Fixating on a Future Royal as Elusive as Cinderella

Written by  on April 21, 2011
April 21, 2011


A version of this article appeared in print on April 21, 2011, on page A9 of the New York edition with the headline: Fixating on a Future Royal as Elusive as Cinderella.

LONDON — The theme of the walking tour was the forthcoming royal wedding, but the object of the group’s obsession was Kate Middleton, the royal bride. In Mayfair, the guide paused at the next important landmark: the Jigsaw store on Dover Street.

“Kate’s struggle to hold down a job since graduating has reportedly earned the displeasure of the queen,” declared the guide, Hana Umezawa, as earnestly as if she were explaining the Spanish Armada. “The closest Kate has come to having a regular job was when she worked at Jigsaw as a part-time assistant accessories buyer from 2006 to 2007.”

What do you say about a young woman who went to college, fell in love and became engaged? With Kate and Prince William’s wedding a little more than a week away, the chances of the public — that is, us — learning anything new about Miss Middleton before she turns into a princess (or a duchess, depending on which title she takes) are zero.

Now 29, she has formally spoken to the press only on the day she and William announced their engagement and submitted to a gentle sprinkling of softball questions. She appears to have spent a lifetime avoiding unseemly episodes.

“It’s absolutely extraordinary — people do comment and talk about what she’s like, but we know almost nothing about her,” said Valentine Low, who writes about the royal family for The Times of London. “She’s a blank cipher. She’s existed in this funny little bubble for the past nine years, and they’ve done a brilliant job of controlling the flow of information, just letting out enough for us to feel that we’re getting something.”

Miss Middleton is a rarity in this era of lives played out in public: a megacelebrity who has never been on a reality show, has no Facebook page, does not tweet and is not preparing to reveal all in a memoir. She is like an old-time Hollywood star, full of mystery, a canvas onto which the world can project its fantasies.

If Diana, Princess of Wales, was an aristocrat with a common touch, Kate Middleton is a commoner who has triumphed among aristocrats. But just as it did with Diana, a public voracious for new juicy details will have to make do with recycled scraps from a banquet that has long since been served and cleared away.

How she grew up in Bucklebury, Berkshire, with two loving and good-looking parents who met while working at British Airways, he as a flight dispatcher and she as a flight attendant.

How she has a brother, James, who has largely stayed out of the limelight, and a sister, Pippa, who largely hasn’t.

How her mother, Carole, has ancestors who were miners, and how Carole left behind her working-class roots when she and Kate’s father, Michael, founded a successful Internet business that sells party accessories. How their newfound wealth allowed them to move into a grand country house and to send Kate to Marlborough College, an elite boarding school, where she excelled at sports but not, unfortunately, at misbehaving.

There is some debate over how early Miss Middleton became aware of Prince William as a potential husband. In his book “William and Kate: A Royal Love Story,” Christopher Andersen describes her as having spent her teen years fantasizing about William, poring over news articles about him, even putting images of him up on her wall.

Asked in their engagement interview whether she in fact did display a poster of William in her dorm room, Kate grinned and said, “He wishes.” (She added: “I had the Levi’s guy on my wall — not a picture of William. Sorry.”)

Their courtship at the University of St. Andrews, where both were students, has been told in endless articles, books and television specials. But only a few insiders know if the episode that is supposed to have ignited the royal passion — when Kate appeared at a fashion show in a see-through dress and William uttered the prosaic but fateful words, “Wow! Kate’s hot!” — really happened that way.

The two, who by all accounts have an easy and joking relationship, lived together in a group house, first as friends and then as a couple. He introduced her to his family and hung out with hers. When he wavered about whether college was right for him, she persuaded him to stay.

They graduated. He joined the military. She worked part time for Jigsaw, and part time for her parents. She stopped working. They went to a lot of nightclubs.

Another key spot on the royal wedding tour was Mahiki, a Polynesian-themed club that is a known drinking location for William, a (possibly reformed) known drinker.

Here, Ms. Umezawa related, William’s friends were believed “to treat Kate unkindly by making derogatory references to her middle-class background,” including muttering the flight-attendant phrase “doors to manual” when they saw her. It was also here, she said, that William came to celebrate after he and Kate (briefly) broke up in 2007, leaping onto a table, yelling “I’m free,” and amassing an $18,000 bar bill in less than a week.

Since they’ve reconciled — “Kate, by her aloof behavior, gained the upper hand,” Ms. Umezawa explained — they have lived together in Anglesey, Wales, where William works as a search-and-rescue pilot for the Royal Air Force. They reportedly do their own shopping and possibly even their own cleaning.

“Kate has played it beautifully,” said Kate Reardon, the editor of Tatler magazine. “She appears to be modest and conservative and un-showoffy and everything that we would love her to be.”

In her last days being single, Miss Middleton appeared to have gone into lockdown. However, she was spotted shopping in London this week. But the more she stays out of the limelight, the more fevered and, in a way, paltry, the speculation becomes. She designed her own wedding dress! No, she had three competing dresses made by three competing designers! No, she has one dress, and it is locked in a vault in Clarence House (home of Prince Charles)! She is worryingly thin; how will the dress fit?

None of this will be cleared up until the big day. Even Hello!, a magazine that can turn the rustling of a breeze near a royal palace into a news story, has had to make do with less than usual.

“Kate’s big wedding secret revealed,” it promised on the cover of last week’s issue. Inside it disclosed, citing unnamed sources, that Miss Middleton would not hire a professional makeup artist for her wedding but would apply her own.

That seems highly unlikely, given that a television and Internet audience of approximately 2.5 billion people will be on hand next Friday to critique her makeup job, along with everything else about her. And think of the wedding photos.

But who knows? The palace had no comment.



The Libyan government has expressed “sadness” over the deaths of two award-winning photographers killed while covering the conflict in Misrata

Written by  on April 21, 2011


21 April 2011 Last updated at 08:20 ET

Briton Tim Hetherington

Libyan government ‘sad’ about photographer deaths
The Libyan government has expressed “sadness” over the deaths of two award-winning photographers killed while covering the conflict in Misrata.
But spokesman Moussa Ibrahim said there were always casualties in war, saying: “People die from our side, from their side, people get caught in the middle.”
Briton Tim Hetherington and US photographer Chris Hondros were killed in a grenade attack on Wednesday.
Tributes have poured in for the widely respected photo-journalists.
Two other jounalists were injured in the attack, including Briton Guy Martin, a Cornish photographer who was working with Panos Pictures agency. He was hit by shrapnel and is being treated at a hospital in the city.
A survivor told the BBC that a group of journalists had been pulling back from near the front line during a lull in the fighting in Misrata when they were attacked.
The BBC’s Orla Guerin, in Misrata, said there appeared to have been “a direct hit on the group”.
Mr Ibrahim said the Libyan government did not want people to die and called for an end to the fighting.
“We are sorry for the loss of any human life, of course. We have said this before, we are sorry for the loss of the rebels’ lives, and we said we want people to stop fighting, so no one dies,” he said.
He also said: “We do not kill anyone that does not fight us. We need to check the circumstances in which [these] journalists died.
“And it’s war of course. People die from our side, from their side, people get caught in the middle. We need to check the circumstances. But of course we are very sad that someone died.”
Mr Hetherington, 40, co-directed the Oscar-nominated war documentary Restrepo. Mr Hondros, 41, won the Robert Capa Gold Medal for war photography.
Mr Hetherington’s friend James Brabazon, who worked with him on Restrepo, said: “He was extremely talented, experienced and dedicated.”
He explained why Mr Hetherington was working for Vanity Fair magazine in Libya: “He went there for humanitarian reasons. He went there to shed light on a very confusing situation.”
In a statement on the magazine’s website, his family said he would be “forever missed”.
Vanity Fair magazine said Mr Hetherington – who was killed outright by a rocket-propelled grenade – was “widely respected by his peers for his bravery and camaraderie” .
In a recent entry on Twitter, Mr Hetherington described “indiscriminate shelling” by pro-Gaddafi forces, who have been battling rebels trying to end the rule of long-time leader Col Muammar Gaddafi.
Mr Brabazon said: “Although it’s an oxymoron to say it, Tim was a very cautious war reporter. He knew the risks but he decided to take them in order to cover the story.”
Mr Hondros was based in New York for Getty Images.
The company’s director of photography, Pancho Bernasconi, said Mr Hondros had covered conflict zones since the late 1990s, including Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan.
The White House issued a statement expressing its “deep sadness” at Mr Hondros’s death and said it underscored “the need to protect journalists as they cover conflicts”.
New York-based photographer Michael Christopher Brown was also treated for shrapnel injuries.
Our correspondent added that Misrata’s hospital had received more than 100 casualties on Wednesday, the vast majority of them civilians. The hospital said five civilians had been killed.
Libyan government forces have been battling rebels in Misrata, which is in western Libya, since late February. An estimated 300 civilians have died.
Mr Hetherington, who had dual UK and US nationality, studied Literature at Oxford University.
The New York-based journalist was best known for his work in Afghanistan, and the film Restrepo followed US troops on an outpost in the country. He won the World Press Photo of the Year Award in 2007.
Another of Mr Hetherington’s friends, Peter Bouckaert from the campaign group Human Rights Watch, said the journalist had been planning to “slow down” and start a family with his partner.
The New York-based Committee for the Protection of Journalists (CPJ) said two other journalists had been killed this year in the Libyan conflict.
Cameraman Ali Hassan al-Jaber was shot when his Al-Jazeera crew was ambushed near Benghazi on March 13. Mohammed al-Nabbous, founder of the online Libya Al-Hurra TV, was killed as he was streaming live audio from a battle in Benghazi on March 19.
More UK stories
Smog alert in England and Wales
The government has issued a “smog alert” for the Easter weekend in England and Wales over polluting particles which could affect people’s health.
Gurkha hero and campaigner dies
Royal duo need wedding ‘courage’
BBC © 2011 The BBC is not responsible for the content



Written by  on April 21, 2011

REQUEST: Research Inquiries / In-depth referenced essays

Historical Research, Current Events, World History, Maps, Archival Preservation, American Indian History
Research History


Cherokee Chiefs Part I & II

Written by  on April 20, 2011

Part I
Cherokee Leaders 1760-1838

Before embarking upon aspects of the various factions or divisions within the Cherokee Nation, there are several tribal leaders that play key roles in the defense of their nation in the east and those who saw the floodtide of white encroachment, removed west of the Mississippi River to live their lives in peace, at least they hoped they would.

Before America, the Cherokees interacted with Europeans, primarily from Great Britian. In 1730, the British were north of the Cherokee Nation east, but were making forays into the domain. To the south was the Muscogee or Creeks in Georgia and Alabama. Farther south was Spanish held Florida.

West of the Mississppi by 1730, France was gaining territory expanding into Illinois, Ohio and encroaching upon Missouri coming up against Spain in it’s vast domain from west of the Mississippi clear to the Pacific.

It was therefore extremely beneficial to England to gain the trust of the Cherokee people because of the geo-political dynamics present in the early years of the 18th century.

Below are some of the principal leaders of the Cherokee Nation who were thrust into the turbulent colonial jockeying for favor and land all of which was detrimental to the Cherokee people. The leaders listed here is taken from Dr. Emmet Starr’s “History of the Cherokee”. Dr. Starr was himself a Cherokee, a historian of his tribe and a genealogist. His papers can be found in the Research Division at the Oklahoma Historical Society. And, before you ask, no they are not on line.

The earliest record of Principal Chiefs of the nation while in the east are;

Matoy – 1730-1760

Attacullaculla – 1760-1775

Oconostota- 1775-1780

Hanging Maw – 1780

Old Tassell – 1780 -1788

Little Turkey – 1788-1801

Black Fox or Enoli – 1801-1811

Pathkiller – 1811-1827

One must also be aware that there were other tribal chiefs who governed that overlapped the chiefs mentioned above. To fully understand who those persons were and their roles while in the east, it is recommended reading both Starr’s work mentioned earlier and a more recent history written by Stan Hoig. As an example, Black Fox and Pathkiller were leaders in the east, but migrated west and were still considered tribal leaders after moving.

Another history about this time period was written by Mary Evelyn Rogers entitled: “A Brief History of the Cherokees”. This work was not widely published with slightly over 400 copies being produced by Gateway Press in 1986. The value of Ms. Roger’s work is that she places side-by-side by year what was taking place in the Cherokee Nation east, west and during it’s brief existence the Cherokees in Texas. Ms. Roger’s efforts in examining primary sources along with secondary sources is a valuable resource to understand what was transpiring both east and west. In other words, both Starr’s and Hoig’s works provide the context of events, Ms. Roger’s provides the timeline for those events.

To my knowledge, Ms. Roger’s work is not on line either. Thus, for one to conduct research, one must contact the institutions that house these and other resources that will hopefully guide you to find your ancestor(s).

Part II

Earlier I listed some of the principal headmen of the Cherokee Nation east of the Mississippi River. Some of the same leaders migrated west during the early years of the nineteenth century in order to avoid cultural conflict with incessant white settlers. Some of the first chiefs to relocate west into northwest Arkansas are as follows;

The Bowl or Captain Bowles,   1808 – 1813

Takatoka,   1813 – 1818

Tahontiskee,   1818

John Jolly,        1818-1838

John Looney,    1838-1839

John Brown,       Spring 1839

John Looney,       Summer 1839.

Please note that this was extracted from Dr. Emmett Starr’s work The History of the Cherokees.

Soon each will be confronted with duplicitious commissioners representing the United States. The most vile of all regarding the loss of tribal homeland at the hands of whites will be Andrew Jackson, president.
by William Welge


Civil War Apr 20, 1861: Lee resigns from U.S. Army

Written by  on April 20, 2011

Colonel Robert E. Lee resigns from the United States army two days after he was offered command of the Union army and three days after his native state, Virginia, seceded from the Union.

Lee opposed secession, but he was a loyal son of Virginia. His official resignation was only one sentence, but he wrote a longer explanation to his friend and mentor, General Winfield Scott, later that day. Lee had fought under Scott during the Mexican War (1846-48), and he revealed to his former commander the depth of his struggle. Lee spoke with Scott on April 18, and explained that he would have resigned then “but for the struggle it has cost me to separate myself from a service to which I have devoted the best years of my life and all the ability I possess.” Lee expressed gratitude for the kindness shown him by all in the army during his 25-year service, but Lee was most grateful to Scott. “To no one, general, have I been as much indebted as to yourself for uniform kindness and consideration…” He concluded with this poignant sentiment: “Save in the defense of my native State, I never desire again to draw my sword.”

But draw it he would. Two days later, Lee was appointed commander of Virginia’s forces with the rank of major general. He spent the next few months raising troops in Virginia, and in July he was sent to western Virginia to advise Confederate commanders struggling to maintain control over the mountainous region. Lee did little to build his reputation there as the Confederates experienced a series of setbacks, and he returned to Richmond when the Union gained control of the area. The next year, Lee assumed command of the Army of Northern Virginia after General Joseph Johnston was wounded in battle. Lee quickly turned the tables on Union General George B. McClellan, as he would several other commanders of the Army of the Potomac. His brilliance as a battlefield tactician earned him a place among the great military leaders of all time.

Lee resigns from U.S. Army. (2011). The History Channel website. Retrieved 2:22, April 20, 2011, from


Apr 20, 1999: A massacre at Columbine High School

Written by  on April 20, 2011

Two teenage gunmen kill 13 people in a shooting spree at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado. At about 11:20 a.m., Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris, dressed in long trench coats, began shooting students outside the school before moving inside to continue their rampage. By the time SWAT team officers finally entered the school at about 3:00 p.m., Klebold and Harris had killed 12 fellow students and a teacher, and had wounded another 23 people. Then, around noon, they turned their guns on themselves and committed suicide.

The awful crime captured the nation’s attention, prompting an unprecedented search–much of it based on false information–for a scapegoat on whom to pin the blame. In the days immediately following the shootings, many claimed that Klebold and Harris purposely chose jocks, blacks, and Christians as their victims. In one particular instance, student Cassie Bernall was allegedly asked by one of the gunmen if she believed in God. When Bernall said, “Yes,” she was shot to death. Her parents later wrote a book entitled “She Said Yes,” and toured the country, honoring their martyred daughter.

Apparently, however, the question was never actually posed to Bernall. In fact, it was asked of another student who had already been wounded by a gunshot. When that victim replied, “Yes,” the shooter walked away. Subsequent investigations also determined that Klebold and Harris chose their victims completely at random. Their original plan was for two bombs to explode in the school’s cafeteria, forcing the survivors outside and into their line of fire. When the homemade bombs didn’t work, Klebold and Harris decided to go into the school to carry out their murderous rampage.

Commentators also railed against the so-called “Trench Coat Mafia” and “goths,” and questioned why these groups and cliques were not monitored more closely. However, further investigation revealed that Klebold and Harris were not part of either group.

Columbine High School reopened in the fall of 1999, but the massacre left behind an unmistakable scar on the Littleton community. Mark Manes, the young man who sold a gun to Harris and bought him 100 rounds of ammunition the day before the murders, was sentenced to six years in prison. Carla Hochhalter, the mother of a student who was paralyzed in the attack, killed herself at a gun shop. Several other parents filed suit against the school and the police. Even Dylan Klebold’s parents filed notice of their intent to sue, claiming that police should have stopped Harris earlier. A senior at Columbine was arrested after he threatened to “finish the job.” And when a carpenter from Chicago erected 15 crosses in a local park on behalf of everyone who died on April 20, parents of the victims tore down the two in memory of Klebold and Harris.

In an effort to show the world “that life goes on,” Columbine school board officials voted to replace the library where students were murdered with an atrium. The shootings at Columbine stood as the worst school shooting in U.S. history until April 16, 2007, when 32 people were shot and many others wounded by a student gunman on the VirginiaTech campus in Blacksburg, Virginia.

A massacre at Columbine High School. (2011). The History Channel website. Retrieved 2:10, April 20, 2011, from