My Second Radio Interview On Prince George

This week’s news has been filled with excitement about the birth of Prince George of Cambridge. Earlier this week, I was invited to comment on the royal baby during PRI’s “The World” radio program.

Today’s RoyaltyNow! program was going to reflect news of the royal baby, but instead of filming, I went one better – I took part in another radio program discussing royal history and, of course, the little man himself.

Here is the audio of the BlogTalkRadio program hosted by the lovely Beth Shankle Anderson.

With so much excitement and jubilation surrounding the birth of Prince George of Cambridge, there is also much discussion about the line of succession and Prince George’s actual title. Royal expert Mandy Littlefield joins me to discuss these subjects along with other topics as they pertain to the new Prince and his upbringing.

Listen to internet radio with Beth ShankleAnderson on BlogTalkRadio

An Interview With Michael Farquhar, Part 2: Royal Bloggers

Questions From Royal Bloggers:

Who do you think is the most scandalous modern British royal? – Cinderella of royalty.nu

MF: Well, since Fergie’s no longer officially royal, that’s hard to say. Actually, none of the modern royals can (please pardon the pun) hold a scandal to their forbears. Murder, madness, illicit sex, and vicious scheming have been replaced by silly missteps and the occasional tempests in a teapot. Perhaps this has something to do with the power wielded by the royals. When it was nearly unlimited, their scandals reflected that. These days, with very limited power, royal misdeeds are relatively petty.

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What is your favorite royal scandal and why? – Marilyn Braun of Marilyn’s Royal Blog

MF: There are oh so many to chose from, Marilyn, it’s really hard to say. I guess I got the greatest kick out of the truly wretched marriage of the future King George IV and his cousin Caroline of Brunswick. He was an indolent fop who drank way too much and amassed staggering debts. She was a foul-smelling exhibitionist who lacked all decorum and self control. George despised Caroline from the moment he met her. He passed out in a fireplace on their wedding night, but managed to consummate the relationship the next morning. It wasn’t easy. “It required no small [effort] to conquer my aversion and overcome the disgust of her person,” he wrote. After Caroline produced the heir to the throne, Princess Charlotte, George left her bed for good. Caroline eventually went away to Europe, where she made quite a spectacle of herself–as a stripper, essentially. At a ball in Naples, for example, she appeared, as one reported, “in the most indelicate manner, her breast and her arms being entirely naked.”

She also carried on a flagrant affair with her chamberlain, Bartolomeo Pergami. Caroline had no intention of returning to England, but then her father-in-law George III died and her estranged husband became King George IV. The wayward Princess of Wales now intended to claim her rights as queen. It was a mortifying prospect for the new king, especially because the people were firmly behind his despised wife–more out of hatred for him than any real affection for her. A bill was introduced in Parliament to deprive Caroline of her rights as queen and as George’s wife, but it went nowhere. Nevertheless, George IV was still determined to exclude Queen Caroline. When she arrived at Westminster Abbey for his coronation, the doors were slammed in her face. Several weeks later she was dead, perhaps of stomach cancer, though some have suggested poison. The inscription on her coffin, which she wrote herself, read: DEPOSITED, CAROLINE OF BRUNSWICK, THE INJURED QUEEN OF ENGLAND.
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Have you heard any of the hints that Prince Albert took Queen Victoria away from England, on various visits to Scotland and other places for a time—because she had had a nervous breakdown? – Susan Flanders of Writer of Queens

MF: No, Susan, I have not heard that. I write extensively in the new book about Victoria and Albert’s earliest retreat, Osborne, on the Isle of Wight. They sought this refuge not only to get away from the stifling court life of London and Windsor, but, really as a place of their very own–where Albert could be the master. He created and controlled virtually every aspect of this “dear and lovely little domaine,” as the queen called it. She was content just to watch him work: “Never do I enjoy myself more or more peacefully than when I can be so much with my beloved Albert–follow him everywhere.”

An Interview With Michael Farquhar

After reading Michael Farquhar’s new book, Behind the Palace Doors: Five Centuries of Sex, Adventure, Vice, Treachery, and Folly from Royal Britain, I had the privilege of a great interview. Please enjoy this interview, and see Part 2 when he answers the questions of some royal bloggers.

Mandy’s British Royalty: What inspired you to be a writer and historian?

Michael Farquhar: Well, I’m not a historian, per se; I’m a reporter of history. There’s a big difference: The historians are the true experts. I merely synthesize their discoveries in a (hopefully ) entertaining, readable way. I’ve always loved history, especially the juicy side, and started writing about it for The Washington Post about twenty years ago. Since then, I’ve made a career of history writing and feel like the luckiest guy in the world to be able to make a living doing what I love.

MBR: What inspired you to research rotten royals?

MF: I wouldn’t call them rotten…just extremely human, in a larger than ordinary life sort of way. People with their kind of power tended to misbehave…royally…and that makes for very entertaining reading. Although my first book, A Treasury of Royal Scandals, focused entirely on bad behavior, my new one, Behind the Palace Walls, incorporates other facets of British royal history: triumphs, tragedies, adventure, romance–as well as all the treachery, folly, and deep family dysfunction.

MBR: What is your opinion on royal behavior today? Is there enough naughtiness for a book?

MF: Misbehavior by the royals today barely registers as scandalous, especially when compared to the actions of some of their forbears. So, no book…at least by me. However, I have included several stories of the modern royal family in the new book, including the heroism of King George VI, the present queen’s father, who is featured in “The King’s Speech.” (I wrote about King George and his wartime partnership with Churchill before the film was released, and only touch briefly on his efforts to contol his stammer.)


MBR: You’ve also written about “Foolishly Forgotten Americans”, “Great American Scandals”, and produced “A Treasury of Deception”. What is it about scandals and bad behavior that intrigues you?

MF: I’m intrigued by what happens when ordinary human behavior–jealousy, greed, ambition, etc.–gets magnified by the people who make history. It’s a never ending education!

MBR: Who is your favorite royal in history?

MF: The marital adventures of Henry VIII first got me interested in history as a kid. And though so much has been written about King Henry’s life and times, he never ceases to fascinate me. I

MBR: Who is your favorite character – in general – in history?

MF: There are too many, Mandy!!

[See Part 2 of the interview]

See Michael discuss his other books at the C-SPAN Video Library.

Charlotte Casiraghi’s First Interview – Stade2

This is a nice follow-up to the Monaco photo set! Watch Charlotte Casiraghi’s first interview. It is delightful. She is with her uncle, Prince Albert II.

*Fuller translation needed*

First question, about her interest in riding:
I started to ride when I was very young, and it is a sport I have practised for a very long time, and it was a great pleasure for me to participate in the jumping of Monaco. Event was held in the Fondelle tent; they now wished to have it in the harbour and it was a challenge.




Question about her participation :
It was very difficult for me because I haven’t been able to train in the last 3 weeks, so I had to leave my horse in the hands of my trainer, so it is fairly difficult to resume competition without any prior recent training. Fortunately, my horse has extraordinary concentrating powers, (or attitude, or smarts) and he was able to carry me (or support) in that slightly difficult moment, given my injury.

Question about her ambitions as a professional:
For the time being, I am trying to achieve good results in the amateur competitions. Well see how the season develops, but why not ?

Peter And Autumn’s First Interview

 Princess Anne’s son Peter Phillips and his Canadian fiancée Autumn Kelly have lifted the lid on their very private, four-and-half-year relationship by giving the first interview ahead of their May 17 wedding to HELLO! magazine.

The 19-page special feature in this week’s issue gives the inside story on the couple’s fairytale romance. Pick up your copy of this week’s HELLO magazine, issue number 1020, on sale from May 6.

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:

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