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  • Rachel Burchfield

Royal Potpourri, Volume 3

Your questions make me so very happy!

Question: What’s this I hear about Meghan guest editing British Vogue?

Answer: September can’t get here fast enough! Meghan will be guest editing the famed “September issue” of Vogue (British Vogue, of course) as well as sharing never before seen photos inside Frogmore College. And, if I’m a betting woman, probably new photos of Archie (like the one we got yesterday for Father’s Day – see below!). The issue will also feature profiles of inspiring women, keeping with Meghan’s theme of women’s empowerment. Meghan will also write her own opinion piece for the mag, a throwback to her The Tig blogger days. How do you get your hands on a copy? Likely it will be digital here or, if you’re a little extra like me, you can go ahead and subscribe to the magazine now via that same link to make sure you’re good to go for September.

Question: What was the relationship like between Diana and Fergie?

Answer: Well, in a word? Complex. They actually knew one another long before they married Charles and Andrew – they were fourth cousins and had known one another since they were young. In fact, Diana played a key role in the 1985 courtship of Andrew and Fergie, inviting them to Highgrove (she and Charles’ country house) when their relationship was still blooming. They brought out the best in one another; you can often see them laughing together and cutting up, and they became absolute best friends – more like sisters, really. Who else could understand what the other was going through like they could? They both separated from their husbands in 1992 and divorced them in 1996, so they had that agony to share, as well. However, they were both young and immature and became jealous of the other if one got more favorable press attention or more approval from the Firm; Diana usually for her beauty and fashion, and Fergie usually for her wit, humor, and vibrant personality. Fergie’s autobiography, released in 1996, shared a rather embarrassing bit about how, after Diana loaned her a pair of shoes, Fergie developed plantar warts; this pissed Diana off, and mercurial Diana, once pissed, was known to send someone into a deep freeze that was hard (read: damn near impossible) to get out of. The two former best friends and comrades hadn’t spoken in a year when Diana died in August 1997. Fergie said she was sure they would eventually reconcile, they just didn’t have the chance to, and it remains one of her deepest regrets.

Question: As a new mom myself, what type of childcare do Kate and Meghan have for their children?

Answer: Well, news just broke last week that Meghan had hired a nanny. Her name was not released, but we do know she won’t be living at Frogmore full-time and she won’t work weekends, so it looks as though Meghan (and, of course, Harry) will be on their own on evenings and weekends. The Cambridges have nanny Maria Borrallo, who has been with the Cambridges for five years and lives in residence with them. William and Harry’s childhood nanny, Tiggy Legge-Bourke (now Tiggy Pettifer) was a huge part in their upbringing and the source of many a row between Charles and Diana; Diana was convinced her husband was sleeping with Tiggy. (He wasn’t.)

Question: Is it true Charles wanted to back out of the wedding right before it happened?

Answer: Yes, and so did Diana. In a moment of panic days before the wedding, Diana was having lunch with her sisters, Sarah and Jane, and said that she couldn’t go through with it. They said the famous line: “Well, bad luck, Duch [their nickname for her], your face is on the tea towels, so you’re too late to chicken out” referring to all of the commemorative “Charles and Diana Royal Wedding 1981” merchandise that was for sale pre-wedding. (My mom even has some 1981 Royal Wedding trinkets!)

Question: What is Diana’s “revenge dress”?

Answer: See below. In June 1994, Diana shocked the fashion world when she wore a very non-Royal black, off the shoulder, form-fitting silk dress to a party hosted by Vanity Fair. That same night, Charles’ tell-all documentary (where he admitted his love for Camilla, who is, ummm – not as physically attractive and statuesque as Diana) premiered on TV. Knowing this, Diana decided to deliver a big fuck you in the form of fashion and wore this jaw-dropping number, later referred to as “the revenge dress.” If that night was a fight in the ring between the Wales’, Diana got a TKO on Charles and then some.

"The Revenge Dress," 1994

Question: Which members of the Royal Family have a coat of arms and a shield?


· The Queen

· Philip

· Charles

· Camilla

· William

· Kate

· Harry

· Meghan

· Anne

· Andrew

· Beatrice

· Eugenie

· Edward

· Sophie

· Prince Richard, Duke of Gloucester and, separately, Birgitte, Duchess of Gloucester (his wife)

· Prince Edward, Duke of Kent (not to be confused with the Queen’s son, above) and, separately, Katharine, Duchess of Kent (his wife)

· Princess Alexandria, the Honorable Lady Ogilvy

· Prince Michael of Kent and, separately, Princess Michael of Kent (his wife; remember, she prefers to go by his name rather than her own – her birth name is Marie Christine Anna Agnes Hedwig Ida von Reibnitz, so, yeah)

They all essentially look the same with special details added in to make it individualized. Watch the blog this week for a look at the Royal cyphers (monograms). I freaking love a good monogram.

Question: How are Royal titles decided? For instance, how was it decided that Harry and Meghan would be the Duke and Duchess of Sussex rather than Duke and Duchess of something else? Does it all have to do with the succession to the throne (i.e., the next successor will always be Wales, then Cambridge, then Sussex)?

Answer: The big picture answer to how are titles decided goes back to something called the Peerage of the United Kingdom. But, to dial it down – we could probably do a week’s worth of blog posts about the Peerage – the ranks, from highest to lowest, are duke, marquess, earl, viscount, and baron. A Royal duke – which William and Harry were given via their marriages, as they were born princes – is only someone who also carries the HRH title, as they do. It’s important to note that the holders of Royal dukedoms are Royal, not the titles themselves. So, the titles themselves are generally not as meaningful as one would think. William and Harry, for example, were already princes upon birth; their dukedoms were given to them as a gift by the Queen upon their marriage, and were titles decided on by the Queen (most Royals have multiple titles and that’s where all this stuff gets confusing). She specifically chose Cambridge for William and Sussex for Harry (interestingly, William is the eighth to hold the Duke of Cambridge title, while Harry is only the second to be Duke of Sussex), and there are only four other Royal dukedoms currently:

· Duke of Edinburgh, given to Prince Philip (since he was already a prince in his own right from birth, this gave him distinction from his birth title) upon his marriage to Princess Elizabeth (who, upon her marriage, was named Duchess of Edinburgh; Philip’s Duke title is the masculine of her Royal Duchess title) on November 20, 1947

· Duke of York, given to Prince Andrew upon his marriage to Sarah Ferguson on July 23, 1986

· Duke of Gloucester, given to Prince Richard (the Queen’s cousin) on June 10, 1974

· Duke of Kent, given to Prince Edward (the Queen’s cousin, not her son) on August 25, 1942

· Of note: Charles, Prince of Wales, has a secondary title of Duke of Cornwall. His wife, Camilla, is technically the Princess of Wales by marriage, but since Charles’ first wife, Diana, so famously embodied that role, Camilla chooses to go by the female version of his secondary title and is the Duchess of Cornwall publicly. Wise move by Camilla.

· Okay, so Charles is Duke of Cornwall, and Andrew is Duke of York, but what about Prince Edward, the Queen’s youngest son? Why isn’t he a duke? Fantastic question. He broke tradition when he married Sophie in June 1999 and became Earl of Wessex. However, when Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, dies, it is expected that Edward will take over that dukedom from his late father, per his mother, the Queen’s, wishes.

So, the short answer to your question is the Queen decides which Royal dukedoms to give out, and no, there is no order to the Dukedoms like York, Cambridge, or Sussex. It just depends on what is available at the time and what the monarch sees fit. There is no Duke of Wales, only the Prince of Wales title, which is reserved for the male heir presumptive to the throne.

Question: What makes a prince or princess versus a duke or duchess versus a lord or lady?

A prince or princess is a title you must be born into. See above for the duke or duchess answer. Any other title from the Peerage is decided upon by the monarch.

A quick breakdown:

· Queen by birth; queen consort by marriage

· King by birth; there is no such thing as a king consort – the husbands of blood queens like Victoria and Elizabeth are princes by marriage; since Prince Philip was a prince anyway by his own Royal birth (he was born a Prince of Greece and Denmark), he sometimes goes by the masculine form of his wife’s Duchess title, the Duke of Edinburgh

· Princes and princesses by Royal birth only; women that marry a prince (a la Kate and Meghan) are typically afforded a Duchess title upon their marriage; men that marry a princess (a la Jack Brooksbank) have no titles generally

If I am making no sense let me know and we’ll revisit in the next Royal Potpourri.

Question: Can you make my Monday a little better?

Answer: I don’t know if I have that much power, but I guarantee Archie Mountbatten-Windsor can.


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