Welcome to The Anglofile, a weekly newsletter about the United Kingdom from two people who… live in America.
We are Eva and Allie, two New Yorkers who share a longtime appreciation of the delights and absurdities of British history and culture, in particular the royal family. Once a week, we will celebrate (and occasionally skewer) bits and bobs about our beloved kingdom across the pond. We will feature interviews with genuine English people and answer important questions like: "What is a pasty?"
Windsors and Losers
We aren’t judgmental. We just think it's fun to rank the royals.
From the Horse’s Mouth
This is a column where we ask a British person about British things. This week's authentic British person is Kimberly A., a director of video for Vogue (American, not British - but we forgive her) and alumna of Prince George and Princess Charlotte's pre-school, Thomas's Battersea, in London. Regrettably, Kimberly was many years ahead of the future king in school.
Referring to the traditional British tea and coffee break around 11 a.m., here are 11 ways we are indulging our unchecked, borderline problematic love for the U.K. from abroad this week.
Who Is ______ ?
Great Britain is a tiny island with a disproportionately large number of sort-of-famous people no one in America has ever heard of. In this pointless weekly column, we will introduce you to Britain’s most beloved extremely minor celebrities.
Phillip Schofield is the most famous person in the world. We know this because back in Februrary when he came out as gay the British press dropped all other news to devote itself full time to the Phillip Schofield-is-gay story. It was bigger than Bregxit, bigger than Megxit, at the time it was bigger than Corona.
So who is this guy?
Schofe, as he’s affectionately known in his homeland, is the longtime co-presenter of ITV’s This Morning, which is The Today Show with better accents. He hosts alongside Holly Willoughby, his good friend and another British celeb of inexplicable fame.
“With the strength and support of my wife and my daughters, I have been coming to terms with the fact I am gay,” Schofield said in his statement. “This will probably all come as something of a surprise,” he went on, incorrectly.
Schofe also hosts Dancing on Ice and has been a familiar face on British telly since the early ‘90s. He’s interviewed leaders and superstars, and just last week, the internet lost its mind over a segment he and Hols did with the Duchess of Cambridge.
In addition to his regular Twitter account, Schofe has a second Twitter devoted entirely to wine and spirit content (we knew we liked him!) and he recently released a line of boxed wine with supermarket chain Waitrose, described as “super fruity with a fragrant nose, and just a little spice."
How Do You Pronounce Cholmondeley Anyway?
In which we spend at least 20 minutes researching a topic and release the findings here.
Mustique is not part of the United Kingdom (or even the Commonwealth, what a pity!), but the Caribbean island has been on my mind since reading Lady in Waiting by Anne Glenconner, former lady-in-waiting (think unpaid assistant but royal) to Princess Margaret. Glenconner was the wife of Colin Tennant, who famously developed Mustique in the 1960s and turned it into party central for Margaret and her celeb friends. Tennant proved to be a real piece of work when he left his estate to a gentleman friend — instead of his family — when he died in 2010. But Colin’s wild, unique life is a story for another time.
Glenconner published a sanitized version of what went down on hedonistic Mustique during her husband’s watch, but one detail that lodged in my Anglo-centric brain was was the introduction of “Messel Green” as a recurring color in the houses built on the island. Stage designer Oliver Messel was given the job of designing many of the houses on Mustique. It was nepotism; he was the uncle of Princess Margaret’s then-husband, Antony Armstrong-Jones, Lord Snowden.
But regardless, Messel was the man for the job. He designed Margaret’s house Les Jolies Eaux (available for rent at the very unreasonable $20K/week), among other houses that you’d recognize instantly as belonging on a Caribbean island paradise. His green is a gorgeous color, evocative of the time and place in which he worked — and also, currently, providing some much-needed escapism while thinking about beachy vacations in gorgeous places. (Never mind that ‘Messel Green’ really is just a tarted-up version of the sage green you can get at Home Depot.) — Allie
Congratulations, you’ve come to the end of this week’s newsletter! As a reward for making it this far, we are introducing a new feature: “Absurd Royal Fact of the Week.”
This week’s absurd royal fact: The Queen's youngest, Prince Edward, was allowed to choose his own royal title when he married Sophie Rhys-Jones in 1999 and he made a curious decision, even by royal standards. He asked his mom, the Queen, if he could be styled the “Earl of Wessex” — a county that has not existed in the U.K. since 927 AD — after liking the sound of a character’s title in Shakespeare in Love.