Category: Royalty

The Markle Sparkle

The New Duke & Duchess of Sussex


The Markle Sparkle

There is only one verdict during the royal wedding yesterday between Prince Harry and Hollywood actress, Meghan Markle, it was a success – a history making.

After  weeks of salacious revelations about the Markles and Meghan, yesterday put a lid to all the controversies.  The lid might be temporary, we shall see.

Remember how Sarah Fergusson was at first the darling of the crowd in 1986?  Did not last long 🙁

Yesterday, the world had seen how Meghan was so poised and dignified.  Meghan sparkled.

Her dress was expensively simple, which suited her well.  The pièce de résistance to her wedding ensemble was the purity and simplicity of the Queen Mary Diamond Bandeau Tiara.  A real show stopper!  It was perfectly nestled into a long train of veil, which cascaded behind her like a silken river.  The veil was embroidered by all the flowers from the 53 commonwealth nations.

She might yet be the real thing, a real duchess.

Well she is officially the Duchess of Sussex, (Countess ) Lady of Dumbarton and (Baroness) Lady of Kilkeel and also being Princess Harry. ‘A list’ guests attending with members of public. Millions around the world watched or listened to a bright, joyous and happy event, sadly rare at present in the world at large. We saw part of the RAF wedding fly by of planes over our garden en route to Windsor on a glorious sunny day.

Congratulations and Best Wishes.

Markle – Windsor Conspiracy

Harry & Meghan

Markle – Windsor Conspiracy

Omigod!  This wedding is turning into a farce.

It doesn’t bode well for their future.  But then again having said that, Meghan and her own family might just fit in nice and well with the British Royal Family.

I am so looking forward to the next instalment of their drama.

 

It is like Coronation Street, Eastenders, Emmerdale, The Beverley Hillbillies, The Munsters & Dowtown Abbey rolled into one and topped by a hint of Deliverance.

Netflix should jumped immediately into making a drama based on the Markle Windsor alliance.

I have to admit that when Harry and Meghan first announced their engagement, I was not in anyway bothered except for wishing them well.

But as the days start to near the actual nuptial, I am becoming overwhelmed with excitement and gawky mirth.

It is not the excitement of wanting to know what Meghan would wear.

But…

The more on the unfolding drama behind Meghan Markle’s family background, which is riveting; better than stylised fiction. 🙂

I am pretty sure many in the palace admin/PR side are loosing their hair from grabbing them in frustration.

As they solve one incident, another pops up right behind immediately.

The ‘will he, won’t he?’ saga about Thomas Markle walking his daughter down the aisle is frankly hilarious!

And now I am pretty sure not the only one that think the Royal Family will be blamed for Meghan’s father not attending the wedding after all.  This will be a conspiracy.

The Royal Family will be blamed for looking down on Meghan’s family.

This should not be the case as the Royal Family is as dysfunctional as Meghan’s own.

Who could forget about the Sophiegate better known as Sophie Tape of 2001, where Sophie, the Countess of Wesses (wife of Edward- QEII youngest son) was rather forthright in her criticism of a lot of people.  And it was also said that Edward and Sophie are like a marionettes for the right price, allegedly.

Who can forget the many scandals attached to Prince Andrew.  I do feel sorry for him because he was thwarted when he was romancing Koo Stark.  In the end he had to make do with Fergie and her toe sucking antics.

What about Tampax Charlie and his darling Camilla.  He had to marry his mistress, who he can’t marry the first time round because his mummy did not approve.

Though I love Diana, of course, we all know almost everything about her and her murky past.

Yap Meghan will fit in nicely with the royals.

A word of advice to the Royal Family.  Get a private jet and bring Meghan’s father to the wedding, otherwise there will always be a hint that the cog in the royal machine had something to do with the none appearance of the father of the bride.

It’s smoking conspiracy!  🙂

For all it is worth,

WE WOULD LIKE TO WISH MEGHAN AND HARRY A HAPPY LIFE TOGETHER!


 

The poor Duke of Edinburgh is probably sedated at the moment with all the goings on with the Markles. LOL A latest gossip was that Father Markle had the heart attack because he was so upset with his son for having written to Prince Harry imploring him to run away from his sister. LOL

 

 

Diana – Princess of Wales

Sometimes, when one person is missing, the whole world seems depopulated.
– Lamartine

Diana – Princess of Wales

Today is the 20th year anniversary of the death of the Princess.   She was only 37 years old when she died.

I still remember what I was doing when I found out that she had died.

It was the weekend and we got up rather late. It was almost midday.  I went to boil the kettle in preparation to make breakfast/brunch/lunch.  I turned on the radio and just caught the tail end of the news, where the newscaster was rather excited and almost shouting about the princess death.

I run immediately to the the living room (extension part of the house) where Peter and James were reading.

I told them starkly that Diana was dead.  For a moment we were all in shock.  Peter said I was joking.  She was in the paper just yesterday, swimming.

Peter turned on the tv and there Diana was being confirmed as dead from car crash together with her lover in Paris.

May she rest in peace.

Saint David’s Day

Saint David’s Day

 

March 1st  is Saint David’s Day.

Did you remember to celebrate it yesterday?

The first day of March was chosen in remembrance of the death of Saint David as traditionally it is believed that he might have died on that day in 569, 588 or even 589; the date is uncertain.

Stainglass picture of St David of Wales

Stainglass depicting St David of Wales

St David (Dewi Sant) was a Celtic monk, abbot and bishop, who lived in the sixth century.  He spread the word of Christianity across Wales.

St David's own flag flown over Churches and some public buildings on St David's Day

St David’s own flag flown over Churches and some public buildings on St David’s Day

A  famous story about Saint David tells how he was preaching to a huge crowd and the ground is said to have risen up, so that he was standing on a hill and everyone had a better chance of hearing and seeing him.

 He was born towards the end of the 5th century. He was of the royal house of Ceredigion, and founded a Celtic monastic community at Glyn Rhosyn (The Vale of Roses) on the western headland of Pembrokeshire (Sir Benfro) where St David’s Cathedral  stands today. David was famous for being a teacher.  His monastery at Glyn Rhosin became an important Christian shrine and important centre in Wales. Before  his death, Saint David is said to have uttered these words: “Brothers be ye constant. The yoke which with single mind ye have taken, bear ye to the end; and whatsoever ye have seen with me and heard, keep and fulfil.”

Welsh ex-pats around the  world celebrate St David’s Day. The  daffodil  & the leek are the national emblem of Wales and badges of which are worn with pride.

Daffodil flower and emblem of Wales

Daffodil flower and emblem of Wales

Why a leek as an emblem?  One theory is that St David advised the Welsh, on the eve of battle with the Saxons, to wear leeks in their caps to distinguish friend from the enemy. Shakespeare mentions in Henry V, that the Welsh archers (fearsome for the power and accuracy of their legendary long bows,)  wore leeks at the battle  with the French at Agincourt in 1415.

The Leek vegetbale an other emblem of Wales

The Leek vegetable an other emblem of Wales

The traditional meal on St David’s Day is cawl. This is a soup that is made of leek and other locally grown produce.

Another symbol of Wales is  the iconic Welsh Dragon  in Welsh- Y Ddraig Goch (“the red dragon”)

Welsh National-Flag

The Welsh National Flag

It  appears on the national flag of Wales. The flag is also called Y Ddraig Goch.

The Historia Brittonum(History of Britons written around 828)  records the first  use of the dragon to  symbolise Wales.

The Dragon was popularly supposed to have been the battle standard of the legendary King Arthur  other ancient Celtic leaders. archaeological  literature, and documentary history suggests that  it evolved from an earlier Romano-British national symbol.  During the reigns of the  Tudor Monarchs, the red dragon was used as a symbol of support  in the English Crown’s coat of arms (one of two supporters, along with the traditional English lion).  The red dragon is often seen as symbolising all things Welsh, and flags are flown  by many public and private institutions in Wales and some in London too.

………………..

1 March 2014

To celebrate St David’s Day Google has this special doodle to commemorate the occasion.

st-davids-day-2014-5651391519391744.2-hp

 

 

Egyptians mock ‘ugly’ new Nefertiti Statue

Nefertiti and the unpopular modern creation

Nefertiti and the unpopular modern creation

Marilyn_Manson

Its me Mansfertiti

Egyptians Mock ‘ugly’ new Nefertiti Statue

With the showing of a new rendition of the classical  Egyptian beauty,  Queen Nefertiti, loosely or we should say very loosely based on the iconic bust,  has resulted in Egyptians mocking this latest recreation.

Queen Nefertiti ruled Egypt alongside her husband the heretical King Akhenaten  in the 14th century BC.  Her legendary beauty reflected in the bust – her name in fact translates as “a beautiful woman has arrived.”

When authorities had this version commissioned for the Egyptian people, their reaction was as abrasive as a desert sandstorm

Nefertiti remains a proud symbol of their country’s impressive history and beauty. So when the authorities wanted to commission a statue at the entrance of the city of Samalut, they thought of the ancient queen.

Unfortunately, the replica bears  little resemblance to the legendary beauty, many  despaired for the state of Egyptian art.

“This is an insult to Nefertiti and to every Egyptian,” tweeted one Egyptian woman. Another wrote: “It should be named ‘ugly tasteless artless statue’… not Nefertiti.”

Many Egyptians feeling offended by the failed attempt to replicate the iconic bust directed their anger at the sculptors: “If you don’t know how to make statues don’t go and do something so unfair to the beautiful Nefertiti,” tweeted one man.

Some even compared the  bust to the 1930s move classic  Frankenstein’s monster!

Thank goodness the power of the people prevailed as the statue was removed and probably will not see the light of day any time soon!

 

The Queen @ 88 by David Bailey

“I’ve always been a huge fan of the Queen, she has very kind eyes with a mischievous glint.”
– David Bailey
4-Elizabeth-II-AFP-Getty

This photo was taken by David Bailey, a renowned English/British photographer, at Buckingham Palace in March 2014 in honour of the Queen’s 88 birthday. This is also a part of the Government’s initiative to increase tourism.

I thought her hair was cropped too short in this photo or portrait but the more I look at it, the more I like it and quite admire it.

Well done David Bailey.

And wishing the Queen a Happy Birthday and long may she reigns!

Royal Laundress (of Money) – Labanderang Prinsesa

How the mighty have fallen.  The Princess is allegedly a common money laundering accessory.

It is also alleged that her husband plundered millions of euros in charitable donations to a company that he runs.

It is similar to Philippine PDAF (pork barrel scandal)!

It makes one wonder if the Filipinos inherited this corruption gene from their former Spanish overlords. 😉 LOL

Anyway Cristina is now a prinsesa labandera; Princesa de Lavado de Dinero, a title that certainly would bring shame to her family, especially to her ailing father, King Juan Carlos of Spain.

Because of this shameful event, King Juan Carlos might have to abdicate in favour of his son, Felipe.

JPJhermes, on Patrol

………………………

Spanish princess Infanta Cristina summoned over fraud

The Infanta Cristina at a Mass in Madrid, 20 June 2013
The Infanta Cristina is seen here at a Mass in Madrid in June 2013

A Spanish judge has summoned the youngest daughter of King Juan Carlos to appear in court over accusations of fraud and money-laundering.

The Infanta Cristina, 48, has been linked to the business affairs of her husband, Inaki Urdangarin, who is being investigated for alleged embezzlement.

The princess is now a formal suspect and should appear in court on 8 March.

………………………

Analysis

image of Tom BurridgeTom BurridgeBBC News, Madrid

Throughout this long-running, and very public scandal, Spain’s royal household has always tried to draw a line between direct members of the royal family and the scandal surrounding the king’s son-in-law, Cristina’s husband. That will now be a lot more difficult.

The princess did not have to appear last year in court because state lawyers appealed against the summons, and the regional court of Mallorca, which is managing the case, judged that the evidence linking Cristina to her husband’s business dealings was insufficient. However preventing her appearance for a second time could prove much harder.

The year has not started well for King Juan Carlos. An opinion poll on Sunday suggested that 62% of Spaniards would like to see him abdicate, and the following day his advanced age and ill-health showed as he struggled to make a speech at an annual military event.

——————–

It is believed to be the first time a direct relative of the king will appear in court accused of wrongdoing.

Palma de Mallorca court judge Jose Castro ordered the princess to appear for questioning about her partnership with Mr Urdangarin in a firm called Aizoon.

Last year, properties belonging to her husband were impounded after allegations that Mr Urdangarin, the Duke of Palma, misused millions of euros in public funds given to a charitable foundation he ran.

The duke denied wrongdoing and was not charged with any crime.

One of the properties impounded is a large luxury house on the outskirts of Barcelona belonging to the duke and the princess, who currently lives in the Swiss city of Geneva.

The Infanta Cristina is the king’s middle child. She has an elder sister, Infanta Elena, and a younger brother, Crown Prince Felipe, the heir apparent.

‘Spaniards relieved’Judge Castro issued the summons despite objections from the anti-corruption prosecutor in the Balearic Islands, Pedro Horrach, who said he saw no evidence linking the princess to her husband’s alleged wrongdoing, the Spanish newspaper El Pais reports.

When Judge Castro first tried to summon the princess last April, the bid was blocked by the provincial court in Palma de Mallorca.

Inaki Urdangarin arrives at the courthouse of Palma de Mallorca to give evidence, 25 February 2012
Inaki Urdangarin is seen here attending a court hearing in 2012

On that occasion, she would have been questioned over the non-profit Noos Institute, which her husband had headed. The charitable foundation had received millions of euros in public funds, which were then allegedly embezzled.

The new court summons relates to Aizoon, a company which investigators suspect served as a front for laundering the embezzled funds.

The events are alleged to have happened between 2004 and 2006, when the duke stepped down as head of Noos.

Spanish journalist Miguel Anxo Murado told BBC World Service there was a sense of satisfaction among Spaniards at the way the case was being handled.

“Most people will tell you that they felt more relieved than shocked and this includes even people who are sympathetic to the royal family,” he said.

“And this is because we had come to the point at which the issue was no longer whether the princess was guilty of anything but actually whether justice is the same for everybody in Spain. And this will probably calm things down a little bit. Whether it will be sufficient for many people in this environment of economic crisis, well that remains to be seen.”

‘Maximum respect’Responding to Tuesday’s announcement, the royal household said it had “maximum respect for judicial decisions”.

King Juan Carlos (left), Crown Prince Felipe and Queen Sofia at the royal palace in Madrid, 6 January
King Juan Carlos (left) is seen here with Crown Prince Felipe and Queen Sofia on Monday

News that the princess is now a formal suspect comes amid a decline in popularity for the Spanish king, 76, whose image was dented by a luxury elephant-hunting trip he made to Africa in 2012.

On Monday, he presided over a military parade on crutches at Madrid’s royal palace, having recently undergone hip replacement surgery.

An opinion poll published on Sunday suggested that 62% of Spaniards wanted him to abdicate and fewer than half supported the monarchy in general.

However, the same Sigma Dos poll for El Mundo newspaper also indicated that a majority supported Crown Prince Felipe and believed he could restore the family’s prestige.

Juan Carlos became king in 1975, when he oversaw the country’s transition from dictatorship under the late Gen Francisco Franco to democracy.

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-25635858

The Cost of Christmas

This is such an interesting article from the BBC Magazine.  It tells how Christmas became so commercialised.

It started during the reign of Queen Victoria when German Prince Albert, the Queen’s consort, brought Christmas celebration, Christmas tree and decoration to the British Monarchy.

…………………………

The costs of Christmas past and Christmas present

By Sarah Treanor

Business reporter, BBC News

The Royal Christmas Tree is admired by Victoria, Albert and their children in 1848
The Royal Christmas Tree admired by Victoria, Albert and their children in 1848

Christmas as we know it in 2013, with its tear-jerking adverts on television, online shopping bonanza, and parade of “must-have” toys and gifts, may seem a very commercial and modern business.

However, many Christmas traditions that dominate the modern British home are not new at all.

From the bauble-bedecked tree, to the crackers, the presents and roast dinner, the “commercialisation” of Christmas has its roots firmly in mid-Victorian Britain.

But while for many Victorians, nuts and dried fruit would have been the typical presents hanging from the tree, this year UK households will spend around £22.3bn on Christmas and families will splash out a very large-sounding £599 each on gifts alone, according to a YouGov survey.

“Start Quote

Poverty and oysters always seem to go together”

Sam WellerCharacter from Dickens’s The Pickwick Papers

YouGov also found that the average planned spend on food and drink will be £180, and on cards, trees and decorations £43.

So what do we owe to the Victorians as we gear up for the big day, and how much did a Victorian household expect to spend on their festivities?

Show off with beef

Of course the cost of various things in Victorian Britain bears no relation to the modern day. Rent and fuel was very cheap by modern standards, and there was a vast difference in wages between labourers and the emerging middle and upper-middle classes.

But what is the same is that for the Victorian, Christmas food itself was a luxury item, much as it is now.

Food historian Dr Annie Gray says that the meat was very much the main event, and the type of meat on a Victorian table depended often on where in the country a family lived.

A Victorian card
This Victorian card shows a wealthy family digging into their Christmas roast

“The meat to show off with was beef,” she says.

‘Poor man’s protein’

For a less wealthy family, perhaps that of a junior clerk, earning as little as £100 a year in the mid-Victorian era, beef and turkey were far beyond even a special occasion budget.

More likely, if in London and the South of England, the family would start the meal with oysters. While considered a luxury for many now, oysters in Victorian London were known as “the poor man’s protein”.

Charles Dickens’s character from The Pickwick Papers, Sam Weller, even says, “Poverty and oysters always seem to go together.”

An illustration from Dickens's A Christmas Carol
An illustration from Dickens’s A Christmas Carol

The goose was also the meat centrepiece for a less well-off family where beef or turkey were beyond reach.

As the traditional British rhyme says:

“Christmas is coming, the geese are getting fat

“Please put a penny in the old man’s hat

“If you haven’t got a penny, a ha’penny will do

“If you haven’t got a ha’penny then God bless you!”

A week’s wages

The cost of a Victorian Christmas

  • Goose: 7 shillings
  • Pudding: 5 shillings
  • Sage, onions, oranges: 3 shillings
  • Christmas card: 1 shilling

Food, and indeed giving were in vogue from the 1840s.

Plum pudding, and mince pies were also fashionable at the Victorian Christmas table. Sweet chestnuts, Dr Gray adds, were used as “ice cream, set cream, in stuffing, or as an accompaniment” for the meal.

“A classic mid-Victorian meal was three to five courses, with four to eight dishes in each, set on the table all at once with diners choosing their favourite dishes.

“By the end, a more linear service style had come in, but the dish variety and order remained roughly the same,” she says.

How much might this have cost?

A copy of the first mass-produced Christmas card from 1843
A copy of the first mass-produced Christmas card from 1843

According to the 1844 play A Christmas Carol/The Miser’s Warning (a theatre adaptation by CZ Barnett of the Dickens novel) the character Bob Cratchit would have spent a week’s wages to buy the ingredients for the basic Christmas feast.

That would be seven shillings for the goose, five for the pudding, and three for the onions, sage and oranges.

So that’s the food. But what about the rest?

The first Christmas card – ‘a flop’

In 1843 the first commercially produced Christmas card was launched. It cost a shilling – an extremely high price at the time. (Incidentally, 1843 was also the year that Dickens published A Christmas Carol.)

Tim Travis, a curator at the Victoria and Albert Museum, where the original card produced by Sir Henry Cole is kept, says the one shilling Christmas card would have been “roughly a day’s wage for a labourer”. It was, he says a “commercial flop”.

“Christmas cards didn’t really take off for another 20 years or so after that when mass production brought the price down,” says Mr Travis.

A Victorian Christmas card
Christmas cards such as this one from the 1860s showed family scenes

But the practice of sending Christmas cards became affordable and fashionable for many and by 1880 over 11 million Christmas cards were printed. The introduction of penny postage meant that sending a card became the “done thing”, and cards often showed jolly images of families indulging in Christmas culinary delights.

Now the UK Christmas card market is still robust, and though it has fallen away in the past few years due to email, the Greetings Cards Association estimates that a total of around 900 million festive cards were sold in 2012, worth around £364m.

‘Delight in the tree’

Many of our modern traditions and expenses were brought over from Germany by Queen Victoria’s husband, Prince Albert.

A woman dragging a fir tree over a field
A fir tree became a must-have in a Victorian household

In 1848 a print showing the royal couple with their children next to a fir tree was published in the Illustrated London News. The Prince had written in 1847 that his children should “delight in the Christmas tree”.

The tree became the must-have item in any fashionable festive home, and still is. Around six million live fir trees are sold for Christmas in Britain, according to the Forestry Commission.

A bang!

Crackers were invented by Tom Smith in 1847.

The London sweetmaker originally planned to wrap sweets in coloured paper, inspired by trips to Paris where he saw such treats. But another version, with mottos, hats and toys proved much more popular, and the cracker as we know it was born.

Today, British cracker making company Swantex produces 25 million a year. Some estimate that each household in the UK will spend upwards of £20 on crackers at Christmas.

A lot to thank the Victorians for, and perhaps, when looking at New Year bank balances, to lament.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-25305032

Marie Antoinette

Marie Antoinette Locket

The above beautiful and rather ornate Heart shaped pendant locket is traditionally ascribed as belonging to Marie Antoinette, set under glass or rock-crystal with an inscribed card and mounted in a gold filigree setting also contains a lock of her hair.

A small gold padlock is suspended from the base with a key on a chain attached to the suspension loop. The filigree in the form of tight spiral discs forming ‘spectacles’ shapes, placed within the flat wire rim.

If you want to see it up close and personal, go to the British Museum.

By Jean-Baptiste Gautier Dagoty (1740-1786) - Unknown, Public Domain,

By Jean-Baptiste Gautier Dagoty (1740-1786) – Unknown, Public Domain,

Marie Antoinette was born on November 2, 1755 in Vienna, Austria. She was the 15th of the 16 children of Emperor Francis I.  She was only 15 years old when she was married off to Louis XVI of France, who was then 16.

She was only a teenager when she became a queen. She became a symbol of the excesses of the monarchy and is traditionally credited with the famous quote: “Let them eat cake,”, although there is no evidence she actually said it, upon learning that the peasants had no bread.

This showed that the great princess was out of touch and oblivious to the condition of the people.

The beautiful Marie Antoniette was beheaded by guillotine.

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