Monday, February 28, 2011

Royal Baby names for Prince William & Kate Middleton

True, it may be premature to speculate on what names Prince William and Kate Middleton will choose for the future offspring but it's always good to be prepared.

Once the final balcony appearance is made, royal pregnancy speculation will begin in earnest. No grace period, no enjoying their newlywed status, it will be time to get down to business.  This is the monarchy we're talking about and it's up to William and Kate to continue the line.

But what will these inevitable regal additions be named?

Considering that their first born will likely be a future King or Queen, the babe needs an equally historic moniker. While Ethan and Emily may be popular choices, the royal couple is highly unlikely to choose those names for their own children. In William's family many names have been popular over the years, however gone are the days when the names Victoria and Albert were mandatory additions.

It's likely that any names chosen for their children will include a tribute to members of the royal family. William's own names - William Arthur Philip Louis - include nods to his grandfather, Prince Phillip and honorary grandfather, Lord Louis Mountbatten. The Queen's own names - Elizabeth Alexandra Mary - are after her mother, great-grandmother Queen Alexandra and her grandmother Queen Mary. Princess Anne's names - Anne Elizabeth Alice Louise - include nods to her mother and maternal grandmother, her paternal grandmother and her great-aunt, Queen Louise of Sweden. It's realistic to expect that names for a future daughter might include Elizabeth or Diana, if only as secondary names. For a boy, William and Kate are likely to add Charles or Michael - after their respective fathers.

For a girl they could choose Victoria, Alexandra, Elizabeth, Mary, Charlotte, Anne, or even Catherine. All regal choices with historical precedent as the names of Queen's regnant and royal consorts. They are strong sounding names denoting regal status.  Likewise, for a boy, Edward, George, Henry, James, John and Robert are the names of previous kings. As the Patron Saint of Wales, including the name David could be a nice touch. 

Of course, despite the choice, the monarch is free to choose a different name they would like to reign as. Queen Victoria was born Alexandrina Victoria and known throughout her childhood as 'Drina'. Though born Albert Edward, he chose to be known as Edward VII when he came to the throne. After the abdication crisis, Prince Albert chose to be known as George VI to reflect the continuity of the monarchy. There are even predictions that Prince Charles himself might choose to be known as George - one of his Christian names - rather than as King Charles III given it's tragic history with previous monarchs.

It will be interesting to see what names the couple choose for their children. With no formal guidelines surrounding names, William and Kate have the freedom to choose an appropriate name based on preference as opposed to family tradition. 

© Marilyn Braun 2011

Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Royal Report for Sunday February 27, 2011 - Royal Focus - Windsor Castle

Tonight's episode has been postponed. It will be uploaded later on this week.


Tune in to the next episode of The Royal Report on Sunday February 27, 2011 at 9:00PM EST (North America)

The topic wil be: Royal Focus - Windsor Castle

© Marilyn Braun 2011

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Kate Middleton's Royal Wedding Dress Prerogative

Out of all of the inescapable royal wedding coverage, Kate Middleton's royal wedding dress is the subject of endless speculation. Who will design it? What style will she wear? And on and on it goes..

Royal Wedding dresses are the subject of intense speculation and this rabid desire for information is nothing new. In the absence of any real news, media outlets try to desperately get the scoop on what this dress will look like with the chosen designers resorting to subterfuge to avoid leaks.

Case in point, the designers of Diana, Princess of Wales' wedding dress resorted to hiring a safe and a security guard to protect the dress while it was being made. They would try to throw the press off the scent by putting fabric swatches of different colors in their garbage. Samantha Shaw, who designed Sophie Rhys Jones' wedding dress, quietly disappeared to a secret address to complete the project, Norman Hartnell, who designed Princess Elizabeth's dress in 1947, white-washed the windows of his workroom.

Much has been made of why Kate has not announced the name of her designer. But looking at the experiences of previous royal wedding gown designers, it's difficult to blame Kate for wanting to avoid putting a designer through the ordeal. But Kate has many designers who would love the commission. Rumor has it that Kate has already chosen a designer or at least has a short list to choose from. One of them is reportedly Bruce Oldfield, a favorite of Diana, Princess of Wales. However with his multiple media appearances it's unlikely he's been commissioned to design Kate's dress.

But previous royal brides, such as Princess Anne, Diana, Fergie and Sophie have chosen relatively little-known designers. Maureen Baker was the chief designer for Susan Small, made Princess Anne's 1973 wedding dress. The Emmauel's had graduated from the Royal College of Design four years before Lady Diana Spencer approached them. Lesotho born Lindka Cierach's first commission was a wedding dress for a Bahrain princess, but she received global acclaim as Sarah Ferguson's designer. Low profile society designer Samantha Shaw made Sophie Rhys Jones' 1999 dress.

It would not be surprising if Kate followed the trend and chose a little known designer for her own dress. Unlike Bruce Oldfield, they may shun publicity to focus on the quality of the dress and maintain the discretion that Kate is entitled to on her wedding day.

Fingers crossed she gets it.

© Marilyn Braun 2011

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Royal Focus: The Duchess of Windsor's wedding dress
The Duchess of Windsor's wedding dress was made by American designer Mainbocher for her 1937 wedding to the Duke of Windsor.

Made of sapphire blue silk crepe, the dress was cut simply and was floor length, flaring out at the feet like a mermaids tail. Flute-draped into a heart shape at the bust it had a matching long sleeved jacket fastened with a line of covered buttons the size of shelled peas. The original color of the dress was a color that Mainbocher had created for the Duchess called 'Wallis Blue," to match the Duchess's eyes.

Her hat was a blue straw bonnet trimmed with pink and blue coq feathers by Caroline Reboux. Her pale blue crepe wrist-length gloves opened up on the ring finger of her left hand. On her feet she wore powder blue suede pumps with three-inch heels by Georgette of Paris. Although the dye on the dress has faded, the shoes and the coq feathers decorating the hat have retained their color.

On her wedding day, Wallis Warfield (she had changed back to her maiden name) wore the sapphire and diamond 'marriage contract' bracelet on her right wrist.On her left wrist she wore a diamond bracelet with Latin crosses. At the throat of her blue crepe wedding dress, she wore an art deco geometric style curving double clip with oval sapphires and radiating baguette diamonds. This brooch was made by Van Cleef in 1936.

Shortly after the wedding copies of the Duchess of Windsor's wedding dress, which reportedly cost $250, were being sold in various department stores. Like other royal brides. Even on her wedding day she was a trend-setter.

In 1950 the original dress was donated to the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

© Marilyn Braun 2011

Image of wedding dress via

Wedding day image via Wikipedia

Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Royal Report for Sunday February 20, 2011 - Royal Memorabilia

Red squirrels for breakfast? Will Prince Harry appear on Glee? Can the Queen finally go back to wearing yellow? Who believes they have the largest collection of royal memorabilia in the world?

Find out on this episode

Royal Commemorative Items and Collectibles

Publications mentioned

Hello! Canada Weekly No 206 21 February 2011

Tatler - February - Special Collectors' issue

Blogs mentioned

World of Royalty

From My Royal Collection


Commemorative Items mentioned

Aynsley China - Engagement Collection 2010

Royal Mint - Royal Engagement Coins

Tune in to the next episode of The Royal Report on Sunday February 27, 2011 at 9:00PM EST (North America)

The topic will be: Royal Focus: Windsor Castle

© Marilyn Braun 2011

Friday, February 18, 2011

Royal Review: Royal Escape by Susan Froetschel

While reading Royal Escape something kept striking me as vaguely familiar.

It wasn't the premise, which is rather intriguing - a princess who longs to leave the royal family. From the outside, being royal looks appealing, what with the glamour and golden page in the history books. From the inside it's a different story altogether, especially for the character Elena, Princess of Wales. Frustrated, disrespected and ostracized by the family and the system, she longs to escape. And for good reason. Someone wants her dead.

The familiarity lies in the characters, which are thinly veiled versions of Prince Charles, Prince William, Prince Harry, the Queen and Diana, Princess of Wales.  Elena, Princess of Wales is tall, beautiful, graceful and self-centered. She has two sons, Prince Richard and red-headed Prince Larry. Elena's ex-husband is Prince Edward, Prince of Wales who has a mistress named Kay. And then there's Queen Catherine II. Each of these characters are not much different from their real counterparts. Prince Edward is aloof with his children and insecure about his role in life. Queen Catherine, cold and remote, puts duty above everything else. Prince Richard is serious and Prince Larry is impish. Sound familiar?

The problem, when basing characters on real people is that both sides will always come up short. If you make a character weak-willed when the actual person is not, comparisons will be inevitable and disappointing. If the characters are too similar, like Prince Edward and Queen Catherine II, their actions become predictable. In Elena's case she is vulnerable, naive and at the mercy of the system. I kept wondering when she would wake up and grow backbone like Diana had when she was alive.

The saga and foibles of the royals are well documented. By keeping the characters so close to the originals, the story could easily write itself. But the author has added a twist. Diana, err..Elena is alive and well; there is no Dodi Al Fayed character, or tunnel in Paris. There is a funeral, but it isn't Elena's.

Still, someone wants Elena dead and she has some close calls. Her lawyer and protection officer are murdered, bombs go off, and someone attempts to assassinate her and Edward. All of these events make her want to escape the royal system, which she can't do. To quote Michael Corleone in the Godfather III: 'Just when I thought I had escaped..they pull me back in.'  That pull is Elena's sons.

Yet, despite these attempts on her life, there is little sense of urgency until she tries to bring her sons with her. Elena is assisted in her escape by Michael, a journalist/undercover agent and Rita, a nurse. Michael and Rita seem more concerned for her safety than she is and the plot meanders until Elena herself is convinced of the gravity of the situation.

The novel picks up towards the end, becoming a page-turner when a bomb threatens the lives of her ex-husband and Prince Richard. Yet despite a devastating turn of events, Elena displays a detachment to the results. In her desire for freedom it's difficult to root for someone who views the death of others as a means to an end.

The premise of Royal Escape is intriguing. Despite the familiarity with the characters, Froetschel makes some gutsy and unexpected moves with the storyline. Although the book is enjoyable, I found the ending to be implausible.

© Marilyn Braun 2011

Saturday, February 12, 2011

The Royal Wedding Report for Sunday February 13, 2011

On this episode, a song for William & Kate. How many gifts of cattle is too many? Testing out the Alarm Royale app. Is there a boyscout badge for kidnapping? Why is Prince Philip falling apart?

Find out on this episode:

The Royal Wedding Report - February edition

Publications & articles mentioned

Hello! Canada Weekly No 205 14 February 2011

The Toronto Star - Fit for a Queen

From someone else's royal collection

The housekeeper's Diary: Charles and Diana Before the Breakup by Wendy Berry

App Mentioned

Alarm Royale Royal Wedding Alarm Clock - Available on iTunes


William & Kate by Norm Strauss and Andrew Smith. Performed by Anne Vriend Available for download on iTunes.

Thanks to Christine at Scully Love Promo and Roadmap Music

Tune in to the next episode of The Royal Report on Sunday February 20, 2011 at 9:00PM EST (North America)

The topic will be: Royal Souvenirs and Collectibles

Sunday, February 06, 2011

The Royal Report for Sunday February 6, 2011 - Should the royals have real jobs?

On this episode: Stunning new developments for Charles and Camilla, could Fergie be making another documentary? Is Chelsy Davy planning on ruining Kate and Zara's wedding plans?

Find out on this episode

Should the Royals get real jobs?

Publications mentioned

Hello! Canada Weekly No 204 7 February 2011

From My Royal Collection

Property from the Collection of Her Royal Highness The Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon: Volumes I & II

Article discussed:

BBC - Royal Wedding - Should the Royals get real jobs? by Peter Hunt

Tune in to the next episode of The Royal Report on Sunday February 13, 2011 at 9:00PM EST (North America)

The topic will be: The Royal Wedding Report - February Edition

© Marilyn Braun 2011