35 Comments

  1. “Inside the Royal Family” would, one assume, be the title of an article telling all there is to know about the Royal Family, but this time, it’s about what is INSIDE the Royal Family. (Personal synchronicity – just finished reading ’99 Glimpses of Princess Margaret’. That’s two hours of my life I’ll never get back.)

  2. I, too, was asking myself that question. I seem to be in a ‘royal rut’ reading-wise. Also finished ‘Romanov Empress’ and will be reading ‘The Race to Save the Romanovs’ (which they obviously lost) next.

    Ironically, the ’99 Glimpses’ book had very few pictures in it ‘-)

    I did start, and give up on, ‘Conan Doyle for the Defense’, so I don’t always keep slogging along when I know I should stop.

  3. Perhaps I was just hoping to find SOME redeeming quality in this woman. Sad to say, I didn’t. Same with the Windsors (‘That Woman: The Life of Wallis Simpson, Duchess of Windsor’); just drains on the taxpayers of Britain, living lives of vacuity.

  4. @Andréa – If in your reading about the Romanovs the name of Tsar Nicholas’s kids’ tutor, Charles Sydney Gibbes, crops up, you might be interested that I have a minor connection to him. In the 80s my sales director boss at the UK-based international division of a college publishing company (Pretnice Hall) was called Charles Gibbes.

    Tutor Gibbes had been with the Romanovs in their exile at Tobolsk, but was not allowed to see them at Ekaterinberg, where they were shot. He then moved east and joined the British diplomatic service. Eventually in China he adopted a 15-yo Russian boy called George Paveliev and brought him back to the UK, and this chap George became my boss’s father. I saw Charles Gibbes, my boss, in April in London at an annual reunion of friends and colleagues from PH (most of us left 20+ years ago but we had got on well!) and he said he had been invited to Tobolsk to mark the 100th anniversary of of the killings, and was going the week after. I think he was about 20 when his adoptive grandpa died, so he knew him.

    So on the six degrees of separation theme, links to famous bits of history might be lurking in a non-descript office in a small town near you.

  5. My thanks to Andréa for explaining the “Inside the Royal Family.” I looked at that darn things for almost 2 minutes and still couldn’t figure it out. In hindsight what was intended, was obvious.

  6. I’m confused by “Princess Catherine”. I’m not much of a royal-watcher, so maybe I’m missing one of the more removed cousins but if they’ve got Prince Philip, shouldn’t they have another member of the British royal family for the second one, so people can get the joke? Specifically, a recognisable one? e.g. someone who is closer to the throne than “major terrorist incident takes out half the royal family”.

  7. I figure it has to be, for the comic to make any sense. But you really have to be a royal-watcher to know the members of any other royal family, in the English-speaking world. My view is going to be skewed from the American one, but I know that the Brits are frequently on the covers of celebrity-watching publications (we get the American ones here), and other royal families very rarely are, so I would expect the “know the Windsors but no one else” trend to carry there too.

  8. A google search for “princess catherine” immediately brings up Kate Middleton, and nobody else on the front page. But wouldn’t the joke have worked a lot better just to call her Kate Middleton?

  9. @ Christine & Olivier – I’m pretty sure that the Catherine meant here is the one married to Prince William, the artist was simply unaware of her correct title.

  10. P.S. @ Chak – The headline needs a noble title so that it’s clearly the “insides of a royal“. It might have been better to use “Duchess”, but that probably would have confused just as many readers (and it’s still not quite correct form).
    P.P.S. @ “royal popularity” – German TV frequently televises major events in many of the European royal households. The “Trooping the Color” for Queen Elizabeth’s birthday is shown every summer in “Channel 1”, as well as most of the significant marriage ceremonies(*). I have no idea how many Germans actually watch such shows, but we’ve left it running as background once or twice.
    P.P.P.S. (*) – For some reason, they don’t televise the divorce proceedings.

  11. I am the first to acknowledge that I’m bad about figuring out what should be really obvious the example I like to use is a bit NSFW, so I’ll be vague, but let’s just say that I had a long online conversation with someone, and didn’t realise until the next morning that they were referring to a different part of a woman’s anatomy than I was, and that we weren’t really disagreeing at all. And that’s a case where the incorrect terminology is more commonly used than the correct one.

    HOWEVER, even given that, I doubt that I’m that unusual in not thinking of Kate/The Duchess of Cambridge when I see “Princess Catherine”. (She’s a horrible person to use for this gag because of this. Everyone knows who she is, but “Duchess” doesn’t work for it, and making up a title for her is confusing.) Using the Queen and a son/grandson would work better, because that way it’s not just a married couple, but they have titles that are obviously part of the royal family, and they’re well known, whereas I don’t know how many people would recognise the names of the princesses.

  12. P.P.P.P.S. @ Andréa – That’s the correct form, but a little unwieldy for the headline in the third panel. I have no idea how to turn it into the possessive case.

  13. They could have gone with fictional royals — “Prince Charming” and the “Queen of Hearts” or somesuch, I suppose.

  14. I don’t see that it matters what person is used for the second panel. You don’t need to be able to recognize which member of the royal family is being named, just that it’s a royal, and that it’s a picture of some internal body part. It could just as well be “Duke Humperbumber’s liver.”

  15. It’s the mix that’s odd and confusing. Because the first panel is a well-known member of the royal family, you expect the second one to be someone familiar too. If they were both fake (or obscure) it would work just fine.

  16. I think “Princess Catherine” was more salient as a real person to me than “Prince Phillip.” I’ve seen so much clickbait about Kate Middleton that I processed Princess Catherine as Kate Middleton despite the title being wrong. OTOH, I only have a vague impression of who Prince Phillip is (well, had, since I just googled him).

  17. Since it’s “Inside the Royal Family” and not “Inside the Royals” they could have just put “Kate Middleton”.

    I wonder if, like William’s mother, she’s more proud of being a Middleton than she is of being a royal. It’s been said that Diana used to remind herself, when things went badly, that she could handle it because ‘you’re a Spencer’.

    I also wonder if the Duchess will come to regret marrying into … that family.

  18. Andrea – I am slogging my way through a book Robert found for me “Eleanor of Aquitaine and the Four Kings”. I figured it would something that I would be able to read and did not anticipate a problem as it was a 1950s “Book of the Month Club” book – must be intended for average people to read – right?

    There are so many words in this book that I don’t know. I actually seem to know more of the French words (which are italicized) than some of these odd English words (which seem to be modern English – not olde English). I figured out that some words I don’t know as I am Jewish and the words are 1100s Catholic related terms. But there are so many other words, I gave up on using a dictionary as many are not in same, and I am not going to sit with my laptop while reading, so I do my best to figure it all out.

  19. @Chak: The Spencers are a noble family. The Middletons are commoners. There’s likely a fair bit of difference in their respective familial pride.

  20. @Powers,, I guess I just dismiss the implied superiority of nobility. I’m pretty sure the Middletons are just as fine a family as the Spencers. I know, typical American thinking.

  21. @Meryl A, that’s one reason I like to read on the tablet. An ebook, especially in the Kindle app, lets you find a dictionary definition, as well as the Wikipedia entry, and allows you to search the web for the term if those two don’t help.

    I’m learning Spanish,, and I find a Spanish-language ebook is a lot of fun for my, but a paper book would be seriously too hard.

  22. Chak – I don’t have a tablet . I am uncomfortable reading anything beyond a short bit (as we have on the posts here) on a computer. I still print out items from IRS instructions and reference books when I need to read them as it is just not comfortable for me and I have trouble retaining what I read. I have to take a series of online accounting courses annually. I print out the reading material to read it before the exams so I can follow it easier and remember it.. (Also, generally when i am actually reading a book it is a major Jewish holiday and it is my way of making the day different and I read something contemplative or educational – such as Eleanor and her kings and would not read it on an electronic device. I could look the words up in my cell phone if I was using same. Stopping constantly and looking things up breaks my train of thought, though, so I would not want to do that. It was just surprising that the book was like this as it was aimed at a general audience,not historians, educators or students.

  23. I’ll say that my iPad is a lot less eye-strain than even the flat-screen monitor. I have pretty much switched all of my reading to that, more so than I thought I would. One great thing is the ability to increase the font size. The integrated dictionary is a bonus, but not the primary driver.

    It’s also so easy to get e-books from the public library.

  24. @Brian in STL, but the complaint was not about eyestrain. Meryl says that she processes reading on a screen differently from reading on paper. That’s not necessarily the visual part of the brain at all.

    I read mostly on-screen myself these days, but of course our brains are all different.

  25. Brian in STL/ carlfink – Robert reads things on his computer as he can adjust the size of the font and it helps him. He gave up on tablets after his 3rd one (each was a larger screen than the last) as he found them unusable and went and bought a laptop to use when we travel.

    It is probably that I am so used to reading on paper that my brain does not want to adjust. Print size is not a problem in reading I just take off my eyeglasses when I read as it is easier to read without my reading glasses or my distance glasses.

  26. @Meryl_A: I’m a former software developer and writer and still do almost all my work on computers, so processing screen text is pretty natural for me.I am device-agnostic at this point: I’m typing this on a laptop, but I also use a smartphone and various tablets. (At work, I just ordered over 200 tablets for a project, as it happens.)

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