The Palace Papers: 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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BRF Attends Duke of Edinburgh Memorial at Westminster

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This morning saw the British Royal Family turn out for a service of thanksgiving honoring the late Duke of Edinburgh. Held at Westminster Abbey, the event not only saw a full array of Windsors, but several visiting representatives of Europe’s royal families as well. With the ceremony lasting roughly 40 minutes, Queen Elizabeth then returned to Windsor Castle.

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Two “Royal” Divorces

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In case there wasn’t enough going on this year, two couples within the Royal Family have announced their separations. This is obviously sad news, regardless of the circumstances, and unfortunately the timing of it all means that it’s fitting into a broader narrative that the Queen’s family is full of young people making her white hair go even whiter. Honestly, if the Queen was able to trudge through the 1990s, I think she’ll be okay.

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The New World Order

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As the Duke of Sussex took final leave of London and jetted back to Vancouver, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge carried out a new milestone in their own royal careers: hosting their first reception at Buckingham Palace. The juxtaposition remains startling, but this engagement came as close to a response as we’re going to get from the rest of the Family – a display of unity. While William and Kate headlined Monday evening, the Palace announced that they were to be flanked by the Princess Royal and the Earl and Countess of Wessex.

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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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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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Royal Roundup: Holidays & Popularity

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We just did a roundup on Monday, but in the interest of covering off on the week with a few stray stories (none of which really warrant their own post), I thought I’d do another before the weekend. We left off with the Prince of Wales and Duke of York both visiting the Queen at Balmoral last weekend, but since then the Queen’s second son  departed Scotland for a holiday in Malaga with his ex-wife, Sarah, Duchess of York.

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Charles Hosts BP Garden Party

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The Prince of Wales hosted today’s garden party at Buckingham Palace on the Queen’s behalf, with the Duchess of Cornwall and the Princess Royal by his side. These gatherings have been held at the Palace every spring since the reign of Queen Victoria, while there’s a corresponding party at Holyroodhouse when the Queen’s in Scotland in July.

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The Royal Family Turns Out For the 50th Anniversary of the Prince of Wales’s Investiture

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Today the Queen hosted a reception at Buckingham Palace in honor of the 50th anniversary of Prince Charles’s investiture as Prince of Wales. Charles was named PoW by his mother at the age of nine in 1958, but not formally invested with the title until the age of 20 in 1969. By his side for the anniversary were his two sons and daughters-in-law, the Dukes and Duchesses of Cambridge and Sussex, as well as his wife, the Duchess of Cornwall, and his sister, the Princess Royal.

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The Queen, Charles & Anne Attend the 2018 Braemar Gathering

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The Queen, accompanied by her two eldest children, attended this year’s Braemar Gathering at the Princess Royal and Duke of Fife Memorial Park in Braemar, Aberdeenshire. The event has the regular attendance of the monarch ever since Queen Victoria first showed up in 1848, and, held on the first Saturday of September, it coincides perfectly with when the sovereign is in residence at Balmoral Castle.

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