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Today this photo was published of the Sovereign and the Heir. HM Queen Elizabeth II is 90 years old this year and HRH Prince Charles is 68 years old. If the Queen lives another 10 years, which is quite possible since her own mother HM Queen Elizabeth, the late Queen Mother lived to be 101, that would mean that Prince Charles would be 78 yrs old when he would ascend the Throne. He already assumes quite a few of the responsibility of the Sovereign and is delegated by his mother for many tasks. Queen Victoria quickly passed on to her own children many of her own responsibilities after the death of her husband Prince Albert in 1864, she was then 45 years old, she lived until 1901, but did not do very much, her state of mind not being the best, though the fiction was maintained by the British Government that all was well.

HM King George III (1738-1820) also relinquished all his duties to his son HRH Prince George, the Prince Regent in 1810, he would become in 1820 as King George IV. Though the Prime Minister controlled all the affairs of State.

This means that HRH Prince William who is now 34 years old could easily be in his sixties when he becomes King one day. His grandfather HRH Prince Philip is 95 years old. They do live into grand old age in the Royal Family, most be the good German genes from Hanover.

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Now for something completely different, the New York Times today reported that the last of the Gabor sisters, Zsa Zsa died of heart failure.

Zsa Zsa Gabor was 99 years old, born in Hungary in 1917 perhaps, was Miss Hungary 1936, immigrated to the USA in 1939 and had been married 8 times. At a US Lawyer’s Convention she was the guest speaker and famously said that ”A girls best friend was not diamonds but a good lawyer”, she knew what she was talking about.

When my parents lived on East 70th street in Manhattan many years ago, my mother had met and knew Jolie Gabor the mother of the three Gabor sisters, Magda, Eva and Zsa Zsa. Jolie ran a Jewellery shop and daughter Magda was often there. Zsa Zsa had a talent for promoting herself and marrying rich men.

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Zsa Zsa Gabor in 1939.

I also saw this photo this week of a tomb of a famous person, which you can see if you visit in Rome the Church of Santa Maria in Ara Coeli (St Mary at the Altar of Heaven) located on the site of the Temple of the Augurs, completed in the 12th Century. It stands on the Capitoline Hill where the most important temples of Rome once stood, like Jupiter best and great.

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The church has many famous people buried there, as is the custom in most churches in Rome. This tomb is to the man who discovered in 1506 the famous classical sculpture of the Laocöon and his sons , which is now housed in the Vatican Museum.

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The story of the Trojan Priest Laocöon and his sons is a classical one, this art work was praised in antiquity by Pliny the Elder. The group is life size and a very impressive sculpture, it originally stood in the Palace of Emperor Titus on the Palatine Hill.

The group has been “the prototypical icon of human agony” in Western art and unlike the agony often depicted in Christian art showing the Passion of Jesus and martyrs, this suffering has no redemptive power or reward. The story of Laocoön, a Trojan priest, came from the Greek Epic Cycle on the Trojan Wars. Laocoön was a priest of Poseidon who was killed with both his sons after attempting to expose the ruse of the Trojan Horse by striking it with a spear. The two giant snakes are sent by the gods to punish him.

The group was unearthed in February 1506 in the vineyard of Felice De Fredis near Santa Maria Maggiore; informed of the fact, Pope Julius II, an enthusiastic classicist, sent for his court artists. Michelangelo was called to the site of the unearthing of the statue immediately after its discovery, along with the Florentine architect Giuliano da Sangallo.

Pope Julius acquired the group on March 23, giving De Fredis a job as a scribe as well as the customs revenues from one of the gates of Rome. By August the group was placed for public viewing in a niche in the wall of the brand new Belvedere Garden at the Vatican.

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When Felice de Fredis died he was buried in the Church of Santa Maria in Ara Coeli and today when you visit the Church you can see his tomb.

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This is what I like about those Roman Churches, so many interesting things to see and read about, knowing Latin does help a lot.

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