Another Royal Baby!
Did you hear the royal baby news? There’s going to be a third Prince or Princess! Isn’t it funny how so many Americans are fascinated by the British Royal Family? Are you one of those Americans? I am!
Even before Downton Abbey took America by storm or London hosted the Olympics several years ago, I had a love for all things British. Before the wedding of Kate and Williams and their subsequent adorable offspring, I was a “Royal Watcher.” I have been obsessed by British design, history and culture since I watched the wedding of Charles and Diana in the pre-dawn hours of July 29, 1981.
British Culture and Influence in our Homes
Many of us have seen the the phrase “Keep Calm and Carry On,” and even have it on items adorning our homes; but do you happen to know the origin of this expression?
Keep Calm and Carry On was a motivational poster produced by the British government in 1939 in preparation for World War II. The poster was intended to raise the morale of the British public, threatened with widely predicted mass air attacks on major cities. Although 2.45 million copies were printed, and although the Blitz did in fact take place, the poster was hardly ever publicly displayed and was little known until a copy was rediscovered in 2000 at Barter Books, a bookshop in Alnwick. It has since been re-issued by a number of private companies, and has been used as the decorative theme for a range of products.
Evocative of Victorian stoicism – the “stiff upper lip“, self-discipline, fortitude, and remaining calm in adversity, which popular culture rendered into a British character trait – the poster has become recognized around the world. It was thought that only two original copies survived until a collection of approximately 15 was brought in to the Antiques Roadshow in 2012 by the daughter of an ex-Royal Observer Corps member.
Even the long ago humble Mini Cooper (think British version of the Volkswagen Beetle “Bug”) has made a resurgence to popularity and struck a chord with a new generation. Who could dispute the influence of British music on American culture? Hello? The Beatles, Rolling Stones, and Queen, just to name a few…
My British Connection
My husband is both an American citizen and a Subject of the Queen (a British citizen). Mr. Barefoot feels just as comfortable in the Highlands of Scotland as he does at a barbecue in Texas. Of course, he took many trips to the UK as a child to visit grandparents, uncles and cousins, and he was baptized in the Church of England; thus, a lifelong love for all things British began…he is also American through and through, but he is definitely an Anglophile as well.
I am very fortunate to have a British mother-in-law that adores me (and vice versa). This woman was born and raised in England and came to America at 17 years old on a trip with friends; she never went home. Well, not “never”- of course, she has returned to the UK many times and loves her homeland, but she is an American through and through (despite the British accent that has softened but never relinquished entirely).
My husband’s grandfather did not meet the requirements to enlist in the British forces due to impaired vision, so he became a volunteer firefighter instead. He and fellow civilians put out the fires from relentless bombing by the Germans in World War II. Mr. Barefoot’s uncle/Godfather still reminds my husband as often as possible that “he’s only half Yank.” He remembers seeing the Americans arrive in England to join forces with the British when he was a small child; he has said that he was never so happy to see anyone in his life as he was the day the Americans came to town…so “Keep Calm and Carry On” indeed.
Let the Royal Baby Watch commence! Cheers!