Posts Tagged ‘queen elizabeth

Sex Secrets Of The Royals, Part I

- April 23rd, 2012

 

PrincessMarieLouise

 

Queen Elizabeth is okay in my books. Okay. That’s it.

 

She’s not particularly good — as in Good Queen Bess — and she’s certainly not great — as in Great Britain.

 

She’s a survivor and she’s going to leave the family business in fairly good shape for whichever inbred Windsor/Saxe-Coburg-Gotha offspring inherits the throne (probably King Charles III, but who knows … stranger things have happened in the creepy world of British royalty).

 

As for Elizabeth, she’s never done me wrong in her 60-year reign. But, based on her genetic disposition and the past track record of her family, I have absolutely no doubt that she would — if she had the power to.

 

Fortunately, she and her ilk no longer have the power that once allowed them to  rob, pillage, rape, torture and murder at their pleasure.

 

As for “moral” authority, give me a break. This is a woman who married her cousin (on both his mother’s and father’s side), whose sister-in-laws were both married to Nazi sympathizers, whose uncle fawned on Adolf Hitler, and whose grandson thought it was a good idea to go to a costume party dressed in a Nazi uniform. Sip your sherry, Madge, and don’t lecture me.

 

No, the Royal Family is left with only one power — the power to amuse us.

 

That’s now their job — and a job for which they’re very well paid.

 

Sometimes, usually when Charles the Befuddled gets on his high horse, they appear not to understand the arrangement.

 

But most of the time the Royals play by the rules:

 

They dress up in funny clothes and prance about. They make Monty Python upper-class-English-twit skits seem ho-hum. They discover new ways to experience sexual embarrassment in the most public ways.

 

There are exceptions: William and Kate are currently basking in a golden glow of general approbation. But that’s just a passing phase. I guarantee you that William and/or Kate will be laughingstocks and/or villains before I die. It’s not their fault — it’s just their royal destiny.

 

On the flip side of the coin, Queen Elizabeth is the richest woman in the world. Prince Charles is one of the wealthiest idiots in the world. And we all go ga-ga when they walk down the street.

 

But what, exactly, do they do to warrant this?

 

No moral power. No power of life and death. No extraordinary talent or ability. No actual contribution of any kind to the greater well-being of humankind (Charles III’s organic beer-making aside).

 

No, the only power they have is the power to amuse us, to entertain us, to distract us from our own miserable lives with their more majestic misery and misadventures.

 

It’s part of the deal. It comes with the territory.

 

So over the next few days I will uncover some of the Royal Family’s more entertaining sex secrets for your prurient pleasure. What better way to appropriately honour Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee?

 

And I really don’t care if Queen Victoria is not amused. I am.

 

Stay tuned.

P.S. Silly me — of course you need a sex secret to start this whole thing off. It’s sort of sad, but then most sex secrets are. The old woman pictured at the top of this blog post is Princess Marie Louise, one of many granddaughters of Queen Victoria. Marie Louise — with Kaiser Wilhelm as the matchmaker — was married off to a minor German princling who happened to be gay. Nothing wrong with that, except he shouldn’t have married a woman. The princling’s father found his son in bed with one of his manservants while Marie Louise was off touring Canada. Dad went mad — fortunately he didn’t kill anyone — and had the marriage annulled. On Marie Louise’s return to England, her uncle, the newly minted  King Edward VII, summed up the situation thusly: “Ach, poor Louise, she has returned as she went — a virgin.” Marie Louise spent the rest of her life grieving her unconsummated, unresolved marriage (although her diary suggests she found her purported husband repulsive) and threw herself into charitable work back in Britain — specifically patronizing young Boy Scouts. Hmmm. By the way, Marie Louise was one of only two members of the Royal Family who refused to give up their German titles when the British Royals were trying to scrub their German heritage out of the public memory during World War I. None of this matters, really. I just like the neurotic decadence of the photo and wanted to use it.

 

The Most Expensive Hearse In The World

- March 29th, 2012

 

Well, that’s what the guys who make it claim.

 

I’m not going to show you “the most expensive hearse in the world” right away because, frankly, it’s a let-down. The vehicle you imagine in your mind is a far more exciting and out-of-this-world ultra-hearse than the real thing.

 

The so-called “most expensive hearse in the world” was unveiled last weekend at the Tanexpo international  funeral home show in Bologna, Italia.

 

Designed and custom built by Biemme SpecialCars SRL  of Parma (yes, the Italian company has a sort-of-English name), the B12 Phantom hearse is based on the chassis and powertrain of a Rolls-Royce Phantom four-door extended-wheelbase limousine.

 

That’s one of the Rollers you see Queen Elizabeth puttering around in. But of course the Queen wouldn’t be seen dead in a B12 Phantom hearse: When she finally goes, she’ll get the black-silk-draped royal gun carriage drawn by six black horses (or maybe eight for the Queen since Diana got six) with black ostrich-feather pom-poms on their heads.

diana-funeral

(As a completely off-track aside, the funereal gun carriage for the Queen’s father, George VI, was drawn by 96 Royal Navy sailors. But then George always considered himself first and foremost a naval officer; Elizabeth’s more the horsey type.)

GeorgeVI-funeral

 

Back to the Rolls-Royce B12 Phantom hearse that’s good enough for us commoners:

 

It’s powered by the Phantom’s standard (if you can call anything about a RR Phantom “standard”) 6.75-litre V12 engine with self-levelling air suspension. It’s got a six-speed automatic transmission with gear lever on the steering column, according to Biemme.

 

And that’s about where the commonality between the hearse and a Phantom limo ends (apart from the fact that the hearse keeps the limo’s four doors — including the back rear-opening “suicide doors”).

 

The B12 Phantom hearse is 701 cm (23 feet) long, almost a metre longer than the extended-wheelbase Rolls-Royce Phantom limousine. And the entire body of the hearse is made of hand-crafted aluminum with more than 600 assembled parts.

 

So now, after all this buildup, I’m going to show you pictures of “the world’s most expensive hearse.”

 

rolls-hearse-1

 

See, it’s not really such a big deal, is it?

 

Especially when you consider the price — “more than half a million Euros,” according to the company. That’s about $700,000 in Canadian (or American) money.

 

Let’s take a look inside and see what you get for $700,000.

 

rolls-hearse-2

 

Not much really.

 

The coffin compartment measures 234x92x90 cm — that’s about 7.6 feet long, three feet high and three feet wide. Yao Ming would just fit in — but not his coffin. And the King of Tonga (I’m talking about old Taufa’ahau Tupou IV, of course) would barely squeeze through the back door.

 

And those blue lights you see inside? LEDs, to give the whole experience an ethereal, heavenly glow. Baby’s in black and I’m feeling blue.

 

So, as I said, not much for $700,000 when you consider this is your last ride — ever.

 

You might get a splashier — and more cost-efficient — sendoff in one of these Harley-Davidson motorcycle hearses.

 

harley_davidson_hearse_funeral

The top one is designed by German Joerg Grossman and sells for 60,000 Euros (about $80,000 Canadian). Grossman says he currently has orders for 10. The bottom one, costing about $100,000, was custom-designed for a funeral home on Long Island, New York.

harley-hearse_12

 

But if I have to make the last ride in a hearse, I’d prefer this one.

 

JFKhearse-2

I know it’s a little morbid, but this is the Cadillac hearse that carried President John F. Kennedy’s body to Air Force One at Love Field from Parkland Memorial Hospital after he was assassinated in Dallas in 1963 (by LBJ, the CIA, the Mafia and the military-industrial complex, if memory serves).

JFK-1963

It was sold at auction in January for $176,000 to Stephen Tebo, a Colorado real estate developer, after being in the private collection of a Texas funeral director for four decades.

 

Tebo’s one of these car nuts whose collection includes vehicles like a 1965 Rolls-Royce custom built for John Lennon and a mock-up taxi from the Seinfeld TV show.

 

And, come to think of it, the Kennedy Cadillac could have been  “the most expensive hearse in the world.”

 

Tebo told the Associated Press he wasn’t even planning to bid on it when the hearse went on the auction block in Dallas on Jan. 21: He expected the final bid would be somewhere between $500,000 and $1,000,000 — potentially more than Biemme’s $700,000 B12 Phantom hearse, in other words. But when the bids stayed (relatively) low, he jumped in and got himself a piece of macabre history.

 

Personally, I’d rather my dearly beloved spent the money on a good farewell party. When I’m dead and gone, you can just put the left-behind packaging in a fast-burn pressboard box and cart me off to the crematorium in a minivan (with a modicum of respect, of course).

 

That, to me, would be much better value for the money.

 

Riposa in pace.

Queen Savannah of Canadah?

- May 1st, 2011

royalwed

If you thought the Canadian media coverage of Friday’s Royal Wedding was over the top, you would have gagged on the tonnes of fluff extruded in the British press.

No aspect of the event was too obscure, minute or irrelevant to escape in-depth perusal — from the real reasons Tony Blair was shunned (that damn autobiography and Blair’s refusal to replace the decommissioned Royal Yacht Britannia) to where the guests could find find a loo in Westminster Abbey during the wedding (they had to hold it — there are no toilets in the Abbey).

But the most bizarre bit of speculation I saw was this in The Guardian: Who would ascend the throne of England, Scotland, Wales, Canada etc. if ALL the royals attending the wedding were wiped out by a terror attack or some similar catastrophic happening  at Westminster Abbey or Buckingham Palace.

balconyroyals

In other words, who was the most senior royal not attending the wedding? And why was he or she not there? Is there a designated disaster backup plan for the British monarchy — sort of like the American vice-president never flying in the same plane as the president?

So the premise is/was wildly hypothetical (especially since it didn’t happen) but this is the reasoning The Guardian’s Victoria Coren gave for pursuing her macabre investigation:

“Was that tasteless speculation? I say not; the whole point of cheering the arrival of a future queen, in heartfelt yet faintly insectoid manner, is to ensure the safety of succession. It’s quite appropriate to wonder what would happen if…

“Anyway, we all did it. Terrorist-phobia is too high for it not to have occurred to us. There were police everywhere, on foot, on horseback, and I’m sure a few extra disguised as emirs. Potential danger lurked behind every pillar. ”

After eyeballing the guest list and all those royal bums in the prime seats at the wedding, Coren concluded (quite rightly): The royal closest in line to the throne who would not have been killed in a hypothetical Westminster cataclysm was … wait for it … the Queen’s four-month-old great-granddaughter, Savannah Phillips, who was back at one of the palaces with her nanny while dad Peter and mom Autumn were watching cousin Will get hitched.

(Now there’s the real proof the British monarchy has been common-ized if not modernized — the Queen has a granddaughter-in-law named Autumn and a great-granddaughter named Savannah. What next? Will Will and Kate’s kids be named Aiden, Brayden and Caden?)

If it wasn’t Savannah’s diapered bottom plopped on the bomb-scarred hypothetical throne, it would have been somebody else’s posterior. There’s no shortage of potential claimants to the British crown.

The official website of the British monarchy, www.royal.gov.uk, lists 38 members of the Queen’s family in order of their standing, succession-wise. But that official list is out of date— it hasn’t been rejigged since little Savannah was born on Dec. 29, 2010, in 12th position on the list, thus knocking the 27 royals below her down a notch.

But even if the Queen and all 39 members of her direct family — even little Savannah, poor baby — were somehow knocked off simultaneously, there would still be somebody to crown monarch.

According to the navel-gazers of the British genealogical establishment, more than 2,500 mostly European blue bloods have the qualifications to make some claim to the British throne.

swedish_king450

The playboy King of Sweden (above), for example, is somewhere around No. 200 on the list. The Queen of Denmark makes the list around 240th spot. But there are plenty of other princlings, princessi, ducs, contessas and barons from every nook and cranny in Europe filling out the list: Baroness Chantal de Sambucy de Sorgue (also known as Chantal de France) and Comte Achille of Limburg-Stirum, for other examples. (The list even includes “the illegitimate children of Diane Beigbeder.” Apparently you can’t, by law, marry a Catholic or divorcee and ascend the throne of England etc. but you can be a bastard. Figures — not that there’s anything wrong with bastards; plenty of kings, queens and popes had ‘em and I’ve been a right royal one myself on occasion.)

I do sense a bit of straying here (“Garcon, un auto vin rogue, bitte”) so let’s reel it back in and take a look at little Savannah Phillips, 12th in line of succession to the English etc. etc.

During the Will & Kate thingy at Westminster Abbey, Savannah was bunked up with Nanny in one of the royal palaces (St. James being the most likely, since that’s where Grannie Annie hangs her tiara in London), but that’s not actually home: Daddy has a nice little placement running Asian sports sponsorships for the Royal Bank of Scotland in Hong Kong, so home’s really a palace in HK — or will be when all the current hoopla is over and everybody goes back to, um, work.

There was some talk that the Queen wasn’t too fond of the trailer-park name Savannah (at least it wasn’t Brit-knee) for her first great-grandchild, but everyone looks happy enough in this nice Daily Mail photo from Savannah’s christening in the 14th-Century Church of the Holy Cross, Avening, Gloucestershire, taken by amateur photographer Ian Mcdonald the weekend before the big wedding.

Christening

Savannah

(ASIDE: Since the christening was a private family event, we still don’t know what Savannah’s middle names are. Royal babies are usually christened with four, five or six, sometimes eight or nine. Could she be Savannah Sunshine Punkydoodle Britney Soweto Feathers Phillips?)

But The Guardian, The Daily Mail and everyone else seems to have missed the biggest scoop in all the hypothetical doodling about baby Savannah becoming Queen: If the hypothetical terror attack took out the whole royal wedding party, Savannah would be the first CANADIAN Queen of England, Scotland, Wales etc.

Yep, because Savannah’s mom, Autumn Phillips (nee Kelly) is a Montreal girl who met eligible young royal Peter Phillips at the 2003 Montreal Grand Prix when he was doing something or other for the Williams F1 racing team. Autumn swears she didn’t know the young buck was a royal until six weeks later, long after they got cosy. Honest.

Now the bad news is that, when Autumn and Peter got married in 2008, she had to give up her Catholicism and become an Anglican so Peter wouldn’t lose his place in line to the throne .(He’s No. 11, right ahead of Sahara or Savannah or whatever her name is.)

The good news is Autumn didn’t have to renounce her Canadian citizenship in order to marry into the Royal Family (although I think she would have if push came to shove).

So, with Daddy carrying a U.K. passport and Mommy entitled to both U.K. and Canadian passports, dear little Savonarola was born with DUAL CITIZENSHIP — British and Canadian.

What a lucky child.

So if — and this is still a very big IF — Prince Charles and his kids die, Prince Andrew and his kids die, Prince Edward and his kids die, her grandmother dies and she bumps off her own father before Queen Elizabeth dies, dear little Savannah will become Queen of England etc — the first (and probably only and  last) CANADIAN (or at least half-Canadian) to sit on the British throne.

All hail Queen Savannah of Canadah!

Makes a body proud, eh?