Catherine Middleton

I really don’t have anything to add on the Royal Baby beyond what’s been said by The Onion. The baby’s adorable; good job, England.

But while all England is hung up on this last vestige of monarchy, the real political power in the United Kingdom is busy trying to institute the kind of sexual censorship that would have made Queen Victoria proud. Under the cover of Will and Kate’s baby, British prime minister David Cameron is trying force people to “opt in” to pornography on the internet.

Or to put it another way, he’s trying to censor “porn,” even as he admits that he doesn’t really know how to define it….

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For all of the unnecessary pomp and circumstance associated with the British monarchy, we sure are obsessed with it in America. Perhaps it’s because their gorgeous young royals are great at generating headlines, whether reputable or repugnant. First, there was the royal wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton, an eleventy-billion-hour extravaganza of elegance that our eyes were glued to for what seemed like all eternity. The family quickly dropped nobility’s veil, and just one year later, Prince Harry’s crown jewels and Duchess Catherine’s breasts were put on display in gossip rags for all the world to see. After recovering from tabloid infamy, we are now eagerly awaiting the birth of the royal baby, which is a very, very big deal.

The young royal couple does not yet know the sex of their child, and Duchess Catherine, who wanted to have a natural birth, has been in labor for more than 11 hours. At this point, she’s likely desperate to greet His or Her Royal Highness. Typically, British royalty would be crossing their fingers for a male heir to the throne, but thanks to the Succession to the Crown Act, all of that is going to change…

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Well, that didn’t take long. Those topless sunbathing pics of Kate Middleton only went up a few days ago, and a French court has already slapped the offending tabloid around a little. A judge has sided with the royals and ordered Closer to fork over the pics and a little bit of cash for causing everyone the trouble.

Thank goodness privacy and a sense of old-world decorum have been restored. Except not quite, owing to this little thing called the internet…

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Ever since the royal wedding last April, the male population writ large has been obsessed with Pippa Middleton’s greatest asset. (Seriously, there’s an entire website dedicated to it.) How dare she steal the spotlight from her sister, Kate Middleton, the blushing bride. But now, more than a year later, it seems that the Duchess of Cambridge herself has given British blokes something to inspire late night thoughts in their bachelor pads, albeit inadvertently: topless pictures.

A French magazine, Closer, took the photos while Kate was vacationing with Prince William, and published them in its latest issue for all the world to see. Needless to say, the royals are positively pissed, because this is the third instance of noble nudity in less than a month. Palace officials took a break from their tea and crumpets to threaten legal action for what they’re calling a “grotesque” invasion of privacy.

But given their celebrity status, are the royals really deserving of the same privacy rights as we commoners?

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Ed. note This is the final installment in London-based journalist Alex Aldridge’s series of stories for Above the Law about the royal wedding of HRH Prince William and Kate Middleton. You can read the prior posts here and here.

Well, they got married.

Best man Prince Harry remembered the ring. None of Wills’ disgruntled exes opted to speak now rather than forever hold their peace. And Kate — who has been made a Duchess rather than a Princess — even smiled. So now for the party!

Unless, that is, you work at one of London’s U.S. law firms, where lawyers staffing American deals are missing out on the public holiday everyone else in Britain is enjoying. “There are no celebrations here,” one cheery soul told me this morning in that weird Madonna accent Yanks acquire when they’ve been in London too long.

Don’t worry, though, the joke will be on us on next week, when we enter the existential crisis that customarily follows royal hysteria.

“What the hell happened there?” we’ll mutter, warm beer still on our breath.

“Oh no, we’ve only gone and got over-excited about that bunch of royal weirdos again,” we’ll groan, as we remove our commemorative Wills & Kate mugs from view and pour our tea into alternative vessels.

“Why do we, the country that brought the world the rule of law, have a royal family at all?” we’ll wonder indignantly, gnashing our yellow teeth and feeling a touch murderous….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Royal Wedding: A Legal Look (Part 3)”

Ed. note This is the second in a series of posts that Alex Aldridge, a London-based journalist who covers legal affairs, will be writing for Above the Law about the upcoming royal wedding of HRH Prince William and Kate Middleton. You can read the first post here.

In Britain, middle-class people who don’t know what to do with their lives have the option of trying to wed a royal.

If that doesn’t work, the situation is much the same as in the US: they become lawyers. A case in point is Prince Harry’s on-and-off girlfriend, Chelsy Davy, who will begin a traineeship with “Magic Circle” law firm Allen & Overy in September, having failed to secure the ginger hell-raiser on a permanent basis. Had Kate Middleton’s 2007 split with Prince William proved final, our future queen — whose ex is an in-house lawyer — may well have gone down the same route.

Needless to say, royals don’t do law. It’s too aspirational. They don’t even sue; one lawyer who has had dealings with The Firm once told me (in jest, possibly): “The royal family don’t take people to court, they kill them.”

Perhaps this explains why they’re so keen on the military: Wills and Harry have followed family tradition by going into the air force and army, respectively. They probably won’t stick around long, though. Like Princes Charles and Andrew before them, the pair will soon be eased into a middle age of government handouts and state-provided housing. Royals, bless ‘em, are basically very rich poor people.

So is a union between a very rich poor person and a member of the middle class likely to work?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Royal Wedding: A Legal Look (Part 2)”

Ed. note This is the first in a series of posts that Alex Aldridge, a London-based journalist who covers legal affairs, will be writing for Above the Law about the upcoming royal wedding of HRH Prince William and Kate Middleton.

So, you wish you had a royal family, eh?

Judging by the content of your media, royal wedding fever is even hotter in the US than in the country to which Wills and Kate belong (that’s the United Kingdom, by the way, for the 90% of you without passports who think London is in France). To an outsider, it seems you’re doubting the wisdom of that decision you took to go independent from your colonial forebears and start a republic.

You knew almost before us about the Kate Middleton jelly bean, the emotional pre-wedding visit to Diana’s grave, and the plans of our many extremist groups to hijack the big day in an assortment of eye-catching ways.

But I have stuff you don’t have: namely, on-the-ground insights into the mood of the British legal intelligentsia….

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Breaking: Scion of fatuous family which contributes absolutely nothing to society chooses a mate.

Sorry, if we were living in Britain, that sentence would have read “Prince William to wed Catherine (Don’t call me Kate) Middleton.”

Thank you, George Washington, for saving me from the horror of actually having to care about the British Royal Family. Obsessing over the Britney Spears is much more respectable. At least she can dance.

But there is an interesting wrinkle to the massive waste of time, money, and ink about to be spent on the royal nuptials. For the first time, U.K. laws would appear to hold pre-nuptial agreements enforceable. Which leads to the obvious questions: should the royal couple sign a prenup?

I think the answer is yes, and not to protect the crown jewels from a spurned future Catherine. See, it turns out that Kate Middleton is a “commoner” only in the insulting, archaic, British sense of the word….

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