Thursday, May 31, 2018

When you play pretend ...

On the One Show, BBC

Today's Wall Street Journal has a fascinating and enlightening article on "Thomas J. Mace--Archer Mills, Esq, said to be an expert on the British monarchy.

I have never heard of Mace-Archer-Mills although I discovered he follows me on Twitter.  I apparently had a brief introduction in June 2016 before the Garter ceremony as he was with Victoria Howard.

The Crown Chronicles Blogger, Victoria Howard, with Thomas James Muscatello in June 2016 before the Garter ceremony at Windsor.  @Marlene Eilers Koenig

He caught attention during the recent royal wedding as he appeared as an expert on several networks, including BBC and Norwegian TV.

(In full transparency, I also did several BBC and ITV interviews while in London, as well as an interview with Ukrainian TV and numerous print interviews leading up to the wedding.)

If you click on the link, you learn that Thomas Mace-Archer-Mills is not British.  He tries too hard to speak Received Pronunciation -- the Queen's English -- and the affectations in his speech are noticeable even to my ears.

As it turns out,  Thomas is not British.  Doesn't even have British ancestry.  His real name is Tommy Muscatello and he is from Bolton Landing, New York.  Bolton Landing is on Lake George, named in 1755 in honor of King George II.

Mr. Muscatello runs the British Monarchy Society, which one blogger claims is the  "the UK's premier Monarchist organization."

I have my doubts about this organization as being the premier monarchist organization for a number of reasons, including a lack of support from serious historians.

 The 38-year-old Muscatello also appears to have allegedly spurious contacts.  Why?   Royal historians do not act in such a manner.   Where is the scholarship?

Take a look at the list of Patrons including the Grand Patron.  A true expert on royalty would be keeping their distance from a German reality TV personality.

 Scroll down further to see other patrons, including Nigel Farage.

Spuriouser and spuriouser ... (not a real word, but it works here.)

His biography is padded with references to numerous degrees (he has bachelor's degree from Coastal Carolina University in South Carolina.  He is a self-promoter, not a royal historian.   Several directories list Thomas James Muscatello, 38, living in Boynton Beach, Florida.    Thomas' father, Thomas Muscatello, is a registered voter in Palm Beach, Florida.

I am American and I am a royal historian.  One does not become an expert on a particular subject without a lot of studying and reading.  One can be American and an expert on the British monarchy, as there are Britons who are experts on our political system.   I am saddened and disappointed that Muscatello makes use of numerous artifices to claim that he is a royal historian.  True historians do not feel the need to create a triple-barreled name to worm their way into a position for which they are not qualified.

He has parlayed a fraudulent background into a "career," although the WSJ article does not give information on how he pays the bills in the UK.   He states that he is applying for British citizenship.  I wonder how the Home Office will look upon an application that may be based on fraudulent claims.

I only hope that his "colleagues" and partners were unaware that Mace-Archer-Mills was not his real name.   Otherwise. they would be complicit in his duplicity.

Mr. Muscatello gives credence to the term "ugly American."  We do not need to pretend to be anyone but ourselves.

One does not become an expert overnight.  I am nearly 64 years old.  My interest in royalty began as a teenager.  I was already writing in my 20s, but I certainly would never have called myself an expert at that time.  It can be a slog, reading nearly everything, delving into different topics, building a personal library of books, images, and clips. I am a rare historian who has clip files covering British and European royalty that go back to the late 1800s.

You will find my name in the acknowledgments of  numerous books from Hugo Vickers, Greg King, and Philip Ziegler, among other eminent writers, to Kitty Kelley (she attended one of my Smithsonian lectures in the 1990s.)

I am angry that an American pretended to be British to acquire a status as an alleged historian.  I have been doing this royal thing for many years and I have never pretended to be anything but who I am: Marlene Koenig, who uses Marlene A. Eilers Koenig for bylines.   I speak with a mid-Atlantic American accent.

The Guardian has now weighed in with a new report.  This tale reminds me of another American, Harold Brooks-Baker, who shifted a few facts around, too, as an alleged "royal expert."

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Alexis and sisters arrive at Ekaterinburg

Embed from Getty Images

May 28, 1918 (reported May 30)

Alexis Romanov, the only son of the former Emperor Nicholas II, and his older sisters, have arrived in Ekaterinburg, according to an Associated Press dispatch from Moscow.

Ekaterinburg is on the "Asiatic side of the Ural Mountains."

The former Emperor and Empress have been Ekaterinburg for several weeks after they were removed from their exile on Tobolsk in Siberia.   They were brought to Ekaterinburg after "the reported discovery of a conspiracy to bring about the escape of Nicholas."

Alexis, who is in ill-health, remained in Tobolsk until he was strong enough to travel.

Monday, May 28, 2018

Day 8 A walk through the parks and not really ready to go home

After breakfast, I grabbed the camera, and headed out for one final walk before I had to leave at 12:30 for the airport.   I visited St. James's Park and Hyde Park.  I had wanted to stop at a supermarket to buy a few jars of Teasers spread but met up with several wild parakeets at Hyde Park.  This was after I had talked to squirrels and ducks in St. James's Park.

 By the time I got to Bayswater Road, it was too late to go to Tescos on Edgeware Road.

Usually, I see swans heading toward this bridge

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