2011: The Year of the Royals

2011 was definitely the year of the fairytale, and while none of the people who married into royal families last year exactly qualify as “rags to riches” stories, it’s always fun to see an extravagant wedding and, of course, great clothes.

In addition to great weddings, we also saw a few royals (or royals-by-association) who had their share of time in the spotlight… both good and bad.

For a constant stream of royal photos, visit www.allroyal.tumblr.com

Royal Weddings
Prince William and Catherine “Kate” Middleton

On April 29, 2011, the girl known around the world as Kate Middleton became the first commoner of the year to marry into a royal family. She also became Her Royal Highness, Princess William, Duchess of Cambridge, Countess of Strathearn, Baroness Carrickfergus – known as Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, for short (although to be honest, I’m surprised the press hasn’t jumped in with “Princess Catherine” at all).
As I said, Catherine’s wedding to Prince William wasn’t exactly a “rags to riches” deal – her parents are multi-millionaires, and she (and her sister) had long associated with the UK’s social elite. After meeting in college and dating for nearly 10 years, Prince William proposed to Catherine while on holiday in Africa with his mother’s stunning sapphire and diamond engagement ring.
Prince Albert of Monaco and Charlene Wittstock
On July 1 2011, Charlene Wittstock became the second commoner to marry into a royal family. Much like her “commoner” counterparts (for the purposes of this blog post anyway), Charlene isn’t your ordinary girl. Born in Zimbabwe and raised in South Africa, Charlene was a professional swimmer, competing at both the national and Olympic levels, and caught the Prince’s eye at a swimming event in 2000. However, it wasn’t until 2006 that the Prince and Charlene were spotted out publicly together and moved in together.

Upon her marriage, Charlene became Her Serene Highness, The Princess of Monaco (the last person to hold that title was Grace Kelly, Prince Albert’s mother). As Monaco is a principality (a monarchial government ruled by a “prince,” as opposed to a “king”), Charlene became the highest ranking female in the principality. 

Zara Phillips and Mike Tindall

When HM The Queen’s eldest grandchild, Zara Phillips, tied the knot this summer, it was a much more subdued affair than Prince William and Catherine’s wedding, as Zara is only 13th in line to the throne. Mike Tindall became the third commoner to marry into a royal family in 2011. However, while he isn’t a royal, both Zara and her husband are celebrities in their own right; both are professional athletes (Mike is a rugby player, while Zara is a professional equestrian), competing at the highest level in their respective sports.

Unlike her cousin, Prince William, Zara does not hold a royal title. At the request of her mother, the Princess Royal (Anne), Zara and her brother do not hold any royal titles, nor are they entitled to as they are descendent from the monarch on the female line.

Pippa Middleton

Hm, the name might sound familiar to you. Could it be because within seconds of making her appearance as the maid of honor at Catherine’s wedding, photos of her bum were blowing up the internet? The Pippa Middleton Ass Appreciation Society has, to date, garnered over 200,000 “likes” on Facebook.

Pippa also managed to quickly become tabloid fodder, with photos of her heading to and form work on a daily basis making their way onto just about everyone’s radar. (See here for my post on why I’m hesitant to post those photos, even though I love them!)

While many seem to think Pippa is riding her sister’s coattails to fame and fortune, I believe she’s a pretty hard working girl (in addition to working for her parent’s company, she also worked for Table Talk [a UK party planning company]) and for George Percy’s company. She may have scored herself a book deal with a $600,000 advance (that reportedly put the Queen in quite a tizzy) thanks to her new found notoriety, but that doesn’t necessarily make her a bad person or diminish any of her own achievements. She is using her connections to her advantage. In any other situation, we’d call it networking.

Princess Beatrice … and her hat

In addition to Catherine, and Pippa, there was 1 more woman who made a huge splash at the royal wedding… or, it may be more apt to say her hat made the splash. Princess Beatrice of York, William’s cousin, rolled up to Westminster Abbey wearing… whatever that is… on her head. Is it a pretzel? Is it a toilet seat? No one knows. But what I do know is that she eventually put it up on eBay where it went for about $130,000 USD. At lease some good came from it!!

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