Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Royal Blogger Spotlight: Sophie Ragas

Royal watchers live all around the world and speak dozens of languages. While many royal blogs are written in English, there are a lot written in other languages from French to Romanian.  In terms of overall coverage of royal topics outside of the English-speaking world, the German- and Dutch-speaking nations are definitely at the top of the lists. In these countries, royals from everywhere (not just England) are regularly covered in magazines and on television. There is even regular programming dedicated to royal life. 

So, it naturally follows that some of the best royal blogs out there are also based in these countries. One of the most comprehensive (and highest quality) blogs anywhere in the world is published in Dutch. Despite its English title, All Things Royal is written in Dutch, but Google Translate can certainly help speakers of other languages enjoy it. Originally publishing under the title Sophie's Royal Families, the mastermind behind this site is Sophie Ragas, who lives in Belgium, where both Dutch and French are official languages. All Things Royal covers contemporary and historic royalty, jewelry and palaces. It includes a blog, a section that provides a quick view of information about each modern monarchy and another section about each royal family's jewel collection. As an added bonus, there is also a forum where readers can ask and answer questions.

Our Questions for Sophie Ragas

What inspired you to create a web site about royal history?

It's one of my biggest interests, so when I wanted to learn how to make websites 15 years ago it was a bit of a no-brainer that the subject would be royalty!

What do you find most challenging about maintaining your blog or site?

Finding time to work on the website or to do research. To balance it with my other hobbies and interests is something I need to work at. It is also difficult sometimes to come up with interesting topics.

What do you find most rewarding about maintainging your blog or site?

It keeps me in the loop on the latest news and doing research lets me learn about new things or interesting facts. Sometimes I get compliments about the website, which I appreciate.

What is your first royal memory?

That would be when I was about six and the marital troubles of Charles and Diana began to become public. As a child you divide the world into good and bad, so I was firmly in team Diana.

Who are your personal favorites among royalty? Why?

The late Diana, Princess of Wales. Her connection with people, her charisma and style made me a big fan. Another favourite is Queen Máxima. With her warm and lively personality and love for jewelry it is impossible not to like her!

Sophie's Sites

Sophie also is a member on The Royal Forums, Nobiliana and The Royal Resource.

Where You Can Find Sophie
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/allthingsroyal/
Twitter: @allthingsroyal

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Recommended Blogs: On Tiaras

In my calendar, Thursday is THE best day of the week! Why? Because it is Tiara Thursday on The Royal Order of Sartorial Splendor, which is one of the best loved and most popular blogs documenting royal fashion across all of the royal houses. However, it is not the only blog that spotlights those sparkly tiaras that folks like me just can't get enough of. If you are into all things bright and shiny, and would like to know more about the history of these jewels, I recommend these great blogs:

The Court Jeweller
Just one of the blogs started by Ella Kay, who has been documenting royal jewels and fashion online since 2008, The Court Jeweller draws inspiration for its posts from the jewels being worn by royals each day. On Saturday's, however, you can enjoy "The Saturday Sparkler" focusing on one particular tiara. I also recommend "This Week in Royal Jewels" that is published on Sundays for a nice overview of that week's royal jewelry outings. The Court Jeweller is coming up on its second anniversary. Follow Ella Kay on Twitter: @thecourtjeweller.

The Royal Order of Sartorial Splendor
As mentioned above, OoSS has a tremendous following and one of the most active commenting communities I have ever seen. Dozens of readers engage in lively discussions about each royal fashion/jewelry post. The blog has regular features including Tiara Thursday and Sunday Tidbits, a round-up of royal news from the week. It also runs short-term features like the fantastic Sunday Brooch series about The Queen's iconic brooch collection that ran during the most recent jubilee year. Other frequent but not regularly scheduled features include Tiara Watch of the Day and Royal Flashback of the Day, looking at fashion from years gone by including sometimes the late Diana Princess of Wales. Follow this blog on Twitter: @orderofsplendor.

Tiaras and Trianon
Tiaras and Trianon offers information about Marie Antoinette and tiaras, because why not combine these two topics. Although published less frequently/regularly than the other recommended blogs, it still offers fun glimpses of royal jewels AND it introduces you to some long-gone royals that you won't necessarily find on the others.  Be sure to click on the headlines to get to the really in-depth coverage. This blogger can get a bit "colorful" in her language choices--but it all stems from her great enthusiasm for and creative approach to the topic. Follow this blogger on Twitter: @dauphiine.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Royal Blogger Spotlight: Claire Ridgway

For the first profile in this series, we connected with the mastermind behind The Anne Boleyn Files, a terrific history site that focuses on Henry VIII's second wife, her times and the people around her. Claire Ridgway is originally from the United Kingdom but she now lives is Spain. Like many bloggers, Claire runs more than one site; her other blog, The Tudor Society, focuses more broadly on the Tudor era. These blogs provide a lot of variety: sound historically accurate content, connections to the modern day, book reviews, and links to more resources.

Our Questions for Claire Ridgway

What inspired you to create a web site about royal history?
I've always been interested in Tudor history, having covered it at school, but it was actually a nightmare that started me researching Anne Boleyn's life and setting up The Anne Boleyn Files. In January 2009, I had a dream in which I was a member of the crowd at Anne Boleyn's execution. I can't remember the details of the dream, only the strong feelings of horror and helplessness at what was happening. I woke up, woke my husband up and told him that I was going to start researching Anne's life and that I needed him to make me a website called The Anne Boleyn Files. I then started sharing my research as I did it.

What do you find most challenging about maintaining your blogs?
The time that it takes. I work full-time on my blogs and research and it's not office hours. I work week days and weekends, and sometimes evenings too. However, I love what I do so that definitely makes it easier. It's not just research and writing, it's also handling emails, comments and questions. It's taken over my life but it means that I'm working on what I love.

What do you find most rewarding about maintaining your blogs?
The contact I have with others, be it other bloggers/writers or the general public. It's always heartwarming to hear that my work has helped people with their own research and that people enjoy what I do.

What is your first royal memory?
My first vivid memory concerning my own royal family, i.e. the British royal family, was seeing Prince Charles and Princess Diana drive through my grandparents' town in North Wales just after they had got married. I was a child and was very excited.

Who are your personal favorites among royalty?
The Tudor dynasty because they're who I spend every day with! If you're talking about modern royalty then I'd say The Queen. She's at the age where most people want an easy life, enjoying their retirement, and there she is still working hard for charities and the like. I respect her sense of duty and the work she does. She also seems to have a wicked sense of humour!

Claire's Sites
The Anne Boleyn Files
The Tudor Society

Where You Can Find Claire
Facebook: www.facebook.com/theanneboleynfiles
Twitter: @AnneBoleynFiles

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Calling All Royal Bloggers

Marilyn of Marilyn's Royal Blog is seeking 10 royal bloggers to participate in a comment chain. Participating bloggers will visit the other blogs on the list and leave a meaningful comment on at least one post from each blog during the course of one week, starting June 3.

For more details, visit her post about the comment chain. You can register your participation by leaving your blog name and URL on her post or by tweeting that information to her @marilynsrylblog.

Hurry! Spots are filling up.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Quick Bloggers!

Very few people get a blog devoted to them before they are even a week old, but Princess Charlotte of Cambridge is a VERY, very special lady. The world's longing for a princess to inherit the "magic" of the late Princess Diana was electric by the time Charlotte was born on May 2. It is almost as if we willed her into a existence--although Kate may have a different view of that. The follow-on decision to include Diana among her names (Charlotte Elizabeth Diana) was almost more than we could handle.

So, how can the world keep up with the new princess as she grows into her legacy, for better or worse? Through royal blogs, or course!! And, thanks to the bloggers at the popular blog What Would Kate Do, little Charlotte has already has a blog of her very own, which they have cheekily named Cheeks & Charlie, in honor of her big brother's most famous asset and her own possible nickname.

Post #1 is a general welcome while Post #2 explains the significance of the names of both of these precious royal babies.

Thanks for another great blog, @WWKD_Official and @livelovelaughvr!

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

#GreatKateWait and Royal Baby #2 Fever

As The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge celebrate their fourth wedding anniversary, we royal watchers are eagerly awaiting the birth of their second child. (I'm sure they're excited about it, too, but you don't see them sleeping on the street outside of the hospital or checking for updates every 3.2 seconds, do you?)

Since one of the top Google search terms on my blogs right now is, "has Kate had her baby," I thought I would put together a list for you of some of the great royal blogs where you can find information about the #GreatKateWait.

In the run up to their engagement and wedding, dozens of blogs were launched. Many of them have not been updated in over a year or longer--in fact, I deleted about a dozen from this index today because they no longer exist at all. :(

Nevertheless, there are still many dedicated to Kate and William and others covering princesses or royalty in general that you can look to for royal baby coverage. The good news for all of us (Kate included!) is that this baby will eventually and finally be born. Hang in there! In the meantime, keep up with things on Twitter--click for my list of Royal Bloggers and Royal Journalists to follow. The official announcement will come from the Twitter feed of the Cambridges and Prince Harry, @KensingtonRoyal.

On the all-Kate-all-the-time front, check out:
About William and Kate
Duchess Kate
From Berkshire to Buckingham
HRH The Duchess of Cambridge
What Kate Wore 

In the always-reliable-royal-coverage category, check out:
British Royals
Marilyn's Royal BlogA Petite Princess
Princess Palace (my blog)
Royal Central
The Royal Forums
Royal Musings
The Royal Representative

After the baby's birth, look to these blogs for more coverage:
Kate Middleton Style Blog
Royal Insider
What Would Kate Do

Y si prefieres leer en español:
Coronas Reales on Comer, Viajar, Amar

Ou en français
Reines & Princesses

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Finding Free Pics for Your Posts

It's been a few years since we commented on the ongoing issue of finding good pics to use on your blog. Since most of us are operating with no funding or with limited income from contributions or for ads, most of us who want to use images that are free of cost. (Photos are always available for a fee!) Because of this, some bloggers have run into issues with copyright owners.

For a long time, the photo agencies and the royal houses were not particularly helpful on this issue. Lately, however, they have become much more flexible. Even Getty Images is being kind to our not-for-profit royal bloggers. For this, we are extremely grateful.

Here is a quick (and incomplete) list of some of the resources you can consult when seeking images to use on your blog. Please note that each source requires different recognition, although it generally boils down to citing the copyright owner and/or creator of the work and the site that has made it available. Always be sure to check the Terms of Use.
Getty Images: In my opinion, this is one of the most fantastic developments in royal blogger history. Getty is one of the top news photography agencies in the world. As such it generates thousands of fresh images each day. If photographers are covering a royal that day, Getty is likely to have images. Now you can embed Getty images for non-commercial purposes on your blog or social media accounts free of charge. The only drawbacks is that not all of their images are available for embedding, some photos may become unavailable later leaving an "image not found" message on your page (could be an issue for those who get a lot of traffic on older posts but less of an issue for bloggers who are more current with news and fashion coverage), and you cannot change the size of the image unless you buy a license for it. Access the Getty embed tool.

Some of the Royal Houses now allow bloggers to use images from their sites. However there are restrictions and requirements. For instance, on the Swedish site, you cannot simply grab any photo on the site, but you can use photos from the Press area of the site. They also provide a helpful email address for you to contact if you have questions. However, the British Monarchy web site states that they don't own the copyright of most of their photos, so they can't be used by "media" without prior permission, for which they provide links. They also have a variety of downloadable images for "private use." Follow the links below to view details about image usage from the royal houses:

Swedish Royal House
Norwegian Royal House 
Monagesque Princely House
Luxembourg Royal House
Dutch Royal House
Danish Royal House
British Royal House

Wikimedia Commons: As part of a broader family of web sites, including Wikipedia, that allow public access to upload and edit content, Wikimedia Commons provides access to images that are available for free use by anyone as long as the user complies with the terms of that image's author. Many of their images are also available under public copyright laws. They are available under Creative Commons or Share-Alike licensing. Each image has information available about any restrictions for its use and any required attribution. This site can be useful for finding images of historic royals and locations. (I use it quite a bit for Princess Palace.) It is definitely not useful for news or fashion bloggers. Finally, since this site operates as a wiki, I would offer a "user beware" warning: content can be uploaded by non-copyright holders alleging that they have the right to grant access to the image and information may not be wholly accurate. View What is Wikimedia Commons?

Thanks to the following bloggers for sharing their insights: