Why I Think ‘The Royals’ Is Spot On

This is a story... of thirteen not-so-strangers... destined to live in a house...work together and have their lives ridiculed... to find out what happens... when people stop being polite... and start getting real...The Royals!

This is a story… of thirteen not-so-strangers… destined to live in a house…work together and have their lives ridiculed… to find out what happens… when people stop being polite… and start getting real…The Royals!

The Royals on E! is a portrayal of a modern, fictional British royal family. In real life, the duties of royals includes opening new buildings, smiling for cameras and, of course, looking fashionable doing so. Sans the cameras, centuries ago the royals could actually care less about public duties whilst relishing in their own passions and desires.

George IV werking it in this portrait! #reallyking?

George IV werking it in this portrait! #reallyking

Take George IV, for example. Desperate to get the crown – and the crown’ s finances – as Prince Regent, he laid ground for an era of Jane Austen-esque opulence. He had a penchant for buildings, creating exotic sites such as the Royal Pavilion and laying the foundations for what would become the seat of the Monarchy – Buckingham Palace. He loved lavish parties, priceless objects and jewels, and had no qualms about sharing his bed with someone not his wife. Who he hated. For realz….

The Royals portrays a fictional British Royal Family, led by the fabulous Queen Helena (Elizabeth Hurley), as equally lascivious and decadent. Fictional as they are, in truth English royals over time carried on in such fashions. Charles II was notorious for it. Exiled during the mid-17th century Commonwealth, the future ‘Merry’ Monarch had a child out of wedlock. As King, he would go on to have a total of a dozen royal bastards, granting them and their descendants the highest ranks within the English aristocracy. Outside of Charles’s own circle, his entire Court was known for its unquenchable sexual appetite, its decadence in fashion and interior design, as well as the popularity of plays and theater. Meanwhile, his mistresses not only ruled the royal bedchamber but acted as agents in the game of politics.

Wallis Simpson - Always a Duchess, Never a Queen. #sashayaway

Wallis Simpson – Always a Duchess, Never a Queen. #sashayaway

Centuries later, we see Wallis Simpson carrying on in a similar capacity. The mistress of Edward VIII, the young and charismatic monarch was head over heels, showering her with luxuries no other King-Emperor could buy! Despite being twice-divorced (not allowed), an American ‘commoner’ (looked down upon), and a Nazi sympathizer (really, Wallis?), Edward was so smitten that he gave up his crown to be with her! It was certainly not the last drama to be played in the history of the British Monarchy. Two Three words: Prince & Princess of Wales. (Well, technically four words!) The eldest son of Elizabeth II, Charles married a young, attractive, and shy ‘commoner’ named Diana Spencer. (In truth, Lady Diana’s pedigree had far more English monarchs than the current British royals, most of them descended from Germanic princelings.) Similar to George IV, Charles would become estranged from his wife – who would carry on romances of her own – as the prince chose to keep someone else in his bed. (*coughs* Duchess Camilla *coughs*) The press, forever a stickler for royal drama, had its own role in the PR tug-of-war between Charles & Diana throughout their separation, divorce, and the princess’s untimely death in 1997.

It is the sexy and soapy-ness of royal life that has been a critique of the new E! network show. But would it be so different if they donned powdered wigs and elaborate costumes? Is it that far-fetched from the decadence of distant and not-so-distant royals? At the end of the day, The Royals is nothing more than a bit of fantasy. Fun, silly, and sensuous in so many ways. As an avid viewer of period dramas, and a historian of royal ones, I am definitely ecstatic for this new drama.

After all, art does imitate life, no?

Prince Harry - Our fav Red-Headed Royal since Henry VIII! #carpetmatchestheroyadrapes

Prince Harry – Our fav Red-Headed Royal since Henry VIII!


Charles II


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With this little video I made now reaching near 3,000 views, I think it is time to make a new one. I was thinking Charles II ‘the Merry Monarch’. It may be a slightly difficult task as, unfortunately, my MacBook has been laid to rest. Although working from an iPad may not be entirely challenging, it isn’t quite the same! But I’m always up for the challenge. This new video may be slightly different from my previous one. Well, namely, the music. I want to try and experiment with the juxtaposition of old paintings with modern music. But that is something to write about for another entry.

In the meantime, click on the link above and enjoy!



The Next Step…

I completed forgot about the blog! I am terribly sorry about this. However, safe to say, I GRADUATED! It has been a fascinating project incorporating traditional methods of research, digital/new media and, lastly, having the opportunity to present this exhibit in a physical form. This project, along with the works of two other students, became a display put up at Brockport’s Drake Library. From the concept to the final presentation, that process consumed a lot of time and energy. But at least I learned to improve my Photoshop skills…

So what is the next step for this blog? At first I was thinking, perhaps, maybe I should just be be done with it. But I really loved my work. And it is something I am desperately wanting to do. So, I thought, perhaps incorporate other elements in it. As I have spent the past year learning more about the monarchs, I would certainly like to share my findings. And, with the right chance, I would like to expand on it. To discuss the art of portraying the monarchy. From the past, to the present and, possibly, to the future, talking about the ways monarchs and their coterie (consorts, children and courtiers) are presented to the public audience. 

Truthfully, that takes considerable time. In addition to searching for a short- to medium-term job, I am also prepping for the GREs; writing on my personal blog (FabriceIsTheNewBlack.blogspot.com); and trying to figure out what life is like post-Master’s program. It’s no easy task. If I can’t do weekly entries – daily ones are not up for discussion right now – the goal of making monthly entries is manageable. So, for the readers who have patiently awaited, what would you like the next entry to be about? Charles I? William III? Works by Sir Anthony van Dyck? Leave suggestions below!



Van Dyck & The ‘Art’ of Majesty

Van Dyck & The 'Art' of Majesty

The virtual exhibit is near complete! I am determined to have it done by next Friday, as I will be presenting my paper at a conference. I have decided to focus on the role of Van Dyck in promoting the majesty of the Court of Charles I, and his legacy in inspiring later artists who were commissioned by English royals and aristocrats in the seventeenth century. What do you think?


QR Codes and Audiovisuals



Hello everyone! I have been a bit busy working on designing some displays for the History Department here at Brockport. Need to start somewhere, right? It has been fun, stressful and very valuable for dipping my toes into the field of museum work. One feature I have loved so far is the implementation of audiovisuals and interactive exhibits vis-a-vis QR codes. It really is simple. Users who have smartphones and/or tablets can scan the code and it takes them to a site where they can see more information on the object. Or, in the case of ‘Art’ of Majesty, a video! This has been so much fun and hope you all enjoy. Try it out if you have a phone! (Also, let me know if it is too small to scan.)

One Week to Go!


Happy 2014! 

Though I have had my nose stuck in books talking about the seventeenth (and early eighteenth) century, it is nice to take a little break and give you all an update. So, what’s new? Well, in a week I have to submit my draft. I admit, I was hoping to have a thesis that would not be more than 50 pages (i.e., the bare minimum). Not that I’m lazy (except on Saturdays!), but I thought with running weekly posts on this site and preparing for the digital exhibit I would be excused? As of tonight, I am at almost at the 70-page mark – and still not done! Of course, I am sure some of the pages will be omitted for the second reader. Still, not bad!

I have also been asked to present my paper at a conference in April! Yippee…and a ‘say whaaaat?’ As much as I am excited about the opportunity I am also a bit nervous. Which means a little bit more pressure added to this whole project. Wish me luck!


An Ailment isn’t going to knock me Down!

Oh, the wonders of seasonal illnesses! I’ve been struck down with a minor head cold, with sinuses stuffed beyond my control. Right when I’m getting into the ‘meat’ of this project! I’ve tried my best to not let it get me down, however. Some medication, tea and a hearty meal and I’m back in action. Since I’ve slept all day it looks like this is going to be yet another all-nighter. I have been able to get some research done and add a few pages to my paper. I just hope to this cold to keep moving along so I can be at 100 instead of being at 75!

Fabrice Louis-Broyld