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HUG-1
17-11-2010, 11:07 AM
This thread relates to the House of Windsor, the British Royal Family and related matters.

A.S.
17-11-2010, 11:57 AM
Our hearty congratulations to the young couple who yesterday announced their engagement, with a plan to marry next year. Prince William is the eldest son of the late Princess Diana, grandson of our Queen Elizabeth II, a qualified air force helicopter pilot, and an approachable, personable and bright young man. He is very much the 'modern Royal'. It bodes well that his fiance expressed her desire to 'do what she can to improve the lives of other people'. They seem a couple eminently well matched and in-step with the life or a modern Royal couple.

================================================== ===============================

The media story behind the announcement yesterday is particularly interesting. Although on this clip here you will see the BBC logo (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-11771616), the Royal couple arranged to give just one media interview, and that interview was intentionally not given to the BBC.

In the UK there are two national free-to-air broadcasters, the government funded BBC and ITN (http://itn.co.uk/1264857dc64f1521862e09c1e12ee7e0.html) (Independent Television News) an award-winning commercial company who sell their news service to commercial TV and radio stations throughout the UK. The couple specifically requested that the announcement was made in an exclusive interview with Tom Bradby, Political Editor of ITN News (since 2005), who has been one of my favourite news journalists for years because of his balanced, considered and even handed reporting: the perfect choice. His homely style of interviewing is very much his trademark and seemed to put the couple at ease and allow them to talk for themselves i.e. good interviewing technique. Background story here (http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2010/nov/16/tom-bradby-william-kate). The BBC have presumably arranged to have use of this ITN interview.

The BBC has (at least one) Royal reporter and this situation tells us something about how the BBC is perceived these days. Only this month, BBC staff were on strike (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1328867/BBC-strike-called-Union-scraps-walkout-Beeb-agrees-new-talks.html?ito=feeds-newsxml) (threatening to black-out the Conservative party annual conference) and there is a widely held view in government and certainly by the ordinary viewer that the BBC is out of step with the national mood financially, editorially and politically. The lowest point in the BBCs national standing was surely this disgraceful situation (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/celebritynews/3810894/Jonathan-Ross-in-talks-with-BBC-over-ban-on-swearing-and-smut-in-his-television-show.html). Our new government's views summarised here (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/7896709/We-need-a-better-and-leaner-BBC.html).

Our congratulations again.

davidlovel
17-11-2010, 02:47 PM
I've seen national TV in many countries outside the UK and almost without exception it is of very poor quality. On the basis of what has happened in the past, further cuts in the BBC's budget ("improved efficiency") will lead to even fewer new ballet, opera, and drama productions. The latter provide the benchmark for the independent TV channels in the UK.

David

P.S. Heartily agree on the congratulations - good to have a "natural" couple who look as though they will be able to connect well with their 'subjects'!

EricW
18-11-2010, 09:06 AM
They seem like a delightful young couple and I'm happy for them (or maybe I'm not, considering what they will be facing as public figures).

But the institution's had its day, don't you think? No disrespect to the members of the British royal family, particularly the Queen herself, who seems nothing but admirable. The idea of royalty just seems like such an anachronism in this day and age.

A.S.
18-11-2010, 09:31 AM
...But the institution's had its day, don't you think? No disrespect to the members of the British royal familyWith respect to yourself, that opinion is based on ignorance of what the Royal family actually do for our nation and Commonwealth.

First, I would like to remind you that every hour of their lives from the time they reach adulthood until they pass away is regulated, observed and commented on. How would you feel to be awoken every morning - seven days a week - because there was a duty you were expected to perform, because someone somewhere was counting on you to be there? You or I could tolerate that perhaps for a few days in our lives; they are at our command 365 x 70 years, during which governments and prime ministers come and go. During Queen Elizabeth II rein, she has experienced 152 Prime Ministers (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Prime_Ministers_of_Queen_Elizabeth_II) throughout the Commonwealth, and twelve in the UK. She has far more experience of politicians and of human nature than anyone alive today. She has seen and heard it all many times before and her advice is invaluable to the present government and hence, to the nation.

That 'on-call 24-7' lifestyle is a massive, unimaginable life long commitment to service and duty which enriches us as a nation and Commonwealth and touches millions of lives for the better. We would all be greatly poorer without the motivating, cohesive rallying point of the monarchy, above and beyond politics, stable, generation after generation. I for one do not want or need the monarch to reinvent themselves: we had a skin full of that in 1997.

So, what does the Royal family actually do? Do you realise that the Royal family is involved with over three thousand charitable organisations (http://www.royal.gov.uk/CharitiesandPatronages/Overview.aspx)? Can you imagine the motivating power for good that sprinkles on an organisation and those using its services? Immeasurable.

Taking just charitable commitments, have a look for yourself on this page you can select a member of the royal family and see how many organisations they are actively involved in (http://www.royal.gov.uk/CharitiesandPatronages/Search%20Charities%20and%20Patronages.aspx). How does that compare in number or range with the organisations any of us are involved with? Unpaid charitable work is the backbone of British society, the unsung hero of our way of life. Outside of government; apolitical and vital. And more vital now that government finance is squeezed.

EricW
18-11-2010, 10:46 AM
I freely admit my ignorance and thank you for the information.

And there is certainly many advantages to the separation a constitutional monarchy creates between the symbolic locus of power and the real locus of power.

HUG-1
18-11-2010, 10:59 AM
The Royal family? No, with few exceptions (Balmoral and Sandringham).

The entire Estate is infact give over to the British Government here (http://www.thecrownestate.co.uk/tce_faqs.htm). In other words, we the British people own the Royal estate.


In 1760, George III reached an agreement with the Government over the Crown Estate. The Crown Lands would be managed on behalf of the Government and the surplus revenue would go to the Treasury. In return, the King would receive a fixed annual payment, which we call today the Civil List. In 2006-2007 the revenue surplus received by the Treasury from the Crown Estates was £200 million. Since 2001, The Queen receives a set amount of £7.9 million per annum. About 70 per cent of the Civil List expenditure goes on staff salaries. It also goes towards meeting the costs of official functions such as garden parties, receptions and official entertainment during State Visits. The Queen entertains almost 50,000 people each year. The Royal Household strives to be open and transparent, and details of expenditure are published in an Annual Summary and Annual Report.

The Crown Estates generate £200m for the UK Govt. and in exchange the Royal Family is given £7.9m out of which they have to fund their entire existence, including traveling, staff costs, upkeep and so on whether on their own or on behalf of the British government (i.e. us). The system is changing in 2013 (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/spending-review/8076454/Queen-faces-6m-spending-cut-as-Civil-List-is-abolished.html).

PDF of Civil List accounting (http://www.royal.gov.uk/pdf/civil%20list%20report%202010/Civil%20List%20Report%202010.pdf)

Far from living the high life, the situation behind the scenes is of successive government not wishing to be seen as supporting the monarchy, hence ....

Selling property to fund repairs (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/royal-stables-for-sale-to-pay-palace-repair-bills-1790028.html)

Palaces beyond repair (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/theroyalfamily/6178067/Royal-palaces-are-beyond-repair.html) and here (http://www.palacevirtualtours.com/news/showarticle.aspx?id=15)

And finally, the reality: British citizens enjoy the benefits of a monarchy for ..... £0.62 per person per year. Story here (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-464894/The-Royal-Family-costs-taxpayer-62p.html). FYI, a pint of beer costs about £3.00. Our Royal family is outstanding value for money.

STHLS5
18-11-2010, 02:01 PM
..... The idea of royalty just seems like such an anachronism in this day and age...

With respect, it is strange to see the comment coming from someone from Canada. Isn't Canada a constitutional monarchy and the Queen is HRH Elizabeth II? In my country that would be seditious.

ST

{Moderator's comment: Yes, disappointing. After The Evening with Alan in KL earlier this year ~ he tells me that he had a wonderful discussion into the small hours with a group of friends. One of the subjects aired was the variations in the concept of press freedom in Europe and outside. The above comments are in line with that conversation, not a direct response to any other contribution, so were passed Moderation.}

Labarum
19-11-2010, 06:41 AM
Below is the Table of Precedence for Gentlemen in England (In Scotland it is a little different). It lists persons in order of seniority.

Notice how far down the list is the Prime Minister (The Head of Government). He ranks after the Royal Dukes and even the two Archbishops! This is to a democratic government a constant reminder of their elected status as servants of the people.

[The Sovereign]
The Duke of Edinburgh
The Heir Apparent
The Sovereign's Younger Sons
The Sovereign's Grandsons
The Sovereign's Cousins
Archbishop of Canterbury
Lord High Chancellor
Archbishop of York
Prime Minister
Lord High Treasurer (when existing)
Lord President of the Council
Speaker of the House of Commons
Lord Speaker
Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales
Lord Privy Seal
Ambassadors and High Commissioners
Lord Great Chamberlain (when in performance of official duty)
Lord High Constable (when existing)
Earl Marshal
Lord Chamberlain of the Household
Lord Steward of the Household
Master of the Horse
Dukes of England
Dukes of Scotland
Dukes of Great Britain
Dukes of Ireland
Dukes of UK and Ireland since the Union
Eldest Sons of Dukes of the Blood Royal
Marquesses of England
Marquesses of Scotland
Marquesses of Great Britain
Marquesses of Ireland
Marquesses of UK and Ireland since the Union
Eldest Sons of Dukes
Earls of England
Earls of Scotland
Earls of Great Britain
Earls of Ireland
Earls of UK and Ireland since the Union
Younger Sons of Dukes of the Blood Royal
Marquesses' Eldest Sons
Dukes' Younger Sons
Viscounts of England
Viscounts of Scotland
Viscounts of Great Britain
Viscounts of Ireland
Viscounts of UK and Ireland since the Union
Earls' Eldest Sons
Marquesses' Younger Sons
Bishop of London
Bishop of Durham
Bishop of Winchester
Other English Diocesan Bishops according to seniority of consecration
Suffragan Bishops according to seniority of consecration
Secretaries of State if of Baronial rank
Barons of England
Lords of Parliament, Scotland
Barons of Great Britain
Barons of Ireland
Barons of UK and Ireland since the Union, including Life Barons
Master of the Rolls
Lords Commissioners of the Great Seal (when existing)
Treasurer of the Household
Comptroller of the Household
Vice-Chamberlain of the Household
Secretaries of State, being under Baronial rank
Viscounts' Eldest Sons
Earls' Younger Sons
Barons' and Lords of Parliaments' Eldest Sons
Knights of the Garter
Privy Counsellors
Chancellor of the Exchequer
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
President of the Queen's Bench Division
President of the Family Division
Chancellor of the High Court
Lord Justices of Appeal according to seniority of appointment
Judges of High Court of Justice according to seniority of appointment
Viscounts' Younger Sons
Barons' and Lords of Parliaments' Younger Sons
Sons of Life Barons and Lords of Appeal in Ordinary
Baronets, according to date of Patent
Knights of the Thistle
Knights Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath
Knights Grand Commander of the Order of the Star of India
Knights Grand Cross of the Order of St Michael and St George
Knights Grand Commander of the Order of the Indian Empire
Knights Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order
Knights Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire
Knights Commander of the Order of the Bath
Knights Commander of the Order of the Star of India
Knights Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George
Knights Commander of the Order of the Indian Empire
Knights Commander of the Royal Victorian Order
Knights Commander of the Order of the British Empire
Knights Bachelor
Circuit Judges
Masters in Chancery
Master of the Court of Protection
Companions of the Order of the Bath
Companions of the Order of the Star of India
Companions of the Order of St Michael and St George
Companions of the Order of the Indian Empire
Commanders of the Royal Victorian Order
Commanders of the Order of the British Empire
Companions of the Distinguished Service Order
Lieutenants of the Royal Victorian Order
Officers of the Order of the British Empire
Companions of the Imperial Service Order
Eldest Sons of the Younger Sons of Peers
Eldest Sons of Baronets
Eldest Sons of Knights (according to the precedence of their fathers)
Members of the Royal Victorian Order
Members of the Order of the British Empire
Younger Sons of Baronets
Younger Sons of Knights
Esquires
Gentlemen

{Moderator's comment: also marked the great importance of The Speaker ('independent' adjudicator of the elected House of Commons), Ambassadors and High Commissioners (representatives of the Commonwealth), all representing the democratic will of their electorates.}

singslingr
19-11-2010, 09:59 AM
I've always admired the Royal family from afar but Alan's post has really been illuminating. Many thanks.

BAS-H
19-11-2010, 10:56 AM
Good gracious me. Most interesting. Is that list current?

Labarum
19-11-2010, 11:31 AM
Good gracious me. Most interesting. Is that list current?

Yes

See

http://www.debretts.com/forms-of-address/hierarchies/table-of-precedence-gentlemen.aspx

A.S.
19-11-2010, 01:20 PM
The reality behind the seeming wealth of our aristocracy is often at-odds with the outward appearance. The overriding motive is for them to present a good face, and crucially to be able to maintain continuity generation to generation, so that they are not the one remembered as the incumbent who drove the family into financial ruin and sold off the property to pay the bills. But in private, how is the lifestyle actually financed? In the past, there were great estates which provided income from crops and tenants, or sometimes investment in industry. But those days are largely over - so many of these great houses are run on tiny budgets and are in need of completely unaffordable maintenance. Leaking roofs, dry rot, structural collapse - those are the reality of the great houses. That includes Buckingham Palace as reported earlier.

Here is an example of public appearance v. private reality. My wife and I visited The Royal Yacht (http://www.royalyachtbritannia.co.uk/plan-your-visit/britannia-experience/tour/)Britannia (http://www.royalyachtbritannia.co.uk/plan-your-visit/britannia-experience/tour/) in 2008, decommissioned and moored near Edinburgh (near our excellent dealer, HiFi Corner). Britannia was the floating home of the Queen, the one place she claimed she could relax and live as she wanted, away from the camera, as an ordinary person. The only time I have ever seen her close to shedding a tear was when she handed over Britannia, with no likelihood of a replacement due to dithering by the government. I felt truly ashamed that the nation had sunk so low in its penny-pinching and that the sailing era - and even the Empire - was so publicly over.

Anyway, the public can tour around Britannia looking in the engine room up to the Queen's bedroom. Considering that at the time Britannia was cruising the world carrying the British monarch, and our global position was somewhat more important than it is today, it was refreshing indeed to see first hand how the Queen chose to live, in private. We did not expect to see ostentation and we were not disappointed. The public and private rooms were spartan. Bare. far short of what a modern housewife would expect. But that is the reality - the Queen didn't need to prove anything. You get a good insight to the real personality from a look in their bedroom.

Labarum
19-11-2010, 02:11 PM
We did not expect to see ostentation and we were not disappointed. The public and private rooms were spartan. Bare. far short of what a modern housewife would expect. But that is the reality - the Queen didn't need to prove anything. You get a good insight to the real personality from a look in their bedroom.

Yes, I was once on board many years ago. Britannia was built in a simple 1950s "Utility" style. The state rooms at Windsor, however, refurbished after the fire are decorated to a very high standard.

But let's keep things in proportion. Britannia was expensive to run, and would have cost a fortune to replace; but how much did the old ship earn for Britain, and what would a new one have earned in her lifetime?

So also with William's wedding. Some are pointing to the fact it will cost the taxpayer £50 million, others are saying the wedding will generate an extra £500 million for the nation. Looks like a good deal for everyone to me! And that's not considering the pleasure it will give to the majority.

Don Leman
19-11-2010, 06:41 PM
Yes, we were in Edinburgh this Sept and my wife took the Britannia tour. I asked her if she took any pictures of the Queen's bedroom and she said "no it didn't look like anything special" so this fits right in with your point.

I did stop off at the HiFi Corner a couple of years ago and spoke with one of the staff. One of the other staff was doing a demo of the SHL5 mated to Quad tube electronics playing vinyl. Sheffield Lab's "Thelma Huston - I've got the music in me". It was good to see Harbeth product available again at retail in the UK.

coredump
21-11-2010, 05:00 AM
Britons want William for next king, not Charles: polls (http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/afp_world/view/1094668/1/.html) is trouble brewing up. why wouldnt Queen Elizabeth II retire to let Prince Charles to succeed earlier; say 20 years earlier when she is 64 while Throne Prince Charles is 42.. now he is 62 while Prince Willian would be Throne in another 10 years.

{Moderator's comment: another misunderstanding. On the face of it that seems a reasonable concept. However, you cannot begin to understand this situation until you understand the promise Her Majesty made to the Nation and Commonwealth around the time of her Coronation when she was just twenty one years old (http://www.royal.gov.uk/ImagesandBroadcasts/Historic%20speeches%20and%20broadcasts/21stbirthdayspeech21April1947.aspx). Link here ..... It matters not what populist opinion 'thinks'.}

Labarum
21-11-2010, 12:15 PM
I don't think Queen Elizabeth will abdicate, for, as already said she made a promise. She will do less and less and the Heir Apparent (Charles) will do more and more. Elizabeth's life will become a lot harder if Philip dies before her, but she will carry on.

The British constitution is more robust than the pop-celebrity culture that wants a "nice young man" and a "pretty girl" in the public eye. The media can whip up whatever they like. The cohesive forces binding the Monarchy are far stronger.

A.S.
21-11-2010, 09:59 PM
... The media story behind the announcement yesterday is particularly interesting. ... The couple specifically requested that the announcement was made in an exclusive interview with Tom Bradby, Political Editor of ITN News (since 2005), who has been one of my favourite news journalists for years because of his balanced, considered and even handed reporting: the perfect choice. His homely style of interviewing is very much his trademark and seemed to put the couple at ease and allow them to talk for themselves i.e. good interviewing technique.As I suggested the back-story is interesting, and other think so too.

I attach an article from today's Independent on the background to their selection of an ITN (not BBC) journalist to break the news to.

Labarum
28-11-2010, 07:00 AM
Prince William supports his Father's succession

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/theroyalfamily/8165275/Prince-William-Let-my-father-become-King.html

Kumar Kane
10-09-2011, 03:38 AM
The history of medieval England is of great interest, so I read a lot on the subject.

I was startled to read this in a book by a historian about Edward III.

Quote: The great majority of people in England of English ancestry are descended from him, if not the entire population. Although comparatively few people today will be able to prove every generation... For better or for worse, he helped us become what we are. Unquote

And the last sentence at the end of the paragraph, it is thus not just in terms of the leadership example or the institutions that were built by in the reign, but in terms of even genetics!

Does anyone - English or non English, know the logical basis on which this statement of genealogy is being made?

Kumar Kane
10-09-2011, 11:20 AM
Another finding : I remember reading the very evocative first paragraph of a book on the first month of WW1, about how all the then ruling houses of Europe had Queen Victoria as a grandmother, and wondering how the nations so ruled still managed to get involved fighting each other in the bloodbath that it proved to be, that war.

I now realize that this has been happening for at least a thousand years in Europe.

I suppose it goes back to - one can choose one's friends, but not one's relatives:-))

Labarum
10-09-2011, 03:23 PM
Does anyone - English or non English, know the logical basis on which this statement of genealogy is being made?

For what it's worth:

http://www.dur.ac.uk/a.r.millard/genealogy/EdwardIIIDescent.php

A.S.
15-09-2011, 04:23 PM
Well, as I'm not English (I'm a Scot) that rules me out of the lineage. Pity.

Macjager
15-09-2011, 06:55 PM
Long live James I...interestingly, in Canada in the last little while the Government has made an effort to bring the symbolism of the Monarchy back to the forefront of peoples' consciousness, by returning the Royal designation to the Airforce and Navy, RCAF and RCN! The Army of course does not get this designation, something about Cromwell and Charles I...however, our infantry units, especially militia (territorials), have always maintained their Royal designation - Royal Canadian Regiment, Royal Regiment of Canada etc.

The minister of Foreign Affairs has also insisted (reminded) all Canadian Embassies around the world that a picture of the Queen is to hang in the foyers of all embassies! It would also be good for more Canadians to truly understand the role of the Monarchy and appreciate what it brings to the nation as well as the Commonwealth.

Cheers

George

Kumar Kane
15-09-2011, 07:30 PM
Well, as I'm not English (I'm a Scot) that rules me out of the lineage. Pity.
Heh heh - you might have other equally illustrious forbears - Robert the Bruce?!

After reading an alternative (or is it mainstream now?!) history of Richard III, and then reading the Shakespeare play on him, I realize just how vicious the bard was in terms of propaganda. Even if Richard was the villain, Shakespeare is all over him...quite the Tudor Goebbels.

Labarum
15-09-2011, 10:49 PM
. . . returning the Royal designation to the Airforce and Navy, RCAF and RCN! The Army of course does not get this designation, something about Cromwell and Charles I...however, our infantry units, especially militia (territorials), have always maintained their Royal designation

You miss the point: the British Army does not exist, so cannot be "Royal". The Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force exist as distinct and unified organisations, but the British Army exists only in her Regiments and Corps, and in a "General Staff".

The Royal appellation is granted, therefore, to the Regiments and Corps, and not to the Army as a whole, which is a loosely defined federation.

Since the Commonwealth Armed Forces derive from the British the same customs apply in those Forces where the Queen is Head of State.

EricW
16-09-2011, 02:28 AM
It would also be good for more Canadians to truly understand the role of the Monarchy and appreciate what it brings to the nation as well as the Commonwealth.



No offence, but I have to disagree. No disrespect to the British royal family, and in particular much respect to Queen Elizabeth, who seems an admirable person in every possible way.

But it just doesn't sit well with me to have a foreign head of state. Canada is no longer a British colony, and I think it's hard for immigrants who come to this country to understand why they have to swear allegiance to the head of state of a foreign nation. I understand the historical ties, I understand the Queen's place in our political and legal structures, and I respect the heritage, but I think it's time to stand on our own. And if we have friends, we stand to them as equals, not as subordinates.

I'm sorry if this view rubs anyone the wrong way; it's truly not my intent to offend.

{Moderator's comment: we recognise your strongly held views from your previous messages on this very subject which we respect as a valid opinion. Perhaps Canada should be absorbed into an enlarged United States of North America. See then if you are equals with the mighty USA----we think not!}

Macjager
16-09-2011, 11:02 AM
Eric

I would be remiss if I did not remind everyone that HRH Queen Elizabeth II is the Queen of Canada and not "a foreign head of state". It is the current system and frankly much more stable and reconizable than some of the nonsense I have seen around the rest of the world...

cheers

George

Macjager
16-09-2011, 11:14 AM
According to the National Army Museum website http://www.nam.ac.uk/about-us

"The British Army played a decisive role in the creation of the nation state of Great Britain, as we recognise it today. Our Army is not called the Royal Army (unlike the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force) because, after a historic struggle between Parliament and monarchy, the British Army has always been answerable to Parliament and the British people"

Vague but kind of what I said

cheers

George

BAS-H
16-09-2011, 01:01 PM
But it just doesn't sit well with me to have a foreign head of state... I'm sorry if this view rubs anyone the wrong way; it's truly not my intent to offend.

I normally steer clear from topics like this but I must state my agreement. It makes no sense to me, either. No offence taken and none meant in turn.

Labarum
16-09-2011, 03:11 PM
According to the National Army Museum website http://www.nam.ac.uk/about-us

"The British Army played a decisive role in the creation of the nation state of Great Britain, as we recognise it today. Our Army is not called the Royal Army (unlike the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force) because, after a historic struggle between Parliament and monarchy, the British Army has always been answerable to Parliament and the British people"

Vague but kind of what I said

cheers

George

Yes, it is true that the English Civil War changed the relationships between the Head of Sate, the Legislature and whatever Army exists.

See

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_of_Rights_1689

Here it is made clear that England, and later, the UK has no standing Army. It exists only through Parliament's express will, and has to be recreated every year. The Regiments and Corps may enjoy Royal patronage and a continuous identity, but the whole Army does not. The Head of State is Commander in Chief, but commands only on the advice of Ministers. A right royal muddle!

Don't ask me because I don't know enough, but the UK goes to war not by the will of Parliament, but by invoking the Prerogative Royal, effectively exercised by the Prime Minister on the Sovereign's behalf.

Understand it if you can! Parliament can refuse to continue the Army, but when it exists (and it has rarely not existed), it may be sent to war by the Sovereign without Parliament's consent (while the money lasts.)

But to say the Army is denied the title "Royal" because of rows between Cromwell and the Stuarts may not be a sustainable position.

I would guess the Royal Air Force is so called because it was formed by amalgamating the Royal Flying Corps (part of the Army) and the Royal Naval Air Service, and that open up other vistas.

{Moderator's comment: we do not believe that the monarch has the constitutional power to commit the army to war. That may have been true once, but in our parliamentary democracy that is an unimaginable abuse of the monarch's power. In fact during Blair's 'rein' the Queen was coerced into ratifying the army's ill thought through foreign adventures and had no power whatever to decline.}

Kumar Kane
16-09-2011, 03:20 PM
But it just doesn't sit well with me to have a foreign head of state.
Referring to this view just to point out another fascinating bit of history of the British Royal family - the British themselves at one point preferred to have a related, but foreign head of state on religious grounds. I am referring to the Catholic v Protestant subject, where the crown was offered to a Hanoverian, non English speaking, but non Catholic relation, when a brought up in the UK, but Catholic member, was available with an equally good, perhaps even better claim.

George I it was, I believe, who reigned, not very long ago in historical terms, speaking not a word of English all the time he was King. If I remember my reading, he only came to England for the first time to be King.

Labarum
16-09-2011, 07:19 PM
{Moderator's comment: we do not believe that the monarch has the constitutional power to commit the army to war. That may have been true once, but in our parliamentary democracy that is an unimaginable abuse of the monarch's power. In fact during Blair's 'rein' the Queen was coerced into ratifying the army's ill thought through foreign adventures and had no power whatever to decline.}

1. As far as I know the constitutional position is still as below:

http://catherinem.wordpress.com/2007/01/05/waging-war-and-the-royal-prerogative/

The Rt Hon Tony Benn MP has had much to say about Prime Ministers exercising the Prerogative Royal on behalf of the Sovereign, but it remains true that some powers belong to the Executive and not to the Legislature - that is true in Republics as well as Constitutional Monarchies. In the unwritten British Constitution the Prime Minister does posses the powers of an Executive President because it is almost impossible for the Monarch to refuse his/her advice.

2. The sentence "In fact during Blair's 'rein' the Queen was coerced into ratifying the army's ill thought through foreign adventures and had no power whatever to decline." is in serious need of correction. The Armed Forces of the United Kingdom obey the lawful direction of their political masters. The "ill thought through adventures" you refer to probably refer to the Blair Government's decision to support the Bush Administration's military choices. In spite of the personal views some (even some in the Armed Forces) the highest legal officer in the United Kingdom ruled Blair's decision lawful, and the independent legal advice the Armed Forces Chiefs sought made it clear the orders were lawful and must be followed. The implied criticism of the British Armed Forces is grossly unfair: they complied with the will of the democratically elected government.

{Moderator's comment: we shoudl have made it clear that the army are entirely at the service of the Government. It is well reported the Attorney General and many at the top were coerced into supporting intervention based on fictitious WOMD etc.. No criticism of our fine servicemen implied. They did what their masters instructed. They had no other option. And 600+ have laid down their lives for it.}

Labarum
16-09-2011, 11:37 PM
{Moderator's comment: . . . It is well reported the Attorney General and many at the top were coerced into supporting intervention . . . }[/QUOTE]

Coerced? I do think your use of this word is inappropriate.

I listened on TV to the testimony of the (then) Attorney General to the official enquiry. It seems his original position was cautious - that use of military action would not be lawful without a further UN resolution. The legal officers of the USA took the contrary view - that existing UN resolutions still in force from the first Gulf War constituted a sufficient legal basis for military intervention. According to the Attorney General's own testimony, in very technical discussions with his American legal counterparts, he changed his opinion and offered that revised advice to the British Cabinet of Ministers who assumed collective responsibility for the direction given the Armed Forces. I fail to see how that constituted coercion. World class lawyers are well used to robust legal argument and are not likely to be brow beaten.

It does, however, seem, in retrospect, that decisions were taken on the basis of incorrect intelligence; but that is an entirely separate issue.

A.S.
17-09-2011, 10:40 AM
I have no wish to drag this out, but I do want to make it clear to overseas readers who may not follow the story closely, that the relationship between Blair and the British Attorney General (who sanctioned the Iraq invasion) is not at all clear-cut. If one individual in the power process stands in the way of a pre-agreed action plan, that individual will be coerced, bullied, (and in Blair-speak) spun-against, sidelined, undermined, discredited and finally dismissed if they do not sanction the corporate line. To put oneself in that uneviable position would take nerves of steel.

Report on this subject which validates Moderator's comment, and I quote "The Mail on Sunday can disclose that Attorney General Lord Goldsmith wrote the letter to Mr Blair in July 2002 - a full eight months before the war - telling him that deposing Saddam Hussein was a blatant breach of international law. It was intended to make Mr Blair call off the invasion, but he ignored it. Instead, a panicking Mr Blair issued instructions to gag Lord Goldsmith, banned him from attending Cabinet meetings and ordered a cover-up to stop the public finding out. He even concealed the bombshell information from his own Cabinet, fearing it would spark an anti-war revolt. The only people he told were a handful of cronies who were sworn to secrecy. Lord Goldsmith was so furious at his treatment he threatened to resign - and lost three stone as Mr Blair and his cronies bullied him into backing down. Sources close to the peer say he was 'more or less pinned to the wall' in a Downing Street showdown with two of Mr Blair's most loyal aides, Lord Falconer and Baroness Morgan."

Read more here (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1231746/Secret-letter-reveal-new-Blair-war-lies.html). I think that's fairly conclusive about the style of management at the top of Blair's government as we here in the UK suspected for many years. Or here (http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2011/jan/28/cabinet-attorney-general-iraq-doubts). Or here 'Blair admits disregarded advice' (http://www.channel4.com/news/iraq-war-blair-admits-inconsistency-over-legal-advice).

None of us ordinary folk have any inside knowledge that would allow us, sitting in our comfortable armchairs, to understand what reliable intelligence any PM has that commits an army to foreign intervention. All we at home can do is to try and read between the lines and perhaps above all, carefully listen to the choice of words, the measured tone, the presentational style and compare it against people we trust and respect and come out with a verdict 'yes this man is a leader we have confidence in, who we would go to war for, who we would lay down our life for ....' or not. Almost nightly national TV reports another of the 345 coffins (in just four years) arriving at Royal Wootton Basset (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-wiltshire-14726697) and another set of grieving parents and family. That's a lot of misery and destroyed families.

I'll make available last week's interview with ex-PM Blair.

The core issue is that the Blair years and the military adventures they engaged in resulted in a deep cynicism and mistrust between the public and their elected politicians. Voting numbers have fallen. Opinion polls show politicians are poorly thought of (http://www.upi.com/Odd_News/2009/08/31/Politicians-car-salesmen-get-no-respect/UPI-60501251763656/). That is a very dangerous precedent for any democracy with a sophisticated and well resourced army.

Labarum
17-09-2011, 01:09 PM
Alan! You quote the Daily Mail! Not a publication that is renowned for dispassionate and uncoloured reporting.

Like you, I have no desire to prolong this discussion, for this is not the proper place for it; but on the other hand I must balance what you say in your last post.

Let the membership hear for themselves Lord Goldsmith giving evidence to the Chilcott enquiry in this short video clip, and read a rather cooler written report in a newspaper generally unsympathetic to Prime Minister Blair.

See here

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/iraq/7083544/Lord-Goldsmith-tells-Iraq-Inquiry-why-he-gave-green-light-for-war.html

A.S.
19-09-2011, 06:56 PM
... Let the membership hear for themselves .... and see for themselves the consequences of Blair's intervention here (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-10629358). Whilst Blair continues to live the high life strutting the international stage let us consider for a moment all those young lives lost. And all the wives, girlfriends, boyfriends, parents, friends and children. And let's also not forget the even greater number of those cripped for life.

I have no means of knowing whether of not the cause is just. I have no more facts than those available to the public. The British government knew all too well that ultimately, as demonstrated by the Peace Accord in Northern Ireland, you have to sit around the table with terrorists and negotiate but that awareness was completely ignored when Blair committed British resources to his overseas adventure. What sickens me is the zealous glee with which we were lead into this mess by our leaders. And as you'll hear from the interview I'll make available, as time has passed Blair has become more zealous not less.

As Churchill said 'Jaw jaw is better than war war.'

Macjager
19-09-2011, 09:18 PM
Mr. Blair is currently head of the "Quartet" seeking Middle East Peace, and I can tell you from personal experience, that he is generally sidelined as he is not respected, nor seen to be effective in his role. The really unfortunate thing is that he believes his own propaganda and is living the high life whilst he sits in an extremely expensive hotel in Jerusalem...

EricW
19-09-2011, 09:28 PM
... let us consider for a moment all those young lives lost. And all the wives, girlfriends, boyfriends, parents, friends and children. And let's also not forget the even greater number of those cripped for life.

.... What sickens me is the zealous glee with which we were lead into this mess by our leaders. And as you'll hear from the interview I'll make available, as time has passed Blair has become more zealous not less.

As Churchill said 'Jaw jaw is better than war war.'

Absolutely. In Canada, we were quite fortunate, at least with respect to Iraq, to have a Prime Minister in office (at the time) who was willing to say publicly that the "evidence" for WMD was not convincing, and that he was not prepared to commit the country to war on the basis of such flimsy evidence. I don't think he actually called it "trumped-up", but that was a reasonable inference. Unfortunately, however, we lost too many fine young men in Afghanistan, for what purpose was never entirely clear.

And no, no lawyer minds a robust argument - in a courtroom, where the rules are clear, both sides are on the same footing, the rules of evidence are adhered to, and the arbiter is neutral and only swayed by the quality of the evidence and the argument. Politics is a different beast entirely, and is played by a different set of rules (or sometimes, it seems, no rules at all ...). And the personal pressures are very different.

************************************

After posting the above, I did some online searching and found this very interesting CBC news story interviewing the Canadian Prime Minister referred to above, in which he claims that it was Blair, not Bush, who put the most pressure on Canada to go into Iraq:

(Posted on CBC.ca September 6, 2011)

It was Tony Blair who pushed hardest for Canada to get involved in the 2003 Iraq invasion, not George W. Bush, former prime minister Jean Chrétien says.

Speaking to Evan Solomon on CBC's Power & Politics, Chrétien said it was the former British prime minister who approached him about going to war to remove Saddam Hussein from power in 2003.

"I had more discussions about the possibility of going to war with Tony Blair than with George Bush. I always had a suspicion that Tony said to George, 'I will take care of Jean,'" Chrétien said in an interview leading up to the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks on the U.S.

Chrétien said he was friendlier with Blair than with Bush, who was then the U.S. president. He said Blair tried to convince him in a conversation about Saddam being a terrible dictator.

"I said, of course, Tony, he's a terrible dictator. But if we're in the business of replacing all the dictators we don't like, who's next?" Chrétien recalls, saying he pointed to dictators like Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe within the Commonwealth.

"Why don't we solve the problem in the family first?"

Blair, he says, argued Saddam and Mugabe were different cases.

"I said of course, Mugabe has no oil ... and he [Blair] didn't like it."

...

harbethpr
06-02-2012, 10:29 AM
Today, 6th February 2012 we celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Queen's accession to the throne. We send our hearty congratulations and thanks for sixty years of dedicate service to Britain and for consistency during changing times.

Video here (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FSCm4QXcwnw).

A.S.
06-02-2012, 12:42 PM
More on how the news reached Princess Elizabeth of the death of her father, King George VI here (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-16795006) and more on King George IV here (http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/people/king_george_vi#). More here (http://www.englishmonarchs.co.uk/windsor_3.htm) - to quote ...

Propelled into becoming monarch by the abdication of his brother after "... his father's death in 1936, Bertie's elder brother David ascended the throne as Edward VIII, both the Duke and Duchess of York strongly disapproved of his relationship with the twice divorced American Mrs Simpson. Being trained and brought up only to be an officer in the navy, Bertie was appalled by the abdication crisis and the responsibilities that it unexpectedly thrust upon him. "This is absolutely terrible, I'm quite unprepared for it," he complained miserably and in panic to Louis Mountbatten, "I've never seen a state paper, I'm only a naval officer, it's the only thing I know about". He nevertheless accepted the awesome responsibility, "You can be assured " he stated , "that I will do my best to clear up the inevitable mess, if the whole fabric does not crumble under the shock and strain of it all." He chose to reign as George VI to mark the continuity with his father's reign. his coronation took place at Westminster Abbey on 12th May, 1937."

With this background, even before the young Princess Elizabeth ascended to the throne at the age of twenty five she gave a solomn undertaking that she would serve the country for her entire life (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O0etfsnGgEU&feature=related), and that is what she has steadfastly stuck to. Perhaps most remarkably during her sixty year reign she has appointed and outlasted (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Prime_Ministers_of_Queen_Elizabeth_II) (a constitutional formality) twelve British prime ministers, and one hundred and fifty six throughout the Commonwealth. We are, as a Commonwealth, extremely fortunate to have benefitted from such a strong, consistent and steadfast national leader above and beyond the shenenegans of mere politicians. And politicians do benefit from at least weekly private, unrecorded, meetings with the Queen here (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7AmqNfVXlBM&feature=related) in complete and total privacy.

If only politicians showed the same self-restraint and putting self last our democracy would be in far better shape.

As Amercican President Kennedy aptly said "Ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country". He could have been describing our Queen's personal ethos.

A.S.
06-02-2012, 03:09 PM
[QUOTE=A.S.;17427]... ... Bertie was appalled by the abdication crisis and the responsibilities that it unexpectedly thrust upon him. "This is absolutely terrible, I'm quite unprepared for it," he complained miserably and in panic to Louis Mountbatten, "I've never seen a state paper, I'm only a naval officer, it's the only thing I know about". He nevertheless accepted the awesome responsibility, "You can be assured " he stated , "that I will do my best to clear up the inevitable mess, if the whole fabric does not crumble under the shock and strain of it all." To fully understand the motivation behind Queen Elizabeth IIs commitment to the nation, you have to appreciate the example her father, King George VI set her. This is beautifully protrayed in the recent film, The King's Speech. Her father, (affectionately known as Bertie in the Royal family) found himself as king after his brother's abdication, suffered from a chronic stammer which made speech giving at a time of approching war a torment for him. But with tuition - the point of the film - he managed to control it.

If you have a chance to watch The King's Speech do so. It is a truly fantastic film, and for us audio enthusiasts, the attention to detail recreating the equipment of the period is quite incredible. I noticed an LB3 monitor loudspeaker in one scene which I have only seen in a book.

Trailer here (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pzI4D6dyp_o) and wonderful scene here (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pzI4D6dyp_o) which must have greatly impacted on the young Princess Elizabeth.

If you can do watch this film.

EricW
07-02-2012, 04:10 AM
The King's Speech is indeed a wonderful film.

I thought you might perhaps enjoy this editorial from the Globe and Mail, the closest thing Canada has to a national paper:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/opinions/editorials/long-may-she-reign-over-us/article2326549/

A.S.
07-02-2012, 10:28 AM
A most interesting TV programme The Diamond Queen part1, last night with very interesting behind-the-scenes stories. BBC iplayer here (http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b01bzw4b/The_Diamond_Queen_Episode_1/).

There are some touching quotes, even from "hard boiled New Yorkers".

Two comments that registered with me: during Queen Elizabeth's reign, she has been acquainted with and entertained on behalf of the United Kingdom, USA Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush and Obama. As was said (approximate quotation) 'no one at the centre of political life in America today [which is culturally about progress, rebuilding, reinvention] has the Queen's first hand experience to objectively compare and contrast over that sixty year period'.

The other comment relates to that objectivity - but I need to watch again to repeat it accurately.

Do watch it if you can.

STHLS5
07-02-2012, 04:44 PM
BBC Iplayers is restricted to UK. There is nothing special about the diamond jubilee anniversary in BBC World that we subscribe via satellite TV. However, tomorrow we can catch *The Queen: A Monarch for All Seasons.*

I watched The King's Speech during the Christmas holidays. I didn't know it was actually based on the true story, then. It was a good movie. Being a Malaysian, there's hardly an opportunity to know The Queen or the British history more than what you get over the news.

My treasured memory of her was seeing her dressed in yellow (http://www.malaysiakini.com/news/170070) to greet our PM. For many of us, we thought it was The Queen's sense of humor to politely show her displeasure of what was happening in Malaysia at that time. Yes, during BERSIH (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bersih_2.0_rally) it was a crime to wear yellow and many got arrested for that! What was The Queen's intention may remain a mystery.

ST

{Moderator's comment: you really want to catch A Diamond Queen if you can. Excellent behind-the-scenes stuff that we don't normally see.}

kittykat
07-02-2012, 10:53 PM
Being a Malaysian, there's hardly an opportunity to know The Queen or the British history

Think the Malay government likes to feel that it is traumatised by colonialism, but don't realise what they have inherited from the British in terms of government and democracy have held the country together. Without the Commonwealth and the Queen, I would hate to imagine the treatment minorities would get.

EricW
08-02-2012, 06:18 AM
Being a Malaysian, there's hardly an opportunity to know The Queen or the British history more than what you get over the news.



Books? Movies? TV? The internet? You do have all those in Malaysia, right?

I'm really not sure what you intend to say. Even the British don't absorb history through the drinking water, you know: I expect it has to be learned, somehow.

STHLS5
08-02-2012, 10:15 AM
Books? Movies? TV? The internet? You do have all those in Malaysia, right?

I'm really not sure what you intend to say. Even the British don't absorb history through the drinking water, you know: I expect it has to be learned, somehow.

And how much you learned about Malaysia's history? Or is there a particular reason for you to do so?

ST

kittykat
08-02-2012, 11:21 AM
Books? Movies? TV? The internet? You do have all those in Malaysia, right?

I'm really not sure what you intend to say. Even the British don't absorb history through the drinking water, you know: I expect it has to be learned, somehow.

The government has actively pursued "localisation", severing as many links with its colonial past as it creatively can. Roads named by British have been replaced. Malaysian history books give little credit to its historical inheritance. Young Malaysians today know very little about its rich past, focussing instead on its "successes" and then the hard days of the mid 90's. Mahatir was interviewed on BBC just last week and he still harps on about how hard done by he was by western market manipulators. He has even made the comment "buy British last" before. The Malay government chooses to blame the west for its ills. So ericw, no there is no press in the peninsular about these topics.

A.S.
08-02-2012, 03:21 PM
The government has actively pursued "localisation", severing as many links with its colonial past as it creatively can. Roads named by British have been replaced. Malaysian history books give little credit to its historical inheritance. Young Malaysians today know very little about its rich pas...Well, sounds like the timing is perfect for a new sort of creeping, covert 'colonialism' by stealth to move in where the British were nudged out. There is one vital difference though, and it's far more than just symbolic. The British were, and largely still are, Christians. The essence of Christianity is of fairness and justice, a common decency to others, 'do unto others as you would have done to you'. This is so deeply engrained in the Christian upbringing that we're not really conscious of it day to day, but our entire government marches to that single beat. The police don't drag you off into a darkened room for a good thrashing; the tax man sends you nice reminders long before he starts to turn up the temperature; the humble clerk in the lowest position in the civil service performs his duties without favouritism ... and corruption is almost unheard of. I have never seen any evidence of it in my entire adult life - quite the opposite. I recall one snap inspection by a VAT officer who was so straight-laced that he wouldn't even accept a cup of tea for fear of being coerced.

Of course, there will be plenty of examples (don't bother quoting them) where our colonial needs at the time was oppressive, and freedom curtailed - temporarily. But the British Empire at it's peak, governing a third of humanity was administred by just few thousand British civil servants scattered around the globe, and by countless millions of locals recruited, paid, educated, fed and kept health by the few. That says that we governed with a very light touch, gave tremendous autonomy to the locals once we'd set-up the structures of governance and the whole machine ticked along very nicely for everyones mutual benefit - back to Christainity again.

One has to look at the big picture. Our legacy in terms of structure, infrastructure and education we gave for free and we left behind freely. None of these things are apparent now the mania (and illusion) of "freedom" has become a global mantra. But mark my words, a new generation of resource-hungry, non-Chritians have their eyes on resource-rich economies. They do not have the natural checks-and-balance restraints that Christians have. Business is business and the human dimension of little consequence. I'm sure prime ministers all around the world would welcome them as great saviours. Indeed why wouldn't they welcome those bearing gifts and promises?

If I was obliged to live under anyone's thumb, there is not a shadow of a doubt that the most benign would be British rule. Under that, providing I didn't get any insane notions that I had a 'right' to this and that outrageous self-expression I could thrive. I'd be educated and fed. My healthcare would be good. I could do something with my life.

EricW
08-02-2012, 03:58 PM
If I was obliged to live under anyone's thumb, there is not a shadow of a doubt that the most benign would be British rule. Under that, providing I didn't get any insane notions that I had a 'right' to this and that outrageous self-expression I could thrive. I'd be educated and fed. My healthcare would be good. I could do something with my life.

Or as Monty Python put it in The Life of Brian, in a scene where some Judean would-be revolutionaries are sitting around a table:

"What have the Romans ever done for us?"

[a couple of minutes later ...]

"Well, all right. But apart from sanitation, education, wine, medicine, public order, irrigation, the fresh water system and the roads, what have the Romans ever done for us?"

STHLS5
08-02-2012, 04:16 PM
... The essence of Christianity is of fairness and justice, a common decency to others, 'do unto others as you would have done to you'. ..
Of course, there will be plenty of examples (don't bother quoting them) where our colonial needs at the time was oppressive, and freedom curtailed - temporarily. But the British Empire at it's peak, governing a third of humanity was administred by just few thousand British civil servants scattered around the globe, and by countless millions of locals recruited, paid, educated, fed and kept health by the few. That says that we governed with a very light touch, gave tremendous autonomy to the locals once we'd set-up the structures of governance and the whole machine ticked along very nicely for everyones mutual benefit - back to Christainity again.

...But mark my words, a new generation of resource-hungry, non-democrats, non-Chritians are worming their way deep into resource-rich economies. And they care not one jot for the locals, only for the mother country. They do not have the natural checks-and-balance restraints that Christians have. It is said that they have a particular distaste for dark skin which cannot be said of the British. Business is business to them, and the human dimension of little consequence. I'm sure prime ministers all around the world are welcoming them with open arms this very minute as the great saviours.

Well said. The only reason Gandhi's ahimsa succeeded because he was dealing with the British. Christianity influence may have moulded the high values and sense of fair play but I still think it was the nature of the British people that brought the high points of Christianity.

You are right about the colonization by stealth. But it is happening on two pronged front. US and British are equally guilty for letting it to grow. Not sure I can say more in this forum.

Ok, now back to The Queen's Diamond Jubilee. Just a reminder to the British and Her Majesty (and Kittykat too), Malaysia was never colonized! Our ex dictator PM Mahathir just said that about a month back. I quote "“We were technically never colonized (http://www.malaysiandigest.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=31003:tun-m-malaysia-was-never-colonilized-by-brits-sultans-had-invited-brits-to-be-advisers&catid=36:local&Itemid=68). What we did was the sultans decided to invite the British to come and advise them on how to administer the country. We were not conquered in that sense" . I am sure you can skip Victoria's exercise for today after rolling on the floor. Would have been a great script for "Yes, Minister" sitcom. Oh..I miss the program.

ST

HUG-1
22-07-2013, 11:23 PM
on the birth of their son today, one day to be our king. News reports here (http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk-news/blog/2013/jul/22/royal-baby-kate-admitted-to-hospital-for-birth-live-coverage).

A healthy, happy and fulfilled life to them all.

A.S.
23-07-2013, 12:07 PM
on the birth of their son today, one day to be our king. News reports here (http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk-news/blog/2013/jul/22/royal-baby-kate-admitted-to-hospital-for-birth-live-coverage).

A healthy, happy and fulfilled life to them all.Indeed. We are extremely lucky here in the UK to have a royal family who are both accessible to the public, deeply involved in 'good works'* and living identifiable modern lifestyles without being showy. In a few words, a lifestyle of service to and for the community.

*Can you imagine, that from adulthood, your life as a royal is measured and steered to the minute with negligible free time? It would drive a normal mortal into deep depression having a daily appointment diary filled by officials years ahead. Illness? Days off? Sorry; they're not in the schedule - too many people to disappoint. Royal web site here (http://www.royal.gov.uk/) from which you can read the appointments diary (http://www.royal.gov.uk/LatestNewsandDiary/CourtCircular/Todaysevents.aspx) for the Royal Household. It's an inescapable, unasked for, lifetime commitment to public service.

Long may it continue. We are all the better for it and that is why we appreciate our royals so much.