal Collection

William's Princess: The Love Story that will Change the Royal Family Forever by Robert Jobson

Kate: Kate Middleton: Princess in Waiting by Claudia Joseph

Tune in to the next episode of The Royal Report on Sunday November 28, 2010 at 9:00PM EST (North America)

The topic will be: Now that their daughter is engaged to Prince William, what are the Middleton's in for?

© Marilyn Braun 2010

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Royal Focus: Kate Middleton's Royal Engagement Ring

The fiancee of Britain's Prince William, Kate Middleton, poses for a photograph in St. James's Palace, in central London November 16, 2010. Britain's Prince William is to marry his long-term girlfriend Kate Middleton next year, after an on-off courtship lasting nearly a decade, bringing months of speculation about his intentions to an end.  REUTERS/Paul Hackett (BRITAIN - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT SOCIETY ROYALS) When Prince William and Kate Middleton announced their engagement to the world on November 16th, they revealed the much speculated engagement ring. This ring, once belonging to Diana, Princess of Wales, caused some controversy, one of the few times in royal history that a piece of jewellery has done so.

I have written about this ring before in my post called Royal Engagement Rings. The ring, an oval 18-carat, sapphire surrounded by 14 diamonds, is interestingly enough, it was not unique. Featured in the catalogues of Garrards Jewellers, the royal family's official jeweller, it cost $65,000 at the time. Choosing a sapphire for a royal engagement ring is not unusual, The Princess Royal's and the late Queen Mother's original engagement ring were both sapphires.  Regarding the ring, Diana herself recalled: 'A briefcase comes along on the pretext that Andrew is getting a signet ring for his 21st birthday and along comes these sapphires - I mean 'nuggets! - I suppose I chose it, we all chipped in. The Queen paid for it.'

24th February 1981:  Charles, Prince of Wales laughing with his fiancee Lady Diana Spencer (1961 - 1997) outside Buckingham Palace, London after announcing their engagement.  (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images) The choice has provoked discussion amongst royal watchers as to whether it is appropriate for Kate to wear the ring.  Some feel that just because Diana wore the ring, it should not be seen as a bad omen or curse. Others feel that the couple should have made a fresh start. The ring, beautiful though it is, is so strongly associated with Diana, that for the rest of Kate's life she will have the constant reminder of Diana whether she likes it or not. Comparisons are inevitable, the ring more than guarantees that.

When asked why he had chosen to give his fiancee his mother's ring, William replied: 'it was my way of making sure that my mother didn’t miss out on today, all the excitement and the fact that we are going to be spending the rest of our lives together.' Thus making the choice a moot point for the rest of us.

© Marilyn Braun 2010

Marilyn Braun CP24 interview regarding Prince William & Kate Middleton's royal engagement

© Marilyn Braun 2010

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Why Prince William & Kate Middleton's engagement is a second best royal news story

Not to sound ungrateful.

I am extremely happy that Prince William and Kate Middleton have just announced their engagement to the world and put all of us out of our will-he/won't-he/should-she misery.

But, I feel a tad unsatisfied with this royal  news story. Sure it has all of the elements of romance and the elusive happily ever after. The afterglow will carry me for a week or so until the news dies down. We can now look forward to months and months of speculation, waiting for the wedding date announcement and then the wedding itself. It's almost agonizing in its lack of immediateness.

This is quite the contrast to the ultimate royal news story: death.

Yes, the great royal leveller. A royal death news story has a lot of advantages. It's immediate, occasionally unsurprising and filled more intense emotion depending on where he/she was on the royal food chain. For instance, say someone who is 355th in line to the throne will not elicit the same interest as, what I like to call a Royal Big 5 death. Who is on that list? The Queen, The Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Charles, Prince William and Prince Harry. When any of them die I know who I would buy souvenirs for.

When one of them dies there will be massive coverage and it will be immediate. Given the time-sensitivity of the occasion, this event cannot, unfortunately, be drawn out. It would be inappropriate. There will be no months upon months of waiting. If two or more of them die it could be extremely interesting to discuss what precedence the coffins will enter Westminster Abbey in. See? How much more interesting this coverage is?

Unlike death, royal weddings are a more difficult event to relate to. After all, we all die, right? Most of us will never wear tiaras, ride in glass carriages or have a golden page in the history books. It's enough to make you jealous. See, that doesn't happen with death now does it? No one gets jealous so we bypass that emotion altogether.

Like royal weddings we also see commemorative souvenirs. But better. I can't think of the last time I saw royal death tankards at a garage sale. Commemorative royal death mugs are different in the amount of guilt involved in throwing them away. They're an investment you can sell on eBay. Unlike royal wedding china, which you can't give away because there's so much of it.

Those souvenirs will have to wait. The reality is, we have a royal wedding to look forward to.

I guess it's better than nothing.

© Marilyn Braun 2010

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Official: Prince William and Kate Middleton are engaged!

Yes, you are reading that correctly. It's not just another misleading tabloid headline. They are officially engaged.

Many people thought it would never happen. Myself included. There were ups and downs and there was no certainty about anything. People felt it was a foregone conclusion that because they had been together so long, it was inevitable. But still Prince William kept people guessing, until this morning when I woke up to the news that many royal watchers had been waiting for. Half-asleep and bleary eyed I nearly fell out of bed reading about the news on Twitter. Until I saw an official announcement on the Queen's website I was skeptical. Like I said before, we've been down this road before with people jumping at attention grabbing headlines.

This news comes as a shock for another reason. Although there were predictions that an announcement would be made soon, there is no precedent for doing so this late in the year. Royal engagements are usually announced at the beginning of the year. Prince William had completely bucked tradition and taken all of us off guard.

Is this a sign that the monarchy is heading in a new direction? Only Prince William knows for sure.

Congratulations to the happy couple!

© Marilyn Braun 2010

Saturday, November 06, 2010

The Royal Report for Sunday November 7, 2010 - Can Prince Charles and Prince William modernize the monarchy?

When the Queen goes to that great, glittering palace in the sky, can Prince Charles and Prince William modernize the monarchy?

Find out by listening to the episode here

Publications mentioned

People Magazine cover story: William & Kate Secrets of Their Royal Romance - November 8, 2010

Hello! Canada Weekly No 193 8 November 2010

Vanity Fair - November 2010 edition

Harmony: A New Way of Looking at Our World

Article mentioned

VF Daily - Prince Charles on the Environment, the Monarchy, His Family and Islam

From My Royal Collection

A Year with the Queen

Tune in to the next episode of The Royal Report on Sunday November 21, 2010 at 9:00PM EST (North America)

The topic will be: Do Kate Middleton's parents deserve privacy?
© Marilyn Braun 2010