Source: Annie Leibovitz
While this photo is meant to show the Queen as an ordinary Granny and Great-Granny, albeit in a extraordinary setting, one little chap will eventually be at the center: Prince George. Today, though, it is all about the Queen. As the whole world likely knows, today she turns 90! In June, her husband, Prince Philip, will be 95. Extraordinary. Their four children, eight grandchildren and five great-grandchildren are quite a mob. I love the way the little girls are dressed like Her Majesty. Adorable.
But of that group one is now an internet phenom and, guess what? It isn’t Prince George–that wonderful little human-clone of Grumpy Cat. Nope! It’s Mia Grace Tindall, the little lady holding her Great-Granny’s iconic handbag. And, rightly so! (By the way, they pronounce it MY-ah).
Why, you ask? The Windsors (or the Saxe-Coburg-Gothas) are a Matriarchy. Founded by the previous record holder for long-reigning-o’er-us, Queen Victoria, they then added a few formidable matriarchs thru marriage. The first was Victoria’s Granddaughter-in-law, Queen Mary whose genes we examined yesterday in terms of all the lookalikes she has generated within the family. The second was the Queen’s mother–known to most as the Queen Mother. She, appropriately enough, was Queen Mary’s daughter-in-law. While Queen Elizabeth II has not had such luck with daughters-in-law, it looks like the future George VII (or Charles III) has found just the right sort in Kate. Steel Magnolia, Iron Lady–call her what you like, but she’s right for the job.
So why is little Mia so important? Well, he Dad is a rugby superstar, but that’s not the real reason (though it is a good one to me!). She is the Granddaughter of the royal I call “The One True Heir.” Usually the hardest working of all the royals, the one who famously doesn’t do “stunts” like cuddle babies or tip the press off when she does something decent. This is Princess Anne or, to give her her formal title, The Princess Royal. And it was Princess Anne that was chosen for the other big “shared” portrait this 90th birthday.
Source: Annie Leibovitz
Today people do not often know that at a very young age, Anne foiled a kidnapping attempt of which she and her then husband were the targets. This is not a lady to trifle with. She is the one Royal I have seen up close and in person. I saw her in Malawi when she visited the Agricultural Station library I was working in as a Peace Corps volunteer. She is amazingly beautiful in person–no photo does her justice. She is an tremendous force for good having worked more hours for Save the Children then Prince William has been alive–or so it seems.
Photos: Getty Images
Had Anne been born today, I imagine she’d have had a very, very successful military career. She is the first royal woman to walk in processions in uniform instead of riding in a carriage with the other royal ladies. It is just who she is. She is the very, very best of both of her parents. They adore her. Her children get on very well with her. She also won a famous battle her aunt, Princess Margaret, lost. She is married to a former royal equerry–he is her second husband, though like her brother Charles, it was after a scandal involving not leaked phone calls, but leaked love letters. Anne never batted an eye over the tempest in a teapot over her love affair. Appropriately enough for this made-for-00Status-lady he is a several years younger. A Royal Cougar. Fascinating.
Unlike her brother, Charles, whom she terms “too grand for the likes of us” [well, that sentiment] Anne has been known to take package discount ski trips with her children, to load her own dishwasher and makes a nice finishing-school-worthy cheese souffle which she has served her parents at dinner in her marital London mansion block flat. Her children thrived at Charles’s hated boarding school, Gordonstoun, (she’s on the Board of Governors) and they started their school years at the village school. Her old nanny famously resigned finding it too disconcerting to see H.R.H. make breakfast for her husband or toss laundry into the washer. She expected Downton Abbey apparently. (Never mind, Nanny still goes on vacation with them!)
So, it’s only right that Mia–Anne’s third granddaughter–is the sensation of this photo. Mia’s mother, Zara Phillips Tindall, followed both of her parents to the Olympics on the British Equestrian Team. (Zara also happens to be a Goddaughter of Andrew Parker-Bowles, Camilla’s ex-husband). (Yesterday I shared a favorite photo of the Queen, Anne and Zara.) While it has recently been confirmed that George has not yet been riding with the Queen, something tells me Mia has! She’s got the true makings of another Windsor matriarch, albeit a Mountbatten-Windsor-Phillips-Tindall one. (Photo at the left is Anne with Mia).
The adorable moment with Great-Granny’s purse was totally spontaneous. As the various proud parents, grandparents, equerries, ladies-in-waiting, nannys and whoever, tried to help keep the kids attention during the photo shoot, Mia simply did what toddlers do–she picked up Granny’s bag. And secured a place in history. The entire photo, of course, is delightful, but it is Mia who made it a sensation.
Happy Birthday, Your Majesty!
Well Done, Your Royal Highness.
Never Lose That Spark, Mia.
FYI: Here’s the Cougar, her guy and one of her grandchildren. Ordinary, modern grandparents out with the baby. Mia does not have a nanny.