Saturday, 30 November 2019

BARBOUR of South Shields and the Herd Groyne Lighthouse / River Tyne. / VIDEO:Herd Groyne Lighthouse scale model 1:16






Herd Groyne Lighthouse River Tyne.


There is a third lighthouse, just upstream of the pier, on the Herd Groyne at South Shields (which was constructed in 1861–67 to preserve Littlehaven Beach, then known as Herd Sands, which had begun to be washed away by the change of currents caused by the new piers). This very unusual lighthouse resembling a 1940s sci-fi movie space craft was built by Newcastle-upon-Tyne Trinity House in 1882 (ownership was passed to the Tyne Improvement Commission the following year). It consists of an upper hexagonal part (including the lantern) of wood and corrugated iron construction, sitting on twelve cylindrical steel legs. The whole structure is painted red and stands 49 ft (15 m) in height.







The Barbour story began in 1894 in the Market Place in South Shields, England. Today the 5th generation family owned business remains in the read, with Barbour’s headquarters located in Simonside, South Shields. Although it sources products from around the globe, Barbour’s classic wax jackets are still manufactured by hand in the factory in Simonside and each year over 100,000 jackets are processed via the central, subsidiary and local customer service operations.


In 2004, Barbour began to work with Lord James Percy, in the design and marketing of its flagship shooting clothing range—the Northumberland range. Technically advanced and highly acclaimed in 2005, the Northumberland Range won the Shooting Industry Award for best clothing product, and the Linhope 3-in-1 won the Shooting Industry Award for best clothing product, 2008. Percy was also involved, alongside Vice Chairman Helen Barbour, in designing the new Barbour Sporting collection launched for Autumn Winter 2011.

Barbour now has 11 of its own retail shops in the UK, and a presence in over 40 countries worldwide including the United States, Germany, Holland, Austria, France, Italy, Spain, Argentina, New Zealand and Japan.

There are now over 2,000 products across the two seasons and the collections now cater for Men, Ladies and Children. Broadening out from its countrywear roots, today the heritage and lifestyle clothing brand produces clothing that is designed for a full lifestyle wardrobe. As well as jackets and coats, the Barbour wardrobe includes trousers, shirts, socks, knitwear and a range of accessories.

Nevertheless, in whichever area the company now operates, it remains true to its core values as a family business which espouses the unique values of the British Countryside and brings the qualities of wit, grit, and glamour to its beautifully functional clothing.

HISTORY OF BARBOUR WAXED COTTON: CLASSIC OUTERWEAR
You can’t think of the classic Barbour wax cotton jacket’s provenance without a nod to England’s nineteenth-century marine industry. And if necessity is the mother of invention, hat tip to hardworking 15th-century mariners who slathered their sailcloth in fish oil. It’s the earliest known iteration of waxed cotton, the textile we admire so much these days for its weather-resistant functionality and timeless appeal. Resourceful ancient fishermen repurposed worn sailcloth as capes for themselves: the same properties to make their sails more efficient in dry weather, and lighter during storms, also kept their own backs dry.

A few centuries hence, “oilcloth” had morphed into a linseed oil-saturated Egyptian cotton, a flax plant derivative replacing the erstwhile smelly fish oil as a weather deterrent. A cheap alternative to leather, oilcloth could be used in many of the same applications. Problem was, linseed oil also made the material stiff in cold weather (and thus prone to cracking), and turned it yellow. It took a long time to dry once it was soaked, and it was toxic to some degree. Still, it served its purpose in the marine industry and remained more or less unchanged from the mid-nineteenth century until the 1930s.

It was then, over a period of two years and with the combined efforts of three companies, a new generation of proofed cottons emerged, now impregnated with paraffin-based wax instead of linseed oil. The result was a pliant and breathable, water-resistant cotton that did not yellow. Manufactured exclusively for outerwear, the newfangled waxed cotton in short order supplanted oilcloth as the preferred material for heavy-duty foul weather gear.

Although J. Barbour & Sons Ltd. did not invent waxed cotton, the company was an early champion and purveyor of it. Barbour called the first thick, waterproof waxed cotton fabric Oilskin, and its clothing line Beacon Brand. Oilskin outerwear answered the demands of sailors, fishermen, and river, dock, and shipyard workers in coastal South Shields, a busy port in the North East of England that is still home to Barbour. Waxed cotton also appealed to farmers and gamekeepers, and even found its way into Barbour motorcycling apparel as early as 1934, later popularized by American actor and cycling enthusiast Steve McQueen.

THE MANY FACES OF MODERN WAXED COTTON
Nowadays the terms “oilcloth” and “waxed cotton” are sometimes used interchangeably to describe the same material, in spite of their real and historic differences. Our partners at Barbour make outerwear of waxed cotton manufactured to different specifications depending on its anticipated use:

Sylkoil is an “unshorn” wax where the cotton comes straight from the loom while it’s slightly fluffy and is then dyed and waxed. The natural imperfections of the weave are reflected in the rich variations of color and finish. Over time, this fabric softens into a lovely, slightly peachy looking cotton between waxes.

Thornproof is a lustrous wax with a deep color and even touch. The cotton is calendered between rollers and then dyed. The resulting finish is smooth cotton which we term Thornproof because it is extremely resistant to snags and pulls from spiky plants such as brambles and hawthorn.

In spite of waxed cotton’s utility and appeal, modern polymers (GORE-TEX® is an example) have threatened its extinction in recent years. And it is really no wonder: they’re more practical and require less maintenance.

This begs the question, why choose a Barbour waxed cotton jacket? You could as easily ask why a book holds sway over a tablet reader, a mechanical watch over a digital one, or wood over laminate, and the answer would be the same: because it possesses a depth of character its modern counterpart lacks. When you wear a Barbour jacket, you are wearing a piece of history.

And in the end, waxed cotton has rallied: while the mid-nineteenth to mid-twentieth centuries may have seen its widest use in the marine industries, the classic waxed cotton jacket has made a comeback as essential outerwear for the discriminating country sportsman, fashion maven, and urbanite alike. It is a garment that develops patina with age, each mark a reminder of a page in a chapter, or a chapter in a story.

For many of us the waxed cotton jacket never went out of style. As stewards of a living garment—one that will likely enjoy use by multiple generations—we proudly wear this wardrobe beacon of our forebears.





Thursday, 28 November 2019

Lord Mountbatten 'coup' in The Crown Season 3.



The Crown: Did Lord Mountbatten really plot to overthrow Harold Wilson in a coup?

Here's what we know about an alleged plot to overthrow a democratically-elected government

By Eleanor Bley Griffiths
Sunday, 17th November 2019 at 12:00 pm

The fifth episode of The Crown season three is titled ‘Coup’ – which is pretty accurate, as the drama shows newspaper boss and Bank of England director Cecil King (Rupert Vansittart) trying to woo Lord Mountbatten (Charles Dance) to lead a coup d’état against Harold Wilson’s government.

Here’s what you need to know about the real-life history that inspired this episode of Netflix’s royal drama:

Was Lord Mountbatten approached by Cecil King about overthrowing the government?
We still don’t know everything that went on behind closed doors, but what we do have is an extraordinary memoir by newspaper editor and publishing boss Hugh Cudlipp. ‘Walking on Water’ recounts a 1968 plot by his colleague, the newspaper magnate Cecil King, to bring down Harold Wilson and install an unelected government. At the head of that government would be Lord Louis Mountbatten.

At the time, Cecil Harmsworth King was Chairman of the International Publishing Corporation, which was then the biggest publishing empire in the world and owned the Daily Mirror. He was also a director at the Bank of England, and had a very high opinion of himself.

King felt that Britain was heading for total political and economic collapse, and that Wilson’s administration would either disintegrate or be forcibly removed.

Cudlipp summarises King’s view like this: “Before, during or after this debacle there would be violence and bloodshed in the streets, the docks and the factories beyond the strength or patience of the police to subdue or contain… a new administration would be urgently required, perhaps a new regime if only for a limited period, dominated by new men or at any rate not by political hacks. Parliament, which had dug its own grave, would temporarily lie in it until national dignity and morale were restored. Parliament would remain the legislative chamber but it was futile to look solely to Parliament for the leadership required.

“What would be the role of the Royal Family, and who among those on or near the throne would occupy the centre of the stage? Who would be the titular head of the new regime? What was required was a man of courage and impartiality, widely known to the public and accepted as a leader; a Royal Connection would clearly be no disadvantage. Earl Mountbatten?”

Cudlipp adds: “In an era when the reputation of politicians had sunk so abysmally low, when nothing short of a revival of national pride led by disinterested men of power and action would change the course of events, it occurred to King that this legendary personality int he history of our times was surely the man for the hour as the titular head of the Emergency Government.”

King was already considering getting his dream-leader on board in August 1967 when he noted a conversation in his diary between Cudlipp and Mountbatten. “Hugh asked him if it had been suggested to him that our present style of government might be in for a change. He said it had,” King wrote. “Hugh then asked if it had been suggested that he might have some part to play in such a new regime. Mountbatten said it had been suggested, but that he was far too old.”

King made no secret of his distaste for the Wilson government, and others started to catch hints of his plans – though press reports said he was pushing for a “coalition government”. King issued a response, which said: “A coalition at this moment is just not on, and will not become so unless the political situation deteriorates still further, which it may.”

This careful wording was very deliberate. King confided in his diary: “Politicians seem incapable of understanding that when I talk of coalition I am talking of the future not of the present. The whole episode is interesting as it would not have been given the prominence it was unless people are thinking in terms of a National Government.”

King and Cudlipp met with editors within the IPC publishing group over dinner to discuss the Wilson question, but it was not a wild success. They were dubious about supporting what King really wanted: a “Wilson Must Go” campaign and a newspaper-led plot to unseat the Prime Minister.

Did Lord Mountbatten consider the coup against Harold Wilson?
As we see in The Crown, some of the manoeuvring did actually go down at the Burma Star Association annual reunion – but Cecil King wasn’t the one who made contact. Instead, when a mutual friend mentioned Cudlipp’s name to him, Lord Mountbatten issued an invitation to meet him at the Royal Squadron – or at Broadlands in Romsey, his country house.

Cudlipp took himself off to see Lord Mountbatten at Broadlands and discuss current affairs over a glass of sherry. According to Cudlipp’s account, Mountbatten was concerned about the state of the nation but did not seem inclined to get involved in politics or economics.

“Political manoeuvre, in favour of whatever person or persons or faction, however lofty and disinterested the motives, was none of the business of the man who was ‘Uncle Dickie’ to both the Queen and her husband and personal ADC to Her Majesty since 1953. What he was hoping for was a massive resurgence of the British spirit.”

In The Crown, we see Mountbatten summoned to the Bank of England for a meeting, before inviting everyone to his Broadlands country home to hear his response to their plot. If Cudlipp’s account is to be believed, this is a fictionalised version of events.

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Nevertheless, a meeting between King and Cudlipp and Mountbatten was arranged for the afternoon of 8th May 1968 at the Lord’s London residence in Kinnerton Street. On the day, Mountbatten phoned Cudlipp to say he was also inviting Sir Solly Zuckerman, Chief Scientific Adviser to HM Government.

Cudlipp recalled: “He [King] awaited the arrival of Sir Solly and then at once expounded his views on the gravity of the national situation, the urgency for action, and the embarked upon a shopping-list of the Prime Minister’s shortcomings… He did the talking and I sat aback in my chair to observe the reactions, detecting an increasing concern on the part of the two listeners.

“He explained that in the crisis he foresaw as being just around the corner the Government would disintegrate, there would be bloodshed in the streets, the armed forces would be involved. The people would be looking to somebody like Lord Mountbatten as the titular head of a new administration, somebody renowned as a leader of men who would be capable, backed by the best brains and administrators in the land, to restore public confidence. He ended with a question to Mountbatten – would he agree to be the titular head of a new administration in such circumstances?”

The reaction was not as hoped. Mountbatten turned to his friend: “Solly, you haven’t said a word so far. What do you think of all this?”

According to Cudlipp, “Sir Solly rose, walked to the door, opened it, and then made this statement: ‘This is rank treachery. All this talk of machine guns at street corners is appalling. I am a public servant and will have nothing to do with it. Nor should you, Dickie.’ Mountbatten expressed his agreement and Sir Solly departed.

Only a minute or two elapsed between Zuckerman’s departure and King’s. Lord Mountbatten was, as always in my experience, courteous by firm: he explained explicitly but briefly that he entirely agreed with Solly and that sort of role, so far as he was concerned, was ‘simply not on’.”
 
 Cecil King  in The Crown

And that was that. Two days later, Cecil King decided to go ahead even without “the titular blessing of Lord Mountbatten”, and pushed through a Daily Mirror front page calling for Wilson’s downfall. He was dismissed as Chairman of the publishing group 21 days later.

Was the Queen travelling in America with Porchie during the plot?
No, not exactly.

All the event described above unfolded in 1968. The Queen did go on a four-day fact-finding trip to France and America with Lord “Porchie” Porchester to investigate various stables and studs, but that wasn’t until May 1969.

Porchie was then appointed the Queen’s racing manager, a position he held until his death in 2001. The two of them were old friends and fellow horse enthusiasts, and working for the Queen made him more prominent in racing than ever.

As for Harold Wilson’s reaction to the would-be coup, it seems the Prime Minister did not trust MI5 and thought they were trying to bring him down. In tapes played in the 2006 BBC documentary The Plot Against Harold Wilson, he actually talked about two plots: one in the late 1960s involving plans to instal Mountbatten, and another one in the mid-1970s led by the military. Wilson also worried constantly about bugging, and about being smeared as a Soviet agent or IRA sympathiser.

Whether he ever discussed the Cecil King/Mountbatten plot with the Queen is a question which may never be answered…


In his 1976 memoir Walking on Water, Hugh Cudlipp recounts a meeting he arranged at the request of Cecil King, the head of the International Publishing Corporation (IPC), between King and Lord Mountbatten of Burma. The meeting took place on 8 May 1968. Attending were Mountbatten, King, Cudlipp, and Sir Solly Zuckerman, the Chief Scientific Adviser to the British government.

According to Cudlipp:

"[Cecil] awaited the arrival of Sir Solly and then at once expounded his views on the gravity of the national situation, the urgency for action, and then embarked upon a shopping list of the Prime Minister's shortcomings. He explained that in the crisis he foresaw as being just around the corner, the Government would disintegrate, there would be bloodshed in the streets and the armed forces would be involved. The people would be looking to somebody like Lord Mountbatten as the titular head of a new administration, somebody renowned as a leader of men, who would be capable, backed by the best brains and administrators in the land, to restore public confidence. He ended with a question to Mountbatten—would he agree to be the titular head of a new administration in such circumstances?”

Mountbatten asked for the opinion of Zuckerman, who stated that the plan amounted to treason and left the room. Mountbatten expressed the same opinion, and King and Cudlipp left. King subsequently decided to override the editorial independence of the Daily Mirror and wrote and instructed to be published a front-page article calling on Wilson to be removed by some sort of extra-parliamentary action. The board of the IPC met and demanded his resignation for this breach of procedure and the damage to the interests of IPC as a public company. He refused, so was dismissed by the board on 30 May 1968.

In addition to Mountbatten's refusal to participate in King's mooted plot, there is no evidence of any other conspirators. Cudlipp himself appears to see the meeting as an example of extreme egotism on King's part.

A later memoir by Harold Evans, former Times and Sunday Times editor, observed that the Times had egged on King's plans for a coup:

Rees-Mogg's Times backed the Conservative Party in every general election, but it periodically expressed yearnings for a coalition of the right-centre. In the late 1960s it encouraged Cecil King's notion of a coup against Harold Wilson's Labour Government in favour of a government of business leaders led by Lord Robens. In the autumn election of 1974, it predicted that economic crisis would produce a coalition government of national unity well inside five years and urged one there and then between Conservatives and Liberals.

William Rees-Mogg called for a coalition in an 8 December 1968 Times editorial entitled "The Danger to Britain", a day before King visited the Times office.

A BBC programme The Plot Against Harold Wilson, broadcast in 2006, reported that, in tapes recorded soon after his resignation on health grounds, Wilson stated that for eight months of his premiership he didn't "feel he knew what was going on, fully, in security". Wilson alleged two plots, in the late 1960s and mid-1970s respectively. He said that plans had been hatched to install Lord Mountbatten, Prince Charles's great uncle and mentor, as interim prime minister. He also claimed that ex-military leaders had been building up private armies in anticipation of "wholesale domestic liquidation". On a separate track, elements within MI5 had also, the BBC programme reported, spread "black propaganda" that Wilson and Marcia Williams (Wilson's private secretary) were Soviet agents, and that Wilson was an IRA sympathiser, apparently with the intention of helping the Conservatives win the 1974 election.
Harold Wilson in The Crown



The Plot Against Harold Wilson, BBC 2006

Tuesday, 26 November 2019

The Other Side of the Coin: The Queen, the Dresser and the Wardrobe – October 29, 2019 by Angela Kelly / Queen's closest confidante given 'extraordinary permission' to publish tell-all book about their work and friendship.



The Other Side of the Coin: The Queen, the Dresser and the Wardrobe – October 29, 2019
by Angela Kelly 

THE OFFICIAL BOOK, FULLY ENDORSED BY QUEEN ELIZABETH II
 
Angela Kelly 



From Her Majesty’s trusted confidant and Dresser Angela Kelly LVO comes a lavishly designed book of never-before-seen photos of The Queen, Her wardrobe and Her jewels and features intimate anecdotes from Angela’s 25-year career working closely with Her Majesty. A truly unique keepsake and collectors’ item to be treasured. 

‘For the nearly seven decades of her reign, Her Majesty The Queen has used clothing to create a powerful visual identity that transcends fashion and has made her perhaps the most readily identifiable person on the planet. Angela Kelly, building on the work of the great designers and milliners who have worked with Her Majesty through the years – including couturiers Sir Norman Hartnell, Sir Hardy Amies, and Ian Thomas, and milliners such as Simone Mirman and Freddy Fox – brings her own imagination to bear on an iconic ‘uniform’ that suggests continuity and tradition, and ensures that the wearer is always the most visible person in a room or a crowd.’–Anna Wintour, Vogue

When Angela Kelly and The Queen are together, laughter echoes through the corridors of Buckingham Palace. Angela has worked with The Queen and walked the corridors of the Royal Household for twenty-five years, initially as Her Majesty’s Senior Dresser and then latterly as Her Majesty’s Personal Advisor, Curator, Wardrobe and In-house Designer. As the first person in history to hold this title, she shares a uniquely close working relationship with The Queen.

In The Other Side of the Coin, The Queen has personally given Angela her blessing to share their extraordinary bond with the world. Whether it’s preparing for a formal occasion or brightening Her Majesty’s day with a playful joke, Angela’s priority is to serve and support. Sharing never-before-seen photographs – many from Angela’s own private collection – and charming anecdotes of their time spent together, this revealing book provides memorable insights into what it’s like to work closely with The Queen, to curate her wardrobe and to discover a true and lasting connection along the way.

‘The book documents the unique working relationship between Her Majesty The Queen and the woman who has been her Personal Assistant and Senior Dresser for more than two decades: Angela Kelly. It gives a rare insight into the demands of the job of supporting the Monarch, and we gain privileged insight into a successful working relationship, characterized by humor, creativity, hard work, and a mutual commitment to service and duty. Angela is a talented and inspiring woman, who has captured the highlights of her long career with The Queen for us all to share.’ –Samantha Cohen, Assistant Private Secretary to The Queen (2011–2018)




 Queen's closest confidante given 'extraordinary permission' to publish tell-all book about their work and friendship

 Hannah Furness, royal correspondent
23 SEPTEMBER 2019 • 10:11AM

The Queen's personal dresser Angela Kelly has been given "extraordinary permission" to publish a book detailing their 25-year working relationship, with unseen pictures and "charming" anecdotes about their friendship.

Miss Kelly has worked at Buckingham Palace since 1994, first as the Queen's Senior Dresser before rising to the role of Her Majesty’s Personal Advisor and Curator and In-house Designer.

The two women have formed a close bond over the years, with Miss Kelly privy to the Queen's most personal moments and known in palace corridors as one of her most trusted confidentes.

The Queen has now given her blessing for her book, entitled The Other Side of the Coin: The Queen, the Dresser and the Wardrobe and due to be published by HarperCollins on October 29th.

Miss Kelly is described as having "a uniquely close working relationship with The Queen". In a 2007 interview with the Telegraph, she described their conversations as that of "two typical women" adding: "We discuss clothes, make-up, jewellery."

"We [the royal dressers] are not treated like flunkies," she said. "It's not like that. The Queen treats us with real respect.

"I don't know why the Queen seems fond of me - because I don't give her an easy time! I do think she values my opinion, but she is the one who is in control.

"I do worry about her and care about her. But we also have a lot of fun together. The Queen has a wicked sense of humour and is a great mimic. She can do all accents - including mine."

The Queen is said to have told her: "You and I do work well together. I think we are a good team."

Her key position at the palace has occasionally inspired jealousy from colleagues, she has suggested, joking: "I don't have any more room for knives in my back."

The book, which follows a picture-led account of the Queen's wardrobe in 2012, is particularly striking for having official permission, with members of the Royal Household normally bound not to discuss their work.

Previous books written by members of staff have been scorned by those loyal to the palace, with the positively saccharine account of Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret's childhood seeing its author, former governess Marion Crawford, famously cast out in 1950.

A spokesman for HarperCollins said: "The Queen has personally given Angela her blessing to share their unparalleled bond with the world. Angela Kelly is the first serving member of the Royal Household to have been given this extraordinary permission.

"Whether it’s preparing for a formal occasion or brightening Her Majesty’s day with a playful joke, Angela’s priority is to serve and support.

"Sharing never-before-seen photographs – many from Angela’s own private collection – and charming anecdotes of their time spent together, this revealing book provides memorable insights into what it’s like to work closely with The Queen, to curate her wardrobe and to discover a true and lasting connection along the way."

Samantha Cohen, former Assistant Private Secretary to the Queen, said: ‘This book documents the unique working relationship between Her Majesty The Queen and the woman who has been her Personal Advisor and Senior Dresser for more than two decades: Angela Kelly.

"It gives a rare glimpse into the demands of the job of supporting the Monarch, and we gain privileged insight into a successful working relationship, characterised by humour, creativity, hard work, and a mutual commitment to service and duty.

"Angela is a talented and inspiring woman, who has captured the highlights of her long career with The Queen for us all to share."

Katya Shipster, HarperNonFiction editorial  drector, said: ‘We are extremely proud to be Angela Kelly’s publishers for this beautiful book; this project has been a labour of love for a whole team of people at HarperCollins.

"Angela is a remarkable woman, and what I find particularly fascinating about her working partnership with The Queen – something that has been revealed to me over this process – is just how many elements Angela must take into account when she designs for Her Majesty.

"The work undertaken by Angela and her team is to ensure that anyone in the same room as The Queen will be awestruck, and the way they deliver this reaction is incredibly detailed and clever.

"The book, and its many gorgeous photographs, sheds light on all of this, as well as the history of Angela’s role, but more importantly and interestingly on the extraordinary working relationship between Her Majesty and one of her most trusted employees, giving us a personal glimpse of the other side of that famous image on every British coin."

Born in Walton, Merseyside, Miss Kelly is the daughter of a crane driver and a nurse. She has two grown-up sons, a grown-up daughter and grandchildren.

She has previously written one official book: Dressing The Queen (2012) which celebrated The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

The Other Side of the Coin: The Queen, the Dresser and the Wardrobe by Angela Kelly will be published on October 29th. The audiobook, read by Angela, will also be released on the same day.


Monday, 25 November 2019

"All The Queen's Corgis: Corgis, dorgis and gundogs: The story of Elizabeth II and her most faithful companions" by Penny Junor .


"All The Queen's Corgis: Corgis, dorgis and gundogs: The story of Elizabeth II and her most faithful companions" by  Penny Junor

One's best friends: Penny Junor on the Queen's passion for pooches and the end of a doggy dynasty
By PENNY JUNOR

PUBLISHED: 00:01 GMT, 28 October 2018 | UPDATED: 00:01 GMT, 28 October 2018

Until recently, Her Majesty’s corps of corgi companions accompanied her everywhere. With the passing of the last in line earlier this year, their royal reign is at an end. Penny Junor looks back on the doggy dynasty

I have just one dog. The Queen has had up to ten at times. My admiration for her as a dog handler knows no bounds, but even the best-trained dogs can misbehave – and our sovereign has had disasters and heartbreak alongside the friendship and fun.

Through her dogs I have discovered an aspect of the Queen that, despite more than 30 years of royal writing, I have never seen before. Off duty, she puts on comfortable clothes and immerses herself in the countryside that she loves, with her dogs and horses. This is when she is at her happiest. Dogs and horses are her passion and it is with them, and the people who share that passion, that she truly relaxes.




The Queen arrives at Aberdeen airport with a few of her pack, 1974. Dogs and horses are the Queen's passion and it is with them that she truly relaxes    

When historians look back over her reign they will marvel at her loyalty to a single breed. Before the death of her last Pembroke Welsh corgi in April (she still has two mixed-breed corgis), she had not been without the companionship of these little dogs since the age of seven. Over the years they had travelled with her by car, boat, helicopter, plane and train; they had sat with her for photographs and portraits; announced her arrival in any roomful of people, and helped countless guests to relax. The Queen also used the dogs to ease her own discomfort. Her family refers to it as the ‘dog mechanism’; if there is an awkward lull she will turn her attention to the dogs to fill the silence or bend down to give them titbits from her plate at table. If the situation becomes too difficult she will sometimes walk away and take the dogs out.

 The Queen will fill awkward lulls by turning her attention to the do gs. Her family calls it the Dog Mechanism
On Princess Elizabeth’s 18th birthday her father gave her a corgi of her own – Susan. Every corgi that the Queen has had can be traced back to this dog. After her marriage to Prince Philip in 1947, what the waving crowds couldn’t see, as the couple headed off for their honeymoon, was that Susan was snuggled up in the carriage beside the Queen. The Duke of Edinburgh has been vying with the dogs for his wife’s attention ever since.

Princess Margaret never had as many dogs as her sister and mother, but perhaps the most famous one was a dachshund called Pipkin. Despite being vertically challenged, he was not put off by taller females: one day in the late 1960s, he and the Queen’s corgi Tiny had an illicit moment together behind the shrubbery and a new crossbreed – the dorgi – was born. The Queen and her sister were so pleased with the outcome that they deliberately mated Pipkin again. The Queen was not intent on creating a new breed; she and her sister regarded the dorgis as a bit of fun and they were such friendly little dogs they kept on doing it. When royal photographer Norman Parkinson asked the Queen how the corgis and dachshunds were able to mate, given their different heights, she replied, ‘It’s very simple. We have a little brick.’



Ten-year-old Princess Elizabeth hugs the family corgi, 1936. It is her love of dogs as much as anything else that enables so many of us to feel we have a special connection with the Queen   

Pampered though her dogs may have been, the Queen was nothing if not practical; their bowls were a motley collection of metal and porcelain. They did, however, eat very well, with diets tailored to their individual needs. In the country the dogs ate rabbit shot on the estates; otherwise it was a variety of fresh, cooked meat, vegetables and rice prepared for them in the royal kitchens, topped with a little biscuit, homeopathic and herbal remedies when required and a special gravy that, legend has it, was the Queen’s own recipe.

Whenever possible she fed them herself and it was an afternoon ritual; but not an unruly, frantic free-for-all. A footman brought the food and the bowls on a silver tray and laid out a plastic sheet to protect the carpet. The Queen then sat them in a semicircle around her and did the rest.

Roger Mugford, the animal psychologist who was brought in after some dramatic dog fights, watched her do this and was impressed. ‘The Queen looked across to the semicircle of quiet but salivating dogs congregated a few metres away and called each one in turn to take his or her food. There was never a growl or a rude look between the dogs. She explained that she had always been strict in requiring good manners at feeding time and each was obliged to wait his turn – the eldest to be fed first, the youngest last.’



 The Queen Mother’s corgis were frequent flyers. Princess Margaret never had as many dogs as her sister and mother, but perhaps the most famous one was a dachshund called Pipkin              

They did it for the Queen because they were her dogs and she was their pack leader. But they had a habit of being deaf to the commands of anyone else, and feeding time was not always so calm. When she was away it would fall to a duty footman to feed the corgis and it is said that one, who was bitten during the food frenzy, took revenge by lacing the dog’s dinner with gin. The Queen was unamused when she found out and, although the man managed to hold on to his job at the palace, he was demoted and – to his joy – never again permitted to tend the dogs.

The corgis would get treats from the Queen’s plate at mealtimes. They clustered around the table, even when she had guests, and attended all the best parties. Although they were not invited to state banquets, I’m sure the Queen sometimes wished they were, for they helped put visitors, who could be tongue-tied on meeting the sovereign, at ease.

One such person is David Nott, a surgeon who works for ten months of the year in major London hospitals and volunteers his expertise for two months in the world’s most dangerous war zones. The day he went to lunch with the Queen he had just come back from Aleppo, centre of the fiercest fighting in the Syrian civil war. It was October 2014 and he had been back in the UK for only ten days; it usually takes him three months to readjust. When the Queen turned to talk to him he couldn’t speak.

‘I was thinking about the day when seven children from one family were brought into the hospital,’ Nott recalled. ‘I could feel my bottom lip quivering. All I could do was stare long and hard at the wall. She realised something was terribly wrong and asked if I’d like to see the dogs. A courtier appeared with the corgis, and a silver tin of dog biscuits was brought to the table. “Why don’t we feed the dogs?” she said, and we stroked and fed them for about half an hour as she told me all about them. The humanity of that was unbelievable. She wasn’t the Queen any more but this lovely person with a human face.’

The Queen has five regular residences, and corgis were a familiar sight in all of them, but none more than Buckingham Palace where they slept inside her private apartment. There was a special corgi room where they had raised wicker baskets lined with cushions. Schedule permitting, she still walks her dorgis, Vulcan and Candy, daily – and a corgi called Whisper she took in last year after the death of his owner, a former Sandringham gamekeeper. Even now, once they are safely in the country she will drive them around the estate. There are fewer dogs and they are older and more sedate these days, but at one time there were up to ten scrambling over the seats barking furiously at everything they passed.



The Queen at Balmoral estate in 1971. Strip away the wealth, the privilege and the palaces, and the bond she has with her dogs is no different from the one the rest of us have with ours   

As Lady Pamela Hicks said, ‘The Queen is very private. She longs to be in a room with nobody else. She has few friends and if she had to choose between the dogs, the horses and the friends, there is no doubt which she would choose.’ One of her prime ministers, surrounded by the dogs at his weekly audience, asked her how she could tell the difference between them. ‘Do you get your children confused?’ was the clipped response.

According to former headkeeper Bill Meldrum everyone at Sandringham knows immediately when the Queen arrives because the gundogs alert them. ‘They start barking the moment her car reaches the gate – it’s a good 500 yards from the house. We have no idea how they can tell and they don’t do that with anyone else.’


Susan, the Queen’s first corgi, lived to be almost 15. Willow, the 14th generation of Susan’s descendants and the last of the Queen’s corgis, died in April this year.

 It is her love of dogs as much as anything else that enables so many of us to feel we have a special connection with the Queen. Strip away the wealth, the privilege and the palaces, and the bond she has with her dogs is no different from the one the rest of us have with ours, no matter what our station in life.

One's best friends: Penny Junor on the Queen's passion for pooches and the end of a doggy dynasty
By PENNY JUNOR


Queen Elizabeth and Her Royal Corgis | Country Living

Fashion in The Crown



The royal treatment: the majestic role of fashion in The Crown
Fashion
By recreating the royals’ outfits and ramping up the glamour, the hit TV drama constantly blurs the line between fact and fiction. That is what makes the show so compelling

Jess Cartner-Morley
@JessC_M
Wed 20 Nov 2019 06.00 GMT

All publicity is good publicity, they say, but the royal family is the exception that proves that rule. And recent television coverage of the royals has been – to put it mildly – a mixed bag. The new series of The Crown launched on Netflix within hours of that Prince Andrew interview. One was dependably glorious, which is precisely what royalty is supposed to be. The other was, well, a car crash seems to be the go-to analogy, although I can’t help feeling car crashes are slightly bad-taste imagery when it comes to describing royal PR disasters.



The upshot of all this is that the third series of The Crown will be required to do more heavy lifting than the previous two, in making us fall in love with it – a burden that falls in large part upon the wardrobe department. Clothes, jewellery, hair and makeup are an essential part of The Crown. From the beginning, the series has made the royals more beautiful and more glamorous than their real-life counterparts, and invited us to fall under their spell. The Crown has given the senior royals a newly glittering backstory: here, we see the Queen a spirited young beauty; Prince Philip golden-haired and square-jawed.

But fashion in The Crown does a lot more than sprinkle stardust. Clothes are strategically employed to blur the line between fact and fiction. The third episode of the new series covers the Aberfan tragedy of 1966, which killed 144 people, 116 of them children. Serious and careful, the episode feels almost like a standalone piece. It leans heavily into the Queen’s delay in visiting the village, her absence from the funeral, and subsequent change of heart. The story is imbued with hindsight – you can’t watch it and not be reminded of the Queen’s reluctance to return to London after Diana’s death 31 years later, and how that delay reverberated through British culture and changed so much. But the outfit worn by Olivia Colman is an exact replica of what the Queen wore in 1966: the side-buttoning red coat with a fur trim to pick out the matching hat; the darker brown leather gloves; the handbag. This is more than clothes being used to bring a character to life. This is clothes being used as primary evidence, to make the particular version of the story being told look like the truth.

The puzzles around how much of The Crown “really happened” are a key part of what makes it compelling. In the episode Margaretology, Princess Margaret travels to the White House and singlehandedly saves the British financial system from collapse by weaponising her alcohol tolerance and talent for rude limericks. I precis a little, but you get the gist. Contemporary accounts of the occasion corroborate the evening being a success – the New York Times reported that the after-dinner dancing went on until 2am, during which time “there was laughter and chatting; Margaret smoked a cigarette on a long holder and everyone looked totally at ease”. But The Crown, indulging the 21st-century fascination with soft power and diplomatic dressing, has amplified the importance of this event to feed into its Princess Margaret myth-making.



The zeitgeist works in mysterious ways, and Princess Margaret the style icon is not just a creation of Peter Morgan and The Crown. Her 21st-birthday gown, designed by Christian Dior, had a starring role in the V&A’s blockbusting Dior exhibition this year. Her official portrait wearing the gown, taken by Cecil Beaton, appeared on the cover of a special edition of Harpers Bazaar in February. The cult fashion designer Alessandra Rich, a favourite of everyone from Kate Moss to the Duchess of Cambridge, cites Princess Margaret as one of her muses. But by riffing not only on her glamour but also on her political acumen, The Crown brings echoes of Hilary Mantel’s Thomas Cromwell into her on-screen character. There is a mightiness to her party entrances, sweeping into a room like a galleon in full sail, which would do as well for Wolf Hall as Buck House.

But most of all, Helena Bonham Carter’s version of Margaret is the royal family’s Elizabeth Taylor – a reference that presages the marital dramas to play out later in this time period. The series’ very first shot of her shows a hefty diamond bracelet as a naked arm stretches out of tangled sheets to answer a ringing phone. The second sees her in a floaty, kaftan-style robe, marching across cobbled streets to pick a fight with her beloved. Diamonds, kaftans and lovers’ tiffs: this is as Taylor as it gets. Where Vanessa Kirby’s younger Margaret was delicate and damaged, Bonham Carter brings a Burton-esque exaggeration. She is always either roaring with laughter, the pearls at her throat catching the light as she throws back her head, or she is face-down in a two-day hangover. Her wardobe, like the Queen’s, is in many instances a carbon copy of real life – for instance, her pink suit at Prince Charles’s investiture is reproduced, along with the matching outsize pink hair bow which, as it happens, is very on trend for this season. But elsewhere, her looks – sunglasses, cigarette holders, winged eyeliner, a startling pair of floral-printed stilettos, off-the-shoulder dresses that recall Taylor in Giant – are every inch the movie-star princess.


Saturday, 23 November 2019

Pince Andrew : anatomy of a PR disaster




Prince Andrew's private office to be moved out of Buckingham Palace

Duke intends to keep working on mentoring scheme despite saying he would step back from public life

Simon Murphy , Jim Waterson and Kevin Rawlinson

Fri 22 Nov 2019 18.34 GMTFirst published on Fri 22 Nov 2019 17.22 GMT
Prince Andrew and Amanda Thirsk

 The Duke of York with Amanda Thirsk. Reports suggest Thirsk will take up a role as the chief executive of Pitch@Palace, where she has already served as a director since 2014. Photograph: Yui Mok/PA
Prince Andrew is preparing to leave his private office in Buckingham Palace as he seeks a way to maintain control of an entrepreneurial scheme he set up, despite having agreed to step back from public life.

The palace confirmed on Friday that the Duke of York intended to continue working on the Pitch@Palace scheme, even as Barclays became the latest among a growing number of organisations to sever ties with him over his links to the convicted child sex offender, Jeffrey Epstein.

“The Duke will continue to work on Pitch and will look at how he takes this forward outside of his public duties, and outside of Buckingham Palace,” a spokesman said on Friday. “We recognise there will be a period of time while this transition takes place.”

The news came shortly after it emerged that the aide who orchestrated the duke’s disastrous interview about his Epstein links is no longer his private secretary.

Amanda Thirsk, who was said to have played a key role in persuading him to agree to the BBC interview, will reportedly run Pitch@Palace.

On Friday, Buckingham Palace refused to confirm the details surrounding Thirsk’s departure from her long-standing role. A spokesman said: “We would not comment on the impact on any individual member of his team.”


It follows Barclays’ announcement late on Friday that it was pulling its support as a major sponsor from the prince’s mentoring scheme. In a statement, it said: “In light of the current situation, we have informed Pitch@Palace that going forward we will, regretfully, no longer be participating in the programme. Pitch@Palace has been historically highly successful in supporting entrepreneurs and job creation and we hope a way forward can be found that means they can continue this important work.”

Earlier, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO) said it had dropped Andrew as its patron, with the prince also stepping down from the same role at London Metropolitan University.

The BBC confirmed it would air a damaging Panorama interview on 2 December with Virginia Giuffre, the woman who claimed she was made to have sex with Prince Andrew on three occasions including when she was 17.

Giuffre, formerly called Roberts, spoke to Panorama three weeks ago for an investigation the programme has been working on for months scrutinising the prince’s connections with Epstein, who killed himself in August as he awaited trial on new sex trafficking charges.

But before the episode was ready to air, the prince agreed to do a sit-down interview with rival BBC programme Newsnight.

The interview with Emily Maitlis, during which the royal denied claims he slept with Giuffre and failed to express sympathy to Epstein’s victims, prompted an outpouring of criticism. He told the Newsnight presenter he only went to stay with Epstein in New York in 2010, after Epstein had served jail time for child sex offences, to inform the financier that he could no longer associate with him.






Who were the main players behind the Prince Andrew interview?
A round-up of the personalities behind the eye-opening royal interview, from the Duke’s aides to the journalist who secured the scoop

Guardian staff
Sun 17 Nov 2019 19.35 GMTLast modified on Mon 18 Nov 2019 10.21 GMT


Samantha McAlister, Emily Maitlis, Jason Stein and Amanda Thirsk
 Left to right: Samantha McAlister, Emily Maitlis, Jason Stein and Amanda Thirsk Composite: Getty/Alpha/Rex

Jason Stein

The former special adviser to Amber Rudd and spokesman for Liz Truss was hired by Prince Andrew in September to mastermind his PR fightback – but left by mutual consent two weeks ago after his advice to reject the Newsnight interview request was ignored. It was reportedly suggested that Andrew should instead focus on charitable work and then agree to two newspaper interviews next year. His Twitter profile says he is now a director at Finsbury Global, a strategic communications firm that specialises in “creating, sustaining, protecting and rebuilding reputation capital”.

Amanda Thirsk

Private secretary to Prince Andrew and director of his Pitch@Palace Global operation. It is understood that Thirsk clashed with Stein and pushed hard for Andrew to do the interview in the face of his initial scepticism, persuading him that it was the best way to draw a line under the rumours about the nature of his relationship with convicted child sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. A former banker, she joined Andrew’s office in 2012. Described by one colleague as a “force of nature” who thinks “the Duke has done nothing wrong … All he did was go and see his friend.”

Emily Maitlis

The lead presenter of Newsnight who was widely praised for her forensic interview technique and had practised with editor Esme Wren standing in for Andrew in rehearsals. Speaking before the interview on Friday’s Newsnight, she told fellow presenter Kirsty Wark the interview was “very uncomfortable”. “It’s hard to describe what it feels like to be sitting in Buckingham Palace, opposite the Queen’s son, Prince Andrew, and quizzing him about his sexual history,” she said. “After Epstein’s death, the talks intensified – we had to make it clear it would be no holds barred.”

Samantha McAlister

A BBC journalist since 2003, she joined Newsnight in 2011, where she is prized for her ability to secure hard-to-get interviews. Her LinkedIn profile says she is “used to persuading reluctant individuals to participate in a globally renowned news programme”. The former barrister and European debating champion has previously booked interviews with former FBI director James Comey and former US president Bill Clinton, and was described on Saturday by Newsnight editor Esme Wren as “indefatigable”.

• This article was amended on 18 November 2019 to correct descriptions of Epstein’s offending.


Amanda Thirsk
 Private secretary to Prince Andrew and director of his Pitch@Palace Global operation. It is understood that Thirsk clashed with Stein and pushed hard for Andrew to do the interview in the face of his initial scepticism, persuading him that it was the best way to draw a line under the rumours about the nature of his relationship with convicted child sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. A former banker, she joined Andrew’s office in 2012. Described by one colleague as a “force of nature” who thinks “the Duke has done nothing wrong … All he did was go and see his friend.”





Prince Andrew, Jeffrey Epstein and Newsnight: anatomy of a PR disaster

The Duke of York’s plan to block speculation over his ties to a convicted child sex offender quickly came undone

Kevin Rawlinson
Wed 20 Nov 2019 21.32 GMTLast modified on Thu 21 Nov 2019 07.45 GMT

The plan, it appeared, was fairly straightforward: get Prince Andrew in front of a camera and put a stop to speculation about the nature of his connections to the convicted child sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

So, how did it go from that to the Queen feeling she had no choice but to take the barely conceivable step of allowing one of her sons to step back from public duties altogether – in less than five days?

The Duke of York’s strategy had taken a hit even before he had sat down opposite the BBC Newsnight presenter Emily Maitlis. Andrew had already lost the services of Jason Stein, the spin doctor hired in September to restore his reputation. Stein had reportedly advised Andrew against the whole thing, preferring a longer-term strategy that included a great deal of charity work and interviews with print outlets to mark his birthday.

The unravelling of the strategy began almost immediately after the interview ended. Andrew appeared pleased with his performance, even giving the Newsnight team a tour of the palace afterwards. But when lines from the interview began reaching journalists’ inboxes early on Friday evening, they were astonished by what they read. By Saturday morning, the story was dominating the news agenda. The headlines were devastating for Andrew. And the interview had not yet even been aired.

The early press reports focused on his claim that his decision to maintain close relations with Epstein despite the financier’s conviction for sexual offences was motivated primarily by the prince’s “tendency to be too honourable”.

Kept back by the BBC was the prince’s claim that he could not have had sex with Virginia Giuffre, which she says she was coerced into doing while a teenager, because he was at home after a visit to Pizza Express in Woking. Nor was his contention that her description of his dancing with her beforehand could not be true because he was unable to sweat at the time.

Those revelations, when they came out, were met with incredulity and were shared widely online, adding fresh impetus to the story.

By Sunday evening, Andrew was facing calls to speak to the FBI from lawyers representing 10 of the Epstein’s victims. While some of the attention was focused on Andrew’s extraordinary defence, there was strong criticism of his attitude towards the victims and the fact that he had not expressed sympathy for them in the interview.

The Liberal Democrat leader, Jo Swinson, said she could not understand “how somebody could be talking about their relationship with [Epstein] without recognising, or understanding, or discussing, how he felt about those victims. And I felt they should have been much more at the centre of that discussion.”

The backlash continued into this week as numerous organisations began to cut ties with the prince. On Monday, it emerged that the accountancy giant KPMG would not be renewing its sponsorship of Andrew’s entrepreneurial scheme, Pitch@Palace.

That night a fresh Epstein accuser gave a press conference in Los Angeles where she detailed allegations that the financier assaulted her when she was 15 and urged Andrew to come forward to the authorities with whatever information he had about his former friend.

On Tuesday, Standard Chartered also pulled out of Pitch@Palace as questions about Andrew’s continued involvement in the scheme he founded in 2014 continued to circulate. They prompted a whole host of other firms to review their involvement or cut ties altogether.

Wednesday morning brought no respite, as it emerged that three Australian universities had severed their links with the business-mentoring charity’s Australian branch. On top of that, the telecoms firm BT said it would not work with Andrew’s digital training scheme while he was a patron.

Later that same day a letter emerged casting serious doubt on Andrew’s claim in the BBC interview to have first met Epstein in 1999. The letter – written to the Times in 2011 to counter reports that the prince had been a friend of Saif Gaddafi, son of the former Libyan dictator – had come from his own former chief of staff, who said that the prince had met Epstein in “the early 1990s”.

At first, Buckingham Palace sought to defend Andrew over the apparent discrepancy. “The duke’s words in the interview speak for themselves,” said a spokesperson.

By Wednesday afternoon, the palace sought to bring the issue to a close with Andrew’s announcement that he would be stepping back from public duties and was “willing to help any appropriate law enforcement agency” with their Epstein investigations if required.