The announcement Saturday that Prince Harry and his wife Meghan are to give up their titles and stop receiving public funds is only the latest instalment in a royal soap opera that has gripped Britain and the world.
– Love over country –
The 1936 abdication of Edward VIII 326 days into his reign remains the biggest scandal in modern royal history and caused a worldwide sensation.
Britain’s brief king provoked a constitutional crisis when he stepped down in order to marry the twice-divorced US socialite Wallis Simpson.
The union was deemed impossible while Edward was monarch and head of the Church of England, which at the time refused to remarry divorcees while their former spouse was still alive.
Edward was the first monarch in the 1,000-year history of the British Crown to give up his throne of his own free will.
His brother King George VI replaced him on the throne, and Edward — who married Simpson in 1937 — was subsequently ostracised by the rest of the Windsor family until the late 1960s.
He died in 1972.
– Margaret’s heartbreak –
Queen Elizabeth II’s fun-loving younger sister, Princess Margaret, also sparked a firestorm with her choice for marriage.
In 1952, the then-22-year-old began a romance with her late father’s divorced equerry, former Royal Air Force officer Peter Townsend.
The couple’s wish to marry prompted a battle between the government and the public — which was seen to be sympathetic to the union — with the queen caught in the middle.
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Margaret was eventually persuaded to abandon the relationship, under the threat of losing her royal position, and instead married photographer Antony Armstrong-Jones in 1960.
They divorced in 1978.
– A horrible year –
The queen memorably described 1992 as an “annus horribilis” after three of her children’s marriages crumbled.
Heir to the throne Prince Charles’ split from Princess Diana after 11 years of marriage caused a media sensation.
The princess then rocked the monarchy by leaking shocking details of palace life to author Andrew Morton for his 1992 book “Diana: Her True Story – In Her Own Words”.
Around the same time the queen’s second son Prince Andrew separated from wife Sarah Ferguson, whom he had married six years earlier.
Meanwhile, Princess Anne, the reigning monarch’s only daughter, finalised her divorce from first husband Mark Phillips following their separation in 1989.
– Diana’s death –
The popular princess died in a high-speed car crash in a Paris tunnel in August 1997.
For the next week leading up to her spectacular funeral, Britain was plunged into an unprecedented outpouring of grief which shook the monarchy.
Anger had soon mounted at the silence of senior royals holed up in Balmoral in Scotland, where the queen, Diana’s ex-husband Charles, and their two children, William, 15, and Harry, 12, were holidaying over the summer.
Newspapers, furious that the Union Jack flag was not flying at half-mast over Buckingham Palace, called on the queen to address her subjects.
Within days she had paid homage to her former daughter-in-law in a televised speech for only the second time in her reign. She also publicly bowed before Diana’s coffin.
– Prince Andrew scandal –
Prince Andrew has been dogged by allegations he had sex with one of the then-teenage victims of deceased US sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.
The prince often referred to as the queen’s “favourite son”, attempted to clear his name in a BBC interview in November but it backfired spectacularly.
He looked stiff and unapologetic in a performance that one public relations consultant said was akin to “watching a man in quicksand”.
The prince promptly promised to “step back from public duties” a few days later but remains under pressure to cooperate with United States authorities still investigating the Epstein case.
The post Abdication, divorces and death: a century of UK royal crises appeared first on Vanguard News.
Oscar-winning director Roman Polanski has threatened legal action over claims by a former actor that he raped her in the 1970s.
The 86-year-old film-maker denied the allegation, but pressure is mounting on Polanski, who fled to France in 1978 after admitting to the statutory rape of a 13-year-old girl in Los Angeles.
Jean Dujardin, the star of Polanski’s latest film, which comes out in France on Wednesday, abruptly cancelled a prime-time interview on the TF1 television station, which was set for Sunday.
And the French artists’ guild ARP could meet soon to discuss his exclusion, its vice president told the Parisien newspaper.
An ARP spokesman later told Agence France-Presse (AFP) that although no board meeting had yet been organised, “if we are going to decide on Roman Polanski’s membership, we will do so with the approval of film-makers”.
Valentine Monnier, a photographer and former actress, has accused Polanski, who is French-Polish, of an “extremely violent” assault and rape at his chalet in the Swiss ski resort of Gstaad in 1975, when she was 18.
Monnier claimed he tried to make her swallow a pill during the attack, and later made a tearful apology while demanding a promise that she never tell anyone.
“I thought I was going to die,” she said in an open letter published by Le Parisien, which also interviewed her.
“Mr Polanski disputes in the strongest terms this rape accusation,” his lawyer Hervé Temime told AFP in a statement.
“We are working on the legal action to bring against this publication,” he added.
Polanski and his new film, An Officer and a Spy, had already courted controversy in September when it was included in the Venice film festival, where it won the grand jury prize.
Monnier, who acted in films in the 1980s, said the release of the film, about one of the most notorious errors of justice in French history, the Dreyfus affair, had prompted her to speak out.
“How could he benefit from public funds to instrumentalise history, and in doing so rewrite his own to cover up his criminal past?” she wrote, referring to French subsidies for film productions.
“He pummelled me until I gave in and then raped me, making me do all sorts of things,” she added.
She had previously written to France’s first lady Brigitte Macron, who forwarded two letters to France’s equality minister Marlène Schiappa, who has pushed for new measures to combat sexual abuse.
Schiappa wrote to Monnier in March last year and hailed her courage “in daring to break the silence”, but stressed that the allegations had to be dealt with by the judicial system.
But her account may prove a turning point for French cinema, where the #MeToo movement that roiled Hollywood has not prompted as deep a reckoning of alleged abuses in the industry.
Monnier is the first Frenchwoman to accuse Polanski of rape. Since he was arrested in California in 1977 on charges of drugging and raping Samantha Gailey, now known as Samantha Geimer, five other women including Monnier have come forward to allege that he either raped or sexually assaulted them.
Polanski has denied all of the claims, but in 2017 he left his post as president of the Cèsars, the French equivalent of the Oscars, and the following year he was expelled from the US Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Alain Terzian, president of France’s APC film promotion association, which oversees the Cèsars, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Both France and Poland have refused to extradite Polanski to the US, where California prosecutors are pressing their case even after Polanski paid Geimer $225,000 in an out-of-court settlement in 1994.
On Twitter, Geimer criticised Monnier for not speaking sooner, writing on Saturday:
“Taking heat for not being more supportive of accusers who use film release dates to schedule their revelations with the press & sat silently while I was called a liar & a gold digging whore in 1977 knowing they may have prevented it, if they had the truth & my mom’s courage.”
Ask yourself which toys are most collectible: train sets, die-cast cars, and – it almost goes without saying – Star Wars figures. The most obsessively collected examples tend to have one thing in common – they were originally marketed at boys.
While these toys aren’t collected exclusively by men, women are less likely to have vast collections of them. So which vintage toys are women seeking out?
Thanks to her peculiarly oversized head and bulging eyes that change colour with the pull of a string, not many girls wanted to play with Blythe when she was introduced in 1972.
But Blythe has become strangely popular in recent years and original dolls now sell for between £500 and £2,000, depending on their condition.
“They were only released for a year,” says Laura Kate Shippert, one of the organisers of BlytheCon UK, which was held in Bristol earlier this month. “They failed terribly; people thought they were a bit freaky and scary.”
Their popularity in recent years was sparked by a book called This is Blythe, in which photographer Gina Garan featured the dolls artfully posed like real fashion models. Others then started picking up second-hand Blythe dolls – which were relatively cheap at the time – dressing them in glamorous outfits and photographing them in exotic locations.
The renewed interest has led to new Blythe dolls being produced, known in the community as “Neo Blythes” – and these are pretty valuable too.
“They are anywhere from £100 to £400 new, then after a while some become more popular and harder to find, and the prices will fluctuate,” says Laura Kate.
She has 17 Blythe dolls, but only one is an original from 1972. She paid £400 for it about 10 years ago, which was “a steal” even at the time.
Laura Kate considers her own collection to be quite small compared to other people’s.
“I know someone who owns like 40 of them and I think ‘but you could own a house’,” she says. “If that’s what makes her happy and that’s what she wants to spend her money on, she’s an adult, she can make her choices. It’s not cocaine.”
My Little Pony
The My Little Pony phenomenon began when the toys were launched in 1982. About 150 million ponies were reportedly sold in the 1980s, with their popularity boosted by an animated TV series. Actor Danny DeVito even lent his voice to the 1986 film My Little Pony: The Movie.
Martina Foster loves My Little Pony so much she has a “pony room” in her house filled with somewhere between 2,000 and 3,000 of them, worth between £10,000 and £15,000.
Martina was seven years old when she was given her first one – a pony called Tootsie printed with lollipop “cutie marks”. She rediscovered them while searching eBay as a student, then got her old ones out of the loft.
“I thought, ‘I’ll buy the ones that I always wanted, just for fun’,” she says. “Then you get sucked into it.”
Martina says the market fluctuates but rare ones in good condition can now fetch thousands of pounds. The most she has spent is a £200 for a pony called Rapunzel – “a bargain” because it is now worth about £500.
Martina is vice chairman of this year’s UK PonyCon, which is being held in Nottingham this weekend. As well as attracting collectors of the original toys, the convention attracts fans of the My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic animated series, which launched in 2010.
While My Little Pony was marketed towards girls in the 1980s, many fans of the animated series are adult men.
“It is fairly watchable even for grown-ups,” says Martina. “You can watch it as an adult and there are some witty things in it and in the end it’s all about friendship and accepting other people.”
Pippa was marketed as “the pocket money fashion doll” when she was sold in the 1970s, but Vectis Auctions has sold Pippa dolls for as much as £1,400 in recent years. She and her friends are much shorter than normal fashion dolls at only 6.5 inches (16.5cm) tall, which meant production costs were low.
Heather Swann started collecting them about 20 years ago after picking one up in a charity shop for 50p. She wanted to collect them as a way of recapturing her childhood.
“Isn’t that why people collect toys?” she says.
After Heather’s charity shop find she started buying more dolls through eBay.
“They were much cheaper then, as ladies of a certain age were just beginning to find them,” she says. “Unfortunately they are now becoming expensive and many collectors are after them.”
Heather describes her collection of about 50 dolls as “medium size”, as many women have hundreds. She has seen individual dolls sell for hundreds of pounds but the most she has ever spent is £40.
“I don’t tend to buy the expensive dolls, I now just look out for the ones which need a transformation,” she says. “I enjoy the process of restoring them.”
Care Bears were originally painted in 1981 to appear on greetings cards, before the characters were turned into soft toys in 1983. A television series followed, as did books, a plethora of merchandise, multiple LPs and a film in 1985 for which Carole King was persuaded to write and perform songs for the soundtrack.
Jennifer Hawkins loves Care Bears so much she had her favourite one, Bedtime Bear, tattooed on her arm.
“I was looking around earlier and I think I’ve got something Care Bears-related in every room, except my bathroom,” says Jennifer, who lives in Gloucester with about 200 Care Bears.
“But they make me happy so I’m quite happy to have them everywhere. I like the cuteness, I like having the little faces to talk to, I like the fact that they represent different feelings.”
Jennifer got one of her favourites – called Beanie – “as a comfort” when her grandfather died the day after her 14th birthday.
“He [Beanie] comes pretty much everywhere with me now,” she says.
She estimates her collection is worth “a few thousand”. The most she spent on an individual bear was £140, which was a 25th anniversary version of Bedtime Bear, and resisted the temptation to spend £500 on an original 1980s Bedtime Bear that was still in the box.
“Unfortunately I can’t afford to spend a month’s rent on one bear,” she says. “That’s definitely a bit too much.”
Barbie was launched in 1959 and swiftly became a cultural icon, gathering fans among each new generation of girls.
Linda Richardson was not one of them. When her mother gave her Barbies, she chopped their heads off.
“My passion was always cowboys and Indians and motorbikes and all that stuff,” says Linda, who lives in Cumbria. But she now has an “obsession” with dolls and has more than 500, worth about £35,000 at a “conservative estimate”.
Her passion was ignited 15 years ago on a trip to buy presents for her son.
“I saw these Native American Indians and they happened to be Barbies and that just set it off, really,” she says.
She did not buy the dolls at the time but started researching Barbie online and “found a whole new world”.
Most of the ones she buys are aimed at collectors, rather than the typical Barbie dolls made for children. She keeps them protected behind glass doors in a room lined with bookcases.
She also has some “de-boxed” dolls she puts in dioramas, photographs and posts on Instagram. “It’s just something to do,” she says. “It keeps me out of trouble.”
Others favour Barbie’s rival, which went on to become the best-selling fashion doll in the UK when it launched in 1963.
Melanie Quint only had one Sindy as a child but now has 60 or 70, worth between three and four thousand pounds.
“I decided to sell all of my childhood dolls and when I looked on eBay I realised there was this massive collecting and restoration community,” she says.
Instead of selling her dolls she ended up buying more.
“It’s nostalgia at the end of the day,” says Melanie. “You look at the face and the doll and the fashions and it takes you back to the way you were when you were a child.”
Melanie now runs Dollycon UK, which is for collectors of all dolls but has a particular focus on Sindy. A particular highlight is the “hilarious” cosplay competition, where people dress up as particular dolls.
“It’s very tongue-in-cheek,” says Melanie. “They pick some of the weird outfits, the 70s stuff. It’s really funny seeing what they do.
“We had one woman last year who dressed as Action Man Frogman, in a full suit with flippers on. I couldn’t speak, it was hilarious.”
The colorful language was posted beneath a wedding photo in which a couple is seen kissing in front of what fans of the “Handmaid’s Tale” television series will recognize as the “hanging wall.” The newlyweds are surrounded by “handmaids” — women in red gowns and white bonnets.
To say social media users found the image to be in poor taste would be an understatement. The photo rapidly circulated across Instagram and Twitter, leaving many scratching their heads as to what would prompt anyone to glorify the oppressive, dystopian Gilead ― the setting for Margaret Atwood’s terrifying novel and the hit Hulu show ― and, more specifically, the site in the story where people are executed for being queer; disobeying the fanatical religious patriarchal rulers; or trying to escape.
Shawn Van Daele, who, along with his husband, owns the Toronto-based photography company responsible for the image, told HuffPost that they knew exactly what they were doing when they created the photo.
“Anyone who would put out an image like this without understanding what it implies has bigger problems than upset people on social media,” he said in an email on Thursday. “I knew when creating the image that it would [possibly] upset people but that’s sort of the point. To wake people up.”
Van Daele said he and his husband “didn’t expect the photo to go viral” but were pleased that it had, saying that “hopefully it will wake people up to how they too contribute to the oppression and hatred they are rightfully worked up over.”
According to Van Daele, he and his husband and the newlyweds are all “fans of the TV show (and obviously, first, the book).”
He said that they had previously done photo shoots at Cambridge Mill, a restaurant on the river in Cambridge, Ontario, where the show has also filmed, and had “no trepidation about shooting there.” He stressed that as a gay married couple, the image is deeply personal for him and husband Clint Russell because it emphasizes the oppression faced by minority groups.
“This image was created and put out by a pair of ‘gender traitors’ who are no strangers to many of the subplots of oppression, violence and inequality that run through Margaret’s brilliant work,” he said, referencing the persecution of people who deviate from traditional gender norms in Gilead.
Taking a photo in front of the “hanging wall” was the groom’s idea, Van Daele said. The “handmaids” were not bridal party participants; Van Daele photoshopped them in. (“It seemed the natural thing to do since we were there,” he added. “I’m certain any ‘creative’ or photographer would have the exact same thoughts.”)
When HuffPost first reached out to Van Daele on Thursday, he said they thought about taking down the photos but worried that “all the hatred” would “trickle over” to pictures of other couples on the photographers’ Instagram page, and didn’t want it to seem like Van Daele and Russell were “hiding from anything.”
However, later on Thursday, the picture had been deleted from the account “at the request of the couple,” Van Daele said, “because they’re being harassed – which is an absolute shame.”
The couple “are rightfully overwhelmed and distraught right now, despite previously loving the photo, since it’s from one of their favourite shows. Having the world try and ruin their wedding day and paint them out to be horrible people (there are people of every race, colour & sexual orientation in their wedding party) is a little disheartening,” he said.
The bride and groom did not respond to HuffPost’s request for comment.
The novelist on his favourite new writing, the thrill of baseball and the director whos adapting Midnights Children for Netflix
Born in 1947 in Mumbai, Salman Rushdie is the author of 14 novels including Midnights Children, which won the Booker prize in 1981, and has twice been named the best of all the Booker prizewinners. The 1988 publication ofThe Satanic Verses led Ayatollah Khomeini of Iran to issue a fatwa calling for Rushdies assassination. The author now lives in New York, where he is a writer in residence at NYU. His latest novel, Quichotte, is published on 3 September.
Protesters were characterized as a threat to national security in what one calls an attempt to criminalize their actions
Helen Yost, a 62-year-old environmental educator, has been a committed activist for nearly a decade. She says she spends 60 to 80 hours a week as a community organizer for Wild Idaho Rising Tide; to save money, she lives in an RV. Shes been arrested twice for engaging in non-violent civil disobedience.
Yost may not fit the profile of a domestic terrorist, but in 2014 the FBI classified her as a potential threat to national security. According to hundreds of pages of FBI files obtained by the Guardian through a Freedom of Information Act (Foia) lawsuit, and interviews with activists, Yost and more than a dozen other people campaigning against fossil fuel extraction in North America have been identified indomestic terrorism-related investigations.
The investigations, which targeted individual activists and some environmental organizations, were opened in 2013-2014, at the height of opposition to the Keystone XL Pipeline and the expansion of fossil fuel production in North America.