Monday, November 8, 2010


Gentle Readers,

I'm in quite the British mood today because I watched two British films over the weekend. You really needn't bother with either of them unless, in the first case, you're in the mood for a romantic trifle.

It's a Masterpiece Theater show called Bertie and Elizabeth . Just in case you're not up on your British history, Bertie's older brother David, who was Edward VIII, abdicated the throne so he could marry the kind of creepy-looking American Wallis Simpson. This dumping of royal duty left the Duke of York, Albert, to become King George VI, with his beloved Elizabeth by his side as Queen Consort.  

Bertie was not as outgoing as his older brother and had a terrible stutter. But he managed quite nicely as King and he and Elizabeth became especially popular because of their kind and compassionate leadership during World War II. Buckingham Palace was even bombed, but the Royals stayed in London, although they sent their two little girls to Windsor.

This movie was not historically accurate, at least in regards to Bertie and Elizabeth's romance. It does not accurately portray how they met or how long it took Bertie to convince Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon to marry him. I know this because my current bedtime reading material is The Official Biography of The Queen Mother, which I find to be quite interesting. I'm finally getting my Royals straight. I can tell you the correct order starting with Queen Victoria, which isn't a lot to brag about, but at least I'm getting some things figured out that long puzzled me.

When I was young and there wasn't an Internet I wanted to know why The Queen Mother was called The Queen Mother and what was her real name? It took me years to find out that she was Elizabeth, but she wasn't Elizabeth II because she was not queen in her own right, as her daughter was upon the death of her father, George VI. By the way, George (Bertie) died from lung cancer. His wife blamed his relatively early demise on the extra stress placed on him when he had to jump in and become king -- never mind that the man smoked like a chimney. She outlived him by 50 some years.

Anyway, if you read the book, which I highly recommend, you might want to watch this Masterpiece Theater to see how Bertie and Elizabeth are portrayed.

Being in a royal mood, I then watched a BBC production called The Queen's Sister. It was pretty trashy. Don't waste your time on it unless you want a bit of boobs and sex and drinking and drugs.

The British people always like it when their rulers produce an heir and a spare. Now, King William is the heir and Prince Harry is the spare. But once upon a time, Queen Elizabeth (the current queen) was the heir and her younger sister, Princess Margaret Rose, was the spare. But Elizabeth married and started having children and Margaret kept moving farther down in the line of succession. Margaret seems to have been restless and uncomfortable with her station in life, sometimes demanding she be treated as royalty and then behaving in a very relaxed and carefree manner.

Margaret died in 2002, not long before the death of her mother, Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, who lived to be 101. Margaret, like her father, smoked incessantly, and apparently unlike her father, was big time into alcohol and drugs. She had lung problems and a series of strokes before she died.

One thing I'd like to point out, though, for those of you who think the paparazzi suddenly became a problem when Lady Diana entered the public realm, Princess Margaret was stalked by photographers and photos of her at her private island retreat made the papers, leading to public scandal. Even Lady Elizabeth, before she wed Bertie, had photographers hanging around outside her door. She made the mistake of granting an interview to a reporter. She didn't make the same mistake twice. Royals didn't chat with reporters.

So like I said, don't bother with this movie unless you want to see a pretty funny piece that's included on the disc about a long-ago lousy husband king who was extremely nasty to his wife, and I admit I can't think of their names because they are pre-Victoria. Hmmmm Can I figure it out?

Ha ha! It was George and Caroline of Brunswick (thank you amazon). I actually laughed out loud at this bonus feature.

I'm sorry I couldn't say such and such is marvelous; you absolutely must see it. But if I see something I don't like, I figure it's best to warn you, Gentle Readers.

Infinities of love,


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