Thursday, March 31, 2011

Question: Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester as king?

Why didn't Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester become king when George VI died? By everything that I know, as the next male in succession, George V's third son should have become king after the first abdicated and the second died.

The type of succession that you are referring to is called agnatic primogeniture. Inheritance according to the seniority of birth amongst the of sons of a monarch.

King George V had five sons. Prince Edward (future King Edward VIII), Prince Albert (future King George VI), Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester, Prince George, Duke of Kent and Prince John, who died as a child. After King George V's death, in 1936 and King Edward VIII's abdication in 1937, the next son came to the throne as King George VI. In 1937, at the start of King George VI's reign, the first four places in the line of succession were occupied by Princess Elizabeth, Princess Margaret, Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester and Prince George, Duke of Kent.

The succession to the British throne is by male preference primogeniture. Males have precedence over females, however if there is a female she is not excluded. Because of this, King George VI's elder daughter, Princess Elizabeth became the sovereign and not Prince Henry. If the King died without children, then Prince Henry would have become king in 1952 because he was next in line. If this had occurred then after King Henry IX's death in 1974, his son, Prince Richard, Duke of Gloucester would be king, possibly reigning as King Richard IV.

It is interesting to note that had King Edward VIII not abdicated and not had children, the succession would likely look as it does today. The only difference is that the present Queen would have come to the throne upon the death of her uncle in 1972 instead of 1952 when her father died.

© Marilyn Braun 2011

Is Prince William's hair destroying the monarchy?

The monarchy is facing its biggest crisis to date and they're powerless to do anything to prevent it. They didn't see it coming. Who would have thought it could ever happen? It started about five years ago, slowly chipping away at the the very foundation the monarchy prides itself on.

Its good looks.

Everything they hold sacred as the arbiters of style is at risk. Thank goodness for Kate Middleton. Her long, glossy locks will shore up the ranks. But for now the royals are in trouble. A recent poll showed that Britons want Charles as king instead of William. No wonder. Charles has more hair than William. Coincidence? I think not.

Who is ultimately to blame for William's hair? Diana's father, Earl Spencer was balding therefore it must be her fault. She has obviously done more damage to the monarchy than first thought. Luckily Prince Harry inherited genes from his father otherwise there would be no hope left for the monarchy as we know it. Enter the republican movement at stage right.

The media is already asking tough questions on whether Prince William is losing his appeal. Where's a celebrity scandal when you need it? Isn't there a disaster in another country? No, this is just too big an issue. We cannot ignore reality even if the royal family wants us to. If only there was a big event with lots of pagentry to distract us from the inevitable. So we can celebrate while we still have reason to.

On his wedding day, all eyes will be on Prince William. After all, he is the future of the monarchy. Billions of people watching the gradual demise of the royal family. This could get depressing. Let's hope William's uniform comes with a hat.

© Marilyn Braun 2011

Note: This article is meant to be satirical. I think Prince William looks perfectly fine. :) Kate Middleton is a lucky woman who obviously loves him and her opinion is the only one that counts in this respect.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Question: Will Kate Middleton become Princess Catherine?

When Baroness Marie-Christine von Reibnitz married Prince Michael of Kent, she became Princess Michael of Kent. When Kate Middleton marries Prince William, she will be known as Princess Catherine, not Princess William. Why is this?
When Kate Middleton marries Prince William she will not become Princess Catherine. She may be known as Princess Kate or Princess Catherine but this will not be her formal title. Diana, Princess of Wales was known as Princess Diana but this was not correct.

In calling her Princess William, you are right. Her formal title will be HRH Princess William of Wales. Like Princess Michael, Kate will take her title from her husband. She will not be a princess in her own right - like Princess Beatrice or Princess Anne. She is a princess by virtue of her marriage only. This is the reason that Marie-Christine is known as Princess Michael of Kent and not as Princess Marie-Christine of Kent.

The Queen could take the step of creating Kate a princess in her own right, but it's not likely - never say never though! Should she do this then I presume Marie Christine and Sophie, Prince Edward's wife, would want the same designation as well.

However, if Prince William is granted a dukedom upon his marriage then Kate will be known as HRH Catherine, Duchess of Clarence (or another available dukedom). If Prince William does not receive a dukedom (and there are reports that say he doesn't want one) then Kate will be known as HRH Princess William of Wales. In time, when William becomes king, she will be known as Queen Catherine.

Although this title is correct, Princess William sounds odd to peoples ears, which is probably the reason why people will call her Princess Kate/Catherine. Let's hope he accepts a dukedom!

© 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, March 26, 2011

The Royal Report for Sunday March 27, 2011 - Can Prince William and Kate Middleton's marriage be successful?

With the well documented marital history of the House of Windsor, does Prince William and Kate Middleton's marriage have a chance of being successful?

Also on this episode: Did a Walmart cashier actually come up with the topic for this episode? Do Britons actually want Charles to be king instead of William? Will Kate bring down the monarchy if she doesn't vow to obey William?

Find out on this episode:

Does Prince William & Kate Middleton's marriage have a chance of being successful?

Publications discussed:

Hello! Canada Weekly No 211 28 March 2011 - Hottest Royal Bachelors Issue

Vanity Fair - April 2011 - Meet the Parents by Katie Nicholl

From My Royal Collection

Their Royal Highnesses the Duke & Duchess of York by Christopher Warwick and Valerie Garner

Tune in to the next episode of The Royal Report on Sunday April 3, 2011 at 9:00PM EST (North America).

The topic will be: A look at Royal Marriages that have lasted an endured

 © Marilyn Braun 2011

Friday, March 25, 2011

Will someone please think of the royal cherubs?

I probably shouldn't say this. Reading anti-royal wedding articles makes my blood boil. But today I realized that I have a choice not to read them. Easy right? You'd think the people complaining about the wedding would stop reading the coverage too. They, like myself have an excuse to continue torturing ourselves. In my case it's motivated by milking  writing timely articles about the royal wedding.

But then, like the naysayers, I've also thought. Why should I stop reading? We want to continue being martyrs so we can complain about it, then that's our prerogative. It's unfortunate that some of the naysayers have larger forums than I do to complain, but I feel that I should do my part to defend the honor of those who DO care about the royal wedding.

Think about it. Every time a naysayer justifies their disinterest, an innocent royal cherub cancels their Royalty/Majesty/Hello! magazine subscription. No doubt they feel alone, misunderstood, maybe they've never told a soul about their interest in the royal family. Makes you want to cry doesn't it? They may start to hide their collection of royal wedding books. Ultimately they may resort to heading out under cover of darkness to buy the latest royal wedding commemorative book-a-zine. Tragic.

So precious royal cherubs of all ages. You are not alone in your interest in the royal wedding. Despite what the polls say, there are others who want to watch it too. The naysayers may complain louder but they're probably protesting too much for their own good. Deep down inside, behind all the grumpy negativity, there's a royal cherub waiting to come out. When they do, make sure you give them a hug to welcome them to the dark side. Maybe buy them a tacky souvenir. If anyone deserves it, it's them.

© Marilyn Braun 2011

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Royal Review: The Royal Wedding For Dummies

Reading Tweets related to the release of The Royal Wedding For Dummies you'll discover the following:

'Really, REALLY?'

'For REAL?'

'The DO have a 'for dummies' for everything, don't they?'

'Explains a lot about the person who bought it'

Ouch! If only I'd seen this tweet before I ordered the book. But then again I wouldn't be reviewing it for you, now would I?

Continue scoffing in 140 characters as much as you like. An open mind is a horrible thing to waste. I personally love Dummies guides - and I'm not ashamed to admit it. They're fun, informative and they take on subjects with humor without being condescending. I even own the Dummies and Idiots guides to the British Monarchy. Personally, I don't recommend the Idiots guide, it's a bit too low-brow for my tastes.

Back to this book. While reading, I asked myself, What isn't The Royal Wedding for Dummies? Obviously it's about the royal wedding but you can find lots of other useful information between its covers. For instance, you can use it as a party-planner, a cookbook, a travel agent, a London tour guide, and a friend scouting out prime locations to watch the wedding procession. It includes invaluable etiquette and housekeeping tips. The book includes a fabulous list of helpful websites and it is educational to boot! Not only that, it's about a subject dear to my heart - British royalty. That alone sold me on it.

A good thing about this book, like any of the Dummies guides, is you can read the parts you're interested in. My only criticism would be that as it's about Prince William and Kate Middleton's wedding, it will lose its timeliness once the event is over. Though you could apply the tips on London, the recipes and continue using the quiz questions, it just isn't the same. Don't let that deter you though. When the next royal wedding occurs, you'll be primed and ready, with party fare fit for a king...err..well...the spare anyways.

© Marilyn Braun 2011

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Royal cocktails, anyone?

Prince William and Kate Middleton's upcoming wedding has given many people a reason to mark the occasion in their own way. One way to celebrate is to throw a royal wedding themed party. And what is a party without cocktails?
Event Expert Colin Cowie has created a signature cocktail called the Regal CV. Doesn't it taste better when someone famous comes up with it?

According to the press release for it:

The Regal CV Cocktail is characterized by elegance and simplicity and is truly fit for toasting the future king and queen of England on their wedding day!

Sounds yummy, right? See? This blog is not only informative, it can make you thirsty too.

So now you're wondering, Marilyn, how do I make this delicious concoction to impress my friends? I'm glad you asked!

You will need;

2 oz Chambord Flavored Vodka
¾ oz simple syrup
3 slices of cucumber (skin on)
3 fresh raspberries
½ oz fresh lemon juice

Muddle the raspberries, cucumber, and simple syrup. Add to a shaker with lemon juice and Chambord Flavored Vodka. Add ice and shake vigorously. Double stain into a martini glass or a large coupe glass and garnish.

Garnish option 1: Garnish with a slice of cucumber and a fresh raspberry.

Garnish option 2: Garnish with fresh raspberries.

Serve to friends with a faux British accent and the best plastic tiara you can find.

If you make the cocktail, let me know how it turns out!

Thanks to Melissa Tavss from The Baddish Group for the heads up.

For more information on Chambord Flavored Vodka visit:

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Royal Review: Royal Wedding Commemorative Issues

What is it about significant occasions that inspires commemorative issues? A genuine desire to share good news? Making money off of our interest in good news? Who knows? Unsurprisingly, the engagement of William and Kate has led to competition to release a commemorative issue marking the occasion. But there is a misnomer in each of these 'royal wedding' commemorative; their wedding has yet to take place. It would then be more accurate to say that these book-a-zines (neither book nor magazine) mark the couple's engagement instead. Though each of them use the same photography and cover all of the bases in documenting their courtship, some of them are better than others. Which one(s) do you add to your collection? Which one(s) are worthy of your hard earned dollars? Let's take a look.

112 Pages

When it comes to putting together commemorative issues, LIFE does them rather well. There is a certain quality inherent in the brand and this one is no exception. At 112 pages, it is the longest of the issues and the most beautifully done. There is no sensationalism and minimal comparisons of Diana and Kate. The focus is on the couple. As it should be. It delves into the history of the Windsor's, touching on the scandals and Prince William's life without becoming maudlin or going overboard. In Kate's biography, it does not elevate her to Cinderella status in the Middleton family history. This issue includes some charming and rare photographs of Kate as a child and a nice section on royal weddings of the past.

USA Today a Royal Wedding Special Commemorative Edition (Catherine Middleton and Prince William)
 97 pages 

From the moment I read the sentence 'William gave Kate his mother's ruby and diamond encrusted engagement ring' my opinion of this magazine went downhill. A compilation of USA Today articles by various journalists, this may explain the discrepancy in one article referring to the ring as a ruby and others correctly as a sapphire. Unlike the others, on the cover it correctly refers to Kate as Catherine.This was obviously compiled right after the engagement announcement because they had no details about the location of the wedding or the date. Because of this it feels incomplete.

From the Editors of Us - Will & Kate - The Royal wedding
84 pages

Similar to LIFE, the editors of Us have put together a quality issue that is meant to last, right down to using the same cover photograph. That is where the comparisons end. The focus here is on the trappings of royalty and the glamour: fabulous vacations, nights on the town, polo, Kate's fashions, royal residences, wedding secrets and wedding dress sketches from designers who don't have a shot at it. Also included a 12 page obligatory nod to Charles and Diana's wedding. Including a pull-out of Diana arriving at St Paul's as her train is unfurled. Maybe Part 2 - set to be released on May 6 - will be more interesting.

Daily Mirror Magazine (Will And Kate -A Royal love Story)
83 pages

One of the appeals of this issue is that it charts the couple from their earliest public appearances through Mirror headlines. If anything, the sensational headlines give an idea of the interest and frenzy surrounding their courtship, which is something the other issues don't do. This issue is mainly comprised of photographs, with facts about Kate and a 2003 interview from William to mark his 21st birthday. Otherwise there is little substance.

© Marilyn Braun 2011

Saturday, March 19, 2011

The Royal Report for Sunday March 20th, 2011 - Royal Focus: Buckingham Palace

One of the most famous landmarks in the world, Buckingham Palace is the Queen's official London residence. Did you know that the palace has 775 rooms? Or that it has its own cinema, post office and chapel? Come behind the gates and learn more about Buckingham palace on this episode.

You can listen to the episode here:

Royal Focus: Buckingham Palace

Publications mentioned

Hello! Canada Weekly No 210 21 March 2011

Website mentioned

The Official site for The Royal Wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton

From My Royal Collection

Buckingham Palace The Palace And Its Royal Residents In Photgraphs

Resources used to research this episode

The Official Website of the British Monarchy - Royal Residences - Buckingham Palace

The Royal Encyclopedia

Buckingham Palace: The Place and the People

Inside Buckingham Palace/the Private World of the Royal Family

Crown and Country: A Personal Guide to Royal London

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

The topic will be: With the well documented marital history of the House of Windsor, does Prince William and Kate Middleton's marriage stand a chance of being successful?

© Marilyn Braun 2011

Friday, March 18, 2011

Take these royal wedding souvenirs and....

Royal Weddings and souvenirs. They go hand in hand. It seems you can't have one without the other. I'm not referring to the Charles and Diana wedding or Edward VIII's Coronation-that-never-was commemorative. No, I'm referring to items to mark Prince William and Kate Middleton's upcoming wedding on April 29th, 2011. What? You haven't marked your calendars yet?

Buying royal wedding souvenirs is like signing a book of condolence. It's a way to feel involved in the occasion without actually being involved. And there's nothing like an official, overpriced tankard that declares to those around you: 'I intend to get up at some unholy hour to watch the wedding'. You've made a commitment that your relatives might question. But the tankard means you're serious. It is now your ticket to a good seat in front of the TV.

If you choose not to buy an official item, it's understandable. They're expensive and the selection is not as great.  Non-official items are coming out of the woodwork as William and Kate's love inspires people to celebrate it in a variety of tacky ways. Would William and Kate approve royal wedding condoms? Luckily someone else did that. You may not need Royal Wedding sick bags but your neighbor might. How about a mug with Prince Harry and Catherine Middleton instead? Indeed, there's something for everyone. To find the more creative items, you only have to look in the right place. I'll bet you thought I was kidding, right?

It's unfortunate that some collect these items in the hope that they will increase in value. In reality, it's unlikely. On a future episode of The Antiques Road Show, these tasteless relics may garner nothing more than a curiosity about the generation that bought them.

Right now we should wonder the same thing.

© Marilyn Braun 2011

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

William & Kate: Bad wedding gifts are a rite of passage

After a few months of speculation, William and Kate have now confirmed that in lieu of wedding gifts they would like donations to be made to charities of their choice through a special website. Which is all wonderful and good. But for those of us who like receiving gifts, extremely insufferable at the same time.

10 years ago a friend of mine was planning a housewarming party of sorts for me. I suggested that instead of receiving any gifts for my new home, like candles, picture frames or oven mitts, that guests could bring an item to donate to a food bank (yes, though I like gifts I can also be altruistic too). Though she liked idea she replied: 'let your friends be your friends.' Meaning, let them give the way they want to give. So I received said candles and picture frames and oven mitts with gratitude.

Setting up a website for donations to charity solves the problem of 'what do you give to the couple who have everything?' William and Kate are in a unique position in that if they don't already own an item - like a blender - they can afford to buy it. This could possibly be a pre-emptive strike against those who would criticize them when there are so many less fortunate without a blender of their own.  And let's face it, those are the types of gifts that people give, whether it's practical or not. In 1947 Princess Elizabeth (now the Queen) received a sewing machine as a wedding gift. An thoughtful item which she would have had no use for personally. But isn't it the thought that counts?

Giving money is easy and it requires no thought. Despite the good intentions behind the request, money is impersonal. Allow people to express their goodwill in their own way. Even if it means receiving a thousand tea cozies. They make great wedding gifts for others.

So if Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden wants to re-gift that bread maker she received as a wedding gift from you? Accept it with gratitude.

© Marilyn Braun 2011

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Are Prince William & Kate Middleton doomed?

Today, as I was buying yet another commemorative royal wedding issue, the clerk looked at William and Kate on the cover and asked, "how long do you think they'll last?"

She couldn't have been more than 19 years old. A mere babe when the War of the Wales' was at its height and possibly too young to understand the impact of Diana's death a few years later. But then I realized something. If a Walmart cashier can be so cynical, then what chance does William and Kate's marriage have if we're all timing when it will end?

William and Kate's relationship is no great love story for the ages. There was no public moments of being swept away, no fantasy, no star-crossed longing. Just a compatible couple taking a pragmatic approach towards the future.  This is not the stuff that fairy tales are made of. And no amount of commemorative issues about their 'love story' changes that.

Despite their inherent idealism, happy endings are boring. They elicit envy and jealousy that warrant tearing them apart to see if they're genuine. If it isn't, then so much better. Drama is entertaining when it doesn't belong to us. Would you watch a reality show where everyone got along?

So go ahead, set your timers. My money is on their marriage lasting.

© Marilyn Braun 2011

Monday, March 14, 2011

If Kate Middleton is the future of the monarchy, why are we so focused on the past?

Ah yet another article putting pressure on Kate to be the perfect future princess. It's easy to see why she would be considered to be the last great hope for the royal family. Her youth, photogenic face, style and newness are all assets that the family sorely lacks.

The family may have bona fide royal princesses like Beatrice and Eugenie. They may have Zara Philips with her eclectic style. But Kate is different, unlike them she is destined to be a future Queen. Despite their royal blood, they will move down the royal food chain the moment Kate officially becomes Catherine.

Can Kate save the monarchy? Can she produce photogenic children who do not stir up trouble? Can she and William have a happy marriage? Unless we try to predict it now, we'll find out in the decades to come.

In the meantime, all we have is the past to compare the present to. Keeping an open mind and allowing Kate to make mistakes will be unheard of. The royal marriage scorecard has too many blotches on it. And we can't forget that, now can we?

We invested hope in Diana and Fergie because they were expected to save the monarchy too. They experienced the same pressures of living up to our collective expectations. Looking at them and what they went through, will Kate let us down too? She may be a completely different person but the untenable position we'll put her in will be the same.

Kate is not taking a different road from her predecessors because that would be uncomfortable for us. Heaven forbid we give her the chance. Kate may be the future of the monarchy but with each step forward she will be expected to heal the wounds of the past.

Going forward we wouldn't want it any other way.

© Marilyn Braun 2011

Saturday, March 12, 2011

The Royal Wedding Report for Sunday March 13, 2011

Which royal could become the next star in a reasonably priced car? Should Kate get a nose job? Want to join the royal wedding tat army?

Find out on this episode:

The Royal Wedding Report - March edition

Publications discussed

Hello! Canada Weekly No 209 14 March 2011

Entertainment Weekly #1144 March 4, 2011

Majesty Magazine Vol 32 No 2

People Magazine March 7, 2011

From My Royal Collection

Making of a Queen by Linda Doeser

Television show mentioned

Top Gear UK

Blogs and Websites mentioned

Royal Wedding Tat

The Alternative Royal Wedding Invite

Million Wishes Wedding

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

The topic will be: Royal Focus: Buckingham Palace

© Marilyn Braun 2011

Friday, March 11, 2011

Kate Middleton, say goodbye to your self-image

It was inevitable. Since the engagement Kate Middleton's self-image has become fair game for the public.

Regardless of how much pride she takes in it, her self-image may become extinct now that she's about to become a public figure.  It takes a strong woman to hang on to it. In the face of ruthless criticism about her appearance, it would be understandable if she forgoed her instincts and started playing to the crowds. How to please them otherwise?

Prince William and Catherine Middleton visit AngleseyCase in point. Recent appearances have led to concerns about her weight and how much thinner she's become. In the run-up to the wedding she can't be blamed for wanting to look her best in front of a billion people. But now she's too thin and we've all become Jewish mothers, at the ready to nag her about it. But let her gain a pound after the wedding and we'll all become diet experts tut-tutting about how she's letting herself go. Or maybe she'll be pregnant and we'll move on to her maintaining a healthy weight until the Royal babe arrives. She'll then be expected to look model thin as she departs the hospital. Woe betide her if she isn't.

A few weeks back, Liz Jones from the Daily Mail wrote an article which dissected Kate from head to toe. Some agreed with her assessment, some didn't. If she turned that intense spotlight on your appearance, would you be able to withstand it? I know I wouldn't.

The obsessive focus on Diana's appearance should act as a parable and a warning of what can happen to a woman in the public eye. Yet despite her eating disorder (or maybe even because of it) Diana was seen as a fashion icon. Her self image became wrapped up in attempting to exceed our expectations of her. Like Diana, Kate will be expected to be the perfect image of a princess, wife, mother and future queen. Dressing the part but not letting on about the reality of being the new royal superstar.

At 29 Kate is older and wiser than Diana when she married into the royal family. Many people see this as an advantage but with the enormous scrutiny her role brings, if Kate hangs on to her self-image it will be a miracle. Unfortunately it won't be because of us.

© Marilyn Braun 2011

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Why being a royal wedding naysayer might be good for your health

As I wrote a few days ago in my scintillating article 7 Reasons Why I don't care about people who don't care about the royal wedding, I shared my reasons for not caring. I still don't care but who am I to lose an opportunity for blog material? Like them, I felt compelled to offer my unsolicited opinion.

But then I realized the naysayers might actually be on to something.

Like them, I find writing about my feelings to be cathartic. There's nothing as satisfying as getting your viewpoint out there. Some try to do it with a touch of humor and some do it out of anger. It's healthy to get those feelings out, and wonderfully safe to do when hiding behind a pseudonym.

In the face of good news they swim against the current. And it takes guts to do this. The naysayers march to their own drummer until they find a band to join them. Railing against the positive they let their true feelings be known. And good for them! A difference of opinion is what makes the world go round. Even if it brings other people down. Weddings and Baby showers must be fun for them.

They may not care about the royal wedding but instead of turning the dial, they justify why they won't. Continuing to watch, read and comment on something that irritates them. They're obviously not quitters and stand by their principles. Even so, despite claims to the contrary,  they too will be watching the wedding. Because even if there are more important things to focus on there is no escaping the coverage. And why should they run and hide? It's good to know what's going on in the world. How else will they make informed comments about why they don't like Kate's wedding dress?

The naysayers live their truth. If anyone deserves a medal, it's them.

© Marilyn Braun 2011

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Royal Review: Royal Wedding Apps

If you're like me, you're counting down the days until the royal wedding either with anticipation to see Kate's dress or because you're tired of hearing about all of it.

Way back in the good old days you could use a calendar, crossing off the days until the big event. Or if you have a prodigious memory, you could mentally calculate how many days were left until the wedding. Unlike previous royal events, now you no longer have to cross it off or make a mental note, you can track it electronically via various countdown timers on websites. But even that can be inconvienient, having to search for the site and waiting for it to load. Which is why there are royal wedding apps you can download.

Not counting the apps for the movie Royal Wedding, on iTunes there are 13 apps dedicated to counting down William and Kate's nuptials. Some of them are very useful, some are cute and some really do nothing other than countdown. My personal preference is for apps that do more than just show numbers, otherwise it's boring. I want to learn something new to patriotic music. You may be different, in which case the simpler apps might do the trick. Note that most of the apps I'm reviewing are the free ones that are available on iTunes. I've already purchased the one I think is the most useful. Decide for yourself with the following apps

Wee Mee Royal Wedding App

Open the app and you will see a cute cartoon image of William - with a realistic hairline- and Kate - holding a clock (why does she do all of the heavy lifting?), this app counts down the days, hours, minutes, seconds and sleeps to the big day. If you really want to get detailed, it will show you the time left just in seconds! While the app runs it plays a jazzy, lounge lizard sounding wedding march, occasionally bursting into wild applause. Unfortunately you can't shut this music off so choose where you open the app otherwise you may annoy the people around you. This app has a feature that lets you tell your friends via Tweet, Email and Facebook status, just how long it is until the royal wedding. And that's about it. It's cute. If you want the basics then this is the one to go with.

Neon Play Royal Wedding app

Start up the app and you see a picture of the happy couple at their engagement photo-call. This app has majestic music which you can, thankfully, turn off. Unlike the Wee Mee app it doesn't have a countdown timer. But if you want to read a biography of William or have Kate's family tree at your fingertips, then this is the app for you.  There are sections on the wedding dress - with photos of Bruce Oldfield, information on where William proposed, the wedding venue, their potential titles, and miscellaneous facts - did you know that William and Kate will share a wedding anniversary with Adolf Hitler?

Royal Wedding Countdown Lite

Out of all of the apps listed here, I would say that this is the worst one in terms of aesthetics. While it does countdown and offer quotes, the font is so difficult to read on the white background that  it isn't very useful. I have the free version, but you can upgrade for $0.99. Can't imagine it getting any better.

Royal Wedding Pa?rs - Press Association

Tired of looking at bad fonts and facts you've read over and over? Want to have some fun? Why not download this game instead. Royal Wedding Pa?rs is just like the game Concentration, with royal wedding photos. Match up the photos before the timer runs out and you can put your name on the high score list. You can select the level of difficulty, from very easy to hard. With each matched photo a camera shutter sound effect plays, which can get very annoying. Luckily you can turn this off. Doesn't offer a countdown timer but a fun diversion.

Hello! Magazine Royal Wedding

Jumping on the bandwagon in style, is Hello! with their own royal wedding app. Like the game and the Neon Play app, it does not have a countdown timer either. Instead you can scroll through the sections on the ring, personal photos of the couple growing up, a section for gifts, information on past royal weddings, it's like having a portable issue of Hello! At first it looks as though the app is comprised solely of photos until you double click on the images and a fact related to the photo shows up. This isn't particularly intuitive, which is the only criticism I have about the app. It is only available as a free app for a limited time go grab it while you can.

Alarm Royale

I must say that I'm rather biased when it comes to this app. It's the first one I found out about and the only one I paid for. And it is well worth the $0.99. Not only does this app offer facts, it also works as an alarm clock, though you need to keep the app running in order for it to work. You can wake up to a variety of sounds - God Save The Queen, Land of Hope and Glory, Jerusalem, Rule Britannia, Church Bells and the Wedding March. Unless you have your itouch on a docking station with speakers the music isn't very loud. When the alarm goes off, a fanfare plays as the red curtain background parts, revealing a Union Jack and the days left until the wedding. For wallpaper you have your choice of backgrounds - Royal Crest, Couple at Home and Couple at Palace. The app offers a variety of facts, which you can change by shaking your itouch. Out of all of these apps, Alarm Royale is the best one. My only complaint is that after the wedding I won't be able to use it.

All of these apps are available through iTunes. If you download any of them, let me know which one is your favorite!

© Marilyn Braun 2011

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Why you should be afraid of Kate Middleton

Long. Sleek. Hidden in a secret location and ready to be deployed at a moments notice. Kate Middleton has now become the most dangerous woman in Europe.

The groundwork was laid with Clarence House releasing some of Kate's childhood photos. Step one in their deliberate, calculated plan for global British domination. I can just imagine the meeting when the decision was made.

Lackey #1: You know that Fergie will strike again, right?
Lackey #2: Don't worry about her, have you seen the headlines about Andrew?
Lackey #1: Right, what do we do now?
Lackey #2: We must think of something...but what?
Lackey #3: Could we send Kate out? Maybe she could visit an old age home wearing a new outfit?
Lackey #2: That was Diana's thing. No, we must think of something else...but what?
Lackey #1: How about releasing some 'rare and unseen photographs?'
Lackey #3: Brilliant plan!

Who can resist adorable photos? Climbing that hill, she displayed tenacity even then. But the tabloids had photos of their own - Andrew with a 17 year old prostitute. What to do? How about sending William and Kate on a surprise visit to Northern Ireland to flip pancakes? First rare photos and now pancakes. Mmmmmmm...pancakes...

Andrew who?

The possibilities for utilizing Kate are endless. Philip says something politically-incorrect? Cut an inch off Kate's hair. Camilla will be queen? Have her wear those black boots again. Charles makes a speech? Have Bruce Oldfield discuss Kate's wedding shoes. Everyone is in on it.

Pay attention to the headlines. At the next scandal she might be coming to a town near you. With no warning because of security reasons. If I were you I would take photos and run for cover.

Now is the time to be afraid. Very afraid.

© Marilyn Braun 2011

Monday, March 07, 2011

7 Reasons why I don't care about the people who don't care about the royal wedding

According to the statistics in this article, apparently I'm one of the few people who care about the upcoming royal wedding. There might be others like me, but unlike the author of that article, it would be wrong for me to assume or speak for them. They're obviously hiding somewhere, drowned out by the sea of people who don't care and write articles letting everyone know it.

Could they be just as tired as I am with those articles? Alas no one polls them on this subject do they? If only their voices could be heard. I can only speak for myself, so I've decided to write a list of my own, compiling the 7 reasons why I don't care about people who don't care about the royal wedding.

7. You're a bunch of party-poopers

Yes, it's true. Royal weddings, as we've seen from umpteenth articles on the subject, don't happen very often. When happy news comes around, why not take a moment to be happy for the couple. Sheesh, do you do this with weddings of your friends and family?

6. Though dost protest too much

If you seriously do not care about the royal wedding then why are you writing about it? Taking the time to write about why you and everyone else should not care about these people. Why are you taking the time to make comments? Why did you bother reading the article? Therefore, on some level you must care. Not that I care.

5. There are more important things going on, such as [Insert major tragedy/epidemic/global crisis here]

Yes the world is a big place. Major issues: health care, starving children, Charlie Sheen's next hash tag. We seem to be addicted to bad news. Heaven forbid we actually celebrate some good news for once! But no, too many more important things to think about, right? If this is about priorities then put your money where your mouth is. For instance, did you know that for the cost of that new shiny car/TV/house, you could feed/clothe/buy medical supplies in [insert country here]...

4. I don't care therefore you shouldn't either

Oh yes there are polls that indicate that people don't care. People who took the time to answer questions on an event that they don't care about. Just so that we could know that there are people who do not care in the world. Who knew there were people who don't care about the royal wedding? So? Does this mean I shouldn't care?

3. Turn the dial

Believe it or not there is a button on your TV, computer, radio that allows you to turn it off. If you can't reach it then get someone to do it for you. Turn the dial, even if only for one day. On April 29th why not go and get some fresh air? Visit friends who care as little as you do. Whatever you choose to do, the day is yours. Just stop telling us why you will not be watching or paying attention to the royal wedding.

2. The monarchy is not relevant in 21st century society

Maybe so but what does that have to do with the royal wedding? Yes, they have titles and appear on stamps. Their titles are not important in the grand scheme of things. Especially when there are people like Charlie Sheen to listen to. And not only do the royals have titles they also have to listen to people like you complain about them. I don't know who to feel more sorry for, I really don't.

1. You can't be happy therefore Kate shouldn't be either

You can't afford a fairytale wedding of your own, you're not rich, you will never have a golden page in the history books. You've read about Diana and Fergie and they weren't happy either, proof that the odds are against William and Kate. Do you feel better now?

So many reasons I don't care about your reasons for not caring. Now if you'll excuse me I'm going to turn the dial.

© Marilyn Braun 2011

Sunday, March 06, 2011

The Royal Report for Sunday March 6, 2011 - The royals and the movies

Does Princess Anne need to have work done? What does Prince William have in common with Sarah Ferguson? Which actress was nominated twice for the same role? What movie does Princess Beatrice have a cameo in?

Find out on this episode:

The Royals & the movies

Publications mentioned

Hello! Canada Weekly No 208 7 March 2011

From My Royal Collection

Life: Remembering Grace (Great Photographers Series)

Resources used to research this episode

Epinions: The 10 Best Royalty Movies

Only Good Movies Blog - Good movie featuring Royals

Unofficial Royalty Pages: British Kings and Queen's - A Royal Filmography

Movie Maniacs - Royals Behaving Badly

The Royal  Forums: Royalty (Fictional & Real) in Fictional Movies

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

The topic will be: The Royal Wedding Report - March edition

© Marilyn Braun 2011

Friday, March 04, 2011

Big deal, so Prince William is marrying a commoner

Since the engagement was announced, one thing that people cannot seem to let go of is the fact that Prince William is marrying Kate Middleton, a commoner.

*Gasp and sharp intake of breath*

Yes, it's true, he is indeed marrying someone who is not royal. Though genealogists have managed to find some obscure link between the couple (how do genealogists do it?) According to an article in the Daily Mail, William and Kate are 12th cousins once removed. Proof that you cannot stop inbreeding in the royal family no matter how hard you try.

However, they may be distantly related that still does not change the fact that Kate is a commoner. Many ages ago, in a less enlightened time, William would have been expected to marry someone of royal blood. Even if she happened to be a first cousin.

 *Gasp and sharp intake of breath*

Yes, too close for comfort, right? But they were supposed to keep it in the royal family. Not dilute the blood royal. And there were lots of cousins to choose from - they were like bedbugs. William would have expected to marry a cousin named Victoria (almost all of them were named Victoria or had it amongst their given names) and the matter would have been settled regardless of whether he was happy or not.

Despite the big deal being made about Kate's commoner status, William is not doing anything unique by marrying one. Forget alliances, forget diluting the blood, If they're good enough for the Crown Princess of  Sweden and the Crown Princes of Denmark, Norway, and the Netherlands, then choosing a commoner of his own is following a new tradition in royal marriages. That of choosing to marry someone they love and are compatible with regardless of status.

© Marilyn Braun 2011

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

The Royal Report for Tuesday March 1, 2011 - Royal Focus: Windsor Castle

How many royal wedding apps do you need to track the big day? Should we tweet about Kate Middleton's hips? Will Kate take Camilla's advice? How much did William the Conqueror pay to rent the site of Windsor Castle? When did Windsor Castle become a royal residence?
Find out by listening to this episode

Royal Focus: Windsor Castle

Publications discussed

Hello! Canada Weekly No 207 28 February 2011

Royal Wedding Apps

WeeMee Royal Wedding Countdown timer

Exhibition mentioned

Prince Philip - Celebrating ninety years

From My Royal Collection

Charles, Prince of Wales: A Birthday Souvenir Album (Royal Collection)

Resources used to research this episode:

The Royal Encyclopaedia

Royal Palaces of Europe by Hugh Montgomery-Massingberd

Official Site of the British Monarchy - Windsor Castle

Tune in to the next episode of The Royal Report on Sunday March 6, 2011 at 9:00PM EST (North America)

The topic will be: The Royals and the movies

© Marilyn Braun 2011

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Prince William: What will he wear on his wedding day?

Forget what Kate Middleton will wear on her wedding day, there are more important things to think about, like what will Prince William wear? Unlike Kate, whose dress and designer are shrouded in mystery, Prince William has several options to choose from. The royal grooms attire tends to get a cursory mention in royal books but that doesn't mean William shouldn't make the effort. He could wear a morning suit but in keeping with royal tradition, he's more likely to wear one of his military uniform. But which one? His military career began at Sandhurst Military Academy and he has served in all of the armed forces which he will one day be head of. Let's take a look!

Prince William at RAF Cranwell
Image via The British Monarchy Flickr
This is William in his air force uniform. Looks dapper, no? I would say that this uniform looks a bit too casual for the grand occasion, though when accessorized with the Garter star and riband, it looks more formal. If William chooses to wear his Air Force uniform he would not be the first royal bridegroom to do so. His great-grandfather, Prince Albert, Duke of York (future King George VI) wore  the dress uniform of the Royal Air force with the Garter Riband and Star and the Star of the Order of the Thistle, bestowed on him by the King in honor of his Scottish bride. Prince William is the fourth successive generation of the royal family to become an RAF pilot. His great-grandfather, Prince Albert was the first member of the royal family to serve in the RAF in 1918-1919.

Like Prince George Duke of Kent, his grandfather, Prince Philip, his uncle Prince Andrew and his father, William could choose to wear his naval uniform. On his wedding day Prince Charles wore the full-dress uniform as Naval Commander cut to the instructions of his late great-uncle Earl Mountbatten.

Prince William could also choose to wear his formal Household Calvary Uniform. There is a precedent for royal bridegrooms wearing army uniforms to their weddings. In 1840, Prince Albert wore the uniform of a British field marshal. 1863, Prince Albert Edward, Prince of Wales (the future King Edward VII) wore the uniform of an army general. Henry, Viscount Lascelles, future 6th Earl of Harewood, wore the Grenadier Guards uniform at his 1923 wedding to Princess Mary. In 1935, Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester wore the full dress uniform of the Colonel of the Welsh Guards. Captain Mark Philips, upon his marriage to Princess Anne, wore the full scarlet and blue uniform of his regiment, the Queen's Dragoon Guards.  Prince William was recently appointed Colonel of the Irish Guards and could choose to wear the red uniform, but this runs the risk of overshadowing the bride (yeah, right!)

Which one do you think he should wear?

© Marilyn Braun 2011