Showing posts with label royalty. Show all posts
Showing posts with label royalty. Show all posts

Monday, December 26, 2016

Prince Charles in uniform

Where’s the war? Apparently he was taking part in training operations for urban conflicts… but I don’t know the identity of the alleged enemies. Maybe, one of these days, Charles will inform us. In any case, it appears—thank God—that His Highness was not wounded.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Registration of a birth in England

Having examined countless BMD records [births, marriages and deaths] in the context of my personal genealogical research, I was delighted to come upon this copy of a quite ordinary birth record, bearing today’s date.

Click to enlarge

The informant was the child’s father, who signed the registration simply by means of his given name: William. He and the baby’s mother, Catherine Middleton, have unusual occupations. The father apparently earns his living as a prince of the United Kingdom. And the mother works in the same kind of job, as a princess of the United Kingdom. As the saying goes, it takes all sorts to make a world. As for the offspring, a girl, she was born 3 days ago in a Westminster hospital. I always feel a little sorry for babies born in the middle of big cities. But I realize they're capable of growing up just as happily as us country kids.

They sound like a nice little family. The only thing that upsets me a little is the terribly complicated name they’ve given to the baby, composed of no less than 9 terms: Her Royal Highness Princess Charlotte Elizabeth Diana of Cambridge. What I mean to say is that I know a couple who simply named their little female baby Zoé. I reckon they would have been happy with the single letter Z... except that the registry office wouldn't have agreed. But everybody, of course, has different attitudes towards inventing names for babies.

There’s another minor detail, of a puzzling nature. I’m incapable of fathoming out the family’s simple surname. Concerning the mother, there’s no problem: she was a Middleton. On the other hand, the father’s surname is hard to define. But that’s neither here nor there. I may have already said that it takes all kinds to make a world.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Medals-wise, Charles thrashes Dylan

Prince Charles has been in combat, over the years, on all kinds of hostile fronts. So, it’s normal that the breast of the future monarch should be sagging under the weight of medals.

Bob Dylan, on the other hand [display], has probably never been on active service anywhere. What’s more, I reckon that, if Charles could be persuaded to learn to play the guitar and give us a few royal songs, we might be all struck dumb with awe. Believe me, there are surely all kinds of surprises concealed under that bowler hat.

Monday, December 12, 2011

When Britain was great

After David Cameron's astonishing behavior at last week's summit in Brussels, the UK is henceforth wandering around on the fringe of the EU, and it's not at all clear whether the nation will indeed stay in or rather get out. Maybe get kicked out. See this article.

Once upon a time, Britain had an empire. In down-to-earth real-estate terms, it was no doubt the most vast empire that had ever existed, since it covered a quarter of the land surface of the planet Earth. When I was a child out in my native Australia, we used to persist in celebrating this majestic empire, even though it had been growing faded and starting to crack at the seams, particularly since the defection of India in 1947.

The English—who adore misty fairy tales—were told that the following photo showed King George V and Queen Mary leaving Buckingham Palace for India, a century ago.

On 12 December 1911, there was a so-called durbar in Delhi: that's to say, a fabulous ceremonial parade, involving Indian princes and maharajahs, through the streets of the imperial city. The English monarch and his wife had arrived there, to pursue the celebration of their coronation, which had taken place on 22 June 2011 at Westminster Abbey in London. Back in those days, the English had a right to take themselves very seriously. And they did, indeed.

I found the above image this afternoon on the Gallica website, which is an emanation of the French national library. I was amused by a French-language comment, in modern slang, concerning this old photographic reminder of British greatness. To express his feelings towards George V, a young French viewer of the above image said: "Il se la pète grave." Impossible to translate in a word-for-word fashion. (My daughter Emmanuelle would be able to help me, but she phoned me this morning to say that she was leaving to interview somebody in the USA.) The French verb péter means "to fart" and the adverb grave means "ultra-seriously". The bizarre but delightful construction "se la péter grave" means that somebody appears to be taking himself extravagantly in a pompously serious fashion.

Hey, wasn't that what the Victorian/Georgian Poms and their British Empire were all about? Besides, my native land, Australia, has not yet fully emerged from that antiquated dream and the obsolete ideals of a long-abandoned "empire"…

Friday, September 16, 2011

Good idea for a hat

Here's a picture of the kind of hat I have in mind:

Let me refer to it as an iHat (even though I would imagine that this term is already being used out in the wide world). The top hat style—which is just one suggestion among others—has the advantage of offering a rigid lightweight structure to house both the electronic components and the wearer's skull. The size of the hat and the position of the flat screen would have to be adjusted so that it could be worn by people who don't necessarily have receding Neanderthal foreheads.

The front section of the hatband conceals an elegant pull-down keyboard. Inside the crown of the hat, above the top of the wearer's head, there would be ample room for the power source and a rich assortment of components.

To help pay for the high-tech hat, the wearer might decide—from time to time, when he's not himself working with the iHat—to display publicity in the style of TV ads, aimed at viewers seated opposite him in public transport, waiting rooms, etc. At sporting events, the screen might display the colors of the team that the wearer is supporting.

Interesting and beautiful variants of the iHat could be designed for special occasions, such as weddings or horse races of the Ascot kind.

Naturally, people wearing particularly exotic iHats equipped with high-powered electronic devices emitting intense electromagnetic radiation would be advised to have their brains scanned from time to time, just to be sure there's no damage.

It would be advisable to secure the iHat to the wearer's neck by some kind of metal chain or cable. It would be silly if a valuable iHat were to be blown off by the wind and crushed by an automobile, or grabbed by an evil strike-and-run hat thief.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Princely potion

Here in rural France, I buy groceries in plebeian places such as Leclerc and Intermarché supermarkets. On the other hand, if I were to settle down in England (which is not one of my current projects), I would make a point of residing in the vicinity of a Waitrose shop, because they have a reputation for offering top-quality foodstuffs. Besides, they have royal warrants to supply groceries and alcoholic beverages to both Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles. And, as I've always said, what's good enough for the Royals is bloody good enough for me.

The Scottish economist Adam Smith [1723-1790] once claimed—long before Napoleon appeared on the world scene—that Britain was "a nation that is governed by shopkeepers". Well, even Kate Middleton's father-in-law seems to have got himself involved in retail business activities, under a most regal name and logo, which look as if they've come straight out of Burke's Peerage.

The branch of Duchy that markets herbal products proposes a nice little black bottle containing a mysterious potion named Detox Tincture, made from thistles and dandelions. For the moment, I haven't got around to trying it out, and discovering its health-inducing benefits. On the web page concerning this product [access], there's an inspiring description of Prince Charles, who "has always been an advocate of a requirement for fundamental reappraisal of the way we view health. He believes poor health does not exist in isolation, but is in fact a direct consequence of our lifestyles, cultures, communities and how we interact with our environments. He is passionate about adopting an integrated approach to health, as well as exploring how safe, proven complementary therapies can work in conjunction with mainstream medicine."

Not everybody in the kingdom is convinced that Charles is acting correctly from a medical and ethical viewpoint. An article in the Guardian in March used the ugly term "quackery" [display]. A more recent article in the same newspaper introduces an even more down-to-earth expression: "snake oil salesman" [display]. All I can say is that, if Charles or members of his family happened to read my blog, I would be most grateful if they were to ask the Duchy company to send me a few samples of their health-inducing products, and I promise to try them out rapidly, both on me and my dogs, and to describe the outcome for my readers.

Friday, July 22, 2011

The queen and I agree

It's not often that I share the tastes of Elizabeth II in the domain of beauty, art, fashion and that kind of stuff. I've never liked her hats, for example, and it's quite likely that she doesn't like mine. Today, however, we both seem to agree that the Buckingham Palace presentation of Kate Middleton's wedding gown is pretty awful, indeed spooky.

"Horrid, isn't it?" said the 85-year-old queen to her 29-year-old granddaughter-in-law, pointing at the funereal headless thing with a ghostly halo. "Horrid and dreadful!"

My immediate impression: It looks like an exhibit in a crime museum.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Royalty in Wonderland

The English are often just a short step away from Lewis Carroll's topsy-turvy world of the Mad Hatter.

In case you didn't recognize the girl with an octopus on her head, it's Princess Beatrice. Judging from his leer, the gentleman in uniform is visibly charmed by the azure curves of Princess Eugenie. Then there was that crazy ecclesiastical fellow who turned cartwheels in the abbey.

This propensity for measured outlandishness is a dimension of the British character that I cherish, maybe because I've often felt a bit of it affecting my own brain. I've even borrowed the following lines for the opening page of my Antipodean autobiography:
"You are old, Father William," the young man said,

"And your hair has become very white;

And yet you incessantly stand on your head

Do you think, at your age, it is right?"
Lewis Carroll, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
And here's a real-life image of Alice:

I cannot end this evocation of yesterday's visions of Wonderland without reiterating the entire kingdom's fascination for the fabulous Formula I chassis of Pippa Middleton, which merits inspection from every possible angle: a triumph of the very best in British engineering. Admirers might visit the Pippa Middleton Ass Appreciation Society [facebook].

If I'm not mistaken, Shakespeare evoked a British monarch who once cried out: "An arse! an arse! my kingdom for an arse!"

Friday, April 29, 2011

Do unto others etc...

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Rubbish for all tastes, or lack of taste

If you want to give your front lawn a William & Kate look, nothing could be better than these royal gnomes.

Unfortunately, they're likely to get stolen. If there's a bright teenager in your family, he/she should normally be able to call upon knowledgeable friends capable of rigging out these garden gnomes with a detrimental device controlled by a nice little mobile app, GnastyGnome, with a spectacular IgniteGnome button. You've surely heard of this fine demonstration of the way in which modern technology has put an explosive end to the terrible era of garden gnome kidnapping.

For your small kids, a beautiful work of infantile sculpture will provide them with a global picture of the principal actors in the forthcoming Great Events, including the Royal Dog and the Royal Horse.

I'm thinking of ordering one of these sets through the Internet for my dog Fitzroy, who adores colorful objects. What a pity that nobody seems to be offering an edible version in marzipan for adult royalists.

If you're seeking a royal gift for teenage offspring, to put them in a monarchy mood, let me suggest this elegant box of bedroom gear.

Finally, we must not forget rare and maybe precious friends who are totally uninterested in the Windsor wedding, and don't give a fuck about details. For them, an ideal marriage-celebration offering might be this marvelous mug, from a prestigious manufacturer located in one of the former Far-Eastern colonies of the British Empire, which suggests visually that Kate Middleton will actually be getting wedded to William's red-headed kid brother Andrew.

If you're like me, the greatest gift of all—to be shared between yourself and others—remains the freedom to turn off your TV on the morning of the Great Day, thereby asserting your status as a free-thinking non-robotic citizen of the planet Earth.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Nominated for dumbest-article-of-the-year awards

I know it's far too early to start suggesting nominations for the prestigious awards highlighting the dumbest press articles published in 2011, but I wanted to get in early with this British gem.

[Click the banner to read the unsigned article.]

The gist of the article is that the happiest families are those that comprise exactly two female offspring. Tough luck for Christine and me. We're divorced since 22 November 1977 (an easy-to-remember date, 221177, which I use as the locking code of an elegant leather attaché case that I purchased in Bangkok many years ago), but I'm now frustrated by the idea that a last-minute sex-change (?) applied to our François might have guaranteed us all perpetual happiness.

The funniest aspect of the article is their ironic choice of a photo: Kate Middleton's future brother-in-law Andrew, his ex-wife Fergy and their two daughters Beatrice and Eugenie.

What a fucking beautiful portrait of eternal family bliss!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

All that frenzied commotion for a kiss

Many years ago, on a warm Saturday afternoon, I happened to be strolling towards the Place de l'Hôtel de Ville in Paris with a female friend. Reaching the Rue de Rivoli, we discovered that this busy street was the scene of a cavalcade of horn-tooting drivers who were celebrating a wedding. They thought it well to occupy this public volume at the heart of Paris—not only the length and breadth of the street, but the auditive space, too—as if they had a right to usurp it all, momentarily, for their nuptial festivities. I was annoyed by the selfish arrogance of the noisy revelers, but I thought it preferable to refrain from expressing my anger, since they would soon be gone. My friend was less tolerant than me. She turned to me and exclaimed loudly in French, so that everybody around us heard her explicit complaint, which seemed to amuse quite a few eavesdroppers: "Ah, all that frenzied commotion for a kiss!" In fact, she didn't use the word "frenzied", but rather an adjective that might best be translated by "fucking". And she wasn't really evoking a kiss, since she used a vulgar French term that can be translated by "cunt".

I was surprised by my friend's unexpected outburst, and no doubt a little shocked by her sentiments, because I had been so preoccupied by the frenzied commotion that my mind had at no stage been tempted to wander to the image of the bride's vagina. But, when I thought about it… why not? If indeed the young lady's sexual organ could be thought of (even indirectly) as a significant element in the event being celebrated, then it was a fact (I agreed) that her friends were kicking up a huge fuss about it all. To clarify things, I should point out that my friend had always behaved with me, in the sexual domain, in a totally down-to-earth manner. It was something that we both thought of as quite ordinary. In the case of a guy with whom she was prepared to jump into bed, she was hardly the kind of lass who would expect him to be so awed that he would want to go blowing his horn down through the middle of Paris.

I think of that trivial anecdote, today, when I see what's happening in the case of the British prince and his bird. The media have shown us photos of the transparent outfit she was wearing when the prince's lusty gaze first encountered her anatomy. If I understand correctly, that primeval visual encounter gave him a royal erection that has since stretched all the way to Westminster Abbey. And why not? Clearly, the woman was half naked! Great idea for British Cinderellas looking for a Prince Charming!

What the fuck! If that's what the people want, then—as John Lennon put it—let it be. In any case, a royal sex story is about to be rammed down the throats of half the kingdom, not to mention countless millions of the Earth's non-British inhabitants, invited along as dumb observers. From time to time, natural catastrophes and mad dictators bring us back down to earth. They remind us that there's something literally indecent about all that frenzied commotion for a basically sexual affair.

But everybody knows that posh vulgarity has always been a trademark attribute of the so-called Royals.

Friday, November 26, 2010

King's anus

It would be an exaggeration to suggest that many generations of French kids have been inspired by charming tales about the anus of Louis XIV [1638-1715]… but it's almost true.

All the monarch's bodily functions such as urination and defecation were analyzed assiduously at close range by a privileged group of male and female members of the royal court, invited into his bedchamber, because it was generally considered that these banal activities were an essential dimension of the king's overall existence and well-being. And who would deny that?

Last Wednesday evening, the excellent TV series on French history and heritage named Les racines et les ailes [Roots and wings] talked at length about the health problems that beset the great monarch. His most serious disorder was an anal fistula, in 1686, when surgery as we know it today did not yet exist. [I'll let you use Google to access descriptions and color images of this painful affliction.] A brilliant young physician, Charles-François Félix, invented an ingenious instrument that enabled him to perform a successful surgical operation upon the monarch's rear end. Since then, if this medical act has been revered in French history, it's because it marked the turning point at which the middle-aged monarch was truly transformed into the resplendent personage to be known, from then on, as the Sun King. Besides, it's not hard to imagine why it might have been difficult at times for the king, before this operation, to adopt majestic airs and strut around in a relaxed regal manner.

For a long time, I've been aware of the basic facts that I've just described. But the rest of Wednesday evening's story on French TV was totally new information. A curator of the museum at the faculty of medicine where the above-mentioned surgical instrument was housed informed us that a French Baroque composer—probably either Jean-Baptiste Lully or Marc-Antoine Charpentier—promptly wrote a Te Deum to thank God for the monarch's spectacular recovery from his anal fistula, and that the theme of this hymn of praise was Dieu Sauve le Roi, which translates into English as God Save the King. And here is a rendition of that French hymn dedicated to Louis XIV (it's lengthy and boring, so stop it after you've heard a few bars):

Apparently, when this hymn was first performed in front of the Sun King, sung by a choir of nuns, it was overheard by an English visitor, who copied down the music and the theme of the lyrics, took them back to his homeland on the other side of the English Channel, and offered them to his monarch: one of the early Hanoverian Georges. In other words, you can forget what we were told at school about the creation of God Save the King in the middle of the 18th century. Our dear English national anthem would appear to be nothing more than a remake of French vocal music composed in the 17th century to celebrate a surgical intervention on the asshole of Louis XIV! Now, this explanation relayed by national French TV may or may not be true. Some experts claim that it's a hoax story perpetrated by a French forger who published the fake memoirs of the Marquise de Créquy.

Be that as it may, while investigating this strange affair over the last 24 hours or so, I've unearthed an astonishing fact. But, in order to fully understand what I'm about to reveal, I urge you to do what I suggested a moment ago: use Google to display a few really ugly photos of anal fistulas. If you do this, you'll understand what I mean when I say that the infected backside of the king Louis XIV in 1686 presented a horrible vision that can be described in medical Latin as an anus horribilis. Now, let us jump forward to the great fire at Windsor Castle in 1992.

It goes without saying that our gracious queen Elizabeth II has a vast and profound grasp of all aspects of the history of European royalty. Aware of the French origins of God Save the Queen, she knows the gruesome details of the painful abscess on the butt of Louis XIV, and she has no doubt had an opportunity of examining photos of anal fistulas. So, when she looked back upon the terrible fire at Windsor, it was not unusual that her words should evoke the ugly image of the suffering French monarch: "1992 is not a year I shall look back on with undiluted pleasure. It has turned out to be an anus horribilis." She was simply using the royal metaphor of the Sun King's nasty affliction to say that 1992 had been an ugly asshole year. Unfortunately, a member of the queen's cabinet, considering that her language was a little too colorful, changed the official press dispatches (by inserting an extra 'n' in 'anus', transforming it into the Latin word for 'year') so that it looked as if the queen wasn't even referring to the horrible asshole of her royal forerunner in France. Apparently Elizabeth II was furious when she learned that she had been censored. I'll let you guess the expression she used to describe the chap who did the censoring.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Kate Middleton's future dad-in-law

These 18 photos are most revealing. What a great pity that the chances of Charles ever becoming king are evaporating like morning mists when the sun rises over Loch Ness.