The Royal Chronicles

Author\’s commentary, Special Features, Outtakes, and Extras from Marilyn\’s Royal Blog

Archive for March, 2005

Prince Charles – Royal Sex Symbol

Posted by Marilyn on March 31, 2005

Yes ladies, in a weeks time the Prince of Wales will be officially off the market [insert global groans here]. I know..I’s a disappointment isn’t it? We can’t help but be happy for him but the announcement of his upcoming marriage must be tempered with the heartbreak over what could have been if only we had waited out the whole Camilla thing. The problem was that we waited too long. Didn’t we think we had plenty of time between 1996 and 2005? Aren’t you just kicking yourself with regret?

At one point Charles was considered to be the ‘most eligible man in the world’. As anyone so close in line for the throne, it is his fate to have women fall in love with him. He is no doubt a besieged sex symbol, aware of his power over women and modest in the presence of women screaming as if he was a popstar.He is known as a chivalrous suitor, never boasting of all of his conquests with his “Charlie’s Angels”. A prince and a gentleman.

Despite all of the tabloid reports, between Charles and Diana, I’m sure there were some women out there who held and continue to hold, a torch for him. It would be extremely hard to resist his charms. What with the whole ‘heir to the throne’ thing going for him and then in the 1970’s the ‘Action Man’ tag. He’s educated, wealthy, a deep thinker, and he has a certain rugged maculine appeal. How could anyone possibly resist his charms? Besides doesn’t everyone just love a man in uniform?

Once the whole Diana fiasco was over with he went back to his status. Now I agree, his appeal is not of the same quality as the late John F. Kennedy Jr. but it was still there all along. After the unfortunate accident where Kennedy, his wife and sister-in-law died in 1999 the focus once again turned to Charles. Forget all of those ‘Sexiest Man Alive’ titles, People magazine was overlooking a gem in the rough. Movie starts will fade away, but as a member of the best known royal family in the world, Charles will always have a place in the history books.

Now the focus goes to Prince William; whom he’s dating, whom he will marry. We can only hope that he will have the same sex appeal as his father.

© Marilyn Braun 2005

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Explaining Camilla to children

Posted by Marilyn on March 28, 2005

There has been a lot of media coverage regarding the upcoming royal wedding which I would think has piqued the interest of people of all ages. Children love a fairy tale, no more so than when it’s a real one. When Charles married Diana at the wedding of the century, the Archbishop of Canterbury said “this is the stuff of fairy tales”, and we believed it ourselves. If we could only freeze frame that moment in time we could ignore it’s ending and look 20 years younger.

I’m sure there was some difficulty with parents having to explain Diana’s death and even more difficult if they’re curious about Dodi and the conspiracy theories.With Camilla the story gets much more complicated than ‘they lived happily ever after’. Weren’t things supposed to turn out differently? Yes, Dick and Jane they were.

Like explaining the facts of life or thermonuclear physics, there is no simple answer regarding Charles and Camilla. However, one must always be prepared for such an eventuality; children look to us for leadership and sustanance so to present anything other than blithe reasurrance could be traumatizing. Not answering properly could be the pivitol moment where children realize their parents know nothing and have been bluffing all along.

All children have a natural curiosity which, depending on the subject, should be encouraged.On the bright side we could look upon this as a valuable and informative way to teach them about the world. So what is the best way to do this? Should we broach the topic ourselves? If so we need to choose our words very carefully before they hear the truth in the school yard. This wouldn’t be on the epic level of deception as Santa Claus but it could still burst a few bubbles. Of course we would want them to keep an open mind regarding her, so calling her a trolloppe would be biased; better go with the more middle ground, all purpose, floosie. More importantly we don’t want them calling every rotweiller they come across Camilla. We could also briefly explain the long and sordid history of royal mistresses; every family needs something to be proud of.

Not to mention judging a person by their appearance; time marches across everyone’s face. Camilla’s future title could introduce them to the elitist society in which we live but touching on the religious and legal issues regarding the marriage could go over their heads. The fact that Charles’ parents aren’t coming to the wedding and the complexities of parental approval could be worrisome even for the most secure of children. Best to omit that part so they can find out for themselves.

We could try to avoid the whole topic of Charles and Camilla entirely by switching to another channel or cutting those stories out of the newspaper but some would consider that to be censorship. They will need to be exposed to reality at some point, so starting with this and a part-time job could be a good segue way.

Once they’ve been temporarily reassured we could also let them know that maybe this story will end in a ‘happily ever after’. We just might have to wait 20 years to find out.

© Marilyn Braun 2005

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Rest in peace Diana…but only for now

Posted by Marilyn on March 23, 2005

I don’t know about you but there are times when I wish Diana was still here. Sometimes I’m filled with disbelief that she’s gone; maybe that’s what happens when someone vibrant and youthful dies. At the time of her death, even her own niece didn’t believe it when told the news: “but not in real life Daddy”.The global shock no longer reverberates but almost eight years after her death she lives on. She’s in good company with Jackie Kennedy who is kept alive in Kennedy retrospectives and every new book that comes out to revive Camelot. We want to go back to a time when glamour meant something other than Oscar parties and best dressed lists.

With the exception of the whole ‘Inquest into her death’ issue to contend with, you could actually pretend that she’s still around. Like Elvis, she has left the building and is living somewhere in Mexico, making the occasional foray to pick up a Big Mac. The conspiracy theories and inquest could be distracting us from the fact that maybe she is still alive and well and that publicizing and keeping her memory alive will smoke her out of hiding. Like those Sasquach, UFO and Loch Ness monster photos, it would provide proof to the unconverted. The lucky person who took the photo could count their money while giving us breathless first hand accounts, maybe even write their own book and appear on Larry King. The night Diana died, people were interviewed around the tunnel area, giving their own accounts and taking pictures for the slide show back home. Good taste isn’t for everyone, especially those who can make money.

There are many people who I’m sure would want her to be around – the media as stock photos only go so far, the paparazzi who need something to do other than clean their lenses, the designers who have now slipped back into obscurity only to be brought out when discussing her fashion impact on the world, Barbara Walters. Wouldn’t it be the ultimate exclusive? She might even make Diana cry to boost ratings.

Alternately, there are many people who probably wouldn’t want her to be around, namely her official memorial fund as you can’t hock Diana margarine without her approval. Perhaps the people who successfully bid on her dresses at auction, which then promptly went up on value after she died. I recently watched a program called ‘Diana’s dresses’ which profiled some of the people who bought them. With a cross dresser providing commentary, people spoke about how the dress changed their lives, the measures they’ve taken to protect the dress by keeping it in a safe and not disclosing where they live for the camera. One rich and obviously troubled woman, protects the dress by displaying it with a glazed looking guard keeping watch beside it. The poor man must constantly fight the urge to drop a match on it.

Really, she doesn’t physically need to be alive to us. There are so many people slavishly following every detail of the inquest and buying Franklin Mint dolls, that it should carry us for another good few years. Andrew Morton and Paul Burrell will milk it for every last drop. The memorial fountain fiasco alone is an honorable mention. Even her brother is in on the act; would we really go to Althorp if Diana wasn’t buried there? We could take pictures of the island where she is buried, place flowers in the alotted area. Wouldn’t the macabre side of us just love to get on that island and visit her grave? One can never get too close and maybe some of her magic might rub off. A few years back some people did sneak onto the island with metal detectors. Her brother foiled them by burying slabs of metal here and there just to confuse things. I’m guilty of wanting more information, briefly scanning the inquest documents for the grisly details; one can never know enough about her. At one point I thought about writing a book on her life from birth to death, minutely detailing it by day. There is a similar book out there with Elvis as the subject so it’s not an original idea. But it could sell and I know I would buy it.

I’m sure the royal family would love for Diana to go away, especially Charles and Camilla. Camilla must be exhausted just trying to live up to the expectations and comparisons. The Queen must have made a grudging decision to add her to the memorial page of the royals official website and she has a cursory mention on Charles’ site. On the royals site I’ve noticed that as each new royal dies she moves further and further down the page, but they can’t stop those of us who are dedicated enough to use the scroll bar.

Her family’s feelings notwithstanding, or if shes reading this herself, maybe it’s better that she’s no longer alive. One of the books I have mentions this very idea. She is forever frozen in time, always beautiful, eternally happy, and mystique still intact. Had she lived into old age her funeral would indeed have been a depressing event to those of us who still cared by that point. Unless you have the longevity of the Queen Mother, being elderly doesn’t make for good copy or sell commemorative plates. Rest in peace Diana, wherever you are.

© Marilyn Braun 2005

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Queen Camilla

Posted by Marilyn on March 21, 2005

Did I hear you right?….did you say Queen Camilla?

Will that be Camilla’s title when Charles ascends the throne? At the moment it’s a very strong possibility.

Ten years ago the idea of Camilla being anything other than a footnote in royal mistress history (like her great-grandmother Alice Keppel, longest serving mistress of King Edward VII) would have been met by extreme hostility. Charles and Diana were the golden couple, the unbeatable team, and destined to rule over us. Now we can only think of what could have been instead of facing the reality of what is. At one point it was inconceivable that the heir to the throne would ever get divorced, especially to Diana of all people. Oh how things have changed!

Now, on a daily basis there is a ping pong game going back and forth on what Camilla’s title will be. I’m not referring to her future title of HRH Duchess of Cornwall, that seems to be acceptable to all concerned. A good compromise to those who revered Diana and don’t want the title of HRH The Princess of Wales sullied by someone so strongly associated with Diana losing it. Details..details… haven’t people already forgotten about that?

No the raging debate is on Camilla’s future title once the Queen goes to that drafty palace in the sky. The company line seems to be that she will be referred to as HRH Princess Consort. On the face of things it seems like a good idea but not one that is written in stone. The official announcement from Clarence House leaves some doubt:

‘It is intended that Mrs Parker Bowles should use the title HRH The Princess Consort when The Prince of Wales accedes to The Throne.

The word ‘intended’ gives an out for the Prince’s camp, banking on those who have either died of boredom or forgotten about this issue by the time he becomes King. Admittedly this discussion on her title seems to be somewhat academic as who really cares in the grand scheme of things? While shopping for Cheerios at the supermarket, are you suddenly going to stop dead in your tracks at the injustice of it all? lose sleep? complain to your local politican? Shake your fist at the sky and scream ‘WHY’ at the top of your lungs. Better do that after you check out so you don’t miss the sale on kitty litter.

According to those in the know, the ubiquitious ‘sources’, Camilla herself does not want to be called Queen. A fairly diplomatic route to take, people already dislike her enough without her making the presumption that she will inherit the title by default of no one else wanting it. But is this really how she feels? Once again, those of us who have nothing better to do can only conjecture. Where is the Queen Mother when you need her to straighten things out? Give the definative answer to settle things once and for all. In 1936 She overruled constitutional law by whim of her own bitterness when a twist of fate made her Queen. When King Edward VIII abdicated, choosing happiness over a life of mind numbing ribbon cutting. she used her influence with her husband, the new King, and denied the wife of the newly minted Duke of Windsor those three precious letters – HRH. The Duke and Duchess of Windsor spent the rest of their days raging about it. But what would the ‘HRH’ really changed things for the Duchess? Maybe a polite bow or curtsey, plus being able to pull rank with the relatives back home in Pennslyvania?

Back to Camilla. By rights she would be Queen in all but name so why beat around the bush? We’ve just seen how the rules can be bent if necessary. Should she be given the title Queen what are we reallly going to do about it? storm Buckingham palace? stop buying souvenirs? convert to republicanism? The royals pandered to the public when Diana died, lowering the Union Jack on the palace and looking suitably anguished but that doesn’t mean they have to do it all the time. When Prince Harry had his latest gaffe with the Nazi insignia the public demanded a visit to Auchwitz and instead got an apology. Where’s the uproar now that we have Camilla’s title to discuss? Shouldn’t this have done permanent damage? The likelihood is that it will only be mentioned in those Prince Harry expose biographies as evidence he’s the bad, misguided son.

Does Camilla really not want to become Queen? I don’t believe that for a second. To call her HRH Princess Consort she meets her fate only halfway. Sure the disadvantages outweigh the advantages but large diamonds and priceless jewels are a consolation prize aren’t they? Not to mention appearing on the commemorative china and keychains. It will soften the blow inherent with signing on with the ‘family firm’. With Charles beside her it’s a win win situation. But should things sour, as we’ve seen with Diana, it doesn’t need to be a permanent life sentence and it’s easier to escape from than the mafia. God save Queen Camilla.

© Marilyn Braun 2005

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Royal Glamour Girls

Posted by Marilyn on March 21, 2005

Until I find a topic other that Charles and Camilla’s wedding I’ve decided to wade into the fray with my thoughts on monarchy. Although I collect all of the books, made my pilgrimage to Althorp, and scour used book stores for the thrill of the hunt, I don’t believe in monarchy. A system where one must give total deference to someone, who via an accident of birth expects it but has done nothing to deserve it, makes no sense to me.

Indeed, a few years ago I was at Woodbine racetrack waiting for the race to begin. Conveniently, the Queen and Prince Philip were in attendance on this day screwing lightbulbs left and right. I’m assuming that the race had not began yet but everyone around me rose to their feet and clapped as they went by. Everyone but me, the infirm, and the people who were too busy looking at their programs. Now I’m not sure if everyone was trying to get a better look at them or had bet on their carriage; but there were no cheers when they crossed the finish line. As they were a sure thing and the only one on the course, those that didn’t bet were probably kicking themselves.

I paraphrase a quote from Princess Anne regarding Diana, “obviously she fullfilled a role that I wasn’t able to”. As a member of the royal family, Diana injected a much needed jolt of glamour that the royals didn’t and wouldn’t have otherwise – they were becoming long in the tooth even way back then. In her day, the youthful Queen heralded a new Elizabethan age. In the late 1950’s and mid 1960’s Princess Margaret was the glamour girl. But then in the 1970’s Princess Anne came of age and disappointed us by not being beautiful. Enter Diana.

Now that Diana is dead and Sarah is off promoting Weight Watchers, our eyes turned to Sophie to rescue those of us who look at royalty from a superficial level. Unfortunately Sophie doesn’t want to do that. She is neither the Diana fashion plate or the Fergie fashion disaster. Since she’s a minor royal she probably can’t afford the clothes necessary to make an impact; it’s easy for her to play it safe. Luckily she doesn’t carry out enough engagements for us to even notice. Left without our fix, we have to look to other european royals for glamour. Other royal houses understand this need, hiding any jealously they may harbor, in the interest of flying the flag for their country.

I recently read some thoughts on monarchy, one possible viewpoint, out of all of the more sobering serious thoughts:

‘Monarchy is at most a tourist attraction and historic relic that provides some public theater and amusement and should be allowed to conitnue.’

Isn’t it our projections that make it theatre? Aren’t we making our own jokes and laughing at them? Unless we have relatives/friends there, is there any other reason to go to England? Or Monaco? France has Versailles, but it also has other attractions, the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, plus being very romantic and cosmopolitan. Like any public figure, there’s the private person and the public person. There must be a division otherwise our fickle opinions would drive them crazy. We call them dysfunctional, label the Queen a bad mother, but are they really? We can only imagine.

For want of anything better to do, we could debate the pros and cons on a quasi-serious level without ever resolving anything, pretend we’re above it all and we’ve never look at the gossip magazines, claim we didn’t know the weddings were on that day, and that we don’t have some sort of souvenir for the next garage sale. But why not admit it and start a support group for those in denial? There’s nothing to be ashamed of, really, there isn’t.

I’ve never debated because I don’t particularly care and my viewpoints wouldn’t count in the scheme of things. But without the monarchy, what would journalists fill their columns with? what would the souvenir vendors do? What would the royals do without the mass adoration? How about the Republicans? Don’t we need to think of them too?

So, back to the glamour girls. We have so many to choose from why not collect them all?

Princess Mary of Denmark
Princess Maxima of the Netherlands
Princess Mette-Marit of Norway
Princess Letizia of Spain
Princess Mathilde of Belgium
Princesses Victoria and Madeleine of Sweden
Princesses Caroline & Stephanie of Monaco

Princess Mary is so popular that on a recent visit to Australia (her home territory) she completely overshadowed Prince Charles’ tour. Or should I say, her clothes overshadowed Charles. Not to worry about him, he must be used to it by now. After all, how can a ‘vintage Oscar de la Renta skirt’ compare to the future King of England? Even Camilla wedding dress gets more column space. Maybe the royals should compare schedules so there’s no conflicts or injury to tender royal egos. Luckily the Danes were leaving Australia just as Princess Victoria of Sweden arrived.

The other European royals are not immune and once the glossy sheen wears off, Mary will be torn down for the cost of her clothes. When Mette-Marit married she brought with her the baggage of an out of wedlock son from a previous relationship. The public went ‘tsk tsk’ and demanded that she apologize for her ‘desolute past’. Once done she could walk into the cathedral with her head held high. Letizia had been married previously, but that was a civil ceremony so it didn’t count. Charles and Camilla won’t escape penance either; after their Guildhall ceremony they will have a church blessing, part of which involves a prayer to confess their sins. Won’t that make us all feel better? Maxima, and Mathilde, seem to be safely keeping themselves under the radar, except when appearing in Hello, having babies and making the occasional overseas visit. Since the Swedish royals were suing the tabloids, Caroline & Stephanie kept us occupied until Charles proposed. While Charles and Camilla are on honeymoon, and Prince Harry is behaving himself, if we’re really bored we can discuss whether Prince Albert of Monaco is gay.

Quick! without going to the Prince of Wales’ official website, can you name the topic of a recent speech he’s made? I remember something vague about protecting albatross before they become endangered but that’s about it. His opinion carried so much weight that three days after his speech his hosts still had him try on a cloak made of albatross feathers. Without Diana, wouldn’t the British royals have sank like a rock? Would you watch them drown? If they look glamourous I know I would.

© Marilyn Braun 2005

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