Is There a Regency Plan in Place?

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In the past two weeks the Duke of Edinburgh retired and a slew of new documentaries and TV specials on the late Princess of Wales debuted. These two seemingly parallel events have created a perfect storm of an intersection that lands smack dab on the head of the Prince of Wales – or rather, his place in the succession. Stepping away from the personalities at play here and it begs the question, how can a man who has been first in line for the throne since 1952 truly have his viability undermined?

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The Royal Marriages Act, the Succession & Meghan Markle

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Image via Emily Andrews at The Sun (link below)

Happy Friday, Friends. Today happens to be the 36th birthday of Prince Harry’s girlfriend, Meghan Markle. It also happens to be the date once put forth on which the Palace would announce their engagement. So far, all quiet on the [central London] front, so let’s agree to move on, shall we? The idea of their marriage is an interesting one, even putting aside for a moment their actual relationship. Weighing this match purely in terms of its hypothetical historical significance is worth considering because it underlines so many weird nuances to how the British monarchy has evolved and where it’s seemingly headed.

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Charles, Diana & the 1981 Royal Wedding

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This really is “the” royal wedding, isn’t it? Despite not being around for it and thinking the Cambridges’ 2011 version was absolutely gorgeous, I have a feeling the 1981 wedding of the Prince of Wales and Lady Diana Spencer will go down as the one to beat in the modern era. I’m not giving those marks based on style, splash or pomp, necessarily, but it’s a searing moment in time that defined a certain generation – and in that way, it was very much its bride’s day.

I don’t have the ability to separate out to what extent my perception of the day is influenced by hindsight, but to be honest, I don’t feel like it is. When I look at photos from that wedding I don’t see the unhappy years we know now were coming, or the divorce, or the late Princess of Wales’ tragic early death. I just see a captured moment of complete joy, optimism, relief and, yes, perhaps some naiveté.

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The Assassination of Nicholas II & Alexandra of Russia

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Ninety-nine years ago today, Tsar Nicholas II of Russia, alongside his wife and four children, was brutally executed at Ekaterinburg in the midst of the Russian Revolution and before the close of World War I. The extermination of the Romanov line impacted not only the course of Russian history, but that of Western Europe and Great Britain, in particular, with whom the two ruling families were closely tied.

Personally, it was would deeply affect George V who had been forced to deny his cousins refuge in England out of political necessity.

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Felipe VI, Letizia & the Royal Family of Spain

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Last month, in a nod to the upcoming royal visit, I posted about Queen Victoria Eugenie of Spain, the last marriage alliance between Britain and Spain. Now, days out from the arrival of King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia, I thought it appropriate to offer some background on these two, as well as what we know so far about the itinerary July 12-14.

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The Afterlife of Diana, Princess of Wales

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If you’re wondering what the Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry are up to today, they’re at Althorp in Northamptonshire, the burial site and childhood home of their late mother, Diana, Princess of Wales. On what would have been her 56th birthday, the Archbishop of Canterbury is conducting a private re-dedication of her grave for her family, including her two sons, the Duchess of Cambridge, Prince George and Princess Charlotte. Diana’s brother, Earl Spencer, is apparently also in attendance as are, presumably, other members of the Spencer family.

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The 1994 Interview Prince Charles Gave

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Yesterday marked the 23rd anniversary of the most famous interview the Prince of Wales has ever given, though I think it’s safe to say it’s not a milestone marked by either him or his staff. On June 29, 1994 a two-and-a-half hour documentary on Charles premiered, touching on his philanthropy, his role within the Royal Family, and his views on religion, policy and Britain’s future. It is best known, however, for being the interview in which he admitted to cheating on his then-wife, Diana, Princess of Wales.

While I have certainly discussed the Wales marriage in the past, this wouldn’t normally be a topic I would cover on its own. However, in light of Prince Harry’s recent Newsweek profile (as well as its backlash) and a slight change of course in how the younger set of royals are handling public interviews, I think it’s worth considering the ramifications of this event.

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No One Wants to Be King & That’s Not a Big Deal

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Predictably, the major takeaway from Newsweek’s profile on Prince Harry was his statement that no one in the Royal Family had much desire to be king or queen. Specifically, he said:

“Is there any one of the royal family who wants to be king or queen? I don’t think so, but we will carry out our duties at the right time.”

Read one way and that means no one wants to be the monarch, but, le sigh, duty calls and one will just get on with it. And apparently this is how a great many people read it based on the moral outrage that’s poured out over the interview in the last few days.

Except…that’s sort of missing the point.

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Prince Harry’s Newsweek Profile

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Oh my, we have another live one. American magazine Newsweek has been given access to Prince Harry over the course of the “best part of the past year” and yesterday published a lengthy profile on him, covering topics from the death of his mother, his “transformation” and the future of the monarchy. Harry has had a bit of a turnaround over the last few years, most dramatically in the last 12 to 18 months. The three things that jump to my mind as particularly pivotal are the press release Kensington Palace issued on his behalf regarding his relationship with American actress Meghan Markle, his incredibly candid interview with The Telegraph podcast released in April and the nature of his charity work, which I believe can be viewed as picking up the mantle of the late Princess of Wales.

This year started off in an uncertain place for the Royal Family. Or, more specifically, it wasn’t clear what exactly they were all doing. The KP press release was a complete 180 from the frigid and terse statements usually released when commenting (or rather, not commenting) on the personal lives of members of the family. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge had spent the second half of 2015 and 2016 receiving their first wave of serious criticism about their lack of accessibility and relatively low engagement numbers. Meanwhile, the Queen had just celebrated her 90th birthday and there seemed to be a complete disconnect between the older and younger generations.

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Edward, Sophie & the Wessex Family

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With the exception of one post when the Countess of Wessex attended a royal birthday party in Norway and a handful of mentions, I’ve rarely discussed the Wessex family, but their stock is rising within the Royal Family and today actually marks the couple’s 18th wedding anniversary. That their star, Sophie’s in particular, is waxing and not waning as the Queen grows older may be a bit counterintuitive; after all, while the Earl of Wessex is now the monarch’s son, he’ll eventually be the monarch’s brother and then his uncle – his profile, significance and responsibility will likely decrease over the years.

But the Wessexes are a unique example within the House of Windsor, perhaps because they are the most traditional family unit within it – indeed, it could be argued Prince Edward was the only one of Queen Elizabeth’s children who followed the model she would have expected all of her children to have done.

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