Monday 29 April 2019

Pearly Kings and Queens / VIDEO: Pearly Queen Doreen, Londoner #154 "We are the original cockney Londoners"

The practice of wearing clothes decorated with mother-of-pearl buttons is first associated with Henry Croft (1861-1930), an orphan street sweeper who collected money for charity. At the time, London costermongers (street traders) were in the habit of wearing trousers decorated at the seams with pearl buttons that had been found by market traders. In the late 1870s, Croft adapted this to create a pearly suit to draw attention to himself and aid his fund-raising activities. In 1911 an organised pearly society was formed in Finchley, north London.

Croft's funeral in January 1930 was attended by 400 followers and received national media coverage. In 1934 a memorial, referring to him as "The original Pearly King", was unveiled in St Pancras Cemetery, and in a speech to mark the occasion he was said to have raised £5,000 for those suffering in London's hospitals.

Pearly organisations
The pearlies are now divided into several active groups. Croft's founding organisation is called the Original London Pearly Kings and Queens Association. It was reformed in 1975 and holds the majority of the original pearly titles which are City of London, Westminster, Victoria, Hackney, Tower Hamlets, Shoreditch, Islington, Dalston and Hoxton. Other groups have also been established over the years. The oldest is the Pearly Guild, which began in 1902. Modern additions include the London Pearly Kings and Queens Society, which started in 2001 and the Pearly Kings and Queens Guild. Despite the rivalries, each group is associated with a church in central London and is committed to raising money for London-based charities. A parade of real-life Pearly Kings and Queens was featured at the 2012 Summer Olympics Opening Ceremony.

Croft was born at the St Pancras Workhouse in Somers Town, London, and baptized there on 5 June 1861. He was raised in an orphanage after his father, a musician, died in around 1871. He worked as a municipal road sweeper from around 1876, employed by St Pancras vestry and later St Pancras Metropolitan Borough Council until the 1920s.

Suits of Fame
Croft started to wear his pearly suit to raise money for charity in the late 1870s. The origin of the pearly tradition is obscure. Croft began to decorate his clothes with mother-of-pearl buttons, which were mass-produced at factories in the East End of London. The inspiration for this form of decoration is a matter of debate. It may have been inspired by the clothes of costermongers (street vendors of fruit and vegetables) in Somers Town: some sources mention a common practice of adding decorative metal buttons to their plain clothes, others indicate that it was unknown. Croft himself was never a costermonger. Alternatively, the costume may also have been inspired by coster singers - such as Hyram Travers who performed as the "Pearly King"’ - or the stage clothes of other music hall entertainers.

By 1880, Croft was wearing a "smother" suit completely covered with thousands of white buttons. He later created more sparsely decorated "skeleton" suits. He is thought to have made at least seven suits to wear himself, two of which he left in his will. He also made pearly clothes - suits, hats, belts, and ties - for others. The suit would have drawn attention to Croft when he participated in charitable pageants and carnivals to raise money for local hospitals, an important source of funding before the National Health Service. Croft wore his pearly suit to raise funds for the London Temperance Hospital in the 1880, but the first surviving reference to him in a printed source is a photograph and accompanying letter in The Strand Magazine in February 1902, which describes "Mr F. Croft" as the "Pearlie King of Somers Town".

The Royalty of Pearl
Croft was presented to Edward VII and Queen Alexandra at the Horse of the Year Show at Olympia in 1907, and led a display by costermongers and their donkeys at the show in 1912. By 1911, all 28 of the metropolitan boroughs of London had its own pearly king, pearly queen, and pearly family, often members of the local costermonger community. The Original Pearly Kings' and Queens' Association was established that year. South of the River Thames, the pearly families were associated into a Pearly Kings' and Queens' Guild. In July 1926, he claimed publicly that he was the "original Pearly-King in London".

Croft raised money for a variety of hospitals and other charities, including St Dunstan's, the Hospital Saturday Fund, and the Sons of Phoenix temperance society. He received a medal from the Lord Mayor of London for raising £72 following the 1928 Thames flood. He is thought to have received around 2,000 medals and ribbons to recognise his fund-raising efforts, which were estimated to have totalled around £4,000 to £5,000.

A Royal Funeral
Croft died from lung cancer in St Pancras workhouse, where he had been born more than 68 years earlier. He was buried at St Pancras Cemetery in East Finchley. His funeral cortège stretched for approximately half a mile, with a procession that included a horse-drawn hearse, musicians, 400 pearly kings and queens, and representatives from the charities that he had supported. The event was filmed by Pathé News. (Ian Dury requested that the same hearse was to be used at his funeral in April 2000.)

Croft's Family and Memory
Croft had married Lily Newton on 21 February 1892, at Bedford New Town Chapel in St Pancras. He was survived by his wife and by eleven of their twelve children, his eldest son having been killed in action in the First World War.

A life-sized marble statue of Croft, standing 5 feet (1.5 m) high, wearing a "smother" pearly tail-coat with top hat and cane, was commissioned in 1931 and erected at his burial site in 1934. After being vandalised several times, the statue was restored and removed to the crypt of St Martin-in-the-Fields in 2002, where the Original Pearly Kings and Queens Society has held its harvest festival since 1956. Perpetuating the family tradition, Croft's great-granddaughter later became pearly queen of Somers Town.

Friday 26 April 2019

The Astonishing Story of Harris Tweed

This documentary produced by Sartorial Talks explores the astonishing world of one the most famous fabrics in the world : the iconic Harris Tweed, produced on the remote islands of the Outer Hebrides of Scotland by a community of people who still weave by hand at home. Harris Tweed is the only fabric in the world which is protected by an act of Parliament which defines exactly how to produce it in order to print on it the famous Orb label. A fascinating story of people working in harmony with their land and their traditions.

Thursday 25 April 2019

New Series of Endeavour season 6 / VIDEO Trailer

 Endeavour: it's Inspector Morse with a moustache – and surprisingly great

This 60s-set prequel to the legendary ITV detective series might look like a cosy Heartbeat-style drama, but something far darker and stranger is at play

Graeme Virtue
Tue 12 Feb 2019 13.30 GMT Last modified on Tue 12 Feb 2019 15.11 GMT
This article contains minor spoilers for series 1-6 of Endeavour

It sounds borderline bizarre to insist that the sixth series of a TV drama is a good jumping-on point. But if you’ve so far resisted ITV’s Sunday-night staple Endeavour – AKA The 1960s Adventures of Young Morse, Before He Got So Crotchety (Although He is Actually Already Pretty Crotchety) – the latest series seems consciously designed to get any latecomers up to speed. It helps, of course, that this is a prequel to one of the most prestigious and popular ITV dramas of all time. Even if you don’t know where the character has been for the past five seasons, you probably have a decent idea about where he is going to end up.

That love for John Thaw’s original Inspector Morse remains strong almost two decades after the final episode aired, to the extent that Endeavour has from the outset seemed a little skippable. Beyond the potential commercial benefits, was there really any urgent need to investigate the trials and traumas that forged such a beloved character, even with the added aesthetic pleasures of a 1960s Oxford setting, all duck-egg blue cars and Green Shield stamps?

Probably not, but from that unpromising start Endeavour has evolved into its own distinct and sure-footed entity, something often much darker and stranger than its swinging 1960s marketing might suggest. You might imagine it as the bookish cousin of Heartbeat, ITV’s pastoral motorcycle-cop timewarp. Yet, with its elaborate whodunnits featuring theatrically self-involved characters brought to heel by Morse’s persistence and cool logic, Endeavour is often more reminiscent of Jonathan Creek. Compared to other long-running primetime dramas, it also features an unusually consistent tone and grasp of its key characters, perhaps because creator Russell Lewis – who cut his teeth on the original Morse plus the spinoff Lewis – has so far written every single episode, a remarkable achievement.

Season six is set in 1969 and kicked off last Sunday with a budget-burning blast of Led Zeppelin’s What Is and What Should Never Be, a suitably operatic overture in its own frazzled way. This felt like a soft reboot, not least because Morse (played by the gaunt and watchful Shaun Evans) has nurtured a man-of-the-people moustache after being demoted to uniform sergeant. After the dissolution of his old Cowley CID – superseded by the formation of the new Thames Valley police – Morse is now pootling around a pastoral Oxford patch where his most urgent case is locating a wayward horse. His former squadmates, including gruff but warm-hearted mentor Fred Thursday (Roger Allam), are also adjusting to new circumstances in different units, although all are still haunted by the unsolved murder of one of their colleagues, a gloomy hangover from series five.

By the end of the opening episode, Morse has untangled a murder and child abduction and is promoted back to plain-clothes duty, though he opts to retain the ‘tache. In the process, he has already managed to rub his new DCI Ronnie Box up the wrong way. A cocky transplant from London with hands-on experience dealing with armed blaggers, DCI Box seems like the antithesis to Morse and his analytical methods. But there is the meta thrill of seeing Simon Harrison as Box, essentially channelling Thaw’s boisterous Regan from The Sweeney, butting heads with Evans, embodying a younger version of Thaw’s Morse.

So you could easily join the Endeavour party in season six. Sure, you will have missed out on some pivotal moments, such as Morse briefly being jailed (wrongly), going undercover as a teacher with a pretend wife and unexpectedly triumphing in an It’s A Knockout sprinting heat while wearing an oversized costume, but you’ll easily get the gist. While it might be a stretch to claim that Endeavour is like a real-ale Better Call Saul, that rare prequel that not only manages to match the original but overtake it, it is consistently well-crafted and satisfying in its own right.

By the end of its current run, Endeavour will have reached 27 episodes, just six shy of the original Inspector Morse’s total of 33. As a mark of respect, the popular Lewis spin-off halted at 33, so perhaps there isn’t even that much more of Endeavour runway to go. Evans has already let slip that at the end of this season we’ll see Morse move into the flat where he will spend the rest of his life. From there, surely season seven will involve a fateful meeting with the true love of his life: a vintage 2.4 litre burgundy Mark II Jaguar.

Endeavour continues Sundays, ITV, 8pm

Wednesday 24 April 2019

Campbell’s of Beauly Country tailor and outfitters

Campbell’s of Beauly
Country tailor and outfitters

Estate Tweed
Designing tweed and manufacturing clothing since 1858
Campbell’s have a long history of working with estates, with over 100 on our books today, from the rocky glen’s on Scotland’s West coast to the grouse moors of Aberdeenshire.
Estate tweeds are very much still alive and act as a traditional uniform for employees, gamekeepers and stalkers alike. They are the exclusive patterns of many Scottish estates, some handed down through the generations, which only the estate’s owners and workers are entitled to wear. As a result we work closely with one of the most experienced cloth designers in the country to ensure the perfect tweed for the landscape.
The principal of the estate tweed is for the keepers, stalkers and ghillies to remain camouflaged while on the land on which they work. For example, grey tweeds being favoured on the rocky land on the West, to browner tweeds for the eastern Scottish grouse moors

Tuesday 23 April 2019

Vanden Plas Princess 1300

The Vanden Plas Princess 1100 was launched in 1963 as a luxury variant of the BMC ADO16.Production of the Princess 1100 and subsequent 1275 and 1300 models ended in 1974 with 43,741 examples produced.

Saturday 20 April 2019

Remebering the Red Trousers "Existential Crisis" ...

 Red trousers are being killed off by hipsters and hooray Henrys, Country Life laments
Red trousers are suffering a slow demise after becoming too closely associated with the wrong sort
Hannah Furness By Hannah Furness10:00PM GMT 02 Mar 2016

They were once the hallmark of the well-heeled gentleman, perhaps enjoying a Pimms on the lawn of their Oxbridge alma mater or visiting a country show.

But the simple pleasure of a pair of red trousers could soon be a things of the past, after they became a victim of their own success.

Red trousers have become so “stigmatised”, experts say, that their association with hooray Henry-types has left owners too shy to wear them.

The issue has reached such a nadir that their cause has been taken up by Country Life magazine, which is campaigning to bring them back in all their unapologetic glory.

In a passionate plea issued in this week’s edition, it states: “It’s time to take back the red trouser, to reclaim and celebrate it.”

Tracking the problem, it suggests that “inverted snobbery” has been the root of the problem, compounded by a tongue-in-cheek blog poking fun at those who wear red trousers and – finally – their adoption by hipsters.

Adrian Holdsworth of Volpe, famed for making Michael Portillo’s colourful jackets and Henry Blofeld’s suits, said he had noticed they were now “struggling to sell” red trousers.

“I think they have become stigmatised,” he said. “They have become associated with a certain type of person and for that reason people have become scared of wearing them.

“I fear that red trousers have taken such a pounding they may be beyond repair.”

" It’s time to take back the red trouser, to reclaim and celebrate it"
Country Life

Richard Harvie, of Harvie & Hudson, told Country Life cornflower blue now appeared to be taking over from red in the trouser department, selling “fantastically”.

The demise of the red trouser may not be a surprise to followers of fashion.

In 2013, a poll by YouGov found they were already struggling in the popularity stakes, with just 12 per cent of people associating them with a positive response.

Instead, the survey found the words most commonly springing to mind including “toff”, “hipsters” and “yuk”.

A robust in this week’s Country Life argues they should now be brought back in the fold.

Arguing they are still worn by “decent, upstanding chaps with names such as Henry or Giles”, it added fans of the red trouser should not allow their reputation to deter them.

“Our terracotta warriors must raise the scarlet standard high,” it said.

“Our menfolk will wear them on the beaches (yes, ever in 32C heat). They will wear them in the fields, in the streets of Fulham and Putney and in the hills.

“May they never surrender them.”

In defence of red trousers

Flora Watkins
March 4, 2016

Love them or loathe them, red trousers are a peculiarly British sartorial obsession says Flora Watkins.

At Conservative headquarters, there’s only one image guaranteed to send press officers into a tailspin and it has nothing to do with that picture of the Prime Minister hunting with the Heythrop or Lord Ashcroft’s smuttier allegations. No, the real smoking gun would show David Cameron ‘chillaxing’ in raspberry red trousers. But it doesn’t exist. We know this because, in a BBC radio interview before the election, the Prime Minister felt compelled to confirm that he doesn’t own a pair.

In this, Mr Cameron may well be unique among the Chipping Norton set. Red trousers have become standard wear for the country gentleman—the type who drives up in a superannuated Land Rover Defender, two flatulent labradors fogging up the windows— both at home and in town. They are seen in the London SW postcodes along the District Line, on dear old things at Lord’s and at Cheltenham, in Stewards’ at Henley, at High Mass in Brompton Oratory and the debentures’ seating at Twickenham (although it’s always ‘Twickers’).

They’re beloved by Sir George Young, the bicycling baronet, and Ed Stourton, erstwhile presenter of the Today programme (indeed, they may have been a factor in why this Old Amplefordian was pushed out). They’re seen around the grander Oxbridge colleges during interview season and in the bar of the Royal Agricultural University in Cirencester.

They’re worn by decent, upstanding chaps with names such as Giles or Henry, the sort whose heads are hard-wired to leap to their feet when a lady enters the room. Among these heralds of the red dawn is Atty Beor-Roberts, a partner at Knight Frank, who has even worn his red trousers on holiday in Corfu and ‘also likes pink and yellow’ trews. Then there’s cricketing legend Henry Blofeld, who declares: ‘I love coloured trousers and have a huge number. I wear them in the Test Match Special box and it’s become a sort of joke. People half expect it, so why not?’  Blowers credits his Italian wife, Valeria, with livening up his ‘rather boring’ khaki wardrobe. For her, red trousers are the mark of ‘a certain English eccentricity, a man who is comfortable in his own skin’. That’s a view echoed by the better halves of many a man who flies the red flag.

‘They’re trustworthy and they have to be confident, especially since there’s been a bit of a backlash,’ asserts Victoria Thirlwell, who’s engaged to Nick Jenner, who farms near Cirencester. ‘Nick hadn’t actually worn jeans as an adult until relatively recently and his holiday “shorts” are a pair of cut-off yellow cords.’ Another girlfriend, with a husband of impeccable pedigree (Eton, Sandhurst, Scots Guards), concurs: ‘A naturalborn sporter of le pantalon rouge wears them as he does his deeply ingrained good manners—lightly.’ How is it, then, that this most jovial and jolly of fashions came to be so maligned? They’ve been gently mocked for years by a cheekily named blog, the name of which isn’t fit to repeat in a quality publication.

And a survey by pollster YouGov found that 46% disliked red trousers, with 24% not approving ‘at all’. It’s unfair, contends Peter York, author of The Official Sloane Ranger Handbook, as the typical red-trouser wearer is ‘fun-loving, often very refreshed; blokes who might think of themselves as a bit rebellious and aren’t at all’. But he’s quick to add that he doesn’t have a pair, admitting instead to owning some amethyst-coloured cords that he ‘bought for Jeremy Clarkson’s New Year party’.

Inverted snobbery is certainly the root of much of the hostility towards what has become the default mufti for the officer class. ‘Sloane’ fashion often has a military origin, explains Mr York, viz the crimson trousers that are the mess dress of the King’s Royal Hussars. And red trousers are the obvious option for the many men who won’t wear denim— understandable when you consider that the Scots Guards rulebook states jeans must not be worn in town. Ultimately, adds Mr York, it’s an extension of the Sloane fashion of wearing country clothes in town and it’s due to the internet that the ‘country-kitchen-suppers life of red trousers has gone global’.

Overexposure has done for the red trouser, harrumphs the royal historian and commentator Rafe Heydel-Mankoo (six pairs), over drinks at the Carlton Club. Since both hipsters and social climbers— ‘akin to the Sebastian Flyte wannabes of the 1980s, carrying teddy bears around Oxford’—have appropriated them, he’s put his red trousers at the back of the wardrobe ‘until they become unfashionable again’. Mr Heydel-Mankoo now looks for a flash of red sock to discern whether a chap is clubbable and prefers his trousers in a bright cornflower blue.

Indeed, on a field trip to Jermyn Street to research this article, a number of gentlemen’s outfitters confirmed that sales of red trousers are in decline. Red trousers are now laden with so much baggage that Blowers’ tailor, Adrian Holdsworth of Volpe, admits he ‘struggles to sell them’ and Richard Harvie of Harvie & Hudson says cornflower blue ‘has taken over from red’ and is ‘selling fantastically’.

Cornflower, it seems, is the new red. But enough! It’s time to take back the red trouser, to reclaim and celebrate it before it becomes as debased as the Burberry check once was. Let’s hear it for the ruddy-trousered—and faced—farmers and retired High Court judges. Let’s hear it for raspberry jumbo cords at Badminton worn with Dubarry boots and a Schoffel fleece.

Let’s hear it for officer cadets dressed down with gaucho belts and brown shoes. Let’s hear it for the elderly gentleman in the Panama at Lord’s, who nods off after lunch, is woken by the applause for Alastair Cook’s century and leaps to his feet spluttering ‘What the…?!’, sloshing Pouilly-Fumé over his mulberry moleskins. Our terracotta warriors must raise the scarlet standard high. Our menfolk will wear them on the beaches (yes, even in 32˚C heat). They will wear them in the fields, in the streets of Fulham and Putney and in the hills. May they never surrender them!

Monday 15 April 2019


Jonathan was born in 1966 and raised near the market town of Leek in the heart of the Staffordshire Moorlands. He spent much of his childhood exploring the countryside in the company of his father, Keith, a more than competent painter himself. He studied courses in Philosophy, Theology and Fine Art before qualifying as an Occupational Therapist working with people experiencing severe mental health problems.

He moved to Devon in 1991 where he now lives with his wife Frances and their children. The inspiration of Dartmoor and the countryside around Exeter has given new impetus to his interest in depicting the badgers, foxes and voles that his naturalist’s eye observes everywhere. Jonathan’s work is inspired by his close observation of wildlife, as well as human characteristics. Combining unerring draughtsmanship with humour, he creates work which is contemporary, whilst still being rooted in the heritage of English illustration and country life.

In many ways Jonathan’s work is familiar, influenced by many wonderful artists and illustrators. It is, however, his rare ability to convey each animal’s personality that makes his paintings unmistakably unique. Despite their old cast-off human garments, his characters never lose their intrinsic “animalness”. His animals are of the richness and earthiness of the land, unsentimental and honest. Painting has always been a passion for Jonathan, and as well as having numerous exhibitions across the country, he has also been published as a children’s book illustrator Jonathan was great friends with Mick Cawston and it was Jonathan’s influence that led to Mick’s hugely popular ‘Cheers’ and ‘Lamping’ prints.

Sunday 14 April 2019

‘Stepping through the looking glass’: They Shall Not Grow Old review / VIDEO:They Shall Not Grow Old – New Trailer – Now Playing In Theaters

 They Shall Not Grow Old review – an utterly breathtaking journey into the trenches
Mark Kermode's film of the week
Peter Jackson and team’s painstaking restoration of first world war footage is a cinematic triumph that all but brings young British soldiers back to life

Mark Kermode
Mark Kermode, Observer film critic
Sun 11 Nov 2018 08.00 GMT Last modified on Mon 12 Nov 2018 12.12 GMT
5 / 5 stars 5 out of 5 stars. 

 There’s a familiar mantra that computers have somehow taken the humanity out of cinema. In an age when it’s possible to conjure spectacular action from digital effects, many modern movies have developed a sense of weightlessness – the inconsequentiality of artifice. Along with Avatar director James Cameron, New Zealand film-maker Peter Jackson has been at the forefront of the digital revolution, with his twin Tolkien trilogies (The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit) pushing the boundaries of computer-generated entertainment.

Yet with his latest project, a revivification of the Imperial War Museum’s archive of first world war footage, Jackson has done something quite remarkable: using 21st-century technology to put the humanity back into old movie stock. The result is utterly breathtaking.

Commissioned for the Armistice centenary by IWM and 14-18 NOW in association with the BBC, They Shall Not Grow Old is not a document of the world at war. Rather, it is an arresting snapshot of the lives of British soldiers who went to fight in Europe, many of them having lied about their tender ages to enlist. There are no historians, narrators or political commentators to guide us; the voices we hear are those of veterans, many gathered by the BBC during the making of its 1964 documentary series The Great War.

As we watch a line of soldiers marching through mud towards the front, something extraordinary happens. The film seems almost miraculously to change from silent black-and-white footage to colour film with sound, as though 100 years of film history had been suddenly telescoped into a single moment. Stepping through the looking glass, we find ourselves right there in the trenches, surrounded by young men whose faces are as close and clear as those of people we would pass in the street. I’ve often argued that cinema is a time machine, but rarely has that seemed so true.

The challenges involved in achieving this miracle are manifold. Most obviously, the digital restoration and colourisation of the original films has been painstakingly carried out with meticulous attention to detail, rendering everything from skin tones to scenery in impressively natural hues. (For theatrical presentation, a moderate 3D enhancement has also been applied.)

More complex is the correction of the film’s pace. The century-old footage with which Jackson was working was shot at anything from 10 to 18 frames per second, with the rate often changing within a single reel. We’ve all seen old movies projected at the modern speed of 24fps, creating that skittering, agitated effect that fixes such footage in the dim and distant past. Here, Jackson and his team have used computers to build interstitial frames that recapture the rhythms of real life, tuning into the music of the soldiers’ movements, breathing intimate life into their smallest gestures. The process may sound nerdily technical but the effect is powerfully emotional. It’s as if the technology had somehow pierced the surface of the film, causing (virtual?) memories to come pouring out.

While a rich tapestry of background sound effects transports the viewer from training camps to battlefields, actors provide regionally authentic dialogue based on forensic lip-reading of the silent footage. “Hello Mum!” chirrups one private as he marches past the camera. Later, we see and hear an officer issuing instructions for the forthcoming attack.

Amid such artifice, the true archive voices of soldiers who were “scared that the war would be over before we got out to it” strike a vibrant chord. While the unspeakable horrors of conflict are everywhere in evidence, Jackson’s film still finds unexpected life and laughter in the company of those who walked in the shadow of death. One veteran remembers the trenches as “a sort of outdoor camping holiday with the boys, with a slight spice of danger to make it interesting”. Another recalls the “terrific lot of kindness” at the front, a camaraderie perhaps lacking from life at home.

Should They Shall Not Grow Old be considered a documentary or a work of art? Debates about authenticity versus invention date back to the 1916 production of The Battle of the Somme, and Jackson’s creative interventions here will doubtless keep such arguments alive. Yet watching a technologically enhanced sequence in which a first world war soldier playfully juggles a beer bottle, then strums it like a guitar, all I could think was how real, how immediate, how profoundly truthful it all felt.

As the titular (mis)quotation from Laurence Binyon’s poem For the Fallen suggests, Jackson has attempted to take ageing footage and make it young again – to bring history, and those who lived it, into the present. It is an endeavour in which he has succeeded superbly.

Thursday 11 April 2019

Harry and William's separating households / what's behind ?

Splitting heirs: what's behind Harry and William's separating households?
It’s been portrayed as a rift between the princes – or a catfight between their wives. But the couples are preparing for very different lives

Caroline Davies
Wed 10 Apr 2019 17.06 BST Last modified on Thu 11 Apr 2019 09.36 BST

William, Harry, Meghan and Kate
 Fab four … William, Harry, Meghan and Kate at a service to mark the centenary of the Armistice. Photograph: Rex/Shutterstock

Shielded by trees inside the Queen’s historic Windsor estate, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are settling into their new home, Frogmore Cottage, ahead of the birth of their first child. “Cottage” may be too humble a name for a Grade II-listed house with a reported 10 bedrooms, gifted to them by the Queen and refurbished for around £3m. And, according to reports this week, now complete with a vegetable patch and “floating” yoga studio. The “Frogmore” is at least appropriate, given the preponderance of frogs at its nearby lake (a disgusted Queen Victoria once noted they “made the grass look as if it were alive”).

This is Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex’s new base, 20-odd miles from their former Kensington Palace home and former neighbours, the Cambridges, as well as other assorted royals also billeted in the west London royal residence Edward VIII called the “Aunt Heap”.

Their wish to start family life away from the Kensington Palace goldfish bowl is understandable, even if the price is living under the Heathrow flightpath. The recent announcements that Harry and Meghan are to set up a separate official household with offices at Buckingham Palace, and that they have launched their own Instagram account – @sussexroyal – has oxygenated speculation over the split of the “Fab Four”. For split read “rift”, or “spat”, according to reports, unable to resist perpetuating rumours of rows between the brothers, or – even better – between their wives.

Photographs of Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, Meghan and their husbands laughing together, have done little to dampen tittle-tattle, while columnists are quick to pit the two women in particular against each other. Even the Chelsea Flower Show is not immune, with some gardening media pitching a “classic English” garden by Kate’s charity against an African climate-change garden by Meghan’s charity.

 “I was told the tensions were between the two brothers and that they had really gone through quite a difficult patch shortly after the engagement announcement. But two duchesses having a cat fight – that’s a sexier story,” says Vanity Fair royal correspondent, Katie Nicholl, author of Harry: Life, Loss, and Love.

In the public’s eye it had always been just the two of them; princeling brothers inextricably bound by tragedy; the memory of them trailing their mother’s coffin in bewildered grief still so vivid. Then two became a trio on Prince William’s marriage. But with Harry still solo, he looked every inch “the spare”. Now married, and having finished serving in the army, Harry is seeking a meaningful role. Already we are seeing the first indications of how he and Meghan intend to operate. Constant reinvention is the way the monarchy strives to survive. And with his marriage to the American former actor – seemingly a politically and emotionally literate, independent, liberal, ripper-up of rulebooks, champion of period poverty and writer of supportive messages on bananas to sex workers – it is fair to say Harry’s reinvention is without precedent.

“Brand Sussex” will have an international stage from which to promote their messages on humanitarianism, environmental awareness and mental wellbeing. But the fact that their offices will be under the canopy of the Queen’s most senior advisers will not be without challenge, predict royal-watchers.

 They need back-up teams because their roles are so different. But that’s not what the tabloids want to hear.
Joe Little

The Sussexes certainly have an audience for their vision; their Instagram account broke the world record for attracting 1 million followers in less than six hours. It now sits above 4 million and counting. Photographs posted so far appear to accentuate the personal, like the sharing of hitherto private moments tending elephants in the African bush, rather than the official engagement shots we see of William and Kate. They have the support of celebrity friends, too; among them the Clooneys, Serena Williams, Oprah, Jessica Mulroney.

They also have, in their freshly hired communications secretary, Sara Latham, a professional with pedigree in the political and the corporate worlds on both sides of the pond. Her former clients include both Bill and Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and Tony Blair. The Sussex household will be financed by Prince Charles through his Duchy of Cornwall income, the Queen through her Duchy of Lancaster funds, and the taxpayer through the government’s annual sovereign grant.

A parting of logistical ways for the brothers was always inevitable, aides say. Senior royals historically set up their own households on marriage, the Yorks and Wessexes being recent examples. It was “wilful misunderstanding” to characterise it “as some kind of fallout”, says Andrew Morton, Meghan biographer and author of the global bestseller Diana: Her True Story. Palace sources stress that having two households is about preparing both couples for their futures. The long-term plan had always been for Harry to have his own household once married. Now he and Meghan are about to have their own family, and have a new official residence, it made sense to start moving to this permanent structure.

 Frogmore Cottage, Windsor. . Photograph: Rex/Shutterstock

But the timing is unfortunate, according to Joe Little, managing editor of Majesty magazine, who believes it should have happened immediately after the Sussexes’ marriage, “so there could be no rumours about rifts between brothers or sisters-in-law”.

William is in the ascendancy. He will become Prince of Wales, then king. His household is headed by private secretary Simon Case, 40, a former principal private secretary to both prime minister Theresa May and her predecessor David Cameron. William’s recent three-week attachment with the security and intelligence services, MI5, MI6 and GCHQ, illustrates well how divergent the brothers’ roles will be. “William has a lot to learn, about the Duchy of Cornwall, about government, and about many other things that Harry need never concern himself with,” says Little, pointing out that Harry’s position can only diminish as he slides down the line of succession. “They need back-up teams to be independent because their roles are so different. But that’s a boring story. That’s not what the tabloids want to hear.”

William, Kate and their three children are now the core royal family, and will be constrained far more by convention. Kensington Palace will feel “more traditional and domestic-based” compared to the Sussexes, Nicholl says. William and Kate, as future king and queen, will obviously perform big overseas tours. “But, particularly when it comes to the Commonwealth, that overseas representation is very much going to fall on Harry and Meghan,” Nicholl adds.

 Harry was a boy who hung out at the pub and went shooting with friends. Now he’s drinking green juices and meditating
Katie Nicholl

Many believe that by being American, divorced, mixed race and self-made, Meghan marrying into “the firm” has, of itself, modernised the monarchy. Hundreds of millions across the world watched the ceremony on TV. She is seen as so different from Kate, who has quietly adopted the Windsor ways. Harry, in talking very explicitly about his own mental health in such a personal manner, and Meghan, in proclaiming her feminism, appear to be promoting a new “touchy-feely” kind of progressive royalty. And what of baby Sussex, soon to be seventh-in-line to the throne? There is unlikely, watchers say, to be a “national moment” of presenting their newborn on the hospital steps. In fact, the first the nation might see of the Sussexes’ child is on their Instagram account.

There are unconfirmed reports that Meghan will eschew Kate’s choice of the £7,500-a-night private suite at the Lindo Wing of St Mary’s Hospital, Paddington, opting for the local NHS Frimley Park Hospital, or even a home birth. A photograph of the couple emerging from Notting Hill wellness shop Ilapothecary, which offers energy healing and meditation, is seen as evidence of a different approach to this royal birth. That approach, according to the Mail on Sunday, includes dispensing with the services of the royal household gynaecologists used by Kate and other female royals, in favour of an unnamed female doctor.

The Sussexes are yet to appoint a private secretary to replace Samantha Cohen, a former senior aide to the Queen, who has held the post on an interim basis but is due to leave. As the couple attempt to navigate a path balancing Harry’s birthright of wealth and privilege with adhering to the causes they publicly promote, Latham, whose expertise is in “executive thought leadership and purpose-led campaigns”, will seek to minimise missteps.

The eagle-eyed media have already swooped on the financial and environmental impact of Harry helicoptering to engagements in Birmingham, at a reported £6,000 cost, two days before telling thousands of young people at Wembley Arena on WE Day, “every blade of grass, every ray of sun and every rain drop is crucial to our survival”. Likewise, Meghan’s private jet – reportedly lent by the Clooneys – to her extravagant baby shower in an ultra-luxe New York hotel penthouse suite, was also criticised. Lest they forget, the image of frugality the royals like to project is one where Princess Anne can still wear 30-year-old coats, and Charles chooses to have his suits patched, albeit by Savile Row tailors.

The WE Day speech, at the event encouraging youth activism, perhaps yielded a glimpse of what now to expect from the Sussexes. Here was Harry, pacing the stage, microphone casually slung in hand, praising his student audience as “the most engaged generation in history”, urging them to find their “true north” and having a little pop at mainstream media to boot. It was received with rapturous applause, especially as Meghan joined him onstage. Traditionalist curmudgeons shuddered. “Cringe-worthy”, bellowed the Sun; “part New Age gibberish” harrumphed one Daily Mail columnist.

“It was very ‘woke’. It was very Meghan. It was just not what we have heard from Harry before and that’s what has taken everyone by surprise, his friends included,” says Nicholl. “This is a boy they hung out at the pub and went shooting with. Now he’s drinking green juices and meditating.”

The couple’s staff will be based at Buckingham Palace and so under the supervision of the Queen’s senior officials. Latham will report to Donal McCabe, the Queen’s new communications secretary, who previously held senior posts at bookmakers Ladbrokes, Landsec, Boots and Railtrack. Harry may find this quite an adjustment; to give up the freedom he has enjoyed at Kensington Palace, “which is incredibly autonomous”, Nicholl believes. “There’s is a sense there is the potential for them to be more reined in at Buckingham Palace. It is very telling that their head of communications will have to answer to Donal. That says a lot. And I think that is very much the subtext of the story.”

Wednesday 10 April 2019

'The game is afoot' / The Crown / The Actresses and the Actors.

Grantchester's Emma Corrin to play Princess Diana in The Crown
Actor says she will strive to do justice to Diana in season four of Netflix show

Caroline Davies
Tue 9 Apr 2019 18.15 BST Last modified on Tue 9 Apr 2019 20.40 BST

The Grantchester actor Emma Corrin has been cast as Diana, Princess of Wales in the fourth season of the critically acclaimed series The Crown after she “immediately captivated” casting directors.

Netflix confirmed the decision in a tweet, adding that filming for the latest season would begin this year. Corrin said she was “beyond excited and honoured”.

She said: “I have been glued to the show since the first episode and to think I’m now joining this incredibly talented acting family is just surreal. Princess Diana was an icon, and her effect on the world remains profound and inspiring. To be given the chance to explore her through Peter Morgan’s writing is the most exceptional opportunity, and I will strive to do her justice.”

She joins a cast including Olivia Colman who replaces Claire Foy as Queen Elizabeth in the third series, to be screened later this year, and Helena Bonham Carter who is to play Princess Margaret.

The series creator Morgan said: “Emma is a brilliant talent who immediately captivated us all when she came in for the part of Diana Spencer. As well as having the innocence and beauty of a young Diana, she also has, in abundance, the range and complexity to portray an extraordinary woman who went from anonymous teenager to becoming the most iconic woman of her generation.”

The second series of The Crown took five Emmy awards, including best actress for Foy and best director for a drama for Stephen Daldry.

Diana was married to the Prince of Wales from 1981 to 1996. She died in Paris in a car crash in 1997. She was famed for her advocacy of charitable causes, including her work to tackle HIV and Aids.

Battle Royal: Rating The Crown's new cast, from Charles to the Queen
Olivia Colman and Helena Bonham Carter are among the A-listers appearing in the new series of Netflix’s drama – but which of them looks the best fit?

Stuart Heritage
Tue 31 Jul 2018 06.00 BST Last modified on Tue 31 Jul 2018 07.05 BST

Olivia Colman in the third series of The Crown.
The Crown has got a lot to lose this year. For two seasons, viewers have developed a sense of ownership over the cast – Matt Smith’s randy Prince Philip, Vanessa Kirby’s Ab-Fab-gone-emo Princess Margaret, Claire Foy’s confusingly expressive Queen Elizabeth – but now the decks have been cleared.

Over the last few weeks, we have experienced a slow drip of casting announcements for series three of The Crown. The new cast may get to shoulder some of the juiciest moments of Elizabeth’s reign – the show’s creator, Peter Morgan, would be a fool if he didn’t end the cycle with all the separations and fires of 1992 – so they need to be perfect. But are they? Let’s rate the newcomers’ suitability, based on nothing but pure speculation

Josh O’Connor, Prince Charles
Admittedly, the 1970s were Charles’s “swordsman” years, to the extent that we may even see an episode about him trying to have it off with one of the Three Degrees. But, still, Josh O’Connor is a ruggedly handsome man, and nobody in history has ever used the word “rugged” to describe Charles. 2/5

Tobias Menzies, Prince Philip
As one of the Tullys on Game of Thrones, Menzies has proved that he can do anachronistic pomp with the best of them. Plus, like Matt Smith, he shares Philip’s sternly equine bone structure. However, go and do an image search for Tobias Menzies. What’s that? Is it … an earring? Imagine Prince Philip getting his ear pieced. Imagine all the people he would kill with his bare hands before the piercing gun even arrived in the same postcode as him. 2/5

Marion Bailey, the Queen Mother
Marion Bailey has enjoyed a long and prestigious career as an actor – including a stint as the Queen in 2014 – and, at 67, is roughly the same age as the Queen Mother in series three. The issue is, though, that she simply doesn’t look old enough. The Queen Mother always looked absolutely, breathtakingly, terrifyingly ancient. Unless producer/director Stephen Daldry tips a bucket of dust over her before every scene, this will be hard to pull off. 3/5

Erin Doherty, Princess Anne
Of all the new announcements, Doherty is the least known. She may be a tremendous Princess Anne or she may be a terrible one. But, since nobody has ever cared about a single thing that Princess Anne has ever done, that probably won’t matter. 3/5

Ben Daniels, Lord Snowdon
 Remember Ben Daniels in House of Cards, playing a randy photographer? Guess what: now he’s going to be on The Crown, playing a randy photographer. Perfect casting. Well done, everyone. 3/5

Jason Watkins, Harold Wilson
First (and this is true of all three remaining actors), seeing Jason Watkins in anything is a thrill. However, by playing a Labour prime minister who deals with a ridiculous monarchical dynasty dripping with wealth, Watkins will essentially be the antagonist of series three. Doesn’t he seem a little too nice for that? 4/5

Olivia Colman, Queen Elizabeth
As the one actor on earth capable of bettering Claire Foy’s turn as the Queen, Colman is guaranteed to be nothing less than spectacular this year. The only potential niggle is that she is such a warm performer – funny, vulnerable and angry – that she may struggle to connect with the mile-high granite cliff-face of Elizabeth’s outward persona. Still, scowling and waving isn’t exactly the worst way to make a living. 5/5

Helena Bonham Carter, Princess Margaret
This is why you’ll watch The Crown. Vanessa Kirby set up Margaret perfectly, as a campy, vampy, obnoxious perpetual teenager. And nobody in the universe will be able to cash in on that like Helena Bonham Carter. Every microsecond of her performance is destined to become a gif, and that is the highest compliment you can pay an actor in 2018. 7/5

Season three of The Crown will be released on Netflix in 2019

Monday 8 April 2019

Crowley Vintage & Antiques at 546 3rd Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11215. / VIDEO:My Vintage Love - Episode 54 - Crowley Vintage



Vintage Expert Sean Crowley Shares His Tips for Scoring the Perfect Find
The proprietor of Crowley Vintage & Antiques knows a thing or two about separating a needle from a haystack.

JAN 5, 2018

The birth of eBay signaled an entirely new way of sleuthing out vintage gear. Now, if you know the right keywords, are particular and single-minded about what you’re after, and willing to take delivery of the occasional turkey or two, you can dig up unique and special things on the other side of the globe without even rising from your chair. This has, ostensibly, made sifting through piles of old clothes at rummage sales and thrift stores for that one gem in an uncurated mountain of dross a thing of the past.

But one thing even The Algorithm doesn’t possess (at this point, at least) is The Eye. Imagine taking all the keywords with which you regularly scour eBay or Etsy, and then realizing them instead in a brick-and-mortar vintage store. Mine, and I don't think I’m giving anything away here, would probably include the following: British, Scottish, Irish, military, officer, Savile Row, Barbour, Belstaff, bespoke, Jermyn Street, and Northampton. And I imagine my go-to list isn’t far from the one used by Sean Crowley.

Crowley, you see, has The Eye. After design stints in the better end of the men’s fashion business, has just opened up a vintage store that is already becoming a destination for people looking for interesting pieces from the past. There's no shortage of options in his ever-growing collection of Anglo-centric tailoring, collegiate sweaters, military uniforms, and what my Scottish great aunt would call “knicky knacky knoos”–coronation mugs, cufflinks, ashtrays, hip-flasks from long-vanished Hussar regiments, opera glasses, and top hats. You don't actually need any of it, but places like Crowley Vintage & Antiques will very quickly convince you that you that a life without a Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders cookie jar is not worth living.

We cornered Crowley at his new store and gave him a grilling for his tips and secrets. Here’s what he had to say.

You can’t do it all online.
I'd recommend getting out there and actually handling the stuff. The internet is obviously an incredible tool for both learning and for tracking things down, but it's only part of the puzzle. I can't tell you how many guys I meet who have all this array of arcane facts, but never get their hands on the stuff. Without the haptic element the knowledge is kind of meaningless. Even if it's just at your local thrift shop, it's so important to get out there and touch stuff—you can even learn from the bad stuff. Otherwise my best advice is dig! Whether online or in a shop, you really just have to keep looking and not give up.

But when you are online, be sure to be diligent.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions of dealers and make sure you check those measurements. Everyone makes mistakes with eBay purchases, but you'll find gold if you keep your eyes open.

It’s a slippery slope to hoarding.
I have two collections, I guess: my personal collection and my selling inventory. Both have taken time, but with my inventory it's been a few years of aggressive digging and buying. At first, years and years ago, when I was only buying for myself, I would see great pieces out there. But if they didn't fit me, I'd leave them on the rack—perhaps stupidly. Then one day it occurred to me to buy and sell, or even just pass them on to friends. It was just too painful to leave a great piece in the purgatory of a thrift store or flea market. It's a slippery slope from there to hoarding, so here I am now.

I grew up going to flea markets from age 5 and my father and grandfather were both brilliant collectors. I could have rejected all of it, but I totally fell in love with it. I love the hunt. Love the markets and the characters you meet.

Everything I sell is something I love. For better or worse, I don't think I could sell things I didn't love. That being said, my personal taste is the thread running through all of it. There's also a certain aspect of aspiration and fantasy. Even if I don't dress like Bertie Wooster or a Grenadier Guard or a 1930s Princeton guy, it's nice to know that it's there.

It’s all about details.
With vintage, as with all things old, I think the thing that appeals first and foremost is the history and the story, and the discovery of each piece. Getting a new piece and poring over it—looking at construction details and cloth and labels and dates and cross-referencing with other pieces is a joy. Clearly menswear is more detail-oriented than women's, where silhouette and bold statements are the MO, but I love the nuance of men's and somehow always finding something "new" with vintage pieces.

That price tag might not be as extravagant as you think.
It's not really that fabulously expensive, especially in a world of $80,000 vintage jeans, but I always loved the look of the British Guards Regiment's frock coats, with all the braid hanging down the front. I was at my friend Graham's shop in London and I saw one that fit like it was made for me and I had to have it at any price. Thankfully I think it was only about $600. I have the whole kit now and it's a great outfit for Whole Foods.

Be ready to be surprised.
I remember years ago in Bushwick, in this junk shop where literally everything was grimy and/or broken, I pulled out this immaculate bespoke men's nightshirt from the Burlington Arcade. Gorgeous shirting stripe with red piping and mother of pearl buttons. How did it even get there? I am always fascinated to know the path of the things I bought. How did they end up at this little auction house or flea market in the middle of nowhere?

Crowley Vintage & Antiques is located at 546 3rd Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11215. Open Saturday and Sunday, 12-6pm; weekdays by appointment.

These Photographs below by Rose Callahan