Tag Archives: Duke of Cambridge

Welcome to the Princess of Cambridge!


The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge greeted their second baby yesterday, and she will indeed be a princess: Princess of Cambridge. In Windsor last evening, carillon bells rang out over the streets lively with celebration.

There’s no word yet on the baby’s name. Speculation on possible names is intense. Bets are being feverishly placed. Reportedly Alice and Charlotte are the front runners. Victoria, Elizabeth and Diana are also popular. Royals often are given about four names, so there are quite a few possibilities.

I was just in beautiful rural Norfolk, where William and Kate will reportedly make their primary home.  Tourists like me are allowed to visit the Royal Family’s private retreat, Sandringham. The house and grounds are breathtakingly beautiful and tranquil. William and Kate’s house, still under renovation, is on the Queen’s estate lands–in fact it is right next to Her Majesty’s horse breeding and training grounds.

There will be plenty of fun for a child on Her Majesty’s idyllic grounds. The little race car above was presented to Prince Charles when he was a child, and it has seen a lot of use by other royal children–boys and girls.

Prince William has chosen to work as a helicopter rescue pilot, and much of the time he will be stationed in Norfolk.  That pleases me.  I remember reading that when he was a child, his mother Princess Diana used to take William and Harry out on unofficial private visits to homeless shelters.  It seems to me that aside from official working visits to hospices and daycare centers and so on, this generation of the Royal Family does genuinely care for those less fortunate.

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The local parish church, St. Mary Magdalene, has a lovely guardian angel over the entrance door.
The angel is tenderly holding a baby.  I wish the new royal baby a life of being cared for, and of caring for others.

The baby’s photo at the top of the post is from http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-32567875.

Top 10 Reasons Americans Can’t Get Enough of the British Royal Family

The American press took up a lot of the pavement space in front of the hospital where the new Prince of Cambridge was born this week.  Why our fascination with British royalty?  Following is my own very personal and opinionated list of reasons.

1. We’re safe from a monarchy ourselves, having gained our independence 237 years ago.  We get to enjoy the spectacle without paying the bills.

2. Nowhere in the world is the tension between the antique and the modern more visible than in the traditions of the British Royal Family. Prince William in the velvet and ostrich feathers of the ancient Order of the Garter? Irresistible, at least to many of us. To read about the 2013 Garter Ceremony, go to http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2343223/Beaming-Queen-flanked-Charles-William-Order-Garter-today-Duke-Edinburgh-recovers-home.html.

3. We won’t admit we’re a little envious.  But we’re both dreading and secretly anticipating the day the royals trip themselves up and create another riveting story like the Charles and Diana Show of the 1990s.

4. We have a new appreciation for Princess Diana, who, in spite of all her colorful personal failings, gave the British Monarchy a well-deserved kick in the pants.

5. We’re embarrassed about the media “royalty” we create for ourselves:  overpaid sports heroes shown to cheat by taking banned substances, dysfunctional families like the Kardashians who cynically exploit their fame, reality “stars” who waste our time with their lame antics.  Is this the best we can do, 237 years after getting British royalty out of our lives?

6. We love our dogs.  We have to admire a Queen who is able to keep as many dogs as she wants.  Besides the much-photographed corgis, the Queen reportedly keeps any number of cocker spaniels and dorgis—a corgi-dachshund mix.  (No doubt there are also kennels full of dogs used for hunting, but these days hunting is kept on the down-low because of public disapproval).

7. We’re looking for stories of redemption.  Queen Elizabeth II appeared to be a classic coldhearted mother, especially to Prince Charles, but (if you ask me) she redeemed herself in the moment during Diana’s funeral procession when she briefly bowed her head as the coffin passed.  We’d like to think the Queen has learned her lesson and became a better parent from that day forward. We especially like telling ourselves that a Queen NEEDS to be humbled once in awhile.

8. The current crop of royals shows signs of having more good sense than greed.  I was won over when William and Kate asked for charity donations rather than wedding gifts.

9. We appreciate good PR, especially when it does not seem like PR. When Kate was photographed pushing her own grocery cart a few days after the Wedding of the Century, that was great PR–and we all knew she had been shopping for her own groceries for years.  When Prince William personally placed the new baby’s car seat in the royal Land Rover and drove off with his expanded family, that was great PR. Commenting that the baby had more hair than his prematurely-balding dad was frosting on the cake.

10. We’d like to think that if we were born to untold wealth that we did nothing to deserve, we’d behave humbly and generously.  William and Kate appear to be doing just that. And they’re making it look easy.

If the British Monarchy survives this century, I think people will look back on the personalities and events of the past few years as the reason. Join me next time for more explorations into the history of Europe and the British Isles–even as history is being made before our eyes!

Be the First on Your Block

One of my favorite catalog stores, The Vermont Country Store, just thoughtfully sent me an opportunity to buy a commemorative plate to celebrate the birth of the soon-to-arrive new prince or princess.  Of course the plate will be pink for a girl and blue for a boy.  Delivery is promised in October.

Commemorative Plates available at The Vermont Country Store

Commemorative Plates available at The Vermont Country Store

Or maybe I would prefer a mug instead.

Commemorative Mug available at The Vermont Country Store

Commemorative Mug available at The Vermont Country Store

I would love to be in England right now, anticipating the royal birth along with everyone else, whether they care to admit it or not.  I understand William, the Duke of Cambridge is even now on duty as a rescue pilot while he awaits the birth.  He gets two weeks off when the baby is born. Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, is no doubt getting a little impatient like all moms everywhere. Even anti-Royalists must wish this new young family well. I can only imagine the cornucopia of commemorative items in British markets right now.  I’ll resist, though.

Jelly Babies available at The Vermont Country Store

Jelly Babies available at The Vermont Country Store

On the other hand, The Vermont Country Store offers a lot of other hard-to-find British products…like old-fashioned Jelly Babies.  Hmmm…



Coming Soon: A New Prince or Princess

Queen Elizabeth announced (or rather, had her people announce) that the soon-to-be born baby of Prince William will be called His (or Her) Royal Highness the Prince (or Princess)– of what?  Royal watchers think it will be Cambridge, since Prince William was made Duke of Cambridge at his wedding in 2011.  This is a burning question in England.  I seem to remember that one of the lowest blows Princess Diana sustained during her divorce was that she was stripped of the all-important “Her Royal Highness” or “HRH” designation.  The Queen herself was named “Her Royal Highness the Princess of York” when she was born, because her father was the Duke of York.

Her Royal Highness Princess Elizabeth of York; photo from abcnews.go.com

Her Royal Highness Princess Elizabeth of York; photo from abcnews.go.com

I find all this just a little annoying.  But mostly I find it endearing.  The British doggedly stick to their traditions.  If we didn’t have real live holders of titles walking among us, we’d have a hard time imagining the nobility of the past.  To me, the titles, though shopworn, are living history.  Titles have their practical uses, too. Crowds turn out to see the royals, especially the more likable ones.  Vast sums are raised for the charities they support. And items like tea towels are manufactured and sold in great quantities, providing jobs.

I once attended a ballet performance in London where Princess Margaret, the late sister of the present Queen, was the honored guest.  I must admit it was a thrill to watch her sweep through the lobby with her entourage. And it was fun to see her sitting in the center of the balcony (no tiara, but plenty of jewels and taffeta).

I won’t be posting much about the new royal baby when he or she arrives–our magazine covers will be doing more than enough of that for all of us.  But I salute Prince WIlliam for marrying  commoner Kate Middleton and bringing a breath of fresh air into the British Royal Family.  May they all keep their feet firmly on the ground.