Beyond the Byline: Many of us have hobbies; mine is royal watching

By Melanie Mizenko - [email protected] | May 11th, 2016 11:14 am - updated: 11:19 am.

As a journalist, I read constantly. I read newspapers, books and the Kindle app on my iPad gets a workout. I read studies from around the world on all sorts of subjects. I recently read a Society for Personality and Social Psychology study that says having a hobby is good for you.

Some people like pets; others like gardening. I know a whole bunch of HBO “Game of Thrones” fans.

I like royal watching. I know what you’re thinking — ‘Oh, she’s obsessed with those British princes, Diana’s boys.’

Their names are William and Henry (Harry), and yes, I am a tad obsessed. But there’s so much more to the fandom of royal watching.

Unfortunately, I can’t tell you when I became a watcher or how, but I remember finding the Greek wedding of Marie-Chantal Miller and Prince Pavlos of Greece on Youtube long before the wedding of William and Catherine.

There are all sorts of royals, not just British. I’m into the Dutch, Danish, Japanese, Norwegian — the list goes on. More countries than you think have monarchies; some rule (i.e. Bhutan), others don’t (i.e. Great Britain) and some are abolished (i.e. Greece).

Did you know Pennsylvania has a long history with royals?

Wallis Simpson, who married Prince Edward, Duke of Windsor, formerly King Edward VIII, was born in Blue Ridge Summit, near Gettysburg.

Julia Mullock was born in Pennsylvania (although where in the state is disputed), married into the former Korean royal family in the late 1950s to become Her Imperial Highness Princess Julia Lee of Korea.

There’s none more famous than Philadelphia-born Grace Kelly, who married Prince Rainier of Monaco in the 60s.

People around my circle of friends know when something royal happens, I’ve known about it for hours already and can provide details of the event.

Take this past week, for example. Prince Harry was in America because of the Invictus Games (think Olympics for wounded veterans) in Orlando, Florida. If I wasn’t glued to results and photos of Harry, I was talking about him and the games. Tonight is the final ceremony where Rachel Platten and Flo Rida are preforming — you bet I’ll be watching.

I’ve learned to pick up languages by watching live streams of events in other countries. Yes, that means depending on an event time, I may be awake at 2 a.m. or pulling an all-nighter because I want to see King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden’s 70th birthday gala.

But I can say “grattis pa fodelsedagen” which means “Happy Birthday” in Swedish.

There are so many facets to being a royal watcher. I can differentiate country’s palaces. I know the difference between a diadem, a tiara and a crown. I know that if you meet the Queen (of England), the standard greeting on the first meeting is “Your Majesty” and every time thereafter (during that event) it’s ‘ma’am.” On that note, I know there are many queens other than Queen Elizabeth II.

I get frustrated when people call Catherine “Kate” or a princess. Unlike most countries, Britain still requires princesses to be blood. Although I’m working on not getting frustrated over minor details, I am glad people are watching the royals.

On major royal days, like a wedding or a birth, every one becomes a royal watcher, and we, the royal fandom, accept that within a few hours, they’ll be off going about their day, forgetting all about the new prince or princess of a certain country.

So, while you bird watch, go to the gym or paint — all very respectable — I’ll be over here watching Invictus on ESPN.

8/1/2014 The Times Leader AIMEE DILGER The Times Leader AIMEE DILGER

By Melanie Mizenko

[email protected]

Reach Melanie Mizenko at 570-991-6116 or on Twitter @TL_MMizenko