Elizabeth McGovern Shares Photos From ‘Downton Abbey’s Last Days of Filming

elizabeth mcgovern hugs michelle dockery filming downton abbey

Elizabeth McGovern/Twitter

Filming for the sixth and final season of ITV’s Downton Abbey is winding down, and cast members are sharing some fantastic photos from the set via Twitter.

Elizabeth McGovern‘s post will give you the feels, so I’ll let it sit with you for a moment:

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Why Royal Biographer Claudia Joseph is So Good At Her Job

Prince William Kate Middleton Royal Wedding Balcony

Tony Clark/Splash News

I first read one of Claudia Joseph‘s biographies, Kate: The Making of a Princess in 2011, just a few months before the royal wedding.  Since then I’ve read a number of books on Catherine, William and a number of other royals, but few authors have been able to keep me hooked like Joseph, who doesn’t glaze over details of Catherine’s upbringing and her relationship with William.  For example, in Making of a Princess, Joseph introduced readers to Kate’s ancestors, which allowed for a better understanding of who she is and, perhaps, why she is where is she today.

Joseph’s new book, William and Kate’s Britain (Splendid Publications, Ltd), explores the places that the royal couple have visited, whether frequently or for an official visit.  From St. Andrews University to the bakery that made the royal wedding cake, Joseph literally left no stone unturned.  Continue reading

A Diary of One’s Royal Stay In Palm Springs

mountains golf river palm springs

Visit Palm Springs

Since becoming a California resident, Palm Springs has been a place of refuge for yours truly.  Some say the desert is a healing, peaceful place.  Even if you’re not into that holistic language (in the words of Avery Jessup, “hippie nonsense”) Palms Springs is SUPER.

Last weekend, The Palm Springs Bureau of Tourism invited me to take a look at the royal family’s history with Sunnylands, the estate of Ambassador Walter and Leonore Annenberg (more on that in a separate post).

I stayed at the newly renovated Colt’s Lodge, a boutique hotel co- owned by interior designer Jon Nelson and theater veteran Frank Young.  Each of the spacious 11 rooms on the property has a different theme, personally designed by Nelson.

Colt's Lodge Fountain

Colt’s Lodge Facebook

You wouldn’t know it from the outside, but once you step through a glorious entrance and on to the property, you’re immediately transported into a lush oasis featuring sky-high palm trees, flowers, desert plants, sculptures and a gorgeous fountain that I tried very hard not to jump into (there’s a crystal-clear pool in which to do such a thing).  Continue reading

What Does Prince Harry’s New Knighthood Really Mean?

Prince Harry Military Regalia Field of Remembrance 2014

Andrew Parsons / i-Images

Yesterday, Buckingham Palace announced that the Queen made Prince Harry a Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order (KCVO) during a private ceremony.

The Royal Victorian Order is given by The Queen to people who have served her or the Monarchy in a personal way, and can only be gifted by the Sovereign.


Now that Harry has been knighted, many are confused about his position in the royal family.  I asked royal commentator Victoria Arbiter to clear up any confusion regarding the prince and his well-deserved accolade.

TDD: Does Harry outrank William now?

Victoria Arbiter: No, Harry does not outrank William. William is a Garter Knight, which is a top honour [which was bestowed up on him in 2008].

TDD: Does this change how Harry is addresses?
VA: No, he is still HRH Prince Harry, just with KCVO after his name.

TDD:  What is a KCVO?

VA: KCVO stands for Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order. It is a personal award given by the Queen without the advice of her ministers and is given in recognition of services to the sovereign.


TDD: Why did the Queen bestow this on Harry?

VA: My guess is that as Prince Harry embarks on his next chapter (he leaves the army this month after 10 years of service and 2 tours of duty),  the Queen wanted to recognise and celebrate his achievements on behalf of the monarchy. The Invictus Games, initiated by him, were a huge success.  He served in HM’s armed forces, completing two tours of duty.  Sentebale, a charity he helped established, is making significant strides, and he continues to champion the needs of wounded veterans.


The international tours he has undertaken on behalf of the Queen have been very well-received and he has successfully promoted both Great Britain and the monarchy at home and abroad. The Queen likes to recognise and reward good work.

Many royal watchers are hoping that Harry is appointed a member of the Order of the Garter, of which his older brother, aunt, father and uncles are a part of. The Garter is the oldest order of chivalry, and only allows 24 members at one time.

Princess Charlotte’s Christening Date Announced

Princess of Cambridge Bonnet Fast Asleep Lindo Wing


Today, Kensington Palace announced that Princess Charlotte’s christening will take place at St Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham on July 5th.  This is the same place of worship Her Majesty attends while staying at her Sandringham estate, and the royal family gathers here for Christmas service here every year.  The Church is also conveniently located near the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s country home, Anmer Hall.

The date was most likely selected because it precedes the Queen’s holiday in Balmoral, which she takes from mid-July to October each year.

Charlotte will be christened by The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Reverend Justin Welby.  She will wear a replica of the Honiton lace gown worn first worn by Queen Victoria’s eldest child, also by her older brother and cousins, Savannah and Isla Phillips, as well as Viscount Severn, Prince Edward’s son.  Continue reading

Let’s Learn Some History From Queen Maxima’s Jewelry

queen maxima tiaras split sapphire

Splash News/i-Images

As King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima of the Netherlands wrap up their official visit to North America, let us learn more about their great nation through the wonder of jewelry.

Queen Maxima was born in Argentina and met the king during the 1999 Seville Spring Fair in Spain.  His Majesty, who was inaugurated in April 2013 when his mother, the now-Princess Beatrix, abdicated in his favor.  Willem-Alexander only introduced himself as “Alexander” at the time, Maxima recalled in an interview, and didn’t reveal his background until they had been dating for a bit.

The couple married in 2002, and  have three daughters.

The Court Jeweller‘s Ella Kay answers my questions about the House of Orange’s most historically significant jewels.  Continue reading

The Most Glorious Photos From Today’s State Opening of Parliament

Queen Elizabeth Smiling George IV State Diadem

Stephen Lock / i-Images

Today was yet another example of what Great Britain does best, putting on a display of pomp and pageantry as Her Majesty took part in her 62nd State Opening of Parliament.


“The State Opening of Parliament marks the formal start of the parliamentary year and the Queen’s Speech sets out the government’s agenda for the coming session, outlining proposed policies and legislation,” the UK’s official Parliament site explains.  “It is the only regular occasion when the three constituent parts of Parliament – the Sovereign, the House of Lords and the House of Commons – meet.”  Continue reading

The 6 Greatest Royal Moments From May 2015

Prince Harry Suit Funny Face Infant Girl New Zealand

James Whatling/Splash News

This past month proved to be an exciting one for both the royal family and their fans.  On May 2nd, the Cambridges welcomed Princess Charlotte of Cambridge.  A week or so later, Prince Harry charmed the pants off Australia and New Zealand.

Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall visited Ireland and Northern Ireland, which included a stop at the village of Mullaghmore, Ireland, the site where Lord Mountbatten and others were killed in 1979 when a bomb was planted on their boat.

Prior to 2015, the most exciting month on the calendar year for royal fans was April, with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s wedding anniversary on April 29th, and Her Majesty’s birthday on the 21st.  Now, it looks like May 2015 has been one for the royal books.

Here, in no particular order, are its best moments.  Continue reading

Oh, The Places Charlotte Will Go!

princess charlotte meme bonnet

James Whatling/Splash News

Right, so when you wake up, Your Royal Highness, please allow me and Visit Britain to show you all the wonderful places in the United Kingdom.

I’ll just draft up a lovely little guide so that you can read it at your leisure, ma’am.  I’ve heard that one’s entrance into the world is a bit traumatic (scientific theories and whatnot), and no doubt you’re settling down at Norfolk with a nice cup of tea bottle before bedtime.

Where were we?  Yes, Great Britain! All of the glorious points of interest steeped in history folklore and boasting natural beauty.  Let’s get on with it.  Continue reading

Why Will and Kate May Have Chosen The Name “Charlotte”

William and Catherine Take Charlotte Home Lindo Wing

Stephen Lock / i-Images, Jack Taylor / i-Images

I asked royal commentator and former resident of Kensington Palace, Victoria Arbiter to give her thoughts on the newest Cambridge’s name, Charlotte Elizabeth Diana.

“William and Kate’s decision to name their daughter Charlotte Elizabeth Diana has largely been met with worldwide praise,” Arbiter told me via email.  “With a long royal history it is a traditional name that offers the continuity the monarchy is famed for, while also paying tribute to both families.  Charlotte, the feminization of Charles, is also Pippa Middleton‘s middle name.”

Historical references: “George III was married to a Charlotte. They met on their wedding day and enjoyed a very happy marriage, complete with 15 children. George III bought Buckingham House for his wife, which, today, is the site of Buckingham Palace.  Queen Charlotte is the monarchy’s longest serving consort after Prince Philip.” Continue reading