Friday, June 1, 2018

The 15 Ways Kate Middleton Modernized Royal Parenting

Photograph courtesy of @KensingtonRoyal

Princess Diana was determined that her sons Princes William and Harry not be coddled inside the royal bubble but live “as normal a life as possible.” She took her sons to amusement parks and McDonald’s (and made them wait on line!) as well as AIDS clinics and homeless shelters. She also showered them with love.
Last summer, talking about his mother on the twentieth anniversary of her death, Harry said he could still feel her love from across the room. Aww. Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge’s hands-on parenting style is very much influenced by her happy childhood growing up with Michael and Carole Middletontwo loving parents who worked hard to provide the very best for Kate and her younger siblingsPippa and James Middleton.
“I know I was lucky,” she has said several times in her speeches to the various charities she supports as patron. Her stable, nurturing home life was one of the things that drew Prince William to his wife. Now, Kate and William are raising Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and baby Prince Louis their way and have everyone’s full support—including the Queen’s—to give their brood a royally loving childhood. And for more on the couple, don’t miss the The 10 Surprising Rules William and Kate Must Follow that Other Royals Don’t.

The children accompany the duke and duchess of official state visits.
Like Princess Diana before her, Kate insists on bringing her children along on official visits whenever possible. George and Charlotte charmed their hosts in Canada and Germany. George can be a little shy and doesn’t always like to smile for the cameras, by Princess Charlotte (who is her great grandmother’s doppleganger) has mastered the royal wave and curtsy and executes both perfectly. The royals have come a long way from the time when Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip went on a six-month tour of the Commonwealth and a very young Prince Charles was told to welcome his mother back with a handshake. And for more great royals coverage, don’t miss the One Thing Kate Middleton and Kim Kardashian Have in Common.

There is only one nanny for the family.
Kate and William have never had a large staff and despite having three children under the age of five, they still only have one nanny, Maria Teresa Turrion, who has been with them from the beginning. It’s clear the Cambridges don’t like to farm out important responsibilities involving their children.

She’s changed plenty of nappies.
It’s fair to say Kate has changed more nappies than Queen Elizabeth or Princess Diana. She spends most of her time around her children and is usually the one who gets up in the middle of the night when baby Prince Louis needs a fresh nappy. Judging by how tired William was at the Anzac Day service where he briefly fell asleep sitting next to Prince Harryand Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, Kate has him on diaper duty, too. And for more changes on the duchess front, check out the 17 Ways Kate Has Changed Since Marrying Prince William.

She and William do drop-off at school.
The duchess was deeply disappointed when she couldn’t accompany George—due to her morning sickness—when he started preschool. Now, she is regularly spotted at Battersea at drop-off and pick-up. Now that they’re a very active family of five, dad William pitches in, too.

George and Charlotte go to “regular school.”
Diana broke the mold by sending William and Harry together to a school in London—but Kate has taken things even further. She and William chose different schools for the young prince and princess based on the individual child’s needs and personalities. George goes to Thomas’s Battersea school and Charlotte attends Willcocks Nursery School.
Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images

Longer maternity leaves means more time with the children.
Kate took almost five months off when she gave birth to Charlotte, and it’s likely she’ll do the same with Louis. She attended Harry and Meghan’s wedding, because she is very close to her brother-in-law, and will likely be seen at the Trooping of the Colour, the official celebration for the Queen’s birthday. But that’s it. Chances are she’ll stay out of sight until October while she bonds with Louis.

She’s not afraid to keep her kids in line.
When George was just a toddler, photos emerged of Kate on the sidelines of William’s polo match squatting down and waving a finger at the little boy to remind him not to wander off. She also had to shush him when he got too rambunctious as a attendant at Pippa’s wedding. But when she bent down on the airplane runway in Germany while wearing four-inch heels and talked to her oldest son through slightly clenched teeth, mothers everywhere crowned her their queen.

The Middletons are an important part of the children’s lives.
When most royal brides join “The Firm,” they are swallowed up into the royal dynasty and their own families fade into the background (something we hope doesn’t happen to Doria Ragland, who looked like she was contemplating that exact scenario at her daughter’s wedding last month). Kate has not allowed that to happen. The children spend a great deal of time with the Middletons. The duchess even broke with the royals’ long standing holiday tradition and spent Christmas two years ago with her family. Anyone with overbearing in-laws understands just how huge that is.

The children wear hand-me-downs.
Yes, they were pricey, precious clothes from Rachel Riley and Olivier Baby, buy Kate also has been known to have her children wear hand-me-downs. One of Charlotte’s favorite little cardigans was first worn by George. Kate also favors inexpensive brands like M&H, whose cute dresses run about $30.

Some of the furniture in the nursery comes from Ikea.
Even though her children are third, fourth, and fifth in line to the throne, respectively, Kate does not spoil them. The new nursery inside Apartment 1A at Kensington Palace has items Kate ordered from Ikea. (No word on whether William was the one who had to put everything together.)

Grandma is the go-to babysitter.
Carole Middleton moved into Kensington Palace for a while when George was born and villagers in her hometown of Bucklebury are used to seeing her in the shops with her grandchildren in tow.

William is a very hands-on father.
He does a little bit of everything from diapers to drop-off no doubt in part because Kate wants a partner in parenting. When William was criticized in the British press for not doing enough royal engagements, he answered his critics by saying his family comes first and his most important job was making sure they were happy and felt loved.

She’s the family photographer.
No stuffy, staged photos for this family! Kate is an avid—and very good—photographer who was responsible for the official first day of school photos of George and first photos of Charlotte and Louis.

She believes children need a dog.
The Queen famously loved her corgis, but William and Harry didn’t grow up with their own dogs (Diana despised the corgis; Prince Charles had his own Jack Russell terriers). Lupo, a black cocker spaniel given to Kate and William by her brother James as a wedding present, is George’s best friend. And for more on the royal pups, check out the 15 Fascinating Facts About the Royal Corgis.

There are plenty of playdates in her diary.
Just like every other modern mom today, Kate arranges play dates for her kids and frequently does the Mommy & Me thing with cousins Zara Philips (the most bored looking guest at Harry and Meghan’s wedding) and Autumn Philips, who both have young children, too.

This article originally appeared on 

The Biggest Changes in Megan Markle's Life Now That She's A Royal

Official wedding photograph by Alexi Lubomiriski
To say that Meghan Markle—excuse us, the Duchess of Sussex—is living a life quite different than the one she had before she married Prince Harry is an understatement. One minute she’s up in Canada shivering on the set of a cable television show about a law firm, and the next she’s being escorted down the aisle, on the arm of the future King of England, to wed a real-life prince. It’s a modern day fairytale, yes, but it’s also an incredible adjustment for the woman living it. Herein, the 8 biggest changes in Meghan’s life, now that she’s officially a member of the royal family. And for more on the duchess’ future life, Here’s The One Thing Meghan Markle Will Miss Most After She Becomes a Royal.

Her name  

Rachel Meghan Markle (her given name) is now Meghan, Duchess of Sussex. And she’s an HRH. Royals do not use last names but, if one were needed, hers would be Rachel Meghan Mountbatten-Windsor. The one thing she is not is “Princess Meghan,” despite what the tabloids have breathlessly reported. The only way Meghan could be called a princess would be if she were to use the moniker Princess Henry of Wales. (Henry is Harry’s given name.) Just doesn’t have the same ring to it, does it? And for more great royals content, here are the 10 Things Diana Would Tell Meghan About Royal Life.

People have to curtsy to her  

Besides commoners in Britain (Americans do not have to curtsy to British royals), there is a whole list of members of the royal family who now have to curtsy to Meghan depending who is in the room.  When Meghan is with Harry, she does not have to curtsy to “blood princesses” Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie or infamous eye-roller Zara Phillips because he outranks them. In those instances, those blood princesses must all curtsy to her. When she is alone, she’ll be the one doing the knee-bending. Oh, and she has to curtsy to Kate Middleton.

She lives at a much swankier address  

Meghan gave up her two-bedroom rental in Toronto to move to England and live in Nottingham Cottage (aka “Nott Cott”) with Harry on the grounds of Kensington Palace last year. The cozy two-bedroom residence was Prince William and Kate’s starter home, as well. It’s just a matter of time before the newlyweds get more spacious, swanky digs from Queen Elizabeth II—and a sprawling country home as an escape, for when the pressures of being royal get to be too much.

She’s got an unrivaled global platform  

During her seven years as one of the stars of Suits, Meghan built up a faithful following from her blog, The Tig, where she mixed travel, food, and fashion stories with messages of female empowerment and essays about causes that matter most to her. Impressive, sure, but it’s nothing compared to the royally obsessed global audience she can reach as a member of the British royal family. “I am proud to be a woman and a feminist,” Meghan is quoted as saying on the official royal website. She made the remarks at the UN Women conference in New York in 2015. It’s literally not an overstatement that Meghan could change the world (and some would argue she already has) with her new royal role. Everything she says or does is news, which means…

She can’t openly express her political opinions  

British royals have always been “apolitical.” They do not vote (although the Queen is the only one expressly prohibited from doing so by their constitution). Royal historian Robert Laceyhas said this could be a “real problem” for Meghan, who has been an outspoken critic of U.S. president Donald Trump, calling his policies “misogynistic.” (Recall that “I am proud to be a woman and a feminist” quote.) Meghan joining the family may prove to be historic in more ways than one.

6 She gets much better jewelry  

Meghan’s beautiful diamond and yellow gold engagement ring that Harry designed  from Cleave & Co. was just the tip of the iceberg. She has her pick (more or less) of the Queen’s tiaras and other stunning pieces for state occasions and official visits. Her besotted husband has already given her a $20,000 diamond bracelet from Cartier and a gorgeous emerald-cut aquamarine ring that reportedly belonged to Princess Diana which the bride wore to her evening wedding reception. It’s a safe bet once a baby arrives, there will be a major push present the comes along with the bouncing bundle of joy.

7 She has to wear hosiery and hats  

If you look at what Meghan wore for her engagement photo—an ill-fitting yet pretty white coat, slightly oversized lace-up stilettos, and bare legs—compared to her demure duchess ensemble for her first appearance as HRH, which included a knee-length, pale peach dress, matching Philip Treacy hat and nude hosiery, it’s obvious she’s already been outwardly transformed by royal protocol. We can’t wait to see what she wears next. And for more on the duchess’ wardrobe, see Meghan Markle’s 10 Favorite Brands That Became Instant Bestsellers.

8 She’s part of history  

This biracial American woman who once was a struggling actress and briefcase girl on Deal or No Deal has forever changed the royal family and might very well help the Windsor dynasty reinvent itself as an important new source of global activism and female empowerment. That’s what we call historic.

This article orginally appeared on where Diane covers the British royals and entertainment news. 

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Lunch at Michael's With PBS Masterpiece's Rebecca Eaton

Loyal readers of this blog know that I am an obsessive fan of Masterpiece on PBS so I was thrilled that Rebecca Eaton, the woman responsible for bringing Downton Abbey to America, agreed to do a 'Lunch' interview with me for my column Wednesdays at Michael's. Rebecca is one of the most respected executives in television and had an amazing track record to prove it. She was in town with the cast of one of my favorite Masterpiece shows, Victoria, which premieres with Season Two on January 14. You can read the entire interview here.

Friday, December 1, 2017

30 Fascinating Facts About British Royal Weddings

The British royals really know how to do it when it comes to weddings. The sumptuous gowns (it was Queen Victoria who first wore white to marry Albert in 1840), the amazing rings, and all the pomp and circumstance. Whether it was Princess Elizabeth, Lady Diana or Kate Middleton every bride left a lasting impression and created everlasting images for brides and history to remember with fondness. Here's my look back at all the most interesting aspects of every royal wedding since Queen Victoria's with a sneak preview of what to expect from soon-to-be wedded Harry and Meghan. Here's a link to the piece for Best Life