Happy birthday from the family.

Forgive, guys. A friend of mine here has been studying for a difficult professional-licensing exam for months, took it yesterday and PASSED WITH A GREAT SCORE, so last night was taken up with a celebratory dinner and champagne party.

In place of a better blog, please accept this fan-fuckin’-tastic photo, which Buckingham Palace released to honor great-grandma Betty’s 90th birthday today:


Annie Leibovitz, who else? Only a Yank would get the idea to give the handbag to one of the kids. Looking at this, I’m sorta glad Diana didn’t live long enough to participate in this birthday party. She just wasn’t goofy enough for this crew.

The official lineup, if you’re keeping score at home:

The children are, from bottom left:

Mia Tindall (holding The Queen’s handbag), the two year old daughter of Zara and Mike Tindall;
James, Viscount Severn (aged 8) and Lady Louise (12), the children of The Earl and Countess of Wessex and the youngest of The Queen’s eight grandchildren; Savannah (5) and Isla Phillips (3), daughters of The Queen’s eldest grandson Peter Phillips and his wife Autumn; Prince George (2) and, in The Queen’s arms and in the tradition of Royal portraiture, the youngest great-grandchild, Princess Charlotte (11months), children of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

Autumn! Savannah! I’m howling here. Have a good Thursday.

Posted at 8:59 am in Current events |

61 responses to “Happy birthday from the family.”

  1. Joe K said on April 21, 2016 at 9:05 am

    Love the picture, Mia is a little peach.
    Pilot Joe

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  2. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on April 21, 2016 at 9:09 am

    The four generation stamp pic is a hoot, too.

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  3. Pam said on April 21, 2016 at 9:14 am

    What does the Queen carry around in that purse/handbag?? Pepper Spray? A gun? Don’t the royals have others to carry their stuff for them? I can’t imagine what is so important that it’s with her at all times. But it’s at least funny in this photo. Love the queen’s 1960s hairdo. Someone should photoshop a new hairdo on her to see how she would look!

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  4. Dorothy said on April 21, 2016 at 9:16 am

    Do tell, anyone who is in the know, at what age are the royal boys allowed to wear long pants? Poor George – although he looks mighty cute in those short pants. I loved the latest pics from over the pond. I’m amazed that Lady Louise is 12 already. I remember reading that she had some serious vision/eye problems.

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  5. Deborah said on April 21, 2016 at 9:27 am

    The purse holding by the kid is brilliant of Leibovitz. I wonder how many nannies are hovering just out of camera range?

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  6. Jenine said on April 21, 2016 at 9:36 am

    I think you need the full uncropped 4 generations picture to enjoy the kiddo up on a stack of books: <a href="https://twitter.com/BritishMonarchy/status/722650414018125825/photo/1?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw"twitter pic link

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  7. Julie Robinson said on April 21, 2016 at 9:54 am

    The widdle cheeks on George! I wants to pinch them.

    Seriously, can you imagine taking a picture of that many little ones? I figure purse girl was acting out and got to hold it if she behaved. Those Brits do love their jumpers.

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  8. susan said on April 21, 2016 at 9:57 am

    All hail the Queen! She walks without a cane or a walker and her ankles aren’t swollen. She’s OK at 90.

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  9. Julie Robinson said on April 21, 2016 at 10:01 am

    The Robinson household was chortling with glee last night about this story, as our local Tea Party Congressman finds himself in hot water: http://www.journalgazette.net/news/local/local-politics/Stutzmans–trip-a-campaign-cost–12665813.

    No, you can’t take a personal vacation to California and bill it as a campaign cost. It’s illegal. Love this Facebook comment: “Pity those poor children of his. He could have taken them to Disney instead of the Reagan Library.”

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  10. Jolene said on April 21, 2016 at 10:05 am

    I like this one of her with her corgis. She does, indeed, look very vigorous. George is in the dictionary adjacent to the entry for chubby-cheeked toddler, and I love Isla Phillips in the baby version of the Queen’s outfit.

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  11. Jolene said on April 21, 2016 at 10:20 am

    It’s a good day for drinkers in the UK, of which I understand there are many. Pubs are open for an extra two hours to celebrate the Queen’s birthday.

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  12. Heather said on April 21, 2016 at 10:28 am

    Didn’t the Queen Mum live to be 104 or something? She’s got a good decade ahead of her.

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  13. ROGirl said on April 21, 2016 at 10:29 am

    Very impressive, indeed. The composition is extraordinary. Look at the way she has framed the doorways in the mirror, and how she has captured the soaring height of the space, while the people are arrayed across the floor at ground level. It has echoes of historical paintings by Reynolds or even Velazquez. The crisp white blouses and warm toned sweaters and skirts pop in the

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  14. ROGirl said on April 21, 2016 at 10:32 am

    Continued: in front of the clubby overstuffed dark green leather furniture and the elegant green and gold decoration. And the handbag, too.

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  15. ROGirl said on April 21, 2016 at 10:35 am

    Correction — I was looking at the picture on my phone. Now I can see that the furniture is elegant patterned silk. Much more royal and fitting.

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  16. Kim said on April 21, 2016 at 10:36 am

    Great pic! Although, James looks a little rumpled for an official portrait with Granny.

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  17. Bitter Scribe said on April 21, 2016 at 11:00 am

    Will Charles ever get to be king?

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  18. Deborah said on April 21, 2016 at 11:10 am

    ROGirl, yes Velazquez, you nailed it.

    I’m freaking out about how much there is to do in the 10 days we have left before moving day. Of course I’m paying the piper for all of my avoidance ploys previously. The list is a mile long.

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  19. brian stouder said on April 21, 2016 at 11:16 am

    Well – I didn’t know that April 21 was the queen’s birthday; but I DID know that April 21 is the Queen of Our Household’s birthday… so there’s that!

    (And indeed, she picked out a new rocker/recliner for the living room, as her official b-day present…and it’s probably more comfortable than that other queen’s furniture!)

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  20. Judybusy said on April 21, 2016 at 11:23 am

    ABC news had an online 1-minute clip of the Queen’s life. They referred to Charles as The Prince of Whales! Totally made my day.

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  21. Julie Robinson said on April 21, 2016 at 11:30 am

    I saw that too. Some lowly intern probably got a dressing down.

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  22. Jakash said on April 21, 2016 at 12:20 pm

    “Baby version of the Queen’s outfit” LOL! Though all three of the middle girls seem to be rocking that look, more or less…

    Gotta say, I was only aware of the existence of two of those youngsters, and the handy description didn’t even really help me out as to who the f the others are and where they fit in. I consider myself the PBS version of an Anglophile, but have never paid much attention to the current royal crew, obviously. For shame! I could do fairly well on a Henry VIII quiz, however…

    “Will Charles ever get to be king?” Well, he’ll probably live to be 100, himself, so who knows. But imagine knowing from the time you knew anything that you were going to be KING! and then, 67 years later, it hadn’t yet come to pass. Why, that has the makings of a really boring Shakespearean comedy, but, evidently it couldn’t star a more fitting Prince.

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  23. MarkH said on April 21, 2016 at 12:26 pm

    Nancy, did you call her ‘Betty’ when you phoned your birthday greetings this morning? According to this article, and her life-long childhood friend, Margaret Rhodes, who appeared on CBS This Morning today, her nickname is and has always been “LiliBeth”.



    BTW, as per the Mirror article, what wouldn’t we give to see that lost video of the Queen throwing shoes and a racquet at stuffy Prince Phillip?

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  24. brian stouder said on April 21, 2016 at 12:29 pm

    So speaking of beautiful women and physical aggressiveness – there’s this:


    Leaving aside the article, I found the photo striking, as it is dated 16 years ago, and the woman only lived to be 45 – so she’s only 29 in the photo.

    It cannot be an easy life, at all

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  25. LAMary said on April 21, 2016 at 12:59 pm

    ROGirl, I thought Velasquez as soon as I saw it. No dwarves or mirrors, but otherwise, yes. Love the kid with the handbag and I admire the queen for allowing that little bit of humor. I’m wearing a cardigan in her honor today. I wear cardigans a lot of days but today’s is dedicated to Brenda, sister of the late, tired and emotional Margaret.

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  26. Jakash said on April 21, 2016 at 1:11 pm

    Off-topic, but “that the hot sauce thing is true, but everyone thought Hillary was making it up, is kind of a metaphor for how she’s perceived.”

    A peppy minute-and-change video:


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  27. Judybusy said on April 21, 2016 at 1:11 pm

    Just checked in at Facebook and so sad to see that Prince has died. What a terrible year it’s been for losing so many talented folks.

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  28. Dorothy said on April 21, 2016 at 1:12 pm

    Jesus – speaking of royalty – I just heard that Prince died today. He was 57. What in God’s name is going on this year?!?!?!

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  29. Jeff Borden said on April 21, 2016 at 1:43 pm

    Prince is dead. Dick Cheney is alive. There is no justice in this world.

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  30. Brandon said on April 21, 2016 at 1:52 pm

    @brian: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chyna

    When she was on The Surreal Life, I couldn’t get over how her voice (high-pitched, with a Valley Girl accent) didn’t match her appearance.

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  31. Dexter said on April 21, 2016 at 1:54 pm

    Yeah…just thirty seconds ago I read Jeff’s alert on Facebook and was instantly stunned…no! But yes.
    The Times apparently didn’t even have an instant-obit ready to rock…did anybody have an inkling? http://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/22/arts/music/prince-dead.html

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  32. Dexter said on April 21, 2016 at 1:56 pm

    Bowie was 69 and that stunned folks because few know he was battling cancer…but Prince at 57? damn

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  33. Suzanne said on April 21, 2016 at 2:17 pm

    Truly, the more I look at that picture of the royals, the more they look like they’ve been photoshopped onto a background. But I love the pic.

    Oddly enough, I’ve looked at the local News-Sentinel online and not one mention of Stutzman’s vacation funding indiscretions. Maybe in print there was, I don’t know. But not one online. Ignorance is bliss.

    Prince. Huh. Go figure. It does seem like celebrities are dying like flies this year!

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  34. Bitter Scribe said on April 21, 2016 at 2:49 pm

    Wolf Blitzer apparently spoke fondly on CNN of Prince’s classic, “Purple Haze.” Way to go, Wolf. Don’t forget “Little Pink Cadillac.”

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  35. Jolene said on April 21, 2016 at 2:53 pm

    Shortly after David Bowie died, there was some other popular musician who died, whose name now escapes me. Can someone remind me who it was? Or, am I imagining things?

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  36. St Bitch said on April 21, 2016 at 3:00 pm

    Speaking of women wrestlers, I found the female freestyle hopefuls just as compelling to watch as the guys, at the US Olympic Wrestling trials in Iowa City. It was my first major exposure to the sport (besides Foxcatcher) and it helped that I was watching the best in the nation. My good friends’ son-in-law, Angel Escobedo, was making his last bid at age 29 to make the team. Heartbreakingly, his chronically injured ankle gave out. He’s a gorgeous athlete, though. Ever since I met him at his wedding to my friends’ daughter (Miss Iowa 2010), he’s been in training to go to Rio for the games. The upside is that they just had bouncing baby boy (the day after Mom’s 90th birthday)…for which I knit & crotcheted my first, and probably last, baby blanket.

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  37. Scout said on April 21, 2016 at 3:04 pm

    I love the weird old timey effect Liebovitz achieves with this. She is truly great at what she does. Plus – the handbag. The placement in relation to the furniture. The way the faces are lit but the clothing subdued.

    I am stunned about Prince. 2016 has been a harsh year so far.

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  38. Dorothy said on April 21, 2016 at 3:06 pm

    Would that be Glenn Frey, Jolene?

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  39. Dorothy said on April 21, 2016 at 3:08 pm

    Poor Wolf Blitzer, mixing up Jimi Hendrix and Prince. Sort of. Maybe. Who knows? “Little Pink Cadillac” cracked me up, Bitter Scribe!

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  40. Jolene said on April 21, 2016 at 3:25 pm

    Yes, Glenn Frey. Thanks, Dorothy, for reassuring me that I’m only part way to senility.

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  41. ROGirl said on April 21, 2016 at 3:55 pm

    Wolf Schvitzer shouldn’t be allowed to utter Prince’s name.

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  42. brian stouder said on April 21, 2016 at 4:34 pm

    Y’know, I think ROGirl’s “Wolf Schvitzer” just won the thread!

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  43. BethB from Indiana said on April 21, 2016 at 4:37 pm

    Just got back from my volunteer job at my alma mater’s library archives–tired but it felt good to get out.

    My one thought about the Queen’s picture was that grandson James looks a little bored. Do you suppose it was Leibovitz who placed his hands in his pockets or he just did it on his own?

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  44. brian stouder said on April 21, 2016 at 4:40 pm

    I would say that Michigan’s Governor Snidely must think this is Purple Rain from heaven, as it knocks his ongoing fiasco – now featuring criminal indictments – off the front page (for awhile)

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  45. Dave said on April 21, 2016 at 4:51 pm

    I wonder if WOWO, especially in the person of their afternoon host, is having a Stutzman love-in today? I see the N-S has an endorsement of him on today’s site.

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  46. susan said on April 21, 2016 at 4:58 pm

    Jolene @35 – Paul Kantner also died shortly after Bowie.

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  47. brian stouder said on April 21, 2016 at 5:06 pm

    Dave, I don’t have the patience to call into there (more than very rarely) – but ‘Yutzman’ (hat tip to Alex!) is a classic demagogue, yes?

    He’s ADAMANTLY AGAINST ‘big guhmint’ and hand-outs and goodies, except when his ‘family farm’ gets its government subsidy check, and his government subsidized crop insurance, and his government backed trade deals that increase the value of his commodities.

    The Reagan Library thing is the small-beer part of his fraudulence!

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  48. Sherri said on April 21, 2016 at 5:10 pm

    It’s just a toilet: http://ktla.com/2016/04/20/rally-scheduled-in-support-of-south-l-a-lgbtq-students-after-fight-breaks-out-over-gender-neutral-bathroom/

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  49. Deborah said on April 21, 2016 at 5:20 pm

    Susan, When did Paul Kantner die? I don’t think I was aware of that or if I was my senility has kicked in again.
    Prince was on my radar more than Bowie for some reason. Today has been a busy day and as I was running around attending to things Little Bird told me about Prince in a phone conversation, I was shocked he seemed so young, but 57 isn’t THAT young.

    So I had my first experience of having second thoughts about getting rid of our car in Chicago. We ran out of moving boxes, I had ordered 75 from Home Depot (for mostly books) that we had delivered about a month ago. My husband told me about a week ago that we were about to run out and I neglected to order more in a timely manner. I had to go to Home Depot and purchase a pack of them and bring them back in a cab. Lordy that was not fun. There’s a Home Depot on North Ave about 2 miles away, I walked there for the exercise, but then I had to schlep the boxes down North Ave until I could finally get a cab.

    Alex, today I was thinking about you and your comment a while back about the color you chose for your kitchen cabinets (I think it was) that you were having second thoughts about. We picked our colors for our new place and they were painted while I was in NM, and they are horrible. We have to repaint. The color that I thought was a very light warm gray almost white, looks positively baby blue on the wall. Embarrassing.

    But oh the floors look fantastic, we had the travertine marble floors resurfaced to a honed finish. They’re magnificent, the best floors in any place I have ever lived, by far.

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  50. susan said on April 21, 2016 at 5:30 pm

    Deborah – Paul Kantner died in January.

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  51. Jolene said on April 21, 2016 at 5:47 pm

    Deborah, are you familiar with Task Rabbit? You can use them service to hire people for pretty much any kind of task or errand on a one-time, short-notice basis. If other schlepping tasks arise, it might be worthwhile to hire someone who has a van. This link goes to the website, but there’s also an app for your smartphone.

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  52. Sue said on April 21, 2016 at 6:02 pm

    The background is gorgeous but the subjects are (mostly) all wrong. The two kids on the left look like the school photographer got bored and just took the damn picture, the old lady looks like she’s one day away from the weekly hairdresser visit, and no one is wearing a tiara. Love the little purse-holder, but the only one pulling this off is the one on the right, who looks like she’s about to go on an invigorating healthful tramp around Balmoral.

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  53. Sherri said on April 21, 2016 at 6:18 pm

    PayPal convenes a panel to discuss how men and women can partner together to achieve a better workplace. Guess the makeup of the panel.


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  54. Little Bird said on April 21, 2016 at 6:19 pm


    Seriously. 2016 is really really rough.

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  55. Little Bird said on April 21, 2016 at 6:23 pm

    Never mind. That was last year, one of my friends posted about it just today….

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  56. Dorothy said on April 21, 2016 at 6:44 pm

    Deborah I bet the light in your kitchen is affecting the grey color you chose. When we moved out of our Siuth Carolina home we chose a paint color for the hallway and hired a guy to paint it. What looked like a soft coral shade at Sherwin Williams came out way too pink. We didn’t see it since we had left for Ohio, but our real estate agent told us pink just wouldn’t do. We had to pay to have it painted plain old neutral beige.

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  57. Deborah said on April 21, 2016 at 8:14 pm

    Well you were right about the light Dorothy. Only it isn’t in the kitchen it’s in the main space. It’s not artificial light it seems to be morning light that’s turning it blue, because we went back in the afternoon when it was getting full sun and it’s perfect. We are on the lake, which because the shore curves right there, is to the northeast. Our place is in the northwest corner of the building and has floor to ceiling Windows on the north and west sides. We’re still going to have to repaint because the baby blue color in the morning is gross. Sigh.

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  58. alex said on April 21, 2016 at 9:10 pm

    I feel your pain, Deborah. We just now finally got our cabinets redone in the color I knew was right by my first instincts, after overthinking it and painting them a different color and being disappointed. The disappointing color had a bluish tone to it that clashed with the warm undertones of the backsplash, floors and walls. The new color is more of an olive green and it totally rocks.

    I had been afraid to commit to a medium color because I’d seen so many bad jobs in medium colors and so many stellar ones in light colors. I was in particular remembering the people across the street who sold their house a year ago after painting their cabinets a horrid mid gray. It was one of the most viscerally unfriendly spaces I’ve ever seen, and had been quite pleasant before the makeover. But the light color that I had chosen for my cabinets looked sort of “faux farm” once it was on, as if the room should have been festooned with gingham ducks and Cracker Barrel knickknacks, not juxtaposed with exposed spiral ductwork and stainless counters. The olive tone works beautifully with the industrial look that I’m cultivating. Should have listened to my gut.

    Also plunked down a big chunk of change on plumbing work this week and now have excellent water pressure thanks to a beefier bladder tank, along with a new whole house filter that I’m hoping will mean no more rust stains in toilets and tubs. And my water softener is in the house, not in the well pit underground, praise be, hallelujah. Next up is a new electrical panel big enough to handle all of our new wiring and we should be sittin’ pretty.

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  59. basset said on April 21, 2016 at 9:55 pm

    Too old and not cool enough to have had any interest in Prince, I was only aware of him as this effeminate little creature who made movies and records I had no interest in.

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  60. Jill said on April 21, 2016 at 9:57 pm

    Deborah, I’m not too far from you at least one day a week so let me know if you need an errand with which a small SUV could help. It has to be something that won’t be ruined by dog fur, though, since no matter how much I vacuum my car always has fur in it.

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  61. FDChief said on April 22, 2016 at 4:47 pm

    Diana Spenser not goofy enough? Ummm…well, maybe shy a couple of dozen astrologers and aromatherapists and tawdry lovers and the loathsome Al Fayed clan. I wish I could find Chris Hitchens’ old column on her; he had just exactly the right sort of pseudo-aristocratic spleen required to make Diana’s essential triviality obvious.

    No. The goofy here is the Classic Old School British Goofy, composed equally of exaggerated self-worth, lack of introspection, hauteur, and noblesse oblige, the Stuff of Empire Goofy that doesn’t see any humor in pretending that it’s still 1894. Diana had her own massive Goofy but it was a thoroughly New Age Goofy incomprehensible to the stodgy scions of Grammy Windsor.

    Sad when you consider that the clan threw out the perfectly good surname Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. Sigh.

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