Category Archives: Royalty

I So Thought I was Done With This, But I’m Such a Sucker . . . . .

The Guardian

Friends, actually: the truth about the couple who hit it off queueing to see the Queen’s coffin

Zoe and Jack met in the 5-mile line for the Queen’s lying in state, then spent 13 hours bonding over crisps and chat. Before long, their so-called ‘love affair’ had gone viral …

We would have been very amused .. . .

19 September 2022

Name: Queue romance.

Age: Newly sprung, but short-lived.

Appearance: Like love, but also like a journey.

Isn’t love already a journey of sorts? Yes, but this was an actual 13-hour journey. On foot.

Where to? To pay one’s respects to the late Queen Elizabeth II.

And did people find love in the queue then? Is that what’s going on here? Well, that’s what everyone wanted to believe. There was one couple, Jack and Zoe, who met in line to see the Queen’s lying in state at 10.30pm on Friday, when the growing queue was already edging over the 5-mile mark.

And they hit it off? By the time they were interviewed by Channel 4 the next day, they had been together in the queue all night.

It’s not as if they had a choice. Maybe not, but as they bonded over “crisps and chat”, there was clearly a spark. Zoe called their chance meeting “a blessing in disguise”.

Any awkward moments? Apparently not. “I thought I was going to be exhausted but it’s just gone so quickly in the queue,” said Zoe.

Which left the British public rooting for them? Absolutely. As you can imagine, the news clip of the smitten couple became a bit of a viral hit.

With people making jokes about the romcom possibilities offered by this unlikely meeting? Exactly: “Queue, Actually”, “Four Queues and a Funeral”, etc.

That doesn’t really work, because there was only one queue. How about “14-Hour Queue and a Funeral”?

It’s better, except earlier you made it clear the queue was only 13 hours. This is Richard Curtis’s job, not mine.

So will Jack and Zoe meet again? They already have! The pair went to watch the Queen’s state funeral in Hyde Park together.

That’s quite a weird second date. Ah, but here is where the romance ends. It turns out that they both have long-term partners and met up just as friends.

Gutted! I know, right? “Jack is a great guy, we get on brilliantly, but we both have long-term partners – in fact, I am getting married next year. Not only that, but there’s also a 10-year age gap between Jack and I!” Zoe told the Daily Mail.

Devastating. As a nation we needed this. “It is nice to think we may have cheered people up during a period of mourning, but I am sorry for anyone who hoped that we might get together to say that it is purely platonic between us,” added Jack.

Well, hopefully another couple who met in the record-shattering queue to view a long-serving British monarch’s coffin will come forward? We’ll have to wait and see.

Do say: “And I will walk 5.1 miles, and I will walk 5.1 more …”

Don’t say: “She went to the loo and never came back, but I’ll search the kingdom until I find the girl who fits this wristband.”

How the Queen Rained on My Parade

Like a lot of people you haven’t heard of, I had other plans for September 8. In fact, I was going to have a parade. For me.

Okay, it was going to be an imaginary parade, down the Main Street of my mind; such fetes  have many advantages: cheaper; much easier to clean up after the confetti-tossers and the horses; and it never rains.

The occasion and date kind of crept up on me, though I’d long been looking forward to the occasion, which was my reaching the status of being a half-millionaire.

Not, alas, a half-millionaire in dollars, or any other financial instrument. Rather, I was within sight of — wait for it — accumulating half a million hits on this blog.

Go ahead, chuckle if you want. Or even nod toward a site like the Drudge Report, which brags credibly about how it gets like 26 million hits every [g*dd*m] day.

I know, I know. This blog is, at best, a tiny cork bobbing on the great swirling swells of the internet ocean.

Yet I’ve pecked away at it for more than a decade (the start date is hazy), increasingly in recent years. People have read it, too. The occasional post reached over a thousand, a handful north of two. There have been lots of comments, only a few of which have descended into internet trollery.

The blog has delivered a number of Quaker scoops, upset a few applecarts, comforted a handful of the afflicted, got me canceled here and there, shown lots of pretty flowers, cute grandkids, cats, and reportedly even evoked some laughs.

Further, over time, the average daily hit numbers have slowly grown.

The web hosting service maintains a chart which shows hits in real time, and a running grand total. Some months back I noticed that the “all time” number was over 400,000.

That was when I decided on a parade at the half-million mark. In a time of pandemic and ebbing energy, it would show at least a certain stamina.

And two weeks ago, the countdown was at the wire, and Thursday around sundown I actually saw the tally flip over from 499,995 to 500,005 (bother that they didn’t pause right on the 500K button for a screen shot, but that’s algorithms for you, a rum lot.)

But, what the hey — now was the time to pull the cord on the parade, and I knew just how it should look . . .

. . . But on the way to setting it up, my blogger’s reflex kicked in long enough to check on any late-breaking headlines —and there it was, the news equivalent of a sudden earthquake or a two-week severe thunderstorm —

And I knew it was all over for my puny plans. The next days, or weeks would be shot for anything else but clop, clop, clop, “thru Jesus Christ our Lord,” 73 years, fifteen prime ministers, poor Diana and how many times was Harry snubbed this morning?

Whatever. Despite my firmly (small r) republican outlook, the seemingly endless foofaraw had a certain stolid appeal. And there was a tad of consolation in pointing out that the new king was named after me.

Besides, I now know that even if Her Late Majesty had muddled through for a few more weeks, there was no real hope for my parade, because September 8 was also the day of this other, long-feverishly awaited news photo, that of a certain three-shirted insurrectionist, insufferable in his defiant air of pardoned impunity, actually doing the perp walk adorned with the federal bracelets. . . .

“I say, half a million? Jolly good, old chap. Oh — there’s Camilla, er, the Queen. Must toddle . . .”

(Can’t deny it: I would have skipped my own parade to watch that )


Quote of the Day: Two Contemporary Funerals

“On one side in Britain you see the Queen’s dignified burial and on the other this mass grave [just discovered in Ukraine] stemming from mass violence,” said Anjli Parrin, the Kenyan deputy director of the Human Rights Clinic at Columbia Law School. “They are two extremes that remind us that the idea of someone missing, buried anonymously, is a violation of a fundamental instinct to honor the dead.”

— Roger Cohen in the New York Times



Viola Davis Stars in new film, “The Woman King”

AP News: ‘Woman King,’ Viola Davis and the culmination of a struggle

TORONTO (AP) — When Viola Davis, sculpted and hardened from months of training, first stood in the full garb of the Agojie warrior women, with her bare feet in the African sand, it was the culmination of not just the yearslong push to make “The Woman King,” but of a lifelong battle.

“It was sort of metaphoric to not just everything I had done to prepare for this role but everything that I had done as a Black woman to prepare for this moment,” Davis says. “Which is to be a warrior.”

“The Woman King,” which opens in theaters Friday, is a $50 million action epic, set in 1820s West Africa, about the allfemale army of the Kingdom of Dahomey. Made largely by women and featuring an almost completely Black cast, it’s powerfully unlike anything Hollywood has ever produced. And just as much as “The Woman King” dramatizes the fierce fighting of the Agojie, the film represents its own struggle.

“Fighting for actors. Fighting for the director. You have to fight for the writer,” Davis, also a producer, said in an interview at the Toronto International Film Festival. “Years and years and years go by and you’re still fighting. You’re fighting for the budget. You’re fighting for even the commercial aspects of the story. You’re fighting for your hair. Fight. Fight. Fight.”

“Whenever you’re doing anything new, it requires the warrior spirit,” says Davis. “What I feel now is: It was worth it.”

“The Woman King,” directed by Gina PrinceBythewood (“The Old Guard, “Love & Basketball”), began as an idea seven years ago, after a trip to Africa by Maria Bello, the producer and actor. Enamored by the history of the Agojie, she brought the concept to producer Cathy Schulman, the producer of the Oscarwinning “Crash and the former head of Women in Film.

Schulman knew the film could be a potent portrait of female strength, but she didn’t anticipate that, following the overturning of Roe v. Wade, it might serve as a rallying cry at a time when many consider women’s rights under siege.

“There couldn’t be a more important time for a movie about female courage, about sisterhood, about the complexity of the female experience, not to mention the physicality of our bodies,” Schulman says.

Viola Davis brought her empowering drama The Woman King to the Toronto International Film Festival for the films world premiere. Davis said the role of an African warrior named Nanisca “feels like my coming out party.” (Sept. 11)

But the producers and Davis, who was attached early on, found it difficult to convince executives and financiers to bankroll “The Woman King” at a budget large enough to provide it the scale it deserved.

“‘Braveheart,’ ‘Gladiator,’ ‘Last of the Mohicans.’ I love those movies,” says PrinceBythewood. “Now, here was our chance to tell our story in this genre.”

“The Woman King,” a rousing emotional wallop that seamlessly fuses interior drama with action spectacle, was met with universal acclaim at its Toronto premiere as a crowdpleaser of another kind. But the Hollywood calculus for what might appeal to a broad audience has traditionally really meant “Will white people watch it?”

“Black people did not have to love ‘Thelma & Louise’ for ‘Thelma & Louise’ to get made,” says Davis. “White people have to love ‘The Woman King’ for ‘The Woman King’ to get made — according to Hollywood.”

A pivotal moment came when “Black Panther” was released. Ryan Coogler’s film featured a fictionalization of the Agojie, the Dora Milaje, and its massive worldwide boxoffice ($1.3 billion) was a wakeup call to the industry.

“We would not have been able to do ‘Woman King’ without ‘Black Panther,’ Davis says. “I’m eternally grateful to ‘Black Panther.’

To ready for the shoot in South Africa, Davis and fellow cast members Thuso Mbedu, Lashana Lynch and Sheila Atim underwent a grueling monthslong regimen of weight lifting and fight training. The actors later performed their own stunts in the film. Davis, who at 57 refers to herself as “the O.G. warrior” among her younger castmates, says she never felt prouder of her body. “Not just for the way that it looked but for the way it serviced me.”

Lynch, the British actor of “No Time to Die,” would later be astonished watching herself in the film.

“I find it hard to believe that that was really me,” says Lynch. “It really taught me a lot about just what women come with. We have so much to be able to push through pain and birth children and push against the world’s pressures.

“The Woman King,” penned by Dana Stevens, shot by Polly Morgan and edited by Terilyn Shropshir, was crewed by PrinceBythewood with women and people of color in most departmenthead positions.

“It breathes such a more pleasant set,” says Schulman. “Lack of drama. More attitude of the work first. Less hierarchy. I just haven’t seen any job a woman can’t do. That was all a fallacy.”

Lynch, visibly moved by her experience making “Woman King, for the first time witnessed an Africaset action drama staged outside of the white male gaze.

“‘The Woman King’ will be its own blueprint that I hope filmmakers and heads of studios can take as an example,” Lynch says.

Some have been skeptical of how “The Woman King” tackles history. Last month, the 1619 Project author Nikole HannahJones wrote on Twitter that “it will be interesting to see how a movie that seems to glorify the allfemale military unit of the Dahomey deals with the fact that this kingdom derived its wealth from capturing Africans for the transAtlantic slave trade.”

The Agojie were indeed a brutal and bloodthirsty army that participated in slave raids. “The Woman King,” like most historical epics, takes some artistic license. But the slave trade is a central component to its narrative. Schulman says the 1820s were chosen from the 16001904 history of the Dahomey kingdom specifically for the backdrop of conflict with the mightier Oyo empire, along with mounting pressure from European colonizers for captives.

“The Woman King” is hoping to make history of its own by blazing a new path for the film industry. The Sony Pictures release will hope to enliven movie theaters after a prolonged latesummer lull at the box office.

“I feel that the film is eventized,” says Schulman. “My anticipation is that we’re ready for this film. We just don’t know how ready we truly are.”

Davis, for her part, feels like she’s been ready all her life. She has taken to calling “The Woman King” her “magnum opus” because her production company produced it, because she fought so hard for it.

“This was a hardwon battle,” says Davis. “And I won it. I feel like I won the battle.”

It’s an accomplishment that sends Davis back to her initial dreams of show business as a young girl growing up poor in Rhode Island. Before encountering the reality of the film industry, her movie dreams were limitless.

“This movie affirms that it’s possible,” says Davis. “That there are no limitations to my dreams. That, actually, I was right.”

Breaking: Fergie to the Rescue — Corgis find shelter!

New York Times: Queen Elizabeth’s Corgis Will Stay in the Family

Queen Elizabeth II owned more than 30 dogs during her reign, but was particularly fond of corgis, like these two she walked in London in 1970.
Credit…John Rider/Associated Press

Sept. 11, 2022

For the legions of dog lovers who have wondered what will happen to Queen Elizabeth’s two surviving corgis, there is clarity: One of the queen’s sons will keep the dogs in the family.

The Duke of York, also known as Prince Andrew, and his former wife, Sarah, Duchess of York, will take care of the two corgis, a spokesperson for the duke said on Sunday.

It was the duchess who had found the dogs when they were puppies, and the duke who gave them to the queen as gifts, the spokesperson said by email.

Continue reading Breaking: Fergie to the Rescue — Corgis find shelter!

Queen Elizabeth Dies: Obituary Excerpts


Washington Post, Excerpts:

Queen Elizabeth II, who reigned over the U.K. for 70 years, dies at 96

September 8, 2022

The monarch was a constant and reassuring figure as she helped lead her country through a period of radical shifts in the latter half of the 20th century.

By Adrian Higgins

. . .The designs of postage stamps and bank notes changed through the decades, but they all depicted the same, if aging, monarch. The British national anthem now shifts to “God Save the King,” but most Britons have only known the other version, for the queen. . . .

Her last major constitutional action came on Tuesday, when she accepted the resignation of Prime Minister Boris Johnson and asked his successor, Liz Truss, to form a new government.Queen Elizabeth 2013

In a monarchy dating back to at least the 10th century with King Athelstan, Elizabeth’s reign was the longest. In 2015, she broke a record once thought unassailable, surpassing the 63-year rule of her great-great-grandmother, Queen Victoria.

While Victoria retreated from her regal duties after the early death of her husband, Prince Albert, Elizabeth — with her outwardly stern demeanor, iron constitution and abiding handbag — remained fully engaged in her queenly duties for most of her life, and true to a pledge she made on her 21st birthday.

Then a fresh-faced princess on tour with her parents in South Africa, she broadcast to British Empire listeners around the globe: “I declare before you all that my whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service, and the service of our great imperial family to which we all belong.”

The length of that service, measured against that of other leading figures, proved astonishing — coinciding with that of 15 British prime ministers, 14 U.S. presidents and seven popes. As supreme governor of the Church of England, Elizabeth appointed six archbishops of Canterbury.
 Continue reading Queen Elizabeth Dies: Obituary Excerpts