Wednesday, February 14, 2018

5 Famous Couples Who Continue to Live On In History

Happy Valentine’s Day! 

Today’s post is taking a trip back through history to look at some of world's most memorable couples. These 5 couples have stories everyone knows and loves to this day. These couples didn't just inspire countless movies, TV shows, and documentaries. They also played a key role in shaping the countries they lived into the ones we know today. At the end of each section, you can find biographies on each of member of these couples to learn more about about them, the impact they have on history, and even more facts about their relationships.

1. Cleopatra and Marc Antony (Egypt)

Let's start this trip back into history with the oldest couple on the list. After the death of Julius Caesar, several factions started popping up over Rome over the direction the Roman empire. Two of these factions were led by Marc Antony and Octavian, Caesar's great-nephew. They had different ideas over Rome's future and most importantly who was Caesar's rightful heir.

As problems grew between these two men, Antony arranged to meet with Cleopatra to see what side she would support. Cleopatra had a romantic relationship with Caesar a few years earlier and was the mother to his son Caesarion. Antony and Cleopatra's meeting began a love affair resulting in three children and a chance to work together to achieve their own goals. Antony wanted to rule over an empire while Cleopatra saw the match as a way to expanding her own power. This meant gaining lands in the eastern empire.

Initially attempts were made by both Antony and Octavian to resolve the problems between them. One of these attempts included Antony marrying Octavian's sister Octavia. This peace was short lived and soon Antony was back in Egypt with Cleopatra. Problems intensified between Octavian and Antony, leading to military war. Antony and Cleopatra joined forces to fight Octavian's army, but they were defeated at Actium, Greece. As Octavian's forces entered Alexandria, both Antony and Cleopatra took their own lives. They were buried together as Rome made Egypt part of the Roman empire.

Biography Cleopatra
Biography Marc Antony

2. King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn (Britain)

King Henry VIII sounds like an odd choice for this list. History knows him best as the king who had six wives during his lifetime and the fates each wife had while they were married to him. Henry felt different about each of his wives. He often shared his opinions on a few of them as they came and went from his palaces throughout his lifetime. At the end of his life, he made it clear that the love of his life was his third wife Jane Seymour. However history disagrees with him with many historians and filmmakers focusing on his relationship with his second wife Anne Boleyn.

It isn't 100% clear when Henry and Anne met. Historians estimate the couple met around mid 1520's. Anne had returned from France and was back at court as one of the ladies in waiting for Henry's wife Catherine of Aragon. Henry had been married to Catherine for several years, but the couple was still struggling to produce a male heir who could continue the Tudor dynasty. Historians believe Henry and Anne met around 1525 due to many of the surviving love letters Henry wrote Anne were written at this time. He wanted to make Anne his mistress, but she refused. Henry desired Anne so much (and was obsessed with having a male heir) that he decided to divorce Catherine by petitioning the pope to annul his marriage.

Henry thought divorcing Catherine would be easy, but it turned out to be harder than he anticipated and put Britain on the international stage. Despite his request and arguments, the pope refused to grant the divorce. When Anne did become pregnant by 1533, Henry was impatient and broke with Rome. He made himself the head of the Church of England and married Anne, making her the new queen of England. Anne would give birth a few months later to the couple's only living child Elizabeth. Although Elizabeth's birth was a disappointment, they held hope more children would follow and were happy.

That happiness didn't last long. Henry and Anne's marriage eventually fell apart ironically over the same issues that plagued Henry's marriage to Catherine. After several failed pregnancies, Henry's interest in Anne changed and he began courting Jane Seymour in secret.

Meanwhile rumors were spreading around court about Anne. The king took advantage of these rumors and had Anne arrested on a variety of charges. She was put on trial and found guilty. She was imprisoned at the Tower of London then executed a few days later just after her marriage to Henry was declared invalid. A few days after her death, Henry married Jane Seymour.

Biography King Henry VIII
Biography Anne Boleyn 

3. Pocahontas and John Rolfe (United States)

When history tells Pocahontas's story, most attention is put on her relationship with John Smith and the possibility of a romantic relationship between the two. Pocahontas's relationship with John Smith might get the most attention, but it is her relationship with her husband John Rolfe that had a bigger impact on US history. Historians aren't quite sure if this was a love match or not, but they make it clear this relationship help keep the peace between the English settlers and Native Americans.

John Rolfe arrived at Jamestown in 1610, a couple years after the colony was created. Before he arrived at Jamestown, his wife and child died shortly after arriving at the colony. On the way to Jamestown, Rolfe obtained tobacco seeds. Once settled at Jamestown, he began cultivating the seeds and created a brand new tobacco. The tobacco crop revitalized the Jamestown economy, reversing the fortunes of the colony.

While the tobacco crop saved Jamestown, tensions were only increasing between the colonists and the natives. Soon war broke out resulting in the colonists capturing Chief Powhatan's daughter Pocahontas in order to get her father to give into some of their demands. As she remained in captivity, Pocahontas began learning more about English customs. She learned English and was baptized as Rebecca.

Historians aren't sure when Pocahontas met John Rolfe, but the two were married in 1614. Rolfe obtained permission from the military governor of Virginia and Chief Powhatan before the couple married. Rolfe did express his love for her, but he also felt their marriage would help save her soul. There is little to no records on how Pocahontas felt about Rolfe. Their marriage began the "Peace of Pocahontas" period between the colonists and the natives. A year later, the couple's only child Thomas was born.

In 1616, the family made the trip from Virginia to England for the Virginia Company. The couple met with King James I. Pocahontas even reunited with John Smith during the course of the visit. As the couple was about to set sail for Virginia, Pocahontas became very sick. She was taken ashore at Gravesend where she died. After her death, Rolfe returned to Virginia alone where he remarried to another colonist. He died in 1622, but historians aren't sure if this was due other circumstances or a major assault between the colonists and the natives.

Biography Pocahontas
Biography John Rolfe

4. Napoleon Bonaparte and Josephine de Beauharnais (France)

Napoleon is known for his victories on the battlefield and the role he played during the French Revolution. However Napoleon was also part of one of history's greatest love stories with his first wife Josephine. Napoleon and Josephine had a sizzling relationship with intense highs and lows.

Napoleon was just a major-general in the French army when he met Josephine. Napoleon needed a rich, influential wife while Josephine needed a benefactor and protector. Before she met Napoleon, Josephine was married to Viscount Alexandre de Beauharnais, had two children, and barely escaped the Reign of Terror. Historians aren't exactly sure when and how this couple met, but the surviving love letters Napoleon wrote made it clear they were together by 1795.

The couple married in 1796 where they made several changes to the marriage license from changing their ages to even their names. The next day, Napoleon left for Italy while Josephine remained behind in France. While Napoleon was away, Josephine began having affairs with other men. These rumors eventually got back to Napoleon and changed his feelings about Josephine completely. He began having his own affairs. Historians aren't quite sure if Josephine did have any affairs, but they do know many of Napoleon's letters about Josephine were intercepted by the British and were published in British papers.

Despite the affairs, the two remained married even when the couple became emperor and empress of France. However Napoleon needed a male heir in order to continue his dynasty he was building and it becoming clear Josephine was unable to have more children. In 1809, they announced their plans to divorce so Napoleon could have a male heir. Napoleon married Marie-Louise of Austria and had a long desired son Napoleon II. Meanwhile Josephine retired to Malmaison and focused on caring for the estate especially the gardens. Although they were no longer together, Napoleon and Josephine remained close until he was exiled to Elba.

Josephine became ill in 1814 and died a few days later. News reached Napoleon on Elba and reportedly locked himself in his room for two days, refusing to speak with anyone. When he escaped Elba and returned to France, he visited her estate Malmaison for a short time until he was exiled on St. Helena. Napoleon died in 1821 and one of his last words was about his beloved Josephine.

Biography Napoleon Bonaparte
Biography Josephine de Beauharnais

5. Queen Victoria and Prince Albert (Britain)

The last couple on this list is none other than Victoria and Albert. The couple was married for 21 years and were the ultimate power couple during the Victorian era. Think of this couple as the original influencers for their time period since many of the things they did soon became fashionable. Many of the traditions we do today were popularized by this couple from white wedding dresses to Christmas trees.

Victoria and Albert met when she was only 16 years old. Although she wasn't queen, attention was already been put onto who she would marry. Several people closest to Victoria had their own ideas who she should marry and Albert was her uncle Leopold's suggestion. However Victoria wasn't interested in getting married. While she was impressed by Albert, she valued her independence and wasn't ready to settle down.

Fast forward to 1839. Victoria is much older and has been on the throne for a couple of years. Despite the changes, the question of who Victoria will marry remained. At this time, she invited Albert back to Britain for another visit. During this visit, the two got much closer and by the end of the visit, Victoria formally proposed marriage to Albert. The public was hesitant about the match due to Albert's German roots. Despite the public feelings, the two married in 1840.

Albert was a huge influence on Victoria and ended up being her closest advisor. She often found herself turning to him for advice on many issues. Throughout their marriage, they championed several causes from social welfare to the arts. At the time of their reign, Britain was in the midst of the Industrial Revolution. Victoria and Albert help Britain navigate through these changes and began to shape the British monarchy into the one the world knows today.

In 1861, Albert became ill with typhoid fever and died. His death devastated Victoria and she spent the next 40 years in mourning. Victoria would reign for another 40 years until her death in 1901.

Biography Queen Victoria
Biography Prince Albert



Which romantic couple do you think made the biggest impact? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

My Coding Journey: What You Need to Create a jQuery Playground with Bootstrap

Copyright 2018 The Original BritishPandachick

Last time on the My Coding Journey …

The series wrapped up the Cat Photo App project Free Code Camp has students work with during the Bootstrap course. This post was showing the ways Bootstrap can be used to style parts of your website without writing the standard custom CSS. Just one Bootstrap class can add lots of style elements that would take lots of lines of regular CSS.

During this post, I showed you how to use Font Awesome icons on your site, what Bootstrap classes can line up elements on your page, and how to change the colors with Bootstrap. Click the link below to read my blog post or just catch up with what is currently happening in the series.

===> Click here to read the How to Style a Website with Bootstrap post.

Today’s post is building a jQuery playground.which will be used later in Free Code Camp’s jQuery course. This playground will be using lots of Bootstrap. Throughout this post, you’ll be putting the grid system to work to organize elements on the page. You’ll learn some new Bootstrap classes and see how they work in your code.

If you aren’t ready to tackle today’s lesson, make sure you revisit all the posts in the My Coding Journey series. I already covered topics on web design, HTML & CSS. I’ve even created little tutorials which walk readers through some of the Codeacademy projects. Feel free to use any of these posts as extra practice or review. You can also use the HTML & CSS course in Free Code Camp’s Front-End Developer Certification portion of their curriculum.

===> Click here to make a Free Code Camp account.

20. Create a Bootstrap Headline.

First thing we need to do on the jQuery playground is add a headline. Free Code Camp wants an h3 element so add an <h3> tags to your site. Inside your opening and closing tags, add the text jQuery Playground.

Now let’s turn to the Bootstrap. We are adding two classes to the site. Inside the opening tag, add text-primary and text-center as a class. Remember we can have multiple classes for any element as long as is there a space between each class.

21. House our page within a Bootstrap Container Fluid Div.

This site needs to work on all screen sizes so let’s add the container-fluid. Nest your new <h3> tag inside a div tag. Give the div tag a class container-fluid.

22. Create a Bootstrap Row.

This site will have lots of inline elements, meaning we’ll need some rows. Underneath the <h3> tag, add another div tag. We won’t be adding anything inside the div tag in this step, but you do need to give it a class so all the elements will line up in a row. Therefore add a class row to your div tag.

24. Split your Bootstrap row.

Free Code Camp wants students to have two columns inside the row div tag we just made. This is where you’ll be using the grid system mentioned in the last two Bootstrap posts. Put two div tags inside the row div tag. These div tags will be for each column.

Inside each of the new div tags, add the class col-xs-6. This will tell the computer the columns will be six columns wide each. We won’t be adding any elements inside these columns right now so you won’t see any changes right now.

25. Create Bootstrap Wells.

It is time for a brand new class! One of the newer Bootstrap classes in today’s post is the well class. This class creates a sense of depth in your columns.

In order to do this, you’ll be adding the well class to another div tag in each of the col-xs-6 div tags you made. Make a brand new div tag inside each col-xs-6 class. Give each of these new div tags a class well. Don’t worry. This is the last div tag you’ll be adding.

Copyright 2018 The Original BritishPandaChick

26. Add Elements within your Bootstrap Wells.

Time to add the rest of the elements. This time, you’ll be nesting buttons within the well div tags you just made. Add 3 button tags inside each well.

Now inside the sample project on Free Code Camp’s site, you’ll see some of the items starting to take shape. You should have six button tags total on the site when you are finished.

27. Apply the Default Bootstrap Button Style.

Let’s add some more classes to customize the buttons a bit. We are going to use the Bootstrap class btn-default. For each button, add “btn btn-default” to the opening button tag. You’ll automatically see the buttons on the Free Code Camp site get a little bit bigger to look like actual buttons.

28. Create a Class to Target with jQuery Selectors.

Free Code Camp begins this lesson with an important reminder about classes. There won’t be corresponding CSS for every class. Developers use classes just to help them when they use jQuery. Selecting elements needs to be easy especially in jQuery with developers often referring to classes to help them add functionality to different elements.

In this lesson, we are going to add the class attribute target to the button. In each button tag, add the class target after btn-default in the opening tag.

29. Add ID Attributes to Bootstrap Elements.

Bootstrap isn’t all about using as many classes as possible. Developers can also use ID attribute. IDs are great for making unique changes to a specific element. The only downside about ID attributes is that they can only be used once per page.

Let’s start this lesson by adding an ID to each well div tag. On the left well div tag, add an ID tag name left-well. Add the ID right-well to the right well div tag.

Copyright 2018 The Original BritishPandaChick

30. Label Bootstrap Wells

The final Bootstrap lesson for today is labeling the Bootstrap wells. This means adding some text tags. Inside the left well, add an <h4> tag inside the div tag with the col-xs-6 class. This should be above the well div tag.

Put #left-well as your headline’s text. On the right well, add another <h4> tag above this well div tag only using the text #right-well instead.


That’s a wrap today! We made a lot of progress on the jQuery playground project today. A large amount of this post was just organizing our page by setting up rows and wells using Bootstrap classes. You started adding the buttons inside the wells and gave a little bit of style thanks to some of the Bootstrap classes discussed in other posts. Finally, we started adding IDs and we began labelling some of our elements.

The jQuery is almost done and the next post will be putting the final touches on this project. In a couple of weeks, I review the last three lessons in Free Code Camp's Bootstrap course. This post will be a quick review on commenting code as well as labeling the buttons.


All images belong to The Original BritishPandaChick.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Disney Family Haunted Mansion Cross Stitch Wall Hangings

Today's post is one of the posts from my other blog Needlework Kits. Needlework Kits is a blog which specifically reviews needlecraft kits and shares my experience making them. So far Needlecraft Kits has featured other kits that have been on this blog including the Gingerbread Advent calendar and Witch's Brew wreath. It has also included other craft projects not seen on The Original BritishPandaChick such as cross stitch.

This post will feature a special link to my first cross stitch post on Needlework Kits blog. During this post, I look at two cross stitch patterns from Disney Family. Disney Family is a blog with variety of Disney inspired posts on recipes, crafts, and other family activities. On the blog, there are several cross stitch patterns. Each post includes two patterns based on a specific Disney or Pixar movie.

Last year, I decided to make the two Haunted Mansion patterns from the blog for a close friend of my fiancee. I did my best to replicate not only both patterns, but turn the finished cross stitches into wall hangings using the embroidery hoop. If you would like to make these cross stitch patterns or just are interested to hear what happened, click the link to the blog post below.

===> Click here to read the Needlework Kits review of the Disney Haunted Mansion Cross Stitch

Have you been to the Haunted Mansion? Share your favorite Haunted Mansion memories in the comments.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

My Coding Journey: How to Style Your Website with Bootstrap

Copyright 2018 The Original BritishPandaChick

Last time on the My Coding Journey . . .

The series made its return by covering the first 10 lessons of Bootstrap, a CSS framework developers can use to make mobile responsive sites and apps. This crash course to Bootstrap is a review of the lessons in the Responsive Design with Bootstrap section in the front end developer certification at Free Code Camp. During the last post, I showed you how to create buttons with Bootstrap classes and make mobile responsive images. Most importantly I showed you how to add Bootstrap to your HTML file so you can begin adding Bootstrap classes to your own code.

If you need a quick review on any of today's Bootstrap topics, click the link below or revisit these lessons on Free Code Camp's site. Free Code Camp is a open source community committed to helping developers learn how to code and contribute to open source projects. Just sign up for a free account on the Free Code Camp website then start coding!

===> Click here to review the latest post of the My Coding Journey series!
===> Click here to make a Free Code Camp account!

This week the series is continuing on with Bootstrap in the Free Code Camp Bootstrap course. During this post, I'll cover the next nine lessons of the course. These lesson will wrap up the Cat Photo App project students build during the HTML & CSS course. During today's lessons, I will be showing you how to use Bootstrap to style elements on your site. You will be learning how to add icons to your site with Font Awesome, lining up elements, and how Bootstrap can transform a site's form.

If you aren't ready to tackle today's concepts or are still trying to catch up in this series, feel free to use any of the blog posts in this series to review any of the concepts in today's post. So far this series has covered the fundamentals for web design, HTML, and CSS. I've even shown You can also review HTML & CSS with Free Code Camp's HTML & CSS course.

11. Ditch custom CSS for Bootstrap.

Developers love using Bootstrap for customizing website since these styles are often built into the framework, doing all the work for you and giving you less code to write. On the cat photo app, you can delete some of the custom CSS styles already added in the style tag. If I added Bootstrap classes to any tags with custom styles, only the Bootstrap styles will show. Therefore, if I wanted to change the <h2> headline from blue to red, I'd need to change the class to text-danger or use CSS to customize the color.

The first item Free Code Camp wants students to do is style the <h2> headline and make the orange cat photo image responsive. You can do this with Bootstrap classes like text-primary and img-responsive. I already showed you how to use the img-responsive class to make images fit the size of any screen. The text-primary tag is one of the tags that lets Bootstrap change the color of text. When the class is added to specific HTML tags, the font color will change. The text-primary class will change the font color to blue.

12. Use spans for inline elements.

Free Code Camp wants to add some style to inline elements like the specific words or buttons on the Cat Photo App. These cases are examples of inline elements. You might remember seeing some span tags in previous projects featured on these blogs. Span tags make it possible for developers to style small parts of the text inside another HTML element. You can review span tags with my previous post The Ultimate HTML & CSS Cheatsheet.

===> Click here to review span tags in The Ultimate HTML & CSS Cheatsheet

In order to complete this lesson, students need to style the word love using span tags. First, add your span tags in your code around the words you want to style. Make sure you use opening and closing tags. Next, you add the Bootstrap class you want to use to change the color of the text. Free Code Camp wants the word love in red so I'll use the text-danger class. Text-danger tells the computer to change the color to red.

13. Create custom heading.

Let's start adding some style to the Cat Photo App's heading. Free Code Camp wants the <h2> headline on the same line as the orange cat photo. In order to get everything on the same line, developers put the elements they want together inside div tags. I'm going to put two div tags around my <h2> headline and image. Inside the opening div tag, I will give the tag a class name "row". Row tells the computer these elements will be lined up in a row side by side. Once this class is added, you will see your elements automatically line up next to each other in the sample project.

Once your elements are in a row, it is time to give some spacing between the two elements. I can do this using the Bootstrap grid system. First, I'm going to give each element its own separate set of div tags. Then I will add the Bootstrap classes. When using the grid system, developers need to use the format "col-xs-*" as the class name. This will tell the computer how many columns wide the element is for what type of screen. I will use "col-xs-8" for the <h2> headline and "col-xs-4" for the orange cat image. This will automatically adjust these elements on the Free Code Camp project with just the right amount of space between the elements so it doesn't look cramped.

14. Add font awesome icons to buttons.

Now that the heading is looking better, it is time to give some attention to the buttons. Free Code Camp uses this lesson to introduce Font Awesome, a library of icons developers can use for their projects. These icons are vector graphics stored as an .svg file. During this course, Free Code Camp tells students to add Font Awesome to their sites using the following link in the head tag:

<link rel="stylesheet" href="//"/>

This link will connect your project to the Font Awesome library, making you ready to use any of the icons for your project. Free Code Camp already does this for you, but you can practice this in CodePen or in your own text editor if you are planning to add any icons to your site.

Copyright 2018 The Original BritishPandaChick
In order to add one of these icons to your site, you need to use the <i> tag. The <i> tag lets the computer know this element is an icon. Developers often used the <i> tag in the past to make text italics, but now it is mostly associated with creating icons. During this lesson, you will use the <i> tag to create an thumbs up icon on the Like button.

First, wrap the word Like inside an opening and closing <i> tag. In the opening <i> tag, create a class named "fa fa-thumbs-up". The fa is the Font Awesome prefix while the fa-thumbs-up is the name of the icon being used. Now check your button on your site. Now a small thumbs up icon will appear inside your Like button.

15. Add Font Awesome Icons to all of our Buttons.

Now that you know how to add Font Awesome icons to your site, this lesson is having you repeat the same steps with the other two buttons. This time you are adding the classes fa fa-info-circle and fa fa-trash. The fa-info-circle will create an small circular info icon next to the Info button. The trash button will have a small trash can icon next to Delete.

16. Responsive style radio buttons.

Now that the Cat Photo buttons have a little style, we are going to add some Bootstrap classes to the form. We can use the col-xs-* format to determine how far apart the radio buttons can be spread out on the page. The class we set keep this width no matter what screen resolution we have.

First, the radio buttons need to be in a row. Nest the radio button tags in between div tags with the class "row". Now give each radio button a div class named "col-xs-6". This will tell the computer each radio button will be six columns wide. Your code should look like this when it is done:

<div class="row">
   <div class="col-xs-6">
       <label><input type="radio" name="indoor-outdoor">Indoor</label>
   <div class="col-x-6">
       <label><input type="radio" name="indoor-outdoor">Outdoor</label>

Once you add the code, a space will appear between the two radio buttons on the app.

17. Responsively Style Checkboxes.

Now that you know how to spread form elements on the page with the grid system, you will do the same thing with the other elements on the page. Free Code Camp wants each check box to be only four columns wide. This time, wrap each check box inside a div tag with the class "col-xs-4". Each div tag will evenly space out the checkboxes. Don't forget to put all the check boxes in a div class named "row". This will keep all the checkboxes together instead of stacked upon on each other.

18. Style Text Inputs as Form Controls.

The next item Free Code Camp wants to style is the input text field and the button. This lesson wants students to add a paper air plane to the submit button and extend the field bar across the screen. First, let's adjust the input field. Inside the input tag above the submit button tag, add the class "form-control". Form-control will increase the length of the input field so it extends across the screen, making it easier to read the cat photo place holder inside.
Copyright 2018 The Original BritishPandaChick

The last thing we need to do in this lesson is add the paper airplane to the submit button. Luckily there is an icon in the Font Awesome library you can use. Inside the submit button tag, wrap the word Submit in between two <i> tags. In the opening tag, add the class "fa fa-paper-plane". This will create the airplane icon right next to Submit in the button.

The last thing we need to style is the input field at the bottom of the form. In order to the style the form, you need to use the class form-control. Add the class form-control to your input tag and look at the input bar. Originally the bar was smaller, but the form-control class made the input bar fit the size of the screen. Now you just need to change the submit button's color. Inside the submit button's button tag, add the class "btn btn-primary" and the button will change to blue.

19. Line up Form Elements Responsively with Bootstrap.

The last thing you need to do for the Cat Photo App right now is line up the input bar and submit button with the rest of the form. We are going use the grid system to do this. First, put the input tag for the cat photo URL and the submit button's button tag inside a div tag with the class name row. You'll automatically see the elements move side by side each other on the app. Now wrap each element inside a pair of div tags. Give the div tag for the cat photo URL input a class of col-xs-7. The submit button's div tag will have a class col-xs-5 so there's just enough space between the input bar and the button.


That's a wrap for today's lessons! During this post you learned how to use Bootstrap to add more style to your website instead of creating custom styles for elements. Today's post also wraps up the Cat Photo App sample project in Free Code Camp. Make sure you check out the pen link below to play around with the pen's size to see how it would look like in different browsers.

===> Click here to see the Cat Photo App Pen!

It is time for another break from Bootstrap. When the series returns, I'll be continuing to review Bootstrap with the next 10 lessons in Free Code Camp's course. The next Bootstrap project is a jQuery playground which will give you an opportunity to play around with new concepts as well as concepts already featured in this series.


Images belongs to The Original BritishPandaChick.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

The Evolution of Snow White

Last month marked the 80th anniversary of the Disney animated movie Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Disney celebrated the milestone with limited edition merchandise at the Disney Store as well as collaborating with Saks Fifth Avenue in New York City on a holiday window display. Saks Fifth Avenue transformed their windows into moments from the movie. When the display debuted to the public, Disney had a huge party in front of the store with appearances from Snow White, the prince, and the seven dwarfs. Disney put on a performance with Disney Channel star Sofia Carson singing "A Smile and a Song".

Saks's window display wasn't just recreating scenes from the movie. One of the highlights within the display were special gowns inspired by the movie. Each dress was made by a notable fashion designer. Disney Style put together a video feature about these dresses. The video includes interviews with a few of the designers that were a part of the event, sketches of the gowns, and close ups of the finished dresses.

Disney's version might be one of the most recognizable and famous version of the fairy tale, but Hollywood is always looking for fresh ways to tell the story. In 2012, Snow White was the inspiration for two live action interpretations of the story. Snow White and the Huntsman and Mirror Mirror battled at the box office with two different versions of the story. Disney was watching the attention these movies got and soon announced they will be remaking Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs as a live action movie. They are also added plans to make another live action movie based on another Brother Grimms fairy tale Snow White and Rose Red.

Today's post is celebrating Snow White by looking at how story has changed throughout the years into different movie and TV adaptations. I will particularly look at what creators do to create their version of this fairy tale to life for audiences. I'll also explore how filmmakers uses these adaptations to fix some of the criticisms directed towards this fairy tale in order to make it relevant for new generations.

Fairy Tale, TV Adaptations, and Movies

Snow White has been adapted into countless adaptations that this post can't cover them all. Instead, I will look at a select number of adaptations alongside the original fairy tale published by the Brothers Grimm.  If you haven't read the original fairy tale, you can easily find this version online. One of my favorite websites is SurLaLune Fairy Tales. This website has tons of information on all different fairy tales with retellings, books, and even images. Click here to read the annotated version of the fairy tale.

Click here to read the annotated fairy tale on Sur La Lune Fairy Tales site

Today's post will reference only the adaptations I've seen myself. Here is a list of the movies and TV shows I'll be using.

  • Disney’s animated movie Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
  • Snow White and the Three Stooges
  • Fairie Tale Theatre Snow White
  • Goodtimes Entertainment Snow White
  • Snow White: The Fairest of Them All
  • Once Upon a Time (Seasons 1-6)
  • Mirror Mirror
  • Snow White and the Huntsman

Interested in seeing any of these adaptations?

You can find all these adaptations at your favorite place to get movies or online. Many of these movies and adaptations are available on Google Play Store, I-Tunes, and Amazon to stream on your mobile devices. You can also try looking at Hulu to see what movies they offer.

Movies such as Mirror Mirror and Snow White and the Huntsman are often aired on TV or will be played On-Demand. Check your TV provider for channels such as FX (Snow White and the Huntsman), FreeForm (Mirror Mirror, Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs), and Disney Channel to see when these movies might be aired next.

Plot Summary

Once upon a time, a good queen was sewing by the window when she pricked her finger. Some blood dropped onto the snow and the sight made the good queen long for a child with black hair, blood red lips, and skin and white as snow. Soon the queen gave birth to a baby girl which she named Snow White. Unfortunately the queen died soon after.

The king decided to remarry again and this time the new queen was the complete opposite of his first wife. She was vain and wicked. She cared only about her looks and one of her favorite things to do was consult a magic mirror. Every day she would ask the mirror who the fairest in the land is. At the time the mirror would reply she was the fairest land which pleased the new queen.

As time passed, Snow White grew older and prettier each day. One day, the queen consults her mirror and the mirror has a different response. The mirror instead says that Snow White is the fairest in the land. This answer enrages the queen and soon her jealousy grew to hate towards her step-daughter. Determined to be the fairest one once again, she decides to get rid of Snow White. The rest of the fairy tale shows what the queen would try to get Snow White out of the picture from ordering her huntsman to kill her to the iconic poisoned apple.

Reflections on Snow White

If there was a fairy tale in desperate need of a makeover, I would have to recommend Snow White. Snow White itself may be a basic story. Brothers Grimm followed the example of many storytellers at the time to just record these tales instead of adding details.

I get a feeling they knew these tales would be told over and over again so they wanted to write a version that would serve as a blueprint for future creators to follow. Therefore the original fairy tale doesn't get too much into detail and development. Instead they left things vague so it  would be up to the imagination of the audience or more importantly the storyteller to fill in the gaps.

Snow White is a fairy tale I never quite enjoyed as much as Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast. A lot of my criticisms of this tale are the exact ones you have of this tale. One of my biggest issues with the story is how Snow White doesn't really act as a protagonist. I always considered her a supporting character since she's not doing much other than cleaning, cooking, then later sleeping in a glass coffin.

Most of the attention was given to the queen and her attempts to deal with Snow White. This unknowingly made the queen a much more interesting character than Snow White herself which is the character Brothers Grimm wants readers to connect with. I found this hard to do since I always felt I never got to spend enough time with this character to see why she's the fairest one of all. When these moments do happen, they aren't very long since the story quickly returns to the queen.

Over the years and with the help of technology, filmmakers began adapting this fairy tale in movies and TV shows.

At first most of the movies were focused on just retelling the classic story. These movies weren't trying to make too many changes but instead concentrated on staying true to the tale so audiences knew what was going on. It wasn't until Disney's version was released that Hollywood started getting the courage to transform this simple story into a complex tale audiences could become invested in. Disney's Snow White was further revolutionary for Hollywood since it was the first full length animated movie ever made which would inspire more filmmakers to other ways of telling stories.

So why was Disney's movie such a hit? There are plenty of reasons why. However I think it is mostly due to the editing and work that was put into the story. The story was what would make or break this movie and Walt Disney knew this meant changing the story. Therefore the writers agonized over moments throughout the movie and what would help tell the story. Documentaries on the DVD and Blu-Rays show some of the ideas they initially used but eventually cut because it didn't help the story. Some of the changes Disney made included the queen only giving Snow White the poisoned apple instead revisiting the cottage with laces and combs as well as true love's kiss at the end.

Although Disney was revolutionary, it wasn't perfect. Despite the changes, it still keeps as true to most elements of the story. So some of the problems from the original fairy tale still make it into the Disney movie unfortunately. Now in all fairness Disney did try to fix some of these problems since Snow White has some hints of character development. However Disney had to pick and choose what he could spend his time and money on so this was most likely the factor why certain elements are developed while others weren't.

After Disney's version, filmmakers seemed to be less cautious and began playing around with these classic stories and doing their own twists on the tale. Some did copy Disney while others tried to avoided it as much as possible. Over time, these adaptations began solving issues with the story that Disney himself wasn't able to achieve in his own adaptation. These changes have been adopted in other adaptations that have followed and become important parts filmmakers need to include. I'm taking at a closer look at some of these changes below.

Expanding on relationships between characters. 

Audiences learn more about Snow White's father in some adaptations and the relationship he has with his daughter. Some show audiences what happened to him. Snow White and the Three Stooges actually use the king's death as a transition point for Snow White's story. She is seen before his death happy and adored by her subjects only to be seen later imprisoned in the dungeon by her stepmother hidden away.

One of the relationships almost always developed in all these movies is the relationship between Snow White and the prince. While Disney had them meet by the well in his movie, this encounter was just them saying hello to each and the prince singing to Snow White as she hides upstairs in a tower. It isn't a whole lot of screen time to build a relationship. This is similar with the Goodtimes version where Snow White meets the prince while she's running through the woods and she's most telling him to let her go when he asks her what is wrong.

Love at first sight is often the approach adaptations do have since that is how Snow White and the prince fall in love in the fairy tale. However other adaptations have tried building a more realistic relationship for this couple. Disney finally figured out how to do this with the couple on Once Upon a Time. Snow White and Prince Charming represent true love throughout the series, but the writers force the couple to spend time with each other and let them get to know with each other. The quests they do and conversations they have end up creating a deeper relationship than what the original fairy tale offers.

Character Development

Character development gets much better in later adaptations with characters getting back story on who they are and how they ended up the way they did. Once Upon a Time does this very well with their characters. Regina is one of the fan favorite characters thanks to how the writers told her story and showed what led to her being the evil queen as well as what she did to redeem herself later in the series. Throughout the series the various versions of Regina reinforce the show's idea that evil is something created, not inherited from birth.

Now filmmakers can't go too crazy with character development. They know they can't change everything about a character since these are well known characters from stories everyone knows. Therefore many filmmakers just keep the qualities people associate with these characters in place while adding new character traits and qualities to make them connect with modern audiences. Snow White and the Huntsman took a different approach by expanding the back story of the huntsman, a minor character in the original fairy tale. The movie offers glimpses into his story and his motivations for working with the queen then later Snow White.

Sometimes character development might not be possible all the characters so these movies double up on the roles a character might have. Many adaptations have a minor character serving as the narrator of the story that opens the movie. Faerie Tale Theater uses the magic mirror as the narrator for this version and tells the audience the story as it is happening. It even offers an explanation why the mirror would suddenly decide Snow White is the fairest of the land by having him see Snow White chat with the queen after he the queen the answer to her daily question.

Fight for the Kingdom

While most of the story is about the conflict between the queen and Snow White, other adaptations have tried adding extra conflicts to pump in more adventure, excitement, and drama into the story. One of the most popular is the struggle for the kingdom. Many adaptations make it clear Snow White is the rightful leader of her kingdom and the climax is actually a fight where the townspeople revolt against the queen. Snow White and the Huntsman is the most recent version to do this with the highlight being Snow White fighting the queen.

They aren't the first movie to do this. Snow White and the Three Stooges does something similar by having the prince rally the kingdom to attack the castle. This scene provided lots of action in the story and gave spotlight to the prince. It also resulted in the introduction of a brand new character Count Oga who is the queen's biggest ally and the one often managing the kingdom her for. Oga is mostly there as an antagonist for the prince, but his character does offer a voice to the people in the kingdom which he communicates to the queen. The audience learns through his conversations with the queen how the rest of the kingdom feel about Snow White and concerns they have.

Mirror Mirror has a similar situation in this movie. While Snow White and the Huntsman focuses on the queen using her title to help in her quest to stay young, the queen in Mirror Mirror mostly concerned about keeping the throne so that is why she keeps Snow White hidden away and later arranges for her to be killed. This movie has Snow White seeing how things have changed in her kingdom and the way her people suffer under the queen's reign. There is even a scene between the queen's manservant Brighton collects the taxes from the town's leader who tells him that the townspeople won't be able to handle the queen's taxes much longer.

Fairy Tale Mash Ups

While most adaptations keep the elements people often associate with this fairy tale, that hasn't stopped them from borrowing from other fairy tales and stories. Filmmakers often trying mashing up different stories to expand the story or develop characters. Mirror Mirror borrowed a bit from Robin Hood for the seven dwarfs. The dwarfs are thieves that mostly steal money from people traveling throughout the woods, but ultimately end up stealing from the queen in order to give back to the townspeople.

One of the most famous mash ups is Once Upon a Time. The TV show mixes different fairy tales with Snow White. This helps explain what else happened to these characters during the fairy tale. After fleeing from the huntsman, Snow White ends up meeting her good friend Red from Little Red Riding Hood before she met the seven dwarfs. When she needs help defeating the queen, she often seeks out Rumplestiltskin for help and makes deals to get what she needs.

Some mash ups don't go to the lengths Once Upon a Time does, but they do borrow elements they like from other fairy tales. Snow White: The Fairest of Them All borrows from quite a few fairy tales including Snow White and Rose Red, another fairy tale featuring a different version of Snow White. Fairest of Them All borrows the beastly suitor from this fairy tale and weaves it into their own story. When the prince rebuffs the queen, she uses her magic to transform the prince into a bear. The bear-prince often tries to follow Snow White throughout the story. When he does find Snow White, his bear form allows him to lick through the ice she's frozen in, breaking both her curse and transforming himself back into human.


Snow White isn’t just about making a perfect retelling of the original fairy tale. Modern adaptations weren't just about focusing on addressing the problems within the story itself. Filmmakers were looking at ways to modernize the story while figuring out how to make this story work visually. Fairy tales are often stories which tell readers what is happening so readers can imagine what these moments are looking like. This is a challenge filmmakers still struggle with when they adapt classic stories since they need to be clear with what is going on without talking down to the audience.

What is your favorite version of Snow White? Share your favorite in the comments below.


Disney Style post Saks Fifth Avenue Snow White post
Disney Style coverage of Saks Fifth Avenue reveal
Oh My Disney post Snow White Central Park
Oh My Disney 10 Mind Blowing Facts About Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
Oh My Disney 11 Things You Didn't Know About Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs


Video does not belong to me. Video belongs to Disney Style.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

My Coding Journey: How to Center Text, Build Buttons, and Create Mobile Responsive Images

Copyright 2018 BritishPandaChick

The series My Coding Journey is back and ready for 2018. Last year, I demonstrated how HTML & CSS is used to create static websites. You even got a chance to build different projects using your new skills with Codeacademy and Skillcrush. The last post in this series was all about building the bonus project from Skillcrush 101. This project was based on a design comp Skillcrush provided for students to recreate. Click the link below to take a look at how I built this project.

===> Click here to see Rogue Pickings Bonus Project post

Today we are starting off the new year by moving to Free Code Camp to learn about Bootstrap, a responsive CSS framework. Bootstrap makes it possible for developers to make your HTML elements fit on all different screen sizes without creating a separate mobile version of a website. That is the beauty of responsive design! You just need a little bit of code to design for any size screen you want.

In this post, I'm going to go over the first ten lessons of Free Code Camp's Bootstrap section from the Front End . You can follow along using your own Free Code Camp account. Just sign up for a free account on the Free Code Camp website. Once you made your new account, click Map in the navigation. Look for "Responsive Design with Bootstrap" and click to see all the lessons in this course. Just click the first one and follow along with the rest of this post.

I will also be using CodePen to recreate the sample Cat Photo App project used throughout the course. Feel free to take a look at this project if you would like to look at a bigger example. I recommend using this project to minimize and maximize the window size to see how this site would look on different screen sizes.

Aren't ready for Bootstrap? 

Keep practicing HTML & CSS with any of the coding posts featured in the My Coding Journey series or use any of the other resources in the links section. You can also review HTML & CSS with FreeCodeCamp's HTML & CSS section of the Front End Development certification. This section covers most of the topics featured here on The Original BritishPandaChick and gives you chance to practice coding some more.

How to Add Bootstrap

Bootstrap is easy to add to any website or app. In your HTML file, you will add the following link inside your head tag.

<link rel="stylesheet " href="//"/>

If you are using CodePen, it is even easier to add. Inside your pen, click on the gear icon in the corner of the CSS work space. This will take you straight to the pen settings with a variety of different tabs. Click on the CSS tab. Scroll to the bottom where you will see "Add External CSS" where there are two gray bars (see the image below). In this section, go to quick add and pick Bootstrap 3. Save and close when you are done.

Copyright 2018 BritishPandaChick

1. Use Responsive Design with Bootstrap Fluid Containers

The first lesson is nesting all the HTML elements in a div tag with container-fluid. Container-fluid changes a fixed-width grid layout into a full-width layout. All you need to do is change the class name to container-fluid. If you look at the sample project's editor or the Free Code Camp editor, you should see this.

<div class="container-fluid">All your content</div>

When I look at the preview of my site, the elements nested in between the container-fluid class will extend to the full-width. or fill the entire width of the page.

2. Make Images mobile responsive.

Developers can use a little bit of Bootstrap to make images fit the width they need for a website. All you need to do is add img-responsive class to your image tag. It should look like this:

<img class="smaller-image thick-green-border" src="" alt="A cute orange cat lying on its back.">

When the computer reads this class, it will make your images change to fit the width of the page.

3. Center text with Bootstrap.

Bootstrap doesn't make elements fit a specific width we are looking for. We can even do a little of bit of CSS styling. If you want to center your text, you just need to add the class text-center to any text tags you want centered. In the cat photo app, I'm going to add text-center to my <h2> tag. When it comes to adding more classes to any tag, I will just separate them with spaces. If you look at my code, it should look like this in your text editor:

<h2 class="red-text text-center">Cat Photo App</h2>

If you take a look at the site, the headline two will be in the center of the page regardless of what size the screen is.

4. Create a Bootstrap button.

One of the greatest things about Bootstrap is creating buttons. Bootstrap buttons are unlike the HTML buttons because they let you add a little bit of style. To create a button with Bootstrap, use the <button> tag. Give the button tag a class name btn like this example below.

<button class="btn">Like</btn>

Inside your <button> tags, add the button text. When you check your site in the browser, you should have a button with the text inside.

5. Create a block element Bootstrap Button.

Once you have a button on your site, you can start customize it to look a specific way. I'm going to change the width of the button using btn-block class. Buttons with the btn class will be only as a wide as the text you want for your button. In the Cat Photos App, the word "like" makes the button as wide as the word.

When I add btn-block class name to a button, the button will now stretch to fill the entire page horizontally. Any elements that follow will move to a new line below. Free Code Camp wants students to think of a button taking up 100% of the available width. Just make sure you don't delete the btn class. You should see the following in your text editor.

<button class = "btn btn-block">Like</button>

7.Taste the Bootstrap Button Color Rainbow

This lesson is the start of a few lessons on changing the button color. Right now the button on the Cat Photo Site is gray. Bootstrap has classes which will let you change the color of buttons. First class is btn-primary. This changes the button color to blue. A developer might use btn-primary for buttons that users need to take such as liking a picture or tweeting a quote on their Twitter feed. Just add this class to your button and run your code. Your code should look like this:

<button class = "btn btn-block btn-primary">Like</button>

The button color should now be a blue color. Notice how I'm putting spaces in between my class names? As long as you put spaces between the class names, you can add as many class names as you want.

8.Call out optional actions with button info

Another class you might use for your buttons is btn-info. Just add this class after btn and btn-block then check your site in the browser. Use the example in the btn-primary example for reference. The button will now be a lighter shade of blue. Developers can use this class to help call attention to other actions users can take. This a great class to use on buttons that are less important, but other actions a user might be interested in taking.

9.Warn your users of a dangerous action

The final important button class to know is btn-danger. This class lets users know the button does a destructive action. This might be cancelling an account to deleting something from the site. When the btn-danger class is added to your button, the button will be red when the code is run.

10.Use Bootstrap Grid to put elements side by side.

Want to put your elements into rows? Bootstrap uses a grid system which makes it easy for developers to do this just by using a Bootstrap class. This is often added to a div element and can customize the element's relative width. Below is a illustration which shows what a 12 column Bootstrap grid layout looks like.

Copyright 2018 Free Code Camp

So what do these abbreviations mean on the illustration? First there is col-md. This is the class that is being used. Col is the abbreviation for column. Md is short for medium. Md is used for the screen size. So the md would help adjust the width for a medium size screen while an xs would adjust for a smaller screen size. After the md, you would put a number. When computers read this code, the number lets it know how many columns wide the element needs to be.

For example, let's say I want to make a button 3 columns wide for a laptop computer. I would give the button class "col-md-3". This lets the computer know the button will take up 3 columns. Try this on your cat photo app with "col-xs-4". When you run your code, the buttons will be smaller, taking only 3 columns for each button.

The last important Bootstrap class I'm covering today is row. When you give a class row, all your elements will be lined up in a row. Do this with your buttons and they will side by side.

Time to stop for today!

Congratulations! You completed the first 10 Bootstrap lessons in the Free Code Camp Bootstrap course. We covered some of the important fundamental skills of Bootstrap such as adding it to a website and how the Bootstrap grid system works. You learned how Bootstrap classes work and how to use them to make buttons for a website. Feel free to take a look at my pen of this project here and play with the window size to see how this affects the site elements.

Now that you know a little bit of Bootstrap, take a week to practice these new skills on your own and build some projects. When the My Coding Journey series returns, we will be back to Bootstrap. This time I'll show you how Bootstrap can be used to replace CSS, using Font Awesome icons for our buttons, and giving some style to the form in the Cat Photo App.


Mozilla Developer Network


Blog graphic and CodePen image belongs to BritishPandaChick. Bootstrap diagram belongs to FreeCodeCamp.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Game of Crowns by Christopher Andersen

It has only been the first few days of 2018, but I'm starting off the new year looking at some news that happened in 2017. In November 2017, Kensington Palace officially announced Prince Harry's engagement to American actress Meghan Markle. American audiences know Markle for her role in the TV show Suits. Their wedding is set for May 18, 2018 at St. George's Chapel at Windsor Castle. After the wedding, the couple is expected to live in a cottage on the grounds of Kensington Palace.

Right now, Markle is currently living in London and has only made a couple of public appearances following the announcement. The most recent appearance was on Christmas Day where she joined the royal family as they walked to church. Kensington Palace hasn't shared too much information about Markle's plans as a member of the royal family. Right now reports describe Markle doing preliminary royal training and is working on becoming a British citizen. It is undecided right now if she will retain her American citizenship once she is officially a member of the royal family.

Copyright 2018 BritishPandaChick
The world might not know all the details, but the engagement announcement stirred up plenty of different reactions on social media. It has even drawn comparisons between Markle and Grace Kelly, another famous American actress who married into royalty. Markle's addition to the British royal family is starting a brand new chapter and dynamic in the Windsor family. Regardless of how you feel about the British royal family, you have to admit the women in the Windsor family are significant figures in the family.

Author Christopher Andersen explores this in his 2016 book Games of Crown. Games of Crown might sound like it is a spin off of the popular TV show Game of Thrones, but this book takes a deeper look at three of the most important women in the royal family. These women are Queen Elizabeth II, the Duchess of Cornwall, and the Duchess of Cambridge.

Today's post isn't a normal book review often seen here on this blog. Game of Crowns isn't just telling the story of these three women. This book is meant to take a deeper look at each and show a side the public doesn't see. Andersen describes how these women are really like when they aren't in front of the cameras, how others perceive them, and what impact each has on the monarchy. In this post, I'm going to look at how Andersen depicts 4 key women in his book and share some important points Andersen makes in the book or has shared in interviews while the book was released.

Who is Christopher Andersen?

Andersen is an American journalist and best selling author who wrote Game of Crowns. Anderson has worked for Time Magazine. He has written for lots of other publications from The New York Times to Vanity Fair. Chances are you might have seen him on TV since he's been on several shows on different networks.

He has written lots of books, earning recognition for the "controversial biographies". Two of his most famous biographies include The Day Diana Died and The Day John Died. He's written about a variety of people from American presidents to members of the British royal family. He's even written other books that examine the relationships of some of the most recognizable couples in the world from the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to Barack Obama and his wife Michelle.

Where can you find Game of Crowns?

You can get this book at your local library or buy the book. This book should be available at your favorite book store or online. I got my copy at Books a Million last year. The book is available as an audio book. Check your favorite audio book provider from Audible to I-Tunes.

Andersen, Christopher. Game of Crowns. New York: Gallery Books, 2016.

Reflections on Game of Crowns

The summary of Game of Crowns looks only at the three significant members of the royal family. These women are Queen Elizabeth II, the Duchess of Cornwall (Camilla), and the Duchess of Cambridge (Catherine). While the book does concentrate on these three women, I always felt Princess Diana is still a key player in the Game of Crowns even after her death in 1997.

Below I have compiled some of my favorite takeaways from the book. Each section has four points about each woman. These are things Andersen examines in the book, points that were highlights during Andersen's promotional tour for the book, or just different sides of a story the public might know.

Queen Elizabeth II

She is the queen, but Elizabeth is the head of the Windsor family. Andersen does a lot of balancing with his depiction of the queen in his book. He doesn't necessarily show her as good or bad. If anything, he creates a picture of a queen who is always putting the crown first and constantly thinking about what is best to the monarchy. Elizabeth isn't a fan of change, but she knows all too well that it takes only one thing to completely bring down the entire monarchy.

1. The ups and downs of Elizabeth's relationship with Prince Charles

A large portion of the book focuses on the queen's relationship with her son Prince Charles over the years. As she gets older, she is starting to give more responsibilities to Charles. On the surface, they might seem close. However things haven't been easy between Elizabeth and Charles. This can be things with Camilla or Charles leaking a story about his delight if Elizabeth died.

One of the most interesting points Andersen hints throughout this relationship is how Elizabeth might be responsible for why Charles became close with Camilla. Elizabeth became queen when Charles and his sister Princess Anne were just young children. As the new queen, she was very busy so she didn't see her children very much, leaving them in the care of nannies or governesses. Although she did make adjustments to make things easier for her kids, it still made things hard for her kids especially Charles.

Andersen talks about how Charles just wanted love and warmth from his own other. He particularly recalls the way the queen greeted Charles when she returned from a commonwealth tour. Her distance as a parent had Charles forming attachments with anyone who would give him the comfort he needed. This is why he became close to his governess Mabel Anderson, his great uncle Lord Louis Mountbatten, and eventually Camilla.

Now Charles has praised his mother on camera for her accomplishments as any son would. Yet behind the scenes, it seems as if Elizabeth and Charles just didn't understand each other. The queen herself didn't understand Charles's behavior most of the time. Conflicts between this mother and son would only continue as Charles got older with his marriage to Diana to his entire relationship with Camilla. As a matter of fact, Camilla is often the subject to issues between these two with Andersen pointing out several staged moments Elizabeth acknowledges Camilla.

2. Queen didn't always hate Diana.

It is easy for the public to think Elizabeth didn't like Diana. Movies like The Queen show some of the sentiments the queen and the rest of the royal family could have thought about the late princess. However Andersen shows that the queen did genuinely like Diana and didn't see her as a problem until much later. Elizabeth approved of Diana and was genuinely in awe of her for how she handled the press throughout Diana's marriage to Charles.

While Diana and Charles were still married, Elizabeth did what she thought was best trying to help Diana with Charles as well as prevent a constitutional crisis. Andersen recalls one meeting Diana had with Elizabeth over Charles and Camilla. When she asked the queen what to do, Elizabeth honestly told her she didn't know what to do. She only added that her son was "hopeless" as any consultation to Diana on her situation. She would later talk to butler Paul Burrell about Diana where he tried explaining to the queen they were communicating differently to each other.

Diana didn't really start to get on the queen's bad side until she began dating heart surgeon Hasnat Khan. Although she was divorced from Prince Charles and not considered a member of the royal family, the queen continued to keep tabs on the princess. When she learned Diana was considering marrying Khan, she consulted with her advisors where they told her the ramifications that would follow if Diana married Khan especially on Prince William. This immediately changes those feelings from sympathy to viewing Diana as someone who was trying to drag down the monarchy.

After that, Diana and Elizabeth were at odds with each other. The queen felt Diana was sharing too many of the royal family's secrets so she began to retaliate against her. One of these cases was at the Ascot where the queen included Andrew Parker Bowles and Camilla to join the royal family inside the royal enclosure. Their relationship never recovered after that and the remaining time of this fight continued until Diana's death with the queen constantly on alert for any "sneak attacks" Dian might have on the royal family.

3. The 5 Year Courtship Decree

Elizabeth famously made a speech in 1992 talking about how she wouldn't be looking back with any pleasure on this year. Windsor Castle caught on fire while three of her four children were getting divorces. These divorces weren't a good thing for the monarchy which was seen in the reaction people had about repairing Windsor Castle. Elizabeth didn't want to open the state rooms of Buckingham Palace, feeling it would takeaway "the mystery of the monarchy". However it was something she agreed to in order to pay for the repairs and please her critics.

Within the royal family, Elizabeth made her views about courtship clear to all members of the royal family. Following the scandals in 1992, she made an unofficial decree that all royal courtships will be longer with the couple dating at least five years. She felt five years was enough time for the couple to get to know each other and learn about each other. It also would be a way to prevent future scandals from happening and divorce. Basically it would prevent future Wallis Simpsons from happening.

Times are changing and divorce is seen differently in the family with two of her children remarried. Yet it seems royals might be taking the queen's decree to heart with Prince Edward began dating his now wife Sophie, the Countess of Wessex in 1994. They would announce their engagement in 1999. Prince William and his wife Catherine dated for 8-9 years until he proposed October 2010. He had made clear a few years earlier he wasn't in a rush to marry and wanted to be much older when he did.

The thing about rules when it comes to the royal family is that they change over time. Members of the royal family had specific standards to look for when it came to choosing a potential partner. However those standards have started to relax over the years seen particularly with Prince Charles's marriage to Camilla in 2005 to even now with Prince Harry's upcoming to Meghan Markle (the couple has been dating since 2016). Elizabeth has treated these relationships much differently from her response to her sister Princess Margaret and Captain Townsend's relationship. The queen might be wary of any change and is traditional, but she isn't afraid adapt the standards and rules over time.

Diana, Princess of Wales

Princess Diana may not be one of the main players in Game of Crowns, but Andersen depicts her as one of the best players in the game. The world may know her best for the shake ups she brought during her time as the Princess of Wales. The royals might have seen her as a threat to the monarchy, but they underestimated the influence she would bring. Andersen talks a great deal about Diana in his book so it made sense to include her in this post.

1. Diana admired Charles and Camilla's relationship.

The world knows Diana's story and the drama that came with her entire relationship with Prince Charles. Diana didn't like Camilla, but she understood the relationship between her ex-husband and her biggest rival. While her own relationships were a mess, she saw the many strengths of their relationship and seemingly accepted their bond. Andersen hints that their relationship might have served as a model to Diana on what she might look for in her own relationships.

It is uncertain if Diana was trying to find a relationship just like Charles and Camilla's, but she used them as example to give wisdom to her son Prince William. When he was fifteen, Diana gave him some advice on what he should look for in a potential partner. Charles and Camilla were the perfect example on what William needed to look for and how precious it is. This lesson was most likely very meaningful for him since this was most likely the last advice Diana gave him before he died. Diana was an important influence on his life so it might have played a part in all his relationships with women especially with his wife Catherine.

2. Diana's crushes on celebrities and famous figures.

When Andersen promoted the book, one of the highlights was on all the women Charles had romantic relationships with and his crush on Barbra Streisand. However some of the most interesting crushes come from Diana. At specific parts of the book, he talks about some of the people Diana liked during her lifetime. Unlike Prince Charles's crushes, he actually uses quotes from conversations Diana had with two of her hair dressers Natalie Symonds and Tess Rock which share her thoughts about these men as well as the women in their lives.

One of Diana's biggest childhood crushes that carried over to adulthood was Tom Cruise. Cruise would later invite Diana to bring William to Pinewood Studios to watch him film Mission Impossible. Diana told Symonds and Rock about her crush, but Andersen shares her thoughts about Cruise's wife at the time Nicole Kidman. She told them that she wouldn't mind if Kidman was "out of the way" since she could feel Kidman's eyes on her every time she was around Cruise.

Cruise wasn't the only crush Diana had. Prince Pavlos was another big crush. When he married his wife Marie-Chantal Miller, Symonds recalls Diana's devastation of the news. Another big crush Diana had was on then President Bill Clinton. Diana thought he was "incredibly sexy". However she observed his behavior around his wife Hillary Clinton. She would later tell Symonds and Rock how clear it was who "wears the pants in that family".

3.Attempt to erase Diana from royal history

There are plenty of controversial claims made in this book, but the one that really surprised me was when Andersen described how the royal family was doing their best to erase Diana's influence over her sons William and Harry. Following Diana's death, the royal family started to "Windsorize" the two princes. This meant barring people who the princes had known all their lives from seeing them. These people ranged from close friends to family. When people tried contacting William and Harry, they were given the same excuse of the princes being "unavailable".

Andersen hints the sudden rush to erase Diana from history comes her funeral where her brother famously made his eulogy criticizing the royal family. During this speech, he vowed that the princes' "blood family" would guide them just as much as Diana had. This comment raised the alarm for members of the royal family since following the funeral calls were vetted by the palace to the princes and the princes were spending more time doing things the upper classes did in comparison to the experiences Diana tried to give the boys when she was alive.

Over the years, the attempts to erase Diana's memory continue with Andersen saying the royal family purposely avoid mentioning her. There has been criticism towards the royal family over this and Andersen says her actions seem to support the negative reactions towards the queen. Her decisions to reject Diana tributes only have given more evidence to her critics. He hints that this could be due to Charles and Camilla. There have been plenty more ways the royal family tries to erase Diana from history, but Andersen says it can't be completely done since Diana's death almost brought down the entire monarchy. The queen still remembers what happened in 1997 and is absolutely 100% careful to never say anything wrong about Diana to the public as well as around William and Harry.

Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall

Andersen dedicates quite a lot of the book to Camilla and her impact on the monarchy. The picture he paints is very negative which shows a manipulative woman who is good a playing to the camera and exerting her influence over Prince Charles. Yet no matter how much she climbs, she often is reminded where she really ranks in the family and how Elizabeth truly perceives her.

1. Camilla's role in William and Kate's 2007 break up

This claim may not seem too surprising since the tabloids and press often talk about Camilla's jealousy towards Kate. This point is one Andersen often talks about when he was promoting Game of Crowns. Andersen does mention that Camilla liked Kate and even admired her. However he quickly points out that Camilla can be quite a snob. While she was nice to Kate, she felt she was good enough for Prince William particularly due to her family's working class history. Camilla felt William could do better than Kate and marry someone from an aristocratic family or rather someone from the aristocratic friends Camilla and Charles have. This is something she had been campaigning for years and felt it was her duty to William.

Although Camilla might have admired Kate, Andersen says Camilla often felt threatened by Kate and was jealous of her. He particularly cites this in occasions where Kate wasn't invited. One was Camilla's 2005 wedding to Prince Charles where Andersen quotes a long time friend's answer to why Kate wasn't invited to the wedding. By 2007, William wasn't sure what to do about his relationship with Kate so he naturally went to his father for advice. Prince Charles advised him to break off the relationship now rather than keep Kate waiting around for him to be ready.

So how does Camilla fit into this break up? Well Prince Charles didn't know what to say to William. Before he gave his opinion, he asked Camilla for advice. This is something he often does throughout the course of their relationship on everything. By this time, Camilla was disgusted with how much attention William and Kate's relationship was getting and immediately jumped on the opportunity to break them up. She just told Charles that this was the smartest choice to make. Charles was reluctant about telling William to break up with Kate. He did like Kate and was often her biggest supporter in the royal family. However he succumbed to Camilla's influence and told William his opinion which lead to the couple breaking up for a short time.

2. Camilla chose Diana for Charles.

Camilla didn't just give Charles opinion on important matters. Andersen says she actually recommended her archrival Diana to Charles as a wife. When it came time for Charles to think about settling down, he asked Camilla and his other mistress Lady Dale Tryon or "Kanga" for help finding a proper wife for the future king. The two women met up at Bolehyde Manor and began brainstorming a list of suitable choices for Prince Charles. They each came up with three names and Diana's name was the only one that they were both able to agree on. Tryon recalled the conversation, saying that Camilla told her she thought Diana looked frightened, but she didn't look like she would create any trouble.

Andersen goes over some of the qualifications Camilla, Lady Dale Tyron used to help figure out who was best for the job as well as how Diana fit those qualifications. Once a decision was made, they gave their choice to Prince Charles. Soon after that Diana began appearing on the royal calendar with the first royal date soon after the list. Yet Charles was still hesitant about Diana. It would ultimately take the extra encouragement of the queen's private secretary at the time Robert Fellowes and the Queen Mother to help the prince see Diana was the best candidate for the role.

Even with the extra encouragement, Charles still wasn't uncertain about marrying Diana and still wanted to marry Camilla. Yet his parents especially Prince Philip were putting pressure on him to marry and start producing heirs. Charles consulted with Camilla often after these exchanges and tried getting her to leave her husband despite them knowing it wouldn't have been possible. She instead reminded Charles that Diana was young and wouldn't suspect anything from happening. If she did find out, Camilla was confident she'd accept it as a part of royal life. This seemed like the final bit of encouragement Charles needed to hear since shortly after that he asked the queen for her approval and proposed to Diana.

3.Camilla's car crash

Andersen often talks about how manipulative Camilla can be so he doesn't paint a positive picture of her. The book has plenty of events and situations which peel off the layers of Camilla's carefully crafted image. One of the incidents Andersen talks about in the book is a car crash that got Camilla in the newspapers which depicted her as the heroine saving the driver. This happened a couple months before Diana's death and after critical meetings with the team who would make over Camilla. It turns out there was a different side to this story that was never told and that comes from the driver of the other car Carolyn Melville-Smith. When Melville-Smith did learn who the driver was and saw the story in the headlines, she immediately set the record straight.

In Melville-Smith's account, Camilla was speeding towards Prince Charles's Highgrove estate where she plowed into Melville-Smith's car, forcing the car down a ditch. Melville-Smith called for help, but no one helped her. Although Camilla did look at her car, she instead ran away where she was found later by the Royal Protection Officers sitting by her car smoking a cigarette and crying. It would take other motorists to help Melville-Smith and call for help. Following a breathalyzer test, Camilla continued to Highgrove while no one told Melville-Smith who was the driver that hit her car.

The authorities were looking into charging Camilla for reckless, but they never happened. At the time they were investigating the crash, Diana died in a car crash in Paris. Andersen says this is due to Diana's death, but hints it was mostly due to Camilla's connection to Prince Charles. He even hints that at the time of this car crash, Camilla was already working on her own plan to marrying Charles and becoming a member of the royal family. The car crash incident was just one ways Charles was trying to manipulate the public's perception of Camilla.

Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge

When it comes to discussing the Duchess of Cambridge, it seems like Andersen had a hard time finding things wrong with her. She may not get as much attention as the other women in the book, but Andersen regards her as the breath of fresh air the monarchy desperately needed following the scandals the royal family had been dealing with. Most of Andersen's criticisms are towards the duchess's mother Carole Middleton who influenced her daughter throughout her relationship with Prince William.

1. Catherine didn't want to go to St. Andrews.

One of the rumors about Catherine is her decision to go to school based on William's announcement to attend St. Andrews. Andersen hints this is most likely the case thanks to Carole Middleton. Carole wanted her children to attend the right universities since it would get them to meet people with the right connections. When Catherine was deciding where to attend school, she wanted to attend University of Edinburgh due to their arts curriculum. Catherine and Carole visited the school and agreed it was a good choice. Catherine liked it because of the art history program while Carole liked it because of the rumors Prince William would be attending after his gap year.

When Carole learned that Prince William was attending St. Andrews and one of Catherine's classmates from Marlborough was attending, she encouraged her daughter to attend St. Andrews.
Catherine wasn't convinced. It took Carole visiting her daughter during her gap year in Florence that St. Andrews was the right choice since included an opportunity to be near the future king. The rest is history. Catherine decided to attend St. Andrews and soon met Prince William. They soon became good friends.

Well there were many things that helped them become friends, Andersen hints that one of the reasons why Catherine and William got very close was due to their mutual feelings about St. Andrews. Both were planning on telling their families during Christmas break they weren't happy and wanted to transfer to University of Edinburgh. The idea of Prince William leaving St. Andrews after one semester would be a disaster for the royal family and reputation. The royal family struck a deal with St. Andrews to keep Prince William happy (along with a brand new hunting rifle from Prince Charles). Meanwhile Carole told Catherine the prince's departure would damage his reputation and said all William needed was his friends at this time.

In the end, Catherine still was a big influence in William staying at St. Andrews. It just wasn't quite the way the story we have been told. Andersen says Catherine would later tell William that he should try making the best of St. Andrews. If he still wasn't happy in the end, he could leave and she would follow. Andersen says that she even told him that University of Edinburgh was her first choice all along.

2. The Middletons are Team Diana.

Although Catherine never met her late mother in law, Andersen says Catherine and her family have always been supporters of the late Princess. Andersen says the family wasn't a fan of the idea Prince Charles marrying Camilla. Andersen describes a conversation Catherine's grandmother had with a neighbor which spelled out the family's sentiments about the royal family. While at school at Marlborough, Catherine talked with her classmates about the royal family's heartlessness towards the late princess and of course sympathy for William and Harry.

Catherine's adoration of the late princess still continues to this day. Remember Catherine's comments about Diana from her engagement interview? Andersen seems to believe Catherine meant those comments she made and they show in the actions she's taken since that interview. Catherine made sure Princess Diana's presence was felt at her wedding with Diana's favorite flower lily of valley used in bouquets and planters along the nave of Westminster Abbey. When pressure was starting to be put on Catherine to support her own charities following her wedding, she once again turned to Diana for inspiration. Just look at some of the charities Catherine supports. Some are charities that even Diana supported when she was a member of the royal family.

Diana continues to be a role model for Catherine and we've seen this in how she raises her children to how she acts when she makes public appearances. Andersen notes that Catherine easily connects with everyone she meets just like her late mother in law was able to do. This time the queen saw the value in it and embraced it to keep the monarchy alive.

3. From anti-hunting to a hunting enthusiast

In order to fit into the royal family, Catherine had to make some adjustments in order to fit in and most importantly show she could fit in with their world. This is due to her mother's influence but mostly the lessons she learned from being around the royal family for the first time. Andersen uses the first shooting party Catherine attended as a example. The Middletons didn't do any of the hobbies the royal family enjoy especially hunting. Catherine shared Diana's views on the sport.

When she was invited to Sandringham in 2002, William offered to give her some tips. Catherine hesitated, but agreed. This is mostly due to Carole who reminded her daughter before she gave her answer how rude it would be to refuse his offer and how important shooting was to the royal family. It is uncertain if Catherine had extra lessons before she went to Sandringham, but Andersen seems to imply she might have some training since the comments others made about her were lots of praise. This praise was an indicator of things to come with Catherine being invited later to Balmoral.

By the time she got to Balmoral, Catherine had learned her lesson from her experiences at the shooting party and the powerful the outdoor hobbies were to the Windsors as well as royal life. I think she also took a lesson from her role model Princess Diana and the consequences that come from rejecting those hobbies. At this time, she let William teach and guide her in other outdoor activities. This helped her not just improve her relationship with him but impressed members of the royal family.


Games of Crowns shows that there is tons of drama happening behind the scenes of the royal family with secrets one of the most photographed families in the world doesn't want the public to know. The key players Queen Elizabeth II, the Duchess of Cornwall, and the Duchess of Cambridge show they are powerful influences on the family. Once Meghan Markle officially joins the family in May, this means more drama among the women in the Windsor family.

If you are interested in the royal family or love non fiction, you should read this book. This book will definitely open your eyes to what the royal family is really like. Andersen's book might not be completely true based on the claims he made despite his sources and chapter notes. But it is clear his book is a reminder to all that being a member of any royal family isn't easy.

What did you think of Game of Crowns? Share your thoughts about the book in the comments.


Image belongs to BritishPandaChick.

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