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Category: Royalty

Jessica Chastain, American, cast as Princess Diana. Cue outrage!

Jessica Chastain will play Princess Diana in a new movie

Here's some news: Some people are shooting a movie about Princess Diana, that 20th century saint who kept the glittering-castle fairy tale alive by giving us two handsome princes. And those filmmaking people have cast an American woman, Jessica Chastain, in the role. 

Cor blimey! We can practically see the hand-wringing now. Oh wait. We actually can see the hand-wringing.

"Can an American actress pull off such an iconic British figure?" Syracuse.com asks.

"Which AMERICAN Actress Is Playing Princess Diana In Controversial New Film?" another blog thunders.

Movieline has given it a bit more thought.

"I'm on the record as Team Chastain from way back; she can accomplish anything she wants as far as I'm concerned," S.T. Vanairsdale intones. "Except, that is, appease a nation for whom news of their precious Diana treated as a real woman with complex needs and desires — played by an American, no less — will prove the equivalent of one police baton in the head too many."

So why did director Oliver Hirschbiegel hire Chastain? Other than the fact that, well, she appears to be the only ingenue in Hollywood having a decent year?

Well, two things: One, this isn't going to be the Princess Diana you know and love. It's the skanky, stalkery, desperate princess who once had an affair with a plastic surgeon. That's the focus of this particular story, not the Diana who hated land mines and loved her sons.

Second: Chastain is having a very hot year. (Think "Tree of Life," "The Help.") Producers like actors who are having hot years. Especially actors who don't yet have big names. That means they're relatively cheap, but will generate oodles of buzz.

"For investors this is a good move," says Bonnie Gillespie of the casting firm Cricket Feet. "It's like catching any of the 'Twilight' kids just before 'Twilight.'"

And lastly, well, when you’re tackling a British legend, sometimes it’s better not to be British.

"A lot of people are going to take issue with this casting, no matter who gets put in the role," Gillespie says. "If she’s a Brit, then the issue will be that she's not from the right place, or she didn't look the right way, or come from the right class."

Would you cast someone else? Tell us in comments.

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— Leslie Gornstein

Photos: Jessica Chastain in September, left, and Princess Diana in 1989. Credits: Alberto E. Rodriguez / Getty Images, left; Tim Graham / Getty Images, right.

 


Will and Kate's firstborn could now be queen, if they had a girl

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge

A princess did not magically materialize when Kate Middleton got married -- she left Westminster Abbey as Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge -- but she and Prince William could now deliver a firstborn Queen Willandkate thanks to changes to the rules of succession in the British monarchy.

Might not even matter that future grandpa Prince Charles, currently first in line for the throne, has revealed he's descended from Dracula. 

Meeting in Australia, leaders of the 16 Commonwealth nations that recognize the monarchy as their head of state on Friday agreed to change centuries-old succession rules, the Los Angeles Times' World Now reports, meaning the deal is done except for the legal part: The passing of legislation revising the 1701 Act of Settlement, 1689 Bill of Rights and Royal Marriages Act of 1772.

Lawmakers brought up the idea of making changes -- the desire is nothing new -- ahead of the royal wedding in April.

Current succession rules give a younger brother, and even that younger brother's younger brothers, dibs on the throne before a firstborn sister got a shot. Can't see really see Kate (who this week pulled off her first solo act as an official member of the royal family) explaining that lack of girl power to little Miss Willandkate.

Also new: Any of those imaginary siblings could marry a Catholic and keep the crown -- take that, Madonna. Now, a monarch still can't be a Catholic, and far as the whole "Should there even be a monarchy" question, well, that's a decision for another day.

Legislation will be introduced by the U.K. in its next session of Parliament, the BBC reported, with New Zealand heading a task force that would coordinate a rollout of the changes through the other realms.

"The idea that a younger son should become monarch instead of an elder daughter simply because he’s a man, or that a future monarch can marry someone of any faith except a Catholic -- this way of thinking is at odds with the modern countries that we’ve all become," British Prime Minister David Cameron said in a speech at the summit, held in Perth.

And about that Dracula thing? In an interview for an upcoming TV show about preserving forests in Romania’s Transylvania region, Charles reveals "the genealogy reveals I'm descended from Vlad the Impaler, so I do have a bit of a stake in the country."

Ba-dump-bump.

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Prince Harry's here! Prince Harry's here! (Here being, um, Southern California)

— Christie D'Zurilla
Twitter.com/dzurillaville

Photo:  Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, meets guests at a private dinner for charity Wednesday at Clarence House in London. Credit: Paul Burns / Clarence House / Reuters


Prince Harry's here! Prince Harry's here! (Here being, um, SoCal)

Prince Harry arrives in Southern California

Prince Harry has arrived in Southern California, and the military couldn't be more excited!

OK, that's probably an exaggeration. Did we say "military" when we meant to say "the Ministry"? No matter -- Prince Harry fans, as well as wanna-be princesses in Southern California (and that's certainly a significant portion of the population) are taking note as the eligible bachelor, age 27, lands in the U.S.

The helicopter pilot has arrived at El Centro's U.S. Naval Air Facility.  He'll be in the U.S. for two months of training, which also will take him to Gila Bend Air Force Auxiliary Field in southern Arizona.

As The Times' L.A. Now blog notes, while in Southern California, the prince will practice firing missiles, rockets and cannons from an Apache helicopter. Part of the attraction for training in the southwestern U.S. is that the harsh desert environment is similar to that of Afghanistan, where Harry may soon return

With that to look forward to, Prince Harry may want to let off some steam, as he has been known to do at times. Those with princess aspirations may want to check out possible area nightspots. If Harry can dance to house music and leap into a pool in Croatia, he could cut a rug in El Centro.

And if El Centro isn't quite enough for the royal wild child, it's less than two hours' drive west from the base to, say, the Hard Rock Hotel in San Diego, where the likes of Ashton Kutcher have been reported to let off some steam.

In and around his lifestyle, Harry has risen to the rank of captain in Britain's Army Air Corps, where he's known as Capt. Harry Wales, a name that may bring to mind Captain America. Surnames have a long and complicated history among British royalty, but the official website of the British monarchy says, in large part, princes don't need to dilly-dally with things like surnames.

For the most part, members of the Royal Family who are entitled to the style and dignity of HRH Prince or Princess do not need a surname, but if at any time any of them do need a surname (such as upon marriage), that surname is Mountbatten-Windsor. 

Wales. So much easier.

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Photo: Prince Harry prince arrives at the Naval Air Facility El Centro in California. Credit: Reuters 



Prince Harry: dancing, diving and partying in Croatia

Princeharryparties2
Prince Harry's dance prowess would make pop legend Prince quite proud -- the young royal was caught showing off some fly moves (and party stamina) while on vacation in Croatia.

On leave from military training that will bring him to California and Arizona in the near future, Harry reportedly bunked with wealthy pals on a yacht near the island of Hvar.

The Duke of Cambridge's brother hit a nightclub with friends and security on Saturday, where a video shows him getting down to house music on a stone ledge just above a swimming pool. Blame it on the night air or perhaps a nearby bar, but Harry took a headlong dive into the water.

The prince got soaked to the bone but waved his hands in the air like he just didn't care, before he climbed from the pool and kept on dancing. Bone up on his breaking down in the clip below.

  

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-- Matt Donnelly
twitter.com/MattDonnelly

Photo: Prince Harry speaks at St. James Palace on July 4. Credit: Matt Dunham / Associated Press


How Pippa Middleton's backside appreciation began: exclusive video

Pippa Middleton

Pippa Middleton captured worldwide attention as her sister Kate Middleton's maid of honor in April -- and while she didn't tack on a royal title at the time, she's easily become one of the world's most eligible bachelorettes.

Now TLC is giving Pippa the hourlong treatment with its in-depth "Crazy for Pippa" special. The Ministry has an exclusive clip from the show, highlighting one of Pippa's best assets.

On that fateful April day when Kate emerged from a chauffeured car in her white Alexander McQueen wedding gown, Pippa wasn't far behind, set to carry the bride's train in her own cream-colored McQueen dress -- and the behind-of-honor instantly set off a frenzy.

An appreciation society devoted to Pippa's posterior was created on Facebook by rear-end enthusiast Mike Bandar "before she even got in the church."

"We were all thinking exactly the same thing, that she was absolutely stunning. I posted it on a few of the other pages -- like the Pippa Middleton official public figure page -- and from then it just went mental," Bandar said.

The page has almost 240,000 fans. See the clip below. "Crazy for Pippa" airs at 9 p.m. Tuesday on TLC. 

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-- Matt Donnelly
twitter.com/MattDonnelly

Photo: Pippa Middleton at a Wimbledon semifinal match in July. Credit: Clive Mason / Getty Images



William and Kate fly economy home from Zara Phillips' wedding

Kate and William at Zara Phillips' wedding

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, isn't kidding about relating to regular folks: She and Prince William flew a discount commercial airline home from Zara Phillips' royal wedding, leaving her open to the possibilities of fitting a fascinator into an overhead compartment.

Phillips, William's cousin and 13th in line for the throne, married England's rugby captain Mike Tindall on Saturday in Edinburgh, Scotland, drawing the likes of Her Majesty the Queen, Prince Phillip and Prince Harry, to name a few.

Photos: Fabulous royal wedding hats

Yet when the titled bunch went packing, Will and Kate headed straight for the airport alongside other normal types who were booked on Flybe, a discount airline that averages about $80 for a one-way journey.

Passengers were "shocked" to see the famous couple on board, the Daily Mail said. They were traveling with a security staff but unable to upgrade to first class, as the jet service does not offer a VIP section — though "economy plus" comes with snacks and drinks.

Harry took a cue from his brother and sister-in-law, flying round-trip to the weekend wedding on EasyJet, which asked him an extra $20 to check his military-issue weekend bag.

Harry headed directly home to London, while the duke and duchess flew to Manchester (their home in Anglesey is about two hours from the Manchester airport).

Are you impressed with the practical travel? Tell us in comments. 

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— Matt Donnelly
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Photo: Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, with Prince William at the wedding of Zara Phillips and English rugby captain Mike Tindall in Edinburgh, Scotland. Credit: Getty Images.



Zara Phillips and Mike Tindall marry; queen, William, Kate attend

Zara Phillips and Mike Tindall Marry

Zara Phillips, the statuesque blond cousin of Prince William and eldest granddaughter of Queen Elizabeth II, is the latest royal to marry.

Phillips wed Mike Tindall, captain of England's rugby team, on Saturday in Edinburgh, Scotland. Guests at the private ceremony included Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip; Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge; Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall; Prince Harry, and Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie.

Photos: Zara Phillips weds Mike Tindall

The modest ceremony took place at Canongate Kirk, against the lush green of Scotland's countryside. Hundreds of locals came to celebrate the couple as the newlyweds departed the service to a chorus of bagpipes.

The reception will be held at the Palace of Holyroodhouse, the queen's residence and site of many childhood visits from the often publicity-shy Phillips.

The bride's dress, designed by Stewart Parvin, was finished off with Jimmy Choo shoes and a Greek Key tiara on loan from Princess Anne, mother of the bride. Phillips does not have a royal title.

William and Catherine caused quite a stir to revelers along Edinburgh's Royal Mile, a famous stretch of cobblestone, as they departed the service in a car with Harry. Kate wore a beige day coat, which she'd worn previously in 2006, and a matching fascinator with floral detail.

Prince Harry introduced Zara and Mike in 2003 at a World Cup celebration in Australia. Tindall proposed to Philips, who is 13th in line for the throne, with a platinum ring decked out with pave diamonds.

Royal family members at the wedding of Zara Phillips and Mike Tindall

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-- MattDonnelly
twitter.com/MattDonnelly

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Top photo: Mike Tindall and Zara Phillips walk down the aisle as man and wife on July 30, 2011, in Edinburgh, Scotland. Credit: Reuters

Bottom photo: Prince Charles, left; Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall; Prince Harry; Princess Beatrice; Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge; Prince William and Prince Andrew leave Canongate Kirk after the wedding of Zara Phillips and Mike Tindall. Credit: Dylan Martinez / Reuters


Zara Phillips, queen's granddaughter, preps to marry Mike Tindall

Zara Phillips and Mike Tindall after their royal wedding rehearsal

This post has been corrected. See the note below for details.

Zara Phillips comes to the rescue of those starving for another bite of royal wedding cake: The woman 13th in line to the throne was prepping Friday to marry Mike Tindall in a private ceremony in Edinburgh, Scotland, on Saturday.

This wedding won't be a lavish feast for royal watchers, however. "It's a private family wedding," said a Buckingham Palace spokeswoman. "We're not giving out any details."

Photos: Getting ready for the Phillips-Tindall wedding

That said, here are some details. They'll say their vows at Canongate Kirk, the parish church of Edinburgh Castle, with a reception at the Palace of Holyroodhouse, the queen's official residence in Scotland. Phillips and Tindall, as well as Princess Anne, were photographed Friday leaving the church after their rehearsal. Zara had also been spotted earlier in the week getting a rare-for-her spa treatment, and some business-as-usual exercise.

That's a bit different than the wedding seen round the world in April -- that of Prince Charles' son Prince William to Kate Middleton, now Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge. Being closer to the front of the line for the throne does have its implications, among them a million people hanging around in the streets for your big day.

Phillips, 30, the daughter of Princess Anne and her first husband Mark Phillips, has long been considered one of the most down-to-earth members of the royal family. The successful equestrian has no royal title. Tindall, 32, plays rugby.

According to the Daily Mail, guests are expected to include Queen Elizabeth II and most of the royal family -- the Tindall family hasn't yet met the queen -- and many sports figures, including a former England rugby player as best man.

[For the record, July 30, 2011: The post originally said Phillips was 12th in line for the throne. She is 13th; Savannah Phillips, daughter of Peter Phillips, who is Zara's older brother, became 12th in line when she was born on Dec. 29, 2010.]

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-- Christie D'Zurilla
twitter.com/dzurillaville

Reuters contributed to this report.

Photo: Britain's Zara Phillips, the eldest granddaughter of Queen Elizabeth II, and England rugby captain Mike Tindall leave Canongate Kirk in Edinburgh, Scotland, after their wedding rehearsal Friday. Credit: Russell Cheyne / Reuters


Kate Middleton's wedding dress debuts at Buckingham Palace

Kate Middleton's Alexander McQueen wedding dress on display at Buckingham Palace

The dress worn by Kate Middleton when she married Prince William back in April is going on display at Buckingham Palace. And one of the privileges of royalty? The newly minted Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, and Queen Elizabeth II got to tour the setup Friday, a day before it opens to the public.

"Horrid, isn't it? Horrid and dreadful!" the 85-year-old queen reportedly joked to the 29-year-old granddaughter-in-law.

Visitors will be able to get within 8 feet of the dress seen 'round the world, which is presented, unprotected, on a raised platform in the palace ballroom where state banquets are held. Unlike tours of the White House, which are first-come, first-served and free of charge, the Buckingham Palace tour runs just shy of $30. No worries, apparently: Advance ticket sales are way up over last year.

Photos: Kate Middleton's wedding dress in action at Westminster Abbey

"What is so astounding ... is just how much thought and extraordinary work and craftsmanship and skill went into it," said Caroline de Guitaut, curator of decorative arts at the Royal Collection. She noted that the royal couple had been striving for modesty, despite the elaborate nature of the wedding.

"There is a sense of modesty in this dress," she said. "I think it will stand the test of time, definitely."

Catherine and the queen see the Kate Middleton wedding dress at Buckingham Palace Above the dress is the original veil and Cartier tiara worn by the bride, featuring about 900 diamonds and lent to her for the occasion by the queen. Kate's wedding shoes, earrings and a silk replica of her bouquet are also part of the show.

The almost 650,000 expected visitors can stop for visual dessert as well: The couple's ornate wedding cake is on show in a glass cabinet in the state dining room, complete with a deep cut where they plunged in the knife.

Photos: The royal wedding of Kate Middleton to Prince William

In a video made to accompany the exhibition, Alexander McQueen designer Sarah Burton shares many secrets of the dress (a hidden bustle, weighted panels to help it perform on its trip down the Westminster Abbey aisle) while staying mum about the cost, as well as the newly minted Duchess of Cambridge's measurements.

Except for one, revealed not by Burton but by a stamp on an item itself.

Those who wondered whether that "glass slipper" would've fit them after the ball now know: Catherine was wearing a size 5.5 shoe.

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Reuters contributed to this report.

-- Christie D'Zurilla
Twitter.com/dzurillaville

Top photo: The Duchess of Cambridge's wedding dress, designed by Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen and featuring a 9-foot train, can be seen at Buckingham Palace during the annual summer opening. Credit: Lewis Whyld / Getty Images

Bottom photos: Queen Elizabeth II and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, get a preview of the royal wedding exhibit in Buckingham Palace Friday. Credits: John Stillwell / Reuters


From Kate to Catherine: Dignity and smiles 'in the eye of the storm'

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge

The former Kate Middleton, recently minted as Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, seems to be adapting to royal life splendidly with husband Prince William -- and we got some insight from royal watcher Cat Deeley on what makes her such a natural.

"She's absolutely within the eye of the storm and at no moment has she got a foot wrong," Deeley told us Tuesday at Miu Miu's celebration of the short film "Muta" in Beverly Hills.

While looking beautiful and radiating "dignity and decorum" go a long way in making the normal girl worthy of her title, Deeley said Catherine has a secret weapon: "Above and beyond anything else -- she's so easy with her smiles. It's connecting with another human being."

The duchess' Canadian tour, capped with a whirlwind weekend in California, went a long way in proving she's capable of her duties and, most importantly, of reaching beyond them to fulfill her and William's promise of modernizing the monarchy.

Also, said Deely, "she just has great jewelry."

Agreed

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Photo: Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, works on a clay turtle project with students during a visit to the Inner-City Arts campus in downtown L.A. on July 10. Credit: Mike Nelson / Reuters

 


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