Long live the king.

I observed the passing of Queen Elizabeth by pushing my bomb-ass battery-powered sweeper around, sucking up dog hair and thinking about the butterfly effect. What drove Wallis Simpson to set her cap for the Prince of Wales in 1930-something? (My guess is: Money and position, but honestly I don’t care because I have always found their love story boring in the extreme.) Anyway, when she made her play, she set in motion the events that would lead the prince’s niece to become sovereign, rule for 70 years and die as the beloved great-grandmother of a diminished empire, but at least not one that consorted with Nazis.

Funny, that.

Of course, the talk was always that Edward VIII was probably gay and probably sterile (mumps), and even if Wallis had been a blushing virgin and not a twice-divorced American well past heir-producing age, at some point a different line of succession might have had to be drawn up. Still. The crown did a hop, skip and jump, and went first to Elizabeth’s father, who became George VI, before landing on her 25-year-old head in 1952. And there it would stay until Thursday.

That was her on Tuesday after she greeted the new prime minister, and invited her to form a government in her name. You can complain about the waste and anachronistic nature of royalty all you want, but I’d wager most of the tourists who visit the U.K. at least make some time to drive past a palace or three, and as for doing the job, well, she worked overtime.

Imagine holding the same job – and a job it is – for 70 years. She had to hang on through so, so much: The latter half of the 20th century was no picnic for an institution like the monarchy, and then there was the country itself, losing its empire piece by piece. Her children, sensitive Charles and bold Anne, then the second thoughts, Andrew and Edward, had to go through their own wild youths and midlife crises and all the rest of it, all in a spotlight that only grew brighter and hotter with time. Give her this: She outlasted Diana.

Along with the spotlight comes all these, these …commoners, with their own ideas. “The crown should go directly to William,” opined one dipshit American on Facebook. “He’s much more of a leader than Charles.” And this is based on what, exactly? Because Charles cheated on his pretty wife with his homely old girlfriend, I expect would be the answer. Anyway, lady, this isn’t fucking Game of Thrones, anyway. The crown goes to the sovereign’s firstborn, it’s not up for a vote. Charles has been in the waiting room all his life.

Anyway, I’m looking forward to Charles’ monarchy. His goofball interests and life experiences will give the world a different monarchy than his mother’s, and I want him to do the job he’s trained so long for. Long live King Charles III. I hope he has a grand coronation. If hereditary monarchy has to endure this long, at least it should be interesting.

P.S. Queen consort Camilla will be a trip, too – at least I hope so. I so want her to be the three-G&Ts fun grandma of Buckingham Palace.

Other than the excitement of current events and sweeping up dog hair, my only outing Thursday was to Costco, to pick up a prescription and note that not only is the Christmas merch out, but I heard “Joy to the World” on the sound system. I’m so old – how old are you? – I’m so old I remember when people complained that Halloween was too early to start thinking of the holidays.

Have a swell weekend, all.

Posted at 4:42 pm in Current events |

48 responses to “Long live the king.”

  1. David C said on September 8, 2022 at 6:11 pm

    They said this morning that 94% of the world’s population has known no other British Monarch. My parents would have been tweens when she ascended to the throne. She had a good run. One of my favorite books is “The Queen and I”. It imagines that Britain becomes a republic and sends the Windsors to live as ordinary citizens in council flats. The whole family goes mad except Elizabeth. She just carries on. That’s been her life. Just carry on.

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  2. Deborah said on September 8, 2022 at 6:28 pm

    Joy to the World, already!!! Whoa, that’s ridiculous.

    As Prince, Charles was at times critical of contemporary architecture and he was often absolutely right. It will be interesting to see what he accomplishes now as King. It’s all formalities and tradition anyway not much substance really but of course norms are important as we’ve found out here with Trump destroying so many of ours.

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  3. Julie Robinson said on September 8, 2022 at 7:19 pm

    Elizabeth had, as the Brits say, good innings. I will forever remember the melancholy photo of her sitting alone at Philip’s memorial, head bowed, sadness oozing from her. ABC is giving her the Diana treatment already.

    David, I’m going to look up that book.

    The craft stores have been full of Christmas since June. Pretty soon they’ll make it year round.

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  4. Sherri said on September 8, 2022 at 7:27 pm

    Think of the massive number of references to the Queen that will now have to change to the King. Senior lawyers who were QC are now KC. Someone pointed out that the front page of a Canadian passport says that it is “issued in the name of Her Majesty the Queen.” Wonder when they start issuing new currency with King Charles III on it? Legal documents all over the commonwealth that refer to the Queen will have to be changed.

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  5. Charlie Zone said on September 8, 2022 at 7:38 pm

    I am an anti-monarchist to my core. I hope this Charles ends as the last Charles did. Long live the republics of England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland.

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  6. Suzanne said on September 8, 2022 at 7:45 pm

    I can’t help but think of King Charles and King Chuckles.
    I expect he will do ok but he is so darn awkward. I watched the Queens Jubilee celebration concert a few months ago during which Charles & William each gave a brief speech. Charles looked so darn uncomfortable; William quite polished and sincere.

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  7. David C said on September 8, 2022 at 7:56 pm

    I saw a Tweet that said they could get used to having a man as Queen but changing pronouns was just taking it too far.

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  8. LAMary said on September 8, 2022 at 8:15 pm

    I’ve been exposed to more than 20 years of Prince Charles ridicule so it’s hard to be optimistic about his reign. Welsh friends were especially mean about the Prince of Wales. One said the German words under the Prince’s insignia meant “I have very large ears.”

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  9. Deborah said on September 8, 2022 at 8:15 pm

    I wonder when the coronation will be? I’m kinda hoping it will be put off at least a few months. I mean it’s going to be a big deal and isn’t the UK reeling from Brexit and BoJo’s resigning, a new Prime Minister, etc. First they’ve got to have an enormous funeral. Just think how much this is all going to cost. Yikes.

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  10. LindaG said on September 8, 2022 at 8:27 pm

    I was 12 in 1953 and got a British pen pal as a school project. She sent me a commemorative newspaper with a color portrait of the new queen on the front. An interesting story inside was that Sir Edmund Hillary and Sherpa had summitted Mount Everest–the first to do so! (I still have the issue.) We are still in touch and have visited each other.

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  11. Peter said on September 8, 2022 at 9:30 pm

    Deborah, the coronation usually happens several months after the funeral – Betty’s was 16 months after dad went tits up.

    We have a family friend who was born on the same day as Prince Charles, and it just stuns me that she’s retired twice, and today was Charles’ first day of actual work.

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  12. brian stouder said on September 8, 2022 at 9:51 pm

    Peter, that’s a (genuinely) interesting way to view this. I’m still pretty new at this retirement thing (and LOVING it!), and if it was reversed- if I’d have spent all my ‘working years’ the way I now get to spend my ‘retired’ time….I’d be one of those people who thinks he knows lots (between reading/news/exploring, etc) and who actually has no idea what he doesn’t know. It’s the old question of ‘known unknowns’ versus ‘unknown unknowns’ …. but we digress!

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  13. Julie Robinson said on September 9, 2022 at 12:14 am

    Known known: how bugged I am by Charles’ apparent refusal to use sunblock and moisturizer. That facial skin looks painful. It’s crying out for a trip to Boots. Makes me question your common sense, me boyo.

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  14. Brandon said on September 9, 2022 at 3:36 am

    I hope this Charles ends as the last Charles did.

    You’re probably thinking of Charles I and his execution in 1649. His son Charles II ruled as King of England, Scotland and Ireland from the Restoration in 1660 until his death in 1685.

    Incidentally, this is what happened to Cromwell, et al.

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  15. basset said on September 9, 2022 at 8:06 am

    Continuing the sewing machine mention from yesterday… Dorothy, I had heard that about Featherweights but Mrs. B is not a quilter so I haven’t seen it in person. Singer also made a very few .45 pistols for the US military just before WW2 and they are now rare and valuable; I know of one which sold for over $400,000.

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  16. Dorothy said on September 9, 2022 at 9:00 am

    Julie the King has rosacea, and his red cheeks are the definite hallmark of it. I had a female boss a long time ago who had it. She was fair skinned otherwise, but the redness of the cheeks was almost ever-present. For someone of his wealth and fame, I’m confident he has any skin care product at his fingertips. Stress can make the skin much worse. I just saw video of him this morning, leaving Scotland at Aberdeen airport, and he looked positively blood red on his cheeks. No surprise that it flared up this week.


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  17. Julie Robinson said on September 9, 2022 at 9:55 am

    Oof. My bad. I stand corrected.

    Just read the Featherweight discussion. My grandmother gave me one when I started sewing, little knowing that I was the one grandchild who would value it and keep it safe. My sister also sewed, but she lost her possessions several times over the years through her chaotic lifestyle.

    When our previously unknown cousin found us, then learned that her mother had died very young, my mother told me the Featherweight had originally belonged to Ann. And from that moment I knew it didn’t belong to me, but to Ann’s daughter, who had nothing of her mother’s. Now she does. She has the Featherweight. And I know grandma is smiling.

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  18. Glen Tomkins said on September 9, 2022 at 10:29 am

    “The crown goes to the sovereign’s firstborn, it’s not up for a vote.”

    Actually it is up to a vote. The crown goes to whoever the Act of Succession says it goes to, and that is an act passed by Parliament.

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  19. Jim G said on September 9, 2022 at 12:56 pm

    “The crown goes to the sovereign’s firstborn, it’s not up for a vote. Charles has been in the waiting room all his life.”

    Not just that. The royals see the monarchy as not just a job, but a duty (The West Wing, on Gilbert & Sullivan musicals: “They’re all about duty”). Even if Charles didn’t want to be king, he’d do it anyway, because duty.

    BTW, we saw “King Charles III” on Broadway, a play in which the Queen has just died and Charles takes over. Parliament passes some law he doesn’t approve of and a constitutional crises ensues. There’s also Harry having some younger child issues (this was before Harry buggered off with Meghan to the new world). I recall at is being entertaining, if implausible…but I don’t remember that much else about it, honestly. Might be worth tracking down if you’re interested. Looks like it’s available on Amazon, FWIW.

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    • nancy said on September 9, 2022 at 1:20 pm

      OK, I didn’t know that. But it’s unlikely another candidate is going to throw a hat into the ring, right?

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  20. ROGirl said on September 9, 2022 at 1:03 pm

    Duty? The only reason Elizabeth became queen is because her Uncle Bertie buggered off with that woman (the nazi sympathizer).

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  21. Jim G said on September 9, 2022 at 1:06 pm

    “The only reason Elizabeth became queen is because her Uncle Bertie buggered off with that woman (the nazi sympathizer).”

    He was an outlier. And you can be damned sure that Elizabeth, who had to be Queen because of it, did everything she could to make sure Charles would never do such a thing.

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  22. Jim G said on September 9, 2022 at 1:27 pm

    “But it’s unlikely another candidate is going to throw a hat into the ring, right?”

    A Game-of-Thrones-style (or War of the Roses, since that’s what GoT was very loosely based on) contest for the throne would be quite the thing to see in 2022. But I was thinking more of the old theory that Charles would somehow let the succession go straight to William. The only way I could have seen that happening is if Elizabeth had tried to hold firm on the thing about Camilla not getting to be called “Queen Consort.” “Screw it, then, I’m gonna pull an Edward and abdicate when my time comes” (but, y’know, in Aristocratic English) might have been very effective at getting Elizabeth to say, “Oh, fine.”

    (And I just realized that your reply was probably meant for Glen Tomkins, not me.)

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  23. Pam said on September 9, 2022 at 1:30 pm

    Did you see in the photo the arm covers on those matching loveseats?! They go almost down to the floor. They just don’t make those anymore and I think they should.

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  24. nancy said on September 9, 2022 at 1:34 pm

    It was Uncle David, not Bertie. Bertie was her father.

    Stuff I learned today, in addition to that stuff about parliament:

    1) Charles’ regnal name could have been any of the four he was christened with: Charles Phillip Arthur George. I knew he had a choice, but I didn’t know what the pool of candidates was.

    2) The BBC plan for a monarch’s death: “At the BBC, RATS—a Cold War–era alarm whose acronym formally stands for ‘radio alert transmission system’ and informally stands for ‘royal about to snuff it’—would sound, sending the broadcaster into overdrive; commercial music stations would put on sad playlists; the Times of London would (apparently) pull the trigger on eleven days’ worth of coverage plans. (And this would be nothing: according to Knight, when the queen’s grandfather, King George V, was on his way out in 1936, his doctor dosed him with enough morphine and cocaine to “have him expire in time for the printing presses of the Times, which rolled at midnight.”)

    I look forward to picking all kinds of new knowledge in coming days.

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  25. ROGirl said on September 9, 2022 at 2:13 pm

    Holy crap! Uncle David was baptised Edward Albert Christian George Andrew Patrick David.

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  26. Sherri said on September 9, 2022 at 2:28 pm

    “King Charles III” is streaming for free on Kanopy, which you may have access to via your library card. Charles refuses to assent to a bill passed by Parliament, Will and Kate conspire to move him aside and Will is crowned King.

    Uncle David took Edward as his regnal name, Bertie took George, Alexandrina took Victoria. Victoria’s son Albert Edward was also known as Bertie, and apparently Victoria had wanted him to take Albert Edward as his regnal name to honor Prince Albert, but he took Edward, beginning the Edward-George-Edward-George sequence between Victoria and Elizabeth.

    The interesting, if unlikely question, is what would happen if Charles and Will were to die before Prince George turns 18. A regent would have to be appointed, but who? Randy Andy seems right out, as does Harry. Andrew’s daughters are the next adults in line, then Edward and potentially his kids.

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  27. David C said on September 9, 2022 at 3:09 pm

    I often listen to BBC Radio 6. It’s their alternative rock station. I wonder if their playlist shifted and to what.

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  28. Deborah said on September 9, 2022 at 3:09 pm

    Prince Edward is someone that I’d almost completely forgotten about. Seeing early pictures of his wife reveal that she looked a lot like Diana. And you never hear much about Anne and her family. Is she even still alive? I obviously don’t keep up much with the royals.

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  29. Jim G said on September 9, 2022 at 3:40 pm

    “King Charles III” is streaming for free on Kanopy, which you may have access to via your library card. Charles refuses to assent to a bill passed by Parliament, Will and Kate conspire to move him aside and Will is crowned King.

    Jeez, Sherri—spoiler alert! 😉

    But yes, I remember the plot better now. Somehow I don’t think William and Kate are as scheming in real life as they are in that play (then again, Macbeth is a classic for a reason). Nor is Charles quite as ineffectually wishy-washy. I could see him feeling bad about assenting to a law he hates, but it’s hard to imagine him not doing it.

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  30. basset said on September 9, 2022 at 3:48 pm

    I thought surely BBC America would be full-time royal coverage today but no, checked this morning and they were running Star Trek. Watched Sky News on Roku for awhile, all royal and much calmer than I expected.

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  31. Julie Robinson said on September 9, 2022 at 3:57 pm

    “King Charles III” was on PBS soon after it played on Broadway and the West End before that. Charles was played by the late Tim Pigott-Smith, whose career I always followed because my birth name is Pigott. He was excellent in everything although he often played unsympathetic characters.

    We got Covid boosters and flu shots Wednesday and 2/4 are down from them, which of course is a side effect they warn us about. My arms were painful the first night but I’m good now.

    May I shill for our niece once again? She has a new website up at madridfrench.com with more info about her Hitchcock book, the Vanity Fair article, and a really fun sizzle roll: https://youtu.be/b_PpNTxS-Kk. She says Vanity Fair is getting a lot of eyeballs on the issue because of cover subject Olivia Wilde and all the drama around her right now.

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  32. Sherri said on September 9, 2022 at 4:54 pm

    I had an appointment, I thought, to get the new Covid booster and a flu shot this morning only to find out once I got there that the pharmacy didn’t actually have the new booster. So now I’m scheduled for both at a different pharmacy in a couple of weeks.

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  33. David C said on September 9, 2022 at 5:59 pm

    It’s been a few years since I watched BBC America. Even then it had as many British shows as History Channel has shows about history. It appears most BBC shows are now on BritBox.

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  34. Julie Robinson said on September 9, 2022 at 6:04 pm

    We had to drive 25 minutes to find a pharmacy that had the new one, and a friend had a similar experience to yours, Sherri. Our daughter is traveling and needs a bunch of shots, so she wanted to get these two out of the way. She’s got three trips in about seven weeks, including Kenya, for which she needs yellow fever, typhoid, and a tetanus booster. Her nurse friend says yellow fever alone is $375 and that no insurance covers it.

    I still had all her shot records from when she lived with us, but during seminary she needed some for Thailand, and she has absolutely no record. These things make anal me crazy. It’s been 12 years so repeating might be necessary anyway.

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  35. FDChief said on September 9, 2022 at 6:08 pm

    Every so often I’m reminded that “hereditary monarchy” probably seems like a good idea when you’re, say, a corn chandler in York, living around a shitload of heavily armed aristocratic assholes bred to consider the lack of ruthless ambition a character flaw.

    Ensuring the rules say that you have to hand the keys to the national mint to the last boss’ kid – even the stupid gormless one – as soon as the old boss croaks so these greedy bastards don’t descend on each other and in the process you tend to find that your home and livelihood have been pillaged and burnt, your sons hauled off to dig siegeworks, your daughters and wife (and you, depending on how things go) raped and murdered, and your entire life pretty much destroyed and gone to shit probably seems like the lesser of two evils.

    To spend a fairly large chunk of change to maintain this idea as your Head of State in the 21st Century, however, seems pretty silly when you think of it even for a moment.

    Mind you, I live in a nation that “elected” Donald Fucking Trump as Head of State, so I should probably be humble at throwing shade on the Brits about that.

    Mind you, the end of a reign that doesn’t include a vulturine crowd of glittering courtiers hovering around and plotting over the Royal Deathbed eagerly and anxiously anticipating the final gasp, and a dissolute Heir who, while roystering away in some bucolic hunting lodge surrounded by his hangers-on, bravos, and a trollop or three, is surprised while pawing his busty wench by a begrimed messenger leaping from his saddle shouting “The Queen is dead! Long live the King!” as the trollop goes rolling and all around them the dissolute mob bays “LONG LIVE THE KING!!!” with flagons spilling just…doesn’t seem quite right.

    Ah, well.

    We live in sadly diminished times.

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  36. LAMary said on September 9, 2022 at 7:42 pm

    Princess Anne is alive and kicking. She’s very active with charities and probably puts in more hours visiting schools, hospitals, nursing homes than the rest of the clan put together.

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  37. Deborah said on September 9, 2022 at 9:32 pm

    Bags are packed, last minute chores done. I’m having a nostalgic evening our last in NM for the summer season. Looking forward to fall in Chicago, the lake and the hustle and bustle of the city. But I’ll miss the mountains. When we come back in December the mountains will be snow capped again, so I can look forward to that. We get picked up at 5am tomorrow morning in Santa Fe for our 60 mile trip to Albuquerque for our 7:45am flight. We get back to Chicago early enough to get stuff done tomorrow, that’s better than getting back late at night with no food in the place for breakfast the next morning.

    We want to get our boosters soon in Chicago before we leave for France on Oct 8. It’s not required but we will feel better having done it. The only problem is that you’re supposed to wait 3 months after you’ve had Covid before getting this booster and I will be cutting that awfully close. I had Covid the second time in mid-ish July.

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  38. Dexter Friend said on September 10, 2022 at 2:37 am

    This King will not abdicate; he promised to rule until death in a statement yesterday. While initial Brit reporters clamored for time to tell how hated Charles Prince of Wales has always been, it seems just mere hours later that the common people are going to give him a chance anyway, to be a benevolent King and maybe cut back on taxes and tone down the monarchy a tad. I am sure he is going to emphasize the need to reduce global warming and climate change and to promote better help with water sources and smart farming in poor areas of the globe where his help would be welcome. No, he won’t have a global lovefest like the Pope did a few years back, but maybe he’ll get a fair hearing. It’s all fascinating and exciting. But…as a Premier League fan, I was dissed that all fixtures are cancelled until further notice. No games.

    Deborah, my nephew’s wife reported that a maniac has been assaulting women in South Loop condo entrances. One lady was kidnapped but fought her way to escape shortly after. Just be careful.

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  39. alex said on September 10, 2022 at 10:47 am

    Took a walk down Memory Lane in “Subprime Blues” from this date in 2007.

    What a difference 15 years makes. We went from being totally unable to sell a house at that time to being totally unable to buy one today. From being “underwater” to sitting atop more equity than we’d know what to do with. From buying at fire-sale prices while paying two mortgages to profiting handsomely from a sale yet having nowhere better to move.

    Nancy talked about her house being $50K underwater. I’m guessing it would now go for double what she and Alan paid, which seems to be the case pretty much everywhere except maybe Chicago where prices of condos in my old building only recently surpassed what they were in 2004 when I sold.

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  40. brian stouder said on September 10, 2022 at 11:45 am

    Well, after our youngest finishes high school (another year) we’re selling our Fort Wayne home (in the shadow of channel 15’s tower) and moving to Logansport, aka ‘rural America’ – where I will have to be extensively re-educated in the way things are done. Not to jinx anything, but what we paid for this house, 30-odd years ago, wouldn’t buy a new pickup truck in 2022….

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  41. David C said on September 10, 2022 at 11:51 am

    So right Alex. In 2007, we sold the house we bought in 2001 for exactly what we paid for it after spending probably $15,000 finishing the unfinished lower half and another $10,000 in landscaping. That house sold last fall for almost twice the price we sold it. We were sort of lucky in that we had a fair amount of equity so at least we got a check at closing large enough so we didn’t have to pay PMI when be bought our current house. Interest rates at 4.5-ish% have slowed things down a bit but historically that’s still a little below the average rate. Our first mortgage in 1989 was 11.5% for 30 years. We refinanced 3-4 years later at 7.5% for 15 years and were over the moon.

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  42. Julie Robinson said on September 10, 2022 at 12:25 pm

    We bought our second house in 1984 for $35K and sold it five years later for $47K, happy to make that much on it. It’s been through a few owners since, has new windows and renos on kitchen and bathroom, all with cheap looking oak cabinets. To my shock it sold earlier this year for $159K.

    The kicker? It’s 900 sf, 3 br, 1 bath in what was a declining neighborhood. It’s got a full basement and a big yard with only a one car garage. There is zero, and I mean zero landscaping because the people we sold it to took it all out, and apparently that hasn’t been a priority for subsequent owners. We had thought about adding on but ultimately decided to move because at the time it was the priciest home in the area.

    This was the mortgage we were happy to get for a tad under 14% in the time of rates climbing by the hour.

    The market here has cooled slightly since the recent rate increases and a house down the street didn’t sell at 800K. They’re renting it at 3000/month instead.

    Brian, here’s hoping the market stays strong so you can get some additional retirement equity from your eventual sale. It seems it’s not just location, location, location, but timing, timing, timing.

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  43. Ann said on September 10, 2022 at 10:44 pm

    Someone said that they can’t hear “King Charles” without mentally adding “spaniel” and now I can’t either.

    On the real estate front, did fine with the house we bought in 1979 and sold in 2006 (and yes, we started with a 15% mortgage, and when we were able to refinance down to 11.5 we were over the moon) but lost 30% on the condo we bought in 2006 and sold in 2020. But we didn’t have a mortgage and had enough to still pay cash for the condo up here. Sometimes you just have to think of it as rent.

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  44. LAMary said on September 11, 2022 at 11:14 am

    Charles had the option of being King Arthur and he didn’t take it?

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  45. basset said on September 11, 2022 at 2:46 pm

    Six hours’ drive carrying the Queen’s coffin from Balmoral to Edinburgh… were there driver changes, ceremonial comfort stops, or did they just have to hold it?

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  46. brian stouder said on September 11, 2022 at 3:06 pm

    Talk about your ‘stiff upper lip’… !

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  47. David C said on September 11, 2022 at 3:25 pm

    Trucker bombs in Johnnie Walker bottles with a royal warrant.

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