TIME United Kingdom

Watch Prince William Wish China a Happy New Year in Mandarin

The Duke of Cambridge will visit China in March

Prince William gave his best wishes for the Chinese New Year in Mandarin in a video broadcast on Chinese television

After a brief greeting, the British Prince concluded his message in Mandarin. “I wish you a happy Chinese New Year and good luck in the Year of the Sheep,” he says, according to a Xinhua translation.

The Duke of Cambridge will arrive in Beijing on March 1 to launch a cultural exchange program as the two countries aim to mend ties that were upset in 2012 after Prime Minister David Cameron met with the exiled Dalai Lama. Chinese President Xi Jinping is expected to visit Britain later this year.

TIME Style

The White Dress That Changed Wedding History Forever

Royal Couple
Rischgitz—Getty Images Queen Victoria and Prince Albert on their return from the marriage service at St James's Palace, London. Original Artwork: Engraved by S Reynolds after F Lock.

175 years ago, Queen Victoria introduced a new era of bridal standards

Wedding traditions may have relaxed in recent decades, but one thing stays the same: the bride wears white. Sure, there are plenty of options out there for the iconoclasts among us. But as of last year, colored gowns accounted for only 4 to 5% of sales at popular retailer David’s Bridal.

Like any number of traditions, the white wedding dress comes to us straight from the Victorian era—in fact, from Queen Victoria herself, who was married to Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha on this day, Feb. 10, 175 years ago. Yet when she chose white silk-satin for her wedding, the choice was almost as iconoclastic as it would have been for Catherine Middleton to walk down the aisle in scarlet.

Red was in fact a very popular color for brides in Victoria’s day, but the young queen broke with the status quo and insisted on a lacy white gown. Members of the court thought it much too restrained in color, and were mystified that she eschewed ermine and even a crown, opting instead for a simple orange blossom wreath.

Victoria was not the first royal to choose white for her nuptials—several others, including Mary Queen of Scots in 1558, preceded her—but she is the one widely credited with changing the norm. Just a few years after her wedding, a popular lady’s monthly called white “the most fitting hue” for a bride, “an emblem of the purity and innocence of girlhood, and the unsullied heart she now yields to the chosen one.”

Alongside purity and simplicity, Victoria’s gown telegraphed two other important values. She supported domestic commerce by using only British-made materials (a tradition repeated, partially, by Catherine Middleton), and she showed economy by keeping pieces of her dress in her wardrobe for years to come (as most of her contemporaries would have done as well, often simply wearing their best dress on their wedding day, no matter the color or style). Victoria repurposed the lace from her dress again and again, even resurrecting it for her Diamond Jubilee 56 years later.

Today’s brides may not share this thriftiness, but they do take after Victoria in style. With its fitted bodice and full, floor-length skirt, the typical contemporary wedding gown looks a lot more like Victoria’s dress than it does like anything else in the bride’s wardrobe.

Could a modern-day celebrity set such a lasting precedent for bridal fashion? It’s possible, but hard to imagine where such influence would come from. Even Madonna wore white to both of her weddings.

TIME People

The Not-So-Romantic Story of the First-Ever Woman of the Year

edward's abdication
TIME From the Dec. 21, 1936, issue of TIME

Dec. 11, 1936: King Edward VIII abdicates the throne to marry an American divorcee

The most famous love story ever to scandalize the British Monarchy was, in the end, perhaps not quite as romantic as it seemed. Still, no one could deny the sacrifice King Edward VIII made on this day, Dec. 11, in 1936, when he announced to England that he had abdicated the throne to follow his heart.

“You must believe me when I tell you that I have found it impossible to carry the heavy burden of responsibility and to discharge my duties as King, as I would wish to do, without the help and support of the woman I love,” he told his subjects in a radio address the day he became the first monarch in British history to give up the crown voluntarily. (As head of the Church of England, he wouldn’t have been able to marry a woman who was, as TIME phrased it, “a lady with a past.”)

He was demoted to Duke of Windsor and fled Britain almost immediately to join the woman he loved — Wallis Simpson, or “that woman” to Royal Family relatives who scorned the twice-divorced American — in an unofficial exile in France.

But as a romantic gesture, abdication was a tough act to follow.

The shine may have worn off after the couple settled into a quiet daily life away from the pomp and responsibilities of nation-ruling. Or it may have worn off before that: Even while Britain was in uproar over the King’s choice of consort, Simpson told Edward she wanted out. He persuaded her to stay with him.

By some accounts, he did so by threatening to kill himself if she left — then shaming her into marriage by naming her as the reason for his abdication. In That Woman: The Life of Wallis Simpson, Duchess of Windsor, Anne Sebba makes the case that Simpson was still in love with her second husband, whom she had never intended to leave for the King. And she was made miserable by the hostility of the British royal subjects, who wrote mounds of threatening letters and called her “a prostitute, a Yankee harlot, and worse,” according to Sebba.

It wasn’t all bad press, however. While TIME calls Simpson a “citrus-tongued siren” in her 1986 obituary, it also notes that she was “fawned over by fashion designers for her ‘perfect elegance.’ ” And TIME named her the “Woman of the Year” for 1936 based partly on her notoriety, making her the woman in the history of the magazine’s Man of the Year franchise. As the story explained:

In the single year 1936 she became the most-talked-about, written-about, headlined and interest-compelling person in the world. In these respects no woman in history has ever equaled Mrs. Simpson, for no press or radio existed to spread the world news they made.

One can only imagine how much more interest she would have compelled — or how many more sordid details of her messy royal affair would have emerged — in the digital age.

Read TIME’s original coverage of the abdication, here in the archives: Prince Edward

TIME

Helen Mirren’s Coming to Broadway as Queen Elizabeth II

Young People And The Performing Arts - reception
Dominic Lipinski — WPA Pool/Getty Images Queen Elizabeth II meets with Dame Helen Mirren (R) at a performing Arts reception at Buckingham Palace on May 9, 2011 in London, England.

Elizabeth II, Round III

Helen Mirren will grace Broadway with her third portrayal of Queen Elizabeth II, after filling seats and bagging awards from her previous performances in the movie The Queen and the London play The Audience.

Her majesty’s traveling road show will come to New York on February 17 of next year, where Mirren will reprise her award-winning performance in the London production of the The Audience, the Wall Street Journal reports. The play re-imagines private meetings between the queen (the real one, not Mirren) and 12 prime ministers over the course of her 60-year reign.

Mirren won an Olivier Award for her sold out performances in London as well as an Oscar for her performance in The Queen.

[WSJ]

MONEY First-Time Dad

The One Thing Prince George Won’t Get for His Birthday

Britain's Prince George is seen ahead of his first birthday
John Stillwell—Reuters At just 1 year old, Britain's Prince George is still too young to know just how different he is from other tykes.

Despite limitless funds, castles, and loving parents, Prince George will never own this one thing.

Today Prince George, the first son of Prince William and Kate Middleton, turns 1 year old. By all accounts his first birthday party will be tasteful and reserved for a select group of friends and family. The pomp quotient will be at a minimum.

Of course, when your great grandmother is the Queen of England, your dad is a prince, and you are third in line to become the king, the term “friends and family” takes on new meaning. Likewise, a small get-together at the house is something else altogether when that house is a 20-room apartment.

My son, whom I write about in this space most Mondays, is not the third in line to become the King of England, and isn’t currently the prince of anything. (Don’t tell his mother.) While Luke is only narrowing in on the second half of his first year, it is difficult not to feel a touch of parental inadequacy when you compare yourself to royalty.

For instance, we don’t have $41 million to bestow upon Luke. Nor can the Family Tepper abscond from muggy New York City to New Zealand and Australia for a summer vacation—although we did trek down to St. Petersburg, Fla. Luke will never be named the “World’s Most Eligible Infant,” despite his killer combination of Byronic looks and joie de vivre (at least in this journalist’s unbiased opinion). And that’s because he’s the child of relatively ordinary parents.

Yes, there is a whole stratum of experiences forever beyond Luke’s grasp because he wasn’t born into higher stock.

At the same time, though, there is one thing that we can give Luke that no royals can give their offspring. He will, by and large, live a normal life. And Prince George will not. Which is unfortunate.

With the castles and private jets and rapacious attention of an unrelenting populace comes a responsibility to become a symbol of, well, something. (I’m American and don’t understand the particular psychology of fetishizing kings and queens and princes.) When every move is studied and photographed and judged and written about, I imagine it would be hard to have a childhood.

The other day Luke and I went to the park. We were surrounded by lots of other families, and we took our place in an open spot in the shade. Luke spent the half hour seated upright, pulling up blades of grass and then toppling over. Our dachshund sat nearby, so when Luke was done with the grass he pet our dog for the first time. I took a picture of the scene and sent it to my wife.

That is where the picture stayed (unless, of course, I chose to use it for this column). The only people who will care that Luke has taken his first steps are his family, not the entire English-speaking world.

While we will never be able to give Luke a palace, we can at least give him that.

Taylor Tepper is a reporter at Money. His column on being a new dad, a millennial, and (pretty) broke appears weekly.

More First-Time Dad:

TIME royals

Prince George Lands Vanity Fair Cover

Prince George on Vanity Fair
BY MARK STEWART/CAMERA PRESS/REDUX

Everything you need to know about the royal toddler's first year

At just shy of a year old, Prince George has snagged his very own Vanity Fair cover. The magazine’s August 2014 issue is filled with all the juicy details about the royal’s first year, including tidbits from “palace insiders” about George’s celebrity status, sleep schedule, “permanently hungry” beginnings, colic and more.

On July 22, it will have been a full year since the world spent an entire day constantly refreshing this page while waiting on Royal Baby updates. In that time, as Vanity Fair’s Katie Nicholl reports, much has happened to little George Alexander Louis. He has moved on to solid foods, received a new nanny and enjoyed endless attention from the public as he toured New Zealand and Australia with his famous parents.

TIME Royalty

Queen Elizabeth II Eyes Iron Throne on Game of Thrones Set

Britain's Queen Elizabeth looks at the Iron Throne as she meets members of the cast on the set of the television show Game of Thrones in the Titanic Quarter of Belfast, Northern Ireland, June 24, 2014.
Phil Noble—Reuters Britain's Queen Elizabeth looks at the Iron Throne as she meets members of the cast on the set of the television show Game of Thrones in the Titanic Quarter of Belfast, Northern Ireland, June 24, 2014.

Though she prefers a corgi to a direwolf

There’s a lot of royalty in Game of Throne’s Seven Kingdoms, but a real life queen — with impressive longevity compared to the monarchs in George R.R. Martin’s books — visited the set of the HBO hit series Tuesday.

Queen Elizabeth II went to Ireland to see the Belfast set and meet with cast members and show creators David Benioff and Dan Weiss.

While the 88-year-old queen, who prefers corgis to direwolves, stopped to admire props, CBS reports that she politely declined to sit on the sword-covered Iron Throne. She’s got one of her own at home:

BRITAIN-ROYALS-POLITICS
CARL COURT—AFP/Getty ImagesBritain’s Queen Elizabeth II (L) delivers the Queen’s Speech from the Throne in the House of Lords next to Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh (R) during the State Opening of Parliament

[CBS]

TIME royals

The Guy Who Married Kate Middleton Turns 32

Prince William may be second in line to the British throne, but he often takes a backseat to his better half. So in honor of his birthday, here's a look back at his life from his childhood with Princess Diana to his debut as a young dad

TIME Royalty

Finding Prince Charming: When Commoners Marry Royalty

After Felipe VI was enthroned on June 19, succeeding his father, media outlets began to frantically compare Kate Middleton, the next Queen of England, with Letizia Ortiz Rocasolano, Spain’s next queen, in a bid to determine who is Europe’s most attractive royal. Their looks aside, what both women have in common is that they’re, well, common. Though their stories might seem unique, they’re not the first commoners to find Prince Charming. In this gallery we take a look at other, ordinary women who married into European royalty.

MONEY Saving

Cheapskate of the Downton Abbey Scene: British Baroness’s Frugal Living Guide

140613_EM_Baroness_1
©Carnival Film and Television Limited —©Carnival Film and Television Limited for MASTERPIECE Downtown Abbey

Yes, even wealthy aristocrats can be total cheapskates. And proud of it!

The July 2014 issue of the British society magazine Tatler has several interesting reads aimed at the upper crust. The articles carry such provocative titles as “Would You Take Your Son to a Prostitute? The Ins-and-Outs of Upper-Class Sex Education” and “How the Middle Classes Ruined Everything.”

Another story also seems to have the aristocratic set in mind, yet it’s getting quite a lot of attention from us schlubs who ruined everything. “How to Run a Stately Home on a Budget” is essentially a frugal living guide from Baroness Rawlings, the 75-year-old owner of a 13-bedroom, 38-acre country estate in Norfolk, currently on the market for around $10.5 million. The baroness’s money-saving tips, which include reusing everything from napkins to bread crust to newspaper and never throwing anything away, have been featured in a host of British publications, including The Telegraph, Express, and Daily Mail.

Lady Rawlings is a strong proponent of growing one’s own fruit, bargain hunting at auctions and on eBay, and leaving warm water in the tub after bathing (it will warm the room at no extra charge). She also takes issue with the common practice of throwing away “horrid little bars” of soap after they’ve been used by guests. “I give my guests a fresh bar,” she said. “But I reuse it afterwards. And it ends up in drawers and cupboards to keep moths away.”

While it may make news that someone so wealthy is simultaneously so frugal, Lady Rawlings is hardly the only person of means to be an unabashed tightwad. Fellow countrywoman the Queen Mother was supposedly too cheap to buy a TV for her Scottish castle, and she refused to replace raincoats that were nearly 30 years old. The frugal tendencies of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles have also occasionally been on display, especially during the tough recession years, when buffets replaced banquets (the horror!).

Some of America’s super rich are also renowned for their penny-pinching habits—most famously, Warren Buffett, who lives a unfancy life in Omaha, Neb., in the home he bought in 1958 for $31,500. This is the man who is CEO of the fourth-ranking company on the Fortune 500. Dick Yuengling, Jr., the owner of Yuengling, the oldest American-owned brewer, is another very wealthy character who refuses to give up his cheapskate ways; he’s been known to drive a 2002 Taurus (bought used) and reuse Styrofoam cups.

The author Thomas J. Stanley has long chronicled the habits of the wealthy, and while the huddled masses may assume rich folks live wildly extravagant, spend-spend-spend lives, the truth is often just the opposite. In one of his surveys from a few years ago, Stanley found out that 75% of millionaires pay less than $20 for a bottle of wine, and 4 in 10 prefer wine that’s $10 or under.

Other studies have found that affluent people tend to use coupons more than those in poverty, and that rich people don’t buy on impulse and prefer quality over prestige in products, among other somewhat surprising habits.

But should these frugal, value-oriented habits really come as a surprise? A prudent, disciplined, savvy approach likely helped these well-off individuals gain their wealth. And without a prudent, disciplined, savvy approach to spending, even the richest folks out there could cease being rich. At some point.

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