Is this question premature? Oh, absolutely. But let’s take a stab at it anyway.
Let’s start with the issue of the title and move on from there. The most obvious question is whether this child will be a prince or princess, but the answer is actually a bit convoluted (of course!). As it stands today, barring any further intervention, the answer is no. So, let’s dig in:
The Queen Mother is a figure who we probably haven’t spent enough time on. In the past she’s primarily popped up in relation to the Abdication Crisis, or in her capacity as George VI’s wife or Elizabeth II’s mother, but I’ve been remiss in covering her on her own, save a post from last year focused on her courtship with her future husband. Today we’re going to take a look at her upbringing and the years preceding her marriage.
In honor of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s seven-year anniversary today we’re going to take a look at the public highlights of the pair’s royal career. An interesting aspect of royal marriages, particularly in cases such as the Cambridges where they’re also the future king and queen, is that you are not just a married couple, but co-workers. Royal couples undertake numerous engagements as a pair, which, combined with the realities of living under one roof, means you’re spending significant quantities of time together. So far, that seems to be working out just fine for William and Kate, but here’s a look back at some professional and personal highlights from the last seven years:
Happy 92nd Birthday to Queen Elizabeth! Later today the Royal Family will all descend on Royal Albert Hall for a concert to mark the occasion and conclude the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), but in the meantime let’s take a look back at April 21, 1926 when HRH Princess Elizabeth was born to the then-Duke and Duchess of York.
The relationship between Edward VIII and his mother, Mary of Teck, is perfectly illustrative of not only the significance of a generational gap, but of how differing views on duty and happiness can be enough to drive a wedge between parent and child. In the case of Edward VIII, or “David” as he was known to his family, and Mary, their relationship was complicated by how each viewed the function of the monarchy itself. Theirs is hardly the first unhappy parent-child relationship in the Royal Family’s history, but it is one that feels more poignant thanks to how recently it unfolded, how much more we know about it and the fact that it was not devoid of natural affection.
Since announcing their engagement on November 27, 2017, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have undertaken a series of public engagements to introduce the bride-to-be to the UK. So far, they’ve turned up in Nottingham, Cardiff and Edinburgh, as well as two engagements in London. Averaging around two to three appearances per month, it’s likely that the two will continue at the same pace until the big day in May.
But the excitement of the events, the newness of Meghan and the breathless media coverage made me both nostalgic and curious about this time seven years ago when it was the Duchess of Cambridge – then Kate Middleton – who was preparing for her future role. It’s been just long enough that I wanted to take a look back and see what’s changed and what hasn’t.
We’ve discussed before the strange tradition of strife between sovereign and heir that George I brought with him to Britain when the House of Hanover was established in 1714. It’s a pattern that has carried through subsequent generations in some form or another, though mercifully today it looks quite different than it did in centuries past. As of when the future George V began his family with Mary of Teck in the 1890s, family dynamics were certainly not as political or dire as they were when George II was waging war against his father as Prince of Wales or his son as king, but they also weren’t particularly warm and fuzzy. Indeed, George and Mary were tough parents and the patterns set out in the formative years of their children, two of whom would become kings, dictated how the monarchy unfolded through the 20th century.
Back in August we covered the premature death of Prince George, the Duke of Kent in 1942 while flying an airplane during World War II, but today we’re going to cover a slightly happier time in his life: his marriage to Princess Marina of Greece. Marina’s introduction to the House of Windsor in 1934 and her continued residence in England with her children during her widowhood meant that when Prince Philip married the future Queen Elizabeth in 1947, there was yet another senior member of the Royal Family with strong ties to the Greek Royal Family.
Glamorous, strong-willed and loyal, Marina was a popular figure in her day, residing in Kensington Palace and carrying out engagements on behalf of the monarch. In her time, she saw four reigns and represented one of the last matches between two “royals” the Windsors saw.
Perhaps The Crown’s second season’s most memorable episode was that which showed the drama surrounding Prince Charles beginning boarding school in Scotland in 1962. The show doesn’t offer a merry depiction of Gordonstoun, instead offering Charles’s attendance there as a paternal failure stemming from Prince Philip’s own psychological wounds. The question as to whether the episode is “true” has prompted many a headline in the weeks since it aired, but strictly in regards to the issue of Prince Charles at the school, I think that’s more difficult to answer than a simple “yes” or “no.” There were inaccuracies in the episode. There was also some over-dramatization. But it did strike on something real.
This was certainly a pivotal year for the House of Windsor, from retirements to anniversaries to new babies to engagements. It’s also yet another year in a pretty interesting time period because we’re certainly towards the end of Queen Elizabeth’s reign and there is more and more focus on the transition of the future and shifting responsibilities. In light of this, here on this site I pretty much focus only on the members of the Royal Family who will continue to play important roles. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the big moments from the past year.