Monday, February 28, 2011

Black market invites to royal wedding

Last updated 07:52 28/02/2011
A copy of the invitation to the Royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton.
IN THE MAIL: A copy of the invitation to the Royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton.

 Blank invitations to the marriage of Prince William and Catherine Middleton available on the black market have sparked security concerns ahead of the April 29 ceremony.

A man claiming to work for the printing firm which produced the genuine invitations offered a journalist a blank copy, demanding STG2000 ($NZ4193.41) and adding that he could supply several more.

A reporter for the London newspaper, The Mail on Sunday, met the man last week and was shown an invitation almost identical to the genuine document which went on show for the media when the invitations were sent, more than a week ago.

The only difference between the genuine and fake invitation is that the black market version is missing two dotted lines where the names of guests are written by hand.

When shown a photo of the man, a spokesman for printing firm Barnard and Westwood - confirmed by the palace as producers of the genuine invitation - said he was not employed by the company.
"If, after further investigation, I find that we have printed these documents, I will conduct a full internal inquiry," the spokesman said.

News of the blank invitation came to light after the man tried to sell a copy to a Los Angeles-based royal memorabilia dealer, who contacted The Mail.
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BLANK invitations to the marriage of Prince William and Catherine Middleton available on the black market have sparked security concerns ahead of the April 29 ceremony.

Alicia Carroll owner of  Everything Royal, a Los Angeles based commemorative company. contacted Caroline Graham from The Mail On Sunday in the UK after receiving a call from a man named Danny Fournier who claimed to be employed by Barnard and Westwood, printers to the royal family.

The Fournier  claimed to have been employed by the company for the past 11 years. Fournier was offering Miss Carroll a blank wedding invitation for 2000 pounds. In his conversation with Carroll, he stated since security surrounding the royal wedding was so secure in the UK, a friend had suggested he contact her.

Miss Carroll's immediate  thought was of the threat to security for the royal wedding with blank invitations being sold. She was also concerned since Fournier stated he could get anything printed in the future including the order of service and ceremonial program for the wedding. Fournier also stated he could obtain another invitations.

Fournier said he had binders of things he could sell.

Danny Fournier

Thinking Mr. Fournier had been employed by the company for the past 11 years and had access to all manner of invitations including those to Her Majesty's garden parties possibly allowing someone entrance to harm the Queen Miss Carroll called Caroline Graham .

Carroll was afraid he  would offer the invitation to another party.  Miss Carroll  was contacted by Jo Macfarlane, a correspondent for the Mail on Sunday. Miss Macfarlane set up a meeting with Danny Fournier and purchased the invitation for 200 pounds posing as a friend of  Miss Carroll's. Included with the blank invitation were several  other invitations to past events showing he had been pilfering for quite some time.

After further investigation by Jo Macfarlane, Carroll was told Fournierworked for another company who, in the past had done  business with Barnard and Westwood.

The Mr. Fournier  had called Carroll the same day he sold the  blank invitation to Macfarlane leaving a message he was concerned as he and a friend had been sacked by the company. It was later discovered he hadn't returned to work at the other company for the past few days claiming illness.

Miss Carroll's original thought was to contact the Palace, but having done so in the past,  knew it would be useless, as the palace has a way of dismissing situations with a wave of the hand. Stated Miss Carroll, One would think, after the Security Fiasco at William's 21st Birthday Party, The Royals would be much more Security Minded...

Miss Carroll's  was concerned for the safety  and security surrounding the upcoming wedding.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

An Evening With the Royals

An Evening with the Royals

Thursday March 31 at 8 pm on CBC TV
 Join CBC for “An Evening with the Royals” as we take a look at the media and marketing frenzy surrounding the royal family, especially with the upcoming wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton.

Marketing the Monarchy (at 8 pm on CBC-TV) – Prince William and Kate Middleton's upcoming wedding has sparked a worldwide marketing frenzy. The pending nuptials are expected to flood the economy with over a billion dollars of merchandise - a sales bonanza not seen since the wedding of Charles and Diana.  And it's not just the Brits; monarchy fans all over the globe are opening their wallets for a piece of history from $10 plates to $5,000 paperweights.

 At factories across England, manufacturers  are spinning out their porcelain cups, mugs, and plates at breakneck speed. Five thousand miles away in Yiwu, China, jewellery dealer Fu Xuxian began making replicas of the engagement ring just days after the announcement. And souvenir shops across London are trying to keep up with the consumer demand for anything and everything William and Kate.
Caroline Davenport in her Diana room

This documentary takes viewers into the lucrative world of marketing the royals.  We'll meet top royal memorabilia broker Alicia Carroll, who is the first stop for serious collectors. Carroll, who lives in Beverly Hills, possesses - and has sold - some of the rarest and most sought after items on the market ranging from Princess Diana's personal address book to the love letters Prince Charles wrote to his former Canadian lover. As a big-time dealer, she has moved millions of dollars in royal merchandise.
Everything Royal owner, Alicia Carroll

Making money off memorabilia is one thing, but the crown jewel of marketing comes in the form of a Royal Warrant. Royal Warrant holders carry the official seal of approval from the Queen herself.  From Hunter boots to Burberry to Twinings Tea to Kimberly Clark toilet paper, these companies are cashing in on the cache of belonging to an exclusive court of brands. Membership is an arduous and complicated process and can be revoked. At any time.
But the power of the Palace doesn't stop there.  It extends its dominion further to determine what wares are allowed to bear their royal image. Plates, carpets, and cushions are permitted.  Tea towels? Not so much. When it was the discovered that the Palace was attempting a ban on Kate and William tea towels, Brits were outraged, placing this unassuming household item in the centre of a battle royale.

Marketing the Monarchy  is a whirlwind journey through time that maps the growing fascination with all things majestic. Even in the Middle Ages, memorabilia such as medallions, ceramics and tapestries were best-sellers at royal events. In 1649 a unique (and rather macabre) souvenir unfolded from the execution of Charles 1st: eager collectors dipped their handkerchiefs in the king's blood. Royal fans looking for something with a bit more material could always snap up a (very large) pair of Queen Victoria's bloomers, which recently sold for over $7500 USD.

Join us  as we take you through the fascinating world of retailing the royals. Savvy marketers, discriminating collectors, and a big dose of palace intrigue will guarantee that you see "the wedding of the century" in a whole new light.

The British Royal family has always had a love/hate relationship with the media. From Edward VIII’s abdication from the throne in 1936 to marry an American divorcee, the very public and controversial divorce between Prince Charles and Princess Diana and in more recent times, Fergie, Duchess of York caught on tape by a tabloid promising business access to her ex-husband Prince Andrew in exchange for money.
For paparazzi, the chase is on to capture unauthorized revealing photos or text messages by any means necessary. These spark bidding wars among the tabloids and the payouts are enormous.

Princess Diana was notably the most sought after Royal. She has graced the cover of countless magazines…did you know Lady Di has appeared on the cover of People magazine 57 times? However, her untimely death while being chased by paparazzi in the Pont de l'Alma tunnel in Paris brought heightened public awareness to the dangers associated with aggressive paparazzi.
Constant media scrutiny and tabloid stories have raised the ire of many, including Prince William. On the heels of their engagement announcement, Prince William is said to be observing a ‘zero tolerance’ policy toward paparazzi and intends to counteract any extreme cases of privacy invasion with legal action.
Throughout their courtship, Kate Middleton has expressed frustration with the harassment she endured from photographers. At one time, she appealed to the Press Complaints Commission when photographers would camp outside of her home in London.  In 2010, Kate was awarded $8,000 (Can.) £5,000 for breach of privacy when photos surfaced of her playing tennis during a Christmas holiday.

Chasing the Royals explores the Monarchy’s constant battle for the right to privacy against the paparazzi’s dogged pursuit to expose their personal exploits. What will the future hold for the next generation of Royals as they attempt to maintain ‘normalcy’ while living in the public eye.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Canadian Broadcasting Co.-Everything Royal-William and Kate wedding

Yesterday was a red letter day for Everything Royal.

   The Canadian Broadcasting Company visited my home to include me in a documentary about the upcoming wedding of HRH Prince William and Kate Middleton and the collecting of royal memorabilia.
It was a long day. Seven hours of shooting. We filmed in my living room which they found to be quite regal and my office (not so regal).

   I have to add, having done many TV shoots and magazine interviews during the 30+ years I've had Everything Royal, this crew were the best who've ever visited me. They were over-the-top respectful of my home and possessions and , I might add, the camera and sound man were both so cute. Oh to be 35 again.
   I had all handwritten letters, signed Christmas cards and photos on hand. Also all manner of gifts both given or received by a royal family member. They were pleased with my selections.

   They had previously filmed at Buckingham Palace and Aynsley China. After my shoot, they were going to Caroline Davenport's home who has a wonderful Diana room.

   Caroline until recently, had been a board member for the Diana, Dresses of Inspiration assisting in all exhibitions of Diana's dresses. Serving on various charity boards, raising, training and showing her dogs and being married to a Lt. Col. Ret. is a full time job leaving little time for traveling from exhibit to exhibit. She now has more time to dedicate to her charities, her Diana room for interviews and most importantly, her husband Lt. Col. James T. Davenport, USAF Ret.

   The CBC will also be visiting The Franklin Mint. Here's hoping they do a good likeness to Kate Middleton. There are more doll collectors worldwide than any other item collected.

   Of the hundreds of handwritten letters I had for filming from Queen Victoria to Prince William, the CBC was most impressed by my handwritten letter from Wallis, The Duchess of Windsor. As The King's Speech is being watched worldwide and is a leading contender for the Academy Awards, the letter is so historically significant. I hadn't seen or held the letter in many years. I have to admit, holding it in my hands again gave me a thrill. In the letter, written eight months after King Edward VIII gave up the throne to marry her, she speaks of their ordeal, being happy it is over and is looking forward to their new life abroad. She also mentioned he sends her flowers  daily but, sadly, some had gone astray. I realized, while they were filming, I was holding a rare piece of history in my hands.

   I can't imagine the love this man had to give up the throne to be King of England to be with the woman he loved. My Jim won't give up Sunday football to take me to dinner.

My Jim (

   Sadly, the actress Jamie Tesdale, who happens to live next door did not get the part of Kate Middleton in the Lifetime movie, William and Kate. Not only is she tall , thin and regal, she is a double for Kate. She looked more like Kate than any other actress up for the role.

I  think the wedding is going to be bigger than anyone can possibly imagine. We haven't had a happy occasion or reason to celebrate in such a long time.

   We are a country at war. Most people don't think about us being at war. I think television does such a disservice. With the war being shown in our living rooms daily, it has become commonplace, almost like a movie. Never-the-less, we are a country at war.

   We are a country in a deep depression. I love people calling it a recession. Los Angeles has a million homeless sleeping on streets, in cars, etc. Everyone I know is hurting financially. Stores and businesses are closing here on a daily basis. Recession, my foot"

   Back to the subject at hand. We haven't had a reason to celebrate in such a long time. Not only are we a country a war and living thorough a depression, so many other sad events have taken place. 911 was the worst thing to happen in the US since Pearl Harbor in 1941.

   Prince Charles and Princess Diana divorced. Prince Andrew and his wife divorced. Princess Anne and Mark divorced. We lost Princess Diana, The Queen Mum and Princess Margaret. Here comes Kate Middleton about to marry her Prince charming. It has been 31 years since Charles's and Diana's wedding. Now we have a reason to celebrate.

   There are two new generations of royal watchers. I've sold 1000 Prince William posters for young girls to adorn their walls. It's every girls dream to marry a prince. Well, Kate Middleton has done it and the world is watching. She's like a breath of fresh air.

   London is expecting more than 1,000.000 + visitors for the happy day. Hotel rooms and flights are booked. China is cranking out millions of commemorative pieces. (all tacky I'm sure). Not to get off on a political tirade "but" , I try to read all tags on things I purchase. It it's at all possible, I do not buy anything made in China. If we stopped buying "Made In China", there would be a great deal more businesses and factories in the US. I do believe we used to make TV's, stereos, all manner of appliances and clothing!!

   I suggest, if you're looking for a wedding souvenir, you buy from The Queen's Gallery, Halcyon Days Enamels, Peter Jones , Royal Doulton or Aynsley China.

   I feel for poor Kate. I don't think she is prepared for what's in the future for her. If Prince William thinks he can protect her from the nasty, disgusting (photographers is too nice a word) , he is sadly mistaken.

   I fear she is going to be hounded worse than poor Diana. Her face is already adorning many magazines including, People, Majesty, Royalty, US, Hello, Tattler and more. She has brought style and glamour back to the royals. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II is one of the great ladies of all time, but, at 85, she is not cover girl material. Sadly, HRH Princess Anne is no longer a beauty and, I for one, will not be buying a magazine with Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall on the cover.

   So, glamour and interest are back. Prince William and his Kate are absolutely the "new" Charles and Diana.!