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April 29, 2011

The Princess Problem, or Why She's a Princess but Not Princess Kate

It's true: The new Duchess of Cambridge is NOT Princess Catherine. But things are a bit more complex than Matt Yglesias's fun flowchart shows, and she IS a princess. The complicating factor is that Britain treats two types of princesses differently: there are princesses of the blood and princesses by marriage.

Princesses of the blood are a sovereign's legitimate daughters and male-line granddaughters; they are styled Her Royal Highness Princess [name], followed by any other titles. The current princesses of the blood are Princess Alexandra of Kent (the Queen's first cousin; a male-line granddaughter of George V), Princess Anne (the Queen's daughter), Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie of York (Prince Andrew's daughters), and Prince Edward's daughter Louise. To make things difficult, her parents have opted to style her as the daughter of an earl, so she goes by The Lady Louise Mountbatten-Windsor, but legally, she's still HRH Princess Louise of Wessex. (Princess Anne's daughter, because she's female-line, is still in line for the throne but has no title, so she's just Zara Phillips.)

Princesses by marriage, on the other hand, are princesses but are NOT called Princess [name]. They are the wives of a sovereign's sons and male-line grandsons. They are styled HRH Princess [husband's name]. Example: the wife of the Queen's cousin Prince Michael of Kent is named Princess Michael of Kent. If the husband has other titles as well, the female version of those titles comes after, and in these cases, they tend to go by the other title, but "princess" is still there, legally. So Prince Edward's wife is usually called HRH Sophie, Countess of Wessex, but legally, she's HRH Princess Edward Antony Richard Louis, Countess of Wessex, Viscountess Severn, etc. (Edward has lots of titles.)

An exception: The wife of the Prince of Wales gets Princess of Wales after her name as a secondary title, but she is still not Princess [name]. So Camilla is legally HRH Princess Charles Philip Arthur George, Princess of Wales, Duchess of Cornwall, etc., but she usually goes by HRH Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, because people associate "Princess of Wales" so strongly with Diana. Diana herself was never actually "Princess Diana," even though everyone called her that. When she was married, she was HRH Princess Charles etc., as above. When Prince Charles (and Prince Andrew) divorced, the Queen made a law that princesses by marriage who divorced lost the HRH. That made Prince Andrew's ex-wife just Sarah, Duchess of York, but since Charles is Prince of Wales, Diana became Diana, Princess of Wales (without the HRH). I believe that made her the only non-royal British princess ever.

So, to sum up: today's bride will usually go by HRH Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, but legally she is HRH Princess William Arthur Philip Louis, Duchess of Cambridge, Countess of Strathearn, Baroness Carrickfergus, MA. (And I try to remember to include the MA, since that one's all hers.)

Posted by Kat at 06:16 PM | Comments (5)

January 08, 2011

Breaking: Congresswoman Shot

Apparently I spoke too soon about taking our lack of political violence for granted. NPR is reporting that Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords has been shot at a public event in Arizona. At least five other people were hurt, and according to unconfirmed reports on Twitter, she was shot point blank in the head. My prayers are with her and her family.

Posted by Kat at 01:25 PM | Comments (0)

June 18, 2010

CNN Oil Spill Telethon

On Monday, Larry King is doing a special Disaster in the Gulf: How You Can Help two-hour show from 8-10 p.m. Eastern on CNN. The list of celebrities involved is growing, and it looks like there's something for everyone: Ian Somerhalder! Sting! Edward James Olmos! Harry Connick, Jr.! Pete Wentz! Robert Redford! Carville and Matalin! Anderson Cooper! Tim McGraw! Alyssa Milano! Yeah. Quite a group. Tune in and donate!

Posted by Kat at 01:00 PM | Comments (0)

April 07, 2010

Royal Coverage on GMA

Good Morning America just had a delightful little piece on Prince William and whether he's planning to marry Kate Middleton sometime soon. I have to say - I know all the Diana stuff, I assure you, but it was still a refreshing change of pace to glance up at my TV on a Wednesday morning and see that old familiar video of Charles and Di's wedding. I could get used to that. Also, GMA having a correspondent standing outside Buckingham Palace? Awesome.

If you're curious, no, there is no real news on William and Kate. He's going to fewer night clubs! There's a blank date on the royal calendar - could be an announcement! Even though they say it isn't! Yeah. The really funny part, though, was when GSteph asked Tina Brown whether the engagement rumors could be related to the rumors that the Queen was going to skip Prince Charles and have Prince William succeed her. Brown's response was basically "Have you never heard of the rules of succession, you American? That's just not done." Here's the video:

Of course, now they have Bristol Palin on, which I suppose is a different sort of royal coverage. I'll stick with William and Kate, thanks.

Posted by Kat at 08:30 AM | Comments (0)

February 06, 2010

Josh Malina's Haiti PSA

Josh Malina is one of my favorite actors from Sorkinland (Jeremy on Sports Night, Will on West Wing), and he wants you to donate:

Posted by Kat at 09:26 AM | Comments (0)

January 27, 2010

It could be worse.

Everyone's been complaining recently about our politics and government, from both ends of the political spectrum. But then I heard this story on NPR this morning and it brought home how good we have it compared to people in lots of places. Basically: in the wake of the presidential election in Sri Lanka, the losing candidate is all but imprisoned in his hotel. There's no transcript for the NPR story, but from a similar Voice of America piece:

A Sri Lankan military spokesman said government troops have surrounded the central Colombo hotel where General Fonseka is staying. The spokesman said there are about 400 people, including army deserters, who gathered at the hotel after the election in support of the general.

General Fonseka released a statement Wednesday saying he believes his life is in danger. The general said he is appealing to the Sri Lankan Inspector General of Police to intervene in the situation and allow him safe passage out of the hotel.

People who lose elections here generally aren't surrounded by troops or in fear for their lives. Let's be thankful for that, and make sure it stays that way.

Posted by Kat at 01:00 PM | Comments (0)

January 22, 2010

This isn't funny. Really. But...

Good Morning America did this story this morning about a 16-year-old Starbucks employee who is suing over sexual harrassment by her supervisor. This is a serious issue and I really don't mean to make light of it. But I cannot help but point this out. The supervisor's name?

. . . wait for it . . .

Tim Horton. No, really. I can't figure out if the whole thing will end up as good or bad PR for Tim Horton's.

Posted by Kat at 09:00 AM | Comments (1)

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