May 10

Lumps, lotharios, and marathons

Queen painting.jpgHmm. Love a good portrait or two, but I’m not sure about the latest likeness of the Queen from Rupert Alexander.

I mean, I love the understated tone of the painting, the simple colour, and unadorned features, but the poor Queen’s complexion looks a little lumpy to me. A little too reminiscent, in fact, of the white sauce I made for my tuna bake dinner last night – damn those lumps!!

Wouldn’t be surprised if QEII was saying exactly the same thing…

caroline at flower show.jpg

No one can argue that Princess Caroline is the embodiment of grace and style in the fashion stakes, and she shows the very same qualities in her dignified stance on the marriage issue – class all the way.

Meanwhile, Ernst publicly indulges in a tropical lovefest. Tsk, tsk…..As my mother used to say – what the hanover was he thinking? Not very much, it seems.


beatrice marathon.jpg

And finally, Wow! is pretty much all I can say on reading of Beatrice’s marathon efforts.

Just Wow!

Now there’s a female royal role model!

Mar 10

Royal Round-up

charles.jpgCharles, as King, not taking on the role of Head of the Commonwealth ? How very interesting.

For many of us away down here, the connection between the British monarchy and our identity as part of the Commonwealth are one and the same; an irrefutable and essential aspect of our national being-ness, as relevant today as it was 200 years ago. For others, the British monarchy is a part of our history, not our present. And so goes the recurring republic/Commonwealth debate around these parts.

However, I suspect that neither monarchists nor republicans would be happy with the prospect of a non-royal as Head of the Commonwealth – no doubt fuelling the republic/monarchy issue into a veritable frenzy! Will it be the tipping point for us Aussies to become a full-blown republic? Interesting times……

Aiko.jpgMeanwhile, in Japan, little Princess Aiko has been suffering from panic and anxiety attacks, apparently as a result of schoolyard bullying. As a mother, hearing of any child being victimised by school bullies always pulls at the heart strings. For litte Aiko, her royal-ness will always brand her an outsider at any school, and with the Japanese tradition of cloistering the female royals, this kind of episode may end up sending Aiko permanently back into the royal house for her schooling…. which would be such a shame. Just as her mother has suffered from strict Japanese royal protocol this happy-looking child may end up following in her footsteps. Sad.

camilla south africa pres.jpgAnd then, to the issue of babies and Camilla’s nose.

Having conducted in-depth research of the Queen-To-Be’s appendage, I can find no clue as to its mysterious power over the general baby population. It appears to be in perfectly normal proportion to the rest of her features, and is not in possession of unusual or distinctive colour, patterns, or other noticeable adornments.

 I suspect that said babies are merely reaching out in their delightfully spontaneous way in response to Camilla’s warm and positive vibe, to which many have attested. After all, babies can sense these things. So there we go… mystery solved! Now if South African President Jacob Zuma reached out for a little tweak…that would make a headline!

carla.jpgAnd finally, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy notes how lucky she was to fall in love and find someone to marry at her age. I have to agree. It’s a jungle out there.  But hang on, maybe being a famous supermodel/recording artist helps one’s chances…. Genius! I’m onto it.

It was a little hard to concentrate on the video, mind. Maybe my eyes are failing me (not unlikely given I’m on the wrong side of… something), but was that lamp in the background listing to one side???  No, I had not yet had my evening glass of wine….

Feb 10

Mixing it with the commoners

Perhaps it’s the mid-30s-degree heat and humidity (gotta be at least 105 per cent) sizzling my brain here in Australia, but it seems the English royals are going all out to get down and dirty with us regular people.

CC bread baking.jpgFirst, there was Wills doing all that Aussie sporty stuff – table tennising, cricketing, barbecuing. Then we had Hazza doing the Haitian high-step at a fund-raising benefit. 

Meanwhile, Charles and Camilla are whipping up a storm baking bread, sculpting Plasticine and doing a bit of chi kung down the local hall.

And then there’s Queen Elizabeth II at the train station. On her way to board a train. And not a special queenly type train, but a plain-old public train. Oh, all right, she booked the entire first-class section for her trip, but let’s not split hairs – it’s a public train. Yep, those royals are definitely up to something! 

queen at train.jpgLooking fabulous in a cobalt blue coat, those dainty patent leather-clad feet tripping – as in Ginger Rogers/Fred Astaire tripping, rather than the “ouch, I grazed my knee” type – along the platform to catch an express from King’s Cross, QEII exudes the spirit of busy modern life.

Forget the Haitian high step and the billy barbecuing – boys, you have nothing on yo’ grandmother!  At aged 83, I think she’s captured the modern royal/common touch connection in one fell swoop.

One last thing I can’t help wondering about: is it a coincidence that Queen E’s coat co-ordinates so well with the train? Or did she plan ahead for a pleasing colour combo? Guess we’ll never know!

Jan 10

Wills whirlwind tour

Back on deck from summer holidays and to the most important royal event of this week, in these parts, at least – Prince William’s fleeting but fabulous tour of our sunny shores. With Wills charming all and sundry, he has certainly caused a frenzy among us Aussies – the ‘Prince William has left the building’ style TV news flashes notwithstanding… 

Thumbnail image for Wills table tennis.jpgOne has to admire Will’s youthful energy with a packed New Zealand schedule of, as Hello!
wills bbq.jpgnotes, ‘barbecuing, rugby-tackling and Maori-dancing’, And then it was onto Aussie cricket-playing, target-shooting, table-tennising, speedboat-riding, and more barbequing!  Phhewww! Bet he cooks a mean sausage…

Also to admire is Wills’ patience and good humour with the relentless meet and greet of Aussie punters, and the seemingly endless parade of dive-bomb kissers aiming for the royal cheek. I recall Charles attracting a similar response on his earlier visits here. Like father, like son, it seems – a point which Wills duly noted (and approved of) during a speech at Government House.

wills opera house wave.jpgBut all charm aside, when it comes to royal tour outfits, a prince is clearly just a prince – blue suit, navy tie for arrival. Blue suit, purple tie for a formal dinner. Blue shirt, khaki pants for casual….you get the picture. Call me shallow, but I found myself longing for the fun and glamour of the feminine royal tour wardrobe  – designer frocks, fab hats and funky heels, all put together in a royally witty way. …. kinda hits home that a prince really does need his princess…..

 Whatever his outfit, though, Wills’ down-to-earth,

wills crowd shot.jpgfriendly demeanour surely won some new fans down our way, with one particular 12-year-old in my vicinity saying, “He doesn’t act like a prince. He’s pretty cool, actually”. I have to concur with that!

Nov 09

Queenly compassion and barefoot babes

Queen in white fur.jpgWhile the Queen has always been one for royal protocol, it was touching to hear that she reportedly left an official dinner marking the Opening of Parliament this week to meet one of her footmen.

The footman, Fraser Marlton-Thomas, had tragically lost his brother, who had been serving in the war in Afghanistan.

Though the Queen is often seen as distanced from everyday life, it’s moments like these that remind us of her humanity, diplomacy, and compassion. It also goes to show the loyalty she inspires – the footman chose to continue with his Opening of Parliament duties, even though the Queen urged him to take time off.

Meanwhile, the Duchess of Cornwall was also showing her compassionate side this week at Sir John Mortimer’s memorial service.

Camilla at funeral.jpgDespite the sombre occasions, I couldn’t help but notice the sartorial splendour of these two royals. The Queen looked like a fantasy snow queen in her white shimmer and silver sparkles,  while Camilla was chic in a black fitted suit with a magnificent headpiece.

On a similar note, proof of Princess Letizia’s style was evident in her elegant barefoot walk down the Indian green carpet in honour of Mahatma Gandhi. Although the camera was too far away to capture the details, I’ll bet the Spanish royal’s feet were as perfectly presented as the rest of her (as opposed to the cracked heel, chipped nail polish look I see at the end of my own feet!).

I wonder if she and Jordan’s Queen Rania were separated at birth? They certainly share uncannily similar looks, elegance and flair…

PS I’m keeping a copy of Michelle Obama’s words of advice on pairing up to give to my girls when they grow up. I couldn’t have said it better. Actually, I’ll keep a copy for myself!

Nov 09

Rickshaws, races and regal relationships

Carla and Nic.jpgOoh, la la, Carla and Nicolas are rumoured to be with child…well, best of luck to them, but I was just a little bemused at their friend Jacques Seguela’s comment that the pair were a ‘young’ couple….eerrr, I know 40 is the new 30 and all that, but young ? ….Perhaps it’s a European thing…..

Hats off to Michelle Obama for her openess about the trials and tribulations of marriage. While fighting wars, restoring economies, and reforming health care are par for the course in the American Presidentia, it’s rare to hear such personally candid comments from a nation’s First Lady. However, as they are guaranteed good press coverage, it seems Michelle, and Barack, are making the most of their position to educate and encourage in a more personal way…Go Obamas!

Mary rickshaw1.jpgVery touching to see the story of the Danish royals nostalgic visit to Hanoi, and the unveiling of Henrik’s grandfather’s memorial plaque. They certainly look a relaxed and happy family….but hang on, while the royals take the relative luxury of a rickshaw, is that their bodyguard left to run alongside? Oh well, keeps him fit, I s’pose…

Zara in fascinator.jpg


Meanwhile, at the “race that stops a nation” was the fab fascinator that stopped the nation. Well, that may be an exaggeration, but Zara’s headpiece did look magnificent as she celebrated at the annual Melbourne Cup day.

Oct 09

A study in contrasts

Lately, it seems it’s all about the artistic expression of leading ladies. But how do they compare?

Michelle Obama.jpgAccording to its creators at Jailbreak Toys, the Michelle Obama doll is intended as a tribute to America’s first lady. While Michelle herself certainly exudes a charismatic strength, this doll doesn’t do her justice.

Yes, the doll is a deliberate exaggeration – anything made by a company called “Jailbreak Toys” doesn’t sound like it would be a lifelike reproduction, after all – but then the company expects it be popular among girls. Hmm, I’m not too sure…

Michelle herself has chosen not to comment – hoping it’ll just quietly go away, methinks…


Sarah Brown.jpgMeanwhile, over at French First Lady Carla Bruni’s website, a sketch of Sarah Brown has popped up. Now, I must admit to an initial frisson of envy – model, guitarist, songwriter, fashion icon, wife of sumptuously-haired French man… and now artist as well?

But no, Carla is generously showcasing fellow Gaul Alice Dechelette’s work. Again, hmmm. While Sarah is known for her down-to-earth, first-lady-next-door vibe, the portrait isn’t a particularly  accurate representation of the prime minister’s wife.

Sarah’s reported “bemusement” suggests that she’s not too sure about it, either…


Victoria cover.jpgAnd then we have the winner of the leading lady images: Sweden’s Princess Victoria, who looks so languidly chic on the cover of her new biography you could almost faint.

Displaying her elegant profile, the gorgeous black and white photo is a tantalising combo of classic European glamour and funky modernity. Exquisite!

Now there’s an image that makes you want more….. Michelle and Sarah must be just a tiny bit jealous.

Sep 09

Fancy friends

Two Ms.jpgIt’s a curious thing how friends often resemble one another, and it seems royals (and statesladies) are no exception. Crown princesses Mathilde and Maxima, on official museum-opening business in Belgium, looked like two super-stylish peas in a pod, while over in New York, Queen Rania and Carla Bruni-Sarkozy looked similarly chummy and chic.

Maybe it’s their understated, elegant outfits and sleek coiffures that imparts the soul sister vibe.

Or would that sisterly spirit be just as apparent if these girls were hitting the local shops in jeans and thongs (that’s flip-flops to you).

 The two M’s certainly did look like two good mates cutting loose for the day…but I wonder
two ms ribbon.jpgwhat they were giggling about together?

Mathilde expressing her hope for decent ceremonial scissors, perhaps (after all, wrestling a ribbon with blunt scissors doesn’t make for an elegant look), with supportive Maxima giving a word of encouragement as she approached the dastardly ribbon.

Rania and carla.jpg


Meanwhile, over at the ‘Superfriends’ charity function Carla and Rania looked a little more formal in their relationship.

But with their similar sleek style and Carla’s growing involvement in charity work, perhaps their bond will deepen – there’s nothing like shared interests to foster friendship….


Sep 09

The romance of royals

Harry and Chelsy.jpgAs a fan of the Harry/Chelsy partnership, I’m very excited to read that they are apparently considering a reunion.

While absence makes the heart grow fonder, there’s nothing like inhabiting the same general space to create connection, so their pending proximity in London bodes well for their romance.

Just think of it – she, cutting a swathe through the lawyerly world, he, flying about defending his nation, and then being able to come home and have a chat and a nice of tea together afterwards…what’s not to love about that!

Although Chelsy apparently isn’t happy with the level of general public nosiness into their personal lives, I don’t know that much can be done about that – it seems there’s no escape from conducting a royal romance chaperoned by a thousand or so camera lenses.

But, as I’ve said before, I do think they’re made for each other, and shall await further developments with bated breath – not that I’m nosy, of course…

italian wedding.jpgPerhaps Chelsy could look to the recent wedding of Italian Prince Edouard and Isabella Orsini for inspiring royal romance. I don’t know if it was the royal/actress combo (shades of Prince Rainier and the super-glam Grace Kelly). Or those fabulous Italianate names that just rroolll off the tongue (try it). Or those gorgeous romantic photos of rose-festooned carriages and fairytale kisses. Whatever it was this wedding had me in a swoon – indeed, it almost gave me want to do the whole wedding thing.  

Anyway, Edouard and Isabella looked deliriously happy – now, if that’s not inspiration, Chelsy….  

Aug 09

Princess Eugenie and the Swedish sisters

eugenie in black.jpgPrincess Eugenie is on form as one of the Brit’s most down-to-earth royals, following Will’s lead by choosing to bunk down in the student dorms while she studies at Newcastle University.

The grass is always greener, isn’t it….I mean, if I had the choice of sumptuously-appointed private apartment versus your basic, communal uni digs, I know which I’d go for, and it wouldn’t be the one where I get to enjoy the night-time snorings and other goings-on of my fellow students through paper-thin walls.

But then, to her credit, mixing it with the ordinary punters seems to be Eugenie’s thing, as demonstrated by her visit to Australia earlier this year. Go, Eugenie, we love you!

Besides offering a good degree course, Eugenie chose apparently chose Newcastle Uni for its fun-ness. But I do wonder how much fun and mischief can be had with (count ‘em!) THREE bodyguards running around after one at all times. Romantic dinner for two….plus three burly, suited, glaring men eating next to you. Romantic boogie for two on the local disco floor….plus three burly, suited, glaring men boogie-ing next to you….Geez, makes you wonder how a royal romance gets going at all…

Mad and Jonas.jpgSpeaking of royal romance, another Nordic nuptial occasion has been announced. Princess Madeleine has confirmed her engagement to lawyer Jonas Bergstrom a mere few weeks after her older sister, Victoria, revealed her own marriage plans.

But what really breaks my heart? He says, “I fell for her beautiful blue eyes..”. Swoon! She says, “He’s the nicest person in the world, a wonderful friend”. Sigh! …Where do I get me one of those……

Best wishes to both the girls!

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