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  • Rachel Burchfield

Royal Potpourri, Volume 1

Updated: Jun 2, 2019

I am so fortunate to already have such a loyal cadre of readers! I am reading all of the questions you are sending in – they’re great! Some of them I’m going to turn into full blog posts, but I decided to answer some of them here in what I’m calling “Royal Potpourri.” These questions have no real relation to each other – I mean, other than that they’re about the Family. Thank you for your questions and content suggestions – keep it all coming! The best way to reach me is via email. I will always reply!

From now on, when you see the crown photo, you’ll know it’s “Royal Potpourri” time! If you can tell me the name of the tiara I’ve chosen and why it is significant, you will win a prize! Shoot me an email with your guess.

UPDATED: Congratulations to reader Anmol A., who will be receiving a happy in the mail this week! More prizes to come.

Okay, let’s get into the questions:

Question: Why does the Queen sometimes sign her name “Elizabeth R.”?

Answer: Funny enough, I actually wrote about this on my Facebook around the time Louis was born last year. No, R. is not her middle initial – R. stands for Regina (pronounced Re-GY-nuh, not Re-GEE-nuh), which means queen.

Question: Is Archie a U.K. citizen or an American citizen?

Answer: He’s both! Meghan is still technically an American citizen, and, of course, Harry is a citizen of the U.K., so that makes Archie a dual citizen, or, as I like to refer to him as, the world’s baby.

Question: Is Archie the only member of the Royal Family without a title?

Answer: No. If you read my last post, “Cast of characters,” you’ll see that Princess Anne and her first husband, Captain Mark Philipps, chose to not give their children Royal titles. When Charles ascends to the throne – arguably in less than 10 years, as the Queen is 93 – Harry and Meghan can reevaluate at that time whether they want to give Archie a title since he will move one step closer to the throne then.

Question: You’ve talked a lot on here about Kate and Meghan’s wedding dresses. What did you think of Eugenie’s?

Answer: Eugenie’s dress was uniquely hers, including a low back to show off spinal scars from her surgery to correct her scoliosis. Eugenie has spoken in the past about changing what beauty looks like, and I applaud her for owning her scars. I thought she looked beautiful and that her emerald tiara really brought out her green eyes. As a woman who also has green eyes and has hidden my back for most of my life in Prom dresses and sorority formal dresses (I have a quarter-sized birthmark right in the middle of my back that I have always hated), I just want to say you go, girl. She was stunning.

Question: Who will be the next Royal wedding?

Answer: Definitely Beatrice. The only other grandchildren of the Queen who have not yet married are Louise and James, Edward and Sophie’s children, and they’re only 15 and 11, respectively. Beatrice has a boyfriend, though I’m not sure how serious it is.

Question: Will Kate ever be Queen?

Answer: No, and neither will Camilla. Only blood Royals can become Queen. When Charles ascends Camilla will become queen consort, as will Kate when William ascends.

Question: The Queen has been hosting a lot of garden parties lately. What are those?

Answer: The Queen annually welcomes over 30,000 guests to either Buckingham Palace (three per year) in London or the Palace of Holyroodhouse (one per year) in Scotland for garden parties in the summer. How do you score an invite? Do something cool, basically. It’s the Queen’s chance to meet people from all walks of life, all of whom have made a difference somehow in their respective communities. At each garden party, 27,000 cups of tea, 20,000 sandwiches and 20,000 slices of cake are consumed, according to the Queen’s website. How very British. She also brings along various members of the Family – Charles, William, Kate, and Harry have all already attended garden parties this year.

Question: What does it mean when the flag is up at Buckingham Palace? What does it mean when it is down?

Answer: A simple look at the Union Jack flag above Buckingham Palace will tell you if the Queen is there or not. If it’s raised to full staff, she’s there; if it’s at half-staff, she’s not, usually because she is summering at Sandringham or Balmoral.

Question: Do you think the Cambridges will have a fourth baby?

Answer: I do! I think it will be in 2020. I think that baby will be their last.

Question: Do all Royal couples go to Australia on their first official married tour?

Answer: That’s a fair question, as Charles and Diana did it and then Harry and Meghan followed suit. But, no, there’s no protocol for that. If you’ll remember, William and Kate went to Canada and the U.S. back in 2011 for their first tour as newlyweds.

Question: You mentioned Andrew and Fergie’s relationship in a past blog post. What’s up with that?

Answer: Andrew and Fergie were a true love match and married in 1986. However, because Andrew traveled so much because of his military career and because of relentless and often unfair press attention on Fergie, the marriage began to suffer, and Fergie stepped out of the marriage. The couple separated in 1992, divorced in 1996, but are the best of best friends, co-parent Beatrice and Eugenie brilliantly, and even live in the same home, the Royal Lodge, where they have cohabitated for the past 11 years. (I mean, they’re not sharing a bedroom, but still, what exes do you know would ever live in the same space, albeit a large one?) Do I think they’ll ever remarry? Doubtful. Why upset the apple cart? But do I think they are the undoubted loves of one another’s lives and have a deep and abiding respect for one another? Absolutely.

Question: What do the terms “heir” and “spare” mean?

Answer: Well, of course, the heir is the heir to the throne. The spare is, I think, a pretty demeaning term to describe the next sibling in line who likely will never ascend. (Although, Edward VIII was the heir and George VI was the spare, and after Edward VIII abdicated, the spare became the monarch. So, anything can happen.) For example, William is the heir and Harry is the spare. The spare is typically afforded much more freedom to do what he or she wants; the heir lives a very regimented life that some might argue is quite difficult to bear.

Question: What is the current line of succession?

Answer: The top six are Charles, William, George, Charlotte, Louis, and Harry.

Question: Why is Charlotte’s place in that lineup important?

Answer: Before 2011 and the Perth Agreement – an agreement made by the prime ministers of the 16 countries considered sovereign states within the Commonwealth of Nations (see below for more on that) that says there is to be no more male-preference primogeniture or, in English, that male heirs can’t trump female heirs in the order of succession – Charlotte’s place in line would have been usurped by the birth of Louis in 2018. So, instead of the line of succession being as it stands above, it would have been Charles, William, George, Louis, then Charlotte simply because Charlotte is female. Now, the line of succession is in birth order or absolute primogeniture, not male-preference primogeniture. (Side note: It’s called the Perth Agreement because it was signed in Perth, Australia.) Charlotte made history as the first elder sister of a British prince to be ranked above him in the line of succession. Love it.

Question: I am confused about sovereign states versus the Commonwealth.

Answer: It’s pretty confusing. Put it this way – the Queen is Queen of 16 states, known as the sovereign states. They are:

· United Kingdom (obviously)

· Antigua and Barbuda

· Australia

· Bahamas

· Barbados

· Belize

· Canada

· Grenada

· Jamaica

· New Zealand

· Papua New Guinea

· Saint Kitts and Nevis

· Saint Lucia

· Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

· Solomon Islands

· Tuvalu

These are the Commonwealth realms, where the Queen is the sovereign and head of state. All 16 of these countries are also members of the Commonwealth of Nations, which has 53 member states, mostly all of which at one point were a part of the British Empire but many of whom are no longer. The Queen is also head of the Commonwealth, but not the monarch in all 53, just the 16 listed above. If it is called a sovereign state, then the Queen is the sovereign there. For example, when I went to the Bahamas on vacation a couple of years ago, the Queen’s picture was plastered everywhere because she is their Queen too. But in, say, South Africa – which is a Commonwealth country but not a sovereign state – that would not be the case, because South Africa is not a sovereign state. Make sense? If not, drop me a line, and I’ll explain further.

Question: You did an in-depth look at Kate and Meghan’s wedding dresses. But what about William and Harry’s outfits? What was the symbolism there?

Answer: For William’s wedding in 2011, he wore an Irish Guards mounted officer’s uniform. He could have worn many different uniform options as he by that point had a pretty deep military career, but, since he had just been appointed colonel of the Irish Guards in February 2011, he opted to go with that one. As a Knight of the Order of the Garter, he wore the order’s star and blue riband, and his Royal Air Force wings and Golden Jubilee Medal. For that occasion, Harry (the best man) wore the uniform of a captain of the Blues and Royals with wings of the Army Air Corps and Golden Jubilee and Afghanistan Campaign medals. The gold across his body is called aiguillettes (thanks to Wikipedia for the assist on this one – while William and Harry both have deep military careers, I don’t know the deep dive on the medals, et cetera). Interesting fact: Military dress uniforms typically don’t have pockets, but a compartment was added to Harry’s uniform so that Kate’s wedding ring wouldn’t be lost.

Okay, whew. As for Harry’s wedding in 2018, Harry and William both wore the frock coat uniform of the Blues and Royals, in which both were commissioned (lest we ever forget that Harry served for 10 years in this regiment, including in combat in Afghanistan). Harry wore the rank of major with the star of the Royal Victorian Order, along with the ribbons of the Royal Victorian Order, Operational Service Medal for Afghanistan, as well as the Golden Jubilee and Diamond Jubilee medals (the Diamond Jubilee hadn’t yet happened when William was married in 2011) and Army Air Corps wings. William (the best man), also with the rank of major, had EIIR cyphers on his shoulder straps and gold aiguillettes on his right shoulder. He also wore the star of the Order of the Garter, the ribbons of the two jubilee medals like Harry did, and his Royal Air Force wings. Interesting fact: Harry had to ask for (and, obviously, received) permission from the Queen to keep his beard for his wedding, as typically beards aren’t allowed in the British Army.

Question: What is a Diamond Jubilee?

Answer: A diamond jubilee is a celebration held to mark the sixtieth anniversary of an event. In the case of the Royal Family, the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee was held in 2012 to celebrate her sixtieth year on the throne.

I think that’s enough for now. Keep the questions coming!

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