• 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…

  • 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 Queen 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.

  • Hung Parliament

    The general election in the UK has ended in a hung Parliament. This means that none of the political parties have the 326 seats needed to gain majority in the House of Commons. Theresa May’s Conservative Party led the pack, but still came up short for an overall win. Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party came second.

    We might end up seeing a coalition government like the one formed with David Cameron and Nick Clegg. Chances are that will be the case, though if Theresa May can’t gather a majority from the other parties in negotiating a coalition or other deals, she may have to resign.

    Mrs. May’s next move will be a visit to the Queen to ask permission to form a government.

  • Happy Coronation Day!

    Thistle Queen

    Sixty-four years ago today, London’s Westminster Abbey hosted a glittering assortment of royals from across the world for the coronation of Elizabeth II. Hope was high and Britain celebrated their new queen and her young family.

    Sixty-four years on, the regal Elizabeth is respected and admired worldwide. She has become Britain’s longest-living and longest-reigning monarch. She’s been a steady influence and a source of traditon throughout massive change, and for that the Queen is an icon.

    Today I wish her the best and thank her for her service. The phrase “long live the Queen” reached God’s ears, and He obliged!

  • Prince Charles Donates to Manchester Victims

    Prince Charles has donated several thousand pounds to the victims of the Manchester terror attack. Prince Charles Donates to Manchester Victims

    On May 22nd, a suicide bomber struck a multitude of victims during an Ariana Grande concert at the Manchester Arena. The Prince and his wife, the Duchess of Cornwall, expressed their horror at the event as did the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh.

    According to The Herald (Scotland), Clarence House has said that the Prince had given an “undisclosed amount” to the We Love Manchester Emergency Fund. This is another reason I like Charles; he genuinely cares about people and tries to lift them up. His work for his Prince’s Trust charity is the perfect example of Charles’s nature to build up young people who need help, especially during a traumatic event such as Manchester.


  • Queen Elizabeth II celebrates another mileSTONE, and it’s sapphire

    Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of ...

    Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. Coronation portrait, June 1953, London, England. Credit: Library and Archives Canada/K-0000047 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    Queen Elizabeth II celebrates another milestone on February 6th, and it’s sapphire! She is setting a new record as the first British sovereign to celebrate the 65th anniversary of their accession. This is called the Sapphire Jubilee.

    Away in Africa on a tour, Princess Elizabeth rushed back home to Britain upon hearing the sad news of her father’s death. King George VI had died peacefully in his sleep in the early hours of February 6, 1952. Elizabeth left as a princess; touching down at Heathrow, she disembarked as queen.

    As she celebrates 65 years as queen, let’s take a look at the list of records already shattered by Elizabeth II:

    On September 9, 2015, she became Britain’s longest-reigning monarch after surpassing the reign of her great-great grandmother, Queen Victoria.

    Elizabeth has lived longer than any other British monarch.

    Elizabeth was the second-oldest monarch in the world, behind Thailand’s King Bhumibol Adulyadej. He died in October 2016 after a reign of 70 years. The queen is now the holder of the title of longest-living monarch in the world.

    This year, Her Majesty and the Duke of Edinburgh will celebrate 70 years of marriage, the longest British royal marriage!

    The Queen has visited 116 countries in her time as monarch, more than any other British sovereign – thanks, modern aviation!


    The Queen will have no trouble accessorizing on the day. She’s got a plethora of amazing sapphires to wear. One of her better known sapphire suites came from her father as a wedding gift – a necklace, pendant, and drop earrings. According to our friends at the Royal Order of Sartorial Splendor, the Queen later added a sapphire tiara and bracelet to the set.

    If that isn’t enough to satiate, there’s also the Prince Albert Sapphire Brooch to add to the mix. This seems to be one of Her Majesty’s favorite brooches and she wears it frequently. It was originally a wedding gift to Queen Victoria from her “dear Albert”. It was commissioned by the Prince Consort and is surmounted by Turkish diamonds given to her in 1838 by Sultan Mahmud of Turkey.



    The Queen will surely wear some small sapphire treat to honor the day. A fine hat of the deepest blue will, I’m sure, also be present for the occasion. Happy Jubilee, Your Majesty!

    Celebrate the Sapphire Jubilee!



    Historic Royal Palaces also has a lovely variety of items that are Jubilee-related. Check them out!

    Sapphire facts:

      The sapphire is the birthstone of September babies.
      The official name of the mineral is Corundum. Rubies are also another variety of Corundum!
      During the Medieval Ages, European lapidaries came to refer to blue corundum crystal by “sapphire”, a derivative of the Latin word for blue: “sapphirus”.
      In ancient Greece and Rome, rulers believed that blue sapphires protected their owners from envy and harm.
  • Who is the new Earl of Snowdon? A look at David Armstrong-Jones

    Who is the new Earl of Snowdon?

    David Armstrong-Jones was born November 3, 1961 at Clarence House in London. He is the son of the late Princess Margaret and the late Antony “Tony” Armstrong-Jones.

    Tony Armstrong-Jones was given the title Earl of Snowdon by the Queen upon his marriage to Princess Margaret. Thus, David grew up as Viscount Linley, a courtesy title as the son of the Earl of Snowdon.

    While David is the son of a princess, he is not royal. He is a part of the Queen’s family but not an official member of the Royal Family. As such, David and his sister made their own way in life – Lady Sarah (b. May 1, 1964) as a painter, and David as a craftsman of luxury furniture.

    Above: Princess Margaret, the Countess of Snowdon, with David and Sarah.

    Influenced by the opulent settings of his mother’s royal world and the artistic world of his photographer father, David developed a lasting love and curiosity of how things are crafted.

    “I was lucky enough to grow up surrounded by beautiful things,” David says. “Instead of taking these for granted, I wanted to find out more about the making process, whether a vase, a car, a sculpture or indeed a piece of furniture.”

    David started lessons in the Buckingham Palace schoolroom, but as he got older, his parents recognized his skills and enrolled him in Bedales, a school renowned for its arts and design.  From there, David studied at Parnham House School for Craftsman in Wood in Dorset.

    In 1985, David opened his eponymous David Linley Co Ltd., where he produced bespoke luxury furniture as well as beautifully crafted home accessories with his team. The company is housed in a tony showroom on London’s Pimlico Road.

    David is also a published author, whose books “Classical Furniture” (1993) and “Extraordinary Furniture” (1996) were well-received by critics.

    In 2012, David sold a large percentage of his company to yacht broker Jamie Edmiston. He retained a leadership position and continued to work as chairman of Christie’s UK. As of 2015, Christie’s announced that David was appointed the Honorable Chairman for Christie’s in Europe, the Middle East, Russia and India. He has certainly kept busy.

    “I’m not royal,” David says. “My mother is, but I’m not. I’m basically a businessman. That’s all I talk about.”

    According to reports in 2006, his businessman side may have been what led him into controversy. After Princess Margaret’s death in 2002, David and his sister Sarah were left to deal with inheritance tax. To offset this, David organized an auction via Christie’s to sell many of Margaret’s belongings. His father Tony was said to be unhappy about the sale, as was Sarah. It’s hardly surprising to see why: among the lots were wedding gifts given to Margaret and Tony, as well as Margaret’s famous wedding tiara (the huge and dazzling Poltimore).

    “I had the sale for a very simple reason, which was an inheritance tax situation, and wanting to build for my family’s future and my children’s education – normal family requirements,” the viscount told The Sunday Telegraph in 2007.

    The Queen was not convinced. She is reported to have stepped in to stipulate the conditions of the sale of certain objects. If any gifts given to Princess Margaret in her official capacity were sold, the proceeds would go to charity.

    The Snowdons

    In 1993, David married The Honorable Serena Stanhope. Serena was born in Co. Limerick, Ireland, to the Earl of Harrington and his first wife, Virginia Freeman-Jackson.

    Embed from Getty Images

    Above: Serena Linley and David Linley

    David and Serena have been married for twenty-three years and have two children: Charles Patrick Inigo (b. 1999) and Margarita Elizabeth Alleyne (b. 2002). Formerly known as The Honorable Margarita Armstrong-Jones, she will now be known as Lady Margarita. Charles, the Queen’s Page of Honor, assumes the mantle of Viscount Linley.

    Despite taking on a new title, David Armstrong-Jones and his family live a quiet life away from the spotlight. They divide their time between their Chateau d’Autet in Provence, France and England. David says they love watching The Archers and cycling in the countryside. As always, I wish them the best in this new chapter in their lives.

  • From Prince to King: Charles Is Next, Despite Media Claims

    From Prince to King: Charles Is Next, Despite Media Claims

    English: Charles, Prince of Wales, in a meetin...

    English: Charles, Prince of Wales, in a meeting with José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero. Español: Carlos de Gales durante un encuentro con José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    The Express has kicked off the new year with an article about who will be king when the Queen dies. Nice start.

    The claim is that there is a gnat’s chance in hell that Prince Charles may step aside and pass the throne to his son, Prince William. This type of headline isn’t new, and it isn’t unique to the Express, but it is yet another weaselly hint that Charles should be toppled. I’m over it.

    This article says that “many have speculated” that Charles may step aside and give the throne to William. Who is this mysterious ‘many’ to whom they refer? I’ve not heard from anyone of any authority that the Prince of Wales would abdicate his role as king. More to the point, I’ve never heard Charles himself expressing a wish to step down. That’s about as likely as the Queen deciding to abdicate (ha!).  So what’s the deal?

    If there is a concern about Charles being king, let’s talk about it rather than dance around in a hazy, rumor-mongering piece. The article does bring up the concern over Prince Charles’s expressed viewpoints to government ministers. Well, then? Where is a source, or actual proof of Charles’s intentions having a negative impact? Is there a real issue or is it just a popularity contest?

    I’m tired of this propaganda pushing the Duke of Cambridge over the rightful heir to the throne. If we leap over people in the line of succession based only on empty values, what’s the point of monarchy? Go to Las Vegas or Hollywood and get your drama and celebrity fill. Monarchy follows the line of succession, not who gets the most votes on X Factor.

    Let’s wake up and see the reality that is before us: the prince has worked his whole adult life with major success in his charitable endeavors. He isn’t doing cartwheels down the Mall, posting selfies, or stumbling awkwardly out of bars. Nor is he pretending to be something he isn’t to fill a media expectation. He is the one and only HRH The Prince Charles, The Prince of Wales and he works within that capacity. Charles makes no apologies for who he is; rather, he takes what he has and does the best work he can. I cannot see anyone better prepared to be a monarch than Charles.

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