Why Endogamy Is Important

It is, because otherwise you'll get faces like THAT:

For comparison purposes, I have added a couple of other royal faces:

The real thing! (And haven't we all forgotten how beautiful she used to be?)

To become the ultimate royal: Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon with her father, the 14th Earl of Strathmore & Kinghorne.

The Duke and Duchess of York on their honeymoon. The Royal Family fell for the fatal fallacy that if it worked once with the daughter of a nobleman, it would once again.

The Princess Royal shamelessly prettyfied by Patrick Lichfield. A royal face? Definitely!

Now for the in-laws:

A royal face? Maybe just not, but infinitely better than ...

... that!

Sarah Ferguson? You must be joking. Three epithets describe her best: Vulgar, vulgar and vulgar. The result? See above and in the News of The World.

Sophie Rhys-Jones? Not quite, but good enough, considering.

Some lesser royals:

The Duchess of Kent née Katharine Worsley. Landed gentry as old as the hills and infinitely more respectable.

The Duchess of Gloucester, née Brigitte van Deurs. This Danish middle class girl looks exactly the part. In fact, she could be, with her pleasant, very slightly horsey features, a Princess of Prussia.

Princess Michael of Kent, formerly Mrs. Thomas Troubridge, younger brother of Sir Peter Troubridge, 6th Baronet, née Marie Christine Baroness von Reibnitz. Undoubtedly beautiful, there is nothing wrong with her in this picture as long as one isn't bothered by such a "cute" gesture. However, that and the ultra-demure wedding dress makes me want to quote Goethe: "Intent is noticed and one is annoyed." When I first saw Princess Michael on television, I was stunned. How could a women in such a position and that beautiful be quite THAT vulgar? Her voice, her coquettish demeanour -- it's literally painful to watch her. Her upper class credentials are a bit, well, shady, her conduct does nothing to falsify that. Her royal in-laws call her "Princess Pushy" and the Queen is said to have dubbed her "A bit too grand for the likes of us".

It is difficult to pinpoint what bothers me about her. Here we have Princess Michael (right) together with Camilla Duchess of Cornwall (center) and Princess Alexandra of Kent, The Honourable Lady Ogilvy (left) at the Guards chapel in London on the occasion of the memorial service for Lord Lichfield in 2005. To me, she looks incongrous among the two other royals. Is that because she is not English? Maybe, but I doubt it.

I tried to be honest and did NOT go for unflattering pictures of the women I dislike and vice versa. Can we draw any conclusions from the result? I think so. Beauty has very little to do with it, prettyness even less. What about character? The Queen Mother had a backbone of tungsten carbide, which strongly showed in her handsome face, as has, in a less obvious way, her daughter. Diana was as hard as nails, which is not the same. However, she wasn't, at least not naturally, vulgar, was attractive and had true star qualities, which she decided to use to harm the family that made her. The two middleclass women, Sophie Rhys-Jones and Brigitte van Deurs, whose marriages to royals are, for all we know, still intact, have features that are not beautiful but handsome and which speak of character, spirit and a sense of humour, as does the face of the Duchess of Cornwall. So is there a guideline that might be helpful for those who are in the predicament of having to pick a royal wife? Maybe. Parentage is maybe less important than we assume, attractiveness sometimes even counterproductive. Look for the faces, dear courtier and dear royal out to find brides. Character stands for staying power when the going is rough, spirit for the absence of vulgarity, and a sense of humour for a person who will not place herself above her duty.

I asked some time ago What makes a Gentleman? and found that almost as difficult to pinpoint.