Wacky ride for those in royal circles

There are many sure – and wacky -- signs that you are inside the Royal Family circle and not a normal human being. Here are three of them –- and just from this week:

1. Sincere but dumb gifts

The gift list from William and Kate's Canadian tour has come out with the usual array of the unusual –- love those mosquito traps, Will –- to be added to the mountain of gifts given on royal tours over the years.

QueenThere were no animals handed out on this trip, which is just as well since more than a few have had to endure the trip to England. Many ended up in the London zoo, like the bear from Russia, sloths from Brazil, beavers from Canada and an elephant from Cameroon.

Canada has been one of the more generous in terms of animal gifts, having presented with Queen with four horses from the RCMP, the latest being George in 2009. The first was Burmese, in 1969, which was perhaps the Queen’s favourite horse, having carried her through 18 years of Trooping the Colour (right).

Other gifts don’t get dusted off that often. Among the Queen’s bounty from her trips: a dozen tins of tuna, cowboy boots from the U.S., a sword made of sharks teeth and a wine cooler in the shape of a grasshopper.

The Queen never comments on the gifts, which is just as well. Keeps the public lying to a minimum. As for her gift-giving to dignitaries, most often it’s a signed photograph of herself and the Duke of Edinburgh in a silver frame.

Pippa2. Shutter bugs ... times 400

It’s not about being royal… it’s about being a celebrity. And celebrities, now more than ever, are targets for photographers, anytime, anywhere. Case in point is the Duchess of Cambridge’s sister, Pippa Middleton.

She literally cannot walk out her door without someone clicking away. In testimony this week at the Leveson inquiry into media ethics, the photo editor of the Daily Mail admitted his paper receives up to 400 pictures of Pippa a day from picture agencies and freelance photographers. A day!

However, photo editor Paul Silva said the paper does not run the paparazzi Pippa pictures. "There is no reason to photograph her when she is out and about doing her own thing," he said. "At the moment there are nine or 10 agencies outside her house [on any given day]. If she goes to get coffee, she goes back into her house, we get 300 to 400 pictures … There is no justification for using them."

He added that they will use photos of her at an event where photographers are accredited.

3. Tabloids running wild

Apparently there are some publications that believe if you print enough copies of something, perhaps it will come true. There’s no greater example of this than the bizarre tales that have been crafted around Kate Middleton over the past year.

GlobeThe Globe magazine has been especially adept at the fine art of torquing the truth. This is the same rag than has had Kate pregnant, unable to get pregnant, suffering from brain tumours and locked in mortal combat with her mother-in-law.

This week, a wonderful piece of fiction: “Kate Flees Murder Scene,” cries the ‘world exclusive’ headline. It is accompanied by a picture of the Duchess running and a quote: “It could have been me.”

The article insists the Duchess was living in terror and will never step foot on Sandringham ground again.

Fact: The body of a teenaged girl was found on the Queen’s Sandringham Estate on New Year’s Day, several days after Kate and William had left the estate. Fact: The picture of her running was taken New Year’s Eve, when she was exercising some dogs at her parents’ home in Bucklebury.

Full marks for the editors who connected a few random dots to come up with this tale of royal intrigue. The facts are tragic, but not near as entertaining.

Then again, that's life when you're in the royal circle.



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