Friday, 23 July 2021

Finally! Royal love child Princess Delphine to take part in major event ...

Belgium’s Princess Delphine attends first official royal event since recognition

Wednesday, 17 February 2021


On Wednesday, Belgium’s Princes Delphine and her husband were present at a traditional ceremony for the deceased members of the royal family in the royal crypt of the Notre-Dame church in Laeken.


Every year since 1935, a mass has been held on 17 February to commemorate all deceased members of the Royal Family.


“Princess Delphine was invited, like her siblings, and responded positively,” Francis Sobry, a spokesperson for the palace, told Het Nieuwsblad.


This year, however, the mass could not take place due to the coronavirus measures, and the members of the family followed each other into the crypt, separately and per social bubble.


In early 2020, after years of legal battles and a court-ordered DNA test, King Albert acknowledged that he was Boël’s biological father.


On 1 October 2020, Delphine Boël was also officially recognised as the legitimate daughter of King Albert II, according to a ruling by the Brussels Court of Appeal. She officially became a Princess of Belgium, putting an end to a legal battle that dates back to 2013.


Following a previous meeting with Albert II and Paola at the Château Belvédère, and a separate one with King Philippe at Laeken Castle, this is the third private meeting that has been made public since Delphine was officially recognised as Princess of Belgium.


Delphine Boël is now officially a Belgian princess

Thursday, 01 October 2020


 As of today, Delphine Boël, the illegitimate daughter of King Albert II, is officially a princess of Belgium, the Brussels Court of Appeal decided.


The judgment was not expected until 29 October, but has already been handed down today, reports RTBF and was confirmed to VTM News and VRT.


Delphine is now changing her name to that of her father, namely ‘of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha’. Her children, Joséphine and Oscar, also become princess and prince of Belgium, and should be addressed the same way.


At the beginning of this year, and after years of legal battles and a court-ordered DNA test, King Albert acknowledged that he was Boël’s biological father.


However, Boël did not settle for that and wanted to be treated like the other children of Albert (Belgium’s current King Philippe, Princess Astrid and Prince Laurent), and also bear the name ‘of Saksen-Coburg’.


Additionally, she wanted to be addressed as Royal Highness and princess of Belgium. The Court of Appeal has now proved her right.


Maïthé Chini

The Brussels Times


Belgian King Philippe meets half-sister Princess Delphine for the first time

Published15 October 2020


Belgium's Princess Delphine finally met her half-brother King Philippe for the first time, following her successful legal battle to use a royal title.


The siblings enjoyed a "warm encounter" last Friday, the royal family's official Facebook account says.


The princess, who is 52, spent years fighting to be recognised as a child of former King Albert.


He admitted paternity in January. A court later granted her the same rights and titles as his children by marriage.


The decision was announced on 1 October.


A message issued by King Philippe and Princess Delphine said on Thursday they had met for the first time at the Castle of Laken the previous week.


"This long and rich discussion gave us the opportunity to learn to know each other. We talked about our respective lives and areas of shared interest," they said.


"This bond will further develop within the family setting."


Delphine Boël, an artist, won her court case on 1 October. According to the ruling, she and her two children can now hold the surname of her father, Saxe-Cobourg.


She will be entitled to receive an inheritance after Albert's death, along with his three other children - Prince Laurent, Princess Astrid and King Philippe.


Despite her new title, Princess Delphine will not receive any royal endowment. But Albert must pay nearly €3.4m (£3.1m) to cover her legal fees, according to local outlet De Standaard.


What is the background?

Princess Delphine's mother, Baroness Sybille de Selys Longchamps, says she had an 18-year affair with Albert before he was king.


Rumours first emerged that he had fathered a child with another woman after it was disclosed in an unauthorised biography of Albert's wife, Queen Paola, published in 1999.


The princess first alleged on the record that King Albert was her biological father during a 2005 interview, but it was not until he abdicated in 2013 - when he lost his immunity to prosecution - that she opened court proceedings.


The 86-year-old had resisted court orders to undergo DNA testing until he was facing fines of €5,000 per day for refusing to do so. In January, he announced that he accepted her as his fourth child after he had "learnt the results of the DNA tests".


Belgium has a constitutional monarchy in which the king plays a largely ceremonial role.

Princess Delphine cries after winning right to become princess

Thursday, 22 July 2021

THE DUKE (2021) Official Trailer [HD] Jim Broadbent, Helen Mirren

The Duke review – art thief takes one for the common man


 Roger Michell’s warm take on the true story of how Kempton Bunton acquired the National Gallery’s new Goya features a glorious performance by Jim Broadbent


 Xan Brooks


Xan Brooks


Fri 4 Sep 2020 21.15 BST


 All rise for The Duke, a scrappy underdog yarn that makes a powerful case for the rackety English amateur, the common man who survives by his wits with the odds stacked against him. Kempton Bunton of Byker, for instance, is about as far removed from the Duke of Wellington as a frog is from a prince. But now the Duke is trapped behind the wardrobe in Kempton’s tatty back bedroom, which is one in the eye for the British class system and means that Kempton is sitting pretty, at least for a while.


 Roger Michell’s delightful true-crime caper comes bolstered by a terrific lead performance from Jim Broadbent, rattling about the red-brick terraces of early 1960s Newcastle. His Kempton Bunton is a wannabe playwright and soapbox revolutionary, a man who prefers Chekhov to Shakespeare because he feels that the Bard wrote too many plays about kings. By night he’s sitting up in bed reading books by George Orwell. By day he’s tilting at windmills, squabbling with shop-floor managers and getting under the feet of his pinched, knackered wife. As played by Helen Mirren, Dorothy Bunton is constantly cleaning up the mess left by her husband and her two adult sons. She says: “Be sure to use the coasters. You’re not in Leeds now.”


 The city of Leeds may be bad in its way, but the real problem is London; it’s taken leave of its senses. Down at the National Gallery, they’ve just spent £140,000 of public money to secure Francisco Goya’s portrait of Arthur Wellesley, the Duke of Wellington. “An outstanding example of late-period Goya,” sighs the curator. “Some half-baked portrait by a Spanish drunk,” says Kempton. He argues that the cash would have been better spent providing free TV licences for all the UK’s old age pensioners. Kempton, perhaps relatedly, has recently served a brief prison term for not paying his own TV licence.


 Michell and Broadbent previously worked together on 2013’s excellent Le Week-End, in which the actor played a middle-aged professor in meltdown, drunkenly singing along to Bob Dylan inside a poky Paris hotel. The Duke (scripted by Richard Bean and the BBC’s Clive Coleman) is a more obviously crowd-pleasing affair, precision-tooled but big-hearted. Michell does well in capturing a 60s north-east of belching chimney-stacks and rag-and-bone men; a limbo-land Britain, caught between the end of rationing and the birth of the Beatles. Kempton, one suspects, has both boots in the old world - but he can still dream of tomorrow.


 What a lovely, rousing, finally moving film this is. The Duke is unashamedly sentimental and resolutely old-fashioned in the best sense of the term: a design classic built along the same lines as That Sinking Feeling, A Private Function or 50s Ealing comedies. In an earlier era, the role of Kempton would have been played by Denholm Elliott or Alastair Sim.


 Hauled into court to account for the theft, Kempton is finally given the stage he’s been craving all his life. The man is an upstart, a liar, undeniably a crook. But he’s also an idealist, a committed socialist, and it is this side of Kempton that now comes to the fore. He teases the judge, jokes with the jury and explains that he puts his faith “not in God, but in people”. Meanwhile, up in the public gallery, sit his own band of people. The posh young woman who employs his wife as a cleaner. The exploited co-worker whom he once tried to defend. Individually, in Kempton’s view, these people are all just single bricks. But put them together and you make a house. Put them together and you build Jerusalem.

Saturday, 17 July 2021

The Most Beautiful Boy in the World - Official Trailer / The tragic story of Visconti’s ‘beautiful boy’


‘Death in Venice screwed up my life’ – the tragic story of Visconti’s ‘beautiful boy’

Ryan Gilbey

Björn Andrésen was the striking child star of the classic film, the perfect embodiment of youthful beauty. Fifty years on, he is still haunted by the exploitation that continued long after filming stopped


Thu 15 Jul 2021 06.00 BST


Björn Andrésen was just 15 when he walked straight into the lion’s den, being cast as Tadzio, the sailor-suited object of desire in Luchino Visconti’s film Death in Venice. Its release in 1971 made him not merely a star but an instant icon – the embodiment of pristine youthful beauty. Sitting alone in Stockholm today at the age of 66, he looks more like Gandalf with his white beard and his gaunt face framed by shoulder-length white locks. His eyes twinkle as alluringly as ever but he’s no pussycat. Asked what he would say to Visconti if he were here now, he doesn’t pause. “Fuck off,” he says.


No one who sees The Most Beautiful Boy in the World, a new documentary about Andrésen’s turbulent and tragic past, will be surprised by that answer. Visconti, he tells me, “didn’t give a fuck” about his feelings. He wasn’t alone in that. “I’ve never seen so many fascists and assholes as there are in film and theatre,” says Andrésen. “Luchino was the sort of cultural predator who would sacrifice anything or anyone for the work.” He makes his feelings about Death in Venice itself equally plain: “It has screwed up my life quite decently.” Although he is an accomplished pianist, no one seems very interested in that side of him. “Everything I ever do will be associated with that film. I mean, we’re still sitting here talking about it 50 years later.”


The documentary includes footage of his audition, where he looks angelic but intimidated, not least when Visconti’s interest in him becomes suddenly inflamed. The director issues a string of escalating demands: smile, walk round the room, remove your top. At that last one, the young Andrésen lets slip a nervous laugh, wondering if he has misheard. Soon, though, he is down to his trunks, shifting awkwardly as Visconti and his assistants evaluate his body.


When he strolled into that audition, he was no stranger to the camera. His grandmother, who was raising him after the death of his single mother four years earlier, was a regular Mrs Worthington, dispatching him to auditions practically as soon as he could walk. He is happy to have starred in Roy Andersson’s 1970 debut A Swedish Love Story (“I was there at the start of his career!”) and wasn’t too perturbed making Death in Venice. “It was a cool summer job,” he says. It also sounds incredibly lonely. Visconti was an imposing figure who warned the crew to keep their hands off the boy during shooting, then dragged him off to a gay club after filming had finished.


Andrésen’s relationship with Dirk Bogarde – who played the ageing composer smitten with him – was nothing more than “neutral”. In his 1983 memoir An Orderly Man, Bogarde described him with a mixture of fascination and pity. “He had an almost mystic beauty,” he wrote. To preserve Andrésen’s complexion and poise, “he was never allowed to go into the sun, kick a football about with his companions, swim in the polluted sea, or do anything which might have given him the smallest degree of pleasure … He suffered it all splendidly.”


It felt like a swarm of bats around me – it was a living nightmare


Bogarde’s one complaint concerned the “slabs of black bubble gum which he would blow into prodigious bubbles until they exploded all over his face.” Andrésen shrugs at the detail: “I don’t remember that.”


The late actor got at least one point right: “The last thing that Björn ever wanted, I am certain, was to be in movies.” If Andrésen didn’t already feel that way, the hoopla surrounding Death in Venice convinced him. The London gala premiere, at which he met the Queen and Princess Anne, was a breeze compared with the film’s unveiling at the Cannes film festival, where he was mobbed by carnivorous crowds. “It felt like swarms of bats around me,” he recalls in the documentary. “It was a living nightmare.”


For Kristina Lindström and Kristian Petri, the directors of The Most Beautiful Boy in the World, the footage from the Cannes press conference was uniquely revealing. The assembled hacks are shown laughing obsequiously at Visconti’s jokes about Andrésen losing his looks. The young man simply appears bewildered. “There was no compassion or empathy,” says Lindström. “He had the feeling of being used,” Petri adds. “He was packaged as an object.”


Andrésen agrees. “I don’t think it’s ethically defensible to let a 16-year-old bear the burden of advertising the damn film,” he says. “Especially not when you come back to school and you hear, ‘Hi there, angel lips.’ A guy who’s in the middle of his own teenage hormone tempest doesn’t want to be called ‘beautiful’.” He thinks the adoration inhibited his development. “When you snap your fingers and you’ve got 10 chicks running after you, there’s no need to learn any social skills for dealing with the opposite sex.”


Worse was to come. In Japan, Andrésen was dragooned into public appearances and musical turns, and plied with pills to help him survive the punishing schedule. In his early 20s, he found himself in Paris on the promise of an acting job. He was installed in an apartment by an older man and paid a generous stipend. Meals and gifts came his way from assorted male admirers; one composed love poems in his honour. The film is cagey about what happened during that year in Paris. “He didn’t talk about it,” says Petri, “and we didn’t want to dig any further than was necessary. He does say now that he doesn’t regret much, except for his time in Paris.”


There is a pervasive, necessary sadness to the documentary: we see Andrésen discovering details about his mother’s suicide, and reflecting on the death of one of his own children. But what endures is its subject’s dry humour and buoyant, philosophical spirit. He is also a generous soul: though the movie makes clear that there was a dereliction of duty on his grandmother’s part, he is reluctant to add to the criticism. “Maybe she wasn’t the sharpest blade in the box,” he tells me. “But I got over it. I don’t have any demons left. I kicked them all out. I haven’t had a demon since …” He thinks for a moment. “1992.”


He can pinpoint it that specifically? “Yes. I was sitting in my kitchen and they hopped out one by one. I gave them name and number and said, ‘You’re fired.’ ‘What?’ ‘You heard me.’ And that was it.” He claps his hands together briskly as if wiping them free of dust and dirt. What did the demons represent? “All kinds of anxieties and horrors and memories. I still have the memories but they don’t frighten me. I’m scared of very little these days. Too old for that.”


Andrésen is pleased with The Most Beautiful Boy in the World, if perhaps foggy on his reasons for agreeing to it, other than his friendship with the film-makers. “I’m not after attention,” he says. “I got an overdose of that 50 years ago.” The directors have their own ideas about why he let them follow him for the six years it took to make the picture. “After being a public figure for so long, I think it was nice for him to take back the story of his life,” says Petri. “We didn’t want Visconti experts or other talking heads discussing him.” Lindström nods enthusiastically: “I think Björn also liked that we wanted to do a cinematic film, and to do it beautifully, like Death in Venice.”


Andrésen is still acting, and still insisting it’s not the life he chose, though he did tell Lindström recently: “OK, I’m an actor.” She smiles at that: “At 66, he finally said it!” He had a memorable role three years ago in Midsommar, as an elderly man who sacrifices himself at a pagan ceremony: he jumps off a cliff, then a bystander finishes the job by smashing his head with a mallet. “Being killed in a horror movie is every boy’s dream,” he laughs. It seems like a supremely perverse joke – to take the face that has bewitched millions of viewers and then destroy it. Perhaps The Most Beautiful Boy in the World is doing something similar, minus the mallet. Its message is clear: Tadzio is dead. Long live Björn Andréson.


 The Most Beautiful Boy in the World is in cinemas 30 July

Friday, 16 July 2021

A Gentleman's Guide to: Bespoke Shirtmaking with Turnbull & Asser

Turnbull & Asser was founded in 1885 by John Arthur Turnbull, a hosier and shirtmaker at 3 Church Place, St. James's. Turnbull met Ernest Asser, a salesman, later on in 1893. Together, they opened a hosiery under the name "John Arthur Turnbull" in St. James's. As the neighborhood was the site of numerous gentlemen's clubs and high-end haberdashers, the business flourished. The name was changed to "Turnbull & Asser" in 1895.


In 1903, after continued success, Turnbull & Asser moved to its present location at the corner of Jermyn Street and Bury Street. In 1915, during World War I, Turnbull & Asser developed a raincoat which doubled as a sleeping bag for the British Military. It is known as the Oilsilk Combination Coverall & Ground Sheet.


Between the 1920s and the 1970s, Turnbull & Asser grew its London business from a haberdashery to a clothier, expanding into sportswear, clothing (both bespoke and ready-to-wear), and ready-to-wear shirts. As its symbol, it used a hunting horn with a "Q" above, which it called the Quorn, a name it shares with one of the oldest hunts in England. Many of Turnbull & Asser's articles were called by this name, such as the popular "Quorn scarf". During the 1960s, Turnbull & Asser even had been known for catering to the Swinging London set, with vibrant colors and modern designs. In 1962, Turnbull & Asser began to outfit the cinematic James Bond as first portrayed by Sir Sean Connery, whose dress shirts had turnback cuffs fastened with buttons as opposed to cufflinks, referred to as cocktail cuffs, or James Bond cuffs.


In the 1970s and 1980s, Turnbull & Asser began reviving some of the more traditional aspects of its business. The company found that Americans increasingly were buying its wares, so it began offering trunk shows at the Grand Hyatt in New York City. Beginning in 1974, Turnbull & Asser sold ready-to-wear shirts in the United States through department stores Bonwit Teller and Neiman Marcus. For a brief period beginning in 1979, Turnbull & Asser even operated a small store in Toronto.


Royal Warrant

Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales, has bought shirts from Turnbull & Asser since his youth. When, in 1980, the Prince was granted the power of bestowing royal warrants, his first issue was granted to Turnbull & Asser.[2] He also wears Turnbull & Asser suits, made by the former Chester Barrie factory in Crewe, Cheshire. Following the retirement of Paul Cuss, the Royal Warrant was passed down to Steven Quin, who currently heads the bespoke department in Bury Street.

Thursday, 15 July 2021


 Remembering a ‘SEERSUCKER’ moment.



Summer Tweed Ride / ‘JEEVES’ in seersucker suit

Thanks Misja B!

António Sérgio Rosa de Carvalho / Architectural Historian / “Tweedland”.


During the British colonial period, seersucker was a popular material in Britain's warm-weather colonies like British India. When seersucker was first introduced in the United States, it was used for a broad array of clothing items. For suits, the material was considered a mainstay of the summer wardrobe of gentlemen, especially in the South, who favored the light fabric in the high heat and humidity of the southern climates, especially prior to the arrival of air conditioning.