Category: British Royal Family

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.

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

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!

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.

The Forgotten Prince – Who?

I am sure Charles is a good person, unfortunately he fell for the wrong person.  That wrong person was not Diana, the late Princess of Wales, but I am talking about Camilla.

If he only put everything he’s got to loving Diana, all would have been well.  Afterall, she gave him two handsome boys.

Instead, Charles behaved appallingly, like a spoilt brat.  He wanted to have his cake and eat it too; his caddish behaviour ultimately almost brought down the monarchy.

The virginal Diana who gorged on Barbara Cartland novels wanted her very own prince who would love her and only her.  But found out from the outset that her prince was still into his married mistress, Camilla, in a big way.  Camilla was always there like a bad smell.

So Charles is just getting his karma now.  He got his beloved mistress/wife but lose his subjects’ affection and “reverence”.  Charles is not forgotten but rather ignored by his own making.  He did not make it easy for the public to like him.

He once said apparently that when he sits on the throne, he , King Tampax, would like to be known as the Defenders of ALL faiths!   He would rewrite the history of the Anglican Church presumably!

I would say that it would be better if he abdicates and leaves the succession to William.  Hope the Queen goes on for a long, long, long time.

God Save The Queen!

 The Forgotten Prince – Who?

Charles Fears Becoming A ‘Prisoner’ As King

Sky News – 1 hour 30 minutes ago

Charles Fears Becoming A 'Prisoner' As KingCharles Fears Becoming A ‘Prisoner’ As King

The Prince of Wales is not in a rush to become king because he views the role of monarch as a form of “prison”, according to an aide.

In an interview with Time magazine, the member of Prince Charles’ household claimed the 64-year-old heir to the throne is concerned he will not achieve enough with his various interests before “the prison shades” close.

The US weekly magazine’s editor-at-large, Catherine Mayer, was given unrivalled access to more than 50 of Charles’s close friends and staff for a profile ahead of his 65th birthday, which falls next month.

She was also granted an exclusive interview with Charles himself.

Ms Mayer says Charles is aware that as soon as he does ascend the throne he will have to drop his numerous charities and projects that he has spent his life nurturing and instead take on “joyless” duties.

She concludes: “Far from itching to assume the crown, he is already feeling its weight and worrying about the impact on the job he has been doing.”

Ms Mayer writes that the Royal has long suffered misperceptions that he is “aloof, spoiled and desperate to become king”.

She describes him instead as a “passionate philanthropist, magnetic in his personal interactions and deeply committed to making the most of his inherited position”.

Meanwhile, Charles tells the magazine he has had a lifelong desire to “heal and make things better.”

“I’ve had this extraordinary feeling, for years and years, ever since I can remember really, of wanting to heal and make things better,” Charles is quoted as saying.

“I feel more than anything else it’s my duty to worry about everybody and their lives in this country, to try to find a way of improving things if I possibly can.”

He also reveals that he recently staged a rehearsal to help teach his son, Prince William, how to host an investiture ceremony in which Britons receive knighthoods and other honours.

The Duke of Cambridge presided over his first investiture at Buckingham Palace last week without any problems.

In the feature, Ms Mayer quotes the actress Emma Thompson as saying dancing with her “old friend” Charles is “better than sex”.

Ms Mayer also revealed that the high profile guests that grace Charles’ dinner table are known as “Bond villains” by members of his household.

The British Monarchs (Line of Succession)

queen in line

In line to the Throne

In line to the Throne

The British Monarchs (Line of Succession)

I love this photo.  The Queen and her heirs to the throne: first (Charles),second (William) and third (George) .  The photo was taken during Prince George’s christening.

4 current generation of the British Monarchy.  Brilliant.  I hope though that the Queens lives on for years and years to come ……..

The Prince of Wales
Prince William of Wales
Prince George of Cambridge
Princess Charlotte of Cambridge
Prince Henry of Wales
The Duke of York
Princess Beatrice of York
Princess Eugenie of York
The Earl of Wessex
Viscount Severn
The Lady Louise Windsor
The Princess Royal
Mr Peter Phillips
Miss Zara Phillips

Diana, Princess of Wales

There is something repugnant about the article below.

I feel that Diana is being used even in death.  Please leave this beautiful woman to rest in peace.  I think she deserves it.

I know that it is hard to forget her because she was truly larger than life but to use her to advertise something is demeaning to her and also to the charity and to those who are involved.

It is very admirable of Hasnat Khan to do the works he does with the Charity of Hope but I can’t help being cynical that he is now using the dead Princess to advertise what he does.  The timing of his confession of his deep love for Diana comes across as motivated by self-interest, i.e. he wanted us to know that he is doing charitable causes in Africa.

Diana was all too human, we know that too well.  She is not a tool to be brought out every time something or someone needs a bit of publicity.  Give her a rest!



Diana loss difficult, surgeon says


Heart surgeon Hasnat Khan told The Sun on Sunday he believed Princess Diana would approve of his work for the Chain of Hope charity

Press Association – Heart surgeon Hasnat Khan told The Sun on Sunday he believed Princess Diana would approve of his work for the Chain of Hope charity

Heart surgeon Hasnat Khan has spoken of his struggle to come to terms with the death of Diana, Princess of Wales – and how he believes she would be “proud” of his charitable medical work with poverty-stricken children in Africa.

The 54-year-old said the pair, who met in 1995, had been “inseparable” during their romance and he had found it “very difficult” after she died in 1997 following a Paris car crash.

The medic told The Sun on Sunday he believed the Princess would approve of his work for the Chain of Hope charity providing life-saving heart surgery in Ethiopia to needy children .

“Sometimes when I do a job like this I do have these very strong feelings that Diana is still with me somehow,” he said.

“Not in a religious or spiritual sense, but in the way you feel when you’ve known someone really well in your life and instinctively know how they’d react in a given situation.

“The past few weeks have been tough and I know Diana would be saying, ‘Stay focused and keep getting on with your life. Help these children. Be happy’.

“I also know she would be proud of the sort of work we’re doing here in Ethiopia. She was a great humanitarian and that’s how she should always be remembered.”

Dr Khan, a cardiothoracic surgeon at Basildon and Thurrock University Hospital in Essex, repeated his attack on the film Diana, which focuses on the romance between the pair.

He said parts of the film were a betrayal of the couple’s romance – and dismissed suggestions that his family had disapproved of their relationship as “rubbish”.

“Only myself and my closest friends knew what really went on in our relationship,” he said.

“Both my parents, grandmother and all close relatives who met Diana liked her very much, and my parents and grandmother never objected to our relationship.

“They were very much happy for us to make a decision ourselves and made it clear they would support it 100%. We both had their blessing.

“This amounts to the film projecting a betrayal of our relationship and my relationship with my immediate family.”

He challenged the film-makers to “make amends” to his family by donating some of the proceeds from the film to Chain of Hope.

The charity, whose president is the world-renowned heart surgeon Sir Magdi Yacoub, provides surgery and treatment to children and young people suffering from life-threatening heart disease in countries where treatment is unavailable.

Family Cambridge – New Coat of Arms

William And Kate Given New Coat Of Arms

Sky NewsSky News – 50 minutes ago

William And Kate Given New Coat Of Arms

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have a new coat of arms to represent them as a married couple.

The Conjugal Coat of Arms has been approved by the Queen and combines William’s coat of arms and Kate’s shield from the Middleton family coat of arms.

Designed by the College of Arms in London, conjugal arms traditionally show the separate shields of a royal husband and wife, side by side.

The left shield on the Cambridges’ new conjugal coat of arms is taken from the coat of arms given to William by his grandmother on his 18th birthday and shows the various royal emblems of different parts of the United Kingdom: the three lions of England, the lion of Scotland and the harp of Ireland.

It is surrounded by a blue garter bearing the motto “Honi soit qui mal y pense” – “Shame to those who think evil of it” – which symbolises the Order of the Garter, of which he is a Knight Companion.

Kate’s shield on the right shows her family arms, granted to her father Michael in March 2011 before the royal wedding. It is divided vertically with one half blue and the other half red, and includes a gold chevron across the centre with white “cotises” either side.

It also includes three acorns with gold stalks and leaves.

In the couple’s arms, the Duchess of Cambridge’s shield is surrounded by a wreath of oak, to balance out her husband’s garter – a tradition for royal spouses who are not themselves entitled to surround their arms with an order of chivalry.

Both shields are supported by the royal lion and unicorn, each wearing a three pointed collar, known as a label. The label has a red escallop shell derived from the Spencer coat of arms which has been used by William’s ancestors on his mother’s side for many centuries.

The Conjugal Arms will be the couple’s coat of arms forever, but parts of it could change as their own circumstances and roles change.

They will also keep their own coats of arms to represent themselves as individuals, Kensington Palace said.

The Duchess was granted her own coat of arms by the Queen after her marriage to William in 2011. It was made by putting her father’s arms next to her husband’s, in what is known as an impaled coat of arms.

Henry VIII Loved Shoes

King-Henry-VIII-1540-king-henry-viii-2673660-449-667Apparently Henry VIII was the Imelda Marcos of his time (1526) He loved shoes.

He did not buy a pair now and again. He hoarded them.

This was a typical shopping/order list of the King just in six months.

  • 10 pairs of English Leather boots
  • 10 pairs of Spanish leather buskins
  • 1 pair of velvet buskins
  • 38 pairs of velvet shoes in purple. black & crimson
  • 3 pairs of black velvet slippers
  • 3 pairs of arming shoes
  • 6 pairs of English leather shoes
  • 6 pairs of Spanish leather shoes
  • 1 pair of football boots.

tudor-footwear-mens-shoes-boots download (1) download images (1)

Buckingham Palace

8500080 TR (Derry Moore)Buckbuckingham-palaceimages

Did you know?

Electricity was first introduced to Buckingham Palace in 1883.

Now, there are more than 40,000 light bulbs throughtout the palace.

The Queen is well known for energy saving. She would turn off lights herself when she happens to pass a room not in used.

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