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.

Royal Baby Names: Which One Tops The Charts?

What will the royal baby names be? Which one tops the charts? Which ones do you like?

During the Duchess of Cambridge’s second pregnancy, everyone started guessing what the child’s name would be. People were laying odds that it would be Alexandra, Alice, and even Diana. Bookies declared that the favorite was Alice if the baby was a girl.

Now that the new princess is here, Alice has been bumped from the top spot after a “late surge in bets”. Bookies say that the new baby may well be Charlotte, instead.

Detail from a portrait of Princess Andrew of G...

Alice, Princess Andrew of Greece and Denmark by Philip de László. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is an interesting turn of events! The name Alice invoked memories of Prince Philip’s mother, Princess Alice of Battenberg. Queen Victoria’s third daughter was also named Alice. This princess was known for her charitable and caring nature, funding many nursing organizations in her husband’s homeland of Hesse-Darmstadt. She was also the mother of Russia’s last Tsarina, Alexandra.

With Charlotte entering the name race, we now shift gears to the first Charlotte in the British Royal Family – Princess Charlotte of Wales. She was the only child produced in the acrimonious marriage between the future King George IV and Caroline of Brunswick.

Despite her parents’ private and public troubles, Charlotte was a popular and well-loved princess. Her untimely death during childbirth shocked the public and sent everyone into deep mourning. Not only was it a personal tragedy, it had serious constitutional implications, too. Charlotte was the only legitimate heir, and the succession had rested on her and her baby son, who also died during the birth.

Her uncles all scrambled to find suitable brides with whom to produce legitimate sons. Eventually the throne passed to George IV’s brother, William IV. In the end, it was George and William’s brother Edward who would give the British throne the heir and secure stability for the country – Princess Alexandrina Victoria. She would be known to history as Queen Victoria.

In an interesting twist, you could say that Princess Charlotte of Cambridge also caused a major succession change – before she was even born! It was not a crisis, thankfully, but the Queen decided that it was time to abolish the practice of primogeniture (male-only preference). The possibility of a girl being born first to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge prompted the change. We now know that Prince George arrived first, but it was a little princess who made her grandmother think of her own childhood, her own status as queen. She’s done a damn fine job as a monarch; who’s to say another queen can’t reign if she’s born first?

Whichever name the Cambridges decide upon will be a personal choice that means a great deal to them. Of course, being a part of the Royal Family means that the princess will be named with something traditional, yet beautiful. Whether it be Alice, Charlotte, or even Elizabeth, this little girl will make her own mark on the world in years to come.

Cambridges Welcome A Baby Girl

CambridgeGirl-300x187A hearty congratulations to the Cambridges! Kate and William are parents to a little baby girl, born May 2, 2015. The little princess was born in the Lindo Wing of St. Mary’s hospital where Prince George was born in 2013.

Speaking of  big brother George, almost 2 years old, he is sure to be excited and probably a little confused! Who is this new little person? he’ll wonder.

Hopefully a great friend for life, Georgie. Welcome to Baby Cambridge II.

For a name, I will put forth Alexandra Elizabeth Frances. How spot on will I be (or not)? Find out soon.

Singapore State Visit, Kate Amazingly Well Again

Kate looks amazingly well. Hypermesis Gravidarum has made the Duchess of Cambridge horribly ill for weeks now, but it now looks as though it hasn’t made one dent in her spirits. It’s incredible.

This state visit is a big event, and no one thought Kate would be well enough to attend. Happily, she pulled through just in time.

Tony Tan Keng Yam is the first president of Singapore to make an official state visit to the UK.  He is Singapore’s former deputy Prime Minister, elected as the nation’s seventh president in 2011.

This visit highlights the UK’s increasing economic ties to Southeast Asia.

 

Cambridges To Welcome Royal Baby #2 in April!

William and Kate are expecting their second royal baby next April.

April 29th, 2015 will mark the Cambridges’ fourth wedding anniversary. This baby will be a good wedding anniversary gift! When my daughter was born last September, we put a little gold bow on her and said she was our fifth wedding anniversary gift. Her birthday comes just one week prior to our anniversary date in October.

What better way to celebrate than have a new baby in the family? Lots of good wishes to the Cambridges, the Middletons, and the whole Royal Family.

Scotland’s New Journey and Prince Harry’s Invictus Victory

Scotland the Grave-ly serious about leaving the Union; HRH Prince Harry of Wales has organized the Invictus Games to help wounded and disabled soldiers; the Duchess of Cambridge is pregnant with her second child, and I comment on the royal newbie on live television.

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The Cambridges: Full-Time Royals Or Not?

English: Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, on...

English: Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, on his first royal tour after his marriage, visiting Ottawa for Canada Day celebrations. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Cambridges: Full-Time Royals Or Not?

On last week’s RoyaltyNow! radio show, I discussed whether or not the Duke of Cambridge could fulfill two roles at once. Can he be both an Air Ambulance pilot AND Prince? He seems to think so.

According to CNN’s Max Foster, the Palace says that Prince William’s job with the air ambulance will be his “primary occupation” but he will also take time to perform royal duties and charitable work. That’s quite a schedule! Prince Harry is a soldier as well as a royal, so Prince William should be able to manage pilot duties in between royal duties. Right?

Let’s take a look.

Prince Harry has been pegged as an insouciant wild child, but there’s no denying his work ethic. He has been overseas in the military serving Queen and country in horrible conditions. His patronages include helping people in need, whether it’s after a natural disaster or the children orphaned by the AIDS pandemic in Lesotho, Africa.

Although he has a full-time career in the military as an Apache helicopter pilot, Harry still acts in his capacity as a prince representing the Queen. He carries out engagements and travels overseas as part of his royal duties.

This should all bode well for William. Some people say that by joining the air ambulance service, William is expanding the royal role. That the prince is helping people in need, much like Harry, and that he should be able to have this career without criticism.

Not only will he be helping people in need, the prince is giving his salary to charity. Good thing, since this civilian air ambulance he’ll be flying is run by a charity and probably needs the funds to keep running effectively.

 
It just seems so weird to me. I can’t shake it. Harry’s life makes so much more sense. I’m sorry, but I am just confused by the Cambridges.

First the Cambridges renovate Kensington Palace to the tune of millions of pounds, now they’re not even going to be there. Or if they are, it’s only for a brief stopover to perform a royal duty or two while in London. Most of the time they will be at their country home, Anmer Hall, for William’s new job. So why all the dollars thrown at Kensington Palace right now? It seems so unnecessary at the moment.

Then the job itself. It’s not an ordinary pilot job, it’s an emergency service. Whereas Harry’s schedule is EITHER in the military OR acting as a royal, William’s new job sounds like he will be called upon in – you guessed it – an emergency.

For example, the Cambridges are in London for a Tusk Trust gala. Will the prince zoom back to pilot an air ambulance for an emergency? If he has made it clear that that particular day is for royal duties, who fills in? Does the service have to hire a whole new person to cover for William, or is someone going to pull a double shift? Either way, it sounds costly and/or inconvenient for the air ambulance. It’s an odd set-up, to say the least.

The Age Gap

Then there’s the age gap. I love Charles and Camilla, but they are at the age where most people think about retiring (or already have done). That’s not to say that they can’t do their jobs. I realized a long time ago that British royals don’t do retirement, the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh being prime examples. Age ain’t nothin’ but a number to them, but at some point, both couples will need younger back-ups for those long-haul tours and extensive engagements. As much as we want them to be superhuman, that’s just not the case.

Those closest to the throne will need to step it up. That’s Prince William, Duchess Kate, and Prince Harry.

Yes, there are other members of the family to help the Queen, but William is second in line. His lack of understanding of an institution that is based on precedence is worrying. It’s willful, and that’s distressing.

Stay tuned for more.

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