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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A Slightly Different Fab Four

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February 11 was a big day for the Windsors, relatively speaking. Actually, as I type that and consider what else has already happened in 2020 for the Royal Family I guess it was pretty small potatoes, BUT it was a solid royal day for those missing some of the more traditional aspects of royal watching, so let’s enjoy it. The Prince of Wales, the Duchess of Cornwall, and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge joined forces to visit the Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre in Nottinghamshire, bringing quite a bit of star power to highlight an organization focused on providing medical care for members of the Armed Forces.

And in case that wasn’t enough excitement, before the engagement began, Kensington Palace announced that William and Kate would be undertaking a mini-tour of Ireland in early March.

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Royal Roundup: Keep Calm & Carry On

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Let’s not talk about Sussexit. Instead, let’s catch up on literally everyone else in the Royal Family, because surprisingly there’s been a fair bit going on. Most of what follows is from the last week, with a few tidbits that date back a little earlier but were lost in the Christmas shuffle.

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Sussexit 2020

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Well. Wednesday was a crazy day. If you missed the drama, then you can catch up here on the initial wave of reporting. Today, we’re going to touch on some odds and ends that didn’t make it into my initial post because of all the information coming out, as well as weigh in on some of the reactions and narratives beginning to build.

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2019’s Engagement Numbers & What They Tell Us

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[N.B. The below post was written before the Sussexes’ news yesterday. Since it’s not overly relevant to this topic, I haven’t edited it, save one little note at the end.]

Before we get started, Happy Birthday to the Duchess of Cambridge, who turns 38 today! The occasion was marked at Anmer Hall last weekend, but I’m sure there are some day-of festivities planned now that the family has returned to London. We’ll next see her out and about on Wednesday when she and the Duke visit Bradford for their first engagement of the new year.

With that, let’s turn to the matter at hand: last year’s engagement numbers. If you keep up with royal news then you may have seen the end-of-year articles tracking who the “hardest working” member of the Royal Family was in 2019. If you read more than one, then you may have noticed very different statistics get reported. There’s no exact science to these tallies – what constitutes an engagement is in the eye of the beholder, however the most traditional approach is to count it if it made it into the Court Circular.

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George & Charlotte Make Their Christmas Debut

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Merry Christmas! I hope everyone is having a happy and relaxing holiday. As we speak, I am typing this next to my sleeping Cavalier King Charles, a roaring fire, and a very festive Christmas tree 🙂 With presents opened and an interlude before dinner, it seems like a good time to check in with the Royal Family. As many of you have no doubt seen, this was a big year over at Sandringham: Prince George and Princess Charlotte joined the Christmas Day walkabout.

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The 2019 Diplomatic Reception

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Last night the Queen hosted this year’s diplomatic reception at Buckingham Palace, an annual to-do that convenes thousands of representatives from over 100 countries. Members of the Royal Family always attend, and given that the event is white tie, we are always gifted tiaras, family orders, and all the other royal trappings.

This is technically a private reception, and as such, historically, we have had to make do with arrival shots of family members going through the BP gates. Last year, however, photos taken from the party were shared, a shift the Palace has doubled down on this year. It’s a subtle change, but I think an important one – opportunities to allow access in a controlled way are almost always a smart move in the long run, in my opinion.

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The BRF Hosts NATO Reception at BP

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That’s a lot of acronyms in a title, but last night the Queen hosted a reception celebrating 70 years of NATO at Buckingham Palace. Guests included Presidents Trump and Macron, Canadian PM Trudeau, the UK’s Boris Johnson, among many others. And while the Queen, the Prince of Wales, and the Duchess of Cornwall were in full host mode, the Duchess of Cambridge was the only representative of the “younger” royals thanks to the Duke of Cambridge’s visit to Kuwait and the Sussexes’ extended break from duties.

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Remembrance Sunday 2019

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On Sunday, following the previous evening’s Festival of Remembrance, the British Royal Family turned out for the Remembrance service at The Cenotaph. This annual event is not only a hallmark of the royal calendar, but one that convenes the UK’s veterans, senior politicians, and members of the public for a somber recognition of those who lost their lives in service to the nation. Frankly, there are few countries who mark this occasion better.

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Royal Roundup: Balmoral, Andrew & Cruachan IV

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This is proving an odd summer for the British Royal Family. Per tradition, members of the family pack it in for the month of August, engagements slow (in some cases to a screeching halt), and holidays are taken by not only the royals, but their staffs and the reporters who cover them. The risk with this schedule is that when there is news it has a way of dominating attention because there’s nothing else going on with which to distract. Such is the case this week, so let’s get into it.

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