Remembering Princess Diana Fifteen Years Later

It’s hard to believe that Princess Diana died fifteen years ago today. William was fifteen when his mum died and now of course he’s thirty, just six years younger than Diana was on August 31, 1997. That’s rather sobering.

Just a few months before the accident, those amazing Mario Testino portraits had been featured in Vanity Fair in order to promote the auction of Diana’s gowns. This is my favourite of those portraits; she looks like she just came in from a day on the beach and decided to wrap herself up very creatively in a towel and chill out on the sofa.

And I must confess to trying to recreate this photo with not so spectacular results:

Love this one, too. Cocktails, anyone?

On that terrible day I remember being as shocked as everyone else, and searching the internet to see if there was anything more up to date than what was on CNN. That was one of the first times I’d ever been online. Seriously. And now here we are with this blog! According to our site stats, these are the top five Princess Diana posts we have ever published. Take a peak in case you’ve missed any of them:

5. Princess Diana’s Wedding Looks

She wasn’t the first royal lady to try not to detract from the bride!

4. Princess Diana’s Spencer Pearl Choker

Such a beautiful necklace. The Spencer ladies sure do like their pearls!

3.  Princess Diana’s Walk to Church at Sandringham on Christmas Day

This is a nice look at Diana’s walk to church on Christmas with the Royals.

2. Princess Diana’s Coleherne Court Flat in London

When Lady Diana was a working girl in London, this is the apartment block where she lived, and we’ve walked by a few times to get a sense of the place.

1. Jewelry Predictions: Princess Diana’s Sapphire & Pearl Choker

LOVE this piece. Please let it come out of the vault again soon.

Any more Princess Diana memories?

Kate’s Personal Protection Officers & Thoughts on Harry’s Trip to Vegas

As promised, in today’s especially lengthy post we are diving into the world of royal protection officers. While we are going to focus on Kate, we would be remiss not to talk about the shennanigans that Harry got himself into over the weekend and how his PPO’s fit into that messy situation. Here we go…

On November 16, 2010 when Kate and William announced their engagement, one of the many changes that Kate faced was that from that day on she was assigned personal protection officers, or PPOs, to guard her around the clock. That must have been quite an adjustment and one I don’t envy. Prior to that, she only had protection when she was with William and had to fend for herself when she was on her own, no matter how many paparazzos were following her. Must have been daunting on days like this one:

And nights out like this:

Royal protection is handled by  the Royalty Protection Command, which is an operational unit of the Metropolitan Police that is paid for by the tax payer. According to this fascinating article in the December 2008 edition of the Metropolitan Police magazine The Job:

The Command has three distinct functions: Residential Protection, Close and Personal Protection, and the Special Escort Group… The unit also provides personal protection for foreign royal families when they visit the UK, as well as armed motorbike and car escorts for some government ministers and high-risk prisoners. 

The article also gives some insight into what the job entails. It reads:

As a PPO, you travel with your principal wherever he or she goes,” says Acting Chief Inspector Nigel Partridge. “You are assigned to an individual, and you often get to know them very well. But we operate in a range of circumstances and we have to be very flexible. For example, we are there to protect members of the royal family whether they are carrying out official duties, or going on private holidays. This presents us with a different range of circumstances.”

That has certainly been the case for Prince Harry’s PPO’s during his holiday in Vegas, which has only just come to an end. Harry certainly lived it up;  he raced Ryan Lochte in a swimming pool one night and on another he stripped down to his birthday suit as part of a game the press is calling “strip billiards.” Unfortunately for Harry, at least one of his fellow revellers took pictures of him in the buff and they have been published on TMZ and numerous other websites. Oh, Harry! Lainey Gossip has a good summary of this new scandal for the royal scamp and how it affects his PPO’s. Check out her article here.

In my humble opinion, it shouldn’t be part of the PPO’s job to be disciplinarians and that is a tough line to walk with someone like Harry. Let’s recap what went down. Harry reportedly decided to invite strangers to party with him. Harry decided to play the game. Harry took the risk that some of these strangers would have camera phones that they would use to capture the moment. Assuming the PPO’s were there the whole time, it would have been their responsibility to vet these people and make sure they weren’t dangerous. I can’t see it being their job to confiscate camera phones unless it’s true that this went down in the privacy of Harry’s hotel room, in which case that request could, and should, have been made. Harry wasn’t physically injured, so in that sense they did their job but obviously these pictures of her adult, 27 year old grandson have not made Granny proud. I’m a bit torn as to how much the PPO’s should be keeping Harry, a grown adult and apache helicopter pilot for goodness sakes, in line.

It certainly is a tricky business being a PPO. No doubt there is a thorough review going on right now, especially considering that the three PPO’s that are reported to have been with him were there on the taxpayer’s dime.   I’m sure the day the pictures broke was a loooong one for Harry’s principle private secretary and equery Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton and his personal private secretary Helen Asprey.

Back to Kate!

She was reportedly assigned three core officers after the engagement was announced. The first one we’ll take a look at is Emma Probert. She is shown here with Kate at Witton Park shortly before the wedding:

Emma was also with Kate when she had lunch with Pippa, Camilla, and Camilla’s daughter Laura at the Berkeley hotel in Knightsbridge in February of 2011. Emma and another PPO named Karen, who we’ll meet in a moment, sat together at an adjacent table. Here they are heading out afterwards:

Emma was reportedly once a flight attendant, just like Kate’s mom Carole, but she has been a PPO for several years now. Emma previously was assigned to Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, whose police detail has been reduced as part of a long term plan to bring down costs and stream line the monarchy. Losing Emma must have been a bit of a blow to the princesses.

Emma has been photographed out and about with Kate all over the place, and she was even with Kate and dad Michael Middleton on their famous wedding day trip from the Goring Hotel to Westminster Abbey. In this four minute Youtube video, you can see Emma in a white and black hat getting into the front seat after one of the official photographers takes lots of pictures of Kate getting in. Side note: how great must all those private candid photos be??? Emma looks very serious and focussed, but she does crack a smile once they get on their way:


More recently, Emma was with William and Kate while they watched some Olympic tennis at Wimbledon. She’s in the blue shirt directly behind Kate and is wearing her IOC issued accreditation around her neck:

Here’s another shot of Kate sandwiched between Emma and her private secretary Rebecca Deacon:
Another of Kate’s PPO’s is named Karen Llewellyn and she is quoted in the same Metropolitan Police magazine article we mentioned above. It reads:

Inspector Karen Llewellyn is one of three female Personal Protection Officers (PPOs). She says: “The physical side of it is challenging, but not impossible. But you get into it and it is the best job in the world.” 

Karen’s recent duties include protecting the King of Norway on a visit to Britain, from the start of his day to trips to the theatre in the evening, and ensuring thesecurity of Princess Beatrice at university. “When a principal is out and about, as a PPO, you are always thinking about the next stage. Is your principal moving on? When? Where is the car? Are there paparazzi around? What is the threat, what is the risk? So it is never boring. You are always doing recces, thinking tactically and planning.”

How interesting that there are only three female protection officers, or at least there were when this article was written in 2008.  Having female officers certainly seems like a practical choice; they can blend in easily with Kate and, hey, they don’t have to stand outside of any public washrooms.
Karen accompanied Kate to a  friend’s wedding in January 2011:
And here they are out and about, on what I believe was the same day as that Berkeley lunch we mentioned above:
They’ve also been spotted out at the shops several times. This photo was taken in the week before the royal wedding:
These two photographs were taken near the Zara store in Duke of York Square. This is also right near where the Richard Ward salon is that Kate has been going to for years:
A third PPO believed to have been assigned to Kate is named Ieuen Jones. He’s the fellow in the blue tie on the left:
 It also looks like he is the fellow behind Kate in this photograph which was taken at the Tesco in Anglesey:
 This fellow was photographed with Kate at the same grocery store on Angelesey the week after the royal wedding. I’m assuming there a few officers stationed with Kate and William in Wales and he must be one of them:
I believe that the fellow to the left is another guard.  Kate had two PPO’s on that pre wedding shopping expedition (Karen is hidden in this one):
Another one has been spotted out with Kate while walking the dog:
And he appears to be the same dude that’s driving with Kate here right before the wedding:
 Thoughts on Kate’s PPO’s?  And should Harry’s officers have been trying to save Harry from himself in Vegas??

Kate & William’s Staff

The Prince of Wales’ official website released a statement on July 26 which reads:

Following a review of the Household of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry overseen by Their Royal Highnesses, The Duke and Duchess and Prince Harry have agreed a number of new senior appointments.

Principal Private Secretary and Equerry to The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry – Mr. Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton.

Private Secretary to The Duke of Cambridge – Mr. Miguel Head.

Private Secretary to The Duchess of Cambridge – Miss Rebecca Deacon.

Private Secretary to Prince Harry – this post will not be filled until mid-2013. In the meantime, Mr. Lowther-Pinkerton retains direct responsibility as Private Secretary to Prince Harry.

Personal Private Secretary to Prince Harry – Miss Helen Asprey.

A new Press Secretary will be appointed to fill the position vacated by Mr. Head.

The official Household staff of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry continue to be funded in full by the income of The Prince of Wales through the Duchy of Cornwall.

Let’s dive into who these team members are!

Mr. Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton, Principal Private Secretary and Equerry to The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry

Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton has been Private Secretary to William and Harry since 2005. Like William and Harry, he trained at Sandhurst. He then had a long military career which included a stint in the Irish Guards (of which William is now Colonel) and service during the Gulf War. From 1984 to 1986, he was Equerry to the Queen Mother for which he received the Royal Victorian Order.

Here he is with Kate back in 2006 at Prince William’s graduation from Sandhurst, where Kate stole the show and got tongues wagging in her bright red jacket and large hat:

Two years later, he was with Kate and Princess Diana’s sister Sarah at Prince William’s graduation from RAF Cramwell in April 2008:

He joined Prince William on his tour of New Zealand in January of 2010:

And is spotted out and about with Kate and William all over the place, including at this polo match:

And after the final rehearsal at Westminster Abbey the day before the wedding:

His son Billy was one of the page boys at William and Kate’s wedding, which goes to show how close they have become over the years. We mentioned Billy in our post on our Favourite Moments of the Royal Wedding.

Here he is playing with Prince William playing around after a polo match:

And on the big day in a carriage with Pippa (and quite a bit taller!):

Jamie was also one of the few staff that joined William and Kate on their tour of Canada last year. He was everywhere! Here’s a shot of him with Kate when they landed in Calgary:

And here he is with Kate during her engagement at The Brink this past winter:

He seems like a very solid guy to have around.

Miss Rebecca Deacon, Private Secretary to the Duchess of Cambridge

Rebecca Deacon is a graduate of Newcastle University and at 29 is just about the same age as William and Kate. She worked on the Concert for Diana back in 2007 and became known for her trustworthiness and organizational skills. It must be nice for Kate to have another woman around who’s the same age and really “gets it.” Maybe she’ll get to join the Duke and Duchess on their upcoming trip to Asia and the South Pacific.

Here they are at a variety of engagements over the last few months:

That’s Rebecca on the right helping Kate navigate the throngs at a Buckingham Palace garden party this past summer:

We also got to see Rebecca during the Olympics. I believe that’s her in the row in front of Kate on the far right:

Mr. Miguel Head, Private Secretary to the Duke of Cambridge

At 33 years old, Mr. Head is also about the same age as William and he’s been working for the prince since 2009. In the picture above he is shown arriving at William and Kate’s wedding.

According to this article in The Telegraph, Mr. Head “joined the MoD press office in his early twenties and worked his way up, serving as the liaison with Clarence House when Harry went to war in 2007. Editors agreed a media blackout to allow Lieutenant Wales to serve in Afghanistan, but he had to be pulled out when foreign media gave the game away. Mr Head’s performance went down well with the Princes, who hired him.”

“They wanted someone who could help them with the public,” said a friend at the time. “They were impressed with how this new guy handled Harry’s stint in Afghanistan and they like him – he’s fun.”

Miss Helen Asprey, Personal Private Secretary to Prince Harry

Miss Asprey has been around for awhile and just a few months ago was made a Lieutenant of the Royal Victorian Order for her services. In 2010, she was personal private secretary for both William and Harry and she did a lot of the planning for Kate and William’s wedding. On the evening of the day that William and Kate announced their engagement, she accompanied Kate to Westminster Abbey to check it out. Yes, it’s a small picture but that’s her on the far left behind Kate:

All in all, it seems like Kate, William, and Harry have put together a very solid team of smart and with it people around them. Any thoughts?

Favourite Royal Olympic Moments Part Two

In our last post, we recapped some delightful moments from the Danish, Swedish, and Dutch royals. Today we’ll jump right in with the Belgian royals.

The Belgian Royals

Princess Mathilde and Prince Philippe brought their family to London to take part in the festivities. Here they are at Wimbledon watching a rousing game of tennis. That’s Princess Elisabeth hiding behind the Belgian flag; as we discussed back in February, she is second in line to the throne. Hurray for the enthusiasm:

They also did a bit of sightseeing:

The Norwegian Royals

Skipping along, Princess Mette-Marit and Prince Haakon were in London for the start of the games, and are shown here ready for the Opening Ceremony:

They were at several events with their family. That’s Princess Ingrid on the left with her brother Prince Sverre Magnus.

The Spanish Royals

The Spanish royals did their fair share of cheering, too. Here they are during the Spain’s basketballgame against Russia:

The Queen was there, too:

Princess Charlene and Prince Albert of Monaco

Now I think we’re coming to a true highlight. As you may recall, we’ve been a bit concerned about Princess Charlene after that rather dreadful interview with CBS, so we were happy to see her looking very spirited while cheering on the South African swimming team. She was a member of the South African swim team for the Sydney Olympics, and here she is when Chad le Clos won the gold in a major upset for Michael Phelps who ended up with silver.

It was awesome.

A tearful moment with mom and pop le Clos:

High Five for that:

Near the end of the games, we had another royal greeting when Prince Albert sat behind the Duchess of Cambridge

Which leads us to the British Royals…

The British Royals

Naturally, they were out in full force. Let’s boil down some key moments. First of all, let’s give it to the Queen for her involvement in the Opening Ceremony:

Would have been nice if she’d cracked a smile, but what can you do:

Kate and William were very enthusiastic cheerers:

But Prince Harry was really my favourite to watch…

…especially when he got out his camera at women’s volleyball:

Sophie got out her camera during the swimming:

And, look, Prince Daniel of Sweden made sure to say hello at another event:

And let’s here it for Lady Louise and Viscount Severn who showed up at an equestrian event:

Eugenie and Beatrice didn’t miss out, either:

But the best moment has to be when  Zara and her team won the silver medal and Princess Anne was there to award them.

Did we miss any of your favourite royal moments?

Favourite Royal Olympic Moments Part One

Well that was fun, wasn’t it? Now that the Olympic torch has gone out in London, let’s recap some of our favourite Royal Olympic moments from the last two weeks.  And there were tons of them!! We’ll start with the Danish royals simply because we love them around here.

The Danish Royals

The Royal Family of Denmark opted to stay on their yacht during the Games, which they moored on the Thames at the West India Docks. Here’s a shot of the lovely yacht:

And, what the heck, here’s another:

Rewinding back to the torch relay, we can now add Crown Prince Frederick to the list of Royal torchbearers. He ran with the torch through central London when the relay was wrapping up:

Skipping along to the Opening Ceremony, Prince Frederick and Princess Mary attended along with the Queen and Prince Consort. And look, Princess Mary and Princess Charlene are buddies and Mary was most patriotic  in her red and white ensemble:

Mary and Frederick were very enthusiastic cheerers:

And they also said hello to Princess Mette-Marit of Norway during one event:

But my favourite shots by far feature little Prince Christian, who we spoke about at length in our post here. Princess Mary headed back to Denmark for a few days in the middle of the games, and brought Prince Christian and his sister Princess Isabella back to London with her. Here they are skipping onto the Yacht, loving every second of this totally awesome summer holiday:

Later, Prince Christian showed off his credentials:

And then everyone did it:

And, to top it all of,  he did a Usain Bolt impression because this kid rocks:

And, of course, he really got into the cheering, too:

The Dutch Royals

We knew that Princess Maxima and co. were really going to get into things as well – click here if you need a reminder of their past Olympic enthusiasm- and they did not disappoint!

Check out Princess Catharina really getting in there, flapping her orange jacket:

I mean, come on, they were everywhere:

And it was rain or shine. Full marks for commitment, am I right??

On another day, Princess Maxima and Prince Willem-Alexander took their family along to tour the Olympic Village and met team Netherlands sprinter Churandy Martina:

And because I love seeing the royals greeting each other, here they are saying hello to Prince Daniel and Prince Carl of Sweden:

The Swedish Royals

Well, that takes us nicely into the Swedish royal contingent in London. Princess Victoria was planning to attend, but decided to stay back home with little Princess Estelle instead. Prince Daniel and Prince Carl Philippe flew the flag along with the King and Queen.

Love their team Sweden rugby shirts:

Another day, another yellow and blue shirt:

The white shirt and blue blazer look for another day:

And OMG a yellow and blue umbrella. Well done, boys:


More delightful royal moments to come! See you soon…

A Royal Olympic Day

Well it was quite a Royal day at the Olympics! Let’s recap, shall we?

The British Royals

First of all, Zara Philips and her team won the silver medal in Three Day Eventing. Way to go, Zara! That’s her right in the middle of her team on the podium:

As we discussed in our post on British Royals at the Olympics, Zara was following in both of her parent’s Olympic footsteps. Princess Anne was there to cheer Zara on and was all decked out in Olympic paraphanalia. Camilla sat next to her:

Princess Anne awarded the medals. Here she is with Zara:

As you can see, Anne chose quite the hat for today’s event. Quite the hat. Zara’s dad Mark Phillips was there as well. He coaches the American eventing team, who placed fifth.

Love this shot of William being all “Your sister won!!” with Peter Phillips in the stands:

Beatrice and Eugenie were there today, too:

We imagine that the Queen and Prince Philip were watching it all unfold on the TV up at Balmoral where they are having a bit of a break. Oh – and we were very happy to see that that “James Bond with the Queen” rumour turned out to be true! Here’s that video if you missed it:


The Royals of Jordan

It doesn’t seem like many journalists picked up on the fact that Anne wasn’t the only Princess involved in the medal ceremony. Princess Haya of Jordan, daughter of the late King Hussein of Jordan, presented the winners with their bouquets.

Sadly, there are no pictures of her at the event to be found but we do have this one which taken at the Sydney Olympics when she participated in Show Jumping.  That’s right, we have yet another Royal Olympian to discuss!

Princess Haya was also the flag bearer for Jordan a the Sydney Games:

Princess Haya really is all about horses. She is the President of the International Eventing Federation and is also involved in horse racing. This was taken at Royal Ascot this past June. Princess Haya’s horse Joviality (awesome name) won the Windsor Forest Stakes. Fierce outfit! Love:

Princess Haya also holds the title Sheikha of Dubai as one of the wives of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates.

The Royals of Monaco

Meanwhile in the pool, South African swimmer Chad Le Clos won the gold medal in the 200 Butterfly, narrowly beating Michael Phelps. Princess Charlene, who competed for South Africa at the Sydney Games, was there to cheer him on along with his parents:

Princess Charlene has been a big supporter of the team since becoming Princess of Monaco. She even had the team come to Monaco to do some training before heading to London. Here’s another shot of Charlene and Albert at the pool:

On another note, I happened to hear a CNN interview with Charlene and Albert on the radio today. In it, Charlene seemed MUCH more prepared than she did in the awful, cringe inducing CBS interview that was broadcast last week. If you haven’t seen it, it’s really quite incredible. CBS even took it down from their website and edited out all the terrible parts. Like when Prince Albert called a time out when Charlene can’t answer the question “what’s it like to be a princess?”  and when Charlene looks like completely fed up and over it when Princess Grace comes up.  Fortunately, the original video is still available on a website we tracked down. Go ahead and check it out by clicking here.

Until next time, happy Olympics watching!

For more Royal Olympic frivolity, check out:

Spain’s Royals at the Olympics

Denmark’s Royals at the Olympics

Monaco’s Royals at the Olympics

Sweden’s Royals at the Olympics

The Dutch Royals at the Olympics

Norway’s Royals at the Olympics