Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A bumper year for royal news!

2010 began like any other year. Ho hum royal tours and continuous nauseating royal engagement speculation. If it wasn't Prince William and Kate Middleton's will they/won't they saga, then it was Prince Harry and Chelsy Davy's on/off relationship.

Therefore, there was no reason to believe that 2010 would be any more remarkable than previous years. Royal news tends to come in spurts.The family hadn't had a major royal wedding since 1999 and the Queen's last grandchild had been born in 2007, the same year, The Queen and Prince Philip celebrated their Diamond wedding anniversary.  Her first grandchild married a Canadian in 2008. With the exception of a few minor weddings and births, it seemed like the royal family hadn't had any real news in ages.

Then, in the summer of 2010 that changed. Peter Phillips and his wife Autumn, were expecting a baby. But this would not be just any baby but the Queen's first great-grandchild. The last reiging sovereign to welcome a great-grandchild was Queen Victoria, whose eldest, Princess Feodora Saxe-Meiningen, had been born in 1879.  Peter Phillips himself is not only the Queen's first grandchild but also the first-great grandchild of Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother.

This year would continue to bring happy news with the long-awaited engagement of Prince William to Kate (Catherine) Middleton. And now today's engagement announcement of Zara Phillips to her long-time boyfriend Mike Tindall. With two upcoming weddings and a new baby, what better news could anyone ask for?

At this rate, 2011 promises to be a bumper year for royal watchers!

© Marilyn Braun 2010

Monday, December 20, 2010

Boopity Boop supports Sentebale!

Boopity Boop! Writes Her First Poem is a new book written by actress Masiela Lusha, the US ambassador to the charity Sentebale.

In BOOPITY BOOP! Writes Her First Poem, the main character Boopy, is a spunky and colorful 6-year-old girl that is learning of her inner strengths and encouraging children to pursue their own passions. This book shows each child that major accomplishments are possible and that happiness awaits if they have the courage to dream.

Sentebale was founded by Prince Harry, following his gap year visit to Lesotho a mountainous landlocked country in southern Africa. Overwhelmed by the plight of the children he met, Prince Harry and Prince Seeiso, younger brother of King Letsie III of Lesotho, made a long-term commitment to the children of Lesotho through Sentebale. Sentebale means ‘forget me not’ in Sesotho and is named in memory of the late, Diana Princess of Wales and Queen ‘Mamohato Bereng Seeiso, the late mother of Prince Seeiso).

The focus of Sentebale is to make a life changing difference to Lesotho's orphans, vulnerable children and the forgotten victims of poverty and the HIV/Aids epidemic that ravages this kingdom. Every day in Lesotho, more than one hundred children have their lives shattered by the death of a parent. One quarter of the population of the Forgotten Kingdom, as Lesotho is aptly known, are children who face horrors that no child should ever face.

Lesotho is fighting for survival. Nearly one third of Lesotho's people are infected with HIV/AIDS - the third highest rate in the world. There are an estimated 400,000 orphans and vulnerable children in a country of 1.8 million. Life expectancy has plummeted to 34 years.

Published in 2010 by Little Black Dog Publishing, 25% of the wholesale proceeds of Boopity Boop! Writes Her First Poem will go directly to support Prince Harry and Prince Seeiso's charity.

Boopity Boop! Writes Her First Poem by Masiela Lusha not only supports an important cause it also supports childrens literacy. Order your copy through Amazon today!

© Marilyn Braun 2010

Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Royal Report for Sunday December19, 2010 - The best of Prince William & Kate Middleton episodes

In honor of Prince William & Kate Middleton's recent royal engagement, on this episode a look back at the best of William & Kate episodes.

You can listen to the episode here

Tune in to the next episode of The Royal Report on Sunday January 9, 2010 at 9:00PM EST (North America)

The topic will be: 2010 - The Royal Year in review

© Marilyn Braun 2010

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Why Kate Middleton IS the new Diana

Yes, you read that right. Kate Middleton IS the new Diana.

Sure, it has become fashionable to write articles diminishing the idea but it remains a fact nonetheless. Embrace the idea or live in denial like Prince William. The moment he slipped Diana's ring on Kate's finger she automatically filled the void left by her, mainly the desire for glamour and the potential for royal renewal. The royal family has been stuck in a rut and Kate is the perfect antidote. A lot rides on her slim shoulders, including the collective weight of our expectations.

On a superficial level, like Diana she will be looked upon to reinvigorate the British fashion industry, potentially setting trends in the process. As well, she will be expected to stay model slim, look like the modern version of a princess and smile while standing up to our minute scrutiny.

Like Diana, Kate will be denied the perks of her newlywed status; enjoying time as a couple before children arrive. Sooner rather than later, she will be expected to produce a photogenic heir, preferably a male so people don't have to go through the trouble of changing those pesky succession rules.

Oh yes, and let's not forget those dirty words: 'Cinderella' and 'fairy-tale'. Unrealistic? Yes, but you would be hard pressed to avoid them now. What's a royal wedding without the fantasy? Tiara - check. Glass carriage - check. Handsome prince - check. It borders on plagiarism. Deny it all you like; it will be the purple elephant in the royal wedding pews.

Also like Diana, Kate will be expected to live happily ever after. Read: Stay married and look happy - regardless of the reality. People will expect nothing less. Especially given the last marital implosion. Kate will also be expected to find her own role, look good while making a difference, and avoid overshadowing the rest of the royal family.  No tall order.

Sound familiar?

© Marilyn Braun 2010

Saturday, December 04, 2010

The Royal Report for Sunday December 5, 2010 - Should the crown bypass Prince Charles and go to Prince William?

Doubts have been cast on whether Prince Charles should inherit the throne. Many people favor the crown bypassing Prince Charles altogether and go to Prince William. Should William inherit the throne instead of Charles?

Also on this episode: I wave my royal magic wand, Why is Peter Phillips walking on egg-shells? Weird royal collectibles and the people who buy them, creepy royal wedding plans and am I on the verge of becoming a monarchist?

Listen to the episode to find out:

Should the Crown go to Prince William instead of Prince Charles?

Publications discussed

Hello! Canada Weekly No 197 6 December 2010

Blogs mentioned

World of Royalty Blog

Links mentioned

The Prince of Wales - At Work

From My Royal Collection

Cecil Beaton: The Royal Portraits

Tune in to the next episode of The Royal Report on Sunday Decmeber 19th, 2010 - 9:00PM EST (North America)

The topic will be: The best of Prince William & Kate Middleton episodes

© Marilyn Braun 2010

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Video: A Royal Engagement and its hold on the media

The first 8 minutes of this episode of The Listening Post is devoted to a story about Prince William & Kate Middleton. The focus is on the intense media coverage and how it make news around the world.




© Marilyn Braun 2010

Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Royal Report for Sunday November 28, 2010 -Do Kate Middleton's parents know what they're in for?

What do the Middleton's, the Spencer's and the Fergusons all have in common? They have a daughter who has married into the royal family. The Middleton's are well on their way to joining those ranks. When Kate marries William, what are they in for?

Listen to this episode to find out: What are Kate Middleton's parents in for?

Publications mentioned

Hello! Canada No 196 29 November 2010

Hello! Royal Special Collector's Edition - A Royal Engagement Celebration

Star December 6, 2010 Cover Story - The Real Kate

Macleans November 29, 2010 Cover Story - William & Kate - At Last

People Magazine December 6, 2010 Cover Story Kate Middleton - A Perfect Princess!

OK! Magazine December 6, 2010 Issue#49 Cover story - William & Kate wedding special

US Weekly Issue 825 December 6, 2010 Cover Story - The Making of a New Princess

Websites mentioned

The World of Royalty

From My Royal Collection

The Country Life book of Diana, Princess of Wales by Lornie Leete-Hodge

Tune in to the next episode of The Royal Report on Sunday December 5, 2010 at 9:00PM EST (North America)

The topic will be: Should the Crown bypass Prince Charles and go to Prince William instead?
© Marilyn Braun 2010

Monday, November 22, 2010

Question: Royalty Marrying Commoners

From Kate's biography it looks like she is a commoner. Does this not negate William's chances of being King. Can Charles even become king being married to Camilla. I was under the impression that the princesses had to be of royal blood.

There is no stipulation that members of the royal family need marry other royals. When Prince William marries Kate Middleton it will have no effect whatsoever on  his chances of becoming king. Prince Charles' position as second-in-line is also unaffected by his 2005 second marriage to Camilla Parker Bowles.

In Queen Victoria's day, at one point it was out of the question for members of the royal family to marry beneath their rank and station. If a royal did so they risked banishment. If they held military rank they could be stripped of that as well. Such marriages were called morganatic, whereby the lesser-ranking spouse and any children they may have, did not share the royal titles or any inheritances that go with it. However, the Queen was an ardent matchmaker and could turn a blind-eye to royal status when it suited her to do so.

One example of this is the marriage of Queen Mary and King George V. Queen Mary's (then Princess May of Teck) father was the product of a morganatic marriage. While both her parents held royal titles, Princess May was a mere Serene Highness as opposed to a Royal Highness, thus making her not royal enough to marry royalty, but too royal to marry a commoner. Queen Victoria bypassed this issue and allowed her to marry her grandson, the future King George V. Given that no one would think of Queen Mary as anything less than royal now, it's rather ironic that she wasn't considered royal enough at the time.

As royal houses fell during the First World War there was a shortage of eligible princes/princesses. For practical purposes royalty started looking towards the aristocracy for spouses. This is still an option however it seems as though members of the royal family are choosing to marry for love and compatibility as opposed to trying to make alliances between royal or aristocratic houses.

Like the Crown Princes of Denmark, the Netherlands, Norway, and even the Crown Princess of Sweden, Prince William has chosen a commoner for a spouse. And like them, his (and Prince Charles') position in line to the throne is completely unaffected by it.

© Marilyn Braun 2010

Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Royal Wedding Report for Sunday November 21, 2010

Big news this week for Royal Watchers when Prince William and Kate Middleton announced their engagement. On this episode, a recap of the week's events. The Royal Report also celebrates its 100th episode on the BlogTalkRadio network.

You can listen to the episode here

Publications mentioned

Hello! Canada Weekly No 194 15 November 2010

Hello! Canada Weekly No 195 22 November 2010

From My Royal Collection

William's Princess: The Love Story that will Change the Royal Family Forever by Robert Jobson

Kate: Kate Middleton: Princess in Waiting by Claudia Joseph

Tune in to the next episode of The Royal Report on Sunday November 28, 2010 at 9:00PM EST (North America)

The topic will be: Now that their daughter is engaged to Prince William, what are the Middleton's in for?

© Marilyn Braun 2010

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Royal Focus: Kate Middleton's Royal Engagement Ring

The fiancee of Britain's Prince William, Kate Middleton, poses for a photograph in St. James's Palace, in central London November 16, 2010. Britain's Prince William is to marry his long-term girlfriend Kate Middleton next year, after an on-off courtship lasting nearly a decade, bringing months of speculation about his intentions to an end.  REUTERS/Paul Hackett (BRITAIN - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT SOCIETY ROYALS) When Prince William and Kate Middleton announced their engagement to the world on November 16th, they revealed the much speculated engagement ring. This ring, once belonging to Diana, Princess of Wales, caused some controversy, one of the few times in royal history that a piece of jewellery has done so.

I have written about this ring before in my post called Royal Engagement Rings. The ring, an oval 18-carat, sapphire surrounded by 14 diamonds, is interestingly enough, it was not unique. Featured in the catalogues of Garrards Jewellers, the royal family's official jeweller, it cost $65,000 at the time. Choosing a sapphire for a royal engagement ring is not unusual, The Princess Royal's and the late Queen Mother's original engagement ring were both sapphires.  Regarding the ring, Diana herself recalled: 'A briefcase comes along on the pretext that Andrew is getting a signet ring for his 21st birthday and along comes these sapphires - I mean 'nuggets! - I suppose I chose it, we all chipped in. The Queen paid for it.'

24th February 1981:  Charles, Prince of Wales laughing with his fiancee Lady Diana Spencer (1961 - 1997) outside Buckingham Palace, London after announcing their engagement.  (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images) The choice has provoked discussion amongst royal watchers as to whether it is appropriate for Kate to wear the ring.  Some feel that just because Diana wore the ring, it should not be seen as a bad omen or curse. Others feel that the couple should have made a fresh start. The ring, beautiful though it is, is so strongly associated with Diana, that for the rest of Kate's life she will have the constant reminder of Diana whether she likes it or not. Comparisons are inevitable, the ring more than guarantees that.

When asked why he had chosen to give his fiancee his mother's ring, William replied: 'it was my way of making sure that my mother didn’t miss out on today, all the excitement and the fact that we are going to be spending the rest of our lives together.' Thus making the choice a moot point for the rest of us.

© Marilyn Braun 2010

Marilyn Braun CP24 interview regarding Prince William & Kate Middleton's royal engagement



© Marilyn Braun 2010

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Why Prince William & Kate Middleton's engagement is a second best royal news story

Not to sound ungrateful.

I am extremely happy that Prince William and Kate Middleton have just announced their engagement to the world and put all of us out of our will-he/won't-he/should-she misery.

But, I feel a tad unsatisfied with this royal  news story. Sure it has all of the elements of romance and the elusive happily ever after. The afterglow will carry me for a week or so until the news dies down. We can now look forward to months and months of speculation, waiting for the wedding date announcement and then the wedding itself. It's almost agonizing in its lack of immediateness.

This is quite the contrast to the ultimate royal news story: death.

Yes, the great royal leveller. A royal death news story has a lot of advantages. It's immediate, occasionally unsurprising and filled more intense emotion depending on where he/she was on the royal food chain. For instance, say someone who is 355th in line to the throne will not elicit the same interest as, what I like to call a Royal Big 5 death. Who is on that list? The Queen, The Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Charles, Prince William and Prince Harry. When any of them die I know who I would buy souvenirs for.

When one of them dies there will be massive coverage and it will be immediate. Given the time-sensitivity of the occasion, this event cannot, unfortunately, be drawn out. It would be inappropriate. There will be no months upon months of waiting. If two or more of them die it could be extremely interesting to discuss what precedence the coffins will enter Westminster Abbey in. See? How much more interesting this coverage is?

Unlike death, royal weddings are a more difficult event to relate to. After all, we all die, right? Most of us will never wear tiaras, ride in glass carriages or have a golden page in the history books. It's enough to make you jealous. See, that doesn't happen with death now does it? No one gets jealous so we bypass that emotion altogether.

Like royal weddings we also see commemorative souvenirs. But better. I can't think of the last time I saw royal death tankards at a garage sale. Commemorative royal death mugs are different in the amount of guilt involved in throwing them away. They're an investment you can sell on eBay. Unlike royal wedding china, which you can't give away because there's so much of it.

Those souvenirs will have to wait. The reality is, we have a royal wedding to look forward to.

I guess it's better than nothing.

© Marilyn Braun 2010

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Official: Prince William and Kate Middleton are engaged!

Yes, you are reading that correctly. It's not just another misleading tabloid headline. They are officially engaged.

Many people thought it would never happen. Myself included. There were ups and downs and there was no certainty about anything. People felt it was a foregone conclusion that because they had been together so long, it was inevitable. But still Prince William kept people guessing, until this morning when I woke up to the news that many royal watchers had been waiting for. Half-asleep and bleary eyed I nearly fell out of bed reading about the news on Twitter. Until I saw an official announcement on the Queen's website I was skeptical. Like I said before, we've been down this road before with people jumping at attention grabbing headlines.

This news comes as a shock for another reason. Although there were predictions that an announcement would be made soon, there is no precedent for doing so this late in the year. Royal engagements are usually announced at the beginning of the year. Prince William had completely bucked tradition and taken all of us off guard.

Is this a sign that the monarchy is heading in a new direction? Only Prince William knows for sure.

Congratulations to the happy couple!

© Marilyn Braun 2010

Saturday, November 06, 2010

The Royal Report for Sunday November 7, 2010 - Can Prince Charles and Prince William modernize the monarchy?

When the Queen goes to that great, glittering palace in the sky, can Prince Charles and Prince William modernize the monarchy?

Find out by listening to the episode here

Publications mentioned

People Magazine cover story: William & Kate Secrets of Their Royal Romance - November 8, 2010

Hello! Canada Weekly No 193 8 November 2010

Vanity Fair - November 2010 edition

Harmony: A New Way of Looking at Our World

Article mentioned

VF Daily - Prince Charles on the Environment, the Monarchy, His Family and Islam

From My Royal Collection

A Year with the Queen

Tune in to the next episode of The Royal Report on Sunday November 21, 2010 at 9:00PM EST (North America)

The topic will be: Do Kate Middleton's parents deserve privacy?
© Marilyn Braun 2010

Friday, October 29, 2010

Kate Middleton sends her regrets

I'm a young, tall and beautiful woman who has been dating a prince for several years. My problem is that I'm having difficulty trying to live up to every single persons expectations about how I should behave/act/work/dress. Currently people are complaining that I didn't reply to an invitation to a charity function. How can I handle this situation in the future.
Dear modest princess-in-waiting,

This must be a difficult situation for you. How to graciously decline various invitations sent or not sent to you. You can't win, can you? There's only so much time in the day, better spent asking me for advice. It's almost as if you're the only 'young, tall, beautiful woman who has been dating a prince for several years' who has ignored an invitation. Come to think of it, you are.

However, having pointed that out, you're not the only person in the whole entire world who has ignored, backtracked or come up with some clever excuse to decline an invitation - [ahem, YOU know who YOU are]. There are many ways to creatively decline: you could claim illness, a sudden death of a beloved pet, or a previous (read: more interesting) engagement. For instance:

'I cannot attend because I'm unwell due to the death of my beloved pet and missing the funeral would look insensitive'

Add the word 'devastated' and you may get some flowers and a casserole out of it to boot.

Anyhoo, according to Google search results, proper etiquette states that you should, at minimum, acknowledge the invitation. This will, hopefully avoid those vindictive, do-gooder, charitable-types who sell their story to the press. Acknowledging could have bought you some time and it would have made you look good. As well, it would have deflected attention away from your parents X-Factor debacle. Where is Uncle Gary when you need him?

Remember, you are never safe from public opinion and you really should have known better. You can only coast on the wave of an imaginative wedding hat for so long. 

© Marilyn Braun 2010

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Diagnosis: Kate Middleton fever


Photo by: MC/AAD/starmaxinc.com  2010  10/23/10 Prince William and Kate Middleton attend a wedding at the St. Peter and St. Paul church in Northleach. (Gloucestershire, England)  Photo via NewscomYou may recognize the signs immediately: hyperventilation, excessive use of Twitter, and jump-on-the-bandwagon blog posts such as this one.

If you experience any of these symptoms, you may have Kate Middleton fever. If the photograph at left sends you into paroxysms of joy, you definitely have Kate Middleton fever.

This fever is not in itself fatal although people around you may want to take caution. If you, or someone you know experiences this fever, it is wise to keep as calm as possible. If you are pregnant, nursing, have a heart condition or a peanut allergy, extra caution is advised.

Many events can trigger symptoms. Articles in the Daily Mail, tabloid cover stories, recent photos of Kate Middleton, or even articles about Kate's family. If Prince William is photographed with her then you're symptoms are likely to be more acute. There is no need to head to your closest emergency room, the fever will eventually subside until the next round of photographs appears.

This fever is likely to strike at various times of the year, usually in waves. Starting in January on Kate's birthday, the rumors continue, leading up to the festive season. The unsubstantiated, conflicting rumors can occur daily or even weekly at their peak. For your own safety and the safety of those around you, it is advisable to refrain from using computer/hand-held devices and operating heavy machinery. Avoid grocery-lines and book store shelves. As well, fresh air and brisk outdoor activity is also recommended.

Treatment:

Take with regular grains of salt


© Marilyn Braun 2010

Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Royal Report for Sunday October 24, 2010 - Is Lady Gaga more powerful than the Queen?

On the 2010 Forbes list of the World most powerful women, Lady Gaga ranked 7th on the list while the Queen came in 41st. Is Lady Gaga really more powerful than the Queen?

Listen to the episode here

Publications mentioned

Hello! Canada No 191 25 October 2010

Hello! Royal Special The Royal Women Inside their legendary stories of love, power and passion

From My Royal Collection

The Queen and Her Children by Lisa Sheridan

Websites and blogs mentioned

The World of Royalty Website

The World of Royalty Blog

Resources

Forbes List of the World's 100 Most Powerful Women

The New Forbes Power Women

Tune in live to the next episode of The Royal Report on Sunday November 7, 2010 at 9:00PM EST (North America).

The topic will be: When the Queen goes to that glittering palace in the sky, can Prince Charles and Prince William modernize the monarchy for the 21st century?

© Marilyn Braun 2010

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Royal & The Clueless - Episode 19



On the last episode of The Royal & The Clueless, Prince William caught girlfriend Kate Middleton in Enrique's clutches. In an effort to avoid future awkward situations, Enrique was sent on a global tour to promote awareness of the lack of Party Supplies in Third World Countries. Enrique, recently returned from his tour, demoralized but with a thicker skin, tries to avoid Kate - to no avail.

Enrique: (*sigh*) Bono refused to meet with me

Kate: You think you have problems!

Enrique notes that Kate is pouting. Her mother Carole sits beside Kate, consoling her.

Enrique: What is it now?

Kate: (whimpering) William (*sob*) says (*sob*) his 'whole heart is with the Army' (*sob*)

Enrique smolders as he considers this new development

Carole: Nothing to fret about dear.

Carole suddenly visibly brightens

Carole: The word 'Army' must be code for Kate!

Enrique shakes his head

Kate: Oh Mummy, what will I do?

Carole: You'll just have to take a different approach, that's all.

Carole thinks for a moment and comes up with an idea.

Carole: We'll have to put you in camouflage!

Enrique: What?

Carole: They wear camouflage in the Army, right?

Enrique: Well, yes but..

Kate: Oh that's a brilliant idea!

Carole: We'll get you all kitted out! Vest, helmet, machine gun, the works!

Kate, looks hopeful. Enrique looks anxious. He rubs the scar from the stapler incident in episode 7

Enrique: Mrs Middleton?

Carole (gathering momentum): We'll sign you up for tank driving lessons!

Kate: Yes, Mummy! yes!!

Enrique kneels before Kate and takes her hands in his.

Enrique: Kate, do you think this is a sign?

Kate: A sign of what?

Enrique: You've given up everything, you've taken voice lessons and still...

Carole: (firmly) Never mind! I will not give up! It will be worth it in the end!

Kate: (confused) What?

Enrique: (delicately) Kate, maybe it's time to face reality?

Carole: Don't give up now Kate! The prize is in sight!

Enrique: No, Kate, don't...

Kate looks from her mother to Enrique, unsure of what to do next. Carole helps Kate to her feet and leads Kate away.

Carole: Kate, maybe Daddy can give you flying lessons....

Enrique gets up slowly and sighs

Enrique: I quit

Will Enrique really quit when there's so much potential in the storyline? Does Kate look good in camouflage? Will she learn how to drive a tank? Will she finally face reality?

Find out on the next episode of The Royal & The Clueless.

© Marilyn Braun 2010

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Why the Prince Harry kidnapping film intrigues me

Oh the horror!

Actually showing the potential reality of the situation!

A first for any movie dramatizing the royal family where artistic licence is the norm.

Channel 4 in the UK is set to broadcast a film called 'The Taking of Prince Harry.' The film dramatises the third in line to the throne being kidnapped by the Taliban, 'shot with an unloaded pistol and forced to appear in Al-Qaida and Taliban propaganda videos'.

Now people are shocked, and high ranking military leaders are concerned for what it would do for morale or lest it give any terrorists ideas. The powers that be at Channel 4 have not bowed to pressure to shelve the film. Good for them.

Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't want Harry to be harmed or kidnapped. But this is the reality when he heads over to Afghanistan to fight with his boys. The potential is always there. Or is it? A film depicting Prince Harry being kidnapped is seen as distasteful.  Is it better to dramatize the kidnapping of some other soldier provided we don't know who he/she is?

In 2008, when we saw footage of Harry in Afghanistan he was depicted in his job as a forward air controller, looking macho in camouflage while firing a machine gun, and foot patrolling a deserted Afghan town, hugging his weapon.  Yes, the photos of him were impressive. He played his role well. Certainly we should be proud that he 'walked the talk' and no question he did something to earn the medal he was awarded. But there is no way he would ever come into harms way. Guarded from birth, no one would ever let that happen. Prince Harry is a fool to think that he can fight like any other soldier. He may be fed the same food, allowed to get dirty, exposed to the elements and wear the same gear. But that's where the similarities end. Unlike his fellow soldiers, he has people who are paid to take bullets for him.

Which is why this special sounds so intriguing. What would happen if he did get kidnapped? How much would the ransom note be? Would the government *gasp* negotiate? Who would wring their royal hands more, Charles or the Queen? How would the military deal with it? How far would they go to secure Prince Harry's release? If they put the same amount of effort into rescuing him than they do for other soldiers, then maybe this film isn't so realistic after all.

I wish I could watch the film. It seems like it shows the potential reality Harry could have faced while in Afghanistan. And it faces the reality should he return there.

Maybe it's time that Clarence House did the same.

© Marilyn Braun 2010

Friday, October 15, 2010

The Royal Report for Sunday October 17, 2010 - What type of Royal Wedding should Prince William and Kate Middleton have?

Prince William and Kate Middleton have been dating for eight years. While there is no imminent wedding plans, this episode speculates on what type of wedding the couple could have and the history behind royal weddings of the past.

You can listen to the episode here

Publications mentioned

Hello! Canada Weekly No 190 18 October 2010

Life & Style Weekly - October 18, 2010 - Cover story: Royal Dream Wedding

Blogs mentioned

British Royal Wedding

From My Royal Collection

Royal Wedding (Queen Elizabeth II & Prince Philip)

Tune in to the next episode of The Royal Report on Sunday October 24th, 2010 at 9:00PM EST (North America)

The topic will be: According to a recent Forbes poll, Lady Gaga has come in 7th on the list of the world's most powerful women, while the Queen came in 41st. Is Lady Gaga really more powerful than the Queen?

© Marilyn Braun 2010

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Royal Focus: The Duchess of Windsor's Jewels

circa 1936:  Wallis Simpson, the Duchess of Windsor (1896 - 1986), wearing her Cartier emerald engagement ring and a sapphire and diamond bracelet.  (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images) When the Duchess of Windsor's jewels were auctioned off by Sotheby's in Geneva in 1987 the two-day sale raised a record $50,281.887, seven times the Sotheby's presale estimate. At the request of the late-Duchess, the money raised went towards the Pasteur Institute, the medical research centre in Paris.
On November 30th, some of the jewels will again be auctioned by Sotheby's.

These jewels were more than just beautiful craftsmanship, they are priceless symbols of love.


LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 22: A Sotheby's employee holds up a diamond bracelet created by Cartier in 1935, during a preview at Sotheby's Auction House on July 22, 2010 in London, England. This piece of jewellery is one of a collection going on sale including a selection of iconic jewels belonging to the Duchess of Windsor. The pieces are estimated to fetch in the region of 3 million GBP at the sale, which takes place at Sothebys Auction house on November 30, 2010 in London. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)This Diamond Cartier bracelet, circa 1935 was designed as a single row of spectacle-set brilliant-cut diamonds, supporting nine gem-set Latin crosses made from Platinum, Sapphire, Yellow Sapphire, Ruby, Baguette Diamond, Emerald, Amethyst, Aquamarine, and the marriage cross,comprised of Ruby, Sapphire and Emerald. Each cross, inscribed with affectionate phrases, marked special or significant events in the couple's relationship, including their wedding, a birthday, an assassination attempt on King Edward VIII, and the Duchess' appendectomy surgery in 1944,  This jewel was worn at their wedding in 1937.



LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 22: A Sotheby's employee holds an emerald, ruby and diamond broach created by Cartier in 1957, during a preview at Sotheby's Auction House on July 22, 2010 in London, England. This piece of jewellery is one of a collection going on sale including a selection of iconic jewels belonging to the Duchess of Windsor. The pieces are estimated to fetch in the region of 3 million GBP at the sale, which takes place at Sothebys Auction house on November 30, 2010 in London. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images) This Emerald, Ruby and Diamond brooch was made by Cartier in 1957. The brooch is heart-shaped and is pave-set with circular-cut-diamonds, surmounted by a gold and calibre-cut ruby crown. At the center of the heart, the initials W.E. are marked in emeralds. Just below the initials, are the roman numerals XX in rubies.  This brooch was made to commemorate the Duke and Duchess of Windsor's twentieth wedding anniversary.

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 22: A Sotheby's employee holds a ruby, saphire, emerald and diamond clip mounted by Cartier in 1940, during a preview at Sotheby's Auction House on July 22, 2010 in London, England. This piece of jewellery is one of a collection going on sale including a selection of iconic jewels belonging to the Duchess of Windsor. The pieces are estimated to fetch in the region of 3 million GBP at the sale, which takes place at Sothebys Auction house on November 30, 2010 in London. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
This Ruby, Sapphire, Emerald, Citrine and Diamond clip was mounted by Cartier in 1940. Created by Jeanne Troussaint for Cartier it was made by breaking up a necklace and four bracelets in the Duke's collection. Designed as a flamingo, the plumage is set with emeralds, rubies, and sapphires. The beak is set with a cabochon citrine and the head, neck, body and legs with brilliant-cut diamonds. The Duke reportedly gave the Duchess this clip as a birthday gift on June 19, 1940.
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 22: A Sotheby's employee holds an onyx and diamond panther bracelet designed and made by Cartier in 1952, during a preview at Sotheby's Auction House on July 22, 2010 in London, England. This piece of jewellery is one of a collection going on sale including a selection of iconic jewels belonging to the Duchess of Windsor. The pieces are estimated to fetch in the region of 3 million GBP at the sale, which takes place at Sothebys Auction house on November 30, 2010 in London. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)


The Duchess of Windsor had a fascination with animals and it is no surprise that this fondness was expressed through her jewels. This item is one of several panther jewels in her collection. The Cartier 'Great Cat' Jewels were inspired by Jeanne Toussaint for Cartier, this Onyx and Diamond panther bracelet was made in 1952 and is designed to encircle the wrist, assuming a stalking attitude. It is pave-set with circular-cut diamonds and calibre-cut-onyx, and the eyes are set with marquise-shaped emeralds.

© Marilyn Braun 2010

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, October 03, 2010

The Royal Report for Sunday October 3, 2010- Is Kate Middleton suitable for the royal family?

Kate Middleton has been dating Prince William for eight years. There has been much discussion surrounding whether or not she is suitable for the royal family. Is she suitable for the royal family?

Listen to the episode to find out:

Is Kate Middleton suitable for the royal family?

Publications mentioned

Hello! Canada Weekly No 189 4 october 2010

Blogs mentioned

British Royal Wedding

Videos mentioned

In Private - In Public: The Prince and Princess of Wales [VHS]

From My Royal Collection

In the Royal Manner: Expert Advice on Etiquette and Entertaining from the Former Butler to Diana, Princess of Wales by Paul Burrell

There will be no episode next week. Tune in to the next episode of The Royal Report on Sunday October 17, 2010 at 9:00PM EST

Topic to be determined

© Marilyn Braun 2010

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Question: The Christening of Victoria, The Princess Royal Painting

My grandfather has a beautiful painting of Queen' Victoria's christening (1841) and born in 1840. I am trying to find a list of people who attended the event so I can pin point who is in the painting.
Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016

The painting that your grandfather has is a reproduction of a work called The Christening of Victoria, The Princess Royal by Charles Robert Leslie. The original, an oil on canvas measuring 129.5 x 182.9 cm, is in The Royal Collection.

The Princess, who was born on November 21, 1840, was christened on her parent's first wedding anniversary, February 10, 1841. The christening robe that she wears is made from Honiton lace and white satin and was worn by all royal babies until 2008, when it was retired due to its age and fragile state. The baptismal lily font was commissioned by Queen Victoria. Made of Silver gilt, and measuring by height 43 cm; and diameter 43 cm, it is one of only two silver English fonts. The font is in the shape of a water lily, supporting a large shell. Inside the rim of the small shell were water lilies floating around the edge and water was specially brought from the River Jordan. The lilies were considered to represent purity and water lilies were associated with new life. This font has been used at all royal christenings since 1841.

Princess Victoria was christened in the Throne Room at Buckingham Palace by William Howley, Archbishop of Canterbury. Her godparents were Leopold, King of the Belgians, Ernst I (her paternal grandfather), he was not present during the event and the Duke of Wellington stood proxy. The other godparents were Prince Augustus, Duke of Sussex (her great-uncle), Dowager Queen Adelaide, widow of King William IV, the Duchess of Gloucester (her great-aunt), and the Duchess of Kent (her grandmother).

The painting commemorating the event depicts, The Dowager Queen Adelaide on the left of the font, who named the child Victoria Adelaide Mary Louisa. Others in the painting include the Duchesses of Gloucester and Kent, King Leopold I of the Belgians, and the Duke of Sussex (all in the group on the left). Queen Victoria and Prince Albert are on the right of the font.
© Marilyn Braun 2010

Saturday, September 18, 2010

The Royal Report for Sunday September 19, 2010 - The Life and times of Prince Andrew, Duke of York

On this episode, a look back at the life and times of Prince Andrew, Duke of York.

Listen to the episode here

Publications mentioned

Hello! Canada Weekly No 187 20 September 2010

Toronto Star July 29, 1981

Hamilton Spectator July 30, 1981

From My Royal Collection

H. R. H. Prince Andrew by Anwar Hussein

Website Mentioned

The Duke of York - The UK's Special Representative for International Trade and Investment

Resources used to research this episode

The Official Site of the British Monarchy

Prince Andrew by Nicholas Courtney

Royal Heritage Series: The Story Of Prince Andrew

Prince Andrew and Prince Edward by Lornie Leete-Hodge

The Queen's Children by Donald Edgar

Little Princes: From Cradle to Crown by Sue Arnold



Tune in to the next episode of The Royal Report on Sunday September 26, 2010 at 9:00PM EST (North America)

The topic will be: The wit, the wisdom, a look back at the life of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh

© Marilyn Braun 2010

Friday, September 10, 2010

The Royal Report for Sunday September 12, 2010 - Prince William and Kate Middleton rumors - Fact or fiction?

Recently there has been a lot of news surrounding when Prince William and Kate Middleton will get married. Followed by reported 'denials'.

Are these rumors fact or fiction?

Listen to the episode to find out

Publications mentioned

Hello! Canada Weekly No 186 13 September 2010

Films discussed

Toronto International Film Festival - 2010 Films - King's Speech

CBC - The Queen in 3D

From My Royal Collection

Debrett's Book of Royal Children by Charles Kidd & Patrick Montague-Smith

Tune in to the next episode of The Royal Report on Sunday September 19, 2010 at 9:00PM EST (North America)

The topic will be: Royal Focus: Prince Andrew, The Duke of York

© Marilyn Braun 2010

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Win a copy of Someday My Prince Will Come by Jerramy Fine

The Sunday September 5th, 2010 episode of The Royal Report featured an interview with Jerramy Fine, author of the book Someday My Prince Will Come, the True Adventures of a Wannabe Princess.

Listen to the episode to find out how you can win a copy of her book.

The Royal Report for Sunday September 5th, 2010 - An Interview With Jerramy Fine

© Marilyn Braun 2010

Saturday, August 28, 2010

The Royal Report for Sunday August 29, 2010 - A Tribute to Diana, Princess of Wales

August 31st will mark the 13th anniversary of the death of Diana, Princess of Wales. On this episode a tribute to her life and legacy.

You can listen to the episode here

Publications mentioned

Hello! Canada No 185 30 August 2010

From My Royal Collection

Diana: The Portrait: Anniversary by Rosallind Coward

Resources used to research this episode

The Queen - DVD

Diana: A Celebration - Official Guidebook

Macleans magazine - Diana, her life and legacy Commemorative edition - September 1997

Macleans Magazine - Forever Diana - September 15, 1997

Newsweek - Farewell, Diana - September 15, 1997

Royalty Magaazine - September 1997

Majesty Magazine Commemorative Issue - September 1997

Time - Commeorative Issue September 15, 1997

Time - Special Report: Death of a Princess - September 8, 1997

Tune in to the next episode of The Royal Report on Sunday September 5, 2010 at 9:00PM EST (North America)

TThe topic will be: In a special one hour episode, an Interview with Jerramy Fine, author of the memoir, Someday My Prince Will Come: True Adventures of a Wannabe Princess
Listen to that episode for your chance to win a copy of her book.

© Marilyn Braun 2010

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Royal Focus: Royal Warrants

The next time you enjoy some Twinning tea or Johnnie Walker you may want to take a close look at the package. You may have seen this particular image before and not known what it means.

Since the Middle Ages, tradesmen and companies that have provided a service or goods to the Sovereign have received formal recognition through a Royal Warrant. Originally this patronage took the form of 'royal charters' granted collectively to various guilds in trades and crafts, which later became known as livery companies.

The first on record was given by Henry II in 1155 to the Weavers Company. Over the centuries, the relationship evolved between the Crown and individual tradesmen and was formalized through 'royal warrants'.  Currently, only three members of the royal family grant royal warrants - The Queen, The Duke of Edinburgh and the Prince of Wales. When she was alive, the Queen Mother also granted warrants, which were kept valid until 2007 - five years after her death. They are granted to companies that have provided services to the royal family for a minimum of five years. Upon issue, the royal warrant allows the grantee or company to use 'By Royal Appointment' and display the royal coat of arms on their products such as stationery, advertisements and other printed material, in his or her premises and on delivery vehicles.

BALLATER, UNITED KINGDOM - SEPTEMBER 07:  The Royal Warrant is seen on the wall outside Chalmers Bakery in Balleter on September 7, 2008 in Ballater, Scotland. Royal Warrants of Appointment have been issued for centuries to those who supply goods or services to a royal court or certain royal personages. The warrant enables the supplier to advertise the fact that they supply to the royal family, so lending prestige to the supplier. Shops and business in the town of Balleter have historically supplied the Balmoral Estate and display their warrants with pride. The Balmoral Estate is in Aberdeenshire, Scotland and is the private residence of The Queen. Beloved by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, Balmoral Castle has remained a favourite residence for The Queen and her family during the summer holiday period in August and September. The Castle is located on the large Balmoral Estate, a working estate which aims to protect the environment while contributing to the local economy.  (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)Royal warrants are initially granted for five years after which point they come up for review. Should the goods or service reduce in quality or the supply of the product is insufficient to the Royal Household, a royal warrant will not be renewed. The warrants may be cancelled at any time or automatically come up for review should the holder die, leaves the business or if the company goes bankrupt or is sold. Some companies have a record of royal warrants over a 100 years. The Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh and the Prince of Wales can grant only one warrant to any individual business, however, there are some companies that hold all three.

Royal warrants are granted for a number of products and services, including dry-cleaners to fishmongers, agricultural machinery to computer software.  There are currently approximately 800 Royal warrant holders, holding over 1,100 Royal warrants between them (some have more than one Royal warrant).

Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Royal Report for Sunday August 22, 2010 - The Princess Royal at 60

Princess Anne, The Princess Royal celebrated her 60th birthday on August 15th. The only daughter of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, she is considered to be the hardest working royal yet her causes get little attention. On this episode I look back at her life and highlight this misunderstood royal.

Listen to the episode here

Publications mentioned

Hello! Canada August 23, 2010 No 184

Star Magazine August 23, 2010 issue - Cover story William & Kate Royal Romance in Ruins

OK! Magazine weekly August 23, 2010 - Cover Story The William & Kate Wedding Tell-All!

From My Royal Collection

Riding Through My Life HRH The Princess Royal with Ivor Herbert

Resources used for this episode

The Official Website of the British Monarchy - The Princess Royal

The Princess Royal by John Parker

Princess Anne;: A royal girl of our time by Anne Matheson and Reginald Davis

Anne: The Working Princess by Paul James

Anne and Mark - Text by Judith Campbell, Photographs by Srdja Djukanovic

Tune in live to the next episode of The Royal Report on Sunday August 29, 2010 at 9:00PM EST (North America)

The topic will be: August 31, 2010 will mark the 13th anniversary of the death  of Diana, Princess of Wales. On this episode, a tribute to the late princess.

© Marilyn Braun 2010

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Keep calm in the face of Prince William and Kate Middleton engagement rumors

I would advise everyone to stay calm and remain seated. Resist the urge to go to your nearest store and buy the latest issue of OK magazine with William and Kate on the cover. Slowly take your hand away from your purse/wallet. Ignore your Google alerts about an upcoming announcement in November and don't read too much into Kate's no-show at Gatcombe Park, where William demonstrated his prowess by taking photos with his phone.

These stories are just red-herrings because there is no real news about William and Kate (Oh, where is Tina Brown when I need her to illustrate my point?). We can be forgiven for jumping to conclusions, scoffing at these stories while reading every word. After all, what else is there to do?

But as you resist, you become stronger. Capable of reading between the lines of William and Kate stories.  For instance:

1) William and Kate photographed together in actual close physical contact/appearing together at a significant event (Read: They're still together. Phew!)

2)  William and Kate in close proximity looking serious. (Read: Not a good sign, but at least they're in the same frame)

3) Kate smiling enigmatically on the cover of Hello! (Read: Hello! is grasping at straws). There could be any number of reasons why Kate is smiling. It's a facial expression she'll have to lose when she marries into the royal family.

4) William or Kate photographed in separate situations - he at Gatcombe Park, she carrying mysterious rolls of paper while looking determined. (Read: Going about their lives as separate individuals. Or Kate has diagrams of Gatcombe Park to infiltrate the event. She failed.)

5) The cover of OK/Star Magazine showing pictures of William and Kate, with the headlines 'A Wedding Just Like Diana's!' or 'William & Kate's $40 Million Wedding of the Century!'    (Read: Nuff said!)

6) Stories about Kate working. (Read: Don't insult our intelligence)

7) Kate pregnant with William's baby (Read: Don't start knitting just yet)

8) Kate cheating on William (Read: Well, can you really blame her?)

9) William and Kate are related (Read: No worries. Keeping it in the family is a royal family tradition)

10) Specific predictions for engagement announcements and wedding dates (Read: Someone is using the Magic 8 ball again)

© Marilyn Braun 2010

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Royal Focus: Princess Diana's Wedding Dress


PHILADELPHIA - OCTOBER 1: Princess Diana's wedding gown is displayed at a preview of the traveling 'Diana: A Celebration' exhibit at the National Constitution Center on October 1, 2009 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The exhibit, not shown in the U.S. since 2007, opens tomorrow and continues through December 31.  (Photo by William Thomas Cain/Getty Images)When people attempt to describe the wedding dress of Diana, Princess of Wales, the words voluminous, iconic, meringue, fairy-tale tend to be used. But it's difficult to put into words the impact of it both on fashion and on the memory of those who watched Diana alight from the carriage, as if a 'butterfly emerging from a chrysalis'. Unlike any royal wedding dress before or since Diana's will always be in a league of its own.

The Prince and Princess of Wales leave St Paul's Cathedral after their wedding, 29th July 1981. She wears a wedding dress by David and Elizabeth Emmanuel and the Spencer family tiara. (Photo by Jayne Fincher/Princess Diana Archive/Getty Images)The dress, designed by David and Elizabeth Emanuel, took four months to make and was made of ivory pure silk taffeta. The bodice was fitted and boned with a wide frill around the curved neckline. It has embroidered lace panels on the front and back. The sleeves are full and gathered into a taffeta frill at the elbow with lace flounce underneath. The skirt of the dress as full, worn over a crinoline petticoat consisting of many layers of ivory tulle and trimmed around the waist and hem with embroidered lace.

PHILADELPHIA - OCTOBER 1:  Princess Diana's wedding gown is displayed at a preview of the traveling 'Diana: A Celebration' exhibit at the National Constitution Center on October 1, 2009 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The exhibit, not shown in the U.S. since 2007, opens tomorrow and continues through December 31.  (Photo by William Thomas Cain/Getty Images)The train, trimmed with lace, was 25-feet long - the longest to date.
The veil, measuring 11 1/2 foot by 40 foot, was hand-embroidered with 10,000 3mm mother-of-pearl sequins. Diana wore the Spencer family tiara for something borrowed. The something old was a piece of lace from Queen Mary, and for something blue, the Emanuel's hand-sewed a little blue bow into the back of the dress. The couple also added a tiny,golden horse-shoe made of 18-carat Welsh gold, studded with diamonds, sewn into the back of the label of the dress.


PHILADELPHIA - OCTOBER 1:  Princess Diana's wedding slippers are displayed at a preview of the traveling 'Diana: A Celebration' exhibit at the National Constitution Center on October 1, 2009 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The exhibit, not shown in the U.S. since 2007, opens tomorrow and continues through December 31.  (Photo by William Thomas Cain/Getty Images)Diana carried a large, cascading bouquet. On her feet Diana wore slippers by Clive Shilton. Trimmed with lace from the dress, and made of silk duchess satin, dyed to match the color of the dress, the shoes had 542 mother-of-pearl sequins on each pair, each knotted by hand. The fluted heel was made of bits of leather and wood and the soles were hand-painted with the letters "C" and "D" entwined with a heart.

© Marilyn Braun 2010
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, August 08, 2010

The Royal Report for Sunday August 8, 2010 - Are Prince William and Kate Middleton on the path towards a royal engagement?

After eight years of dating, are Prince William and Kate Middleton on the path towards a royal engagement? Have Peter and Autumn Philips sold 3D Ultrasound pictures to Hello! magazine? How and where does Zara Philips get her kicks?

Listen here to find out

Publications mentioned

People Magazine - December 11, 2006 (Cover Story: Kate Middleton and Prince William - Will he propose?)

People Magazine - May 3, 2010 (Cover story: William and Kate - The next Princess!)

Someday My Prince Will Come: True Adventures of a Wannabe Princess by Jerramy Fine

From My Royal Collection

The Jewels of the Duchess of Windsor

There will be no episode next week. Tune in to the next episode of The Royal Report on Sunday August 22, 2010 at 9:00PM EST (North America).

The topic will be: The Princess Royal at 60

© Marilyn Braun 2010

Saturday, July 31, 2010

The Royal Report for Sunday August 1st, 2010 - Tribute to Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother

On August 4th, 2010 would have marked Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother's 110th birthday. On this episode, a look back at this remarkable woman and her impact on the royal family.

You can listen to the episode here

Royal Podcasts mentioned

The Royal Report on iTunes

RoyaltyNow!

Memories of Diana

Queen Victoria - The English Programme

The Royal Collection Podcast

Publications mentioned

Hello! Canada Weekly No 182 9 August 2010

Someday My Prince Will Come: True Adventures of a Wannabe Princess by Jerramy Fine

Elizabeth, The Queen Mother by Hugo Vickers

The Queen Mother: The Official Biography by William Shawcross

From My Royal Collection

Queen Victoria's Family: A Century of Photographs by Charlotte Zeepvat

Tune in to the next episode of The Royal Report on Sunday August 8, 2010 at 9:00PM EST (North America)

The topic will be: An update on Prince William and Kate Middleton - Are we any closer to a royal engagement?

© Marilyn Braun 2010