Weekly Royal Roundup

Prince Michael is in justifiably hot water

On Saturday evening, an investigation regarding Prince Michael of Kent was released by the Times. It detailed Prince Michael agreeing to provide a (fake) company connections with Vladimir Putin and Russia via Michael’s status as a British royal and relationships with lots of powerful people in Russia in exchange for hundreds of thousands of dollars. You can listen to the undercover operation undertaken by the Times and how Prince Michael made a real ass of himself/embarrassed the royal family/gave off Andrew and Sarah “money to open doors” vibes via the Times’s podcast episode about the debacle here.

Prince Michael and his wife, Princess Michael, are not official, senior working members of the British Royal Family. However, they do live in a fancy apartment in Kensington Palace and occasionally undertake duties and attend events on behalf of the Queen. Another fun fact: Princess Michael of Kent is very probably racist. Evidence:

Meghan wrote a children’s book

The book is called The Bench, and it’s about the love shared by fathers and sons from the perspective of a mother. It’s available for pre-order and will be released a week and a half before Father’s Day next month (timing is everything).

Here are 30 seconds of my thoughts about this book:

  1. The illustrations that we have seen so far, while nice, don’t seem to have been created for children. It appears that Meghan knows that her fans (mostly in America) will buy this more for themselves than it will be bought specifically for children.
  2. Meghan is going to make a lot of money off this. In the millions.
  3. Apparently, according to reports, Meghan signed the deal for this book in the fall of 2019, when she was still a senior working member of the BRF. Other members of the royal family sometimes write and publish books, but the profits are almost always donated to charity (and that fact would be stated in the book deal). As far as we know, none of Meghan’s advance or the profits from this book are going to charity. So it appears to be a money grab.
  4. Why write about relationships between fathers and sons when 1) you don’t have any first-hand experience of that issue and 2) you and your husband are both famously estranged from your fathers?
  5. Meghan seems to not know what her brand is. It’s elephants! It’s women and girls! It’s race! It’s Africa! It’s the environment! It’s vaccine access! It’s veterans! It’s fathers and sons! Picking 1-2 lanes and focusing on them is arguably a much better brand strategy.

Kate’s COVID-19 photography project was released as a book

Like I just said, building a brand is usually choosing 1-2 things to focus on and sticking to making an impact with those things. One of Kate’s “things” has long been photography, so this is book is a combination of Kate’s work and personal interests: photography and mental health. Proceeds from the Hold Still book will benefit the mental health charity Mind, with which Will and Kate are affiliated, and the National Portrait Gallery, of which Kate is patron. Synergy, a clear brand, and none of the money is going to Kate.

Harry and Meghan presented at Vax Live

Harry presented at the Vax Live event in Los Angeles last week, and it aired this past weekend (why was it called Vax Live, when the event wasn’t broadcast live? Unclear).

Meghan also made an appearance on the broadcast, via a video speech. She was sitting on The Bench in her Montecito backyard (see what I did there?) and made a plea for post-COVID-19 recovery efforts to focus on women and girls, especially women and girls of colour.

Archie turned two

Harry and Meghan’s son, Archie Harrison, turned two last week. Harry and Meghan marked the occasion by posting this image of Archie on the Archewell website, along with a request that people donate money to equitable vaccine distribution to mark Archie’s birthday. You can go to the link here for more details on Harry and Meghan’s push for equitable vaccine access.

Will and Kate made some social media changes

Will and Kate joined Youtube! Until now, any Will and Kate engagements had been featured on the Royal Family Youtube channel. But now, Will and Kate have their own corner of the internet where they can post about engagements and give behind the scenes clips, like the ones at the beginning and end of the first video posted to their channel. (PS: LOL at a tabloid writing an article about how Kate “scolded” Will about rolling r’s. Go to the end of this video and tell me if that is scolding.)

Will and Kate’s Instagram handle also changed: it is now DukeandDuchessofCambridge instead of KensingtonRoyal. I’d argue that the name change is a bit too wordy and clunky, but I’m just a faceless person on the internet, so what do I know. Also, their Twitter handle remains KensingtonRoyal (for now). We will see if that changes.

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One thought on “Weekly Royal Roundup

  1. Hi, there is a lot to unpack here, apologies in advance if my post is too long, I will try to go straight to the point.
    I’m not surprised or even fazed by Prince Michael of Kent or his wife’s behaviour because they had already starred in 90s mini-scandals, in fact they were one of the reasons why Charles and the others began talking in those days about a small BRF! What does surprise is that the news media hasn’t remembered those mini-scandals. I know about them because of Kitty Kelley’s book The Royals, where she wrote that Charles, his parents, sibblings and advisors, met twice a year to discuss ideas that would reform the Crown for the future, and one of those was to get rid of minor royals after certain relatives die, so the BRF would only be the Monarch, the royal consort, their children and the grandchildren in direct line to the throne. Apparently this was approved in an unanimous vote (apparently this whole thing happened after the Diana and Fergie divorces), and in the case of Prince Michael of Kent and his wife, it was considered they had also contributed to the BRF’s bad publicity in those days because a) Prince Michael had taken advantage of his position as the Queen’s cousin to promote the House of Windsor Collection on TV, which was a service selling royal souveniers / trinkets by mail, but the business tanked in a few months time, and b) his wife, originally German baroness Marie-Christine, who also had a prior marriage, was caught leaving the house of her US lover wearing a wig and sunglasses (admitedly, this is more of a personal issue, but in the 90s with Diana and Charles having their private conversations taped and giving TV interviews and Fergie with her foot pictures, any scandal was bad I guess). So I’m not surprised Prince Michael iz capable of this, if I’m not mistaken I think in the past other reports have critized how entitled he and his wife are. Royals fans want the Queen or the family to do something about him, but considering prior precedent (Sarah and even Sophie’s mini-scandals in the 2000s), I don’t think it will happen, I think if something does happen it will be the British goverment taking care of this.
    There is also some speculation these journalist might have started this investigation because of M’s lawsuit against Associated Newspapers where she said other royals had jobs and represented the family, and she named Prince Michael and Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, so the journalists at The Times of London would have wanted to know if this was true. The story did mention that 3 royals (I think) refused this fake South Korean company proposal and another royal never answered. This caused that another part of the speculation be that princesses Beatrice and Eugenie were also investigated by The Times. If true I don’t think the reporters found anything, after what happened to their mom I think they’re very careful and the newspaper story focused only on Prince Michael.
    Your first point about M’s book was mentioned by a royal commentator. I don’t want to blast the thing too much, and because it hasn’t been delivered yet we don’t know its whole content, but based on the photos of the book pages that were published, she said this book wasn’t for children but for adults, that children don’t care about this subject (father-sons relations) and that the cover was dull. Like I said I don’t want to critize it without its full content being public, but your other point about no statement has been made saying the gains from this book will go to charity has also been made by others while arguing with her fans, but then again, we have the Fergie precedent. Fergie wrote the books about the little helicopter, like M she was also accused of plagiarism against which she fought back (side note, the fact that the author that M was accused of plagiarizing denied that was the case prompted some to insinuate she was paid to keep quiet, which sounds a litte too incredible in my opinion, too movie-like), and although I think some of Sarah’s profits went to charity, she did keep profits for herself when she sold her character’s rights for merchandizing, so it’s hard to critize M for doing something similar. On top of that, it seems Charles and one or another royal wrote books decades ago, so M fans also use that to defend her. One criticism I heard was about how she styled herself as author of this book, one royal comentator said it was sort like the way you would style yourself as a divorced Duchess, I guess he found it too similar to Sarah’s style, but many regular folks argue M could and should publish without using the title and just use her given name, specially after the Oprah interview where she critized the BRF so strongly. This is a fair criticism for me, like they said, she accused the BRF of grave things but seems willing to use the title to increase the book sales. Another fair point is the father-son theme, I fully agree with you on that. This theme attracted comments of the sort “she should fix her relationship with her dad first before preaching about this”, this type of comment was also applied to H. Speaking of him, the illustration about a redhead soldier holding his son caused speculation M was sending a message about H still being salty about the lost of his honorary military titles, imagine that.
    The rumor that M signed the book deal in the fall of 2019 takes me to Kate’s book. Some M fans wanted to argue Kate copied M and when you tried to push back, a few would use this argument of the book deal being made in 2019. I do think that among the many articles that came out immediately after H and M left the BRF there was some mention that M could write a children’s book (and you also mentioned it in your Insta stories), but I seriously doubt anyone outside M’s circle would know it for sure. After everything that happened between the Sussexes and the Cambridges I seriously doubt M or H would confide something like this to Kate or Will, and Kate is not a mind reader to know what M plans to do to then copy her, so that argument is not a valid one for me. And Kate’s book is made of photos, not written words, the mere fact of it being a book doesn’t make it a copy of another one.
    Vax Live, what can I say? This is the kind of H and M stuff I’m avoiding. I also don’t get why a pre-recorded concert retains the word “Live” in its title, I can only think it’s a word play with “Life”. H showed up to allegedly thunderous applause, yet gossip blind items said this sort of thing is similar to when a sitcom is taped with a live audience where they tell you when to applaud, and the thing was produced by Sunchine Sachs so who knows? M showed up from home, and they were both heavily critized in the Instagram posts that posted their photos, from things like the fact she taped it from her backyard and didn’t go to the concert arena like some understood she would (there is a pandemic, so I admit some critics are too rabid and extremists), to a possible hidden message to the BRF (when she said girls and women should feel protected which echoes the Oprah interview and M saying several times she didn’t feel protected) going through whether they are qualified to speak about this subject, women’s access to vaccines, etc. I think the concert’s concern was a valid one, and I get the point she was trying to make (though some of her stats were debunked today by The Spectator) but the problem of inviting controversial public figures to chair or speak in these events is that the message get lost. Everybody focused on whether M stats are accurate, on H and M qualifications / knowledge of this theme, and even the comments on the realness of her pregnancy (I know, again, major eyeroll), and this totally detracts from the message the concert wanted to send in the first place. Another problem with H and M’s presence in this event is that many in the US don’t know or realize women in 3rd world countries might not be getting the same vaccine access as men in those countries or as women in the US or other 1st world countries, so they thought she meant this was a problem happening in the US and they slammed her for what she said, totally missing the point she was trying to make.
    So Archie turns 2, his parents ask for vaccine oriented donations, and like what happened with the concert all hell broke loose. People arguing that they have money and should donate themselves instead of asking it from regular people, people who wanted to see Archie’s face were upset (I don’t know why that people thought this time would be different), etc. It was a mess. As messy as that were some of the reactions to the BRF posts in their Instagram accounts congratulating Archie for his birthday. I think they were mostly liked and the one posted on behalf of the Queen received less criticism, but the one from Will and Kate’s account got some flack (including some dumb comments asking where was the Queen that were easy to counter), and the pic from Charles account got most of the backlash. It has been speculated that he / his aides purposely chose the pic without M to snub her, to the point that for some is a fact even though there is a valid point that the pic could instead have been chosen to reflect 3 generations of boys in the family. Besides that controversy, there were articles stating that these photos reflect the sad reality that Archie hasn’t had much in person contact with his father’s side of the family, that BRF only has his birth and baptism pics as authorized photos they can publish, and there are even reports that Charles only saw Archie twice, the Cambridge kids only saw him that one time at the polo match, Will and Kate can count with one hand how many times they saw him, and so on. Some people argue they have similar situations where they have spent months or a few years without seeing family members (without a family rift being the cause of it) and it’s not a big deal, but I think many of us feel this is not right. The same reports say that before the pandemic H planned to go back to the UK once a month, but a) I don’t buy it, and b) they don’t say where M and Archie fit in that plan. Even if that was true, where did that leave H’s carbon footprint, something he was already critized for, and rightly so?
    As for the new Youtube channel, that was another mini-controversy. Some H and M fans wanted to use it to attack Will and Kate by saying the Cambridges copied the Sussexes, which is absurd because H and M quit social media months ago very publicly and never had a Youtube channel. Then some others wanted to argue Will and Kate were hypocrites because Youtube channels generate profit through ads so now H and M can be critized by the BRF for making money, and even Omid Scobie (who apparently sometimes also tweets attacks towards Will and Kate and according to some, towards the Cambridges children, I don’t have Twitter so I don’t know for sure) had to admit this channel won’t have ads and won’t make a profit. And then came the by now rather old comment that the Cambridges are boring and I get why some may feel that way, but it’s not cool to say that as a way to attack them like that is a crime or something, and to some of us they don’t seem boring, just calmed people. Anyways what these attacks make clear is the damage the Oprah interview made, now some people hate the Cambridges guts and want to attack everything they do at the slightess chance, with no critical thinking. Surely there are things Will and Kate can improve about their representation job and their social media presence (I agree their Instagram account name is too long btw), but one thing are fair critiques and another thing are vicious attacks that are the product of stuff said by their own family members (H and M).

    Liked by 1 person

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