obits, royals

Queen Elizabeth II is dead after a long lifetime of service and sacrifice…

I knew we were going to get bad news about Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II when I noticed announcements on YouTube about her doctors advising that she be under medical supervision. Buckingham Palace never makes those kinds of announcements unless something big is about to happen. I soon found myself on Jesus Enrique Rosas’ YouTube channel, of all places. He was having a live stream, talking about Queen Elizabeth’s declining health. Some people in Britain commented that the Queen had already died sometime around 2:00pm, UK time, but they were waiting for all of the family members to arrive in Balmoral before making an official announcement.

How did they know? Some had mentioned that members of the press were wearing black ties. I hadn’t known until yesterday that the black ties were a sign. Apparently, the BBC had regularly rehearsed the announcement of the Queen’s inevitable death for years. I read somewhere that they rehearsed the procedure every six months, and always had black ties on hand for anchormen to don immediately, when they announcement finally came. Below is a video about the protocol that I stumbled across yesterday. It was made in 2017. And here’s an article by The Guardian written on the subject of protocol when “London Bridge falls”.

Very interesting video about Operation London Bridge. I had no idea.
Such a shock… and yes, the anchor is wearing black, as is tradition.

I shed a few tears yesterday when the news was confirmed that Queen Elizabeth had, in fact, crossed the bar at last. My earliest memories are of living in England, although I was not born there. We were living in England when the Queen had her Silver Jubilee in 1977, and my parents bought memorabilia from that event, which was always on display in our home. I always felt a kinship with Britain, and while a lot of Britons don’t care much for the monarchy, I have always been fascinated by it. I especially loved the fact that Queen Elizabeth II was such a big fan of horses and dogs. I have that in common with her.

Queen Elizabeth II has always struck me as a lovely person with a good sense of humor, warmth and consideration for other people, and a remarkable attitude toward service. Just a couple of days ago, she met Liz Truss, Britain’s brand new prime minister. Although this ceremony has historically taken place at Buckingham Palace, because the 96 year old queen had been in poor health and had mobility issues, Ms. Truss visited her at Balmoral, near Aberdeen, Scotland. There were photos of the event, which circulated widely, with the queen smiling and shaking the new prime minister’s hand while clutching a walking stick. Liz Truss is the 15th prime minister to meet the queen, and she is Britain’s third female prime minister. I almost get the sense that Her Majesty waited to do this one last duty before slipping off the mortal coil and meeting her beloved Prince Philip and the countless dogs and horses who predeceased her.

With the Queen’s passing, Britain now has a new King– Charles III– and a new Queen Consort, Camilla. Prince William and his wife, Catherine, have now become the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and Rothesay, in addition to Cambridge. They have inherited Cornwall and Rothesay from Charles and Camilla. I suspect that very soon, Prince William and his wife will also inherit the title of the Prince and Princess of Wales, although that isn’t a given, since that title isn’t one that passes automatically. Maybe I shouldn’t care about these things, since I’m an American. But, as I mentioned before, I spent a lot of time in Britain, and had it not been for my ancestors, I would be a Brit myself, based only on my overwhelmingly British DNA.

They are about to be even busier than they ever were.

Prince Harry wasn’t able to get to Balmoral in time to say goodbye to his grandmother before she passed. He and Meghan have been in Europe on a speaking tour. They’d had plans in London, but obviously, those had to be canceled. Meghan is said to have stayed in London, which was no doubt the wisest thing to do, under the circumstances. I’m sure that in time, there will be a documentary about all that went down yesterday, and it will be interesting to see. For now, it just seems so surreal that Queen Elizabeth II is gone. She always reminded me so much of my own Granny, and I’ve always admired her for so many reasons– from her love of horses and dogs, to her colorful sense of fashion and style, to her sense of humor, to the way she always seemed to keep a stiff upper lip, no matter what. I’m glad for her that she was able to pass in the place where she reportedly felt most comfortable– in Scotland. I can’t blame her for feeling that way. Scotland is a wonderful place. It was especially fitting to see that there was a double rainbow over Buckingham Palace yesterday, just after the queen’s passing– even though she passed in Scotland, not London.

Queen Elizabeth II was not born to be a queen, but had that duty thrust upon her. She handled with with grace and sobriety, leading through so many eras during her incredible 70 years on the throne. No matter what one might think of the monarchy, Queen Elizabeth II was an amazing woman who showed great fortitude in good times and bad. I will miss her for many reasons. She was a role model to me, even though I’m not one to follow role models very well. I hope she’s resting in peace, reunited with Prince Philip in paradise… but I realize that no one really knows what happens when death occurs. If she can’t be in Heaven with everyone she’s ever loved, animals included, I hope she at least enjoyed some beautiful hallucinations as she drifted away.

Something else was on my mind yesterday. Just before our walk yesterday, I noticed that the lymph nodes in Arran’s hind legs appeared to be enlarged. I felt them, and they are, in fact, swollen. We just passed our third anniversary of our sweet beagle, Zane’s, death from lymphoma. My first clue that Zane was so sick was noticing that he had swollen lymph nodes under his jaws and hearing him bark with hoarseness. Both Zane and Arran had suffered from mast cell tumors, and lymphoma is a known complication of that disease. We didn’t know Zane was so sick because we had been on vacation in Scotland, of all places, and lymphoma can be deadly very quickly. We lost Zane just one week after we found out about the cancer.

I do worry that Arran might also have lymphoma. He has a vet appointment today, because he’s been acting lethargic. However, unlike Zane, he seems to have improved since my initial concern, the swollen lymph nodes notwithstanding. He wanted to take a walk yesterday, and is eating well, if not a bit slowly. Just now, he went outside, drank some water, and parked himself behind my office chair. Hopefully, the swollen lymph nodes are not caused by cancer this time– especially since they so far seem confined to his popliteal nodes. The right one is noticeably larger than the left, rather than uniform, as they were with Zane. His eyes are bright, and his mast cell tumors have never affected him the way they did Zane. But, just as the queen was, our Arran is quite elderly at about 14 years old. Eventually, we will have to say goodbye to him, too.

One thing I have noticed is that ever since Arran encountered the resident hedgehog in our backyard, I have seen some fleas. Hedgehogs are notorious for having fleas, although the kind they have are breed specific and don’t infest household pets. However, hedgehog fleas do still bite, and Arran did have some blood work done recently that indicated a slightly low level of red blood cells. Perhaps that could be related to Arran’s current state. I gave both dogs baths yesterday, just to see if I saw any telltale evidence of an actual flea infestation. Unfortunately, having grown up in Virginia in the 80s with dogs, I have seen my fair share of the pesky little fuckers. But there weren’t any fleas, nor was there any evidence of “flea dirt” in the bath water. Arran is an old guy, though, so if fleas are biting him, that could conceivably affect his blood work. He doesn’t have the resilience he once had, when he was a young dog. I was worried about him being lethargic, and slow to eat, although he always does eat eventually. Anyway, we’ll see what the vet says. With any luck, we can get him back to feeling like his old self for awhile longer.

Bill comes back from his business trip today. It will be good to see him. I always miss him when he’s gone, but I especially missed him last night, as I heard the news about the beloved British monarch, Queen Elizabeth II. It will be interesting to see how Charles carries on as King Charles. His reign is bound to be short, though. He probably won’t even make it to the Silver Jubilee that my parents attended all those years ago, when we lived in Britain. I wish Charles luck. I know a lot of people don’t like him because of what happened between him and Diana, but I’ve always thought of him as sort of a tortured soul. It’s been nice to see him obviously much happier with Camilla, who should have been his wife from the beginning. They are clearly soulmates. So I wish them both the best, as they have a huge undertaking, following the second longest reigning monarch of all time, and the longest reigning British monarch. I hope William is preparing, too… because I suspect it won’t be too long before he’s called upon to follow his father. He won’t be waiting 70 years; that is for certain.

One last thing… I am a child of the 70s and 80s, so I can’t help but remember an infamously rude 1986 era song by The Smiths about the monarchy. The song is called “The Queen is Dead”, and it’s definitely a song of antipathy. I have a feeling it may catch on in the coming weeks, as some people are already making tasteless jokes about the queen’s passing. While I don’t agree with the song’s sentiment toward the monarchy, I have to admit to liking The Smiths… this song included.

The lyrics are pretty damning.
Standard
book reviews, celebrities, narcissists

A review of Revenge: Meghan, Harry and the war between the Windsors, by Tom Bower…

Not long ago, I wrote that I had been following H.G. Tudor’s deliciously snarky YouTube videos about British investigative author Tom Bower’s brand new book, Revenge. I hadn’t been planning to read Revenge, but Tudor, who has a velvety British accent and a hilarious sense of humor as he narrates, made me give in to temptation. I ordered the book last Friday; it arrived on Monday, and I’ve just now finished it. I’ve also been continuing to watch Tudor’s narration videos, which include his interpretations of the book through the lens of what he called Meghan’s “narcissistic behavior”.

To be clear, I agree with Mr. Tudor that Meghan Markle is probably a narcissist, although not having met her personally, I can’t say that for certain. Tom Bower, likewise, seems to think Meghan is an incredibly selfish, self-serving, and despicable person. Bower is the author of at least 25 books about famous people, to include members of the British Royal Family. He is known for being a very thorough reporter, and claims that he interviewed over 80 people for his book. Of course, a lot of what he writes about was also covered in the press. Overall, having read this book, one gets the sense that Meghan Markle is bad news for the British Royal Family and a real threat to the monarchy.

When I ordered this book, it was not yet offered on Amazon.com. I had to order a physical copy of it from Amazon.de. I don’t read a lot of actual books these days, preferring to read stuff on my Kindle, because it’s cheaper, more convenient, and doesn’t require me to find a place for the book when I’m finished with it. Now that I’ve read the book, I wish I’d held out for Kindle. It’s now available in the Amazon.com store, and much less expensive. But, as I’m not always the most disciplined when it comes to small impulse buys, I decided not to wait. Bill doesn’t mind that I do this. His first wife had a habit of buying cars, landscaping, houses, and furniture when she felt the impulse to buy things.

So anyway, I wasn’t expecting that much from Bower’s book. I read that he had worked for The Daily Mail, which is one of Britain’s biggest tabloids. I knew it would be salacious, and it was. I don’t mind salacious books. I do mind typos, though, and there were a few in this book. Bower brings up Meghan Markle’s work on Suits frequently, and at one point, he even wrote about how Princes Charles and William wore suits to Prince Philip’s funeral, to avoid embarrassing Harry, who wasn’t allowed to wear his uniform, and Prince Andrew, who was recently stripped of his honors. Instead of writing “suits”, as a common noun, Bower wrote “Suits“, as if he was writing about Meghan’s USA Network show, Suits. In another spot, he referred to Kate Middleton’s “Alexandra McQueen” outfit. I think he meant Alexander McQueen. And in still another, he refers to Pennsylvania as part of New England, and it’s not. These are a few examples I can think of offhand. They aren’t a huge deal, but I did notice. Better editing and fact checking is indicated. But then, this book is over 500 pages long and exhaustively researched, cited, and furnished with lots of endnotes. There were bound to be a couple of mistakes somewhere.

Bower starts at the beginning, detailing Meghan Markle’s birth to parents, Doria Ragland, who is Black, and Thomas Markle, who is White, in Los Angeles, California, on August 4, 1981. She was the only child between her parents, although Thomas Markle had two children from his first marriage, Samantha and Tom Jr. Samantha was originally named Yvonne, but she changed her name to Samantha. She is in a wheelchair, because she has multiple sclerosis. Her brother, Tom, reportedly has issues with bankruptcies and alcoholism, and has a son who is estranged. Doria Ragland is presented as kind of a “hippy dippy” yoga enthusiast who later became a social worker. They divorced when Meghan was young, but stayed in touch and even had amicable dinners together as Meghan came of age. Meghan was reportedly called “Flower” and treated like a princess, her every whim catered to, especially by her father. Sadly, Meghan and her father are now famously on the outs… My husband can relate to that, since he’s on the outs with one of his daughters, too.

Bower continues detailing Meghan’s life with astonishing comprehensiveness, covering old boyfriends, old school friends, old agents and colleagues, and frequently shedding light on some of the stories we’ve heard since Meghan burst onto the international scene in late 2017. As Bower paints it, Meghan was looking to get ahead, and constantly used people, discarding and/or ghosting them when she was finished with them. As someone who studies narcissism, this pattern is very familiar to me. I suspect the same thing will one day happen to Harry… but maybe I’m wrong. In fact, I hope I am, for their children’s sakes. The overwhelming message, though, is that Meghan craves money, success, prestige, and power. And, as Harry famously stated as wedding preparations were being made in 2018, “What Meghan wants, Meghan gets.” I think, in the coming years, those words could end up haunting Harry.

It must be heartbreaking for Her Majesty, the Queen, to see her grandson’s fall from public favor. I might even blame Harry, except I don’t think he was particularly savvy about Meghan’s type. He seemed lonely and aimless, and other women he had dated had wisely steered clear of joining the British Royal Family. Sure, there are a lot of perks that come from being royal, but with that privilege comes huge responsibilities and lots of rules and protocol to follow. Harry’s other girlfriends hadn’t wanted to live life in a fishbowl as a condition of being famous and wealthy. Meghan, on the other hand, seemed to want to take Harry’s mother’s place as the “People’s Princess”. Or, at least that’s how she seemed to want people to see her. Unfortunately for Meghan, she doesn’t have a scintilla of Diana’s charisma or instinctive way of relating to regular people. In fact, Meghan is merely an actress, and not a very good one, at that. She plays at being a caring, loving, compassionate role model, as she jets around in private planes, holds her children hostage from their extended family members, and never does anything without a camera crew. And anyone who calls her out for that behavior is quickly labeled a “racist” or a “misogynist” or even a “racist misogynist”.

Bower writes about the infamous Apple TV interview conducted by Oprah Winfrey last year, and adds more details to that story. It was quite a betrayal to the British Royal Family, and probably one of the main reasons why Harry and Meghan were so frozen out at Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee in June. The Royals don’t want Harry and Meghan using them for their Netflix and Spotify careers, nor for Harry’s upcoming memoirs, which will probably be very humiliating for the whole family… including Harry.

I mostly found Tom Bower’s book, Revenge, interesting and a quick read, which was nice after my last book, which took weeks to finish. I’m glad I read it, because H.G. Tudor hasn’t been reading the whole chapters… or, at least I don’t think he does. Reading it on my own helps me make sure I get the whole sordid story. 😉 There are photographs included, some of which are from Meghan’s somewhat less glamorous childhood. I definitely noticed a distinct pattern in the tales Bower shared, which are very familiar to anyone who has had dealings with narcissists, or just really self-centered people. I don’t know if Meghan Markle is a certified narcissist; I am not qualified to diagnose her, nor have I ever met her. But I will say that the patterns of her reported behaviors are very recognizable to me, and they are that of diagnosable narcissists. If even half of what is reported in this book regarding her problematic behaviors is true, she definitely is a high conflict person.

I give Meghan props for becoming rich and famous, against all odds… but I have a feeling that, like most alleged narcissists, she’s headed for a big, embarrassing, fall. I just hope that by the time it happens, Harry has moved on. I like Harry, in spite of his recently bratty and petulant behavior. I don’t think he’s a bad guy. I think he’s caught in a web. It happens to the best of people. But again… just my opinion… and lots of people are still on Team Meghan and think she’s the real victim. Even George and Amal Clooney seem to think so. So there is that.

I think I’d give Revenge 3.5 stars out of five, but don’t expect highbrow reading. I suggest downloading the book, watching any of the narrated videos on YouTube (others besides H.G. Tudor are doing them), or checking Revenge out from a library. My rating is probably more generous than some reviewers’, but I like a good juicy read. Fair warning that those who like Meghan and Harry probably won’t like this book.

As an Amazon Associate, I get a small commission from Amazon on sales made through my site.

Standard
fashion, royals, videos, YouTube

Time to check in with an “old friend”…

I got out of the habit of watching YouTube videos by The Body Language Guy, Jesus Enrique Rosas. Some readers may recall that I was kind of into his videos a few months ago, and he would regularly show up in my video suggestions. Somehow, I fell out of the loop, and after noticing that a lot of people were hitting my blog, having read my comments about some of his earlier videos. I’m sure the interest generated in my older posts about Jesus Enrique Rosas has come about because of the Platinum Jubilee, and the fact that Harry and Meghan have finally taken their children, Archie and Lilibet, to England to see Queen Elizabeth II.

Initially, I liked Meghan well enough. I thought she seemed dynamic, and I figured she might be a breath of fresh air for Britain’s Royal Family. But, I have since changed my mind about Meghan, not that it matters a whit to anyone. I think it’s a shame that Harry and William are not on the best terms, according to the press. Also, I’m sorry to say that she kind of makes my Cluster B warning alarm bells go off. However, I don’t know Harry and Meghan personally, so everything I think is based purely on speculation and conjecture. Of course, I wish their children well, too.

Yesterday, I navigated to Jesus Enrique Rosas’ YouTube channel and was not surprised to find the below video there, with many snarky references to the “Harkles”… I notice Jesus is wearing a really snazzy new suit, too. YouTube must be treating him well.

As usual, there’s snark aplenty! I get a kick out of Rosas’ wit.

I do wonder if things have turned out for Harry as he’d hoped. Is it all it’s cracked up to be, living in California? Does he feel “dissed” by the Royals? How did it feel to be “booed” by his countrymen? Harry used to be a very popular member of the Royal Family. Now, it seems that a lot of people have turned on him. I think he tried to have his cake and eat it too… and he wasn’t able to do that without significant consequences. I’ve always respected Harry, for many reasons. I think he had a very difficult childhood, though he clearly has a gift for military service. I don’t know what he sees in Meghan, but I’m sure he knows… and really, that’s all that matters.

As for Meghan’s dress… I liked the style well enough, although the white ensemble kind of made me think of an old fashioned style nurse. I’m sure it was no accident that she chose that color, which screams innocence and peacefulness. I liked the way the dress fit her, but I think I would have chosen a different color… because Lord knows, they aren’t innocent, and trying to look innocent is kind of disingenuous. If you listen to Mr. Rosas, you hear him talk about how how Harry and Meghan seemed to be trying to act like the past two years never happened. And whether or not anyone has the “right” to feel this way, I’m sure a lot of Brits feel betrayed by the “Harkles”. Yes, they expected Harry to come home and see his beloved Granny, but as he did so, there was, of course, going to be some shame involved.

River– another hilarious commentator on the Royal Family, also weighed in. River wasn’t a fan of Meghan’s outfit.

I enjoy River’s commentary about the British Royal Family. There’s always plenty of funny snark about the bizarre fashions some of the Royals wear at these events. I am not a fashionista myself, lacking the budget or the body type to wear really interesting (and probably uncomfortable) clothes. But I do enjoy seeing who wears what. Personally, I’m on team Catherine… I think Kate is fabulous, and William could not have possibly chosen a better woman to marry. She’s absolutely perfect for the job of Queen, should the British monarchy survive beyond King Charles. She’s the epitome of grace and class, has a beautiful figure, and seems like a very lovely person, too.

I have probably mentioned before that I attended the Queen’s Silver Jubilee in 1977. I was five years old at the time, and we lived in England. I have no memories of it, except for the memorabilia my parents had in our house when I was growing up. And, of course, on our trip to London in 2009, we found a memento of the event near the Tower Bridge.

We were around for this one.

I would like to visit London again at some point… maybe when things are a little more normal in terms of COVID-19. I always get a kick out of my my ancestral homeland. I fit right in on many levels. I don’t enjoy being around crowds, though, so I wouldn’t want to be at the Jubilee, even if there was no pandemic. I’m sure hotel rates are OBSCENE… or even more obscene than they usually are in London.

Anyway… I just wanted to post a lighthearted post today, given yesterday’s bitchery. I enjoy watching the Royals, even though I know a lot of people think they should go. I have tremendous respect for Her Majesty the Queen, though, and I know the past couple of years have been very difficult for her. Losing her dear husband, watching her beloved grandson move to America, being denied access to her great grandchildren… and getting older and more infirm, all as the whole world looks on. It’s tough, I know.

Hope you all have a nice Sunday. I think I shall retire to the living room and hang out with Bill for awhile.

Standard