Liveblogging the Diamond Jubilee Thames Pageant

You know what? I think everyone who’s been in the same job of 60 frigging years should get to ride down the Thames in a pimped out barge, don’t you? Up here in sunny Scotland, I’m watching BBC1’s coverage. We get shots of the queen arriving at Epsom yesterday dressed, appropriately, in royal blue. Beatrice looked like she was wearing a tablecloth. Shame. Reminder of … Continue reading Liveblogging the Diamond Jubilee Thames Pageant

Top Ten Onscreen Royal Romances

It’s Valentine’s Day, and whether you have plans or expect to stay in, it’s a great opportunity to kick back, pop open some bubbly and a box of chocolates, and indulge in a few good old-fashioned romances. Everyone loves a good love story, and if it comes with tiaras, so much the better, so it’s no wonder royal romances have shown up onscreen in dozens … Continue reading Top Ten Onscreen Royal Romances

Happy Anniversary, Your Majesty!

Happy anniversary, Your Majesty and Your Royal Highness! On November 20, 1947, the Princess Elizabeth (later to be known as Queen Elizabeth II) and the newly minted Duke of Edinburgh tied the knot at Westminster Abbey. Unlike many other royal couples who found themselves trotting down the aisle, Elizabeth and Philip had known each other for years. They first met in 1934, when Elizabeth was … Continue reading Happy Anniversary, Your Majesty!

Monarchy-The Royal Family at Work: On the Move

Previously on Monarchy: The Queen and Prince Philip visited America, with minimal embarrassment.

It’s time for one of the Queen’s annual garden parties, so we catch up with one of the guests: Pearl, an Irishwoman who’s been invited for her contributions to charity. She talks at length about how hard it was to find a hat to go with her dress. Another guest, Anne, talks about her hat as well. It’s all about hats right now. Anne’s going to the party with her colleague, Margaret, who’s treating herself to a spa day in advance of the party.

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Take Two!

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. On October 30, 1470, Henry VI gave ruling England another try when he was restored to the throne after the Earl of Warwick managed to defeat the Yorkist king Edward IV. Unfortunately, the second attempt at reigning really didn’t take. Despite being the son of the legendary Henry V, Henry VI wasn’t a great warrior; nor … Continue reading Take Two!

The King’s Speech

It’s been a while since I did a movie recap, hasn’t it? My lucky husband has just spent the last week in Edinburgh (on a job interview—fingers crossed!), leaving me behind in Douglasville with the dogs. Loneliness and jealousy set in pretty quickly, so I decided the best thing to do was to fill the house with English accents. And it worked! After catching up with Law and Order: UK OnDemand, I turned to The King’s Speech, and I thought: “oh, what the hell, let’s recap it.” So, here we are.

We start off with an ominous close-up of a giant, menacing microphone just waiting for someone to feed words into it for broadcast to the British Empire, which comprised a quarter of the world’s population at the time, according to the lead-in, which also informs us it’s 1925. Once we get a few camera angles on the microphone, we see Bertie and Elizabeth waiting for him to go out and give the closing speech at the Empire Exhibition. With them are Derek Jacobi, playing the Archbishop of Canterbury, and a few Palace suits, all of whom look tense. It’s kind of funny to see Derek Jacobi in this movie, considering he’s played a stammerer himself at least three times. Bertie looks like he wants to throw up. In a room somewhere, Adrian Scarborough, here playing a BBC announcer, introduces Bertie’s speech, as Bertie makes his way toward his own microphone like he’s hiking to his own funeral. Adrian informs us all that Bertie’s dad and older brother have already spoken on the wireless, and now it’s his turn. Bertie emerges into the stadium, which is packed with people, and he stares at the menacing red cue light as it flashes, then stays on to tell him it’s time to get started. He stares at the microphone and struggles to begin. The silence is long and awkward. He finally manages to get started, but before long he hits a troublesome “K” sound when he has to say “King” and it gets uncomfortable all over again. Elizabeth looks like her heart’s breaking for him, and the crowd starts to get restless. In reality, this speech didn’t go quite so badly, and Elizabeth wasn’t even there, but that’s less dramatic.

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Monarchy-The Royal Family at Work: To Virginia!

It seems that periodically (usually around the time the monarchy experiences a surge of popularity), there’s some vocal whiners that raise their voices and bleat: “But what do they do? The royals just laze around and we pay for it!” Well, actually, working members of the royal family do quite a lot, and you don’t pay for all of it (only expenses incurred on official business can really be paid by the taxpayers). The queen regularly carries out something in the neighborhood of 400 official engagements and audiences every year, which means she’s doing more than one of these per day. The woman’s 85 years old. How many 85-year-olds do you know who are still doing their day jobs? Which they’ve held their whole damn lives?

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House of Windsor

So long house of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. On July 17, 1917, King George V issued a proclamation that officially changed the royal family’s last name to Windsor. The Saxe-Coburg-Gotha title came courtesy of Prince Albert and was proudly held throughout the Victorian and Edwardian age. But then World War I broke out and Germans (and the names they came with) weren’t terribly popular in Britain. Things got really … Continue reading House of Windsor

Monmouth’s Rebellion

On July 15, 1685, Monmouth’s Rebellion ended when James Scott, Duke of Monmouth and illegitimate son of Charles II, was executed in London for attempting to depose his uncle, James II, and seize the throne for himself. Monmouth was Charles’s eldest child and was born in Rotterdam in April 1649 while Charles was exiled during the Protectorate. He was handed over to William Crofts, 1st … Continue reading Monmouth’s Rebellion

Royal Wedding Liveblog

5:00 Good morning, Anglophiles! Welcome to the royal wedding liveblog. I’ve got a massive pot of serious English breakfast tea and a buttered crumpet at my elbow and a pair of cavalier king Charles spaniels at my feet. I’ve watched half a dozen crappy TV specials on young royals and the great new royal romance we’re watching unfold. I’m ready for this thing. Let’s get … Continue reading Royal Wedding Liveblog