the royals

The Meghan Markle Helpline

Having watched the Harry-Meghan Netflix doc the other day, and seen oh my GOD practically NOTHING but complaining about it on British Twitter during the days since, I feel the need to post this video.

I would kill it at the Meghan Markle helpline! All I’d have to do is repeat, “no, in that curtsying gif going round she’s making fun of herself, not the Queen” “Queen Elizabeth was 96 years old, sir, I’m pretty sure she’d have died eventually no matter who her grandson married” and “This is the twentieth time you’ve called this number today, Piers Morgan.”

The Crown season five

So, Charles is King now and here’s a show presenting him as a sympathetic, relatable victim of circumstance and the media! A kind man cursed by his love for an ordinary woman, his devotion to his future subjects and his matinee-idol good looks! WHAT A COINCIDENCE.

So yeah, a lot of controversy surrounding this season but King Charles has nothing to worry about. Maybe Tony Blair does, but he’s Tony Blair, so screw him.

To be honest ever since he was first cast I’ve thought Dominic West was an absolutely bizarre choice to play Charles. I actually thought it was a joke when I saw the news. He’s much too handsome. On the other hand, he does have experience of embarrassing cheating scandals, so there’s that. And he does have Charles’ mannerisms down to be fair. (Not to mention his views on extramarital sex.)

The acting in this silly, silly show continues to be its saving grace because the dialogue sure doesn’t remotely cut it. It’s either Knowing Dialogue, Winking Dialogue or Expository Dialogue and it’s excruciating. I swear, every second conversation goes something like –

“Charles, as the Queen, who was crowned at Westminster Abbey on 2 June 1953, I implore you to make up with your very much not dead yet wife Diana, the mother of your sons William and Harry, as you have been at odds ever since your wedding day on 29 July 1981. This is in accordance with the Not Telling Your Mistress You Want To Live Inside Her Knickers As A Tampon Act (1993).”

“Yes, mummy.”

All that being said, I think the best moment of acting in this show doesn’t belong to any of the main cast at all. It belongs to the child who played the 13-year-old Alexei Romanov, who appears for less than a minute in a unexpected and horrifically brutal flashback scene depicting the murder of the Russian royal family. Blink and you’ll miss it, but the look of sheer terror that crosses his face as he realises he’s about to be killed really got to me. I can’t even find the child actor’s name, but man. When this show gets it right it really gets it right.

Post-Elizabethan London

I went on a photo-gathering trip to London yesterday, while preparations for the Queen’s funeral were in full swing.

The train station was warning people not to join The Queue.

Shop windows were full of Queen Elizabeth images/merch, and also Paddingtons. It infuriates me how Paddington has become associated with the Queen but more on that some other time.

This is not just public mourning! This is M&S public mourning!

Flowers and flags popping up in all sorts of places.

The Marble Arch area was packed with people. I did get this nice picture of a bird though.

Onto Hyde Park. People and police everywhere, and a load of screens and portaloos set up for the funeral.

(other crowds, cops, & the odd yelling person not pictured.)

Found a weird beehive type thing and an unbothered raven.

Apparently this also happened in Hyde Park:


and I’m glad I didn’t see that because I would have lost my fucking mind. Just a really, really shitty thing to do. (The part of me that still has a shred of optimism about human nature wonders if some of those flowers, the ones unmarked by any Queen pictures, genuinely were for Holocaust victims but I suspect not. I mean, I hope so, I just suspect not.)

On lighter notes…

I do like this pic of the Union Jacks at half-mast, it came out really well.

This shot of a plane going past a statue isn’t too bad either.

Oh look more Paddingtons, Paddingtons everywhere. Wouldn’t it make SO MUCH more sense for these to be given to refugee kids who arrive in Britain with no toys?

So Buckingham Palace itself was closed off but the area around it was MENTAL.

The tributes from children I suppose are touching in a way, but only in the same sense any children’s drawing left out in the rain is.

Those photos probably don’t give the full scale of everything but hopefully this video does.

Absolute chaos I tell you. So were the surrounding areas.

Piccadilly Circus looked beautiful but police were everywhere.

There was a moment of silence for the Queen on the train! ON THE TRAIN! Madness. A voice came over the tannoy asking for a minute’s silence but most people in the carriage were asleep anyway.

Got home and was informed shortly afterwards that my grandmother had taken a turn for the worse. Apparently, she can’t even recognise her family members now. It absolutely sucks. But the country won’t stand still for her, will it.

The Queen Died

What a strange day it’s been. One day before my wedding anniversary actually. I saw “Balmoral” trending on Twitter and it turned out to be a news story about how the Queen was in ill health. Lots of wisecracks scrolling down. (My favourite was “She meets Liz Truss and starts dying the very next day, I respect that.”)

Later on today I marvelled at how much better I was feeling post-breakdown, I’m on some fantastic new meds. I decided to fix the TV box since it had been messing up since pre-breakdown and making the image flicker on and off all the time. I got it working properly and immediately, a black screen and an announcement saying “Stand by for a message from the BBC” like I’ve heard in World War II-set movies.

“Holy crap, she’s actually dead!” I told my husband.

She was indeed Actually Dead. But I suppose the Queen isn’t really what I want to talk about. There’s not a huge amount to say, I’ve never met her (a few members of my family have gone to special Palace events where she was there, but that’s all) and she lived a long, charmed life.

Actually I want to talk about my grandmother. She was born two weeks before the Queen was in April 1926. She went through World War II at the same age the Queen did, but in considerably more danger than the Queen was, because she was working class and from a working class area that was very heavily bombed. She ended up joining the Wrens, I think, though I don’t know what she did there. Here’s a pic of her, clumsily colourized by an app:

I just take a weird sort of pleasure in knowing that a working class woman outlived the Queen, I guess. She’s in a care home now on the other side of the country, I plan to visit her soon.

Springtime for Diana

I’m a forever fan of The Producers and I can’t help but wonder if Max Bialystock and Leo Bloom had something to do with Diana: The Musical. Let me prove it to you with the following points:

-There is a whole number about Diana’s famous “fuck-you” dress, but no-one is allowed to say “fuck” so we get a whole song about a “feck-you” dress instead.

-“Camilla” is rhymed with “thriller” and “Manilla” and… “GODZILLA.” Yes really. They saw the opportunity and they took it.

-Meanwhile, “James Hewitt” (the man Diana famously had an affair with) is rhymed with “do it.”

-In fact, the James Hewitt song is almost completely about how hot and sexy he is. I suspect he’s the one who wrote it.

-There’s only one good song in this whole production and of course it’s the one which involves photographers singing about having a wank.

-Once married off to Charles, Diana gives birth to both William and Harry over the course of just one (very bad) song. I wonder if either of the princes have actually seen this and what the hell they must’ve thought.

-Diana describes herself at least once as “a kindergarten teacher” when Brits do not in fact use the word “kindergarten.”

-Both Elton John and Freddie Mercury get namechecked, unfortunately that just served to remind me of all the much better music I wasn’t listening to.

This modern-day Bialystock and Bloom picked the wrong script, the wrong actors, DEFINITELY the wrong point in time… Where did they go right? They didn’t. I BEG you to go watch this trainwreck.

Prince Philip

Turned on the TV around noon and got-

I was like, what happened?! Was there a terrorist attack? Did someone get assassinated?! So I turned over and turned out Prince Philip had died. Of natural causes.

(Also, wait, does the BBC actually own the Dave channel? Who knew.)

ANYWAY yeah, I’m surprised he didn’t make it to 100 but there’s not that much to say about a guy who lived by all accounts a very full life and died at 99. And, you know, he wasn’t exactly a great ambassador for the UK at the best of times. I wish the TV (it’s showing very little else except Prince Philip right now) would stop describing his racist comments as “gaffes” since that implies he didn’t mean to say them while he very much did.

That’s… pretty much all I got. Please enjoy this very bad photograph I took in 2014 of a moving car that had Prince Philip in it.

the markle debacle

The Meghan-Harry-Oprah interview hasn’t actually aired in the UK yet, there’s about an hour to go. But I know most of what was said via Twitter and news websites. I feel so sorry for both of them, mostly. That seems like a strange thing to think about people who have so much more money and power than me, but I’ve always thought of the royal family as being a glided cage. The rules and the ridiculousness of it all, you can’t expect a modern woman to put up with that, surely. She has to bow to her grandmother-in-law, she’s not allowed to wear nail varnish, and oh yeah every time she does something the Daily Mail hurls insults at her.

Anyway. You can’t argue at this point that Meghan’s treatment has nothing to do with race, though I note the media and Piers Morgan are trying their best. Morgan is now on the record as saying he doesn’t believe Meghan considered suicide which is just such an unfathomably shitty, dangerous thing to say to an audience of millions. That’s spurred me on to actually complain to ITV, believe it or not. You can do the same if you like-

I remember a comment I once saw on Instagram, a platform I do not use. Meghan and Harry posted a picture of Charlotte (pretty sure it was Charlotte) for one of her birthdays. Under it they wrote something generic like, “Happy birthday Charlotte! x” You know, the sort of thing most people would do for their niece who was a toddler. And people just, exploded in this bizarre rage that Harry and Meghan hadn’t addressed their aforementioned niece who was a toddler with her royal title. And I remember one of the comments on their Instagram then being directed soley at Meghan – not Harry, just her – and it said “That’s Your Royal Highness [when referring to Charlotte] to you.” Can you think of a more disgusting dogwhistle that Meghan wasn’t considered worthy of respect? Because whoever was writing that, Meghan was Your Royal Highness to them. Except, of course, apparently not.

Some recent trailers for stuff

I am so darkly amused by the fact that none of the Stand trailers so far have mentioned that the story takes place after a deadly pandemic. Maybe they oughta just lean into it at this point.

The Queen but mostly Princess Diana! Honestly I always had a lot of sympathy for Princess Di. She was just a messed up kid thrown into the royal family and expected to fend for herself while everyone treated her like shit. (Wonder if they’ll mention the quite significant age difference between her and Charles :/ )

Okay The Watch doesn’t look terrible as a show (I guess) but it very obviously has NOTHING to do with the Discworld series it’s based on. So why even bother? Ugggh. Rhianna Pratchett’s thoughts are also mine.