Design by Sawyer Pennington, Underlying photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash


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Well, the Oprah interview with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle was over a month ago, but I still see plenty of articles about it. It's really "stirred up" things in the Royal Family.


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Well, I guess it put "a bee in the royal bonnet." Although, I would not believe everything you read. Right after the interview, I read several articles suggesting the monarchy should end with Queen Elizabeth. I cannot imagine that happening.


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Oh, that isn't anything new. It's been going on for a long time; there was even talk of it when I lived in England decades ago. All the interview did was further encourage those who are already advocating it.


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At the risk of sounding like a broken record, but as I said in our Banter Bite, Talk About Getting The Royal Treatment, the Royal Family does seem to have "issues" in terms of race relations and dealing with mental illness. I can understand why people are questioning whether the monarchy, with its "old-fashioned" traditions and beliefs, is still relevant.


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But it's not like that's the only place those issues exist. Just pick up a newspaper, turn on the news – it's everywhere! Unfortunately, the Oprah interview put a very public face on it – The Royal Family, or The Firm, which is how the family and institution refers to itself.


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Who nicknames themselves The Firm? It sounds like a Netflix series, but with less class than " The Crown."


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It always reminds me of one of my favorite Tom Cruise movies, "The Firm," based on the John Grisham novel. Anyway, I admit I love Tudor history, but I'm certainly no expert on the history of the British monarchy or Royal Family. But nicknames aside, I do think they serve an important purpose.


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Especially in terms of money. It is big business, which may explain the nickname. According to a recent Forbes article, the amount of money they bring in (primarily due to tourism) is estimated to contribute $2.7 billion a year to the U.K. economy (pre-pandemic). That makes the $550 million cost of running The Firm a smart investment.


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Wow! Those are some pretty big numbers. And leave it to you to have a financial perspective, but that wasn't what I was thinking about. I was thinking that during the 20 th Century, the Royal Family played an invaluable role in getting a nation to pull together, and stay together, as they fought not one, but two, World Wars.


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I defer to you when it comes to history, but that was a long time ago. World War II ended in 1945. How is that relevant today?


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Sometimes the mere existence of a well-established institution, and its pomp and circumstance, can remind people that they're a part of something bigger than themselves. That there's a history that binds you. In this case, as a country. I believe the Royal Family creates unity amongst the British people, including all its territories, around the world.


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Maybe during the last century, but I do not think that holds true today. Just look at how the British have reacted to the Oprah interview. It shows how opinions are strongly polarized, and instead of creating unity, it is now causing division. In many ways, it is similar to the polarization caused by Trump. And although he is no longer president, the polarization of the American people remains.


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That's an interesting analogy, but it does point out how far the American political system has changed. It used to be, by and large, about public service. Back when I was in college, the best and the brightest went into politics. Now, I feel that for so many politicians, it's just a job.


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A well-paying job with good benefits that can lead to many other opportunities. I am sure some are still doing it for public service, but the funny thing is that there are so many other ways to make a difference – including in the business sector, and working for non-profits.


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Which is what Prince Harry and Meghan say they're going to do. I appreciate they don't have to be part of the Royal Family to make a difference, but members of the Royal Family were always looked upon as great role models. They represented values that were worth trying to emulate – commitment, love of country, honor. And I think Queen Elizabeth still does.


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What about the others in the Royal Family? Do they just not care about the issues facing "commoners" or are they merely out-of-touch? And, do you think it is possible to take something as old and established as the monarchy and make it relevant in today's world?


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Too many questions all at once, but I think the Royal Family can play an important role. But it will take everyone being committed to the "bigger picture" and re-focusing on public service – not roles and titles. I know that Prince Charles has waited his entire life to be King, but in many ways, I think the Royal Family stands the best chance of survival if Prince William was to reign, as he represents a more modern Great Britain.


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I know nothing about Prince William, but know it is not a function of age – but of mindset. Finding balance between your position of royalty – where you are Head of State but must remain neutral with respect to political matters – and yet understanding the challenges facing society. And, although not making the rules, setting an example.


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Which is why, as I alluded to in my More Than Just A (Royal) Family Feud post, it's too bad that Prince Harry and Meghan aren't still "working members" of the Royal Family. I think they could've brought a much-needed reflection of modern society into The Firm.


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Well, I do not wish anything but the best for Queen Elizabeth, but it will be interesting to see what happens to The Firm when it is under new management.

Want to read other columns? Here's a list.

Photo by ideeone on iStock


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I'm still shaking my head, in amazement and amusement, at you telling me how there are people claiming that birds aren't real – they're surveillance drones.


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At first, I thought it was a joke. But then, I found a Newsweek article on the "Birds Aren't Real" movement that claims the government killed all birds and replaced them with surveillance drones.


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Well, if you hadn't forwarded it, I'd have thought you were messing with me! Anyway, my absolute favorite part is the "logic" that when the birds or drones or whatever you want to call them sit on powerlines, they're recharging. That's hilarious.
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Photo by Joseph Sohm for Shutterstock


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When I read the "Breaking News" email about the passing of Colin Powell from complications from COVID-19, I realized that many of us didn't even know he was being treated for illnesses that weakened his immune system. To me, he always seemed to be one of those incredibly strong and resilient men that could overcome anything, as I knew he served as the country's first Black national security adviser (during the Reagan administration), chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (under President George H. W. Bush) and secretary of state (under President George W. Bush).

I first became aware of Powell during Operation Desert Storm and was living in Hong Kong at the time (shortly after I married a Brit, Shell assigned him to the Far East). I can remember being halfway around the world from home while watching seemingly non-stop news briefings featuring "Storming Norman" Schwarzkopf, with his "larger than life" details about the extraordinary precision of the airstrikes. At the time, it almost seemed more like a computer game than an actual war.

However, Powell had a far greater impact on me as he exuded calm mixed with steely determination, projecting an air of confidence that you sensed came from experience and deep personal commitment. And at this time of war and conflict, he provided a comforting feeling of power and control.


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I will not pretend to be a history buff, nor will I reflect on Mr. Powell's greatness as a military figure, statesman, and trailblazer. I will leave that to others. But, several things stand out about Powell as a man. First, he put America ahead of political party, stating, "I'm just a citizen who has voted Republican, voted Democrat, throughout my entire career, and right now I'm just watching my country and not concerned with parties."

Thanks to Punchbowl News, I learned that as a young man, he worked in a toy store, and the owner, a Russian immigrant Jew, admired the young Powell so much that he impressed upon him the importance of getting an education. Powell was so touched by this that he stayed in contact with him for the next 50 years. (I loved the sprinkling of Yiddish phrases as Powell tells the story.)

Of course, I could not help but smile rewatching this video of Powell along with two other motorheads, Jay Leno and (at the time) Vice President Biden "racing" Corvettes. And, may explain why one of my many favorite Powell quotes is, "Always focus on the front windshield and not the review mirror." But in his passing, you cannot help but look back over all he did for our country.

Our thoughts and prayers are with his family. May he rest in peace.

Design by Sawyer Pennington, Underlying photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash


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I can't believe that Halloween's almost here, and the house isn't already decorated. Can I use the fact this is the first year I'm an empty nester as an excuse?


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Does that mean that you are not going to decorate?


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No! But without Sawyer home asking about it or prodding me by pulling the decorations out of the garage, it's still just sitting on my "to do" list. But fall is my favorite time of year, and I love seeing the house with all the Halloween decorations, so it will happen.


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I would think you could just put out the inflatables and be done with it.
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