Diana vs The Queen is an intriguing watch. Content-wise, much of the information has come to light before and since Diana’s tragic death in 1997, but it is the almost tabloid-like presentation that makes this documentary so tantalizing.

Through voiced-over archival footage and reenactments and commentary from those in the know, the nearly hour-long program charts the rocky relationship between Diana, “the people’s Princess,” and Elizabeth II, sovereign of the British monarchy — from the former’s engagement and “there were three of us in this” marriage to heir-to-the-throne Prince Charles, to her death and funeral.

It’s all quite sensational, and how can it not be, with statements such as Diana being “a prisoner of the Royal Family” in a “a royal conspiracy” by the Windsors, and Diana and Elizabeth being on “a collision course,” being bandied about by the likes of former members of the Royal staff, including Patrick Jephson, Diana’s Private Secretary; Ken Wharfe, Diana’s Security Officer and Bodyguard; and Charles Anson and Michael Shea, Press Relation Officers of the Queen.

Adding fuel to “the Queen of State versus the Queen of Hearts” fire are historian Andrew Roberts, who wrote The Royal House of Windsor; Jenny Bond, Former BBC Royal Correspondent; and biographers Andrew Morton (Diana: Her True Story)Christopher Wilson (The Windsor Knot: Charles, Camilla and the Legacy of Diana) and Sarah Bradford (Diana, Elizabeth: A Biography of Britain’s Queen, and Queen Elizabeth II: Her Life in Our Times).

That the friction between Diana and Elizabeth was summed up by one of the interviewees as a “conflict between tradition and modernity” seems an oversimplification when emotional frailty and stoicism, duty to country and love of the people, and more besides, were part and parcel of their relationship dynamic.

Regardless, whether one is a fan of the British Royals or not, Diana vs The Queen does tell a fascinating story of power, triumph and tragedy.

Check your local PBS Station for scheduled programming for the evening of 8 February 2016!



Mr McBratney said the collection has been valued in excess of $100 million (£70m) Photo By permission of Mr. McBratney

A former private eye is to sell his collection of drawings by Michael Jackson, to raise funds for a drug rehabilitation centre he now runs in Florida.

Joseph McBratney, son of Irish-American mobster James McBratney who was murdered by the New York mafia in the 1970s, said he had accumulated over 100 drawings by the late singer, who died in 2009.

image(Used with Joseph McBratney permission)
Mr McBratney had been offered significant sums for the art, he said, but has waited until now to sell the works as a whole collection. He said the pastel, charcoal, pencil and pen portraits of figures including Princess Diana, JFK, the Beatles and Marilyn Monroe had been authenticated and were valued in excess of $100 million (£70m).

“It’s a very big responsibility for me,” he told The Telegraph, speaking by telephone from his home in Boca Raton, Florida.

Michael Jackson's art works being sold by Joseph Mcbratney AKA Joe Brat "to heal the world, for the children" Credit: used with Joseph McBratney permission From: Joe Brat

Michael Jackson’s art works being sold by Joseph Mcbratney AKA Joe Brat “to heal the world, for the children”
Credit: used with Joseph McBratney permission

“I could have sold them years ago, but at that point there weren’t enough in one collection for healing the world and saving the children. Now they are together.”

He said he did not realise that Jackson was also an artist until casually searching through eBay, and coming across a sale of his work. When Mr McBratney tried to bid and failed, the seller got in touch and said he knew how to access more. So little by little, Mr McBratney built up his collection.

“In between shows, he couldn’t wander about or go shopping like normal people, so my understanding is that he just drew the portraits then, to pass the time.

image(Used with Joseph McBratney permission)

“He drew from photos, and there are pictures of Obama, JFK, James Dean and so on. He also did a series of self portraits. It’s an incredible body of work.”

A Fort Lauderdale authenticator had seen the works and was “amazed,” said Mr McBratney.

The 54-year-old said he had written to the company that now owns Neverland, Jackson’s California ranch, to discuss holding an exhibition of the works there before the sale. No date for the sale has been set so far.

Joseph McBratney, son of Irish-American mobster James McBratney who was murdered by the New York mafia in the 1970s, said he had accumulated over 100 drawings by the late singer, who died in 2009.

Mr McBratney made his name as a private eye and psychic on Staten Island, in New York. He describes himself on Twitter as: “Actor, private eye, interventionist, drug counsellor, antique appraiser, life coach, match maker, psychic,” and was a runner up on a TV show entitled American Psychic Challenge

In 2010 he recorded a pilot of a TV show entitled Ghostfellas, in which relatives of victims of mafia violence went to a graveyard with Mr McBratney, in the hope of communicating with their dead loved one.


The Beautiful Story Behind Princess Diana’s One-of-a-Kind Tartan – Now Featured in a New Line of Babywear



Soon after Princess Diana’s sudden death at the age of 36, tributes came pouring in from all over the world.

One of those tributes was a one-of-a-kind tartan, conceived and made in Scotland by Lochcarron, weavers of the world’s largest range of pure wool tartans.

Since 1997, the Princess Diana Memorial Collection has included a series of products from shawls to scarves, but now, the elegant pastel patterns are featured in a set of babywear from one of Princess Kate’s favorite maternity designers, Séraphine. The new collection includes dresses, rompers, booties and hats.

“We are giving life to the pattern,” says Tessy Ojo, CEO of the Diana Award charity that has replaced the disbanded Memorial Fund in receiving the proceeds from the sales. “When people were pouring out with emotion after her death, they wanted to do something in her name.”

The blue tartan pattern was the first design created by Lochcarron in 1997, in the immediate aftermath of the princess’s death. Based on a variation of the Royal Stewart design, they used colors “inspired by the princess,” the company says. Then, in 2009, a soft pink tartan was introduced, called the Diana Memorial Rose Tartan.
“Originally designed by the then chairman of Lochcarron, Alistair Buchan, the tartan in blue tones perfectly epitomizes the timeless elegance of the princess,” head of design Dawn Robson-Bell tells PEOPLE. “Our skilled in-house design team worked on a complementary variation of the original tartan to build on the appeal of beautiful fabrics.”imageBoth tartans, woven in Scotland, are used in the outfits designed by Séraphine. Founder of the brand Cecile Reinaud tells PEOPLE the company turned the designs around in six months after they were approached by the charity last April. “I was so excited by the potential of this range, as well as deeply motivated to contribute to the charity, that I pulled out all the stops to fast track the launch!” she says.

“I’m really proud of this range and the hard work we put into developing it, but what motivates me most is to play a part in this amazing charity and give back to the community some of my business success.

image“The Diana Award team makes us feel an integral part of their organization, and it has been a very rewarding and humbling experience to work with such great people committed to do good,” Reinaud continues.

The Diana Award, which works to continue the princess’s legacy to empowering young people, receives 12 percent of the proceeds of the Diana Collection sales. Ojo also hopes to build on the success with a summer-inspired set of designs in lighter fabrics.

In the meantime, Reinaud says that the reception from America to China has been “incredible.”


As we continue to sort out and inventory our many files and boxes, this article recently came to light!  In 1988, Ingrid Seward wrote in her book, “Diana, An Intimate Portrait,” that Diana did not like Highgrove and was very letdown when she first saw it in 1980 while dating Prince Charles.  Seward also relates that even though Highgrove was not to her liking, she and Prince Charles resolved to move in after they wed and make the best of it until something better came along.

That Diana was accustomed to a more stately home is an understatement. Her ancestral home, Althorp, is one of the grandest houses in England!  Seward never mentioned them considering an alternative house though.

The news article below, from January 1982, makes it clear that Diana did indeed have another home in mind in which to spend her life with Charles and her future family.  And it was not in Gloucestershire!  One can only wonder what ever happened to the secret plans to move to Belton House!  Enjoy the article!






The brother of the late Princess Diana, Charles Spencer, has written the foreword for a new book about the 1460 Battle of Northampton.

Charles, the Ninth Earl Spencer, describes the town as ‘under-appreciated’ and ‘often over-looked’ in his forward for the 166-page book, written by local historian, Mike Ingram.

Earl Spencer, a historian himself, also writes how it is a ‘joke’ that some people only know of Northamptonshire because they pass the county on the M1.

But he also points out how the county was, once, ‘one of the great centres of power’, and that the author brings ‘fine scholastic’ research to play in ‘reminding people of Northampton’s past importance’.

The foreword by Charles Spencer reads: “Northampton today is, frankly, an under-appreciated, often overlooked, town.

“The joke is, people only know of Northamptonshire because they shoot through it on the M1: they note the name of the county town on notice boards from exits 15 to 16.

“But this was, once, one of the great centres of power and influence in early and Medieval England. It was also, with Oxford, home to one of the first two universities in the land.

“Mike Ingram brings fine scholastic research to play, in reminding people of Northampton’s past importance – strategic and social. His energetic prose gives colour to every page, while his revelations intrigue and entertain. He helps us appreciate why one of the great battles of English history took place in this Midland town, and he skilfully resurrects the generals and ordinary soldiers who clashed in an engagement that helped lay the foundations of this nation’s past.

“You don’t need to be a champion or resident of Northampton to appreciate this overdue appraisal of the battle that bears its name. This is a book that everyone who loves History – particularly the almost forgotten kind – will savour.”

The book, written by medieval historian Mike Ingram and illustrated by historical artist Matthew Ryan, will be available in both printed and Kindle versions and is available via Amazon, direct from Northampton Battlefields Society and Northampton Museum.

The blurb reads: “It should have been the battle that ended Richard of York’s rebellions. With the Yorkists politically destroyed and the estates confiscated, all that remained was to carry out the punishment for treason – death.

“On 10 July 1460 King Henry VI and his army waited for the Yorkists in a heavily fortified camp in fields outside Northampton. However, they did not count on the treachery of Lord Grey of Ruthin.

“For the first time, this is the full story of the Battle of Northampton which took place during the turbulent period now known as the Wars of the Roses. It was the first and only time that a fortified camp was assaulted and was the last time protracted negotiations took place before a battle. In its immediate aftermath the House of York laid claim to the throne of England for the first time and so began the bloodiest phase of the Wars of the Roses – the war of succession.

“As well as the battle itself, the book looks at Northamptonshire’s medieval history and its involvement in the Wars of the Roses.”

If you would like to order the paperback version of the book, please visit http://www.amazon.co.uk/Battle-Northampton-1460-Mike-Ingram-x/dp/099307779X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1452997008&sr=8-1&keywords=battle+of+northampton

If you would like to order the Kindle edition, please visit http://www.amazon.co.uk/Battle-Northampton-10-July-1460-ebook/dp/B018SCGM6C/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1452997008&sr=8-2&keywords=battle+of+northampton

Read more: http://www.northampton-news-hp.co.uk/Charles-Spencer-describes-Northampton-appreciated/story-28541790-detail/story.html#ixzz3xXnTQumL
Follow us: @NorthamptonUK on Twitter | NorthantsHeraldPost on Facebook



An iconic bottle green velvet evening dress worn by Princess Diana is set to become one of the stars of new fashion exhibition at Kensington Palace.

The late princess wore the distinctive sleeveless gown by one of her favourite designers, Catherine Walker, for a photoshoot with Mario Testino.

The striking series of images was commissioned to support the sale of the princess’s dresses at Christies for charity in June 1997, just weeks before her untimely death.

Next month it will go on show at the royal palace she once called home and is now lived in by her sons, Princes William and Harry.

The striking Catherine Walker gown, above, with gold rope braid trim at neckline and shoulder worn by Princess Diana will be on display.


A Norman Rugal fur stole, above, created for Princess Margaret in the 1950’s will ve on display as well.

From the ‘New Look’ glamour of Princess Margaret in the 1950s, the elegance of HM The Queen in the 1960s and 1970s, and the tailored drama of outfits created for Diana, Princess of Wales in the early 1990s, the display will continue to explore how these women navigated the fashion ‘rules’ defined by their royal duties in unique style.

As the Queen’s younger sister, Princess Margaret experimented with fashion, and in the 1950s patronised the Paris couturiers to create a distinctive high-glamour silhouette.


Being among the first to embrace Christian Dior’s full skirted New Look – in stark contrast to the frugal fashions of post-war rationing – the princess’s bold outfit choices were imitated the world over.

imageAn exquisite late 1940s candy striped dress created for Margaret by royal couturier Norman Hartnell in the Paris style will go on display at Kensington Palace for the first time, alongside silk scarves and sunglasses, below, worn by Princess Margaret,


from designers such as Yves Saint Laurent and Christian Dior, revealing the discerning eye for quality and high fashion considerations of this thoroughly modern princess.

image image image
By contrast, the richly decorated wardrobe created for The Queen, above, in the 1960s and 1970s by stalwarts of British couture such as Norman Hartnell and Hardy Amies showcase a continuing royal trend of diplomatic dressing, rendered elegantly across the finest silks, duchesse satins and patterned organza suitable for even the warmest of foreign tours.

imageThe stunning outfits on display include formal dresses created for state visits to France and the Middle East, and for engagements as diverse as an investiture in Pakistan and a world film premiere in London’s Leicester Square.

imageFrom a much-copied tartan and black velvet evening gown designed for an evening of Scottish dancing at Balmoral, to the double-breasted styling of a bottle green silk velvet halterneck worn privately by the princess – and later made famous by Mario Testino’s iconic photographs commissioned to support the sale of her dresses at Christies –the display will explore how Diana’s wardrobe had the power to set trends both at home and abroad, and represented a truly modern royal style.

The dresses on show have either been lent by the Royal Family or acquired by HRP, the independent charity that looks after the country’s major royal residences.

Most of these palaces are owned by The Queen on behalf of the nation and are managed by HRP, which relies on private funding and the most raised by visitors. The forthcoming fashion exhibition, which opens on February 11, is sponsored by Estée Lauder Companies.


Libby Thompson, Historic Royal Palaces curator, said: ‘Fashion Rules has proved popular with our visitors, and we’re delighted to be able to expand on this theme to celebrate the style evolution of three iconic modern royal women. The new display will delve even deeper into the royal wardrobe, revealing some real surprises that I hope will challenge the way we think of royal style.’
Rebecca English for http://www.dailymail.co.uk
For further details on the exhibit: http://www.hrp.org.uk.