Sunday, April 29, 2012

Video: Scenes from London April 28th & 29th 2011

In honor of William and Catherine's first wedding anniversary, some video I shot while I was in London for the event!

video


© Marilyn Braun 2012

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, April 27, 2012

Can Catherine Cambridge walk on water?

Looking at the saccharine media coverage about Catherine and you would definitely think so. But the comment section in articles and on royal message boards belies that view. Even if people choose to dismiss and ignore it.

Regardless of their personal viewpoint, William and Catherine are the fairytale couple. Perfection, beauty and happiness personified. Catherine by her sheer newness, ability to dress well and look attentive around small children, has reportedly won every heart that has ever come into contact with her. Not to mention sympathy for the incessant comparison to a dead iconic mother-in-law. She is also on par with the Queen in immunity from criticism. Compare her to Princess Anne or Mother Theresa and Catherine will win hands down. Not because of what she has or hasn't done but because she is better looking.

We have been repeatedly reminded that Catherine has not 'put a foot wrong'. It's difficult to do when little has been expected of her. Easing her into her royal position has been an agonizing process for people who would like to see her do something other than smile and sell clothes; no matter how good it may be for British industry. She is capable of more than that. After a year, she has reportedly graduated to a fully-fledged royal. Here's hoping Royal Year-Two brings a more realistic viewpoint of her skills and dedication. For her sake as well as ours.

© Marilyn Braun 2012

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 23, 2012

Royal Book Challenge: The Royals by Leslie Carroll

22/500

The Royals the Lives and Loves of the British Monarchs by Leslie Carroll
Published 2011
175 Pages
ISBN: 9781435136205

I found out about The Royals via @onechicgeek on twitter. I was intrigued, mainly because it features 'rare memorabilia'. At the time I bought it, it was exclusively available through Barnes and Noble. Now it has finally come to Amazon!

The Royals is entertaining and the memorabilia is interesting, though the handwriting is impossible to read. Namely Princess Elizabeth (Future Queen Elizabeth I) letter to her half-sister Queen Mary begging her for an audience. Luckily the author gives transcriptions of these documents, otherwise you'd miss out on the point of them.

Reproductions of memorabilia include the execution warrant for Mary, Queen of Scots, William and Catherine's wedding invitation, the Instrument of Abdication, a ticket to Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee ball, as well as a 1901 funeral card for her. Also included is a reproduction of Charles and Diana's Official 1981 Wedding Programme, which, when compared to the original, is nicely done.

My main problem with this book is that there is some gossipy information that seems to be stated as fact: The Queen and Princess Margaret were conceived by artificial insemination. Prince Philip had numerous affairs. Yes, there are rumors about these things, but neither have been proven. So why perpetuate them? I'm not familiar with royal history beyond Queen Victoria, so I can't judge whether there are any other factual errors. Though one review seems to think there are several in the Tudors section of the book.

Were it not for the memorabilia inserts I probably would not have bought The Royals. In all honesty, while this book is a fun read, it would be unremarkable without them.

© Marilyn Braun 2012

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 17, 2012

Royal Book Challenge: A Hundred Years of Royal Style by Colin McDowell

21/500

A Hundred Years of Royal Style by Colin McDowell
192 Pages
Published 1985
ISBN: 0584110715

I learnt about this book via the @royaltybookfan twitter-feed. It's a fantastic feed to find out about more obscure publications in ebook format. My ereader is seriously close to smoking from the amount I've downloaded since I started following.

Books relating to royal style tend to focus on Diana. As if there were no other trend setters prior to her existence. A Hundred Years of Royal Style is different in that it covers fashions of royal ladies, even those, such as Queen Mary or Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, who would not be considered particularly stylish to begin with.

The author discusses the role of royal clothing as well as how, in absence of any real royal news, it has been portrayed in the media. A focus on Queen Alexandra, consort of King Edward VII, reveals a woman who enjoyed clothing and took enjoyment in developing her own look.  In comparison to many of the other royal ladies, like the Queen who, despite having the resources to have fun with fashion, view clothing from nothing more than a practical standpoint.

The book includes interesting details about clothes as well as sketches of outfits for the Queen and Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother. There's an interesting breakdown of royal warrant-holders for Queen Alexandra, Queen Mary, Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother and the present Queen from 1901 to 1984. If you need to know who supplied Queen Alexandra with perfume in 1914, then this book is definately the one for you.

© Marilyn Braun 2012

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 09, 2012

Royal Book Challenge: Frances by Max Riddington and Gavan Naden

20/500

Frances: The Remarkable Story of Princess Diana's Mother by Max Ridddington
Published 2003
256 Pages
ISBN: 1843170434

Frances is unique amongst royal-by-proximity biographies in that it actually has input from its subject. Had it not done so, it would have been culled from what is already in the public domain and Diana's own recollections. This would have made for a sad and incomplete portrait of Frances Shand Kydd, who died in 2004.

It's unfortunate but inevitable that Diana's family will be overshadowed by their association with her. Their individual stories becoming mere anecdotal footnotes in her life story. But Diana would not have become the person she was were it not for her parents - Frances Shand Kydd  and Edward John Spencer, 8th Earl Spencer.

Before Diana and the global fame associated with her there was Frances. And her story is a worthy read in order to find out more about someone who was a fascinating individual in her own right.

© Marilyn Braun 2012

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 08, 2012

Royal Book Challenge: The Royal Tombs Of Great Britain by Aidan Dodson

19/500

The Royal Tombs of Great Britain by Aidan Dodson
Published 2004
248 Pages
ISBN: 9780715633106

I've always had a fascination with royal death. With the addition of this book, I now own five on the topic. For some reason The Royal Tombs Of Great Britain is listed for exorbitant prices on Amazon, eBay and Alibris. Looking at the actual book there is no reason for it to cost that much. It is not written in gold script and it isn't even old (published in 2004). It took a while but I finally found a copy in good condition that I felt (at the time) was reasonably priced. If you're interested in buying a copy for yourself do not spend more than $100 on it. Unless you really want to own it I would even say that is too much.

My interest in royal death may sound macabre but death it is truly the great leveller. It happens to everyone, including royalty. But as this book reveals just because someone is a king or queen, does not necessarily mean their remains are treated with dignity or left to rest in peace.

The author details the burial places of sovereigns from the early English Kingdoms all the way to King George VI. There is some fascinating information about the various royal vaults and monuments along with photographs and illustrations. There is detailed information about embalming and the condition of corpses and skeletons which is interesting but I definately wouldn't advise reading about it while eating!

© Marilyn Braun 2012

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.