There is royal news from the United States this time for a bit of a change of pace. Last Saturday HIRH Archduke Imre of Austria was married to pro-Life activist Kathleen Walker at St Mary Mother of God Catholic Church in Washington DC. To go even one step better it was a traditional mass, meaning in Latin (you know, the way the Catholic Church used to do things before the 1960’s when the hippies took over and made everyone hold hands) which was a very nice change indeed. What was not a nice change: the bridal party arriving in a stretch Hummer (which, I have to say, is the one vehicle more than any other that just screams “tacky, ultra-rich show-off”). I have no clue whose idea that was, but shame on them. Everything else was flawless and there were quite a few royals in attendance, particularly from the Liechtenstein and Luxembourg houses (as well as the Hapsburgs -that should go without saying). Princess Alexandra and Princess Sebastian of Luxembourg were there as were the Duke and Duchess of Braganza (that couple who should be the King and Queen of Portugal today). The Austrian royal and his American bride made for a very cute couple and seem to have their priorities in order, their hearts in the right place and are getting off on the right foot. Some (whose opinions don’t matter) have mentioned that some of this may be out of order with the house rules on marriage having been discarded by the Hapsburgs in recent years and the custom on titles being changed so that there are now a small army of archdukes on the loose, however, none of it has come from monarchists or members of the House of Hapsburg and all I can say to that is, “Thank God!” It is so, so nice to see these sorts of things not cause major divisions or family feuds -as they all too often do. Congratulations and all the best to the happy couple. Aside from the vulgar transportation this was a Catholic royal wedding the way it should be.
However, the biggest royal news this week comes from the House of Windsor. Prince Harry was deployed to Afghanistan for another tour of duty, and his base came under a major attack that left two U.S. Marines dead -but that wasn’t the story. TRH the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were in Southeast Asia, visiting Singapore and the Commonwealth Kingdom of Malaysia where they attended festivities for the Diamond Jubilee -but that wasn’t the story either. No, the story was that the paparazzi have struck again with the Duchess being photographed topless from a mile away while the royal couple relaxed by the pool at the secluded estate of a friend. The French saw fit to publish the photos, though so far the British tabloids are holding back (perhaps Murdoch is re-thinking things after the backlash in favor of Prince Harry). The French magazine “Closer” published the photos (which are now everywhere of course so it really makes little difference that no one else has published them so far) with the “Closer” glamour editor, Laurence Pieau defending the decision. Which I suppose is another example of the old saying that it takes a woman to be really cruel to another woman. Would this woman appreciate someone plastering topless pictures of her all over the front pages? I think not -nor would the general population for that matter (she’s no Duchess of Cambridge, that’s for sure). The Royal Family is furious over the incident, a gross invasion of privacy if ever there was one, and sources in Buckingham Palace have said that a legal counter-attack may be in the offing. I hope they sue that French rag for every last euro they have and put them out of business.
The news came out when the couple were still in Malaysia and, to her credit, Duchess Catherine handled herself like an absolute pro. She was smiling, she was charming and she never showed for an instant that anything was wrong during their public outings. Of course, she did nothing wrong and has absolutely nothing to be ashamed of, but imagine the embarrassment the poor girl must feel at knowing what so many people have seen. Anyone would want to crawl in a hole for a while after something like this, no matter what the circumstances were. However, she showed true royal grit and style as she carried on and did her duty as though nothing had happened. Prince William, on the other hand, appeared somewhat noticeably -well, ticked off. That is completely understandable as any husband would feel protective of his wife, outraged at a private time between spouses being made public and, as many have commented on, because he knows better than anyone just how tragic the consequences can be when this sort of media harassment gets out of hand. He should be furious. He has every right to be.