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How William, Kate and Harry made royals cool

By Sarah Ivens, Special to CNN
June 5, 2012 -- Updated 1114 GMT (1914 HKT)
<strong>Getty Images photographer Chris Jackson talks to CNN about key images of Kate Middleton</strong>: "I was lucky enough to be positioned right outside the front of Westminster Abbey. I was seriously nervous. I had to get this picture. As they came out the front door, the crowd roared and I was just shooting away and you literally only had a matter of minutes, if that." Getty Images photographer Chris Jackson talks to CNN about key images of Kate Middleton: "I was lucky enough to be positioned right outside the front of Westminster Abbey. I was seriously nervous. I had to get this picture. As they came out the front door, the crowd roared and I was just shooting away and you literally only had a matter of minutes, if that."
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Royal Wedding
Pippa Middleton
Kate meets Reese Witherspoon
The 'pregnancy' false alarm
Kate arrives in Wales
Kate's handbag 'security blanket'
Kate enjoys chatting to people
Kate hugs a young girl
Kate's unusual hockey kit
'Clothes look really good on her'
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STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Sarah Ivens is a British journalist living in America
  • Young royals have injected excitement into the royal family, Ivens argues
  • Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Harry are triumvirate of British charm, she says

Editor's note: Sarah Ivens is the founding editor-in-chief of OK! magazine in the U.S. and an author. Her writing has been featured in Marie Claire, Glamour, In Style and GQ. A born and bred Londoner, she now lives in Los Angeles. Her new book about the pleasures and pitfalls of life for a Brit in the U.S. Amerikarma: Good Things Come to Those Who Can't Wait, is out now on Amazon.

Los Angeles (CNN) -- "It's the queen's diamond jubilee soon!" I recently babbled excitedly to some of my American friends. "Let's have a party like we did for the royal wedding -- I'll provide Union Jack hats and streamers, jugs of Pimm's and a gargantuan amount of chocolate Hobnobs!"

Sarah Ivens
Sarah Ivens

There was barely a murmur in response. Just one year previously, they'd been a stampede of Yanks at 5am on my doorstep, desperate to get prime position in front of the television as Kate walked up the aisle.

"You know, the queen?" I battle on in my local Los Angeles coffee shop. "Helen Mirren played her, remember? She was Colin Firth's daughter? She's the great-great-granddaughter of Judi Dench, when Judi was into Scotsmen and horses?"

None of my film tidbits cause a swirl of interest, despite my Hollywood crowd. In Tinseltown years, Queen Elizabeth II is about 405 -- roughly the same as Dumbledore, they imagine -- and far too old to get excited about.

"Will the princes be there?" one Californian chum finally responds.

"Of course! She's their grandma!" I reply indignantly.

"Well, in that case," she nods, "I'm sure we'll all be there. Any glimpse of those boys is worth getting up early and facing traffic for."

I must admit, after living as a Brit in America for seven years, I have found we share surprisingly few traits or interests. We Brits love Take That; Americans have never heard of them.

Queen marks diamond jubilee
August 1995: Princess Diana and her son Harry attend an event commemorating VJ Day. August 1995: Princess Diana and her son Harry attend an event commemorating VJ Day.
Prince Harry's life in photos
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From young royal to soldier prince From young royal to soldier prince
Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, participates in a SportsAid Athlete Workshop in London on Friday, October 18. She showed up for the charity event in skinny jeans, a smart blazer and wedges. Click through to see more photos of her style through the years. Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, participates in a SportsAid Athlete Workshop in London on Friday, October 18. She showed up for the charity event in skinny jeans, a smart blazer and wedges. Click through to see more photos of her style through the years.
The Duchess of Cambridge's best looks
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Photos: Kate\'s best looks Photos: Kate's best looks
The queen's royal barge, Gloriana leads the way as the River Thames is awash with color from flotilla participants. The queen's royal barge, Gloriana leads the way as the River Thames is awash with color from flotilla participants.
Gloriana leads the way
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Diamond Jubilee: As it happens Diamond Jubilee: As it happens

We crave a simple hot cup of tea with a splash of milk while they insist on adding ice cubes and a slice of lemon. We're scared of guns, they're scared of boobs. But one place where our old and new world tastes collide is with Prince Harry. "Don't you just love him?" I hear as much as "I love your accent!"

Watching my adopted homeland fall under the spell of the young royals has encouraged me to dismiss any cynicism I might have toward them (paying for a round of shots at Boujis, are we? A skiing trip -- how lovely, I wish I could afford to get piste!) and embrace the great international marketing campaign they are doing for the UK right now.

I admit feeling a smug superiority watching Jennifer Lopez fawn over Kate and William on their trip to my city last year. Our future monarch and his Mrs. have the X factor -- without the help of publicists, agents or Botox.

Our history makes them dazzling, our traditions make them awe-inspiring. And combining that -- at last! -- with great bone structure, a sense of humor and the slightly-common touch (thanks to Diana's legacy and high street fashion).

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and the duke's naughty little brother are a triumvirate of British charm, to be exported all over the world as a symbol of our greatness, much like Downton Abbey.

I love that Kate wears the same outfit time after time and does her own supermarket shopping; I like that Wills enjoys a Sunday roast round "Mike and Carol's," (his in-laws) adore Harry's incessant need to take the mickey out of his brother, be it wearing a mask of his face on a fun run or asking him embarrassing questions in front of journalists.

As much as I think the queen has done a brilliant job, and I look forward to celebrating her jubilee with glee, we have the kids to thank for the detoxification of this once staid, fusty old brand. And I'm sure no one would agree more than Her Majesty.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Sarah Ivens.

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Part of complete coverage on
June 5, 2012 -- Updated 2103 GMT (0503 HKT)
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