Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Prince Philip leaves behind a legacy that speaks for itself

August 2nd marks the day Prince Philip is retiring from public duties. As #PrincePhilip trends on Twitter, he is carrying out his last official duty attending the Royal Marine Parade at Buckingham Palace. He has a long association with the Royal Marines Association. He has been honorary president since 1948. His first official engagement with them took place on July 15th, 1953 when he attended a dinner in the officers' mess at Eastney Barracks.

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It is unusual for a senior member of the royal family to retire. The royal family prides itself on carrying out duties regardless of age, health or even weather conditions. At the age of 96, Prince Philip has more than earned the right to step back and enjoy life.

His royal duties started in 1947. As Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten, he accompanied his fiancée to Clydebank, Scotland in October 1947. The Princess was there to launch the Cunard Liner Caronia, at the time it was the largest liner in the world. During this visit the couple received a sewing machine as a wedding gift from the Clydebank townsfolk.

One of his earliest charity roles he took on was as President of the National Playing Fields Association. He remained president from 1947 until he stepped down in 2013.  The organization, founded in 1925 by King George V, has a long history of royal patronages. Its first royal president was the Duke of York (later King George VI). Now known as Fields in Trust, the current president is the Duke of Cambridge, who took over the role in 2013 when his grandfather stepped down.  Prince Philip appeared in a short film about the organization in 1951.

The Duke is patron or president of 800 charities, reflecting his interest in conservation, sport, the military and engineering. However, he is best known for The Duke of Edinburgh's Award. Created by the Duke in 1956, the organization it is the world's leading youth achievement award and since its inception has expanded to 141 countries and territories worldwide.

Through his initiatives and involvement, Prince Philip leaves behind a legacy to be proud of.  His royal stats speak for themselves.

Although he is officially retiring, I don't think we have seen the last of him just yet!

© Marilyn Braun 2017

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.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Prince Harry, keep quiet and carry on

Poor Prince Harry. Must be hard to be him, what with all of the perks: gilded palaces, expensive cars, plenty of food and working trips around the world. Having the best of everything is terrible, isn't it?

Harry, and William, have perfected the we are just like other people shtick. Except when they are not. Notice that Kate herself has never gone on record. Maybe because she knows what it is like to be ordinary and the novelty of a luxurious royal life has not worn off yet. After all of those years waiting for William to propose, why would it? If the price you pay for having to smile and wave is wearing expensive clothes and a house in the country, would you complain? At least Kate is smart enough to keep any misgivings to herself.

We have heard from William in words and actions. Now it is Harry's turn to bemoan his privileged existence without apologizing for it. He aches to be "someone other than Prince Harry," he says in a Newsweek article. Some would consider that ingratitude. 'No royal wants to be king or queen," he adds. I have always thought there was a certain irony when it comes to being royal. Especially for this royal generation. Common folk want to trade places with royals, the royals want trade places with common folk. It is said that when Prince Charles becomes king, he wants to slim the monarchy down with no foresight that in doing so could slim it right out of existence. Really, all Harry needs to do is be patient and wait.

The royals should take note. First Harry is buying his own groceries, what's next? Ironing his own clothes? Opening his own doors? Madness! Has Harry not heard the cautionary tale of the Duke of Windsor having difficulty adjusting to umbrellas no longer appearing out of nowhere?

Even if Harry were to seriously give up the royal title and trappings, he can't just walk out the door. There is all of that pesky government paperwork to deal with. If the monarchy ends, what would royal bloggers and Kate fashion experts write about? What Kate used to wear? Spare a thought for all of the royal correspondents. What would Republic rail against? What outlet would I have for my scintillating royal commentary? Egad!

Harry should think of the bigger picture. Like all of the people who would be out of work as a result. The lackeys, butlers, valet, cooks who cater to the royal family's every whim. That noise you will hear? Princess Michael kicking and screaming at having to boil her own eggs.

The royal family used to function by the motto 'never explain, never complain' and the notion of putting royal duty above everything else. Generations continued to privately martyr themselves until Charles and Diana made over sharing the new royal trend. After 25 years, one would think the royals had learnt something from it. Reading Harry's interview, the Queen must long for the good old days

© Marilyn Braun 2017

 Thank you for enjoying this article. If you use the information for research purposes, a link to credit the work I've put into writing it would be appreciated.

Monday, May 29, 2017

William, Catherine and Harry are making a difference. It was worth the wait.

Like many royal watchers, I woke up to this photo on my twitter timeline. It is always exciting to see a new photo of the Cambridge family, given that they are so rarely released. When they are they are carefully controlled images with staged informality. As with everything the Cambridges do (or don't do), opinion is divided and I can see why. Although everyone looks happy, neither child is facing the camera and the black and white makes it look stark. Not your traditional royal family photo.

The image accompanies a British GQ cover story about William as part of his Heads Together mental health campaign. The issue will not be released until later in the week but we have been given a taste of topics covered in William's candid interview; including coping with his mother's death, the importance of family and removing the stigma surrounding mental health.

In the past the royal family have been touted for their 'stiff upper lip,' rarely showing any emotion or publicly discussing private matters. While we will never read the Queen's true thoughts about this interview (or anything else for that matter), the current generation of royals is more forthcoming. Mainly when it involves issues they want to promote.

Raising awareness about mental health and working to reduce the stigma is an important and worthy cause. Mental illness, either directly or indirectly affects each and every one of us. My own family included. William, Catherine and Harry have been criticized in the past for not using their global platform effectively. By heavily promoting this cause they are finally making a difference.

It was worth the wait.

© Marilyn Braun 2017

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, May 28, 2017

Camilla has come a long way, baby!

I originally started this blog in 2005, the year Charles and Camilla were married. Back then I viewed their relationship and the controversy surrounding their wedding as satirical fodder. Many of my early articles poke fun at the situation. I remember the feeling of shock when I heard about their engagement. The idea that they could get married after everything that happened was unfathomable. Although Diana had been dead for almost 8 years, it was still hard to forget the past. The royals may have moved on but some members of the public had not.

In a recent interview to mark her 70th birthday, Camilla stated that it was a difficult road to get to that point. It was so bad that for a time she could not leave her home. Given what happened in Charles and Diana's marriage because of her involvement, it is hard to sympathize. No one came out of that situation unscathed. Why should Camilla have been any different?

To this day she is known primarily as HRH Duchess of Cornwall instead of Princess of Wales because of the past. The debate rages on about whether she will be known as Queen Camilla when Charles inherits the throne. The official line is she will be known as HRH Princess Consort instead. Because the royals bend the rules when they want to, my money is on her becoming Queen once the dust has settled. Regardless of what anyone thinks about it.

Whatever viewpoint you hold about Charles and Camilla, no one can deny they are happy together. Had this interview had been published shortly after their marriage, people might not have found it as palatable. Camilla had to prove herself and in 12 years she has not disappointed. She has even become an asset to the royal family.

Back in 2005, who would have predicted it?

© Marilyn Braun 2017

Thank you for enjoying this article. If you use the information for research purposes, a link to credit the work I've put into writing it would be appreciated.

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

Keep CALM royal watchers, keep CALM!

A new royal year begins. Thankfully every British royal survived 2016 and we royal watchers can all go back to our daily lives without worrying about it. At least for now.

2016 ended on a worrisome note for the royals. What with the Queen and Prince Philip both suffering from colds and foregoing taking the train to Sandringham because of it. Cue the alarmist 'KEEP CALM but here's why we should worry' and 'Here's what happens when the Queen dies...' articles. Why wait for official confirmation when we can stir up hysteria and take practice runs?

2016 was a terrible year for celebrities. Tom Hanks was spared but as the list of other notable deaths grew (David Bowie, Prince, Glen Frey, Alan Rickman, Mohammed Ali, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Carrie Fisher, Debbie Reynolds), some couldn't help but fear for the Queen and Prince Philip. As if 2016 was some indiscriminate grim reaper wreaking havoc on beloved celebrities instead of just a number. As the evidence mounted that no one was safe, it was time to transfer the Queen to the safety bunker! We could breathe a sigh of relief upon either reaching January 1st, 2017 safe in the knowledge that 2016 had bypassed the most important royals. Or could we?

There is no denying that minor ailments to the young can be deadly for the elderly. The Queen and Prince Philip are now 90 and 95 respectively. Being reminded of their mortality is enough to raise anxiety and put knots in anyone's stomach. It did to mine. But just how constructive is it to count the number of days between public appearances? Concern grew when the Queen did not make her regular appearance at the New Year's Day church service. It was as if people want the Queen to get better but also make a public appearance if only to reassure us all is well. New updates on how the Queen is 'on the mend' is not enough. The Queen once reportedly said that she has to be seen to be believed. For royal watchers this has now turned to 'we won't believe it until we see her.'

One twitter follower labelled it 'ambulance chasing' and I think that is a perfect label for this type of coverage. Unfortunately, with the Queen's advancing age, we can now look forward to more of it.

© Marilyn Braun 2017

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.