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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All Eyes on August 4

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Rumor has it that an engagement between Prince Harry and girlfriend Meghan Markle will be announced on August 4, which just so happens to be the birthday of the deceased Queen Mother. According to a new quote that lays out why the news would come in August and not before:

“They are not engaged formally but there is an understanding. The engagement announcement is still tipped for August 4 and is unlikely to come earlier. Why so? Because the general election (June 8), the formation of a new government (June 9), the State Opening of Parliament (June 19) and the state visit of King Felipe of Spain (July 12-14) cannot be overshadowed.”

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Royal Roundup April 9 – 14: Toronto Jaunts, Maundy Thursday & a New Diana Award

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A few odds and ends from the week:

  • The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh took part in the Maundy Thursday service at Leicester Cathederal yesterday. Queen, as per tradition dating back to the 13th century, distributed alms. This year, the “Maundy money” was handed out to 91 men and 91 women representing the Queen’s age. Back in the day, the celebration included the monarch washing members’ of public feet in addition to the alms, but that fell by the wayside starting with James II in the 17th century. This year each pensioner, as per custom, was handed a white and red purse. One of the recipients told reporters:

“It’s been such a wonderful occasion – she’s amazing because she smiled at every single person and then spoke to the children at the end. I thought ‘She’s just incredible, a wonderful woman.'”

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What the Waleses Tell Us About the Cambridges

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As I mentioned last week, I have been making my way through Sally Bedell Smith’s latest biography on the Prince of Wales. I haven’t gotten too far, but far enough that I’ve come through the other side of the 1980s and all that that entails. Not too much about the Waleses’ marriage could possibly be new to us at this point, but it’s been a few years since I’ve sat down and waded my way through a biography of one of them and it was interesting to do so, particularly the early years in light of how the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are currently perceived.

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The Other Tour of Italy

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Last week the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall undertook a brief tour of Italy, covering primarily Florence with brief stops in Rome and the Holy See. While there, Charles as able to delve into several of his passion projects, sustainable agriculture and support for vulnerable youths to name two. He was also able to tour programs that highlighted his long-held interest in the arts, classical music and history, three pursuits that he has not only always cultivated, but that he has seen as overlapping.

Charles is the definition of a “big picture” thinker, as we might put it today. He thinks unbelievably broadly and seeks to make connections between what others might consider disparate thoughts or fields. To him, there is always a point of intersection; there is always a broader purpose. Some of us (myself included) like to be able to see the forest through the trees; Charles likes to put everything in the context of nothing short of the world.

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Home & Dry: Charles & Camilla 12 Years On

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Later today the Prince of Wales is due in France to honor of the centennial of World War I’s Battle of Vimy Ridge with the Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry. But it’s also his 12-year wedding anniversary with his wife, the Duchess of Cornwall – a wedding that was unprecedented, wholly modern, and paved a grey area that won’t be fully formed until Charles ascends the throne.

Charles and Camilla’s engagement was announced in February 2005 with a wedding date initially set for April 8th. It was further announced that the ceremony would be a civil service followed by a religious prayer, a necessary specification because of Charles’s future role as the Head of the Church of England, and the fact that this would be a “remarriage,” the couple having divorced their first spouses. Even so, the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh, as well as the Archbishop of Canterbury and Prime Minister Tony Blair expressed their full support for what was a controversial union.

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William & the Press: A Bad Romance

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It’s become part of Prince William’s narrative that he hates the press. Now, William has never publicly said, “I hate the press,” so this is not a statement of fact. It is, however, a fairly safe assumption based on, you know, his behavior and that of his office. But from where does it stem?

The obvious answer, of course, is the death of his mother in 1997 and the role that paparazzi are believed to have played in that fatal car accident. Then there is the blatant intrusion that they have caused in his life – speculating about his parents’ marriage in the ’90s, his and his brother’s antics throughout their respective teens and 20s and his own relationship with Kate Middleton.

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Statue of Diana, Princess of Wales to Be Erected at Kensington Palace

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Kensington Palace announced today that a statue of the late Diana, Princess of Wales will be erected on the Palace grounds at the request of her sons, the Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry. The statue will commemorate the 20th anniversary of Diana’s death, which occurred on August 31, 1997.

The following statement was released on William and Harry’s behalf:

“It has been twenty years since our mother’s death and the time is right to recognise her positive impact in the UK and around the world with a permanent statue.”

It is hoped it will be completed and unveiled by the end of 2017.

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The Royal Family and the Power of Disclosure

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Last week, in a post about some of the criticism the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have been receiving, I suggested that they “say something.” I said something similar after Kate’s EACH engagement yesterday. That’s pretty vague, so I thought I would expand upon that point.

What the monarchy signifies and how they function is constantly in motion, a statement that perhaps runs counter-intuitively to how they are usually described, which is symbolic of continuity, history and heritage. They are, but how the monarchy embodies that – and carries out its agenda – changes, sometimes almost imperceptibly, with every generation. This has been particularly true for the royal family of the 20th and 21st centuries, which has had to align with and press against the constant presence of the media. Since the dawn of time, monarchies – like any political institution – have been reacting and adapting to popular opinion, but there are few other factors that have had more of an impact on the perception and behavior of a monarchy than the evolution of the modern press and how it disseminates its information.

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