To You Both

To You Both Photo of a Christmas card displayed in a Covent Garden shop window.

To You Both
Photo of a Christmas card displayed in a Covent Garden shop window.

London.  December 9th 2013.  I stood in front of an old curiosity shop window in a Covent Garden lane.  I was killing time, waiting for London Graphic Centre to open at 10 so I could buy pencils.  The centrepiece of the window display grabbed my attention.

A lone Christmas card “To You Both” stood on a stand which was covered in “Alice in Wonderland” paper.  The card would have been approximately 30 years old.  It was a photograph of Prince Charles, Princess Diana and their new baby, William.  The printed message was “With all Good Wishes for Christmas and the New Year”.  The card was signed by Charles and Diana.  Probably a secretary had hand-written the other five words…”to you both”, “from” and “and”.  Charles and Diana had only to sign their names; both chose to underline them.

Looking at that card made me feel melancholy.  I stared at the youthful royal faces smiling back at me.  Was it all show even then…putting on public faces for a private Christmas card?  How did this private correspondence become public?  I wanted to know the life of the card itself; how to you both became a display for ALL OF US.  What secrets do you keep, Card?

Remember reading about princes and princesses in fairy tales?  Many of them ended with “and they lived happily ever after”.   Many of us thought that Charles and Diana were cast in a fairy tale back then.  Youth, beauty, wealth, royalty, celebrity…they look enchanting to be sure.  History has told a sadder story.  Now we ask – how could we have been so silly?

Just this week I heard that William (the baby in the photo; now grown up), Kate and baby George, are coming to Australasia next month.  They will be visiting Wellington, Sydney and Canberra.  Imagine the magazines, tv channels and newspapers going into overdrive!  They are probably having emergency meetings right now about the impending visit.

William and Kate are a real prince and princess of today; they really ARE a fairy tale.  They are in love and will live happily ever after….  Won’t they?

Below are four photos I took of Charles and Di in 1986 at a polo match, Windsor.  Diana looks haunted now – but that is with the wisdom of hindsight.

Charles on one of his polo ponies.  (They were playing Argentina.)

Charles on one of his polo ponies. (They were playing Argentina.)

Diana is led out.  Never mind the polo.  Everyone just wants to photograph HER, including me.

Diana was led out. Never mind the polo. Everyone just wanted to photograph HER, including me.

A close-up which shows her NOT to be having tons of fun.

A close-up which showed her NOT to be having tons of fun.

Everybody waited for the performance of the royal kiss.  Cameras went mad.

Everybody waited for the performance of the royal kiss. Cameras went mad.

When we see the photos and footage of Kate and William next month from Australia and New Zealand, let us hope that they really are enjoying themselves.  To You Both!

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About juliepodstolski

I am a realist artist who works in coloured pencils.
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15 Responses to To You Both

  1. Jonathan Beauchamp says:

    Great post, love your narrative. Would also love to know what Secrets the card keeps!

    • Hi Jonathan! It makes you wonder, doesn’t it. Perhaps the ‘you both’ generation died and their kids were selling off items which meant nothing to them? Or maybe the ‘you both’ themselves had had enough of holding on to this. I think it a great shame to want money for something like this, though.

      • Jonathan Beauchamp says:

        Agreed, seems like something that should be kept in a family, or dare i say it in some kind of memorial to a fairy tail we wanted to believe in. The nice thing is your post has achieved just that.

  2. Jody says:

    Another admirer of your writing style.

    Perhaps the ‘you both’s’ relationship went the same way as Charles and Di?

  3. It is an enigma isn’t it? Something so personal, and yet not personal at all, no specifics of who it was for. The person getting rid of the card can have no attachment to it, or just sees the opportunity for a bit of cash. And who would buy it? A collector of royal memorabilia I suppose. But hindsight is a weird thing – now we can look at all the indicators and say that relationship was doomed from the start, but not too many people were saying that back in 1981. I got married that year, and we are still going strong! We can hope that lessons were learned from their experience, and the extra 10 years that Kate has had to mature will be of benefit to William and Kate and their little boy.

    • Yes, Anna, you’re right. It is personal and yet not at all personal. It occurred to me too that nothing extra was written on the card; no little side-note to the you-boths. It also occurred to me that there is a genre of Christmas card which is the family portrait or at least, portrait of the kids – that some people send out every year. Sometimes an annual Christmas letter goes with it. Perhaps this one had an annual Christmas letter too – maybe typed on a separate sheet. Yet somehow I doubt it. Anna, Matthew and I got married not so long after you; 1983, and we are still going strong too. Sometimes it may be helpful NOT to be royal, but just normal.

  4. Barbara moore says:

    Julie, you need to add “author” , as well as “artist”, after your name. Your writing is very good. A very interesting topic stemming for an observer.

    • Barbara, what a very nice comment for you to make. I thank you, while at the same time saying that I never think of myself as an author. However, I’m certainly smiling at your kindness!!!

  5. Great shots, julie…how did you get such a privileged veiwing position….better than paparatzi shots! x

    • Hi Camilla, Matthew has English relatives who, now and then, attended the polo at Windsor. They TOOK US. We were so excited. We had a fantastic day; picnic lunch, saw the pageantry of the pipers and horse guards – and – Emily who was only two managed to get one of the polo balls when it bounced off the field. We kept that ball for years. Between games, we knew there would be photo opps so I made beelines for the right area and got into position. That was one of the best days of my life!!!

  6. stefan2009 says:

    Yes, I hope the history won’t repeat.

  7. elisa ruland says:

    I adored that woman!

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