Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Don't you just love a royal scandal?

I don't know if you've noticed but lately there's been a lag in royal news. Queen Beatrix's abdication just serves as a reminder of how dull British royal news has become. It is truly a sad situation when other royal houses do more interesting things than the British do.

Case in point. The Dutch abdication is historic. Right now all we have to work with is Kate going to Starbucks and shopping at the Gap and Harry expressing ambivalence towards his destiny. Ho hum stuff. The British royal family is ripe for a royal scandal in 2013. I just know it. I'm not referring to a scandal where someone dies. Nothing that dire. No, what we need is a scandal we can sink our teeth into, one that lights up Twitter and royal message boards and inspires columnists to write sanctimonious articles that add nothing to the solution.

2012 was not a boring year. What with the photos of Harry in Las Vegas and Kate's topless photos in France. If I had known that was the best the royals could do, well I would have savored the fallout more. So far 2013 has turned out to be rather dull in this respect. True, it is January. But as February approaches, the signs are not good.

It's not as if we don't have something to look forward to. Yes, yes, I know William and Catherine's baby will arrive in July. Yes, the Queen is celebrating the anniversary of her coronation. I'm sure Charles and Camilla will take the tube again. Maybe this will be the year Princess Anne smiles.  *Yawn* Excuse me while I await the stamps, coins and multiple commemorative issues from Hello magazine.

Harry used to be the go-to royal for entertainment value. What with his rugged good looks and complete inability to distinguish from inside your head thoughts vs outside your head thoughts.Much like when Fergie reappears. It seems they can no longer shock us. It's more a case of shaking heads and sighing "OK, what did she/he do this time?" The only way Harry could shock us now is if he said something diplomatic.

I'm not picky. I'll settle for an illegitimate child, maybe someone can unexpectedly come out of the closet. If they run out of ideas they can look to the Monegasques and run off with someone from the circus or marry someone against their will!

Fingers crossed!

© Marilyn Braun 2013

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, January 29, 2013

Why I think the Queen should abdicate

Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands abdication has brought up the question over whether the present Queen should follow suit. Unlike the Netherlands, abdication is not a tradition in the British royal family. After the abdication crisis of 1936 it is regarded as the equivalent of a dirty word, a sign of selfishness and a lack of dedication. But the attitude towards the 1936 abdication was based on the circumstances and associated scandal. Would it have been different if Wallis Simpson were not in the picture? Had it been any other monarch, such as Victoria, would she have been as pilloried for stepping down?

Although I'm not as familiar with the Dutch royal family, I do not get the sense that Queen Beatrix is in any way less than dedicated to her role as sovereign. Nor do I get that sense from Wilhelmina and Juliana. Does anyone think less of them for having abdicated or is it simply an acknowledgement of their mortality and a desire to pass the torch while still capable of doing so in a dignified way.

There is not a shred of doubt that the Queen will not abdicate. Dare to mention the idea and people will remind you how she dedicated herself to the service of her people in 1947, quoting her famous speech in the process. Not to mention her Coronation oath in 1953. She took a vow and was sacredly anointed. Although I am on the fence about becoming a republican, I can acknowledge that she is well respected and her dedication is unquestioned. The Queen stepping down will not happen. Period.

That doesn't mean she shouldn't.

Not to diminish those sacred oaths but the Queen is human and mortal. She is not a martyr. After 60 years on the throne, who could blame her for changing her mind in the interim? Would we hold it against her if she did? I know I wouldn't.

The Queen will turn 87 this year and she is, by all appearances, in good health. Her mother lived to 101 and there is no reason the Queen could not reach that age herself. And that would be a wonderful achievement. Not to mention a sigh of relief for people who question Prince Charles' capability to reign. But longevity aside, how effective would she be? Would she be doing the future of the monarchy any favors by continuing to reign despite her age? It may not be questioned now but just watch when she starts to approach 100.

The concept of the Queen abdicating because of her age is not a factor. The idea of her abdicating is muddled by the personalities of those involved. Whether Charles is suitable to become king. Not to mention how Charles should stand aside for William. As if the monarchy is some sort of popularity contest. That is not what this article is about. If the Queen does live as long as her mother, Charles could be in his 80s and Prince William could be in his 60s or 70s when he ascends the throne himself. How frustrating would it be to know that neither will make any meaningful impact as sovereign because they were not given the chance to? In the long run, how does the monarchy stand to benefit from that?

In her speech Queen Beatrix explained her decision to abdicate: "I do not abdicate, therefore, because the task has become an onerous one, but because I am convinced the responsibility for our country should now be placed in the hands of a new generation.

Even Queen Elizabeth would find it hard to ignore the wisdom in that.

© Marilyn Braun 2013

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, January 28, 2013

Queen Beatrix Abdicates and History is Made

Today is a historic day for the monarchy in the Netherlands. Queen Beatrix announced that she would abdicate in favor of her son, Prince Willem-Alexander, on April 30th, a day which is known as Koninginnedag or 'Queen's Day'. The date is significant as the same date Beatrix's own mother, Queen Juliana, abdicated in Beatrix's favor in 1980. Upon her abdication Beatrix's title will revert to Princess Beatrix.

Beatrix's abdication is no surprise. In fact some would say that it was inevitable given the history of abdications in the Dutch monarchy. Beatrix's grandmother, Queen Wilhelmina and mother, Queen Juliana, both abdicated and now Beatrix has followed suit.

The Netherlands have been ruled by women since 1890. When Willem-Alexander becomes king, he will be the first male monarch in 123 years. The previous king, William III, was also named Willem-Alexander. By the new King's side will be his wife, Argentinian born Maxima.



Upon acceding to the throne, his oldest daughter, Princess Catharina-Amalia becomes next in line. This is notable for a few reasons. In doing so she will likely become Princess of Orange in her own right, a title normally reserved for the eldest son of the sovereign. Amalia also becomes the second female heir apparent in the world after her godmother, Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden. Born in December 2003 she will be the second youngest heir apparent in the world after Prince Lerotholi Seeiso, born in 2007. She also becomes the youngest heir apparent to a reigning European royal house.

© Marilyn Braun 2013

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, January 03, 2013

Prince Harry should marry for love, not to break glass celings

I like to think that I'm fairly open minded. I've always subscribed to the view that the color of someones skin or their sex shouldn't be a factor in any situation. So when I read articles like Will Prince Harry ever marry a Black girl? it bugs me.

My main problem with this article is that love doesn't seem be a consideration. Any preferences Harry might have is trumped by how it would be 'a world advertisement for what a caring and inclusive nation we are' or how  "Palace PR can see the benefits of welcoming a woman of colour into the fold."  That shouldn't even remotely be a factor, but this article makes a pro/con argument for it.

For arguments sake, let's say Harry does marry someone who is not Caucasian. Yes. there would be intense interest. But this would be the case for anyone he marries. Much like it was when William married Catherine. Would her color or religion make a difference? Not to Prince Harry, but it will to others. And therein lies the rub. While it may be seen as a step forward that the royals have accepted a woman of color marrying into the family, those same people will balk once the coverage turns exclusively to race, as it inevitably will. When you start off by making who Prince Harry marries about race and religion instead of the individual, don't be surprised when it remains that way.

Unlike a black man (or eventually a woman) becoming President of the United States, there is no glass ceiling to break for marrying into the royal family. It doesn't exist. For most people, regardless of their race or religion, sexual preference, it is out of the realm of possibility. This is not about 'standing a chance' it is about facing reality. And to be honest, looking at the coverage of Kate's pregnancy, I don't envy those who do marry into the royal family anyway.

Once the ridiculous ban on marrying Catholics is lifted, Harry has no restrictions on who he marries. Catholic, Muslim, Black, Asian, Jewish, Canadian or American, fat, skinny, divorced there is nothing to prevent him from marrying someone he falls in love with. If it comes down to it, there's even precedent for people giving up their throne or their place in the line of succession to do so. Judging by his actions, Harry seems like the type to buck tradition when it comes to his personal life. While he may prefer the tall blond type, he is young and this could change. But even if it doesn't, it shouldn't be viewed as a slight for those who don't fit that type. Using the word 'never' in relation to Harry ever marrying a black woman or someone of ethnicity, is an awfully long time.

Even though Catherine wasn't the first commoner to marry into the royal family, much was made of her commoner status. Did commoners across the globe rail at the inherent discrimination in the coverage? I wasn't invited to any protests because of it. The discussions surrounding whether she is good enough for William are appalling in their snobbery. Yet William married in spite of it. He married for love, not for what the rest of the world prefers. I wage a guess Harry will do the same.

Prince Harry is currently third in line to the throne. Like Princess Margaret, with each child born to William and Kate, he will move further down the line of succession making him unlikely to ever be king. You only need to look at Prince Andrew to see what lies in store for Harry's future. Having served his time in the military, he will eventually struggle to find something useful to do with himself.

Regardless of her race or religion, let's hope he finds the woman he loves to help him through it.

© Marilyn Braun 2013

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.