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How William, Kate and Harry made royals cool

By Sarah Ivens, Special to CNN: Los Angeles (CNN) — “It’s the queen’s diamond jubilee soon!” I recently babbled excitedly to some of my American friends. “Let’s have a party like we did for the royal wedding — I’ll provide Union Jack hats and streamers, jugs of Pimm’s and a gargantuan amount of chocolate Hobnobs!”There was barely a murmur in response. Just one year previously, they’d been a stampede of Yanks at 5am on my doorstep, desperate to get prime position in front of the television as Kate walked up the aisle.
“You know, the queen?” I battle on in my local Los Angeles coffee shop. “Helen Mirren played her, remember? She was Colin Firth’s daughter? She’s the great-great-granddaughter of Judi Dench, when Judi was into Scotsmen and horses?”
None of my film tidbits cause a swirl of interest, despite my Hollywood crowd. In Tinseltown years, Queen Elizabeth II is about 405 — roughly the same as Dumbledore, they imagine — and far too old to get excited about.
“Will the princes be there?” one Californian chum finally responds.
“Of course! She’s their grandma!” I reply indignantly.
“Well, in that case,” she nods, “I’m sure we’ll all be there. Any glimpse of those boys is worth getting up early and facing traffic for.”
I must admit, after living as a Brit in America for seven years, I have found we share surprisingly few traits or interests. We Brits love Take That; Americans have never heard of them.We crave a simple hot cup of tea with a splash of milk while they insist on adding ice cubes and a slice of lemon. We’re scared of guns, they’re scared of boobs. But one place where our old and new world tastes collide is with Prince Harry. “Don’t you just love him?” I hear as much as “I love your accent!”
Watching my adopted homeland fall under the spell of the young royals has encouraged me to dismiss any cynicism I might have toward them (paying for a round of shots at Boujis, are we? A skiing trip — how lovely, I wish I could afford to get piste!) and embrace the great international marketing campaign they are doing for the UK right now.
I admit feeling a smug superiority watching Jennifer Lopez fawn over Kate and William on their trip to my city last year. Our future monarch and his Mrs. have the X factor — without the help of publicists, agents or Botox.
Our history makes them dazzling, our traditions make them awe-inspiring. And combining that — at last! — with great bone structure, a sense of humor and the slightly-common touch (thanks to Diana’s legacy and high street fashion).
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and the duke’s naughty little brother are a triumvirate of British charm, to be exported all over the world as a symbol of our greatness, much like Downton Abbey.
I love that Kate wears the same outfit time after time and does her own supermarket shopping; I like that Wills enjoys a Sunday roast round “Mike and Carol’s,” (his in-laws) adore Harry’s incessant need to take the mickey out of his brother, be it wearing a mask of his face on a fun run or asking him embarrassing questions in front of journalists.
As much as I think the queen has done a brilliant job, and I look forward to celebrating her jubilee with glee, we have the kids to thank for the detoxification of this once staid, fusty old brand. And I’m sure no one would agree more than Her Majesty.

Published Date: Monday, June 4th, 2012 | 01:54 AM

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