Liz Smith: “Commoner” Kate Weds Her Man (But Don’t Relax — Gossips Will Have Them Separated by Monday).

And more from our Liz: Jennifer Aniston’s New York state of mind … Elizabeth Taylor’s “Bluebird” back in circulation

“BEING A princess isn’t all it’s cracked up to be,” said Diana, Princess of Wales as her “fairytale” marriage to Prince Charles unraveled before our stunned eyes.

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WELL, THAT was Diana’s story, and she stuck to it till the bitter, tragic car-crash end in a Paris tunnel — divorced, stripped of her HRH, without adequate protection, a reckless lover by her side, a drunken driver in the front seat, chased down by the paparazzi.

But today, Kate Middleton, of coal-mining stock, will become the “first commoner to marry into royalty in three hundred years.” (Actually, the late beloved Queen Mum, Elizabeth Angela Marguerite, though daughter of an Earl, wasn’t of royal blood; therefore, she was common. Well, that explains the hats!) Indeed, anybody below the rank of peer — i.e. Duke, Marquis, Earl, Viscount or Baron is deemed common. So, let’s just say Kate is the first coal miner’s great-great-granddaughter to marry a prince.

Kate is 29 to Diana’s 19 at the time of “Shy Di’s” nuptials. Middleton and Diana’s son William have lived together, off and on, for about seven years. She does not have to go her wedding bed a virgin, or even a woman who has known but one man (William.)

Kate is a beauty, and a tough cookie. The latter quality, Diana never quite mastered. She could be clever and manipulative, bright, sensitive, spoiled and endlessly giving; an emotional roller coaster with an eye ever fixed on the press that slavishly followed her every move. But she wasn’t tough.

Like Marilyn Monroe, who also died at 36 in the hot month of August, there was something fragile about Diana — the public sensed that for all the glitter and gleam, there was little to envy in her life. Except perhaps her two beautiful sons. (And unlike Monroe, Diana openly discussed her many issues. We found out about most of Monroe’s torments after she was gone.)

I’m sure what with the media-created frenzy over the latest royal wedlock, enough millions will tune in to watch the proceedings, to make the endless airtime devoted to the event worthwhile.

I wish Kate and William good luck. It’s not an easy life, despite the luxury. One is bound by a duty and fate that is inescapable — certainly for William and his brother, Harry. Kate has made a choice, with plenty of compromises. But they are starting from a much better place than did Diana and Charles. In the first place, they seem truly devoted. (Devotion aside, Kate has removed the word “obey” from her marriage vows. You go, girl!)

So long as Kate doesn’t suddenly discover that, “from the beginning, there were three of us in the marriage” as Diana famously confessed to Martin Bashir.

* * *

P.S. In the face of the devastating tornadoes that have taken at least 250 American lives and will cost billions of American dollars to rebuild and recuperate, will any news outlet “man up” and cover that story today, rather than showing an endless loop of Kate and William, being worshipped?

* * *

HMMM …. did one of our favorites, Jennifer Aniston, take the advice we dished out a while back? Get out of Los Angeles and away from the relentless, often negative vibe of a town invested only in celebrity, Starbucks, fashions and the red carpet. Come to New York, we said. Get a nifty apartment. Steep yourself in the cultural life of the greatest city in the world. Go onstage!

Well, the Daily News has reported that Aniston closed on a West Village apartment. Two apartments, actually. She intends to create a duplex.

We welcome Miss Aniston with open arms. New York is full of life, energy, art, music, fascinating people — a few of them are even men. And it’s a great place to re-invent oneself.

* * *

THE FOX Movie Channel has been running a lot of “Cleopatra,” the movie that almost sank the studio, back in the early 1960’s. Contrary to rumor, the film with Liz n’ Dick (and Rex Harrison) made a bundle at the box office. It just couldn’t recoup the then-astronomical sum of $40 million dollars!

FMC has also been airing one of Elizabeth Taylor’s latter-day oddities, “The Bluebird.” This very expensive Russian/American collaboration, released in 1976 was a real bomb. But it’s fascinating today to watch Elizabeth, Ava Gardner, Jane Fonda, and Cicley Tyson do what they can with the antiquated material and look at the Russian sets that appear to be made of cardboard, in New Jersey.

One wonders if the big musical number between Elizabeth and Ava, cut from the final print, might be found, now that there is renewed interest in all things Elizabeth. It was a hoot! (Hell, people are still searching for the lost three hours of “Cleo”—Joe Mankewicz had intended his epic as a two-parter. But Fox had had enough and slashed the film to a cumbersome three hours.)

Oh, and as to the rumors of a 14-year-old Elizabeth giving up a baby born out of out of wedlock. Really? The girl was one of MGM’s most promising properties. Even if she’d become pregnant — as if her mother ever left her alone long enough for such a dalliance! — the studio would have arranged an abortion. Elizabeth herself admitted the driving reasons she rushed into marriage with Nicky Hilton was to escape her parents and … have sex!

But expect plenty more of this kind of thing now that La Liz is in that big Chasen’s in the sky, ordering endless bowls of chili, and a lot of cold beer.

50 Responses so far.

  1. avatar Baby Snooks says:

    Whoever told you that Diana and the Queen Mum were “commoners” has lost their mind. Both were of the peerage. They were daughters of an Earl. Daughters do not  inherit the title. The elder son does. But the daughters and the other sons are allowed the privileges of the title. 

    Diana was to the manor born as they say but had tasted the “common life” and apparently liked it and so in that sense she became a “commoner” and the problem was she  wasn’t able to find her way back to the manor so to speak.  But speak she did.  About things she had no place to speak of. She knew the rules.  She forgot them. She was reminded of them. And still broke them. Believing she had the right.  Let’s hope history doesn’t repeat itself. That Kate will obey the rules. But apparently she doesn’t intend to.  Having removed the word “obey” from the vows. That ring indeed appears to be a portent of what is to come. 

  2. avatar Baby Snooks says:

    And no more Kate! She’s now Princess Catherine. Not Princess Kate.

    • avatar Mr. Wow says:

      Dear Baby…but everyone knew her as Nancy. (I’ve been listening to The Beatles White Album too much.)

      I don’t think Princess Catherine is going to fly, media-wise.  She’ll be Kate.  Perhaps not Shakespeare’s rowdy Kate, but kissable, all the same.

      • avatar Baby Snooks says:

        You’re probably right and Buckingham Palace will ignore the improper “Princess Kate” the way it ignored the equally improper “Princess Di.” Propriety ain’t what it used to be.

        Someone commented elsewhere they were moved to tears listening to “God Save the Queen.” I suspect quite a few in Westminster Abbey were as well when they looked over at Charles. And Camilla.

        • avatar Claudia Marek says:

          Actually, Catherine is not Princess Catherine – her title would be The Duchess of Cambridge or HRH Princess William of Wales. She is the equivalent of a Mrs. Prince — as she was not born a royal, like for example, Princess Anne.

          • avatar Baby Snooks says:

            What she is or is not or when she will or will not be whatever she is or is not apparently is hasn’t really been determined. The only sure thing is that when Queen Elizabeth dies, Prince William becomes the Prince of Wales when Prince Charles becomes King Charles. And commoner or not she becomes the Princess of Wales and will have the title HRH Catherine, Princess of Wales. And will be referred to as Princess Catherine.  She will become the Queen Consort just as Diana would have. Wives of a king become the Queen Consort. Husbands of a queen become the Prince Consort.  A wife who is of royal blood becomes Queen. The last Queen was Queen Elizabeth’s grandmother Queen Mary who was Princess Victoria Mary of Teck when she married George V.  Which brings us to Camilla again. Since the Church of England does not recognize the marriage she cannot become Queen Consort. She is not really married to the king. Not in the eyes of the Church of England.  So if he assumes the throne, it will be interesting to see what she will become. He cannot merely declare her anything. The rules.  It will be a mess.

          • avatar Baby Snooks says:

            It has long been rumored that there was an agreement when Queen Elizabeth agreed to the civil marriage that Charles would allow William to succeed her but the indicatoins have been he does not intend to do so. Even if he agreed to do so. And there appears to be nothing that would stop him from becoming king. But Camilla is another matter.  And that is where the matter is going to become messy with regard to the Church of England. They both should have left well enough alone and allowed Camilla to  become the Mistress Consort. For her to become Queen Consort the Church of England would have to regonize the marriage and the Archbishop made it clear to everyone that the Church of England would not do so. At any point.

  3. avatar crystalclear says:

    What a beautiful wedding today!   Both the bride and the groom looked happy and calm.   Even the Queen seemed to enjoy the wedding.   I was moved when I heard that the Queen gave Kate her diamond tiara given to her at the age of 18 by her father.   Good vibes going on!!

    • avatar Baby Snooks says:

      I have a friend who realized I didn’t have a television so I couldn’t watch who called a repairman to come fix it and he called yesterday morning and I told him to call me Monday. I really don’t miss it.  TCM had become “reruns” and I certainly don’t miss the screeching banshees. So I missed the repeat of “Charles and Diana.”  But am wading through the photos. The hats are always fun.  The British really love their hats!

      I cannot believe so many people got up in the dead of night in order to watch. I also cannot believe so many people got up in the dead of night in order to attend.

  4. avatar Richard Bassett says:

    Oh God! This wedding!!! I either don’t remember or there wasn’t as much news coverage for Charles and Diana’s marriage in 1981. Or maybe that was the first royal wedding I remember watching. I worked the 11pm – 7am shift in a Los Angeles based hospital so it was on television just because the television was on. In between tending to ER patients, we caught glimpses of it. And Prince Charles is closer to becoming king than Prince William! Then and now. So, no more. Who cares? Over the years, Diana approached life one way; Kate will approach life in her own way. Jennifer Aniston is as free as a bird, and has to answer to no one. I truly believe that she, though burned once, embraces this lifestyle. Headlines HAVE to be made up about her, because nothing really is ever going on with her…or so I read (smile). I’ve never seen “The Blue Bird” but during production in Russia (1975) it did give Elizabeth an acute form of Amoebic dysentery just prior to her final reconciliation with Mr. Burton. Henry Wynberg (who was the beau that was with her in Russia) was given a solid gold Rolex watch and sent back to America, while Richard and Elizabeth remarried in October 1975. Now, is “The Blue Bird” done in Russian with English subtitles? This, I do not know. I do not even remember a theatrical release of the film but Elizabeth working with Ava (though they were playing outrageous characters) would have made it worth seeing. Elizabeth’s baby ay 14? I heard that she was 8 and wanted to keep the baby. It would have been impossible then (LOL)

    • avatar Mr. Wow says:

      Dear Richard…”The Bluebird” had a gala premiere in Washington D.C. (while ET was still dating Mr. Zahedi, Iran’s Ambassador to the U.S.)   It opened at Radio City Music Hall.  It did not linger long. 
      Miss Taylor looks quite lovely in her various roles. Abstinence from drinking (the dysentery!) always did Miss Taylor good.

      • avatar rick gould says:

        I remember Rex Reed’s hilarious account of the behind the scenes of “The Blue Bird.”
        If they had filmed the chaos behind the scenes, it would have been a smash, instead of a “Boom!”

        It was also one of the first interviews I read that really showed Elizabeth Taylor’s humor and tenacity. The film’s first ever US-Soviet co-production was a dream of Mike Todd’s, so I am sure that attracted, along with an all-star cast and direction by famed “women’s director” George Cukor. The clips I’ve seen are unbelievably amateurish. But ET tries and looks terrific, so this bomb is not one set off by her!

        Speaking of “Boom!,” Mr. wOw, I just ordered the soundtrack by John Barry (who did all the Bond movies). I have always loved the music from that movie and was amazed to find it was rightly praised and available on Amazon! I only wish I had an intercom system so I could walk around the house and turn it on and off at will like Sissy/ET does in the movie 😉

        • avatar Mr. Wow says:

          Dear Rick…”Get the Witch of Capri.  Tell him I need to see him.  Urgentisimo!  Urgentisimo. Like everything else this summer.”

          Sissy Goforth is not going forth.

          • avatar rick gould says:

            Like a lot of Liz’ best work, that quiet, rueful line reading is Taylor at her best, though amusing is her comically caterwauling, “Shit on your mother!”

            I’d love to see Olympia Dukakis’ doing this on Broadway right now. Highly underrated play… And dare I say, so is the film version…

          • avatar Mr. Wow says:

            Dear Rick…

            Something about the way she says that particular word.  I like it best in “X Y and Zee,” dishing her rival:    “She’s always a little breathless and sees beauty in everything.  Especially in shit.” 

          • avatar rick gould says:

            The whole bedroom/bathroom argument between Liz/Zee and Michael Caine is fricking hilarious, each getting each other’s goats.
            When she’s walking down the hallway and he’s following, berating her, and she’s smirking and twirling the tassles on her robe…Liz should have done more comedy. And I believe she caps the row with that word: “Frankly, Scarlett, I don’t give a shee-t!”

          • avatar Dan Patterson says:

            A good friend and I saw BOOM when it first came out. We were both enchanted. We agreed no one we knew was going to like it, but we did. I hadn’t seen it again in 40 years until a couple of months ago, when I watched a DVD, and I fell in love all over again, with Taylor, with Burton, with Coward, and especially with the soaring language of the play. A problematic film and play, no doubt, but strange and (to me at least) captivating.

          • avatar Mr. Wow says:

            Dear Dan…my favorite moment in “Boom!” comes after a wild over-emotional  monologue by Miss T.  Noel Coward (the Witch of Capri) has looked on silently.  As ET ends–clearly not knowing what the hell Tennessee Williams’ words even meant–Coward remarks:  “You seem quite wrought up dear.”

            When I saw the film in 1968, I fell out of my chair.  Nobody picked me up, because there was nobody else in the theater. 

          • avatar Dan Patterson says:

            Mr Wow, Coward was brilliant casting, wasn’t he? My only regret is that there wasn’t more of him in the movie. A great scene-stealer, of course. The music for this movie is terrific, too. This makes me want to see other forgotten Tennessee Williams movies. I vaguely remember The Seven Descents of Myrtle was filmed with James Coburn and Lynn Redgrave (or am I hallucinating again?)

          • avatar rick gould says:

            I can’t wait for Universal to get E.T.’s “Boom!” and “Secret Ceremony” out on DVD. Both are strange and uneven, but have much to recommend them, beyond obvious camp value.

            Though I prefer “Secret Ceremony” as a film, “Boom!” is has many redeeming qualities: The haunting score, the inventive photography, that wonderful villa (I’d live there in a heartbeat!)…and though not top Tennessee, it’s a real meditation on what HE was going through at the time, and there’s some great lines. Burton and Taylor are both extremely miscast, Burton more so, I think. Liz, though too young, at least had much else in common with Sissy: fame, wealth, husbands and death. Burton was never a beautiful, otherworldly boy. But neither of them walked through it, as critics complained. And Coward is the cherry on this overlavish float.
            “Boom. The shock of each moment of still being alive!”
            Indeed 😉

  5. avatar HauntedLady says:

    Wasn’t Diana Spencer referred to as a commoner? Her father held the title of Earl, not his children. Anyone here who, well, knows about the peerage and commoners and, well, such? Maybe someone from the UK?

    Kate is far more mature than Diana was when she married Charles. She and William have had the leisure and some privacy and time in which to get to know one another. Rather like regular folks. Charles and Diana were sort of forced on each other, not realizing their lack of commonality until too late. I remember someone asking me if I wasn’t envious of Diana and I said I wasn’t because that girl’s life would never be her own again. It takes someone with steel to live that way.

    While I wish William and Kate happiness and health, I don’t envy them and I’ll be glad to see the last of the wedding coverage.

    • avatar Baby Snooks says:

      Diana Spencer was Lady Diana Spencer. She was not a “commoner.” Not by birth anyway.

      • avatar HauntedLady says:

        By some definitions, she was an aristocrat and a commoner, as was the late Queen Mother. Since Diana was the daughter of a peer and not one herself, some definitions consider her a commoner. It’s confusing which is why I wondered if someone from the UK could provide any clarification.

        • avatar Mr. Wow says:

          Dear HauntedLady…definitions and clarifications are numerous and conflicting.  Especially on this side of the pond.  And maybe even over there. 

          Diana, because she was “Lady Diana” was never referred to as a commoner.  Not that I recall, anyway.  Kate (Princess Catherine–sorry!) was.  Who the hell cares?  Not even even the Queen, at this point.  She has perhaps gotten the message—everybody’s “common.”

          They looked nice together.  She is no fool. 

        • avatar Baby Snooks says:

          The hereditary title is passed to the elder son. The other sons the title of “Sir” and the daughters the title of “Lady.” It is a life title and not passed in turn to their sons and daughters. So if Lady Diana had married Pete the Plumber her sons and daughters would have no title. But if she had married Baron Plumber, her first son would inherit the title of Baron and her other sons would become “Sir” and her daughers would become “Lady” but not through Diana. Through Diana’s husband.  The British peerage has its own rules set forth by the English monarchy. The English monarchy ended with Sophia of Hanover.   In the 1700s as I recall.

          And Queen Elizabeth is not head of her own house. A German prince is. And that adds to the confusion about the rules. Baby Snooks is having a bad afternoon or I would bore everyone to tears but it’s worth goggling the line of succession from Sophia of Hanover.

          • avatar Baby Snooks says:

            And adding to the confusion n is the matter of Princess Catherine. She is actually the Princess of Wales. But, well, Charles is the Prince of Wales.  So she doesn’t really become the Princess of Wales until William becomes the Prince of Wales.

            I think Mr. Wow is probably right about Queen Elizabeth nor really caring at this point.  Just the matter of Diana and Fergie and what they were or were not following the divorces probably made her wonder why the hell she took the job to begin with.  

          • avatar Sandy B says:

            Camilla is the Princess of Wales. She is also the Duchess of Cornwall and that is the title they use because it is less offensive to the people. But she holds both titles.

            Catherine is Princess William, or the Duchess of Cambridge. But people will call her Princess Catherine anyhow.

  6. avatar elaine s says:

    I watched the royal wedding this morning and thought it was a lovely and meaningful service.  I was impressed that the officiant asked for everyone’s ongoing support as the couple live out their life together.  He urged William and Catherine to go the distance and always stay true to one another; to strengthen each other so they can become their best selves.  

    These are the ideals most everyone strives for in marriage, although I don’t recall having heard them stated this well before. 

    I am in the autumn of my life and have fallen short of these ideals, but watching today made me realize I still believe in them. 

    I hope for all the happiness in the world for Prince William and Princess Catherine.  I imagine for many who watched this wedding, it was a “triumph of hope over experience”, and we need hope in this sad and troubled world.  I am grateful they shared their day with us.

    • avatar Briana Baran says:

      I didn’t watch William and Catherine’s wedding, and I didn’t watch Charles and Diana’s wedding either. I am not much of a romantic. I do remember finally seeing a video of Diana’s perfectly ridiculous wedding gown, and thinking, quite clearly, “WTF?”.

      I do wish the newly wed Prince and Princess (or whatever their titles may be) all of the best. She is a lovely and seemingly capable woman, and William, who still wishes to serve as a military helicopter pilot on active duty, is no low-grade moron like his simpering baboon’s butt of a father.

      And I personally think people should cease and desist their glowering, dire predictions about the Ring being some sort of veve ill-omen. Does it never occur to anyone that William loved his mother deeply, and lost her when he was still little more than a child…Royal or not…and that the ring is a symbol of her, and her devotion and love for him, and his for her…not of her failed marriage to his ponce of a father? She didn’t live to see him find love, success and hopefully, happiness. Perhaps he gave Kate the ring to honor both his mother’s memory, and his devotion to the new woman in his life. He has grown up, and seemingly done it well.

      After reading elaine’s post on this thread, I looked up the officiant’s words…and I thought they were sincere, hopeful and had the ring of truth and sound, heartfelt wisdom. And I am delighted that Kate, now Princess Catherine, chose to remove the word “obey” from her wedding vows. I hope that she and William can grow together as partners, as lovers, as friends, and as leaders, not as master and chattel, and present a united front to the citizens of their country.

      • avatar Baby Snooks says:

        Now, now. Keep in mind that Charles makes a lovely tampon. If  I had been Queen Elizabeth when Diana managed to get that leaked to the tabloids may I assure you Willam and Harry would have become orphans.

        The vows. In a strange way they are vows taken with the people and the “consrort” vows to obey the monarch. I twould be interesting to see if the word was omitted when Elizabeth married Phillip. No way does she obey him. Or anyone else.

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