Sovereign Splendor: Royal art and style

Everyone loves royal fashions, and I am no exception. From the Duchess of Cambridge to the Grand Ducal Family of Luxembourg, royal style has captivated me. This is the drawing version of my old Haute Royale from my more frequent YouTube days!

My artwork, which will be sold later in the year, is under the name Sovereign Splendor, a part of the Mandy’s Royalty family. I love drawing so I decided to incorporate royalty into my art. Check me out at my Instagram account today and tell me which royal you’d like to see next!

The Spanish State Visit To the United Kingdom

King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia State Visit to the United Kingdom: July 12 – July 14, 2017.

King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia made a successful visit to the United Kingdom, the first for them as monarchs. The last State Visit from Spain was made by Felipe’s parents, King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia, in 1986.

Felipe and Letizia were toasted with all of the pomp and circumstance that Britain is known for – after inspecting a guard of honor, the visiting monarch then traveled with The Queen in a Carriage Procession back to Buckingham Palace. Queen Letizia rode with Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh.

The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall greet the king and queen at Clarence House.

Later, King Felipe addressed the government and in his speech urged that the two nations work closely together over an agreement over the future of Gibraltar and called for a guarantee of future rights for Spanish citizens living in the UK post-Brexit.

“I am certain that this resolve to overcome our differences will be even greater in the case of Gibraltar, and I am confident that through the necessary dialogue and effort our two governments will be able to work towards arrangements that are acceptable to all involved.”

Later on that evening, the Spanish king and queen attended a State Banquet hosted by Queen Elizabeth II. The royal women glittered, and there were smiles all around between the king and Queen Elizabeth II, who are related through Queen Victoria’s granddaughter, Victoria Eugenie (known as Ena).

Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, looks fabulous in the honeycomb tiara that once belonged to the Queen Mother.


Day 2 (July 13th)

Prime Minister Theresa May greets King Felipe VI of Spain at 10 Downing Street

Prince Harry accompanied the king and queen during their visit to Westminster Abbey. Here he greets the king, a rare photo of Harry from the back!

Prince Harry, Queen Letizia of Spain, King Felipe of Spain and the Dean of Westminster Dr John Hall stand beside the grave of the Unknown Warrior at Westminster Abbey

Felipe also made another visit during the busy schedule, this time to the UK-Spain Business Forum at Mansion House, London.

Felipe, Princess Anne, the Princess Royal and Letizia attend the Lord Mayor’s Banquet at the Guildhall.

Day 3 (July 14th)

Letizia and Felipe meet school children as they visit the Weston Library at Oxford University.

King Felipe and Queen Letizia greet Britain’s Prince Andrew, Duke of York, during a visit to the Francis Crick Institute.

King Felipe during visit to the Francis Crick Institute.

A successful visit, one that I hope happens again in the near future. I hope Letizia and Felipe will bring their daughters, Infanta Sofia and Leonor, the Princess of Asturias. Surely a meeting of royal children needs to happen! ;)

Spain’s King Felipe and Queen Letizia will make State Visit to UK

Spain’s King Felipe and Queen Letizia are headed to the UK for a State Visit. It has been in the making for a while: the trip was announced in December 2015 and scheduled for the following March. It was then postponed due to Spain’s political turmoil happening at that time. They tried again for June 6-8 of this year, but that was canceled due to the UK’s own general election.

Happily, it’s back on for July 12-14th (i.e. next week). There will be a State banquet where, I’m sure, the glamour-factor will be through the roof. Might I add that it will be excellent to see Prince Harry escorting Felipe and Letizia to Westminster Abbey, where the king will lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior.

There will most likely be discussion between the king and Queen Elizabeth II over Gibraltar, an area of contention between Britain and Spain. The political issue caused Queen Sofia, Felipe’s mother, to back out of Diamond Jubilee celebrations for Elizabeth II.

NOTE: Queen Victoria is the mutual connection between the Windsors and Spain’s Borbon dynasty. Queen Victoria is Felipe’s great-great-great-grandmother and Harry’s great-great-great-great-grandmother.

Diana’s legacy: it’s not what you thought it was going to be

Prince Philip got right to the point in his usual style. The year was 1969, and Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau wanted to unify Canada and move away from British influence. That meant that they might break from the monarchy, too. Philip characterized the situation thus:

I think it’s a complete misconception to imagine that the Monarchy exists in the interests of the Monarch—it doesn’t. It exists in the interests of the people: in a sense—we don’t come here for our health, so to speak … if, at any stage, people feel that it has no further part to play, then for goodness sake let’s end the thing on amicable terms without having a row about it.[1]

That’s pragmatism for you. The Duke made his answer plain. So if, as Harry claims, the monarchy isn’t working for the people immediately within it, can we take that same pragmatic approach? “If, at any stage (right now), people (Harry/Cambridges) feel that [they] ha[ve] no further part to play, then for goodness sake let’s end [their role] on amicable terms without having a row about it.”

There, much better. This is the style of straight-up talk Harry should’ve used rather than his “woe is me” statement to Newsweek. It doesn’t have anything to do with what the royals want – it’s down to the people. One referendum is all it takes, and Harry could be doing his own shopping for real. The public won’t just have a referendum to decide on the monarchy in general, they’ll call one specifically to get rid of whiny, privileged princes.

Harry and William are not cut from the same cloth as their grandparents. That much is obvious. They were taught to air grievances in public and hope that their public relations teams got them good press from it. I call this Diana’s Legacy ™.

The late Princess of Wales constantly pushed for her sons to be ‘normal’ because the monarchy is full of a bunch of old meanies that won’t let you do whatever you feel like. We give interviews about how we feel (all the feels!) and how tough it is to be royal – everyone needs a good pout on a yacht. Don’t you?

Yes, it was important for William and Harry to see that there are less fortunate people in the world. It was good for them to have a taste of average life. What isn’t good is that it all stemmed from Diana’s revenge-fueled media games aimed at their father and the monarchy. You know, all of that McDonald’s-and-water-parks normalcy that she gave them to reinforce how stinky and ‘stuffy’ royal life is. The two princes are obviously now conflicted by it. This “am I royal or am I normal”  is the result. Diana set William and Harry’s teeth on edge about their futures, and the public is starting to see it more and more.

On The Flip Side

Before I catch hell from “Di-hard” Diana supporters, let me add that I do understand that the royals had a part to play, too. Prince Charles kept the princes shielded, and both Harry and William have been given a lot of leeway in order to heal from Diana’s death. Ok, but shielding them for too long, like top-secret formula plans, didn’t help them. Letting them do whatever they wished didn’t help them.

I am also concerned with the Queen’s lack of put-your-foot-down finality. I can’t claim to know how the Queen thinks, but I fear that if she is anything like her mother, then she will shy away from confrontation. The Queen Mum could often be described as “sticking her head in the sand” in order to avoid anything unpleasant. So if Elizabeth II never set the princes straight, it’s no wonder that they seem spoiled and annoyed when they are expected to do their job.

So what now? Will they be “normal” as their mother made fashionable, or will they grow up and represent their country? I get the feeling it won’t be the latter. It’s too late. Combined with Diana’s drive to do what she wanted regardless of consequences, and the royal family letting it happen, these two men may be the end of the monarchy as we knew it. How sad. Harry was right about one thing – we do need the magic of monarchy, but not unless there’s a responsible adult to wear the crown.

Current mood:

Prince Harry talks to Newsweek

“Is there any one of the royal family who wants to be king or queen? I don’t think so, but we will carry out our duties at the right time.”

No, that wasn’t Prince William talking. This is a quote from Prince Harry in an exclusive interview with Newsweek.  Harry granted the news magazine access to observe his daily life over part of the past year.

What’s going on?

I don’t think Harry meant to sound apathetic, but there you have it.  This does not bode well in the wake of William and Kate moving to Kensington Palace only when their 96-year-old grandfather retired. Can you believe that? Prince Philip had to officially hang up his hat before the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge would stay permanently in London for more work. The term reluctant doesn’t even begin to cover it.

Then Harry continues: “It’s a tricky balancing act,” he says to Newsweek. “We don’t want to dilute the magic….The British public and the whole world need institutions like it.”

Now Harry’s making me wonder. After all of his great work with Invictus and wounded soldiers, Harry’s obviously no slouch for being fifth in line. So is he trying to tell us that he doesn’t want to be king, but might have to be and he will carry on because that’s what you do. The fact that his brother and his sister-in-law seem, at best, tense about their increasing duties, I can’t help but think there’s a lot in going on in private and these comments are popping out because of it.

Somebody better do something soon, because when Harry himself is talking reluctance, we’re looking at a harsh reality: if no royal is interested in that “top job”, then why should the rest of us be? If you really want to preserve that magic (thank you, Walter Bagehot), then don’t sound so dismayed. Call a royal family meeting and figure out who will step aside/step in and then get on with it. The public will thank you for making a damn decision already, instead of the constant off putting “at the right time” or we’re “keen” to eventually do things, etc.

If I sound unsympathetic, I am. For two reasons:

1.) Kate joined the monarchy after a ten-year courtship and was slowly eased into what it entails.  The Queen obviously allowed breathing room so Kate could find her footing and so William could live more quietly with his little family. However, given the ages of the Queen and Philip (not to mention Prince Charles),  Kate and William couldn’t possibly have expected their “quiet life” to last too long. If they fear or resent that, time to reconsider their options.

2.) Nowhere have I found references to King George VI going on public tirades on how his brother dropped him, unprepared, into kingship. Nor have we read about Elizabeth II complaining in interviews about her role as queen perhaps starting too early (age twenty-five, for the record) or how much of a burden it is on her children. They. Just. Got. On. With. It. That’s why the monarchy has been so successful so far, and the younger generation needs to realize that.

Let us look at a page from the excellent book The Monarchy: An Oral Biography of Elizabeth II.

[Click the image to enlarge]

Funny, I didn’t see one thing about hesitation or complaining in the media. If William, Kate, or Harry are so damn uncomfortable taking the lead in upholding that royal magic and doing as the Queen has done, then stand aside for someone else in the family to do it sooner rather than later. Nothing kills the magic like a great big yawn from the public, and that’s not how you show respect for your grandmother or her institution.

God Save the Queen.

Is there such a thing as “Parliament Casual”?

After the General Election in the United Kingdom ended in a hung parliament, it made the public wonder what would happen in regard to the Opening of Parliament this year.  Not only was it delayed by two days, but the Queen eschewed the traditional pomp.

Ascot opened the same week, but after only one day in attendance, Prince Philip fell ill and had to pass on Parliament. It fell to Prince Charles to accompany the Queen. It was surreal – Charles next to the Queen on the throne, and the Queen herself was dressed only in her typical queenly attire (avec sturdy shoes and purse, of course). I know Charles will be there from now on since Philip has officially stepped down from public duties, but after so many years seeing the Duke of Edinburgh there, it reminds you of how much things are changing.

The crown was still present, regardless. It rested on a cushion near the queen.

Some people have posed the theory that the Queen was using her powers of subtlety to show her support for the European Union with her outfit. Strangely enough, her all-blue hat features flowers containing yellow centers, all somewhat arranged in a circle like the yellow stars on the blue flag of the EU. Interesting, but unlikely.

It’s summer! Let the royal work commence.

Summer break is here! Am I road-tripping?

No.

Well, I’ll be traveling a little, but mostly I will be back at work writing, drawing, and offering commentary all throughout the summer months. Am I excited? You’d better believe it. I love my job as a teacher assistant, but the royal world excites me like nothing else, career-wise. Now, the time has come to get back into all of that. Keep an eye out for some great things. Onward!

– Mandy

Countess Mountbatten stamp cover, a treasure

I wanted to share a bit of history since the passing of Patricia, Countess Mountbatten – a stamp cover she signed for the Golden Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II.

[click to enlarge]

I acquired this stamp cover during the Golden Jubilee celebrations. It would be wonderful to say that she signed it for me personally; alas, it was one of several – yet limited – signed copies. It was a lovely piece to add to my collection because Countess Mountbatten was a great character. Not to mention that her father, Lord Mountbatten, was an incredibly interesting character himself. Mountbatten was known to be a bit vain, and though he was unstuffy, he did love his titles. So much, in fact, that he got special dispensation from the Crown to pass his title to Patricia, his eldest daughter. In this way, Mountbatten was quite progressive; the Queen herself did not amend the male-only succession to the throne until 2011.

Do you have a favorite item of royal memorabilia? Share your thoughts in the comments below. 

Patricia, Countess Mountbatten of Burma, dies at 93. 

Patricia, Countess Mountbatten of Burma, has died at the age of 93. She was the eldest daughter of Lord Louis “Dickie” Mountbatten, maternal uncle of Prince Philip.

The Countess is survived by her children and her sister, Lady Pamela Hicks. Her husband John, 7th Lord Brabourne, passed away in 2005 aged 80.

The Countess is lucky to have lived to 93 – she survived an IRA terrorist’s bomb in 1979 that killed her father, her mother-in-law, one of her twin sons, and a young boat boy while they were on holiday. In an interview decades later, Patricia noted that she still had flecks of green paint in her eyes from the explosion that tore apart the little green fishing boat.

Patricia was the eldest of two girls for Lord Louis Mountbatten and his wife, Edwina. Mountbatten wanted his title to continue despite having no male heirs, so by special dispensation granted by the Queen, Patricia became Countess Mountbatten upon her father’s death.

It was a time of severe grief, but Countess Mountbatten channeled her sadness into something that could help others. Over the decades since the incident, she used her own personal experience of loss – especially that of her son Nicholas – to help other bereaved parents. The Countess served as honorary president of Child Bereavement UK and Compassionate Friends.

My condolences to her family on this sad occasion, but with joy know she is reunited with her father and her son.

Norton, the eldest son of the Countess and Lord Brabourne, is now the 3rd Earl Mountbatten of Burma. His wife, Penny, is now known as Countess Mountbatten.

error: Content is protected !!