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What pop culture teaches us about life as a royal 'spare to the heir'

This morning, the news broke that Prince William and Kate Middleton are expecting their second child—or as some put it, their “spare to the heir.”

In the real-life tabloids, second-eldest royal siblings are often portrayed as the more “out of control” children, with less royal responsibility. But TV and movies are just as fascinated (if not more so) with noble siblings, and according to pop culture, being second in the royal bloodline could mean any number of other things, too. Here are a few more specific lessons that Prince George’s future sibling might want to take into account.

The King’s Speech: If your brother abdicates, you could become the king—and be forced to speak publicly on a regular basis—even if you don’t want to.

The Royals: From the looks of this show, it doesn’t really matter which kid you are. Being royal means partying and trying to keep your private parts off the cover of tabloid magazines.

The Lion King: Your jealous brother will probably drop you off a cliff and allow you to get trampled by a stampede. But don’t worry, your son will avenge your honor (in a few years).

Frozen: You can either become a villain, if you’re a man, or you can be so desperate to be married that you fall for a villain, if you’re a woman.

Hamlet: As a “spare to the heir,” you might one day get the urge to murder your older brother and marry his wife. [Ed note: Don’t do that.]

Reign: If your older brother is a bastard, you might as well be the first-born. Well, unless your fiancee decides to marry him and get him legitimized by the Pope. Also, if your bastard brother isn’t a threat, your dad might be. Just keep an eye on him and make sure he doesn’t try to kill you and marry your wife. Finally, you might have to murder your father in a jousting match in order to keep him away from your woman. Hey, all’s fair in love and royalty.

Beauty and the Beast: If you piss off an enchantress, it won’t matter which sibling you are.

Ever After: So long as your mom is Anjelica Huston, it also doesn’t matter which sibling you are. (But if you aren’t the first-born, you won’t win the heart of the handsome prince, obviously.)

The White Queen: Again, birth order doesn’t mean anything. The throne goes to the best manipulator.

Marie Antoinette: If you’re a female “spare,” you can still reign if you pick the right husband.

Game of Thrones: If the King dies, there will be war. Also, if your older brother dies, the kingdom is yours, even if you’re a child. Final lesson: If you’ve been exiled, you’re going to need an army to have any shot at the crown.

Mulan: … On the upside, at least you know that if your family needs to go to war, they’ll look to your older brother before they look to you.

Queen Elizabeth II visits 'Game of Thrones' set, doesn't sit on pretend seat of power

Queen Elizabeth II paid a visit to the Belfast set of Game of Thrones Tuesday, touring the series’ vast armory, perusing its racks of lavish costumes, and meeting actors including Lena Headey (Cersei Lannister), Maisie Williams (Arya Stark), Sophie Turner (Sansa Stark), Kit Harington (Jon Snow), Conleth Hill (Varys), and Rose Leslie (Ygritte). The real queen of seven independent Commonwealth countries did not, however, attempt to gain control of seven fictional kingdoms by taking a seat on the show’s fearsome Iron Throne—a chair constructed by a thousand surrendered blades, “heated white-hot in the furnace breath of Balerion the Black Dread.”

Naturally, the wildest and most lawless kingdom of all—The Internet—was most displeased: READ FULL STORY

Lorde's 'Royals': Who covered it best?

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New Zealand pixie pop savant Lorde shot to the top of the Billboard Hot 100 last week with her ode to normalcy and fantasy, ”Royals.” And with great popularity, comes great YouTube covers.

The song’s admission to the regularity of everyday life, versus the ”luxe” life that so many of our big ”royals” sing about makes it a fun cover for celebrity artists and dreamers alike. Let’s see who’s done it best…so far. READ FULL STORY

Prince William and Kate release official family photos

As anyone on Facebook knows, once babies come around, your friends just can’t stop posting pictures. So it’s no surprise that just a few weeks after giving birth, Prince William and Kate have released some Cambridge family photos.

Of course, the star of the picture is The Duchess’ flawless hair new baby Prince George, who’s been crushing it in public ever since he came out of the hospital waving. Yesterday, in clips from Prince William’s first sit-down interview since the birth, the proud new dad shared that George is a bit of a “rascal” (Paging Prince Harry!), but he’s of course thrilled about fatherhood. “As any new parent knows, you are only too happy to show off your new child,” he said. “It’s nice that people want to see George. I’m just glad he wasn’t screaming his head off the whole way through!”

Fun fact: The photos were apparently taken by Kate’s father, Michael, as opposed to a more formal professional photographer. Royals! They’re just like us!

Chris Colfer takes EW's Pop Culture Personality Test -- VIDEO

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Ask Chris Colfer for his favorite villain in children’s entertainment, and he can’t help but pick the titular character from the second book in his The Land of Stories series, The Enchantress Returns: “I purposely tried to make her a little bit of all the classic villains,” he says of evil Ezmia, who resurfaces long after cursing Sleeping Beauty to strike fear in the fairy-tale world and beyond. “I say she’s deliciously evil.”

Also wicked: Colfer’s sense of humor when he recently stopped by EW to take our Pop Culture Personality Test. Watch the video below. READ FULL STORY

Royal baby begets a royal flood of tweets: Read our favorites so far

It’s a boy! More importantly — it’s a meme!

Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, welcomed a baby boy this afternoon — and naturally, Twitter hasn’t been able to shut up about it since. Don’t feel like wading through a sea of groaners to find the gems? Don’t worry — we’ve done all the work for you.

From the Department of General Jokes:

READ FULL STORY

Kim Kardashian and Kate Middleton in 'King Me': The baby-switch epic that must be made!

You’re gonna want to sit down for this one, Roger. No baloney, it is dynamite. I’m not pitching it to anyone else. After what we did together on the Alan Colmes revenge fantasy I’m All That’s Left, I can’t imagine anyone else but you producing this one … though I’m meeting with Imagine tomorrow about something else. Anyway … Are you ready for this? Are you ready for this? It’s Trading Places meets Look Who’s Talking … Right? I know. Genius. Stay with me now.

You know how Kim Kardashian and Kate Middleton are pregnant? Turns out they’re due the same day. What. If… They gave birth at the same hospital. Now Kimye is having a girl but let’s scrap that and go in the other direction. They both have boys. And by some clerical error… the babies are switched. You following? No one notices at first, or if they do, they’re afraid to say something. But the fact of the matter is, the future King of England is really Kanye and Kim’s offspring. And the baby being blinged-out on the upcoming season of Keeping Up With the Kardashians has royal blood. Royal blood, Roger!
READ FULL STORY

Prince Harry apologizes for naked pictures: 'I let my family down'

Let’s take a break from discussing today’s big scandal to talk about last summer’s big scandal — namely, Prince Harry’s naked Vegas pics.

Though the incident didn’t prevent the royal from being named the world’s most eligible bachelor earlier this month, Harry still regrets it. “I probably let myself down, I let my family down, I let other people down,” he told People during a recent interview at his military base in Afghanistan. (You know, the context in which it makes most sense to talk about your nudie photos.)

READ FULL STORY

Prince Harry named world's most eligible bachelor

Heavy may be the head that wears the crown, but hot is the head that’s third in line.

Prince Harry, 28, has been named the Top Bachelor, according to the editors at Town & Country, which named the current top 50 bachelors in the world. “Prince William’s baby brother flirts and flies Apache helicopters with equal aplomb,” the magazine wrote. The list isn’t very Hollywood specific (although both George Clooney and Jack Nicholson made the cut). Instead, in addition to the prince, people like Ralph Lauren’s son, Andrew, President Obama’s speechwriter Jon Favreau, and Greek shipping heir Stavros Niarchos (who has dated both Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton) snagged a spot.

Most hilariously, still-just-a-high-schooler Conor Kennedy made the cut. The magazine said it best: “A mere child to some, this Deerfield Academy junior and son of Robert Kennedy Jr. was a gateway to the compound for Taylor Swift. Now he’s lyric fodder.” Insert your own ‘never, ever wanting to get back together’ joke here. READ FULL STORY

Ryan Lochte is 'kinda happy' Prince Harry didn't invite him to play strip pool: VIDEO

After making headlines in Sin City, Ryan Lochte is in New York City today for appearances on Today and Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. Matt Lauer grilled him this morning on his recent race with Prince Harry in a Las Vegas pool. “His people came over to my table and said, Hey, Prince Harry wants to meet you,'” Lochte says. “I was like, ‘Alright, yeah, let’s go meet him.’ So I went over there, met him. I was, like, fully clothed, so was he. He was like, ‘Hey, you want to do somethin’?’ I was like, ‘What?’ He was like, ‘You want to race me in the pool?’ I was like, ‘Alright, let’s go.’ I just took off my shirt, and we jumped in, and we just started racing.” READ FULL STORY

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