Saturday, April 30, 2011

A modern dream dress

Elizabeth Emanuel, who designed Princess Diana's wedding dress, praises Catherine Middleton's dress:


Friday, April 29, 2011

Kate Middleton's wedding dress

Catherine Middleton's much-anticipated wedding dress was designed by Sarah Burton, creative director for Alexander McQueen. According to the official royal wedding website, "Miss Middleton worked closely with Sarah Burton in formulating the design of her dress."

The dress, made of ivory and white satin gazar, features English lace and French Chantilly lace throughout the bodice and skirt. The bride also wore a veil of ivory silk tulle held in place by a Cartier "halo" tiara borrowed from the Queen.

All of these details came from the official wedding site. Go here to learn more about Kate Middleton's attire, jewelry, and bouquet, as well as the bridesmaids' dresses and page uniforms.

Catherine Middleton

Photo © Press Association. Photo source: The British Monarchy

Text © World of Royalty

Don't miss the wedding!

Want to watch today's royal wedding on your computer? Well, you're in luck, because it will be streamed live on the British monarchy's official YouTube channel.

Marilyn's in London right now, but she'll probably be tweeting during the royal wedding. You can follow her on Twitter at marilynsrylblog.

You can also follow me, your friendly blog babysitter, at worldofroyalty. Happy wedding watching!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

William and Kate, wait for me!

The official Royal Wedding Commemorative China After careful consideration of every ones comments (thank you) on my indecisive post about going to London, I have decided to cross the pond and celebrate the royal wedding with William and Kate. Just in case you're wondering. No, I don't have a ticket to their wedding.

It's a crazy thing to do but it's also a once in a lifetime opportunity to see the royal family doing what they do best - riding on horses and keeping things shiny. Royal weddings do not happen all the time and I don't expect to see a wedding of this scale anytime soon.

I also think that one day, this episode will make a good chapter in my as yet unwritten memoir. Not to mention a pivotal scene in the movie-of-the-week of my life starring the lovely Julia Emma Roberts.

While I'm away in London, probably getting lost on the tube as we speak, the lovely Cinderella from the World of Royalty website, World of Royalty Blog, Royal News Blog and a fabulous contributor to The Kate Middleton Report, will be updating this site and the Kate blog with information from the wedding day.

I shall also attempt to tweet live during the royal wedding and you can follow my royal wedding updates on Twitter at marilynsrylblog

© 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, April 24, 2011

The Royal Report for Sunday April 24, 2011 - Can the Royal Wedding set the course for the monarchy?

Prince William & Kate Middleton's wedding day on April 29th is touted to be one of televisions most historic moments. With an increasing cynicism towards the British Royal Family, can this wedding set the course for the monarchy?

Also on this episode: a surprise announcement from me, just how far will people go to escape the royal wedding coverage? Could Kate already be pregnant? Can this wedding cure cavities?

Find out by listening to this episode: Can the royal wedding set the course for the monarchy?

Publications mentioned

Hello! Canada Weekly No 215 25 April 2011

Star Magazine - April 25, 2011 Cover story: Pregnant Bride - A Baby for William and Kate

The Faster Times

From My Royal Collection

The Royal Book of Lists: An Irreverent Romp through British Royal History

Note: There will be no episode of The Royal Report for Sunday May 1st.

Tune in to the next episode of The Royal Report on Sunday May 8, 2011 at 9:00PM ET (North America)

The topic will be: Royal Wedding Recap

© 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, April 20, 2011

Royal Focus: Kate Middleton's Coat of Arms

Image source:
Wikipedia
Another item crossed off Kate's to-do list!

Kate Middleton's Coat of Arms have recently been unveiled. Commissioned by her father, Michael Middleton, these arms reflect the Middleton family history and preferences.

This version of the arms hangs from a tied blue ribbon, symbolizing Kate's current unmarried state and can only be used by Kate, up to her wedding day, and her sister Pippa Middleton.

The arms are lozenge shaped rather than a shield - a shape reserved for men. The design features three acorn sprigs, representing each of the Middleton children - Catherine, Phillipa and James. A touch reportedly suggested by Kate. The acorns also symbolize oak trees, a traditional symbol of England and a feature of west Berkshire, where the family have lived for 30 years.

The colours blue and red were chosen as they are the principle colours from the flag of the United Kingdom.The dividing line (between two colours) down the centre is a canting of the name 'Middle-ton'. At the centre is a gold inverted "V" reflecting Kate's mother Carole's maiden name Goldsmith.

The two thin white chevrons on each side of the band are meant to symbolize peaks and mountains, representing the Middleton's love of the Lake District and skiing.

The arms will appear on the back of the souvenir wedding program, with those of Prince William on the front. After their marriage, Kate's arms will be impaled with those of her husband.

© 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, April 19, 2011

Royal Focus: The Goring Hotel

In a royal twist, St James's Palace announced that Kate Middleton would depart for her wedding, not from one of the royal palaces, like most royal brides, but from the Goring Hotel, in Belgravia, near Buckingham Palace.

Many people might wonder why Kate chose this hotel over one of the royal palaces to mark her last night as a commoner. But looking at the rooms it makes sense. Rumored to be staying in the 5-room Royal Suite, we can easily imagine close-knit Carole and Pippa Middleton preparing Kate for her wedding day. Helping her into her into her wedding gown, calming her nerves, in such an intmate and luxurious setting. And if reports are correct, the entire hotel has been booked to ensure the Middleton family privacy on such an important occasion.

The Goring is a luxury 5-star hotel run by the same family for 100 years. Founded by Otto Richard Goring, it was the last hotel built in the reign of King Edward VII. Opened on March 2,1910, it was the first hotel in the world to have ensuite bathrooms and central heating. Such was the novelty of this feature, that during a 1937 visit by the Norwegian Crown Prince, he stated‘ at Buckingham Palace I have to share a bath with five people! Here I have one to myself’

Guest room
Throughout its long history, the Goring has hosted many famous guests, including Grand Duchess Xenia of Russia, Princess Eugenie of Greece, the royal family of Nepal, Queen Elizabeth II, Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York and several prominent politicians. In 1930, novelist Anthony Powell was inspired to invent his heroine The Hon. Angela Goring, for his series of novels 'A Dance to the Music of Time' over tea at the hotel.

The connection with the royal family is strong. Queen Mary frequently came for tea with her Lady in Waiting, The Hon. Violet d'Arcy, who lived at the hotel. The King and Queen and their daughters celebrated the end of the Second World War with sausages and scrambled eggs at the Goring, while Prince Charles's 1948 christening cake was made by the pastry chefs. It was Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother's favorite hotel, and she made her last public appearance there in 2002.

The Gardens
Featuring Edwardian architecture, the hotel has 71-rooms and in the last 5 years has undergone a £10 million refurbishment. In 1910 the cost of a room was 37P. In 2010, the cost of a 'Splendid Connecting Silk Room is £1,525.00. The Goring has won numerous awards, including Pride of Britain Hotel of the Year in 2009, Hotel of the Year by Virtuoso and Virtuoso Life magazine  in 2010, and Best Service in the UK by readers of Conde Nast Traveler magazine.
© 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, April 18, 2011

UK or Bust? To go or not to go

I've never been one of those people who is very good at making up my own mind, especially when it comes to things that are outside of my comfort zone. I'm more of a jump now, think later type of person. Which is not necessarily a bad thing except for having to live with the consequences of those impulse choices.

Since the royal engagement I have had several people asking me if I'm going to London to watch the wedding. I've always answered no. Not necessarily because it's a bad idea, it just seems like an unrealistic thing to do. Even my husband has asked me if I'm going to London, and again I've always answered no.

My plan was to wake up at an ungodly hour, make a pot of coffee and sit on the couch watching every moment, while blogging and tweeting about it. I'd thought of doing a live royal report but then I realized no one is likely to be listening to me and I didn't really want the distraction.

Despite these plans, something shifted inside of me recently. The other day I was interviewed by a journalist about people who go to the UK for the wedding. The reporter wanted my view on why people go and what kind of people go. I answered that it's the ultimate place to celebrate the royal wedding. The type of people who go might be royalists, young or old, who would like to be part of a historic event - even if it means watching it over people's heads in a crowd of thousands.

As I answered I started to realize that I wanted to be one of those people too! This thought occurring to me TWO weeks before the wedding. I wanted to go to London to join in the festivities. Crazy idea? Some would say, but I had the support of my husband and that's really what counts. Once the practicalities are dealt with, there is little to stop me from going. There is nothing standing in my way.

Other than myself.

I looked at flight and hotel options and found they were, surprisingly, reasonably priced. I've only been to London once and that was only for 3 days. I don't know anyone there. It would just be me and several thousand strangers celebrating one of the biggest television events in history. I've read of other people going, with a mixture of envy and puzzlement. Why would you want to go? You won't see anything? It's too crowded. Now I wondered these same things about myself.

I've only encountered this situation once before. I was invited to a book launch party by Jerramy Fine, author of the book Someday My Prince Will Come. However, the party was in New York City. I wasn't planning on going. I tried to think of several reasons not to go - I would need to fly there, I'd never travelled by myself before, it just seemed too extravagant a thing to do. I didn't know anyone there. I'd never even met Jerramy before nor had I read her book. Then my sense of adventure took over. Why not do it? I'd always wanted to go to New York City. I was there for all of two days and despite getting lost on the subway on more than one occasion, I had a great time. Would I do it again? You bet!

This situation is a different story. It's a longer trip, much more expensive, and maybe the reasons are not as easy to justify. It doesn't stop me from wanting to go, it just makes me wonder whether I should. I don't have a lot of time to make up my mind. I try and make a mental pro and con list without coming to any real conclusion. It's a once in a lifetime trip. I wouldn't normally do something like this. So this post, is a way of debating the pros and cons out in the open. OK, and maybe getting some objective feedback too!

Or maybe I just need to get out of my own way...

UPDATE: I will be going to London to celebrate the royal wedding! Thank you for all of your encouraging words! :)

© 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, April 16, 2011

The Royal Wedding Report for Sunday April 17, 2011

There is less than two weeks to go until Prince William and Kate Middleton's wedding on April 29th. On this episode of The Royal Wedding Report, a recap of the details surrounding this historic event.

Also: Which couple look so deliriously happy that their heads will explode? Why did Prince William bring his granny to work? Who is the latest person touted as the wedding dress? Where is Kate spending her wedding night?

Find out on this episode:

The Royal Wedding Report - April edition

Publications mentioned

Hello! Canada Weekly No 214 18 April 2011

From My Royal Collection

Royal Weddings (Shire Library)

Links Discussed (Note: All Links open in a new window)

Handbag.com - Royal Wedding 2011

Ceremonial Timings for the Royal Wedding

George Michael - You and I - Royal Wedding Song

The Prince William and Miss Catherine Middleton Charitable Gift Fund

Tune in to the next episode of The Royal Report on Sunday April 24, 2011 at 9:00PM ET.

The topic will be: Can Prince William, Catherine Middleton and their royal wedding save the monarchy?

© 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, April 14, 2011

Go ahead, jump on the royal bandwagon

Amidst all of the joy surrounding the royal wedding, there is the darker side that rears its head.

This ugly side takes many forms. Tacky products, royal wedding apps, contests, special beverages, and songs called 'William and Kate' written by people we've never heard of. Then there are the celebrities who want to wish the couple well, offering their unsolicited services and opinions.

After the announcement, the royal wedding product emails started as a trickle and have now turned into a flood as PR companies try their best take advantage of the royal wedding while they still can. Connecting anything and everything to it, regardless of whether it makes sense.

When you have a tasteless product, why not add the words 'Royal Wedding' to it? It's always worth a shot, right? As if doing so magically puts it in the same league as the official, tasteful items. Adding the word 'charity' plus 'Royal Wedding' to your car scrapping initiative - and you have an original and bizarre combination. Why, if you're lucky Kate might become patron of it!

Then there are the celebrities. Musicians who claim to be involved - like James Blunt. Dolly Parton offering to sing her hit song 'I will always love you' at the wedding. George Michael desperately trying to rehabilitate his image by recording a song for William and Kate. B-list celebrities like Jerry Seinfeld who complain about the royal wedding, or starlets like Emma Watson who 'sympathize' with Kate.  Designers who deny they're making the wedding dress - as if they had a shot in the first place. Unsolicited confirmations from hair salons claiming Kate as a client. Yes, business is good.

Enjoy the ride while it lasts. Come midnight on April 29th, your product, service or career will go back to exactly what it was before. Junk waiting for the next royal bandwagon to salvage it.

© 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, April 11, 2011

Royal Review: Knit Your Own Royal Wedding by Fiona Goble

Like other royal wedding souvenirs commemorating William and Kate's big day, Knit Your Own Royal Wedding could be filed under 'what will they think of next?'

However, unlike those other items this book has a certain charm to it. A genuine desire to celebrate the event in an original and creative way. Besides, why go out and buy a souvenir when you can make your own?

William & Kate
I know next to nothing about knitting but the instructions, with easy to follow diagrams, are encouraging enough to try. No special equipment is required and if you are an experienced knitter you will likely be ready to start these dolls upon receipt of the book. There are directions for knitting The Queen, Prince Philip, Prince Charles, Camilla, Prince Harry, Prince William and Catherine Middleton. Then there's the corgis, the Archbishop of Canterbury and some royal footmen. Why stop there when you can knit your own congregation, complete with stylish outfits? To top it off, Knit Your Own Royal Wedding comes with a fold-out balcony for you to reenact the special day in your own home. Something to delight young and old alike.

For knitters, this book will be right up their alley. For royal watchers looking for unique items to mark the royal wedding, then this book makes a nice, charming addition to their collection.

© 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, April 09, 2011

The Royal Report for Sunday April 10, 2011 - Royal Wedding Traditions

British Royal Weddings are steeped in tradition, some going back to Queen Victoria's time. One such tradition is the bride arriving at her wedding by the Glass Coach. Bride-to-be Kate Middleton has decided to arrive by car instead. How many more royal traditions are there for her to break?  Find out on this episode.

The Royal Report - Royal Wedding Traditions

Publications discussed

Hello! Canada Weekly No 213 11 April 2011

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

From My Royal Collection

Royal Weddings - A Very Peculiar History(Cherished Library)

Tune in to the next episode of The Royal Report on Sunday April 17, 2011 at 9:00PM EST (North America)

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

© 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, April 07, 2011

Royal wedding bridesmaids and supporters

Prince William and Catherine Middleton's choice of attendants for their wedding day continue a long tradition of including royal relatives in their wedding party. Prince William has chosen his brother, Prince Harry, as his best-man (or supporter) and Catherine has chosen her sister Pippa as her Maid of honor.

Here's a look back at some royal wedding parties from the past.

Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, Buckingham Palace
Queen Victoria & Prince Albert
British Monarchy Flickr
Queen Victoria & Prince Albert - February 10, 1840

Supporters: Prince Albert's father, the Duke of Saxe Coburg Gotha and his brother, Prince Ernest, The Hereditary Prince

12 train bearers - all daughters of peers of the realm



Prince & Princess of Wales
Source: Wikipedia
Albert Edward, Prince of Wales & Princess Alexandra of Denmark - March 10, 1863

Supporters: His brother-in-law, Crown Prince of Prussia and his uncle Ernest, Duke of Coburg

Bridesmaids: Eight unmarried daughters of earls and countesses

Prince George, Duke of York, and Princess May of Teck July 6, 1893

Supporters: The Groom's father, The Prince of Wales and his uncle, Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh.

Bridesmaids: Nine granddaughters and one great-granddaughter of Queen Victoria:

Princess Alexandra of Edinburgh, Princess Helena Victoria of Schleswig-Holstein, Princess Victoria Melita of Edinburgh, Princess Victoria and Princess Maud of Wales. Princess Alice of Battenberg, Princess Margaret of Connaught, Princess Beatrice of Edinburgh, Princess Victoria Eugenie of Battenberg and Princess Patricia of Connaught

Princess Mary
Source: Wikipedia
Princess Mary & Viscount Lascelles - February 28, 1922

Eight bridesmaids, including Lady Elizabeth Bowes Lyon

Prince Albert, Duke of York & Lady Elizabeth Bowes Lyon - April 26, 1923

Supporter/Best man: The Prince of Wales

Lady Mary Cambridge, Lady May Cambridge, the Hon. Diamond Hardinge, Lady Mary Thynne, Lady Katherine Hamilton, Miss Elizabeth Cator, the Hon. Elizabeth  Elphinstone and the Hon. Cecilia Bowes Lyon



Princess Marina
Source: Wikipedia
Prince George, Duke of Kent and Princess Marina of Greece and Denmark November 29, 1934

Best man: The Prince of Wales

Eight bridesmaids: Princess Elizabeth of York, Princesses Irene, Eugenie and Katherine of Greece, Princess Juliana (later Queen) of the Netherlands, the Grand Duchess Kira of Russia, Lady Mary Cambridge and Lady Iris Mountbatten

Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester & Lady Alice Montagu Douglas Scott November 6, 1935

Best men/Supporters: The Prince of Wales and The Duke of York

Eight bridesmaids: Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret. Lady Mary Cambridge, Miss Anne Hawkins, Miss Claire Phipps, Lady Elizabeth Scott, Lady Angela Scott and Miss Moyra Scott.

Princess Elizabeth & Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten - November 20, 1947

Supporter/Best man - Prince Philip's first cousin, the third Marquess of Milford Haven

Eight bridesmaids: HRH Princess Margaret, HRH Princess Alexandra of Kent, Lady Caroline Montagu-Douglas-Scott, Lady Mary Cambridge, Lady Elizabeth Lambart, The Hon. Pamela Mountbatten, The Hon Margaret Elphinstone, The Hon Diana Bowes-Lyon

Pages: Prince William of Gloucester and Prince Michael of Kent

Princess Margaret & Antony Armstrong Jones - May 6, 1960

Best man/Supporter: Dr. Roger W. Gilliatt. Originally Jeremy Fry but he was caught in a scandal. In 1952 he had been arrested in Hyde Park, and fined £2 after pleading "guilty to a minor offense."

Eight child bridesmaids, including Princess Anne


Princess Alexandra and her new husband, The Hon. Angus Ogilvy on their wedding day in 1963
Princess Alexandra & Angus Ogilvy
Source: British Monarchy - Flickr
Princess Alexandra & Angus Ogilvy - April 24, 1963

Supporter/Best man: Hon Peregrine Fairfax

2 pages and 5 Bridesmaids, including Elizabeth, Archduchess of Austria and Princess Anne

Princess Anne & Captain Mark Philips November 14, 1973

Supporter/Best man - Captain Eric Grounds

Bridesmaid: Lady Sarah Armstrong Jones. Page: Prince Edward. Princess Anne deliberately chose to have only two attendants because of her previous experience as a bridesmaid wrangling 'unruly children.'

Prince Charles & Lady Diana Spencer July 29, 1981

Supporters/Best men: Prince Andrew and Prince Edward

Bridesmaids: Lady Sarah Armstrong Jones, Catherine Cameron, India Hicks, Clementine Hambro, Sarah Jane Gaselee

Pages: Lord Nicholas Windsor & Edward van Cutsem

Prince Andrew & Sarah Ferguson - July 23, 1986

Supporter/Best man - Prince Edward

Bridesmaids - Lady Rosanagh Innes-Ker, Miss Laura Fellowes, Miss Zara Philips, Miss Alice Ferguson

Pages: Prince William, Peter Phillips, Andrew Ferguson, Seamus Makim

Prince Edward & Sophie Rhys Jones - June 19, 1999

Supporters/Best man: The Prince of Wales & The Duke of York

Bridesmaids: Camilla Hadden and Olivia Taylor

Pageboys: Harry Warburton and Felix Sowerbutts

Prince William & Catherine Middleton - April 29, 2011

Best man: Prince Harry
Maid of Honor: Pippa Middleton

Bridesmaids: The Lady Louise Windsor, The Hon. Margarita Armstrong-Jones, Miss Grace van Cutsem, Miss Eliza Lopes,

Pageboys: Master William (Billy) Lowther-Pinkerton, Master Tom Pettifer



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, April 06, 2011

7 reasons why the royal wedding WILL happen, or else..

I recently had someone find my blog using the search term 'reasons why the royal wedding should not happen'. Given that there are only a few weeks until the wedding, this a strange thing to search for. Not that it isn't possible the royal wedding could be cancelled but I think it's unlikely. To reassure those who might be worried, I've decided to counter this question with 7 reasons why the royal wedding WILL happen.

1) The tea towels have been prepared, along with other tacky souvenirs

Flashback 1981: Andrew Morton's book, Diana a True Story, page 64. Diana recalls that during lunch with her sisters she discussed backing out and they replied 'Bad luck Duch' (family nickname), 'Your face is on the tea-towels so you're too late to chicken out now.'  30 years later those words still ring true.

2) We are expecting it happen, therefore it MUST happen

Think of the chaos that would ensue should William, or Kate decide - 'nah, not for me' and bail. CNN would have to pull the 400 reporters and crew they have sent to the wedding. Twitter and royal message boards would fire up, eviscerating those responsible. The UFOs would have to find intelligent life elsewhere. The universe would cave in on itself....

3) The Republican movement needs this wedding

Believe it or not, the republican movement likes the royal wedding. Why? Because it illustrates the excess that the royal family is famous for. With no royal wedding they have no bandwagon to jump on. Then what would they do with their royal wedding mugs?

4) The Royal Family does not need more bad publicity

It's true. They may not even survive the fallout from it. This could be the biggest crisis the royal family has ever had to deal with. Abdication crisis? Big deal. Camillagate - who cares? Diana's death - minor roadblock. It must go ahead, if only to save face.

5) What would royal bloggers and royal watchers (Read: ME) discuss?

Royal blogs do not update themselves, they need material. Without material there is nothing to write about. Once I've we've milked this topic from every conceivable angle for six months, what else would there be to discuss? If there is no wedding then I we cannot predict when the royal divorce will occur. All of the potential topics will be gone. I would We'd have to wait for someone to die in order to recover from the ordeal..

6) Prince William and Kate Middleton would never live it down

There's nothing like dumping your intended at the altar to destroy your reputation. Makes for passably good Rom-Coms, but in reality it's a different story. If Prince William ditches Kate then Prince Harry might just have to step up to the plate. His face is already on the souvenir mug. Instead of seeing this as a mistake, it could be remarkably prescient.

7) We deserve a happy ending

We have waited a long time for this wedding. Endured mystified looks from our friends. Bought overpriced, official commemorative items (See #1). We've followed the torturous ups, downs and tabloid invented close-calls. Our dedication to paying attention to gossipy news stories must be rewarded, damnit!

© 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, April 05, 2011

Royal Review: Invitation to a Royal Wedding by Ian Lloyd

There are three things that are worth noting about Invitation to the Royal Wedding

1) It is a beautiful looking book

2) It is well researched

3) It has no royal wedding pictures of Prince William and Catherine Middleton


 
Invitation to a Royal Wedding
from 1981, 1986, 1999
There have been other books titled Invitation to a Royal Wedding. For Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer, Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson and Prince Edward and Sophie Rhys Jones. All of them include photos of those weddings,  biographical information about the couple and the story of their relationship. So this particular book stands out in that respect. It would be far more accurate to title this Invitation to a Royal Engagement. Debrett's released books with this very title to mark the engagements of Charles and Diana and Andrew and Sarah. Why not for William and Kate? As well, considering that the most recent photo is of Kate from January 2011, would it not have made more sense to wait a few months with a version that includes the wedding day?

Each chapter covers the chronology of their relationship. When it comes to Prince William's background it would be easy to focus on his mother's death as the most important event of his life between his birth and engagement. To psychoanalyze the impact of Diana on his future role as husband and king. Refreshingly, this book doesn't do that, nor does it make the Middleton's out to be social climbers, like other publications continue to do.

Overall I think that this book is about as close to a perfect account of their relationship as you can get. It is factual, error-free and there is no sensationalism. It contains nice photos and it even resembles an actual wedding album. The overall impression is of elegance, something rare when it comes to books about William and Kate.

© Marilyn Braun 2011

Monday, April 04, 2011

One persons junk is another person's royal treasure


Diana, Princess of Wales
Ashton Drake Porcelain Doll
I volunteer at a website called AllExperts, where I answer questions related to British royalty and one of the most frequently asked questions is 'I have an item [insert poor description here] and I want to know what the value of it is.

I am not an expert on antiques. I am not an expert on royal memorabilia. Anytime I answer a question, I always state that. Why do I answer these questions despite my lack of expertise? Sucker for punishment? A genuine desire to point people in the right direction? A bit of both, though recently it seems to be the former rather than the latter.

Yes, I answered a question related to the value of an item. Except that the person didn't outright ask me to value it. He said he didn't care about the item, nor did he want to sell it, instead he asked whether he should keep it for 'heritage' reasons or toss it. Now maybe I misunderstood the question - entirely possible. I've been asked so many royal questions recently that I'm starting to get burnt out.

When I think of 'heritage' I think of something which should be preserved, not for monetary reasons, but for sentimental ones. Or even for future generations to enjoy.  And so I answered from that perspective. That wasn't what the person wanted to hear. I was supposed to be some type of online Antiques Road Show, deciphering the value of something based on a poor, minimal description of it.

Stupid me.

My answer was that everything has a value, even if it is sentimental. I have royal items which I value very much. Unfortunately others may not feel the same way. Once I'm gone they might just decide to 'toss' them. I won't be around to tell them otherwise so what difference does it make? I would hope that my children, or whomever, can make up their own minds instead of having to approach a volunteer expert with an unclear question.

1953 Coronation Sewing Kit
When it comes to royal items, I think it would be a shame to 'toss' any of them. Even if they have no value to you, does not mean that it doesn't have a value to someone else. I've been the recipient of many such items. Someones grandmother/aunt/friend died and they have a royal item and don't know what to do with it. I've been very lucky that someone has thought enough to keep this until they found the right recipient. And I do appreciate their generosity and hopefully I can care for the item, and preserve it, so that someone else may treasure them just as much as I do at present.

I don't collect royal items to sell them. I don't fool myself into thinking that I will be able to retire after selling my Diana, Princess of Wales porcelain doll. Not going to happen. I don't collect for those reasons. If I did so, I'm likely to be extremely disappointed. And so will my children when they head to the Antiques Road show of the future. Keeping these items in plastic or an alarmed curio cabinet, for heritage reasons, doesn't allow me to enjoy them now.

When it comes to keeping royal items I cannot make up someone elses mind whether to keep it or not. One persons junk is another person's royal treasure. Even if it has no monetary value. I hope people like the questioner will remember that as they're heading to the garbage can.

© Marilyn Braun 2011

Sunday, April 03, 2011

The Royal Report for Sunday April 3, 2011 - Celebrated Royal Marriages

Is ET really watching the wedding? Where can you find the best spot along the procession route to watch the royal wedding over people's heads? Is Ellen DeGeneres trying to get an invitation? Can Prince Andrew get airmiles while taking a bus? Whose royal diaries read like a bad romance novel?

Find out on this episode:

Celebrated Royal Marriages

Publication mentioned

Hello! Canada Weekly No 212 4 April 2011

From My Royal Collection

The Royal Wedding For Dummies

The British Monarchy For Dummies

Website mentioned

World of Royalty

Royal Wedding Apps

The Royal Wedding by Hello!

Weakest Link Royal Wedding Edition

Tune in to the next episode of The Royal Report on Sunday April 10, 2011 at 9:00PM EST (North America)

The topic will be: Royal Wedding Traditions

© Marilyn Braun 2011