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Watch Kate's Royal Wedding Again (Plus Eugenie's and Meghan's, too)

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

If you want to re-live Kate's breathtaking Royal Wedding, here are two links where you can find it. The first is from the Royal Family's official YouTube channel:



If you are a real die-hard (aren't we all?), you can watch this five-hour long version,

Kate & Papa Middleton at the Royal Wedding

Monday, April 29, 2019


I loved every bit of the Royal Wedding. I loved the splendor of Westminster Abbey, the breathtaking bridal gown by Sarah Burton, the profusion of greenery and flowers that brought the church to life, and soaring, traditional music carefully selected to celebrate the best of Britain. One of my favorite parts of the day, though, had to have been watching Michael Middleton give his daughter away. There were so many moments where the camera caught him watching her, and I still think about what was going through his mind.

Why Did Harry Rank Above Kate at Westminster? The Order of Precedence

Thursday, April 25, 2019


As I have highlighted ad nauseam on this blog in the past few months, the British Royal Family is one of hierarchy. The hierarchy (rank) is obvious, but the "order of precedence" is a tougher set of rules to learn. This can be a puzzling area, because the rules of precedence aren't set in stone--the monarch can switch them up--and they are not published for public examination, so we rely on "insiders" and observation to figure out how everything is working.

Harry & Kate At the ANZAC Service


Kate attended the ANZAC Service of Commemoration and Thanksgiving today at Westminster Abbey. With William in New Zealand and Meghan out on maternity leave, Harry and Kate arrived  and walked in together. After the awkwardness of Easter Sunday, their joint-entrance was undoubtedly by design, which is not to say that the two were pretending to get along, but it's good PR to highlight good will between the two. These more relaxed and happy snaps were highlighted on all the royal accounts. E.g. this smiling picture of Harry on @KensingtonRoyal's IG:

Has Baby Sussex Arrived Already and We Just Don't Know It?

Wednesday, April 24, 2019


There are lots of rumors running around that Baby Sussex might have arrived already. While anything is technically possible, I think we can be essentially certain he or she has not, for the simple reason that the Palace said they would tell us when Meghan goes into labor. The confusion started in early April when Harry and Meghan issued a press release announcing the media procedures for their baby's approaching arrival. The top half of the press release said:

Princess Eugenie's Rising Star Balancing the Sussexes?

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

HRH Princess Eugenie and Her Majesty the Queen, Maundy Thursday, 2019
Every year on Holy Thursday, the Queen attends a service marking Jesus's Last Supper. The service has become known for the tradition of the monarch's almsgiving. This year, I was delighted to see that Eugenie joined the Queen at St. George's Chapel, Windsor, for the service. The newlywed looked striking, in my opinion, wearing a floral Erdem (I loved it!!) and a Juliette Botterill braided pillbox. Today, I saw that the event caught Ephraim Hardcastle's eye, and he made the following interesting point:

Prince Louis's 1st Birthday Photos

Monday, April 22, 2019

As anticipated, William and Kate released photos to mark Prince Louis's first birthday tomorrow, and as anticipated, they are darling. He is such a handsome (and striking!) baby. The pictures of Louis from Charles's 70th birthday gave us a hint of bold brows, but these birthday photos certainly place them front and center. Louis has the signature Cambridge cheeks, but of all Kate's children, I think he is the most strikingly Middleton, in no small part thanks to these brows and dark eyes. I see a lot of Mike Middleton here. 



Easter Sunday at Windsor 2019

Sunday, April 21, 2019


It was an interesting Easter morning at Windsor. At midnight London time last night, the Times's Sunday edition went live online, and it included not one, but two different articles about the significant tensions that are currently cleaving the senior British royals.  Roya Nikkhah's exclusive was the featured article on my Times app, and it discussed how the Palace has been attempting to formulate a plan to ease the tension between Harry and William. According to the reports, the Palace is now kicking around the idea of sending Harry and Meghan to live in Africa for a few years.  They are trying to find something for Harry and Meghan to do that will keep them happy, while also maintaining some order within the BRF. I intend to opine on these articles at a later date, but for the moment, both articles served to underscore just how uncomfortable the relationship between the Cambridges and the Sussexes has clearly become.

Did William Cheat on Kate With Rose Hanbury?

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

The Marquess and Marchioness of Cholmondeley with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, June 22, 2016

Many of you have asked me to write about the rumor that Prince William cheated on Kate with the Marchioness of Cholmondeley (obligatory pronunciation guide: Chumley), aka Rose Hanbury. I have hesitated for a long time, because I subtly polled my Instagram followers several weeks ago and only a little over 50% knew about the rumor. I didn’t want to perpetuate the story if it was contained.

More Photos of the Cambridges and Tindalls

Sunday, April 14, 2019

The Daily Mail has a few more sweet shots of the Cambridges and Tindalls online today. You can find the photos here. Several of you have messaged me to point out the missing background and sidebar elements, and a slow loading time on this front page. I have contacted some coders and I hope to have everything whisked back into shape this next week. Apologies for current mess. 


The Cambridges and Tindalls Enjoy a Day at Burnham Market Horse Trials

Saturday, April 13, 2019

The Cambridges have been pictured enjoying a family day out with Zara and Mike Tindall at the Burnham Market international horse trials. In this first snap, Kate and William are both carrying little ones on their shoulders (Kate has Charlotte and William has Mia Tindall) while Zara walks next to them.


Prince George has made the front page of the Daily Mail's Sunday special with this shot riding on Mike Tindall's shoulders. Everyone is remarking on how much he has grown since we saw him last. 


William is particularly close to his cousin Zara, and I suspect this is one of many joint outings the two families have enjoyed together. Kate and Zara have gotten on well from the very start. Both women are very genuine and down to earth, and the warmth between them has been evident from the start. We've witnessed many sunny afternoons where Kate and Zara have mingled at various polo events while William competed, but now we are seeing more of the two couples enjoying outings together as families. I think both couples love to get away from the glitz and glam of their royal lives and work and enjoy time in the country. 


Kate the Great was looking fabulous today wearing a quilted Barbour jacket, skinnies, and from what I can see here, maybe short boots?


And one final shot:


Palace Announces Details on Baby Sussex's Impending Birth

Thursday, April 11, 2019

The Duke & Duchess of Sussex in the Atlas Mountains, Feb. 24, 2019

This morning, Buckingham Palace announced the media plans (or lack thereof) for the arrival of Baby Sussex. The couple will keep the birth plans private, and have chosen not to disclose where the baby will be born. Lots of you have been wondering whether the Lindo Wing will be the location of choice, and Emily Andrews reports that wherever the baby is born--at home or a local hospital--he/she will not be born at the Lindo Wing. 

The media will be informed that the baby is on the way once Meghan has gone into labor, and then that the baby has been born. There will be no photos at the hospital (if she delivers at a hospital), and instead the couple will have a photo call on the grounds of Windsor several days after the birth.

Several royal reporters have noted that this plan, although very different from what many of us have grown used to (thanks to following the Cambridges) is not really unusual. Chris Ship of ITV commented that the Sussexes decision isn't unlike that of other secondary royals like Zara and Mike, noting "the baby won't be an HRH and is 7th in line..." Ship, and everyone else, agrees, however, that this is obviously quite a bit different from Zara and Mike, who were and are, living relatively very private lives. My perspective, and from a perusal of Twitter a perspective shared by a number of others, is that the Sussexes aren't so much retreating from the limelight on this one, as managing it. 

I do think the Sussexes plan to make a splash with the arrival of their little one, just in a different and more controlled manner. My guess is the couple will release the first picture on their Instagram. Whether it's a full picture or just a tease shot, like a little hand or a little foot or a patch of baby blanket, as some celebrities have done, my money is on an Instagram debut. 

Royal Court v. a Household: Splitting Households & What the Sussexes Wanted

Thursday, April 4, 2019

The Duchess of Cambridge at Kensington Palace, Feb. 17, 2016

A number of you have reached out to me via social media expressing confusion about the Sussexes having a separate household, but also being denied independence, so a quick post to (hopefully) clear this all up. The key is that it all comes down to autonomy. 

A royal court, as it is used in this context, denotes an “autonomous” royal household based at a physical location. When William and Kate moved to Kensington Palace, much was made of the fact they were establishing a new court. Before William’s marriage, the brothers had operated out of Clarence House—Charles’s staff took care of all W&H’s charitable activity. After their marriage, and once William and Kate ended their Anglesey hiatus, the Cambridges established a separate household at Kensington Palace in 2013, where Harry joined them. This shift was significant. They no longer used Charles’s Clarence House staff, and they operated independently—I remember some royal reporters were excited to start heading to Kensington Palace for briefings! A new royal court had been formed. 

Back to the present, when the Cambridges and the Sussexes announced their households would split, some people were confused and thought the royals would be portioning up drawing rooms at Kensington Palace, but it really referred to a split in staff (household). While both couples are now to have their own royal households, William and Kate have retained Kensington Palace as a separate “court.” Some people kicked around the idea that the Sussexes would establish an autonomous court, too, and perhaps call it Frogmore House. Indeed, the Times reported that Harry and Meghan wanted just that, and through it to develop a global Sussex brand highlighting their philanthropy and activism. Apparently (and logically), they wanted to base their staff at Windsor. As I noted in yesterday's entry, the Queen said 'no' to that plan. She did not permit Harry and Meghan to establish a “Frogmore House,” aka their own court, like C&C’s Clarence House or W&K’s Kensington Palace. 

Instead, although Harry and Meghan have their own household, the household of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, their staff have joined the Buckingham Palace communications team, and report to the Queen’s communications secretary. Harry and Meghan's operation is, therefore, a subset of Buckingham Palace, like Prince Andrew or the Earl and Countess of Wessex. This limits, although by no means eliminates, their ability to set their own program and create a brand. By contrast, Clarence House (Charles & Camilla) and Kensington Palace (William & Kate) do not report to the Queen’s staff. They are their own autonomous entities—little royal courts—and have more ability to create their own direction and initiatives. 

This is obviously a disappointment to Meghan and Harry. They probably felt and argued that it is a new modern world, and that given how William and Harry (Diana’s boys) have seemed co-equal partners, it would make sense and be appropriate to permit Harry and Meghan to have their autonomy, just like William and Kate. Since there really isn’t precedent for a situation like this, I can understand why they made their play for independence. You all know that I think the Queen and senior courtiers are likely worried about the balance between the Cambridges and the Sussexes, as well as the direction the Sussexes may want to take. But this isn’t as massive a rebuff as it might seem (or it might be peddled as in some magazines). Even if I am right that the Sussexes have caused some consternation, it really is simply a matter of the royal hierarchy, and in the long-run, it doesn’t make sense to establish a separate court for the Sussexes. Even if there were no rockiness at all, it is appropriate for the direct heirs to operate independently, and better for everyone else to function with more central oversight. Because, at the end of the day, the Sussexes (or any other secondary royals, for that matter) should not be creating an overly robust and individualized brand. The entire royal family supports the monarch and the monarchy as an institution. So, this doesn’t have to be personal, it really is just an arrangement that flows from the inherent nature of royalty today. 

Ok all y'all.

Have a nice night,


JCB

Musings on Harry & Meghan's New Instagram @SussexRoyal

Wednesday, April 3, 2019


The big royal news yesterday was that Harry and Meghan launched their own Instagram account. The account was obviously explosively popular and garnered over a million followers before the close of the day. It is currently just shy of 3 million with 2.9 million. The Kensington Palace account, now transitioned to one exclusive to the Cambridges, also gained about 200,000 new followers and that number continues to climb. The rapid growth of the Sussexes' account produced a flurry of headlines on just about every online news outlet, so both the Cambridges and the Sussexes are benefitting from media exposure their IG accounts are receiving. Free advertising. :) 

Shortly after it was announced that William and Kate would split away from Harry and Meghan, it was reported that H&M wanted to establish their own court (as W&K have with KP) and pushed the Queen to permit them to do so. But apparently the Queen and Charles vetoed that plan. This was not an idle rumor, it was reported in the Sunday Times by Roya Nikkhah, the paper's respected royal correspondent. She has multiple fabulous scoops to her name; you can take this one to the bank. 
A royal source said: “They wanted their household to be entirely independent of Buckingham Palace, but were told ‘no’. There is an institutional structure that doesn’t allow that kind of independence. The feeling is that it’s good to have the Sussexes under the jurisdiction of Buckingham Palace, so they can’t just go off and do their own thing.”
Because Harry and Meghan were told no in this department, there was speculation about whether the Sussexes would have their own social media channels or just use the Royal Family's IG and Twitter.  I think that given their massive popularity and their desire to pursue an aggressive program of charity work, it makes sense they'd want separate social media accounts, and I am not surprised they have launched an IG. 

Right now, royal reporters are saying that the Palace is saying the Sussexes will not branch out with a Twitter account, too. I do wonder if this is by choice or if they had to haggle for the Instagram account and that is as far as they can go for the moment. Or, they might be testing the waters with IG and will in fact establish Twitter at a later date. Whatever happens, this isn't an unexpected breakaway from protocol. Having separate socials from BP is not unprecedented. The Princess Royal and the Wessexes do not have their own IG or Twitter; the Royal Family channels handle all their social media. But, the Duke of York, who is also based from Buckingham Palace, does have his own Instagram, Twitter, and even his own website. Princess Eugenie has an official Instagram account and Beatrice has (or had) a verified Twitter. 

Royal reporter Emily Andrews has noted, and I agree, that Instagram is clearly a platform that Meghan loves. When Meghan joined the family there was a marked shift in Kensington Palace's Instagram activity. The volume of their content ramped up and the presentation got a little more polished, in my opinion. That could have been by her direction, or it might have just been a reaction to a lot of factors surrounding her entrance to the world stage. I think Meghan will be anxious to make the @SussexRoyal account stand out, so I am interested to see how it develops. I could see Meghan wanting to make it a more personalized space, leveraging her star status and making the Sussex account more intimate. I think the Palace would push back on that, but I am going to watch to see what happens. 

At the end of the day, I do think the Queen and Charles are trying to manage the family stars, because as the Times source noted, "there is an institutional structure" they have to maintain, and frankly defend. We might learn a thing or two about that ongoing process by watching how they handle social media.  

JCB


That was more than a paragraph. Once I got going... ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Still working on figuring out the comment section, but we will get there. 

Thanks Mom

Tuesday, April 2, 2019



It has been a whopping three months since I called it a day on blogging. I am not sure which one of my siblings wins the “office pool” for how quickly I’d go back to blogging—almost certainly my baby brother P—but Mom gets the credit for my return. I did not have plans to blog here again, but what’s that saying—mother knows best? When I decided to stop blogging back in December, she urged me several times not to close the blog, and since then she has occasionally asked me if I have thought about relaunching it. She might have been one of Homer’s sirens in another life… Then, just this past Sunday afternoon she announced (in that voice that says she has given the issue thorough consideration and is absolutely certain in her conclusion) that I needed to start blogging again. I told her it wasn’t on my to-do list, but at the end of the day, I am among those people who generally listen to their moms. Plus, once she planted the seed, I didn’t need much encouragement. ;)

I am not going to go back to the blogging of yesteryore.* The days when I could spend 4 – 6 hours assembling a post are long gone. Instead, I plan to use the blog more like my own royal diary. I’ll pop on when I can to tell you about any interesting royal news I’ve heard through the grapevine, or share my thoughts or hypotheses on current royal events. I will also post about Kate’s engagements, too, but again, in a new format—a photo or two with chit chat about the fashion. Everything will be shorter—sometimes just a paragraph or two—but you’ll be in the loop on whatever royal issue I am thinking about. This is essentially what I have been doing on IG, but writing here will give me just a hair more space than IG, plus at the end of the day, I love this platform. Given all that, I don’t know that From Berkshire to Buckingham is back back. It will look and feel quite different, but hopefully some of the essence remains in this new iteration. 

I am mulling over the comment section. For the time being I am not opening the comment section, but I am exploring options that will permit people to chat without it all becoming an overwhelming job on this end. 

It was good to walk away from the blog for a while. I missed it a lot (serious blogging withdrawal on days when Kate was out and about), but it was also very liberating in many ways. I thought about this type of format back in December, but I really did want to be free to pursue my new projects with a clear head, and just posting quick thoughts in a few paragraphs seemed too strange a shift from the full posts everyone was used to. I think stepping away so completely has given me better blogging balance. I hope this new blog will be manageable, and it should fit in with my new schedule in a way the marathon posts definitely could not.  So, welcome to From Berkshire to Buckingham2.0


*This is not a real word.