The Royal Chronicles

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

Archive for April, 2005

As the tiara turns…

Posted by Marilyn on April 27, 2005

Well, now that Charles and Camilla are married and the furor has died down I’m considering what I can write about next. The wedding was such a good thing because I could bide my time developing non-wedding material. Luckily the wedding isn’t the end of the story. I recently read an article on Camilla not wearing her engagement ring just 5 days after her wedding. The writer noted that this shouldn’t be seen as a sign of any ‘trouble’. I guess they’re in the same boat as I am with looking for stuff to write about. Doesn’t all of this speculation give you a sense of deja vu?

I could write about impending trouble in their relationship but I think it’s too early for that. If Camilla were younger, after a decent period of time we could discuss when the next royal heir will arrive. Since we can’t do that we can wonder whether Charles fathered Camilla’s children. Unless it sells chocolates and flowers, being in love isn’t interesting, except when it’s a royal love affair. I’ve noticed that royal romances tend to follow a fairly predictable pattern. Let’s review it shall we?

At the time of the first wedding, the press was practically rabid for information on whom Charles would marry. Early on he made the mistake of saying that 30 was about the right age to get married and they were off! One only needs to look at books on Charles pre-Diana to capture the intense amount of scrutiny he was under; there’s even a book dedicated exclusively to the subject (Settling Down by James Whittaker). All Charles needed to do was stand beside a passably attractive woman and he was betrothed to her. This usually happens for most direct heirs to the throne so it’s not a surprise. However, by 1981 Charles needed to find a suitable bride, aristocratic and without a ‘past’ and he was running out of options. Lady Diana fit the bill and Charles duly proposed. Having successfully completed that task I shall continue.

Once the fiancée is chosen, the press laid siege to her private life, going through her garbage, digging up her past

Then they wax poetic about the future bride, compiling family trees that invaribly show that somehow the royal couple are related to each other; something which never fails to trouble me. If they looked into my background would I be distantly related too?

Interviews with the hairdresser, makeup artist, dentist, kindergarten teacher, and shopkeeper who gave her change two years prior to the engagement

Official photos and stamps released. Copies of the engagement ring and commemorative books go on sale

Wedding coverage. What will the dress look like? Where’s the dress? Why did she wear that? When can I get a copy? Did she actually vow to obey?

Ah, the honeymoon and things are lovey dovey. One would think they could relax but not so! Speculation on a royal baby begins.

No pregnancy? Why not? Is there trouble in the relationship?

Pregnancy is announced and everyone breathes a sigh of relief. The betting starts. Odds for names, will it be a boy or girl? Media, a curious onlookers camp out at the hospital.

The birth is heralded. When will there be pictures? We haven’t seen him/her, is there something wrong with the baby? What’s the name? Why did they pick that name?

The press follows them on tours, walkabouts, and various charitable engagements. Coverage includes what the royal wife wears.

When will the next baby arrive? Is she pregnant? Why not?

Repeat pregnancy announcement and heralding of birth

The press follows them on tours, walkabouts, and various charitable engagements. Endless coverage on what the royal wife wears.

“Sources” behind the scenes report on dissention and jealousy. The press prints pictures of the couple looking serious at a state funeral, crops out the coffin, and uses that to predict problems.

Queen labelled a bad mother

Expose books go on sale

Guest appearance by the Republicans

Rumours of separation. Palace issues a denial

Shows of togetherness

Husband/wife sit beside someone of the opposite sex and it’s reported they are having an affair

More shows of togetherness

Couple orders individual stationary and take up battle positions

Queen labelled a bad mother

Then if the press is lucky they get caught having affairs and photos appear showing them in compromising positions. No one did this better than Fergie; a tough act for any royal to follow. The couple give their respective sides of the story. After endless denials and exclusives from insiders, they separate and divorce only to start the whole process all over again. The Butler gets a book deal and tv movies are developed. Maybe Dame Judy Dench will play the Queen! So many people making money, I’m obviously in the wrong career.

The only thing missing to make this truly comparable to a soap opera is a kidnapping, coma, illegitimate baby and someone miraculously coming back from the dead. So I’m not completely lost for possibilities. Why, as we speak, the press are writing about William and Kate. At the tender age of 21,Willliam was asked about marriage, and so the hunt for a royal bride begins all over again. What will I write about until an engagement is announced? maybe another royal will do something controversial! With the reports about Harry, I probably won’t have to wait very long.

© Marilyn Braun 2005

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Jewels fit for a Queen

Posted by Marilyn on April 26, 2005

Jewels are a pivotal part of any royal woman’s wardrobe. The Queen’s jewels might go unnoticed but they are beautiful and fascinating for their history and individual craftsmanship. Over the years the Queen has received a number of gifts, whether personal ones or jewels from heads of state and if she is receives a piece of jewellery she will usually try to wear it to the next occasion as a compliment to the presenter. In public or private, it would be very unusual to see the Queen without some sort of brooch or her pearls. In the evenings she can be seen with some type of royal parure, which is a set of matched jewellery usually comprising of a brooch, earrings, tiara and necklace. The Queen is estimated to have in her collection 14 tiaras, 37 pairs of earrings, 105 brooches, 58 necklaces, 37 bracelets, six pendants, 14 watches, and 15 rings.

Some of the jewels are family heirlooms or belong to the Crown to be worn by future queens. Although there are no official guidelines, jewels which are personal property, are bequeathed at the owner’s discretion. Queen Victoria and Queen Mary are in large responsible for organizing the collection, deciding which ones would be personal gifts and which ones would belong to the Crown. Regardless of what public event the Queen attends she is usually wearing something on her head, whether it is a tiara, crown, or hat, as a symbol of authority. It would be impossible to mention all of her jewellery so I will confine this article to the more familiar pieces, mainly tiaras.

When most people think of royal jewels they think of the Crown Regalia, specifically the Imperial State Crown, it is most recognizable as it is worn for coronations and state openings of parliament. This crown weighs 2lbs 13 oz. It is set with 2,873 diamonds, 273 pearls, seventeen sapphires, eleven emeralds and five rubies. The Crown also features the 317.4 Cullinan II diamond and the ‘Black Prince’s ruby’. In its long history at one point the crown was transported by cab and until 1962 it was transported to the Houses of Parliament in a closed carriage. Now it is openly displayed for the waiting crowds, as a prelude to the symbolism and pageantry as the Queen carries out her role as constitutional monarch. When the Queen meets children in public at least one of them is invariably bound to ask her “Where is your crown?”

http://www.royal.gov.uk/output/page795.asp

King George IV State Diadem

The most frequently worn part of the Crown Regalia is the King George IV State Diadem. It is completely circular and decorated with symbolic roses, shamrock and thistle. Originally made for King George IV in 1821 for his coronation, but he never wore it. During the Hanoverian period, gems were hired out for the crowns and then stripped bare leaving skeletal frames between each coronation. In1838 the diadem was reset with jewels from the royal collection and Queen Victoria wore it at her coronation. However, with the beginning of this reign the jewels were soldered in, symbolic of the new solidity and prosperity Queen Victoria would come to represent. She wore the diadem constantly for family events, state banquets, formal portraits, and she is pictured wearing it in the first postage stamp issued in 1840. In her will she left it to the Crown. The diadem was a particular favourite of Queen Alexandra.

http://www.royal.gov.uk/output/page3581.asp

The present Queen wore this on her way to her coronation and wears this to and from the State Opening of Parliament each year. She is pictured wearing it on all UK postage stamps and the diadem is no doubt seen by more millions of people than any other item of royal jewellery.

Girls of Great Britain and Ireland tiara

If one looks at photos of the Queen during evening events, you will frequently see the‘Girls of Great Britain and Ireland’ tiara. The tiara gets its name from donations made to a committee formed in 1893 to raise money for a wedding gift to the future Queen Mary. It has diamond festoons, scrolls and 27 collet spikes and Queen Mary originally wore it with upstanding pearl spikes. Minus the pearls, she gifted it to Princess Elizabeth for her wedding in 1947. It was her first tiara and the Queen affectionately calls it ‘Granny’s tiara’. This tiara has also appeared on currency and stamps.

http://ca.geocities.com/marilyndieke/gb_tiara.jpg

King George III fringe tiara

Princess Elizabeth did not wear ‘Granny’s tiara’ on her wedding day; instead she borrowed the King George III fringe tiara from her mother. A graduated circle of vertical rows of diamonds, it was originally made in 1830 and designed to be worn as either a necklace or a tiara. This tiara/necklace was one of the pieces that Queen Victoria left to the Crown.

http://ca.geocities.com/marilyndieke/fringe_tiara.jpg

An interesting story about this tiara is that as the princess was preparing for her wedding the frame of the tiara snapped in half. A royal jeweller was on standby and repaired it in time for her departure. However had it not been fixed, unlike ordinary brides the princess had other tiaras to borrow from the royal collection if necessary. Princess Anne also wore this tiara on her wedding day.

The Cambridge Lover’s Knot Tiara

Next to the Spencer family tiara, the Lover’s Knot tiara is currently most associated with Diana, Princess of Wales. As such we are not likely to see another royal lady wearing it anytime soon, which is unfortunate as I think it’s the most beautiful of all of the royal tiaras. Queen Mary commissioned it in 1914 as a copy of one owned by her grandmother. Like “Granny’s tiara’ this also had upstanding pearl spikes at one point. In the 19th century it was a popular design and there are five known versions still in existence. Queen Mary left this tiara to the present Queen and she wore it occasionally as a young woman, eventually gifting it to Diana for her wedding in 1981.

http://ca.geocities.com/marilyndieke/lovers_knot.jpg

The Grand Duchess Vladimir tiara:

Another of the Queen’s familiar tiaras is the ‘Grand Duchess Vladimir’ and like ‘Granny’s tiara’ this is the Queen’s personal property. In 1921 Queen Mary bought this tiara from some the Grand Duchess’ children and in 1953 left it in her will to the present Queen. Originally made in 1890, it has fifteen interlaced circles with a swinging oriental pearl suspended from each. The tiara is also very versatile as the pearls can be interchanged with emerald drops. The emeralds for this tiara are part of a parure consisting of matching necklace, brooch, stomacher, earrings and two bracelets.

http://ca.geocities.com/marilyndieke/vladimir_russian_tiara.jpg

For more detailed information on the royal jewels, please check out the books listed below.

References:

The Queen’s Jewels – The Personal Collection of Elizabeth II by Leslie Field
The Royal Jewels by Suzy Menkes
Queens Jewels by Vincent Meylan
Hello Magazine No. 863. 21 April 2005

© Marilyn Braun 2005

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The Proust Questionnaire

Posted by Marilyn on April 22, 2005

After over 50 years on the throne, Queen Elizabeth II has become Europe’s longest reiging monarch and one of the most respected heads of state in the world. In all her time in the public eye, she has never given an interview. After years of speculation, gossip, the soap opera antics of her family, she has decided to set the record straight once and for all.

What is your most marked characteristic?
My stare. It can freeze water.

What do you most dislike about your appearance?
Everything but my ear-lobes

What is the quality you most like in a man?
Stamina and looking good in a uniform

What is the quality you most like in a woman?
The ability to flatter and borrow their clothes

What do you value most in your friends?
Their potential as heart donors.

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
That I’m too serious at times

What is your favorite occupation?
Being Queen, I love the perks. If I wasn’t Queen I would have been a lounge singer

What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Canoodling with Philip on the sofa on a rainy day…oh I’m sorry, that’s too much information

What you do regard as the lowest depth of misery?
Being only half-way through this questionnaire

Which historical figure do you most identify with?
Queen Victoria however I’m biased as she’s a family member.

What is your biggest fear?
Skydiving, although I would like to try it.

Which living person do you most despise?
Where to begin…..

Which living person do you most admire?
Dame Edna, she reminds me of my mother

What is the trait do you most deplore in yourself?
Restraint in dealing with annoying people

On what occasion do you lie?
When doing my taxes..shhh..don’t tell anyone!

What is your greatest extravagance ?
Manicures & pedicures.

What is your favorite journey?
Let’s see, I’ve been pretty well everywhere but I do enjoy going to Florida. We have a condo there and we meet up with some friends every year and play bridge

What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
Monogamy

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
Most people would think “we are not amused” but I prefer the more direct “sod off”

What is your greatest regret?
Not spending more time with my children when they were younger

What or who is the greatest love of your life?
My husband Philip

What do you consider your greatest achievement
Having kept quiet until now

What is your most treasured possession?
My collection of commemorative plates. I have almost all of them.

When and where were you most happiest?
Before I came to the throne

If you could change one thing about your family, what would it be?
I wish they would be quiet at times

If you could choose what to come back as, what would it be?
A thorn in the side of the paparazzi and newspaper editors

What is it that you most dislike?
Death, although I’m in favor of it for certain people.

In which country would you like to live?
Canada. They’re so nice there.

What are your favorite names?
Charles, Anne, Andrew, Edward

What is it that you most dislike?
Reading tell all books about myself and being quoted by people I’ve never met.

Which talent would you most like to have?
Selective hearing and being able to play the trombone.

How would you like to die?
Unexpectedly, although not during a public event, it would spoil the pagentry.

What is your current state of mind?
Remarkably sane

What is your motto?
Honi soit qui mal y pense ‘Evil to him who evil thinks’

© Marilyn Braun 2005

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Wanted: Sovereign of the British Royal House

Posted by Marilyn on April 18, 2005

Job Type: Permanent Full time
Location: London, UK
Job Category: Executive
Industry: World Rulers
Company URL: www.royal.gov.uk
Experience: Nepotism
Number Of Positions: 1
Position Start Date: TBD
Salary: Civil List
Education: Honorary degrees an asset

The Opportunity

The British Royal Family has a long history and is one of most well known royal families in the world. The Royal Family’s public role is based on identifying with every section of society, including minorities and special interest groups. The Firm is looking for a leader to head up their global operations. Must have a keen interest in people, strong customer service skills. With creativity, enthusiasm and energy your days are sure to be rewarded. Truly an amazing opportunity!

The Responsibilities

  • Acting as the United Kingdom’s Head of State, Constitutional monarch, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith, and ruling over Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the successful candidate will be capable of wearing many hats with ease.
  • Perform Investitures, bestow honours, various ceremonial duties and significant constitutional functions.
  • The sovereign acts as the focus for national unity, visiting local communities and representing Britain around the world.
  • While remaining politically impartial, formally appoints the prime minister and approves various legislation
  • Oversee the management of the private estates which are run on a commercial basis. Taking an active interest in all aspects of management.
  • Act as the ‘fountain of honour’
  • Head of the Armed Forces. Must use discretion when declaring war and peace.
  • Working closely with the Prime Minister of the country, you will set the strategic direction and provide inspiring leadership.
  • Handle highly confidential and sensitive matters
  • Demonstrating your relationship building capability, you will be required to build international alliances and local strategic relationships, hence raising the profile of the country and commonwealth.
  • Inspiring the country to excel while simultaneously balancing varied duties.
  • Performance standards, including, but not limited to preparedness for any emergencies, crisises or other unexpected situations;
  • Sit for endless portraits
  • Allow image to be used for currency and stamps

Hours: 24/7 with 2 days off per year (Christmas and Easter).

Benefits: Dental, eyeglasses, vast properties, priceless jewels

Qualifications

  • Experience with utlizing the right to be consulted, to encourage, and the right to warn
  • Must like flowers
  • Demonstrated high level of personal values and ethics
  • Must be a people person
  • Ability to open hospitals, cut ribbons, review troops
  • Bilingualism an asset
  • Ability to ride a horse, side saddle preferred
  • Demonstrated skills in speech making and dealing with the media
  • Comfortable being in the public eye
  • Willingness to travel.
  • Advanced computer skills
  • Strong time management and organizational skills
  • Able to prioritize and multi-task
  • Adaptible to changing duties
  • Ability to work effectively in a fast paced environment

If this opportunity interests you please contact Mimi at mimi@royalrecruiting.com

We thank you for your interest. Due to the large volume of applicants, only those qualified for the position will be contacted.

© Marilyn Braun 2005

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The Royal Support Group

Posted by Marilyn on April 12, 2005

I enter the room almost tentatively and take my seat. “My name is Marilyn and I collect royalty books”

The group and it’s leader says in unison “Welcome Marilyn”

I relax a little, not feeling so alone any longer. The moderator, his calm and soothing voice says “tell me more about your collection, when did it start?”

“Well, I guess it started when Prince William was born – I remember hearing it on the radio”

“My collection began during the Silver Jubilee celebrations” a man named George says to me while fingering his commemorative mug.

“After Prince Willliam was born I started to collect the books, cutting pictures out of the newspapers and magazines. I stayed up for the wedding of Prince Andrew and Fergie”

Several members of the group nod in unison. They’ve been in the trenches, they understand. “I went to London and camped out on the street during the wedding of Charles and Diana.” A petite woman named Betty says. We look at her in awe.

“Do you have any flags or tea towels?” Bob asks.

“Yes, I have everything..the oven mitts, the ashtrays, the Charles and Diana salt and pepper shakers..” Betty says, breaking down. “I can’t help myself..”

The moderator offers her a kleenex, the woman next to her gently takes her hand. “The purpose of this group is to offer support in a non-judgemental way. Betty, you’re safe here.”

“No one understands” I say, tears welling in my eyes. “I love my books, the thrill of the hunt of going into a used book store, scouring the shelves to add to my collection.” I’ve moved three times and my friends have helped carry some of the boxes. I know they humor me, one of them even joked that I should start a stamp collection because it’s lighter.”

“What’s wrong with having a stamp collection? GeorgeV has a rather famous one..” Chris says.

“Marilyn isn’t judging you Chris, everyone here has something that they collect, whether it be books, t-shirts, keychains. Ed was supposed to be here today but he’s buying Charles and Camilla souvenirs with the original wedding date for me.” The moderator says. “How many books do you have?”

“Over two hundred. I also have some mugs, plates and I went to Althorp”

“Mecca” Betty says with breathless reverence.

“That’s just crazy!” John, says, getting up to get another tea and scone from the snack table. He paces nervously. “People say that I have a problem!”

I stand up to my full height, look him in the eye “yes, I did go and I’m not ashamed to admit it.” I say proudly

“The first step is owning your collection and your passion. People may not understand but that’s okay. Not everyone has to share the same interests, that’s what makes the world go ’round.”

I sit down and sigh, a wave of relief comes over me. “When people ask me what I do in my spare time and I tell them about the books, their expressions change. The peer pressure is enormous so I end up telling people that I collect Elvis memorabilia instead. It’s more acceptable.”

“I tell people that I collect thimbles..” John says, looking down. “I’m so ashamed..”

I get up and walk over to John and hug him.

“We’re home John, we’re home”

© Marilyn Braun 2005

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