The Palace Paper: Part One

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Back in 2007, Tina Brown, former editor-in-chief of Tatler, Vanity Fair, and the New Yorker, wrote what I consider to be the definitive biography on Diana, Princess of Wales. The Palace Papers, released on Tuesday, is essentially its sequel. It picks up where Diana’s life ended, in the late 90s, but it spends the first few chapters strategically weaving around to cover the Diana-adjacent figures and relationships that are informing the current House of Windsor.

So far, I’m only about 150 pages in, but I would say the focus of the attention thus far is on capturing the broad trajectories, relationships, and emotional realities of two rather important royal women today: Queen Elizabeth and her daughter-in-law, The Duchess of Cornwall. There’s also a solid dash of Princess Margaret, the Queen’s late sister, and The Earl and Countess of Wessex (Edward and Sophie). I don’t have a precise agenda for how I’m going to cover this book, but for the purposes of this post, I want to capture the quotes and tidbits that I’ve found the most informative.

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Let’s Catch Up on H&M’s “Secret Meeting”

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Well, we have a lot to catch up on. I was out of town over Easter weekend and then playing catch up with life, so obviously the Windsors took that opportunity to do the absolute most 😉 Today I want to cover Harry and Meghan’s surprise visit to England, as well as a few other odds and ends that have hit the press over the last two weeks. But, let’s start with the big one: Harry and the Queen.

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The Royal Family & the BBC

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Nearly a year ago now, the British Broadcasting Cooperation (BBC) admitted that the famous 1995 interview that the late Diana, Princess of Wales gave to Panorama correspondent Martin Bashir was the result of falsified documents and lies. A inquiry led by Lord Dyson uncovered – and confirmed – that Bashir fed information to the Spencer family that Diana’s staff was leaking information to the press, her security team was spying on her, her ex-husband was having an affair with their sons’ nanny, and – bizarrely – that The Earl of Wessex was HIV positive.

For those unaware, this interview is famously when Diana openly discussed The Prince of Wales’s infidelity with the now-Duchess of Cornwall, her infidelity, and – most importantly – cast doubt on Charles’s ability or desire to succeed his mother to the throne. Following this interview, the Queen “recommended” that Charles and Diana divorce. In other words, this interview had long-lasting consequences for its players, as well as The Dukes of Cambridge and Sussex.

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Fingers Pointing In Every Direction

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Lessons Learned from the Caribbean

It’s been less than a week since The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were wheels up in The Bahamas, concluding a controversial eight-day tour of three Caribbean nations. Since then, Kensington Palace has been hard at work to separate out its principals – William and Kate – from what proved problematic about the visits. For starters, there was the release of a longer and more personal statement from William than we’re used to. My thoughts on it are included at the end of the post linked above.

Then came a few media briefings from Palace staff to an assortment of news outlets. It’s safe to assume this thanks to a plethora of stories that came out that focused on how William and Kate intend to operate going forward. The two that jump to mind are one from The Daily Mail on how William intends to change the culture of “never explain, never complain” and another from The Evening Standard that says Kate is poised to undertake more solo trips abroad.

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