Friday, July 29, 2016

Has anyone been pregnant more often than Kate?

Other than Jennifer Aniston and Gwen Stefani, has any woman in the public eye been pregnant more often than Kate? If Kate had been pregnant as many times as 'reported' she would have 10 children by now. Maybe even more if you count any rumours prior to their engagement.

I was in London when they married and recall watching a Royal correspondent on television who said "soon two will become three". The ink was barely dry on the wedding register and there was already speculation about when they would get pregnant!

Kate is rumoured to want another baby. Will the tabloids stop with these stories after the third baby? How about a fourth? I guess it is better for them to write about pregnancies instead of their other favourite topic. Divorce.

© Marilyn Braun 2016

 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, July 28, 2016

A Brief History of Royal families in Canada

Whenever William and Catherine head out on tour one of the first questions royal watchers want answered is whether Prince George and Princess Charlotte will accompany them. Since they took George on their 2014 tour of Australia and New Zealand a precedent has been set for the family. Now, instead of assuming the children will stay home, people are more likely to expect them to join their parents.

Although the excitement is understandable, royal tour itineraries are said to be demanding and grueling for all those involved. Something hard not only on adults but small children too. It is possibly for this reason that royal parents wait until their children are much older to bring them along.

Duke and Duchess of Connaught and Princess Patricia in Canada, 1912

The earliest British royal parent and child arrival in Canada occurred in 1911. Queen Victoria's favorite son, Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught arrived with his wife and their popular daughter, twenty-five year old Princess Patricia to be sworn in as the tenth Governor General of Canada. The family resided at Rideau Hall from 1911-1916. Princess Patricia was popular with the public and her portrait appeared on a Dominion of Canada one-dollar note in 1917.  Princess Patricia's association with Canada continues through The Princess Patricia Canadian Light Infantry.

During his tenure as Governor General of Canada, Lord Athlone and his wife, Princess Alice, Countess of Athlone welcomed various members of foreign royal families with children seeking refuge during the Second World War. Amongst these visitors were their own grandchildren, Richard, Elizabeth and Anne Abel-Smith. In 1954 Canada welcomed a visit from the Duchess of Kent and her daughter, Princess Alexandra.

It would not be until the 1970s that Canada would see another visit including parents and children. Between 1970 and 1978, during four official visits, the Queen was accompanied at various times by Prince Charles and Princess Anne (1970, 1971) and Prince Andrew and Prince Edward travelled with their parents in 1978.  In 1976, the Queen, Prince Philip, Prince Charles, Prince Andrew (aged 16) and Prince Edward (aged 12) travelled to Canada during an official visit to watch Princess Anne compete in the Montreal Olympics.

In July 1981, three generations of the royal family were in Toronto at the same time. Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother and Princess Margaret's separate visits intersected in Toronto. Princess Margaret and her daughter, Lady Sarah Armstrong Jones, were photographed with the Queen Mother prior to a dinner she was attending at the Royal York Hotel.

The arrival as a family would not be repeated until Charles, Diana, William (age 9) and Harry (age 7) visited Ontario in 1991. To date, Prince Harry is the youngest British royal to visit Canada.

In 1998, Prince Charles, Prince William and Prince Harry would visit Canada on a private holiday in Whistler British Columbia. The last time the royals have visited as a family.

Not counting Prince Andrew in utero during the Queen's 1959 Canadian tour, should Prince George and Princess Charlotte accompany their parents this Fall, Princess Charlotte (aged around 18 months by that point) will become the youngest British royal to step foot on Canadian soil.


The Government of Canada Canadian Heritage Website
Canada's Queen: Elizabeth II: A Celebration of Her Majesty's Friendship with the People of Canada
Queen Elizabeth II and the Royal Family in Canada: Golden Jubilee Edition
Royal Canada
Young Royals on Tour: William & Catherine in Canada
Royal Tours 1786-2010: Home to Canada

© Marilyn Braun 2016

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, July 27, 2016

Get your selfie sticks ready, William and Catherine are coming to Canada

Have you heard the news? William and Catherine are coming to Canada again, in Fall 2016 (or Autumn as the Brits would call it).

Yes, once again we will welcome members of the royal family to our fine country. So far it has been officially announced that the Cambridges are visiting British Columbia and the Yukon territory, locales they missed during their last visit. No doubt to the chagrin of the other provinces and territories who are wondering what on earth they did wrong during their last visit in 2011. Is it something we said?  Don't worry, Stephen Harper is gone now. In his place is Justin Trudeau, a telegenic politician only too happy to take selfies and make a good impression. 

Many many royal watchers are hoping George and Charlotte come along. No doubt Trudeau is too. With three children of his own, it could possibly become the most expensive playdate in Canadian history. But just think about how wonderful the photos will be!

Forgive me if I am cynical about this. Looking at their recent tour of India and Bhutan, which appeared to be nothing more than a fashion show and photo opportunity. If this particular tour is meant to serve any purpose it will be overshadowed by coverage of Catherine's clothes and accessories. Whatever cause or small town it is meant to highlight and booster will be quickly forgotten. I fear that this visit will become nothing more than a fashion show we will have to pay for. William and Catherine will watch as we smile and wave, acting like we are grateful for the privilege of doing so.

© Marilyn Braun 2016

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, July 20, 2016

Media media go away, come back on Pippa's wedding day

Huzzah Pippa Middleton, the one with the famous rear-end, the one that royal watchers enjoy denigrating at every turn for her unsuccessful endeavors and lack of career goals, the one people can't seem to move on from, no matter how hard they might haphazardly try, is engaged to be married to Hedge-Fund beau with a tragic past, James Matthews.

Snooze you lose, Harry!

Even when the engagement was just an unfounded rumor, the speculation began...

Will Prince Harry or the Queen attend the wedding?
Will George and Charlotte be part of the wedding party?
Is Pippa's gigantic engagement ring bigger and more valuable than Kate's haunted engagement ring?
What type of dress will Pippa wear?
Will there be photos of the big day in Hello!? (Pippa, answer the door. They're outside as we speak)

The breathless speculative questions are endless. It's as if she is royal and this is of some sort of significance. Unless she is marrying Prince Harry (even then), it isn't headline news. Especially not when there are greater things to focus on. Like how Larry, 'Chief Mouser' of Downing Street is doing after things came to a vicious head with Palmerston, the Foreign office's Chief Mouser.

Riveting stuff. Have we already run out of legitimate news stories?

The wedding is reportedly set for August 2017. I predict we will be treated to a blow by blow of what her dress might look like, her flowers, cake and venue options to choose from, maybe even a mashup of what her future children's faces will look like. No doubt we will also see a geological diagram of just how distantly related the engaged couple are and how they are both related to a long dead royal. How DO genealogists do it?

I understand that there is interest in what she does, I get being happy for someone (even if you don't know that someone personally). I get wanting to share good news when it seems there is so little of it at the moment. But enough with the daily Pippa updates. Is it too much to ask to leave her alone until her wedding day?

© Marilyn Braun 2016

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, July 18, 2016

To curtsy or not to curtsy? There should be no question

In case you missed the tag line for my blog, I'm not a monarchist. I don't believe that the royals are better than me. For all of my fascination, I disagree with the monarchy on principle. I don't think privilege by birthright has any place in this day and age, particularly when it comes to the position of Head of State.

When it comes to royal protocol, few things irk me more than the idea that people should bow and curtsy to the royals. Some view it as a mark of respect, particularly with the Queen. While I can appreciate showing respect, you should not have to diminish yourself in the process. To me, bending at the knee is demeaning. It may be a personal choice but there is something incredibly absurd when I see someone other than a poesy wielding child doing so. Unlike an adult, the small child doesn't know any better.

While the royals are said to be flexible when it comes to bowing/curtsying, (but not when it comes to their own family members. I guess someone has to show the world how it is done), curtsying is viewed as default etiquette. It may no longer be expected but it has become such a ubiquitous tradition that to do otherwise is viewed as a sign of disrespect.

Woe-betide those who don't. The media gleefully gets in on the act when a republican is placed into a position where they can (literally) be brought to heel. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn did not kneel before the Queen. Cherie Blair, wife of former UK PM Tony Blair, was criticized for not curtsying.When former Australian PM Julia Gillard chose to bow instead, it was viewed as 'rude and impolite' and she was put into a position where she had to defend her choice. The newest UK Prime Minister Theresa May chose to curtsy to the Queen (and kissed the Royal hand). When in Rome. However I believe that if Theresa May hadn't done either she would have been roasted in the media like Julia Gillard and Cherie Blair. So much for respecting personal choice.

 I hope for the day when obsequious bows and curtsys will be relegated to the past. When people can meet the Queen (or any other member of the royal family) with a firm handshake (like Angela Merkel above), human being to human being, neither one raised or diminished in the process. That is the ultimate form of respect.

No question about it.

© Marilyn Braun 2016

 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, July 14, 2016

Maybe there is hope for the young royals just yet..

In the last few years it seems that the royals have become nothing more than fodder for celebrity magazines and fashion blogs. The royals are in a high profile position to make a difference in the charities they support, yet many times that effort is overshadowed by the focus on what Kate is wearing. Once the royal visit is over we will know more about Kate's accessories and where to buy them than the purpose of the visit. At times, it seems like a wasted opportunity.

The Cambridge's have taken a lot of flak for their work ethic. Some of this criticism is warranted. As the Queen and Prince Philip get older and Charles and Camilla take on more responsibilities, it stands to reason that all hands should be on deck. Yet many times it doesn't seem to be the case and the free pass the Cambridge's received at their wedding is one that should have expired two years ago. The Cambridge's were becoming known more for what they didn't do.

But the signs are good that this is about to change. William, Kate and Harry have joined forces to end the stigma surrounding mental health. William has been vocal in condemning bullying and homophobia, becoming the first royal to appear on the cover of Attitude, a UK gay magazine.

Harry in particular has emerged as a superstar with the charisma of his mother and dedication to some of her causes, including her work in the fight against AIDS. One of the most memorable moments in Diana's royal life occurred in 1987 when she shook an HIV positive patient's hand without wearing gloves. Doing her part in breaking the stigma that AIDS can be spread by hand to hand contact.

Today Harry had his own memorable moment when he took an HIV test streamed live on social media. In attempting to reduce the stigma of HIV testing, Harry put his own reputation on the line had his test turned out to be positive. I can only imagine the media field day that would have ensued as a result of that. Diana would have been proud of him regardless.

In taking a stand on bullying, homophobia, AIDs and mental health, William, Kate and Harry are charting a new course in how to be royal. Showing the public the potential for what the royals can do instead of what they don't do.

Maybe there is hope for the young royals just yet.

© Marilyn Braun 2016

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.