30 April 2011

Favorite Royal Wedding Photos

The world's newest princess, HRH The Duchess of Cambridge, was a gorgeous bride in a gown created by Sarah Burton of Alexander McQueen and wearing the Cartier "Halo" tiara loaned by HM The Queen. The gown seemed to take the best characteristics of two of the world's favorite royal brides, Princess Grace and Princess Margaret, and reinterpret them for a modern bride.
The Duchess of Cambridge

Prince William, now the Duke of Cambridge, and his bride delighted crowds with a carriage ride to Buckingham Palace. Some people had camped out for days for a chance to see them.
Carriage procession to Buckingham Palace

And this is the photo I've waited months to see: a beautiful picture of a very happy Lady Louise Mountbatten-Windsor, clearly enjoying her day as a bridesmaid beside her handsome older cousin Prince Harry.
Prince Harry and The Lady Louise Mountbatten-Windsor

The wedding party in a delightful portrait by Hugo Burnand. The young attendants are(clockwise from bottom right) The Hon. Margarita Armstrong-Jones, Miss Eliza Lopes, Miss Grace van Cutsem, Lady Louise Windsor, Master Tom Pettifer and Master William Lowther-Pinkerton.
The Official Royal Wedding photographs

The young stars of the day queued up at the Abbey, focused on their important roles at the wedding. Well, everyone except Master Tom Petiffer who seemed to have realized there were cameras at every angle.
Bridesmaids and page boys

These photos are from The British Monarchy's photostream on Flickr. Please consult that site for information about photo usage.

29 April 2011

Princesses Welcome a New Princess

Britain's Prince William and his wife Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, stand on the balcony at Buckingham Palace with other members of the Royal Family, after their wedding in Westminster Abbey, in central London April 29, 2011. Prince William married his fiancee, Kate Middleton, in Westminster Abbey on Friday. Also seen are bridesmaids Lady Louise Windsor (L), Grace van Cutsem (2nd L), Queen Elizabeth (C), Kate's mother Carole Middleton and bridesmaid Margarita Armstrong-Jones (R). (ROYAL WEDDING/ BALCONY) REUTERS/Darren Staples (BRITAIN - Tags: ROYALS ENTERTAINMENT SOCIETY)

Royals from around the world gathered in London this morning to welcome Catherine Middleton into their rarified world. For the wedding, Kate wore a beautiful gown by Sarah Burton, which reminded me of both Prince Margaret's and Princess Grace's wedding dresses. With her marriage to Prince William of Wales, the lovely Berkshire lass is now HRH The Duchess of Cambridge.

Some of the royal ladies who shared her joy today included:

Mother of the bride Carole Middleton, Queen Elizabeth II and The Duchess of Cornwall
Queen Sonja of Norway and Queen Margrethe II of Denmark
Princesses Eugenie and Beatrice of York
Crown Princess Katherine of Yugoslavia
Queen Sofia of Spain and Letizia Princess of the Asturias
Anne Princess Royal
Maxima Princess of Orange
Lalla Salma of Morocco
Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn of Thailand
and royal bride-to-be Charlene Wittstock

(L-R) Britain's Prince Philip stands next to Carole Middleton as Queen Elizabeth listens to Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, after the wedding ceremony of Prince William and Kate Middleton at Westminster Abbey, in central London, April 29, 2011. (ROYAL WEDDING/SERVICE) REUTERS/Toby Melville (BRITAIN - Tags: ROYALS SOCIETY ENTERTAINMENT)

Queen Margrethe II of Denmark (R) leaves the Westminster Abbey after the wedding ceremony of Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, in central London April 29, 2011. Prince William married his fiancee, Kate Middleton, in Westminster Abbey on Friday. (ROYAL WEDDING/ PROCESSION) REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach (BRITAIN - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT SOCIETY ROYALS)

Princess Beatrice (R) and her sister Princess Eugenie arrive at Westminster Abbey before the wedding of Britain's Prince William and Kate Middleton in central London April 29, 2011. (ROYAL WEDDING/VIP) REUTERS/Toby Melville (BRITAIN - Tags: ROYALS SOCIETY ENTERTAINMENT)

Crown Prince Alexander and Crown Princess Katherine of Yugoslavia arrive at Westminster Abbey before the wedding of Britain's Prince William and Kate Middleton in central London April 29, 2011. (ROYAL WEDDING/VIP) REUTERS/Toby Melville (BRITAIN - Tags: ROYALS SOCIETY ENTERTAINMENT)

(L-R) Spain's Queen Sofia, Crown Prince Felipe and Princess Letizia arrive at Westminster Abbey before the wedding of Britain?s Prince William and Kate Middleton, in central London April 29, 2011. (ROYAL WEDDING/VIP) REUTERS/Toby Melville (BRITAIN - Tags: ROYALS SOCIETY ENTERTAINMENT)

Britain's Princess Anne (R) arrives at Buckingham Palace after the wedding ceremony of Britain's Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, in central London April 29, 2011. Prince William married his fiancee, Kate Middleton, in Westminster Abbey on Friday. (ROYAL WEDDING/PROCESSION). REUTERS/Andrew Winning (BRITAIN - Tags: ROYALS ENTERTAINMENT SOCIETY)

Crown Princess Maxima and Crown Prince Willem Alexander of the Netherlands leave after the wedding ceremony in Westminster Abbey, in central London April 29, 2011. Britain's Prince William married his fiancee, Kate Middleton, in Westminster Abbey on Friday. (ROYAL WEDDING/CEREMONY) REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach (BRITAIN - Tags: ROYALS ENTERTAINMENT SOCIETY)

Saudi Arabia's Prince Mohamed bin Nawaf bin Abdulaziz and Princess Fadwa bint Khalid bin Abdullah bin Abdulrahman leave after the wedding ceremony in Westminster Abbey, in central London April 29, 2011. Britain's Prince William married his fiancee, Kate Middleton, in Westminster Abbey on Friday. (ROYAL WEDDING/CEREMONY) REUTERS/Phil Noble (BRITAIN - Tags: ROYALS ENTERTAINMENT SOCIETY)

Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn of Thailand leaves the Westminster Abbey after the wedding ceremony of Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, in central London April 29, 2011. Prince William married his fiancee, Kate Middleton, in Westminster Abbey on Friday. (ROYAL WEDDING/ PROCESSION) REUTERS/Phil Noble (BRITAIN - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT SOCIETY ROYALS)

Monaco's Prince Albert and his fiancee Charlene Wittstock (R) arrive at Westminster Abbey before the wedding of Britain's Prince William and Kate Middleton, in central London April 29, 2011. (ROYAL WEDDING/VIP) REUTERS/Toby Melville (BRITAIN - Tags: ROYALS SOCIETY ENTERTAINMENT)

Meet the Duchess of Cambridge

This morning, it was announced that Catherine "Kate" Middleton will become Duchess of Cambridge, Countess of Strathearn and Baroness Carrickfergus upon her marriage to HRH Prince William of Wales today. While there have been many Dukes of Cambridge, there have only been two Duchesses of Cambridge.

Caroline of Ansbach (1683-1737)
When the British decided to skip over all of the Catholics in the Line of Succession and settle the succession on the German family of Stuart granddaughter Electress Sophia of Hanover, Sophia's grandson George was named Duke of Cambridge and his wife Caroline of Ansbach became his Duchess in 1706. Sophia died too soon to become queen and her son became King George I in 1714 when George and Caroline became Prince and Princess of Wales. In 1727, they became King and Queen. Among their many children was Frederick Prince of Wales whom they both despised and who did not outlive them. Caroline is generally considered one of the most capable consorts. She has very involved in "helping" her husband and his Prime Minister Robert Walpole.

Augusta of Hesse-Cassel (1797-1889)
It was quite some time before another Duchess of Cambridge appeared and it almost didn't happen then. Adolphus, the seventh son of King George III was made Duke of Cambridge, but like so many of his brothers, who was not very keen on getting hitched. But, when the only child of the Prince of Wales died, all the unmarried royal dukes, quickly married much younger brides in hopes of fathering the next royal heir. Twenty-one-year-old Augusta was half her husband's age. They did have several children, but unfortunately for them, Adolphus was just too far doen the line to inherit the crown that went to Victoria, daughter of the fourth son. Perhaps the best remembered of their children was Princess Mary Adelaide of Cambridge who married the Duke of Teck and became the mother of the future Queen Mary, consort of King George V and grandmother of Queen Elizabeth II. It is undoubtedly the queen's close family connection that makes the Cambridge title so appealing for her grandson.

Britain's Prince William and his wife Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge kiss as they stand on the balcony at Buckingham Palace with other members of their families, after their wedding in Westminster Abbey, in central London April 29, 2011. Prince William married his fiancee, Kate Middleton, in Westminster Abbey on Friday (ROYAL WEDDING/ BALCONY) REUTERS/Dylan Martinez (BRITAIN - Tags: ROYALS ENTERTAINMENT SOCIETY IMAGES OF THE DAY)
Catherine Middleton (1982- )
Now, we shall see how Catherine, only the third Duchess of Cambridge, will perform in her new royal role. Best wishes on this happy day!

Read more about the history of the Cambridge title on Royal Musings.

28 April 2011

Party at the Palace

Tonight, the world's royals gathered at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in London for a pre-wedding gala celebration. Although the bride and groom, Catherine Middleton and Prince William of Wales, were tucked away safely out of public view, practically everyone else was there. Princesses from around the world put on their shiny new gowns, although sadly no tiaras were sighted.

Britain's Princess Beatrice arrives for a pre-wedding dinner ahead of the wedding of Prince William and his fiancee Kate Middleton at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in London April 28, 2011. REUTERS/Tony Gentile (BRITAIN - Tags: ROYALS)

Belgium's Crown Prince Philippe and Princess Mathilde arrive for a pre-wedding dinner ahead of the wedding of Britain's Prince William and his fiancee Kate Middleton at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in London April 28, 2011. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor (BRITAIN - Tags: ROYALS)

Norwey's Queen Sonja waves as she arrives for a pre-wedding dinner ahead of the wedding of Britain's Prince William and his fiancee Kate Middleton at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in London April 28, 2011. REUTERS/Tony Gentile (BRITAIN - Tags: ROYALS)

Edward Earl of Wessex and his wife Sophie arrive for a pre-wedding dinner ahead of the wedding of Prince William and his fiancee Kate Middleton at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in London April 28, 2011. REUTERS/Tony Gentile (BRITAIN - Tags: ROYALS)

Britain's Princess Eugenie arrives for a pre-wedding dinner ahead of the wedding of Prince William and fiancee Kate Middleton at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in London April 28, 2011. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor (BRITAIN - Tags: ROYALS)

Greece's Queen Anne-Marie arrives for a pre-wedding dinner ahead of the wedding of Britain's Prince William and his fiancee Kate Middleton at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in London April 28, 2011. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor (BRITAIN - Tags: ROYALS)

Spain's Queen Sofia, Crown Prince Felipe and Princess Letizia arrive for a pre-wedding dinner ahead of the wedding of Prince William and his fiancee Kate Middleton at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in London April 28, 2011. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor (BRITAIN - Tags: ROYALS)

Sweden's Crown Princess Victoria (R) and the Duke of Vastergotland arrive for a pre-wedding dinner ahead of the wedding of Prince William and his fiancee Kate Middleton at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in London April 28, 2011. REUTERS/Tony Gentile (BRITAIN - Tags: ROYALS)

26 April 2011

Today's Pic: Sheikha Sheikha for me

The fabulous Sheikha Mozah Bint Nasser seems to be sizing up Felipe Prince of the Asturias at a gala dinner in Madrid last night. She and her husband Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani of Qatar are in Spain on an official visit. Preparations for this visit are said to have prevented King Juan Carlos from joining his family in Palma de Mallorca for Easter. Alas, a royal's work is never done. But, it's worth it when you get to meet incredible people like Sheikha Mozah who always brings her A game.

Qatar's Sheikha Mozah Bint Nasser al-Missned and Spanish Crown Prince Felipe pose before a gala dinner at the Royal Palace in Madrid, April 25, 2011. REUTERS/Arturo Rodriguez/ Pool (SPAIN - Tags: ROYALS POLITICS)

24 April 2011

Today's Pic: Bonnet-Free Easter

Most of the Spanish royal family attended Easter mass in Palma de Mallorca but none of the ladies donned Easter bonnets. Of course, unlike in other royal families, the Spanish ladies rarely wear hats. They also wear pants much more frequently as evidenced here by both Letizia Princess of the Asturias and Infanta Elena. One other sartorial note: the little infantas Leonor and Sofia have often been dressed alike for Easter but this year, they are not. Finally, while Infanta Cristina's shirt dress seems a little informal for the most important Christian holy day, Queen Sofia seems to have selected a perfect ensemble with just the right touch of spring.

Members of Spain's Royal Family (L-R) Infanta Elena, Infanta Cristina, Crown Prince Felipe, Queen Sofia, Princess Letizia and (front L-R) Infanta Leonor and Infanta Sofia pose for photographers after attending an Easter mass at the cathedral in Palma de Mallorca on the island of Mallorca, April 24, 2011. REUTERS/Enrique Calvo (SPAIN - Tags: RELIGION ROYALS)

22 April 2011

Today's Pic: Michiko's disaster relief

The Japanese Imperial family continues to make well-publicized public appearances in the continuing trauma of the earthquake and tsunami that rocked the island nation earlier this year. Empress Michiko and the Emperor today visited a fishing village that is not very far outside of the evacuation zone around the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station. Coverage of the ongoing Japanese tragedy may have lessened in international news reports--I'm looking at you, American media outlets--but millions of Japanese people are still being deeply impacted every day.


Japan's Emperor Akihito (2nd L) and Empress Michiko listen to an explanation from the Governor of Ibaraki Prefecture Masaru Hashimoto (R) and a resident as they look around a damaged fishing port in Otsu town in Kitaibaraki, about 70 km (42 miles) south of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, April 22, 2011. The emperor and empress visited the port on Friday to give encouragement to the residents who suffered damages from the quake and tsunami. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon (JAPAN - Tags: DISASTER ENVIRONMENT ROYALS)

21 April 2011

Today's Pic: 85 and Still Working

Queen Elizabeth II may have turned 85 today--well past the age of retirement for any industrialized nation--but she didn't take the day off. Instead, she and her husband Prince Philip, who will be 90, in June participated in a traditional Maundy Thursday ceremony, distributing commemorative coins selected "senior citizens". I wonder if any of them were younger than she is! In bygone centuries, her predecessors also washed the people's feet, in remembrance of a similar act by Jesus. Read our tribute to The Queen on her 85th birthday.

Britain's Queen Elizabeth and her husband Prince Philip attend a Maundy Service on her 85th birthday at Westminster Abbey in London April 21, 2011. REUTERS/Arthur Edwards/Pool (BRITAIN - Tags: ROYALS RELIGION SOCIETY)
Britain's Queen Elizabeth hands out Maundy money during the Maundy Service at Westminster Abbey in London April 21, 2011. REUTERS/Arthur Edwards/Pool (BRITAIN - Tags: ROYALS RELIGION)

A New Princess is Born

Spring had not yet arrived on that drizzly, gray April morning in London. In a five-story Mayfair townhouse, the King’s only daughter-in-law was nestled in the familiar surroundings of her parents’ home. For the last three years, she and her husband had been living a nomadic existence migrating from one relative’s house to another waiting for the royal family to find them a comfortable, modern home with simple amenities like sufficient plumbing.

The 26-year-old Duchess of York may have been thinking about finding a home of her own. As she ran her hand over her swollen belly, her thoughts were almost certainly on the family she was starting with her beloved husband, Bertie. Soon, her pangs began to increase and she retired to a specially prepared room with three doctors to look after her.

As the day progressed, reporters arrived at 17 Bruton Street. They were escorted to another room where they were treated as guests while they awaited news of this interesting but not very important birth.

After all, this child would only be third in line after the 31-year-old Prince of Wales (who would certainly marry and begin a family) and his younger brother the Duke of York. This baby would likely spend its life moving further and further down the line.

This child wasn’t even the first grandchild of King George V and Queen Mary. Their daughter, the Princess Royal, had already presented them with two grandsons.

Nevertheless, throughout the day, people started gathering outside of the elegant townhouse of the Earl and Countess of Strathmore. Anticipation was building on the street, but inside things were not developing smoothly. The tiny royal highness was not positioning properly and the petite duchess was facing a long struggle.

As the sun set and darkness engulfed the house, the anxious father was putting the Earl’s rugs through a real workout and burning his way through cigarette after cigarette. Despite his nervousness and his well-documented stammer, he still took time to pop in to visit with the reporters and the official government representative. In the duchess’s room, the doctors finally determined that the breech baby would not turn around. The only answer for both mother and child was caesarean section.

Finally, at 2:40 a.m. on April 21, 1926, a little princess entered the world. At four a.m., the king and queen were awakened with the happy news. That afternoon they visited their first granddaughter and the stodgy, middle-aged Queen Mary immediately fell in love with her. “Saw the baby, who is a little darling,” she gushed in her diary, marking the beginning of a close and loving relationship between the queen and the granddaughter who would grow to resemble her in appearance and temperament.

The Duke of York consulted the king about the baby’s name, as royal tradition required. Elizabeth, the duke proposed in honor of his darling wife. Alexandra in honor of the baby’s grandmother, the gorgeous Danish princess who became a beloved British queen and who had died only a few months earlier. And, Mary after the queen. The king noted that the name Victoria was not included—“I quite approve…He says nothing about Victoria. I hardly think that necessary,” George wrote.

And so, this little girl became one of the first descendants of Queen Victoria who was not named for the venerable old queen or her revered consort Prince Albert. But, this little girl was destined for a life as some nobleman’s wife living privately in the country, traveling to London for the season, getting dressed up for the occasional royal event, but growing less and less interesting to the reporters seated in her grandparents’ parlor and the people gathered in the rain-drenched street. By the time she turned 85 in the unimaginably far-off 21st century, the event would probably rate little public comment at all.

Funny how a person’s life can take an unexpected turn. And, while Queen Elizabeth II may not have been born to inherit the throne, few would argue that she was destined to be queen.

WORKS CONSULTED

19 April 2011

Today's Pic: Kate's New Coat

Catherine Middleton got a brand new coat today but this one is based on ancient tradition: her family's Coat of Arms. Any British person can apply for a coat of arms so the Middletons could have applied for theirs earlier, but that might have looked presumptious.

The new Middleton arms include three acorns representing Catherine and her siblings, the gold represents her mother Carole whose maiden name is Goldsmith, the red and blue stand are traditional British colors and the divide down the middle between the two color "tones" is a pun on the family surname. For Catherine, the arms include a bow to denote she is an unmarried daughter. After the wedding, her arms will be impaled with Prince William's.

The new Coat of Arms for Kate Middleton's family is displayed at the College of Arms in London April 18, 2011. Kate Middleton will use this Coat of Arms until her April 29th wedding to Britain's Prince William, when it will be merged with his Coat of Arms. Photograph taken April 18, 2011. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett (BRITAIN - Tags: ROYALS SOCIETY ENTERTAINMENT)

17 April 2011

Today's Pic: Charlene on the Court

That other royal bride, Charlene Wittstock, was looking smart in navy and white this afternoon as she presented prizes at the Monte Carlo Masters tennis tournament. She and fiancee Prince Albert II of Monaco have decided on a long engagement. Although their wedding is still three months away, Charlene has been undertaking official duties like this one and a visit to Ireland last month, throughout the engagement period. Unlike most princesses who get on-the-job training, she seems to be undergoing a very exciting internship.

Rafael Nadal of Spain (L) shakes hand with Prince Albert II of Monaco's fiancee Charlene Wittstock (C) while Prince Albert looks on after the final of the Monte Carlo Masters tennis tournament in Monaco April 17, 2011. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard (MONACO - Tags: SPORT TENNIS ROYALS)

15 April 2011

Today's Pic: Silvia Speaks

I recently watched a royal television show that called Diana Princess of Wales the last of the silent stars because she conveyed her public persona more through images than words. She actually delivered relatively few speeches. Once she did speak, it was explosive: bulimia, land mines and don't forget that Martin Bashir article!

Royals today have to be a bit more vocal in their official duties as Queen Silvia of Sweden demonstrated today delivering a speech in Vilnius, Lithuania. In this photo she seems tiny and totally isolated--that's how many people feel when speaking in public, but today's royal ladies can't afford to be shy. But, they also try not to be outspoken.

Sweden's Queen Silvia speaks during a charity event in Vilnius April 15, 2011. REUTERS/Ints Kalnins (LITHUANIA - Tags: ROYALS POLITICS)

14 April 2011

Could You Be Princess Harry?

Are you madly in love with Prince Harry and looking for your opportunity to be the next princess bride? The London Sun magazine is looking for you. If you would like to spend some time with a group of other Harry Hunters visiting the London bars and clubs where HRH has been known to spend time, contact Laura Stott at laura.stott@the-sun.co.uk. Participants' expenses that night will be covered.

If you can't make it this time, Laura would still like to chat with you if you ever have gone out Harry Hunting. What do you love about Harry? How have you tried to meet him? You can use a fake name if you'd like, but at least one girl needs to be willing to have her name and photo published.

It's all in light-hearted fun, but who knows, you just might meet your prince this way.

Today's Pics: And Babies Make Six

The royal Danish twins, who were born to Crown Princess Mary and Crown Prince Fredrik on Jan. 8 were christened today and their names were finally revealed to the world. They are Prince Vincent Frederik Minik Alexander and Princess Josephine Sophia Ivalo Mathilda. I'm not quite sure how they selected these names; neither of them were on my list of possibilities. The new babies join Prince Christian and Princess Isabella to make a family of six.

Denmark's Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary carry their twins, Princess Josephine Sophia Ivalo Mathilda (L) and Prince Vincent Frederik Minik Alexander, after the twins' christening at Holmen's Church in Copenhagen April 14, 2011. Also pictured are the royal couple's other children, Prince Christian (R) and Princess Isabella (2nd R). REUTERS/Nils Meilvang/Scanpix Denmark (DENMARK - Tags: ROYALS) THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. IT IS DISTRIBUTED, EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS. DENMARK OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN DENMARK

13 April 2011

Today's Pic: Two Royal Beauties

As part of the future king and queen of Spain's visit to the Middle East, the Prince and Princess of the Asturias were in Jordan today, where Letizia came face to face with her doppelganger Queen Rania of Jordan. The likeness between the two royal beauties is fairly striking when seen side by side.

Spain's Princess Letizia (L) and Jordan's Queen Rania greet lunch guests at the Basman Royal Palace in Amman April 13, 2011. REUTERS/Darren Whiteside (JORDAN - Tags: POLITICS ROYALS)

12 April 2011

Today's Pic: Working Mom Maxima

Just a day after dropping off her youngest daughter, Princess Ariane, for her very first day of school, Maxima Princess of Orange was back on duty today, joining her husband and royal mother-in-law for a visit to Berlin, including a state dinner at Bellevue Palace. Royal mommies try to spend as much time as they can with their little ones but, when you are a princess, there is always another official event to take you away. Fortunately, when the babies are still little, you can put your tiara on, tuck the kiddies in, and then head out for a banquet, ball or premiere.

Netherlands' Princess Maxima arrives for a state banquet at the presidential Bellevue palace in Berlin, April 12, 2011. REUTERS/Gero Breloer/Pool (GERMANY - Tags: POLITICS ROYALS)

11 April 2011

Today's Pic: Kate's Tresses

With just a couple of weeks until the royal wedding, Prince William and Kate Middleton ventured into northern England for what is slated to be their final public appearance together before the big day. At her recent events, including today, Kate seems to be experimenting with different hairstyles. Perhaps she is trying things out before the wedding or maybe she has learned, as I have, that long loose hair on a windy day equals headaches and hassles once you return to the palace. She also seems to be experimenting with waves and curls--I predict a "fussier" hairdo for the bride than we are used to seeing on her.


Britain's Prince William (L) walks with his fiancee, Kate Middleton, during their visit to Witton Country Park in Darwen, northern England April 11, 2011. A large crowd of well-wishers braved a downpour in northern England on Monday to cheer Prince William and Kate Middleton as they took part in their final official engagement before their wedding. REUTERS/Darren Staples (BRITAIN - Tags: ROYALS ENTERTAINMENT SOCIETY IMAGES OF THE DAY)

08 April 2011

Today's Pic: An Empress Reaches Out

Today, Empress Michiko of Japan again visited with evacuees of Japan's deadline earthquake and tsunami, less than one day after another major aftershock. The island nation has been rocked by very large aftershocks and hundreds of tiny ones plus numerous tsunami warnings for nearly a month now. The unprecedented disaster has prompted the imperial family to take a much more public role as consolers, much more in line with Western royal traditions.

Japan's Empress Michiko (R) talks with an evacuee at an evacuation center in Kazo, Saitama Prefecture, April 8, 2011. Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko visited the shelter to encourage some 1,400 evacuees from the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, mostly from Fukushima Prefecture where the troubled Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant is located. REUTERS/Koji Sasahara/Pool (JAPAN - Tags: DISASTER ENVIRONMENT ROYALS)

07 April 2011

Today's Pic: Hitting the Shops

Two royal ladies were photographed doing a little shopping. Yesterday, Camilla Duchess of Cornwall visited a traditional shoe shop in Morocco where she a Prince Charles are on an official visit. Today, Letizia Princess of the Asturias visited the factory for the Spanish fashion label, Mango's. Both royal ladies have been noted for their sartorial style although Camilla is usually better recognized for her hats than her shoes and Letizia's super high heels often earn headlines of their own.

Camilla (L), Duchess of Cornwall visits a traditional shoe shop in the Medina of Fez, Morocco April 6, 2011. Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall and her husband Prince Charles are on the third day of a three day trip to Morocco, as part of a tour to Portugal, Spain and Morroco. The Prince was due to visit an area of the Sahara Desert today but the trip was cancelled due to high winds. REUTERS/Chris Jackson/POOL (MOROCCO - Tags: ROYALS ENTERTAINMENT TRAVEL)

Spanish Princess Letizia visits Spanish fashion label Mango's factory in Palau-Solita i Plegamans, near Barcelona, April 7, 2011. REUTERS/Albert Gea (SPAIN - Tags: ROYALS FASHION BUSINESS)

06 April 2011

Today's Pic: Masako offers consolation

Following an example set last week by the emperor and empress of Japan, Crown Princess Masako and Crown Prince Naruhito today visited evacuees of the March earthquake and tsunami. The couple had announced that they would attend the British royal wedding; an occasion that excited royal watchers because Masako very rarely travels abroad because of what the imperial household terms an "adjustment disorder." However, the enormous disaster that struck their country has led the princely couple to change their minds. They will instead stay home and offer what consolation they can to their devastated countrymen.

Japan's Crown Prince Naruhito (L) talks to evacuees from the March 11 earthquake and tsunami as Crown Princess Masako (R) looks on at a gymnasium, currently an evacuation left, inside Ajinomoto stadium in Chofu, western Tokyo April 6, 2011. The couple visited the evacuation left to encourage the evacuees, who are mainly from Fukushima prefecture. REUTERS/Yuriko Nakao (JAPAN - Tags: DISASTER POLITICS ROYALS)

05 April 2011

Today's Pic: Mathilde in Moscow

Princess Mathilde of Belgium may be one of the less glamorous future queens in Europe but I find her elegant understatement to be always professional and always elegant. This week, she is in Moscow, where Russian First Lady Svetlana Medvedeva showed her around the Kremlin.

Russia's First Lady Svetlana Medvedeva (R) and Belgium's Princess Mathilde walk in Moscow's Kremlin, April 5, 2011. REUTERS/Dmitry Astakhov/RIA Novosti/Kremlin/Handout (RUSSIA - Tags: POLITICS ROYALS) THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. IT IS DISTRIBUTED, EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS

04 April 2011

Today's Pic: Charlene in Ireland

Prince Albert of Monaco arrives at the National Museum with his fiancee Charlene Wittstock (R) during their three day state visit to Ireland, in Dublin April 4, 2011. REUTERS/Cathal McNaughton (IRELAND - Tags: POLITICS ROYALS ENTERTAINMENT)

On Monday, Prince Albert II of Monaco and his fiancee Charlene Wittstock arrive in Dublin, Ireland for a three-day state visit. It is a bit unusual for royal couple to travel abroad officially before their marriage, but they've also had one of the longest royal engagements in recent history. They announced their engagement last summer, months before Prince William of Wales and Katherine Middleton, but the British couple will still make it to the altar months ahead of the Monagesques. Charlene, like Catherine, also has a lot to live up to: her future husband's mother was also glamorous and popularly beloved and also died in a tragic car crash.

03 April 2011

Today's Pic: Princess Training for Girls

Course founder Jerramy Fine (2nd R) watches as young girls learn how to curtsey before a woman wearing a Queen Elizabeth mask, during a 'Princess Prep' training afternoon in London April 2, 2011. A dozen girls aged 7 to 11 learned skills for an afternoon on poise, grooming tips, tea party etiquette and how to curtsey. Princess Prep is based in the U.S. and is marketing 7 day courses for girls to travel to Britain to study such subjects as the Royal family, etiquette and horse riding. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor (BRITAIN - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT ROYALS IMAGES OF THE DAY SOCIETY)

If only I were 10 years old again...

This week, Jerramy Fine offered young girls a sneak peak of her upcoming Princess Prep camp in London. With three sessions offered, the princesses will experience etiquette lessons, tea at Kensington Palace, horse riding in Hyde Park, a royal wedding walking tour, a day at Hampton Court Palace, visits to the crown jewels a d Buckingham Palace, volunteer work with a royal charity, a night at the theatre and more. They are planning an interest meeting in New York in May. If you are interested, check their web site.

Ms. Fine is the author of the delightful book, "Someday My Prince Will Come," which follows her own youthful quest to become a princess herself. You can read my review here.

Or buy the book from Amazon:

02 April 2011

10 Things You Don't Know about Prince William

Britain's Prince William sits at the controls of a Sea King helicopter during a training exercise at Holyhead Mountain, in Wales March 31, 2011. Prince William is serving as a search and rescue helicopter pilot, based at RAF Valley on Anglesey, an island off the north west coast of Wales. Photograph taken on March 31, 2011. REUTERS/John Stillwell/Pool (BRITAIN - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT SOCIETY ROYALS)
With just a few weeks until the latest royal "wedding of the century," coverage of the nuptial pair really is starting to reach a fever pitch. To help feed the frenzy, I recently wrote an article for the Yahoo! Contributor Network called "Five Things You Don't Know about Prince William." For those of you who want to know even more, here are five more essential items about the royal groom.

6. He was the youngest royal globetrotter.
Prince William spent his first birthday on the other side of the planet in Australia. His mother, reportedly, refused to leave him behind when she and Prince Charles went Down Under for an official royal tour. William stayed with his nanny in one place while his parents periodically bounced back to him from various locations. This added complication to an exhausting tour schedule was never again repeated. Like royal babies before him, he was left at home in the future. William did not go on royal tour again until, as teenagers, he and his brother accompanied their father to Canada.

7. He did not spend a lot of time with his parents.
As a child, Prince William spent a lot of time without either of his parents. Not only were the Prince and Princess of Wales often traveling for their royal duties, but they also sent William to boarding school. So even when they were "home" in London, he was often away at school. Once Charles and Diana began leading separate lives, William's time away from school had to be split between the two of them, decreasing how much time he could spend with either of them.

8. However, he did enjoy time with both of his parents.
Even though Diana died when William was 15 and Harry 12, the media and much of the public give her full credit for how well they turned out. Surely Charles at least deserves some credit for how they dealt with that overwhelming grief. Since Charles is less popular and did most of his parenting in private, his contributions are often overlooked. While Diana took her boys on well-publicized visits to theme parks and fast food restaurants where the photographers were sure to follow, their time with their father was usually spent away from the prying lenses enjoying the royal family's traditional country activities, deerstalking, fishing, etc. Sometimes at the beginning of an extended holiday with dad, Charles did invite the media for a brief photo shoot. In fact, he and the boys had a short photo call at Balmoral just days before Diana's death and it was at Balmoral that Charles and the Queen kept the grieving young princes away from the media frenzy in the days following her tragic death.

9. He almost didn't walk behind Diana's cortege.
Reportedly shy as a youngster and completely overwhelmed by his mother's loss, Prince William nearly decided not to walk with his father, brother and uncle Spencer on the day of Diana's internationally televised funeral. This anxiety explains the surprising appearance of the then 76-year-old Prince Philip among the walking mourners. It's widely reported that there was little love lost between the elderly prince and his late daughter-in-law, but he offered to walk to help provide more support for his grandsons. The strength of that grandfatherly bond is perhaps reflected by the fact that Philip walked right beside the wavering William.

10. He could save your life.
If you find yourself in a precarious situation along the Welsh coast, the team sent to assist you could very well include an officer called William Wales. Princes of the past rode to the rescue on a trusty steed; Prince William takes a more modern approach: he arrives in a Sea King helicopter. As a search-and-rescue pilot, Prince William has already flown several such missions, a few of which have received media attention. It's reported that university applications surged when he announced where he would study. Let's hope these same folks aren't risking their lives in order to try to meet the prince today.

Read Items 1-5 in my Yahoo article.

For more about Prince William and the royal wedding: