No. 10 Doubles Down on Trump Visit

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Downing Street has rebuffed calls for the upcoming state visit from U.S. President Donald Trump to be cancelled on the grounds it would undo all the work Prime Minister Theresa May did while in Washington. Meanwhile, the petition to ban Trump has reached 1.7 million signatures and Parliament has scheduled a debate on the issue for Monday, February 20.

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England’s Most Awkward Dinner Party

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On July 9, 1936 King Edward VIII hosted his second official dinner at his residence, Fort Belvedere. In attendance were his brother and sister-in-law, the Duke and Duchess of York, Winston Churchill, and his long-time “companion,” Mrs. Wallis Simpson sans her husband, Mr. Ernest Simpson. The event was published in the Court Circular, which caused a bit of a stir because it made it appear as though, by socializing with them, the Yorks were condoning Edward’s relationship with Wallis.

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The UK Trump Ban & the Dignity of the Queen

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In the last 24 hours a petition to ban U.S. President Donald Trump from making an official state visit to the United Kingdom, during which he would be received by the Queen, has been signed by 1.5 million Britons. I noted yesterday that to rescind the invitation to Trump, which was offered via Prime Minister Theresa May on Friday, would, in my opinion, be a mistake. It sets a risky precedent for the monarchy and for a relationship between two countries that predates and will continue after Trump.

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Victoria Recap: I Am So Vexed I Could Scream

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Same, Victoria, same. Well, it’s happened. In the span of one episode Albert went from her rude, dull first cousin to our favorite British queen’s fiance. This episode also served as a good reminder of why I really don’t like Prince Albert, so, in that sense, well done Victoria – you’ve captured his essence perfectly.

Let’s get into it, shall we? Episode 4, “The Clockwork Prince,” begins where the last one left off, in the drawing room with Prince Albert walking up to the Queen to turn the page of her piano music for her. Dash immediately starts barking to which I say, good for Dash. He is a rival for Victoria’s affection and maybe also a tyrant. Dogs are never wrong. Anyway, Victoria isn’t feeling it, so when it’s suggested that she show Albert and his brother, Ernest, around she uses Lord Melbourne to get out of it with some urgent dispatches that require her “full attention.” I like this excuse. I’m going to use it going forward.

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William & the Press: A Bad Romance

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It’s become part of Prince William’s narrative that he hates the press. Now, William has never publicly said, “I hate the press,” so this is not a statement of fact. It is, however, a fairly safe assumption based on, you know, his behavior and that of his office. But from where does it stem?

The obvious answer, of course, is the death of his mother in 1997 and the role that paparazzi are believed to have played in that fatal car accident. Then there is the blatant intrusion that they have caused in his life – speculating about his parents’ marriage in the ’90s, his and his brother’s antics throughout their respective teens and 20s and his own relationship with Kate Middleton.

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Statue of Diana, Princess of Wales to Be Erected at Kensington Palace

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Kensington Palace announced today that a statue of the late Diana, Princess of Wales will be erected on the Palace grounds at the request of her sons, the Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry. The statue will commemorate the 20th anniversary of Diana’s death, which occurred on August 31, 1997.

The following statement was released on William and Harry’s behalf:

“It has been twenty years since our mother’s death and the time is right to recognise her positive impact in the UK and around the world with a permanent statue.”

It is hoped it will be completed and unveiled by the end of 2017.

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Margaret Beaufort & the Birth of Henry Tudor

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Margaret Beaufort later in life

On January 28, 1457 the future King Henry VII was born at Pembroke Castle in Wales, but the real star of the show was his mother, the Countess of Richmond. In fact, at the time of his birth it couldn’t have seemed less likely that the infant would one day ascend the English throne and it certainly wasn’t seen as an event of national importance. His father was Edmund Tudor, Earl of Richmond, the younger half-brother of King Henry VI, through the second marriage of their mother, Katherine of Valois.

But unlike Henry VI, who was fathered by the celebrated Henry V, Edmund and his siblings were fathered by a Welshman attached to Queen Katherine’s household, Owen Tudor. For political reasons, the relationship was conducted under the radar and it wouldn’t be until the early 1450s that Edmund and his younger brother, Jasper, were transitioned from a legally grey area to members of the peerage as the Earls of Richmond and Pembroke, respectively.

Because of these circumstances, the infant Henry Tudor born in 1457 had a better claim to the French crown than the English, if you disregard the Salic Law, barring inheritance of the throne through a woman (a pesky byproduct of the Hundred Years’ War).

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Style Transformation Part One: From Kate Middleton to Duchess of Cambridge (2002 – 2011)

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One thing that should really be appreciated about the Duchess of Cambridge is that she’s been in the public consciousness since she was 20 years old and, 15 years later, she’s remarkably light on having put a foot wrong. All things considered, she’s been discreet, good-natured and respectful of not only William, but his family and her own. To be honest, of all of her traits, that’s the one I find the most impressive. I cannot emphasize enough how glad I am that there’s not an extensive digital footprint of my own college or early 20s phase (untagged Facebook photos aside).

Particularly as the early aughts weren’t a great time for fashion, a fact I’ve been reminded of as I put together this post. The early photos are giving me uncomfortable flashbacks to some of the sartorial choices made in middle and high school.

Since marrying William, Kate has been included on dozens of “best dressed” lists, credited with sky-rocketing the profiles of countless brands and selling out items of clothing within  hours of being photographed in them. She is best-known for having flawless hair and generally always looking perfect. This look back isn’t meant to undermine that, but rather examine the transformation she took in the span of a decade from a pretty typical undergraduate to suddenly being splashed across every front page as the future queen of England. The hair, the teeth, the makeup, the skin and, oh yes, the clothing have all changed dramatically. It’s also a nice walk down memory lane.

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