Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Here's what I did while Catherine Cambridge was away..

Huzzah, Catherine Cambridge has returned to royal duties! Well at least for today. This appearance was eagerly anticipated by royal correspondents, photographers, fashion bloggers and others concerned for the welfare of someone they will never meet.
Instead of fretting about her absence, I put this time to constructive use:
  • I lost 35.5 pounds
  • I circumnavigated the globe twice. 
  • I didn't read War and Peace.
  • I learnt how to play the didgeridoo (it was on my bucket list).
  • I crocheted blankets, infant hats and booties for all babies in third world countries.
  • I reviewed approximately ONE book (see valid excuses above).
  • I complained via Twitter about other royal books I have no intention of reading.
  • I googled hyperemesis gravidarum so I could cut and paste it into this article.
I regret this period of personal renewal coming to an end. From now until April my twitter feed will be filled with baby bumps, fashions, inappropriate pregnancy speculation, royal baby names, the biography of her gynecologist and therapists weighing in on the 'spare's' future psychological issues. People despairing at intrusive coverage then inadvertently contributing to it. In my case I will despair about this then (between didgeridoo performances and making nutritious lunches for my children), I will write scintillating commentary attempting to put it all into perspective.

Unfortunately there will be no escape form this coverage. Especially once April arrives and people attempt to beat the record for amount of times #royalbaby can be used on Twitter before it brings down the internet.

April can't come soon enough!
© Marilyn Braun 2014

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, October 09, 2014

Royal Review: On Duty With The Queen by Dickie Arbiter


Those are some of the descriptive words used by media outlets and royal correspondent colleagues to describe On Duty with the Queen prior to its release. Having just finished reading it, I can tell you that none of those words apply.

When books written by royal insiders come out, we tend to expect shocking revelations and salacious details. On Duty with the Queen is not that type of book. Dickie's memoir recounts his life before, during and after becoming a royal press secretary. We learn that he is a man of many talents: ice-skater, actor, art historian in training, journalist and broadcaster. Although I found his royal career interesting, I would have preferred to read more about his background. In particular, more about his mother who sounds like she is quite the character!

During his 12 year career as press secretary, Dickie had a front row seat as 'annus horribilis' unfolded, yet he diplomatically steers clear of speculation and passing judgment. Instead he focuses on business, clearing up misconceptions about royal protocol and providing a fascinating behind the scenes look into the press offices, royal tour planning, as well as the role he played in organizing Diana's funeral.

The few royal anecdotes he does provide only allow us a respectful glimpse. He does have his criticisms about members of the royal family, particularly in the aftermath of Diana's death. But he doesn't come across as an apologist for either side, as books by royal insiders tend to do. One of the most moving moments is when he recounts visiting Diana's casket in the Chapel Royal. Relations between Diana and the royal family were not nearly as black and white as the media would have us believe.

If you're looking for a book that includes intrusive details from former courtiers, there are more controversial books to choose from. Instead On Duty With The Queen provides an enjoyable insight into his life and role as a press secretary for the royal family.

© Marilyn Braun 2014

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.