Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Royal Report for Sunday May 29, 2011 - Prince Philip at 90

Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh is the longest serving consort in British history. For almost 60 years he has supported the Queen in her role with dedication and aplomb. Inspired by the exhibit at Windsor Castle of the same name, a focus on Prince Philip in honor of his 90th birthday.

To listen to the episode, click here: Prince Philip at 90

Publications discussed

People Magazine Royal Wedding Commemorative Edition

People Magazine Royal Wedding - Special Collectors edition

From My Royal Collection

World Royal Families

Links mentioned

The Royal Collection microsite - Prince Philip - Celebrating Ninety Years

The Duke - A Portrait of Prince Philip - Parts 1 - 8

The Official Site of the British Monarchy - Prince Philip's biography

The Official Site of the British Monarchy - 90 Facts about Prince Philip

Tune in to the next episode of The Royal Report on Sunday June 5, 2011 at 9:00PM ET.

The topic will be: Some members of the royal family are rumoured to be losing their police protection, including the Earl and Countess of Wessex and Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie. Should they lose their protection officers?

© Marilyn Braun 2011

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.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Calling all royal bloggers - The Royal Blog Comment Chain

 Do you have a royal blog? Would you like to discover other cool blogs and have some fun interacting with other royal bloggers in the process? Besides, who doesn't like comments?

Well then let me introduce the royal blog comment chain!

How does it work?

In a nut-shell, 10 royal blogs, 7 days to comment on each of them.

At the end of the 7 days (or earlier) you tweet me on twitter: marilynsrylblog or come back to this blog and make a comment on this post, letting everyone know that you have finished making comments on each blog.

You can comment on any article you wish but you have to make a comment on each of the blogs within the 7 day period.

The participating blogs:

1) Marilyn's Royal Blog (You're Here!)
2) Mad Hattery (Registration to comment required)
3) Royalty in the News
4) Princess Palace
5) Princess Catherine fashion watch
6) Arbitrary History Blog
7) From Berkshire to Buckingham
8) Scandalous women
9) Royal Musings
10) What Kate wore

  • To sign up please list your blog name and url in a reply to this post, or tweet me. I will list the participating royal blogs in the order they arrive. The particpant list will be posted on Tuesday May 31st
  • Comment chain begins on Wednesday June 1st, 2011
  • Please complete all your comments by Wednesday June 8th, 2011
  • Comments such as 'Great post' don't count.  ;) 
  • Comments on THIS post don't count.  ;P
  • You can comment on any post in the royal bloggers archive - it doesn't have to be a recent/current post
  • If the mood strikes you can comment as many times as you like
  • Try to make it as easy as possible for people to comment  (Read: don't make anyone jump through hoops in order to do so)
  • When you have completed comments on all the blogs in the list please return to advise us that you have finished
  • Please do not spam
  • Have fun and discover other cool royal blogs!

© Marilyn Braun 2011

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.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Royal Review: BBC - The Royal Wedding DVD

What can you say about a DVD that covers an event flawless in its execution? With the exception of Princess Beatrice's hat and for one brief heart-stopping moment with the wedding ring, everything went according to plan?

Certainly you can discuss the music, the couple's prayer the bride's dress and how handsome Prince Harry looked. But this ultimately has nothing to do with the BBC since they had no control over it. The only unique aspect is that the BBC seems to be the first to have released a DVD of this sort.

So what then is there left to say about BBC's The Royal Wedding: William & Catherine? The ceremony feed inside Westminster Abbey was not exclusive to the BBC, therefore the camera angles are not unique. What's we have is the BBC before and after coverage, which is striking in its simplicity. Beginning with Prince William and Prince Harry's departure from Clarence House, we are spared the interminable waits, the people watching and the banter of the royal commentators. With a few brief exceptions the only voice is that of presenter Huw Edwards.

Although the events before and after the ceremony have been edited, there is still a strong sense of occasion. The cheering excitement of the crowds is not sacrificed for a better view of the Queen in her car. The ceremony itself is not edited so the viewer can enjoy the event in its entirety. Aside from the newlywed's procession to Buckingham Palace, the remaining coverage is condensed.  So much so that shortly after William and Catherine's arrival it seems as though they headed directly to the balcony. This appearance includes the flypast, the two kisses, the grimaces and bewildered looks of the tiny bridesmaids and Kate looking back over her shoulder as she leaves the balcony. Charming and personal moments that made the Royal wedding a special family occasion we were privy to and one that we can continue to relive through this DVD.

Also included is a 50 minute documentary about William and Catherine, as it charts their relationship from its earliest days to their engagement. Interspersed with footage of the couple, friends and royal commentators offer their opinions, continuously emphasizing the relative ordinariness of their relationship and royal romance. Were it not for the inclusion of the royal wedding ceremony on this DVD you could pretend those opinions were right.

© Marilyn Braun 2011

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.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Going once, going twice, sold!! A brief history of royal auctions

There is an irresistible allure to owning something belonging to royalty. Whether the item is a famous jewel, such as the late Princess Margaret's Poltimore tiara to household items such as the Duke and Duchess of Windsor's clothing and furniture, each item holds a special cachet as a result of its provenance. In many cases the proceeds from these auctions have gone to charities of the royals choice or to cover estate death duties. Both auction houses Sotheby's and Christie's have conducted royal auctions, and Christie's has a particularly long association with the royal family, starting in 1773 when the property of the Princess of Wales, mother of George III was sold.

Princesses Eugenie and Beatrice
via British Monarchy Flickr
Princess Beatrice recently auctioned off the infamous and striking hat designed by Philip Treacy. She wore this hat to Prince William's April wedding and it sparked much comment and attention in the press. Unlike other royal auctions, which have been conducted by Sotheby's or Christie's, Beatrice sold the item through eBay. Wisely capitalizing on the hat's notoriety, she sold it, with the eventual proceeds - $123,325 split between UNICEF and Children in Crisis.

Christie's - Dresses from the Collection of Diana, Princess of Wales - 1997
Via Ronald Reagan library
Inspired by Prince William, Diana, Princess of Wales sold 79 of her dresses, with proceeds of $3.6 million going to AIDS and cancer charities in the United States and the United Kingdom. Since the original sale, several of the dresses have been sold. In April, two dresses were sold for $279,000. 14 dresses, originally purchased by a Florida businesswoman Maureen Rorech Dunkel for $700,000 in 1997, will be sold in Toronto on June 23 through Canadian auction house Waddingtons. Through Ms Dunkel, the 14 dresses became a touring exhibit called Dresses for Humanity. The proceeds from these tours raised money for AIDS, cancer and children's charities globally. Included in this sale is the iconic ink blue Victor Edelstein dress that Diana wore when she danced with John Travolta at the White House in 1985.

Christie's - Property from the Collection of Her Royal Highness The Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon - 2006

Annigoni, Pietro (1910-1988) - 1957 Portrait of Princess Margaret (Christie's London, 2006)One of the most glamorous women of her generation, Princess Margaret was renowned for her beauty and for her good taste. In 2006 her children controversially auctioned off her belongings to cover the death taxes for her estate. The 780-lot auction included the Politmore tiara worn at her 1960 wedding. Also included, an extensive collection of jewels, Faberge, silver, paintings, furniture as well as this famous Pietro Annigoni portrait. The proceeds from this sale were £13.7 million.

Sotheby's - The Jewels of the Duchess of Windsor - 1987

Arguably one of the most famous jewelery auctions in history, the Jewels of the Duchess of Windsor raised $50.3 million, 7 times its pre-sale estimate. To this day this auction holds the record for a single-owner jewelry collection. The auction comprised 305 lots, many bearing personal inscriptions and  including 87 pieces from Cartier, the Duke and Duchess's favorite jeweler, and 23 items by Van Cleef & Arpels. The proceeds of the original auction went to The Pasteur Institute in Paris. Since 1987, pieces from the Duchess of Windsor's collection have continued to command high bids. In 2010, 20 brooches bracelets and other gems sold for $12.5 million.

Christie's - Property from the Collection of HRH The Prince George, Duke of Kent and HRH Princess Marina, Duchess of Kent and their families - 2009

This auction was not the first time Prince George, Duke of Kent's belongings had been sold at Christie's. After his death in 1942, to raise funds, his widow Princess Marina sold items in a 3-day auction in 1947. The sale included English furniture, objects of art and porcelain and raised £92,300.

In 2009, 200 lots were sold, including linen, photographs, clocks, silver, tapestries, rugs, works of art monogrammed and inscribed jewellery as well as a collection of trowels. Highlights of the auction included a portrait of 3-year old Princess Louise by her mother Queen Victoria. As well as a chair and stool from the 1937 Coronation of his brother King George VI.  A similar chair was sold at Princess Margaret's auction in 2006. The  Duke of Kent's auction raised £2.1 million.

Sotheby's - Duke and Duchess of Windsor auction - 1998

The auction for the contents of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor's Paris home was originally set for September 11-19, 1997. But due to the deaths of Diana, Princess of Wales and Dodi Al Fayed, the son of Mohammed Al Fayed, owner of the Windsor's villa in Paris, the auction was postponed to February 1998. 40,000 personal effects belonging to the late Duke and Duchess were auctioned off. A wide range of items formed the auction, including the desk which the Duke, as King Edward VIII signed the Instrument of Abdication in 1936, a piece of their wedding cake, photographs, clothing, furniture, luggage, jewellery and all the way down to their monogrammed bathmats. The nine-day auction raised $23 million, three times the estimated value.

Christie's - Property from the Estate of His Royal Highness The Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester - 2006

Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester was the third son of King George V. Unlike his brothers, he did not possess magnetic charm nor a fine eye for antiques. Despite their royal provenance, the items in this auction are practical rather than of greater historical significance. The 787 lots include christening gifts, tableware, menu holders, ink stands, furniture, fishing rods, oar blades, backgammon sets, fire irons, fans, parasols, illuminated manuscripts and a dog bed. This auction raised £5.1 million. Proceeds from some items went towards estate taxes as well as the charities Clubs for Young People and the Army Benevolent Fund.

© Marilyn Braun 2011

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.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

The Royal Report for Sunday May 22, 2011 - Does Pippa Middleton deserve privacy?

Since Prince William and Catherine Middleton's wedding, Pippa Middleton (Catherine's sister) has been the focus of intense media speculation for her looks as well as her relationships. Despite her sister having married into the royal family, does Pippa deserve privacy?

Listen to this episode to find out: Does Pippa Middleton deserve privacy?

Publications discussed:

Hello! Canada Weekly No 218 30 May 2011

From My Royal Collection

Doomed Queens: Royal Women Who Met Bad Ends, From Cleopatra to Princess Di

Tune in to the next episode of The Royal Report on Sunday May 29, 2011 at 9:00PM ET.

The topic will be: Prince Philip at 90

© Marilyn Braun 2011

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.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Fergie's back, and she's feeling sorrier for herself than she ever has before

I've been meaning to write an article about Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York. However, my problem was coming up with a title. Nothing seemed to convey the exasperation I feel every time I read about her.

Way back in May 2010 when she tried to sell access to her ex-husband's soul I thought 'well, now she's done it'. She will fade into obscurity, living on in her daughters questionable fashion choices. Unfortunately she made an appearance on Oprah and all was forgotten. To top it all off, somehow Fergie duped the ultimate enabler into giving her a six-part docu-series called 'Finding Sarah'.

Fortunately I don't have cable, so I can only live vicariously through those who tweet and blog about the show. However I am predicting that there will be a lot of emotional turmoil as each episode tackles a different issue. Sarah will make discoveries about herself while learning absolutely nothing in the process. For instance:

Episode 1 - Finances. Fergie receives her credit card statement and discovers how high it is. Will she pay it or won't she? Guest appearance by Suze Orman, Oprah's financial guru enabler to nag her about it.

Episode 2 - Health. Fergie realizes her cholesterol is too high. Guest appearances by Dr. Oz and fitness guru Bob Greene to nag her. Still has not paid credit card bill.

Episode 3 - Family and friends. Guest appearance by Princess Beatrice to remind us of Fergie's royal connections.  Tearfully contemplates selling access to Eugenie. Oprah loans Fergie her ultimate BFF Gayle King, with interest. Maybe they'll take a soul searching road trip. Expenses everything because Fergie has no credit left.

Episode 4 - Fashion. Guest appearance by fashion expert Stacey London. This is a tougher job than she expected so Stacey recruits What not to wear cohort Clinton Kelly as backup. Sarah is strong-armed into something flattering. Clinton smirks and Stacey happily exclaims: "Shut up!" Fergie still hasn't paid her credit card nor the interest on Gayle. Guest appearance by Oprah via speaker-phone to turn up the heat.

Episode 5 - Charity and lost causes. Fergie is shown doing something charitable, as if to say 'See? There are people more needy than me!' Fergie gets into her limo feeling better about herself. As she returns to her luxury suite, she tearfully wonders if Diana would be proud of her. Guest appearance by a mystified Dr Phil.

Episode 6 - Redemption. As Fergie pays the minimum amount on her credit card she feels a renewed sense of optimism about the future. Refusing to fly commercial, she returns home on Oprah's private jet. Brainstorms titles for her next book. Wipes away tears."You haven't heard the last of me." she proudly proclaims.

Unfortunately, she's right.

© Marilyn Braun 2011

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.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

The Royal Report for Sunday May 15, 2011 - Royal Wedding Dress Designers

What do Norman Hartnell, David and Elizabeth Emmanuel, Lindka Cierach, Molyneux, Mainbocher, and Mme Handley Seymour have in common? All of them designed memorable royal wedding dresses. Sarah Burton from the House of Alexander McQueen has just joined those illustrious ranks.

On this episode, a look back at royal wedding dress designers

Listen to the episode here: Royal Wedding Dress Designers

Publications discussed

Hello! Canada No 217 - Royal Wedding Photo Album

The Illustrated Royal Weddings - Souvenir Issue

From My Royal Collection

Queen Elizabeth II - A Photographic Portrait by Philip Ziegler

Tune in to the next episode of The Royal Report on Sunday May 22, 2011 at 9:00PM ET (North America)

The topic will be: Since Catherine's wedding, her siblings Pippa and James have come under increasing media scrutiny. Do they deserve privacy?

© Marilyn Braun 2011

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.

Friday, May 13, 2011

The Curious Case of Catherine's Womb

The ink was barely dry on the royal marriage register when the first speculation began on when Catherine would get pregnant. On the evening of the wedding, a reporter noticing the knowing looks the couple gave each other during the service commented:"two may soon become three".

Almost 2 weeks into the marriage and still no announcement? Tsk tsk. Obviously Catherine needs to step up her game. She may be on honeymoon, frolicking in the sand, maybe doing some snorkeling, but that doesn't mean she can't multi-task. After all, a record is at stake. Diana gave birth to Prince William a month before her first wedding anniversary. The Queen, then Princess Elizabeth, cut it close giving birth to Prince Charles 6 days before her first wedding anniversary. Slackers. Queen Victoria gave birth to her first child a bit over 9 months from the day of her wedding.

According to Andrew Morton, if Catherine doesn't get pregnant soon, she'll be defying 200 years of royal tradition. For heavens sake, it's also her duty! Just ask Royal Historian Hugo Vickers. Where oh where are the female historians to remind Prince William of his duty to provide an heir and make his spouse happy?

Forget enjoying married life or that there are 1,400 people in the line of succession behind Prince William. Not to mention that Catherine is not getting any younger. Besides, the sooner she gives birth, the sooner we can start divorce rumours.

With this ring, Catherine gave up not only her freedom but also her womb.

Don't worry Catherine, we'll take it from here.

© Marilyn Braun 2011

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.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

To wipe away your tears of joy...

The low-battery light flickered on my rented cell-phone. Strange, I thought I had charged it the night before. The guests were arriving and I was trying to tweet but the phone kept getting slower and slower. Despite being plugged into the wall the phone powered off completely. Frustrated I gave up on tweeting. I was disappointed in not being able to share in the event with other royal bloggers. But I had no choice, the phone was dead. It would be several hours before I would get a replacement.

I did not have a plan for the day. Sure I'd thought of going to Hyde Park, or potentially taking a spot at the Mall. While there were screens set up in Hyde Park, in the Mall I would have had to wait to find out what Kate's dress looked like. So I stayed put in the hotel. Not wanting to miss a moment I ate a bag of crisps for my breakfast.

"To wipe away your tears of joy"
Once they had been pronounced man and wife I decided to head out. My hotel wasn't far from Buckingham Palace and as I was walking towards it, a girl was handing out samples of Kleenex. As she handed it to me, she said:

 'To wipe away your tears of joy'.

I'm not sure I would go that far. She had probably been handing these samples out all morning and there was little inflection in her voice, her tone was bored as she said the phrase and the incongruity of it stuck with me.

Maybe she was bored to tears?

As I headed towards Buckingham Palace, the crowd of people got thicker. With people in front and behind, personal space was now non-existent. Not a place to be if you're claustrophobic. Complete gridlock. I turned around and tried a different approach, walking along a street where the foreign dignitaries cars were parked.  People were gathered around a few of the cars, looking in the windows, presumably watching the ceremony with the driver.

I kept walking. There were people everywhere, along with police wearing florescent yellow vests. Every so often I would find myself in a sea of people slowly moving forward, direction unknown. I started to envy Kate, if only for the fact that she would never have to get stuck walking in a crowd this size ever again. But no one was pushing or shoving, everyone was calmly making their way towards the same direction. Occasionally the crowds would disperse and I could breathe again. I looked at my surroundings.  Somehow I had made it to Hyde Park.The ceremony was over and people were leaving. I spotted the tents where the official programmes were being sold.

I went to London and all I got to show for it was....

© Marilyn Braun 2011

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.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

William and Catherine's strange bedfellows

William and Catherine have conducted their relationship in the public eye. They've shared their royal wedding with us. Now that St James's Palace has confirmed the new Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have left for their honeymoon, you would think they deserve some privacy, right?

Apparently not. People magazine has revealed their location as the Seychelles in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Africa. They're reportedly staying in a secluded villa on a private, unspecified island.

Duly noted. Can we leave them in peace now?

Not so fast. Their luggage just became a whole lot heavier. I'll bet that William and Catherine didn't realize they were bringing us with them on their honeymoon, did they?

The intention to give them privacy seemed too good to be true. After all, we were supposed to learn lessons from Diana's death, right? To cover ourselves we pay lip service to her memory.  History couldn't possibility repeat itself? It's not as if the couple will be driving through any dark tunnels. They're on honeymoon, harmless stuff. Besides it will all be worth it when we see pictures of Catherine in a bikini.

Unlike their wedding I have yet to read complaints about the cost of this jaunt. Yet. Why would there be when there are royal babies to be made? If we could, I'll bet we would set up cameras in their bedroom, giving us exclusive reports by the minute. How else will we know that William and Catherine are trying?

According to a spokesperson from Clarence House: "The couple have asked that their privacy be respected during their honeymoon."

After eight years William and Catherine should know better than to expect privacy. And we should know better than to think we're capable of giving it to them.

© Marilyn Braun 2011

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.

Saturday, May 07, 2011

The Royal Wedding Report for Sunday May 8, 2011

After months of speculation surrounding the ceremony, on April 29th Prince William and Catherine Middleton finally became husband and wife. The momentous occasion was filled with beautiful music and memorable moments. From Catherine's dress, to the ceremony, to the atmosphere in London, on this episode a recap of the royal wedding day.

You can listen to the episode here:

The Royal Wedding Report - Recap

Publications mentioned

London Evening Standard Friday April 29, 2011

The Sun Friday April 29, 2011

Hello! Canada - Special Double Issue - The Royal Wedding

Hello! Royal Wedding Special Commemorative Edition

British GQ - Cover story - Prince harry is Walking with the Wounded

From My Royal Collection

Kate and Wills Up the Aisle by Alison Jackson

Websites mentioned

For more details on Kate's dress and the ceremony go to the Official Royal Wedding Website

Tune in to the next episode of The Royal Report for Sunday May 15th, 2011 at 9:00PM ET (North America).

The topic will be: Royal Wedding Dress Designers

© Marilyn Braun 2011

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.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Brace yourselves Middleton family, this is just the beginning


Your daughter has married a royal. And not just any royal. No, the second in line to the throne. Yep, your daughter is now at the pinnacle of the aristocracy. And it only took your family several of generations to get there. As every media outlet seems to want to remind you.

So now that all of the wedding bills have been paid. You've packed up your bags, smiling graciously as you get into your car to return to your normal life back in Berkshire.

Or will you?

Unlike some other families who have had relatives marry into the royal family, you have had the advantage of getting used to the spotlight. Unlike the Ferguson's or the Spencer's, you Middleton's are a stable and loyal family. Why if it weren't for Uncle Gary, the relatives who worked in the coal mines, or that you once worked in the airline industry, your family is close to ideal.  As the media seems to want to remind all of us.

Unfortunately you made a mistake - without even knowing it. Something that might cost your family dearly when it comes to privacy. You only have to look at the wedding footage to prove it. In a nutshell:


Pippa MiddletonThe moment she stepped out of the car in that slinky Sarah Burton dress (a style, oddly, bearing no relation to anyone else's in the wedding party), you were in trouble. You may not have even realized it until you read the papers the next day.

Now for the most part, a maid of honor who overshadows the bride will test any friendship/family bond.  Long after the wedding photos make the bride's dress look dated, a gorgeous maid of honor will live in infamy. Why, it's enough to get you removed from the Christmas card list or any invites to subsequent marriage ceremonies. In this instance it's different. Pippa is not only the star of the wedding album but now a tabloid cover girl. Unfortunately disowning Pippa will backfire. That is the stuff which juicy tell-alls are made of.

At least Diana had the good sense to put the lovely Lady Sarah Armstrong Jones in a larger version of the children's dresses. Pretty, but no sex appeal whatsoever. It was Diana's dress that was the most important. After all, it was her day now wasn't it?

What's done is done. Just when you thought your lives could go back to normal Pippa unwittingly unleashed a whole new focus on the Middleton family. That slinky body will inspire hundreds of potential story lines. Pictured beside Prince Harry on the palace balcony, who wouldn't see them as a couple? Maybe if you're lucky something will become of it. That will show them, won't it?

It's plain to see that your family is close-knit and loyal. Now that Kate is royal and Pippa is on the radar, you'll need those qualities to survive the continued and intense interest in your family. Think you've been through the ringer before?

Brace yourselves Middleton's, this is just the beginning.

© Marilyn Braun 2011

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.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

How long have you been out here for?

'How long have you been out here for?' A reporter asked, as she shoved a microphone into the face of a woman wearing a union jack hat with a homemade banner attached to the railings. Clearly enjoying the attention the woman smiled, giving the same answer she probably gave to all reporters who came by. 

Other reporters and camera crews were doing similar things to anyone with a creatively decorated sign or tent. Cameras were set up on scaffolds surrounding the Victoria memorial. Those that weren't were in the green media studios set up to cover the event outside Buckingham Palace. Groups of people stood behind those studios, waving signs and cheering to get on TV. Occasionally the crowd would be rewarded with a smile and a wave from the on-air personality.

Just off to the side of these studios, behind gates, stood huge satellite dishes and news caravans that hummed. Walking along Constitution Hill, Green Park, a peaceful retreat from the hoopla. Shaded, cool and quiet it didn't seem as though it was in the same area. Walking back towards Buckingham Palace, it was warm outside and I wished I'd left my coat back at the hotel. Except that it could, and did, turn cool at times.

There was an enormous amount of people, though not as many as there would be this time tomorrow. Nothing was happening. Maybe they were here for the same reason I was. Not to stake a claim on the pavement but to observe, take pictures and like me, savor the moment of just being there.

© Marilyn Braun 2011

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.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Whatever you do, don't go to sleep!

'What ever you do, DON'T go to sleep!'

My husband's warning came into my head as I started to doze off in the hotel room. Just five more minutes I thought to myself. It was 10AM London time, 5AM back home. I had barely slept on the flight. No wonder I was tired. At least I had survived the underground. Mainly thanks to the kindness of strangers, something I would rely on many times through this trip.

But I hadn't come to London to sleep. I sat up, grabbed my cell phone and camera and headed out the door. My hotel was near enough to Buckingham Palace, about a 15 minute walk. I didn't need a map to find it. I only needed to look down the road to see the royal standard flapping in the wind.

As I walked along the sidewalk, multiple souvenir shops caught my eye. William and Kate on every conceivable item imaginable. There were knockoffs of Kate's ring, knockoff commemorative coins, hats, magnets, and condoms. Yes, condoms - holy buzz killer!

Heading further along I found a tea shop selling William and Kate tea bags, then the Buckingham Palace shop. Utopia for those searching for the tasteful items. The store was small and crowded and I hugged my purse close to my body lest I knock over something tastefully expensive.  I made a mental note to come back when it was less crowded.

A few blocks down the road I finally arrived at Buckingham Palace. The Queen's Royal Standard on the flagpole. Beyond the imposing black gates an immaculate gravel forecourt. And there was the famous balcony. By this time the next day, the newly married William and Kate would share a kiss for the world to see.

By the looks of it, I wasn't the only one imagining the same thing.

© Marilyn Braun 2011

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.

Monday, May 02, 2011

I'm in London, baby!

"What is the purpose of your visit?" 

Steeling myself for the suspicious look and potential interrogation, I replied, "I'm here for the royal wedding."

The customs agent smiled and stamped my passport.

Hmm, very different reaction to the one I received when I went to New York for Jerramy Fine's book signing.

Obviously in this instance, customs wasn't going to ask me what the resolution to William and Kate's particular situation would be. This agent wasn't chewing gum either, nor did she have a moustache.

So I'd arrived in London. What began as a crazy idea was now a reality. What on earth was I thinking? Jet-lagged and unfamiliar with my surroundings I regrouped for a moment before braving the underground. I had been dreading this part. Back home a map filled with a labyrinth of multicolored tube lines had filled me with anxiety. I had gotten lost on the New York subway system, how would I ever manage this one?

But I had to get to my hotel. So I asked a ticket agent what the easiest way to get to Victoria station was. As he gave me directions he asked where I was from.

"Canada! One of my relatives is a government minister" he said proudly, writing the surname of his kin on the back of a receipt for me. Presumably so I could share in his pride when I returned home. I stuffed the paper into my purse, took a deep breath and headed for the gates.

There was no way of knowing where I would end up.

© Marilyn Braun 2011

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.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

All about the dress

You already know that Catherine Middleton's wedding dress was designed by Sarah Burton of Alexander McQueen. But did you know Kate reportedly held her secret meetings with the designer in Henry VIII's favorite palace? Or that the workers who did the embroidery had to wash their hands every 30 minutes to keep the lace clean?

If you want to see the dress in real life, you may get the chance. A Clarence House spokeswoman says the Duchess of Cambridge is "considering a number of options" for putting the dress on public display.

And if you want to get married in a dress like Kate's, that's possible, too. Low-priced designers are racing to create copies.

The Service

Photo source: The British Monarchy

Text © World of Royalty