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

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.

Full article: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2012/mar/20/kate-middleton-no-princess-diana

Kate Middleton and Charlene Wittstock: A tale of two princesses

Kate Middleton has impressed the public on her first foreign tour, but in Monaco Princess Charlene’s ‘fairytale’ marriage has got off to a tricky start

Any hopes that “princess mania” might die down have now been dashed by Kate’s first royal trip to Canada. If anything, England’s new princess looks set to attract ever more attention as the tour moves to California. But this week, as images were beamed back of her every outfit and move, a tale of another princess offered an interesting counterpoint. Pictures of Monaco‘s implausibly named Princess Charlene weeping through her wedding were an unsettling reminder that the reality of marrying into the European monarchy can be rather darker and more coercive.

Full article: http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2011/jul/09/princess-charlene-kate-fairytale-wedding

Royal wedding: My patriotic fever pitch

A royal pundit vacuum in the US means I’m a go-to expert in a country gorging itself on Kate ‘n’ Wills trivia

‘Are y’all ready for the wedding?” Whenever I speak in Philadelphia, where I have been living for the last few months, they ask this same question. Apparently I have a quaint accent. And because of this quaint British accent I am obviously intimate with the royal family and their preparations for the wedding of William and Kate that is obsessing America.

I also happen to have written a book about Princess Diana, and this makes me appealing not only to the general public but the Philly media. No, not appealing; valuable – because there’s a pundit vacuum here. The American media is moving out wholesale, heading for London. CNN is sending at least 125 staffers and NBC more than 500. Top anchors are going from all stations: ABC’s Barbara Walters is already there. Rival companies promote their coverage by the numbers of reporters they will have in situ. Wedding coverage, which started back in January, is reaching fever pitch.

Full article: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2011/apr/25/royal-wedding-patriotic-fever-pitch

Lets get personal

Charles and Camilla’s wedding is a chance to inflict some real damage

The wedding of Charles and Camilla offers plenty of opportunity for republicans to score some goals. They could deride the useless royal advisers who failed to check the venue’s viability and, more spectacularly, the legality of the marriage itself. They could expose an India rubber constitution that resists change but creates new categories such as “Princess Consort” when the need arises. They could highlight Charles’s hypocrisy, falling back on the human rights legislation that he so often rails against. They could capitalise on the unpopularity of Camilla or dwell on our first family snubbing each other’s nuptials. But republicans have had nothing to say.

Full article: http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2005/mar/19/monarchy.comment

Diana the victim

Princess Diana died seven years ago today. Since then she has been branded as the ultimate media Machiavelli, a skilful and devious self-publicist. But in reality, says Ros Coward, who has interviewed those closest to her for the first authorised biography, she promoted her image only for the good of others – and it was she who was manipulated

One fact everyone seems to know about Princess Diana these days is that she was an ace manipulator of the media. This view has arisen relatively quickly. In the immediate aftermath of her death, people united in distaste for the role the media appeared to have played; indeed the media acknowledged how much she had been tormented by collectively agreeing to spare her young sons similar attention. Only seven years later, however, more details are known about how she talked to the press, occasionally staged photo-opportunities, and gave that Panorama interview. Some talk as if Diana was the ultimate media Machiavelli, perhaps even the architect of her own disaster. In seven short years, the victim has become the criminal.

Full article: http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2004/aug/31/monarchy.historybooks

Mr Al Fayed: an apology

Of all the unlikely and unpleasant people claiming attention in the wake of royal butler Paul Burrell’s revelations, who would have thought Mohamed Al Fayed might emerge as vaguely plausible? But his conspiracy theories have certainly received a boost.

Full article: http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2002/nov/08/monarchy.comment

Reasons to be tearful

Like Christmas and most other anniversaries these days, the fifth anniversary of Diana’s death came early. Tabloids have been full of Diana pictures and there have been desperate attempts to stimulate interest in new old gossip. Even erstwhile Diana fans like myself are thinking perhaps it’s time to let go.

Full article: http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2002/aug/30/monarchy.comment

The problem with grieving

Cynics have found the Queen Mother’s death and funeral baffling. Why devote so much pomp and ceremony to someone who lived such a long and full life and died peacefully? For me it’s the reverse. I wish that all those I have ever loved and lost could have been sent off in such style, with a hundred pipers, a fly-past and the streets emptied of cars. This was a rare public display of mourning that allowed us to symbolise our own private emotions about bereavement.

Full article: http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2002/apr/10/queenmother.monarchy9

The trouble with Harry

The revelations about Prince Harry’s drinking and cannabis use are a clear reminder of the royal family’s principal function: to live out in the spotlight the dilemmas of ordinary families. This is why, after the death of Diana, republican sentiment faded away. Her legacy was to make us want to see what happens to the remaining characters, and use them to reflect on our own dilemmas and difficulties. Getting rid of them would be like pulling the plug on EastEnders.

Full article: http://www.theguardian.com/society/2002/jan/15/drugsandalcohol.monarchy

No thanks, Camilla

The Queen meets her eldest son’s mistress at a barbecue. It is hardly the stuff of true romance

One glimpse at the newspapers is enough to tell us that the royal soap is being revived for another season. Most papers made front page news of Camilla Parker Bowles’s weekend meeting with the Queen, while the tabloids also devoted several pages to speculation over whether the Prince of Wales will now marry Camilla. For the Sun this casual encounter over a barbecue was “the royal story of the year” and for the Express and Mirror, “a historic meeting”. Even the Times led with “Camilla and Carey hold secret talks”, making it as significant as negotiations to scrap the nuclear arsenal.

Full article: http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2000/jun/06/monarchy.comment