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Lady Diana Spencer reads a romance novel by her favourite author, Barbara Cartland. Diana is probably 16. Photo ca. 1977

Lady Diana Spencer reads a romance novel by her favorite author, Barbara Cartland. Diana is probably 16 years old. Photo ca. 1977

Princess Diana (1961-1977) loved to read romantic fiction. She devoured novels by British author Barbara Cartland, of which there was an endless and steady supply. In her lifetime, Cartland (1901-2000) is credited with having written 723 books. In 1983 alone, she wrote 23 of them. She holds The Guinness Book of World Records for writing the most books in a single year.

Reclining on a chaise lounge at her home, Cartland dictated her hundreds of stories to her secretary. They both wore pink. Pink was Cartland’s signature color.

British romance novelist Barbara Cartland dictates stories to her secretary while relaxing with one of her Pekinese pets.

British romance novelist Barbara Cartland dictates stories to her secretary Jean Smith while relaxing at home in Camfield Place in Essendon, U.K.

Barbara Cartland

Barbara Cartland

Cartland, self-styled as the “Queen of Romance,” was a celebrity favorite with journalists as she was always holding forth on topics of the day, and sometimes saying outrageous and unprintable things such as speculating on the private parts of the exiled Duke and Duchess of Windsor.

She was well-known for her flamboyant appearance, resembling a fairy queen with cotton candy hair. Her dresses were ultra-girly, adorned with feathers, frills, flounces, fluff, and froth. She was heavily perfumed and glittered with jewels. Her thick make-up was more suited to the stage, and the end result was often clown-like. To achieve a more youthful look, she pulled back her cheeks with the application of sticking plaster (which, sadly, often showed). Her “forests of false eyelashes” were legendary, jet black, and preposterous. Her secret? In 1959, she wrote to a fan that, instead of mascara:

I use Meltonian black shoe cream for my eyelashes.” (1)

Barbara Cartland up close and personal

Barbara Cartland up close

In her writing as well as her appearance, Cartland was an accomplished illusionist. Her books were fairy tales of the most fantastic nature. In them, the young virgin heroine – usually with an exotic name like Vada, Lalitha, Syringa, Fenella, Kamala, or Anthea – always marries Prince Charming. They live happily ever after. They never quarrel, they don’t have affairs, and they certainly don’t divorce.

More than one of Diana's Spencer's acquaintances remarked on her dreamy nature. Photo ca. 1977

More than one of Diana’s Spencer’s acquaintances remarked on her dreamy nature. Photo ca. 1977

Not so in the Spencer household. From her earliest years, Princess Diana’s parents had had a troubled marriage, and her home was a scene of violent quarrels. Diana’s mother, Frances, felt as if her husband Johnnie Spencer, Viscount Spencer, treated her like a brood mare, sending her to fertility experts to explain why she had given birth to three girls in a row. He wanted a male heir to carry on the royal family line. Diana listened behind the door when her parents had a shouting match and her sister turned up the record player volume.

Frances did give birth to a boy, Charles, but the breach in the marriage had become, by then, an unbridgeable chasm.

When Diana was six, her mother left her four children and husband to pursue an affair in London with Peter Shand Kydd, also married. In 1968, she divorced Diana’s father, Johnnie Spencer, who, surprisingly for the times, was granted custody of the children. It is not surprising once you know that a surprise witness at the divorce hearing provided the damning testimony that decided in his favor. Testifying to Johnnie’s superior parenting skills was Frances’s own mother, Lady Fermoy, testifying against her daughter.

Three months after the divorce, Frances married Kydd and they moved to Scotland. With her two older sisters away at boarding school, only Diana and her younger brother Charles remained behind at Park House on the Queen’s royal Sandringham estate. Her father holed up, silently, in his study, abandoned.

The spirit of gaiety was gone from Park House along with Frances’s furniture.” (2)

A Hazard of Hearts (1948) by Barbara Cartland

A Hazard of Hearts (1948) by Barbara Cartland

Cartland’s novels provided young Diana Spencer with an escape into a fantasy dream world. Diana came to believe in the magical rescue power of princes, waiting for her prince to ride up and take her away to her own happy ending. Her life view was shaped by this unreality and it would pitch her into a cold marriage to a man whose heart already belonged to another.

No fairy tale is complete without a wicked stepmother, and, in July, 1976, Diana got one. Her name was Raine, Countess Dartmouth. By this time, the Spencers had moved into the family’s stately home of Althorp, as Diana’s grandfather had died, passing the earldom on to Johnnie. He became the 8th Earl Spencer and Diana became Lady Diana. Raine began an extensive remodeling of Althorp, proving unpopular with Diana and her siblings, who hated their new (wicked) stepmother, calling her “Acid Raine.” Johnnie, however, became very happy after his marriage to Raine.

Princess Diana, at right, stands with stepmother, Raine, Countess Spencer, middle, and a friend. Undated photo, ca. 1977

Princess Diana, at right, stands with stepmother, Raine, Countess Spencer, middle, and a friend. Undated photo, ca. 1977

Now that you have seen this photo of Raine (above), you will not find it hard to believe that her mother was Barbara Cartland, Diana’s favorite novelist! That made Cartland Diana’s stepgrandmother. She learned of Diana’s love for her books and sent them to Diana by the cartload.

In 1977, Diana moved into Coleherne Court in South Kensington, London. Her roommates remember that she always got up before the meal was finished to clear the table. She hated dirty dishes. Diana loved to do the washing and ironing of shirts for friends. Her big sister Sarah paid her to clean her apartment. Diana was Cinderella, sweeping the hearth free of ashes.

Diana first revealed her crush on Prince Charles when on a ski holiday with friends in Val Claret in the French Alps. She surprised her friends one evening, saying that she was going to marry Charles AKA Prince Charming. According to those who knew her well, Diana kept herself chaste for her husband on their wedding night. (3)

Oxford student Adam Russell sits with Lady Diana Spencer. They are vacationing with a group in the French Alps. Russell is said to have had a ‘galumphing’ crush on Diana. Nothing, however, happened between them. According to royal author Andrew Morton, Mr Russell went travelling for a year, and when he returned to the UK in 1980 and told a friend that he liked Diana, he was told: ‘You’ve only got one rival, the Prince of Wales’.  Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2257321/Revealed-Mystery-rival-Prince-Charles-pictured-relaxing-Lady-Diana-1979-Old-Etonian-aristocrat-Adam-

Oxford student Adam Russell sits with Lady Diana Spencer. They are vacationing with a group in the French Alps. Russell is said to have had a ‘galumphing’ crush on Diana. Nothing, however, happened between them. According to royal author Andrew Morton, Mr Russell went travelling for a year, and when he returned to the UK in 1980 and told a friend that he liked Diana, he was told: ‘You’ve only got one rival, the Prince of Wales’. Source: The Daily Mail

And Lady Diana did indeed marry Prince Charles on July 29, 1981. Her fairy tale unfolded as she had imagined. Her father gave her away. She wore a confection of a dress with a 25 foot-long train. She rode to St. Paul’s Cathedral in a carriage. She became Her Royal Highness, Diana, Princess of Wales. When Charles became King one day, she would become his queen, and their son, a king, too.

Prince Charles and Princess Diana smile for their wedding photo. July 1981

Prince Charles and Princess Diana smile for their wedding photo. July 1981

As we all know, Diana’s life with Charles did not have a happy ending. Her marriage was miserable, ending in a nasty divorce (1996) which led to her disastrous loneliness and tragic death (1997). Diana’s story was a fractured fairy tale of the worst imaginable kind.

By the way, stepmother Raine attended the royal wedding. However, stepgrandmother Barbara Cartland – the fairy queen who nurtured this fairy tale of Diana’s – did not attend.  Someone – maybe the Queen’s sister, Princess Margaret – considered her an embarrassment and did not want her there. We don’t know if she wasn’t invited OR was offered an invitation but declined because her seat was behind a column! Anyway, not being present at Diana’s wedding proved to be the biggest humiliation of Barbara Cartland’s life.

In 1993, Barbara Cartland remarked:

The only books Diana ever read were mine, and they weren’t terribly good for her.” (2)

In 1996, Cartland had figured out why the marriage had failed:

Of course, you know where it all went wrong. She wouldn’t do oral sex.”

Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned….

For more about Princess Diana, click here.

(1)

(2) Brown, Tina. The Diana Chronicles. New York: Doubleday, 2007.

(3)

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The U.S. Secret Service provided security for Pope Benedict XVI at the Papal Mass in Washington, D.C., on April 17, 2008. Although the agents have no official uniform and can be seen wearing anything from tuxedos to blue jeans, they are often identified by their dark sunglasses, listening devices, and lapel pins bearing the agency's gold star logo.

The United States Secret Service uses code names to refer to the President of the United States, his family, other officials, and places. Originally, these code names were designed to protect sensitive communications, back in the day before restricted communications were routinely encrypted. Nowadays, there is no need to keep these names secret. Nevertheless, The Secret Service who guards the First Family and other U.S. officials continues to use the code names for clarity, brevity, and tradition. (1)

The U.S. Secret Service Star Logo. The U.S. Secret Service protects the President and First Family, other officials of the U.S. government, and visiting dignitaries.

General Code Names

President of the United States:  POTUS

First Lady of the United States:  FLOTUS

Vice President of the United States:  VPOTUS

The Obamas

Barack:  Renegade

Michelle:  Renaissance

Malia:  Radiance

Sasha:  Rosebud

The Bushes

George W.:  Tumbler

Laura:  Tempo

Barbara:  Turquoise

Jenna:  Twinkle

The Clintons

Bill:  Eagle

Hillary:  Evergreen

Chelsea:  Energy

The Bushes

George H.:  Timberwolf

Barbara:  Tranquility

The Carters

Jimmy:  Deacon

Rosalynn:  Dancer

Amy:  Dynamo

Secret Service agents respond to the assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan by John Hinckley Jr. on March 30, 1981. President Reagan took a bullet in the abdomen but made a full recovery.

The Reagans

Ronald:  Rawhide

Nancy:  Rainbow

The Fords

Gerald:  Passkey

Betty:  Pinafore

The Nixons

Richard:  Searchlight

Pat:  Starlight

The Johnsons

Lyndon:  Volunteer

Lady Bird:  Victoria

Lynda Bird:  Velvet

Luci Baines:  Venus

 

A motorcade carries President John F. Kennedy and First Lady Jackie Kennedy through the streets of Dallas, Texas, on November 22, 1963. Texas Governor John Connally and wife Nellie ride in front of the Kennedys.

Secret Service agent Clint Hill stood on the running board of the car behind the Kennedy’s limo.
Agent Hill heard the first shot that hit President Kennedy. Mr Hill is the figure in the famous Zapruder film of the killing which shows him climbing onto the back of the president’s limousine. “I heard the first shot, saw the president grab his throat, lurch left, and I knew something was wrong,” recalled Hill in the book, The Kennedy Detail. Jackie Kennedy can be seen crawling out the back of the car onto the trunk to get help for her slain husband, slumped in the seat.

Agent Hill got in the back seat with Mrs. Kennedy and the president and shielded them with his body on the way to Parkland Hospital.

The Kennedys

John F.:  Lancer

Jackie:  Lace

Caroline:  Lyric

John Jr.:  Lark

Other Individuals

Queen Elizabeth II:  Kittyhawk, Redfern

Prince Charles:  Unicorn

Frank Sinatra:  Napoleon

Pope John Paul II:  Halo

Sarah Palin:  Denali

John McCain:  Phoenix

Places

The White House:  Castle

The Capitol:  Punchbowl

 

(1)  Source: Wiki “Secret Service Codename

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Prince William of Great Britain and Catherine Middleton announce their engagement on November 16, 2010, in a side room at Clarence House, London.

This is the site of Prince William's October 20 proposal to Kate Middleton: at one of Kenya's stark Rutundu Log Cabins near Lake Rutundu on Africa's second highest peak. With no electricity, the couple, both 28, celebrated their engagement by a roaring fire and a bottle of bubbly. In an interview, the prince revealed that he had been carrying around the heirloom engagement ring in his knapsack for three weeks, all the time worried he might lose the irreplaceable relic that belonged to his late mother, Princess Diana.

The interior of the rustic Kenyan cabin where William proposed to Kate on Oct. 20, 2010.

Kate Middleton attended the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, where she received an Art History Degree and met her future husband, Prince William, heir to the British throne. The university claims to be "Britain's top match-making university," asserting that 10 percent of its students met the person with whom they would eventually settle down.

“Kate’s Obstacle Course” by Tina Brown:

“The future princess not only fulfilled Prince William’s requirements, she persuaded the Queen her future granddaughter-in-law is nothing like Diana. Now all the royals have to do is make the wedding of the year look thrifty.

“No one has put in harder training to become a royal bride than the glossy-haired Kate Middleton. The eight-year wait has been fraught with tests she had to pass.

“First, discretion. Prince William’s smiling hostility toward the press is his non-negotiable core value. I am told he is so protective of his privacy he has been known to plant false tips with friends he distrusts and watch the media to see if they play out. William went ballistic at Christmas last year, when he suspected Kate might have been aware the tabloid snapper Niraj Tanna was lurking near a tennis court where she was playing on the Duchy of Cornwall estate, and that she graced the interloper with a camera-ready smile. Even her family has kept mum with no unruly relatives going rogue. The only telltale sign of possible impending nuptials has been Carole Middleton’s sudden suspicious determination to shed poundage on a prawn and cottage cheese diet.

“Second, virtue. The delicate issue of premarital experience has been managed by Kate with quiet dexterity. Her one known boyfriend before William at university, 22-year-old gifted cricketer Rupert Finch, never talked. Thirty years ago, Prince Charles had to go as young as 19 to find, in Lady Diana Spencer, something almost extinct in post-feminist times, a girl with a history and no past. But Diana’s shy virginity concealed a time bomb: her wounded, insatiable need for love.

A month after announcing their engagment, Lady Diana Spencer and Prince Charles attend a 1981 dinner at Goldsmith Hall. Diana was 19.

“There is nothing wounded about Kate. She’s from wholesome middle-class stock. She’s great ballast for William who, beneath his royal aplomb, is wounded too. She’s mastered the art of being what seems a contradiction in terms—appropriately edgy; the odd flash of midriff or nocturnal thigh in a too-short skirt for a nightclub excursion sexy but solid; middlebrow, not elitist. The only controversial thing she has ever done is wear sequined hot-pants and take a spill with her legs in the air at a Day-Glo Midnight Roller Disco charity event in South London, for which she did about two years’ penance.

September 2008: Kate Middleton arrives at the Day-Glo Midnight Roller Disco Charity event in South London in disco sequins, tiny shorts, and ready to roller skate.

Kate Middleton falls on the floor in a most unladylike sprawl. It was rumored that the Queen thought Kate was a show-off.

Kate Middleton has been embroiled in more than one sexy fashion faux pas. A case in point: the 2002 charity fashion event for St. Andrew's College at which she modeled this see-through "frock." Both Kate and Prince William were students at St. Andrew's at the time, and "Wills" was in the audience that night. Although he had met Kate before the $325-a-plate event, when he saw her on the catwalk, he was smitten.

“In the couple’s wedding interview, you could see the outline of their successful dynamic. William said he tried to impress Kate with his cooking, but the food would start burning, and ‘Kate would come to the rescue and take charge.’

“Third, patience. It’s taken close to a decade to reel William in. Kate has had to endure the ridicule of being Waity Katie even among the royals themselves. ‘They have been practicing long enough,’ Prince Charles said heartily at Poundbury, his model village in Devon, where he was when the news broke.

‘It’s brilliant news. It has taken them a very long time,’ commented Queen Elizabeth, who, in her business-like way had tried to get this over and done with last June before the impending calendar crush of Philip‘s 90th, her Diamond Jubilee, and the 2012 Olympics.

“In order not to fuel rumors as the perpetual princess in waiting, Kate rarely emerged with William in public of late unless it was one of those innumerable country weddings of all their mutual friends. What could she possibly have been doing all those years of trying to look busy? As she put it in the engagement interview, ‘working really hard’ at the family business that sells children’s toys and paraphernalia based in Ashampstead, near their home in Berkshire. Now that she’s engaged to be married to the second in line to the throne, her life is about to get more boring still. The palace machine will take over. The portcullis will come down.

Prince William is a RAF search-and-rescue helicopter pilot.

“William is a RAF search-and-rescue helicopter pilot at RAF Valley on the island of Anglesey, and the happy couple will live in a remote farmhouse in North Wales, where there is 33 inches of rain a year. There she can tend to the urgent priority of royal wife, the speedy manufacture of the heir and the spare.

“But that’s “appropriate” too. In the dire mood of the upcoming austerity cuts, England needs the joy of a royal wedding as badly as it did 30 years ago, when we watched enthralled as Charles and Di tied the knot. But she needs it on a budget. The fact that Kate’s a “commoner” is suddenly a PR boon for the royals. With an Old Etonian prime minister and a savage round of economic cutbacks, a pedigreed royal bride would be a hard message to sell to a grumpy press and parliament. Now all the royals have to do is make the wedding of the year look thrifty—perhaps the Guards’ Chapel, where William and Harry held a service to mark the 10th anniversary of their mother’s death, instead of Westminster Abbey?—and preferably green.

“Now that she’s engaged to be married to the second in line to the throne, her life is about to get more boring still.

“Most important still, Kate’s perseverance and resilience has persuaded the queen that her future granddaughter-in-law is nothing at all like Her, like Diana, the golden-haired Rebecca of the Royal House of Windsor. When William chose to bestow on Kate his mother’s 18-carat oval blue sapphire-and-diamond engagement ring, it was not only a token of love but a thrilling gesture of confident daring.

Kate Middleton's engagement ring belonged to Princess Diana

“After Diana’s death in 1997, the 15-year-old prince told his father he wanted the ring for his future engagement. He said Tuesday the ring represented a time his parents were happy. Now, after all the years the royal establishment have spent trying to erase that magical disruption known as Diana, England’s future king showed the world in the strongest, most personal way he knew how that he was determined to bring his mother back.”

Source: The Daily Beast

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Lady Diana Spencer was a nanny and nursery school teacher prior to her marriage to Charles, Prince of Wales. Photo: fall, 1980

Lady Diana Spencer was understandably nervous about marrying Charles, Prince of Wales (b. 1948).  Following their February 24, 1981, engagement announcement, Diana’s whole world was turned upside down. In a flash, nineteen-year-old Diana went from part-time nanny and nursery school teacher to the future Queen of England. Two days later, she kissed freedom goodbye forever. “Shy Di” moved out of her flat at No. 60 Coleburne Court, said a hasty goodbye to her 3 giddy roommates, and moved into Buckingham Palace, where she was sequestered for the five months leading up to her July 29 wedding, protected from the press. (1)

In their first public appearance together following their February 1981 engagement announcement, Lady Diana Spencer and Prince Charles attended a Royal Opera benefit at London's Goldsmith Hall. Lady Diana shocked the crowd by appearing in a low-cut, strapless black taffeta evening gown. "The Dress" made headlines: "Lady Di Takes the Plunge," screamed the front page of The Daily Mirror, with splendid photos of "Shy Di" spilling out of her revealing gown.

Throughout the spring, the Palace courtiers gave Diana lessons on how to be a princess. They advised her of her royal engagements, which would average 170 a year and would include Ascot, Trooping the Color, Badminton Horse Trials, Opening of Parliament, Chelsea Flower Show, Wimbledon, hospital benefits, charities, and anything for the military. They guided her through the maze of royal rules: wear hats in public and bright colors to stand out; wave from the elbow, not the wrist; never use a public lavatory.

‘The worst thing about being a princess,’ said Diana years later, ‘is having to pee.'”(1)

They handed her stacks of history books to read about her future role as Princess of Wales.

27th March 1981: Charles, Prince of Wales, his fiancee Lady Diana Spencer, and Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace, London, after she gave her consent for their wedding.

It was all too much for Diana. She longed to be with Charles, who was often unavailable, having embarked on a 5-week tour of the United States, Australia, and New Zealand, among his other royal duties.  The Royal Family – when they were at the Palace, each with their own separate apartments – did nothing to help her feel at home. In fairness, each of the royals did have their own very busy schedules. Nevertheless, Diana was cut off from ordinary companionship. She felt insecure, lonely, and afraid.

 I missed my girls [roommates] so much I wanted to go back there and sit and giggle and borrow clothes and chat about silly things, just being in  my safe shell again….I couldn’t believe how cold everyone was [at Buckingham Palace].” (2)

Lady Diana Spencer (l.) walks with Camilla Parker-Bowles at Ludlow Racecourse in 1980, where Prince Charles was competing.

Along with palace isolation and wedding jitters, Diana agonized over whether Charles was still in love with his married mistress, Camilla Parker Bowles, although Charles swore their affair was a thing of the past. How could that be true, wondered Diana. Camilla telephoned Charles constantly and he always took her calls in private. Camilla and her husband were often included as weekend house guests at Sandringham, the royal family country house. Camilla haunted Diana and Charles’s courtship days. 

Diana befriended Charles’s righthand man, Michael Colborne, peppering him with questions about Charles’s relationship with Camilla. Diana became bulimic from the worry and lost twenty pounds in just three months. She became weak and emotionally labile. 

 

Camilla Shand as a debutante in 1965. She and Prince Charles met in 1970 and considered marriage. Lord Louis Mountbatten advised Charles against marrying the love of his life, citing Camilla's wild past and lack of aristocratic lineage.

Her fears over Camilla increased when, tucked among the wedding presents in the office Diana shared with Colborne, Diana discovered a curious little parcel. Over fierce objections from Colborne, she opened it, only to discover a gold bracelet with a lapis pendant engraved with the initials “F” and “G” entwined.

Diana became enraged. She knew the significance of the two letters: earlier friends had informed her that “F” and “G” stood for “Fred and Gladys,” the pet nicknames Charles and Camilla had for each other. Diana pressed Colborne about the gift:

‘I know it’s for Camilla,’ she said. ‘So why won’t you admit it? What does it mean? Why is Charles doing this?'” (2)

Colborne refused to answer any more questions, other than to admit that he had ordered the gift at Charles’s request. Diana was livid with jealousy. 

She confronted Charles. He said he had indeed ordered the bracelet from Asprey’s for Camilla and was going to give it to her in person to signal the end of their relationship. He maintained it was a farewell gift but Diana didn’t believe him. They quarreled and she withdrew in tears.

Diana, Princess of Wales (1961-1997) in an undated photo.

The wedding day was bearing down on Diana like a freight train. Her fairytale was morphing into a nightmare. There wasn’t time enough to process all the change that was taking place in her young life.

Her weight plummeted. She became wisp-thin. Her bridal gown with its 25-foot train, puffy sleeves, and ivory taffeta was almost ready, although the dressmakers had to keep taking in the seams due to Diana’s dramatic weight loss.  Between the first and last fittings, Diana’s waist shrank from 29 inches to 23-and-a-half inches.

In June, two weeks before her wedding, Diana attended Ascot Week where she was treated by the public and the media like an international film star.

Lady Diana attends Royal Ascot for the first time, June 1981.

Everyone was fascinated with this new breed of royalty. Diana was fresh, lovely, and natural. She had a real English rose complexion. Her larkiness was such a refreshing change of pace from the stodgy Royal Family with all their rules and stiffness.

But the crush of the crowd and the press, who trailed her at every outing, distressed Diana:

‘During tea at the back of the royal box at the races she was practically in tears and had to be escorted home early.'” (3)

Lady Diana Spencer watches Prince Charles play polo at Tidworth during their engagement. The wedding is four days later. Photo: July 25, 1981

On Monday, July 28, 1981, the day before her wedding, Diana lunched with her sisters while Charles met with Camilla with the gift. Diana confided to her sisters that she didn’t want to marry someone who was still in love with his mistress.

‘It’s bad luck, Duch,’ said her sister Sarah, using the family nickname for Diana. “Your face is on the tea towels, so you’re too late to chicken out now.”” (2)

It was too late to chicken out by the time Lady Diana Spencer considered breaking her engagement to Prince Charles. Her face was on the tea-towels already.

As Sarah pointed out, it was too late. England was awash in kitchy wedding memorabilia featuring the royal couple’s photos. London was crawling with tourists and international journalists and television crews. Sadly, there was no turning back for Diana.

The wedding went ahead as scheduled at St. Paul’s Cathedral. The Queen had sent 2,500 invitations to friends, families, and heads of state, plus the crowned heads of Europe. The ceremony was telecast to 750 million people. On that July day, Lady Diana Spencer (1961-1997) became newly titled as Diana, Princess of Wales. She outranked all other women in the realm, except Queen Elizabeth II and the Queen Mother. (1)

Wedding Bells chimed on July 29, 1981, when Lady Diana Spencer married Charles, Prince of Wales, at St. Paul's Cathedral in London.

Diana was right to have been worried about Camilla breaking up her marriage. Shortly after marrying Diana – some say five years later, others, that they never stopped seeing each other –  the Prince resumed his relationship with Camilla. The marriage was long over before the royal Wales divorced in 1996.

(1) Kelley, Kitty. The Royals. New York: Warner Books, Inc., 1997.

(2) Morton, Andrew. Diana – Her True Story – In Her Own Words. Michael O’Mara Books, Ltd., 2003.

(3) Bradford, Sarah. Elizabeth: A Biography of Her Majesty The Queen. New York: Riverhead Books, 1996.

Readers: For more on Princess Diana, click here.

 

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TIME magazine's 1952 Woman of the Year: Queen Elizabeth II of England (Jan. 5, 1953 cover)

TIME magazine's 1952 Woman of the Year: Queen Elizabeth II of England (Jan. 5, 1953 cover)

In February 1952, Princess Elizabeth was touring Kenya with her husband Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh when she received the bad news that her father, King George VI of Great Britain, had passed away. Thus, at the tender age of 25, Elizabeth ascended the throne to become Queen of the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Pakistan, and Ceylon. She took the title Queen Elizabeth II although she was not a descendant of Queen Elizabeth I (1533-1603), who was the last Tudor queen. Queen Elizabeth II belongs to the Royal House of Windsor, formerly known as Saxe-Coburg and Gotha.

During the Queen’s reign, there have been 11 U.S. presidents. Queen Elizabeth II has met every one of them except Lyndon B. Johnson. She met Harry Truman before she became queen and Herbert Hoover when he was a former president.

Here is a photo gallery of Queen Elizabeth II and 12 U.S. Presidents:

The Queen with President Barack Obama in 2009

The Queen with President Barack Obama in 2009

The Queen with President George W. Bush in 2003

The Queen with President George W. Bush in 2003

The Queen with President Bill Clinton in 2000

The Queen with President Bill Clinton in 2000

The Queen with President George H. Bush in 1991

The Queen with President George H. Bush in 1991

The Queen with President Ronald Reagan in 1982

The Queen with President Ronald Reagan in 1982

The Queen with President Jimmy Carter in 1977

The Queen with President Jimmy Carter in 1977

The Queen with President Gerald Ford in 1976

The Queen with President Gerald Ford in 1976

The Queen with President Nixon 1970

The Queen with President Richard Nixon in 1970

The Queen and Prince Philip with President John and Jackie Kennedy (early 1960s)

The Queen with President John F. Kennedy in 1961

The Queen with former President Herbert Hoover in 1957

The Queen with former President Herbert Hoover in 1957

The Queen with Presidents Dwight Eisenhower (top) and Harry Truman (1950s)

The Queen with Presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower (top) in 1957 and Harry Truman (bottom) in 1951

Readers, for more on the Queen, scroll down the right sidebar to “Categories” – “People” – “Queen Elizabeth II”

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The third week in July is set aside for the annual swan count along the Thames.

The third week in July is set aside for the annual swan count along the Thames.

“All swans – unmarked – in open water – belong to the [British] Crown, and have since the Twelfth Century,” says David Barber, Queen Elizabeth’s official swan marker for 16 years. Although, legally, the Queen retains ownership over all unmarked swans in the United Kingdom, the royal British monarch only exercises her rights over a 79-mile stretch of the Thames River. Barber’s job, with the help of a crew in boats, is to annually count the number of unmarked swans in the Thames. This tradition, called “swan-upping,” takes place over a 5-day period the third week in July.

Swan Upping Long Ago - the best way to tag a bird was to sit on it

Swan Upping Long Ago – the best way to tag a bird was to sit on it

 

The ritual [of swan upping] was first documented in the 12th Century, when the bird was a popular dish at medieval feasts. The monarchy laid claim to the birds, which were a valuable food commodity, and doled out ownership charters in exchange for favors. Up to the mid-1800s, swan marking was akin to cow branding: A unique mark, carved into the beak of a newborn cygnet, designated ownership by a specific, chartered family or organization.

Henry VIII reportedly enjoyed swan at his dinner table. Today, swan eating doesn’t go down so well with many Britons, who live in a country that Dr. Perrins describes as “bird oriented.” In 2005, the Master of the Queen’s Music, Sir Maxwell Davies, made headlines when he found a dead swan on his property and made a terrine of it. Mark McGowan, an activist artist, upset Britons when he ate swan in a performance protest against the queen in 2007.

A Swan Upping Boat on the River Thames in England

A Swan Upping Boat on the River Thames in England today

This week, Mr. Barber’s crew counted and weighed roughly 120 newborn swans. When they come upon a brood, the rowers yell “All up!” and surround the birds with their skiffs. After deftly bringing the swans aboard, the uppers temporarily tie them up.

“The best way is to sit on the bird,” said Robert Dean, a boat builder and three-year veteran of the royal crew, who stood on the Eton dock Monday morning with a bundle of swan ties holstered in his belt. Once the newborn swans are weighed and tagged with identification rings, they are entered into the log and released into the river.

For the swans, it is a painless affair — and it has helped save their lives. In the 1980s, swan upping records helped alert Dr. Perrins to a sharp decline in the swan population on the Thames caused by lead poisoning from fishing weights. After a successful campaign to ban the implements, the number of mute swans returned to normal — about 35,000 across the country today, Dr. Perrins said.

The identification rings used by the swan uppers also assist local rescuers, who use them to return injured birds to their broods after treatment. Swan Lifeline, a local agency that treats about 1,100 sick swans each year, cures common injuries from fishhooks and dog attacks, as well more exotic wounds, as when swans fly through greenhouses accidentally. Working closely with Swan Lifeline, Mr. Barber coordinates the removal of as many as 100 swans before the Henley Royal Regatta on the Thames.” (1)

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For the first time in her 57-year reign, Queen Elizabeth attended the launch party on July 20.

In the following youtube video, the Queen’s swan marker David Barber explains and demonstrates the practice of swan-upping.

(1) “In Her Majesty’s Service, Loyal Minion Courts,” The Wall Street Journal, July 24, 2009.

 

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the newly-crowned Queen Elizabeth II

the newly-crowned Queen Elizabeth II

Here is a typical weekday morning for Queen Elizabeth II while in residence at  Buckingham Palace  in London:

7:30  The maid enters her bedroom with a tray of  morning tea: 2 silver pots of Earl Grey, milk, and a few biscuits. The cup and saucer are bone china. The linen napkin bears the royal cypher “EIIR” (Elizabeth II Regent). The maid sets down the tray on a bedside table and crosses the room to open the bedroom curtains. She then turns on the radio which is tuned to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme. The Queen listens to the day’s news as she sips her tea. Outside her window the traffic on Constitution Hill is building and people are strolling through Green Park. The maid draws a bath.

While the Queen is bathing, the maid lays out the first of perhaps many outfits the Queen will wear that day, depending upon the royal schedule. Once the Queen is dressed, the Queen’s hairdresser styles her hair.

8:30  The Queen joins her husband Prince Philip for breakfast which is served in the first floor dining room that overlooks the Palace garden. Prince Philip has had a shower and coffee. During their breakfast together, the Prince may place little morsels of food on the bird feeder outside the window. A tailcoated footman brings the breakfast – wholewheat toast with marmalade and more tea and coffee. The Queen reads her papers: The Daily Telegraph and The Racing Post.

9:00  The Piper to the Sovereign – referred to as the “Queen’s Piper” – steps into the Palace garden. He is wearing a  kilt of Royal Stewart tartan and two eagle feathers in his headwear.  The Queen and Prince Philip listen as he tunes his bagpipes. For the next fifteen minutes, the Queen’s Piper plays a selection of bagpipe tunes below the dining room window.

9:30  The Queen is seated at her Chippendale desk in her office to begin reviewing her correspondence. A footman comes in with her corgis, who have just had their morning walk in the garden. She works all morning. After lunch, she may take the dogs for a walk herself.

This 1994 People magazine photograph shows Queen Elizabeth II at Balmoral, her Scottish Highland hideaway every August. Whether at Balmoral, Windsor Castle, or Buckingham Palace, the Queen's weekdays start with a fifteen-minute bagpipe serenade. When at Balmoral, the pipers wear the Balmoral tartan.

Above, a 1994 People magazine photograph shows Queen Elizabeth II at Balmoral, her Scottish Highland hideaway she retreats to every August. Whether at Balmoral, Windsor Castle, or Buckingham Palace, the Queen’s weekdays start with a fifteen-minute bagpipe serenade at 9 a.m. When at Balmoral, though, the pipers wear the Balmoral tartan.

For more on Queen Elizabeth II, look in the left column “Categories-People-Queen Elizabeth II.” I’ve written many posts on the Queen; I hope you enjoy them!

 

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