Bread and Circuses: The Royal Wedding

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Re: Bread and Circuses: The Royal Wedding

Post  eddie on Sat Apr 30, 2011 4:22 am

William becomes Duke of Cambridge

29 April 2011


William and Kate will become the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge

Prince William has been made the Duke of Cambridge on his wedding day by his grandmother the Queen, Buckingham Palace announced.

The royal groom was given a dukedom - the highest rank in British peerage - to mark his marriage to Kate Middleton. Miss Middleton will now become Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Cambridge on her marriage at the much-anticipated ceremony in Westminster Abbey.

William also became the Earl of Strathearn and Baron Carrickfergus, which means Kate will become the Countess of Strathearn and Baroness Carrickfergus.

All titles are in the gift of the Queen and it was up to the monarch to choose which one to bestow on her grandson and his new wife. But William's thoughts will also have been taken into account by the royal matriarch in a private discussion between the Prince and his grandmother.

Tradition dictates that royal men receive a title on their wedding - and often more than one.

Buckingham Palace said in a statement: "The Queen has today been pleased to confer a Dukedom on Prince William of Wales.

"His titles will be Duke of Cambridge, Earl of Strathearn and Baron Carrickfergus. Prince William thus becomes His Royal Highness The Duke of Cambridge and Miss Catherine Middleton on marriage will become Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge."

As well as a duchess, Miss Middleton is also technically Princess William of Wales.

According to protocol, she is not officially Princess Catherine as she was not born a princess in her own right. Instead she adopts her husband's first name, in the same way as Princess Michael of Kent, who married the Queen's cousin Prince Michael of Kent.

But it is likely that in the eyes of the media and public, she could always be known as Princess Catherine or Princess Kate.

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Re: Bread and Circuses: The Royal Wedding

Post  eddie on Sat Apr 30, 2011 4:28 am

Sarah Burton finally speaks out about the royal wedding dress

By Libby Banks, Apr 29, 2011


Alexander McQueen's Sarah Burton speaks out about creating the royal wedding for Kate Middleton. Photo: PA

Alexander McQueen's Sarah Burton has finally broken her silence about the royal wedding dress that she designed for Kate Middleton. "It has been the experience of a lifetime to work with Catherine Middleton to create her wedding dress, and I have enjoyed every moment of it" she said today. Burton was spotted smoothing the Middleton's bridal train at Westminster Abbey this morning, confirming the rumours that Alexander McQueen was behind the dress. "It was such an incredible honour to be asked, and I am so proud of what we and the Alexander McQueen team have created."

Burton added that she is "delighted that the dress represents the best of British craftsmanship. Alexander McQueen's designs are all about bringing contrasts together to create startling and beautiful clothes and I hope that by marrying traditional fabrics and lacework, with a modern structure and design, we have created a beautiful dress for Catherine on her wedding day."

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Re: Bread and Circuses: The Royal Wedding

Post  LaRue on Sat Apr 30, 2011 4:48 am

There's a pub in Oxford called The Duke of Cambridge, apparently it feels like half the city has flocked there to celebrate!

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Re: Bread and Circuses: The Royal Wedding

Post  eddie on Sat Apr 30, 2011 5:14 am

That wedding dress:




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Re: Bread and Circuses: The Royal Wedding

Post  eddie on Sat Apr 30, 2011 5:31 am

What appeals to me most about such occasions is the pageantry.

I know enough about stage management to appreciate the outstanding level of skill and coordination required to produce a spectacle like this:




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Re: Bread and Circuses: The Royal Wedding

Post  pinhedz on Sat Apr 30, 2011 5:40 am

I walked by a TV monitor today and I think they were talking about this. I think I heard then bride was named Kate, but I didn't catch the guy's name.

Does he have a job? He doesn't look like much of a catch.


Last edited by pinhedz on Sat Apr 30, 2011 1:52 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Bread and Circuses: The Royal Wedding

Post  Doc Watson on Sat Apr 30, 2011 10:44 am

I wish the happy couple many happy years.

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Re: Bread and Circuses: The Royal Wedding

Post  eddie on Sat Apr 30, 2011 9:03 pm

Up close: Kate and Pippa Middleton's royal wedding bling

By Sarah Karmali, Apr 29, 2011


Bride and bridesmaid bling worthy of a royal wedding? Photo courteysy of Robinson Pelham

No bride can walk down the aisle without a touch of sparkle, and Kate Middleton found the perfect compliment to that breathtaking McQueen gown, in the form of some dazzling droplet earrings.

The bride showcased these Robinson Pelham diamond creations (above left) featuring an oak leaf and acorn motif.

The hand-made jewellery was commisioned by Carole and Michael Middleton, and given to their daughter as a wedding present.

The inspiration for the oak leaf design came from the family's new coat of arms, which was revealed in the run-up to the royal nuptials, while the overall effect was intended to echo the royal tiara.

And with bridesmaid Pippa Middleton also wearing a McQueen dress, it was only fitting that she wore matching earrings too.

The jewellery created for the youngest Middleton sister (above right) was designed to be more floral in appearance, to compliment the headpiece that she was wearing during the ceremony.

Carole Middleton, Michael Middleton and James Middleton also wore pieces designed by Robinson Pelham during the ceremony.

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Re: Bread and Circuses: The Royal Wedding

Post  eddie on Sat Apr 30, 2011 9:07 pm

Car crash couture: The Princesses look to the Lion King

By Libby Banks, Apr 29, 2011


Princess Eugenie and Beatrice take their style nods from the Lion King stage production. Photos: PA/Getty

Now that the royal dust has settled, and Team Buckingham Palace take a moment to tuck into their official reception vol-au-vents, we have time to properly reflect on the unnerving, eye-frazzling spectacle that were Princesses Eugenie and Beatrice's royal wedding outfits.

Don't get us wrong, we're not advocating that everyone bar Kate should have been bland and boring for the royal wedding - the Queen, Victoria Beckham and Tara Palmer Tomkinson get full marks for their efforts. But if, like Eugenie and Beatrice, you've got stylists and (relatively) unlimited funds at your disposal, there's really no excuse for getting your outfit wrong.

So we were shocked to see what the princesses decided to sport for the big day. Eugenie wore Vivienne Westwood, while Beatrice opted for Valentino, and both wore hats by Philip Treacy. On paper it should have been great, but we can't help but be reminded of stage productions of The Lion King. And not in a good way.

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Re: Bread and Circuses: The Royal Wedding

Post  eddie on Sat Apr 30, 2011 9:17 pm

Escort soldier thrown from horse

29 April 2011




A member of the Household Cavalry was thrown from his horse after the wedding service

One of the mounted soldiers accompanying Prince William and Kate Middleton to Buckingham Palace after the wedding service was thrown off his horse.

Television viewers around the world saw the animal bolting past the open-top carriage carrying the newly-married couple away from Westminster Abbey and to their receptions at the palace.

Kate and William were accompanied by soldiers on horseback from the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment forming a Captain's Escort.

The black horse threw its rider shortly after the royal procession left the abbey and galloped past the carriage as it passed the entrance to Downing Street.

It is understood that the animal managed to make its way back to its barracks in Hyde Park by itself.

Neither the horse nor the soldier was injured, although a source said: "The rider's pride was probably a little bit hurt."

An Army spokesman said: "As always with these occasions, the noise and excitement can affect the horses.

"Today there was a loose horse following the safe escort of the Queen back to Buckingham Palace but the training and professionalism of the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment soldiers ensured the ceremony continued without further incident.

"The horse and rider have returned to the barracks and are unharmed."

A horse also got spooked by the crowd noise and bolted after the wedding of William's parents, Prince Charles and Diana, Princess of Wales, in 1981.

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Re: Bread and Circuses: The Royal Wedding

Post  eddie on Sat Apr 30, 2011 9:22 pm

Mystery honeymoon awaits newlyweds

30 April 2011


The newlyweds are expected to head off to a mystery honeymoon location (PA)

Newlyweds William and Kate are expected to head off to a mystery honeymoon location.

The royals will take around two weeks off for the traditional post-wedding holiday.

William, now the Duke of Cambridge, has a fortnight's leave from his job as an RAF Search and Rescue helicopter pilot and has reportedly not even told his new wife where they are going.

On Friday night William and Kate and 300 close family and friends partied until the early hours at Buckingham Palace to celebrate their marriage. Guests included the Prince of Wales, Duchess of Cornwall and even the Duke's uncle Earl Spencer was said to have been there for part of the event.

Kate changed for the evening dinner and dance from her stunning wedding gown by Sarah Burton at Alexander McQueen into another stylish dress by the same designer. The royal looked glamorous in a strapless white satin gazar evening gown with a circle skirt and diamante embroidered detail round the waist. She also wore a white angora bolero cardigan.

Likely honeymoon destinations for the newlyweds could include Africa - a continent the Duke has a deep affection for. The second in line to the throne could take his wife to countries like Botswana, or Kenya where he proposed to Kate.

There has been speculation that a secluded Caribbean island may be another option.

The couple could continue their wedding theme of championing the UK and spend part of their break in Scotland where both the Queen and the Prince of Wales have private homes they could use.

The future king and his beautiful bride, who will now one day be Queen, pledged their love for one another at Westminster Abbey. Around a million people turned out to celebrate the wedding and those who flocked to witness their Buckingham Palace balcony appearance were treated to not one, but two kisses from the couple.

In an unexpected move that delighted the crowds William and Kate left their wedding reception in the Prince of Wales's blue Aston Martin with the prince at the wheel. The sports car was decorated with red, white and blue ribbons, with balloons tied to the back and a rear number plate which read "JU5T WED", all thanks to best man Prince Harry and other family and friends.

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Re: Bread and Circuses: The Royal Wedding

Post  eddie on Sun May 01, 2011 4:23 am

William and Kate in UK for weekend

30 April 2011


The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge walk hand in hand from Buckingham Palace

Newlyweds William and Kate have decided not to depart for their honeymoon immediately and will spend the weekend privately in the UK, St James's Palace said.

The couple married at Westminster Abbey on Friday and, after spending the night partying at Buckingham Palace with family and friends, are taking a break at an undisclosed location.

But William will return to his job as a search and rescue helicopter pilot next week before the couple finally jet off on their overseas honeymoon.

It had been thought that the new Duke and Duchess of Cambridge would take two weeks off for the traditional post-wedding break.

But it appears they want some private time in familiar surroundings after one of the most important days in their life saw their marriage celebrated by the nation and beyond.

They will probably travel to the Queen's Balmoral Estate in Scotland, which will afford them privacy and stunning countryside in which to unwind.

They left Buckingham Palace like a couple very much in love, walking hand in hand to a waiting helicopter which flew them off for their secret weekend break.

Before they boarded the aircraft, palace staff had carried out some of their luggage, which included a bouquet of white blooms.

A St James's Palace spokesman said: "The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have chosen not to depart for a honeymoon immediately.

"Instead, after spending the weekend privately in the United Kingdom, the Duke will return to work as a search and rescue pilot next week."

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Re: Bread and Circuses: The Royal Wedding

Post  eddie on Sun May 01, 2011 4:42 am

As with any theatrical performance, the reviews are crucial. Here's today's Republic-leaning Guardian's account of the event:


Royal wedding passes without a hitch as Kate and William seal it with a kiss

Considering the huge guest list, the crowds, and the massed ranks of cameras, the royal wedding proved an intimate affair

Stephen Bates guardian.co.uk, Friday 29 April 2011 20.23 BST

Considering the size of the audience, the two sets of trumpeters, two choirs and several of the most senior clerics in the land, the presence of the entire British royal family, 45 crowned heads from around the world and a guest list stretching to nearly 2,000, it was quite an intimate wedding. And, confounding all the understandable fears, nerves and precautions, it went off without a hitch.

Miss Catherine Middleton of Bucklebury, Berkshire went into Westminster Abbey at 11am and came out an hour and a quarter later, holding the hand of the second in line to the throne as Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Cambridge – she will not be known as Princess Catherine. At the moment of their wedding, the Queen bestowed a title on her husband, Prince William of Wales. In fact, there were three titles so that none of her realms felt left out: he also became Earl of Strathearn and Baron Carrickfergus.

Yet, for all the pomp and circumstance surrounding them, the couple found space to share knowing looks and smiles, suggesting that the natural instincts and affections which Dr John Hall, the abbey's dean, told them at the start of the service had been implanted by God, were already in place. There were giggles between them as he struggled to wriggle the Welsh gold ring on to her finger.

Later, appearing on the balcony at Buckingham Palace to give each other the obligatory kiss to satisfy the watching crowd and the massed ranks of the world's cameras, they gave each other the most perfunctory and chaste of pecks, as if slightly dismissive of the public nature of the ritual.

After a couple of minutes, they did it again in case anyone had missed it. But there was another surprise: William and his bride appearing later in his dad's 40-year-old open-topped Aston Martin, festooned with balloons and a Just Wed number plate, roaring out of the palace and heading down the Mall.

On a grey but bright and muggy day in central London – no sign during the morning of the showers that had threatened to break the month's hot weather – police estimated that up to a million people congregated, half of them in the Mall. In contrast to how police count demonstrations, that may have been an overestimate, but there were certainly many thousands. In the only slight sign of trouble, a small group of protesters gathering in Soho Square to put on masks were pre-emptively stalled without getting near.

Overnight several thousand people had camped outside the abbey, where some had bagged space since early in the week, and along the edge of St James's Park. From early morning, many thousands more poured in, parents carrying picnic bags and rucksacks and children with flags and painted faces, wearing their best party dresses, some of them with cardboard crowns and many others with union flag hats. There were whole families, including grannies and grandads and a high proportion of young people, with many tourists among them.

As they made their way across the bridges, tramping towards Westminster, where the abbey glowed white in the early light, the mood was cheery and police officers, asked to take family photos, obliged. It was, Lord Sacks, the chief rabbi, noted on the BBC, Britain and royalty at its best.

Later the prime minister would gush too: "It was beautiful to see two people who really love each other and who are incredibly happy at an amazing ceremony ... A day when we see 'the new team'. It was incredibly romantic and moving.

"It's a great moment for Britain, a moment when everyone is celebrating and it's being watched round the world where people will see lots of things they love about Britain," David Cameron said.

Before 9am the first guests were arriving at the abbey, walking the red carpet that had been laid outside, through the Great West Door, past the tomb of the Unknown Warrior and up to the altar steps. The nave itself was lined with growing trees, eight maples and two hornbeams, with scented lily of the valley flowers planted at their base. The guests looked like an animated Madame Tussauds: Trevor Brooking and Earl Spencer, Elton John – his hair billowing in the wind like his very own fascinator – waving to the crowd with his partner David Furnish, Tara Palmer-Tomkinson and the Beckhams, newly arrived from Los Angeles with David wearing his OBE pinned to his suit. Cheering wafted into the abbey from outside.

Then came the foreign leaders: Australia's republican prime minister Julia Gillard and her partner, New Zealand's John Key and his wife . They were followed by British politicians, the men dragooned into morning suits: Ed Miliband and his fiancee Justine Thornton, Nick Clegg – his wife Miriam González Durántez almost defiantly glamorous – followed by David and Samantha Cameron and a clutch of ministers.

Prince William, in the scarlet tunic of the Irish Guards, followed 45 minutes before the service, accompanied by his brother and best man Prince Harry, in time to greet arriving members of foreign royal families. Then, a fleet of four minibuses followed carrying minor royals from Buckingham Palace, like a charabanc outing.

And then there were the Middletons. A week ago Carole Middleton, flight attendant turned successful businesswoman, could have caught a cab unnoticed in Whitehall. Yesterday she and her son James, who has just started his own cake business, were driven by limousine up the Mall, across Horseguards Parade and past the Houses of Parliament past cheering crowds, to be greeted at the abbey door by a clutch of clergy, including the Archbishop of Canterbury in mitre and cope.

Do mothers still dream that their daughters might grow up to marry a prince and be driven down the Mall in a carriage? If so, Mrs Middleton bore the slightly stunned, unreal expression of one who has woken up to find the dream come true. They were followed by Prince Charles, in naval uniform, and the Duchess of Cornwall and then the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh. And then the bridesmaids and pages, the littlest, three-year-old Grace Van Cutsem, yawning from excitement and tiredness - the little girl, led out on to the balcony at the palace, would later cover her ears to shield them from the noise.

Then lastly, precisely on time, Kate Middleton and her father Michael, whose career started as a British Airways cargo dispatcher, slid into a royal Rolls-Royce at their hotel, the dress, subject of so much speculation, still hidden from view: all that could be seen was lace about the sleeves and a veil over the head. The secret of the elegant ivory gown, designed by Sarah Burton, had to wait another nine minutes until the bride stepped out of her limousine at the abbey.

The intention behind the service itself was a demonstration of Britishness: music by British composers – John Rutter and Peter Maxwell Davies and the young Welsh composer Paul Mealor as well as Elgar, Britten and Vaughan Williams – and old, favourite hymns: Guide Me O Thou Great Redeemer, Love Divine, All Loves Excelling and Jerusalem.

The service itself, in conformity with the Church of England's 1966 prayerbook, was a mixture of modern and archaic English, during the course of which Middleton and her husband promised to love, comfort, honour and keep each other, forsaking all others and keeping only unto themselves. William also promised to share all his worldly goods with her.

In his address Richard Chartres, the bishop of London and the clergyman closest to the royal family, advised: "The more we give of self, the richer we become in soul; the more we go beyond ourselves in love, the more we become our true selves ... In marriage we are seeking to bring one another into fuller life." As he spoke of the Holy Spirit quickening within them, filling their lives with light and so leading on to family life, Middleton blushed and smiled.

There are those loyalists who say Princess Diana's spirit would be hovering and certainly her influence was seen most obviously as the couple left the abbey: the new duchess grinning with relief and joy, her husband smiling, but self-consciously blushing with eyes downcast, like his mother in a thousand photographs.

And so to the palace in the 1902 state landau, pulled by white horses. En route the only unforseen incident of the day occurred when a horse ridden by a member of the Household Cavalry escort bolted, throwing its rider as the procession passed Downing Street.

Only pride was dented, the Ministry of Defence said later: the horse "had had a bit of a moment".

Then those discreet kisses on the balcony. And that was thought likely to be that: retirement for the Queen's reception to partake of crab salad and duck terrine, smoked salmon on beetroot blini, asparagus spears and quails' eggs, langoustines and pork belly, Pol Roger champagne and wedding cake and to listen to Charles joke about passing his bald spot on to his son. After that spread, the 85-year-old monarch and her 89-year-old husband were understandably going to retreat to the country, leaving the youngsters to a dinner and disco. This is a prince less hidebound than his father and more informal.

For most couples the drive down the Mall would be the start of their drive into the sunset, but not this pair, not any longer: they turned sharp left 200 yards down the road into Clarence House to rest and recuperate before the evening.

Last night they were staying at Buckingham Palace. Today they set off on a fortnight's honeymoon – destination a closely guarded secret but one that is almost certain to be discovered in time for the Sunday papers: a new life for the Duke of Cambridge and a transformed one for his duchess. She will never walk unnoticed down a street ever again.

guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2011

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Re: Bread and Circuses: The Royal Wedding

Post  eddie on Sun May 01, 2011 4:59 am

..and here's today's rather grudging Guardian editorial, as baffled as Corporal High-Top about the success of the event:

Royal wedding: A peculiarly British day

It was a fun day – but the role of the crown in our democracy is as problematic as it was before

Editorial The Guardian, Saturday 30 April 2011

Only a churl would deny that the crowds in London and the wider world have just witnessed a sumptuous, spectacular – and very peculiarly British – day. An undeniably affecting wedding between two people who seem nicely primed for their shared future – though who can really say, after last time? An imperishable setting for the ceremonials. Rolling music, sonorous phrases and moments of piercing solemnity. Some great clothes. A post-wedding parade for the ages down leafy avenues. Large and delighted crowds. Huge international interest. Waves of genuine goodwill and enjoyment. And the rain and the rioters both held off.

The cheers and tears of the long-heralded day were not insignificant. But too much should not be read into them. The day was a one-off. It lacked wider significance. The wedding was not a looking-glass event, reflecting the infantilisation of a subject nation. It was a well-managed show on which the curtain rose and then fell. The circus came and went. It did not change anything. Britain is not now a happier or a safer, a more purposive or a less unequal place than it was before Prince William placed the ring on his bride's finger. Yes, we wish them happiness ever after. Yes, it was a fun day. But the questions, both sweeping and specific, which surround the monarchy and the royal family are no closer to being resolved. The place of the crown in our laws, our established faith, our economy and, above all, our democracy is as problematic and as discordant today as before. No Catholic may wear the crown. No daughter, however old, of William and Catherine can inherit before any son, however young. It is all as silly – and as wrong – now as it was before. At the very least, it all needs to change and the changes need to be nailed down before a more wilful and destructive monarch than the present Queen sits on the throne.

There was, all the same, an unmistakable descant to yesterday's cheerfully celebratory spectacular. This was not 1981. It was a recession wedding, not an extravaganza. The difference, though slight in some ways, was there in a palpable touch of austerity in the proceedings. In the choice of the smaller abbey rather than the grandeur of St Paul's. In a beautifully judged wedding dress that, nevertheless, did not seek to outdo and overtrump the frocks and trains of the past. In crowds that, while indisputably large and clearly happy, were neither endlessly stretching nor vicariously hysterical in the way that they may once have been – a disjunction much remarked on by foreign, especially American, journalists who wanted collective drooling to match their own. True, away from the pomp, the country more or less shut down for a couple of hours yesterday. But then life resumed more or less untouched, as it does after a cup final. Shops resumed business. Streets soon reopened. The tumult and the shouting died after a late lunch. The captains and the kings departed in mid-afternoon. And soon there was only Wallace and Gromit to watch on TV.

Britain in 2011 is simply not the same country that it was when this kind of royal event first took on its modern shape a century ago. No empire, of course. Far less military might. No longer the workshop of the world or the monarch of the seas. Freer from hierarchy and convention than before, though. Above all, Britain no longer sees itself reflected or validated in events like yesterday's, enjoyable and splendidly done though it was. Even the enchantment comes on sale or return these days. This is a country where the economy grew by just 0.5% in the first quarter and declined by that amount in the quarter before. That does not mean this should have been or was a hair-shirt royal wedding. But it does mean there is a pretty sensitive market in what the royal firm have to offer. Judge it right – and they mostly did so this time – and we buy. Get it wrong, and we may one day look elsewhere.

guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2011

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Re: Bread and Circuses: The Royal Wedding

Post  eddie on Mon May 02, 2011 4:07 pm

It is reported (below) that Prince Harry "partied like a rock star" at the wedding reception. All that cocaine, all those groupies... No It bodes ill for the future of the House of Windsor:

Prince Harry parties hard at Royal Wedding reception

by Sam Parker, May 1st 2011


We always knew Prince Harry was a bit of a party animal, but it sounds like the royal hell raiser really excelled himself at his brother's wedding.

Details of what happened at Buckingham Palace after the big day are beginning to emerge, with claims that the Prince 'partied like a rock star'.

Now why doesn't that surprise us.

According to the News of the World, the royal reception kicked off with a live rendition of Your Song performed by Ellie Goulding, to which Will and Kate enjoyed their first dance. Aw.

Then, apparently, Harry took over.

"Buckingham Palace has never seen anything like it. It was more like a nightclub than the Queen's house," a source told the paper. "Harry was essentially the host of the evening. He was acting like a rock star and making sure all the girls had a cocktail in hand and all the lads were trying the Sambuca shots.

"He was also getting pretty merry himself. He loves a party and this night was obviously no different. He was even jumping off the stage and dancing on window ledges. At one point he ended up on the shoulders of one of his friends with his shirt unbuttoned."

It wasn't all chaos and debauchery, however. Around 2am the Harry did the Queen proud by reportedly telling guests: "This has been a great night but please respect the family and those upstairs when you leave. And don't wake up the neighbours."

Very sensible you man.

Other details that have emerged include that Harry ended the night by requesting Kings of Leon's 'Sex On Fire' and dedicating it to William, and that the Prince laid on two vans outside the Palace - one serving bacon sandwiches, the other serving ice cream.

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Re: Bread and Circuses: The Royal Wedding

Post  eddie on Thu Mar 22, 2012 4:14 am

Why Kate Middleton is no Princess Diana

Media and public desire for a new people's princess is palpable. But this time the royal family are ready

Ros Coward

guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 20 March 2012 19.30 GMT


The media has drawn attention to the Duchess of Cambridge's 'natural gift with children'. Photograph: Tim Whitby/Getty Images

Kate Middleton has given her first speech. Cue enormous excitement in the media and huge praise. According to one source, she delivered an "assured" performance to "rave reviews". The speech in fact was a few tremulous sentences in which she thanked the charity for inviting her, described its important work, and mentioned missing William.

But while the publicity for the very worthwhile children's hospice can't be faulted, the attention to Kate herself is more problematic, especially in reviving such strong memories of the early press adulation and scrutiny of Princess Diana. On this occasion the media homed in on Kate's dress (borrowed from her mother) and her body (worryingly thin) and drew attention to her natural "gift" with children. It was pure Diana re-run.

Diana had only to turn up at an event to trigger an avalanche of speculation about anorexia or to bend down among the children to be endowed with elements of compassion bordering on the saintly. All this was on display with Kate. Her pencil-thin appearance has led to speculation about whether it is her separation from William or her childlessness that is the cause. As for her compassion, parents who had shaken her hand queued up to vouch for her exceptional talents in this regard. The desire to find a new Diana was palpable.

The media's scrutiny of Diana is thought to have played a part in the disintegration of her marriage; so should we be concerned that the focus on Kate might have similar consequences? In fact, beneath superficialities, the differences between the two women are more striking than the similarities. When Diana set out, she was much younger than Kate and emotionally vulnerable. Her solo appearances came as her marriage was disintegrating and she was desperate to find a role. On occasions she betrayed her turmoil, as with her "everyone needs a hug" speech.

There's no immediate danger of Kate Middleton going off like a loose cannon, because the biggest difference with Diana is just how closely aligned Kate's every movement and utterance is with the "firm", as Diana used to call the royal family. Unlike Diana, this is a woman well-briefed, and carefully supervised.

In this diamond jubilee year the Queen is reaping the enormous benefits of longevity. Just by surviving this long, she is now revered, whatever she does and however difficult she might have been in younger days. She is also benefitting from the amnesia that has settled upon a carefully managed nation, who have forgotten their anger at the treatment of Diana. This amnesia even extends to Camilla, who with the occasional well-planned charity appearance – and a charm offensive on the media establishment (she has recently hosted dinners for the Women of the World festival) – is presented as an acceptable consort for a future King. There have been repeated photo opportunities showing Kate with the Queen or Camilla, or both, like a recent Hello cover showing the three on an outing to Fortnum & Mason. The emphasis is on mutual acceptance and unity.

These photo opportunities tell what's at stake with Kate's public profile. We are used to the monarchy being matriarchal. The symbolism the Queen carries is of "soft" power: she is the head of a family – her own and the nation. She has devoted her life to doing her duty, while keeping her opinions to herself. She is the embodiment of tradition and continuity. These are "female" attributes, and less likely to arouse resistance than a patriarchal embodiment of royal power.

However, the Queen's longevity also arouses anxiety about the future. The next generation of women are pivotal in making monarchy acceptable to Britain in the 21st century. It's the women doing their duty, keeping their heads down, devoted to their husbands and children, who will present the acceptable face of monarchy – not a querulous, tetchy, demanding male.

Kate is too valuable to be left alone as Diana was. The press are giving Kate celebrity-sized attention and with that comes celebrity-sized pressure. But this time, it seems, the firm are ready for it.

eddie
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Re: Bread and Circuses: The Royal Wedding

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