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.

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.

Slideshow:

When Trump Meets Royalty

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President Donald Trump has paid a visit to the king and queen of the Belgians. 

Trump, along with his wife Melania, had a successful meeting with King Philippe and Queen Mathilde, but not everyone was thrilled.
Anything to do with Trump sets Twitter on fire like a match on an open can of gasoline. I simply retweeted the Palace’s own message about the visit, and the arguing started. People began tweetimg back and forth, inadvertently including @mandysroyalty in the crossfire. 

Nothing was flung at me personally, but the conversations I happened to see via the share was a cocktail of insults. So when Trump meets Queen Elizabeth II at some point, I can sadly expect much the same social media meltdown. Perhaps even worse.

 Is it worth it to post?
Yes. Thankfully we are free to discuss and post news as well as our opinions and if I want to write about Trump meeting Lilibet when it happens, I’m going to. Two heads of state meeting for the first time is important and you will be able to see it here (and be honest: who’s going to want to miss out on a chance to get an exquisitely Prince Philip-esque remark about the whole thing?)

So when the time comes, be warned: there will be no vitriol. Debate all you want, but keep it out of the gutter and above the belt. That goes for all future Trump visits to royals.

Japanese Imperial Rules: Is Marrying A Commoner the Only Way Out For Women?

Japanese Imperial Rules: Is Marrying A Commoner the Only Way Out For Women?

Princess Mako, a granddaughter of Japan’s Emperor Akihito, is set to marry her college sweetheart, Kei Komuro. Since Komuro is a commoner, Mako will lose her royal title and become a commoner herself. This has reignited the debate on women’s status and succession laws in Japan which currently favor males.

When a Japanese princess marries a commoner man, she loses her status and position within the Imperial family. She’s given a dowry and is never mentioned again, but when a commoner woman marries a Japanese prince, they are elevated to their husband’s royal rank. It’s an imbalance, to say the least, but given the treatment we’ve seen with Japanese Crown Princess Masako and other ladies, that title and lifestyle is not all it’s cracked up to be.

Mako’s paternal aunt, Sayako (Princess Nori) lost her title when she married a commoner in 2005. She was known simply as Mrs. Sayako Kuroda thereafter. She is not even mentioned as a member of the family on the Imperial family’s official website despite being the only daughter of the emperor.

The new Mrs. Kuroda didn’t seem too unhappy about it, though. As she embarked on married life, her parting words were about her feelings of “loneliness” and “unease” as a princess. She also took a shot at the Imperial Household Agency, the organization that tightly regulates the Imperial family’s life. Speaking out for her mother, Empress Michiko, Sayako stated that “Her Majesty collapsed due to unbearable fatigue and distress and lost her power of speech” after “being exposed to a great deal of criticism that had no ground in fact.”

It’s strange that life for Imperial women is so difficult. Japan can count eight Empresses among its rulers from as early as the 6th century until the 1600s, but after the Meiji Restoration in the 1800s, the monarchy became a male-only landscape designed to preserve the mystique and lineage of the Japanese royal line. It was dictated by the Imperial Household Agency and, as we have seen throughout the years, this has not been good for the well-being of Japanese royal women. Empress Michiko has suffered and her daughter-in-law, Crown Princess Masako, has fared no better. The multilingual former diplomat gained her status upon her marriage to Crown Prince Naruhito, but she lost her independence and her spirit. Masako’s severe depression forced her to withdraw from the public eye, and was carefully managed by the strict and secretive Imperial Household Agency.

Masako’s difficulties were underscored when she could not bear a child for several years after her marriage to Naruhito. At long last, they were blessed with a baby girl whom they named Aiko. Her birth in 2001 threw the line of succession into question. The Crown Princess was unlikely to have more children after Aiko, and Naruhito’s brother Akishino had Princess Mako and Princess Kako as his heirs. Without a male in line for the future, Japan held its collective breath to see if the IHA and the Japanese government would allow an amendment to the succession laws.

Then a surprise – Prince Akishino announced that his wife was pregnant. On September 6, 2006, Princess Kiko gave birth to Prince Hisahito. The little prince was over a decade younger than his sisters and the first boy since Akishino’s birth in 1965.

Crown Princess Masako’s distress over her inability to produce a son became so intense that her husband publicly complained to the press, unheard of for the royal family and least of all a Crown Prince.

“Princess Masako, giving up her job as a diplomat to enter the Imperial Household, was greatly distressed that she was not allowed to make overseas visits for a long time,” the crown prince said. “There were developments that denied Princess Masako’s career as well as her personality.”

Sadly, Naruhito and Masako’s daughter Aiko is said to be suffering from stress and has missed months of school as a result. It seems that the cycle may continue.

Or will it?

Emperor Akihito, in delicate health at age 84, will step down soon. This is the first time a Japanese Emperor has abdicated in 200 years. Naruhito will ascend the throne and when he does, will he try to force a change in succession laws? It is my belief that he will at least try to expand Masako’s freedom in her role as empress, given his statement about protecting her and criticizing the Imperial Household Agency.

The couple also have the support of fellow royals. In April 2013, Queen Maxima of the Netherlands personally phoned Princess Masako and insisted she attend to the Dutch inauguration of King Willem-Alexander. Happily, Masako attended with Naruhito to the delight of many Japanese and many royal watchers. Prior to this, the former Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands hosted the Crown Prince and Princess and grew close to them.

With this monumental change in leadership, as well as fellow royals rooting for them, will Naruhito and Masako usher in a new era in the Japanese Royal Family? I can’t wait to find out. I wish them the best for the future. There has to be a way for the Japanese royal women to thrive and to eventually reign. Otherwise, it’s time to marry a commoner and escape the world of the Imperial Household Agency.

Prince Philip Steps Down from Public Life

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The Duke of Edinburgh will wrap up his official engagements this year. At the age of 96 – as of July 10th – it makes sense for him to step back. The fact that the Cambridges are moving back to London to reside in Kensington Palace is, in retrospect, a big indicator that they were needed to increase their duties.

Despite William’s remarks last year, the Duke of Edinburgh does indeed have to take it easy.

“As that time comes I’ll be the first person to put my hand up and take [royal duties] on.

“But like I said, my grandfather is so active as well and he’s unwilling to slow down.”

It truly is the end of an era. I wish Philip continued good health and happiness!

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