Monday, 30 September 2013

Names fit for a prince - Louis

We know him as George but, of course, when the Archbishop of Canterbury christens baby Cambridge on October 23rd he will bestow three names on him at the font.  And while George has a royal pedigree stretching back, intermittently, to the 15th century, the future king's other names have had a limited role in the UK's monarchical monikers.  Putting the last first, Louis has been associated with kings of France for almost a thousand years which is perhaps why it's appearance on the names of British monarchs has been mostly limited to the 20th century.

George Alexander Louis of Cambridge leaves hospital in London on July 23rd 2013
That said, the vey first king of England to be called George had just one middle name and that was Louis.  George Louis of Hanover received his first name in honour of his paternal grandfather and his second name as a nod to his dad's mum's dad.  He started off as Georg Ludwig but on inheriting a whole kingdom, on top of the electorate he had grown up expecting to get, he found his name changed to suit his new subjects and we got our first royal Louis.
King George  of Great Britain - seen here in a portrait by Sir Godfrey Kneller - began life as
Georg Ludwig of Hanover
George I passed on his George but not his Louis to his only legitimate son.  And that George decided to bring Louis back into the royal fold by naming his eldest son Frederick Louis.  Well, Friedrich Ludwig was what was said at the font in 1707 but when his grandfather took the throne of Great Britain seven years later, this little boy born to be king was turned into a Frederick Louis.  Except poor old Fred died before he could become king.  His son, George Frederick William, became King George III and Louis disappeared from royal names.
Frederick Louis, Prince of Wales, died in 1751.  Nine years later his eldest son became George III
None of George III's nine sons had Louis anywhere in their list of names and Queen Victoria didn't use it for any of her four sons and the name only came back into royal use in the mid 20th century.  In 1964, Elizabeth II used it as the last name of her last child.  The Earl of Wessex's full name is Edward Antony Richard Louis.  But it was Prince Charles and Diana, Princess of Wales who brought it back into the naming culture of future monarchs.  Their eldest son's full name is William Arthur Philip Louis making him the first future king to be given the name for 270 years.
William Arthur Philip Louis of Wales
And like his father before him, William has chosen to use the name Louis for his son which means George is just the fourth boy born to be king of England to carry the name.  But while it's a handy Hanoverian link, the reason the Windsors have Louis as a label is to honour Lord Mountbatten, the beloved uncle of Prince Philip who had a massive influence on the Duke of Edinburgh and the Prince of Wales before he was killed in an IRA attack in 1979. 
Louis Mountbatten, last viceroy of India, has been remembered in the names given to two future kings of England
The name, which started off as Ludovicus, was first made royal by King Louis I, son of Charlemagne who was born in 778.  Thirteen hundred years later it is still being used for little boys born to be king.

Sunday, 29 September 2013

Royal round up, week ending September 28th 2013

A round up of all the news from Europe's royal houses for the week ending September 28th 2013....



The Spanish royal family was hospital bound this week.  King Juan Carlos went into the Quiron clinic in Madrid for an operation on his left hip which had become infected following a replacement in November 2012.  Before he was admitted, the king embarked on a whirlwind of activity.  On Monday 23rd September he had audiences with two senior Moroccan politicians, Mohamed Cheikh Biadillah and Karim Ghellab.  On Tuesday 24th September, just hours before he was admitted to hospital for his operation, he received sixteen ambassadors who had been due to present their credentials over the coming week.  Normally granted individual audiences, all sixteen took part in a unique event where they handed over their letters in rapid succession.
The king of Spain receives sixteen new ambassadors to his country in a huge audience granted on the day he went into hospital, Tuesday 24th September 2013
The king went into hospital around 3pm on the afternoon of September 24th 2013 and his surgery started just before 9pm.  Queen Sofia arrived at the hospital just as the operation got underway and was quickly joined by the Infanta Elena and the Prince and Princess of Asturias.  All four emerged, smiling, around midnight to share news that the operation had been a success. 

Queen Sofia of Spain was the first to speak to journalists following the operation on her husband's left hip at the Quiron clinic in Madrid
The following day, the queen again led family trips to the hospital but this time the king was also visited by his youngest daughter, the Infanta Cristina, as well as his eldest grandchild, Froilan.
The Infanta Cristina of Spain visits her father in hospital on September 25th 2013
Queen Sofia has maintained a steady stream of visits and at the end of the week was accompanied again by the prince and princess of Asturias and their daughters, the Infantas Leonor and Sofia.  And visiting granddad in hospital provided a first chance to step up the microphones for he future queen, Leonor, who told those waiting for her at the end of her visit that Juan Carlos was doing well.
The Infanta Leonor of Spain at the hospital in Madrid where her grandfather, Juan Carlos, is being treated after an operation on his left hip
During the week, royal activities continued.  On the same day that his father went into hospital, Prince Felipe was at the airbase at Talavera la Real where he was given a tour of the work going on there. 
 The Prince of Asturias in the maintenance hangar at the airbase at Talavera la Real on September 24th 2013
The prince also visited the Peugeot Citreon facility in Vigo for the launch of two new models and he ended his week with a military event in Marin.
 Prince Felipe gets a tour of the car making process that goes on at the Citreon facility in Vigo when he visited to mark the launch of two new cars on the market
The princess of Asturias held an audience with organisers involved in the day of work run by My Europe for young people. But Queen Sofia has had the highest profile in the last few days.  The queen spent September 23rd in Madrid presiding over the opening of an international conference on the investigation of neurodegenerative conditions designed to bring together some of the world's leading experts on Alzheimers, Parkinsons and Huntingdon's diseases.
Queen Sofia at the opening of an international conference on neurodegenerative diseases in Madrid on September 23rd 2013
Another opening for Sofia on September 26th when the queen was at the start of the celebrations marking the 300th anniversary of Royal Academy of Spain.  The exhibition launched by the Spanish queen will run until January 2014.  And at the end of the week, Queen Sofia was at the inauguration of an education conference in Madrid.
Queen Sofia at the beginning of the education conference she helped launch in Madrid on September 27th 2013

The Netherlands

More operations for royalty, this time in the Dutch ruling family, where Princess Beatrix was admitted to hospital on September 22nd after breaking a cheekbone in a fall.  The former queen was operated on successfully and is now recuperating at home.
Princess Beatrix of the Netherlands is recovering after an operation for a broken cheekbone
King Willem-Alexander received the ambassador from Bangladesh on September 23rd in The Hague.  And on September 27th, the king opened the European Cancer Congress in Amsterdam, the first time the Netherlands has hosted this event.
King Willem-Alexander receives a commemorative medal from Cornelis van de Velde, President of the European Cancer Congress, which he attended in Amsterdam on September 27th 2013
Queen Maxima was in New York for three days during the week where she gave a speech to the UN Inter Agency meeting on Inclusive Finance.  The Dutch queen also attended a dinner held to mark global partnership where she gave another speech.  And Maxima finished her American tour by opening the new Delegates Lounge at the UN Headquarters alongside UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon.
 Queen Maxima of the Netherlands with UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon, on September 24th 2013


The week began with a visit to Scotland for Queen Sonia who attended the opening of a Maggie's Centre in Aberdeen alongside Camilla, Duchess of Rothesay.  The duchess is the patron of the organization which has opened sixteen centres around the UK since it started in Edinburgh in 1996.  It was founded by name of Maggie Keswick Jenckes who used her own personal experience of cancer to develop care that suited patients and their families.  She died in 1995. The building for the latest centre was designed by Norwegian firm, Snøhetta.
 Queen Sonia of Norway with the Duchess of Rothesay at the opening of the Norwegian designed Maggie's Centre in Aberdeen on September 23rd 2013
Crown Princess Mette-Marit was also on her travels, flying to New York for the Clinton Global Initiative annual meeting.  Set up in 2005 by former US president, Bill Clinton, it aims to bring the right people and resources together to confront global challenges.  The princess also met Jørgen Ole Haslestad, the chief executive of a Norwegian fertilizer company called Yara which had received special recognition at the meeting for its work towards increasing food production around the world in an environmentally friendly way.  Mette-Marit was also promoting women's health as part of her role with UNAIDS, a United Nations programme to combat HIV and AIDS.
 Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway with Jørgen Ole Haslestad at the Clinton Initiative in New York on September 24th 2013
Crown Prince Haakon Magnus organized a conference for businesses and academic institutions looking at enhancing skills and resources to help improve Norway's future. The two day event took place in Trondheim with the heir to the throne leading meetings and seminars.
 Crown Prince Haakon Magnus at the conference he organized in Trondheim, starting on September 27th 2013


King Philippe and Queen Mathilde began their week with another of their Joyeuse Entrée, this time visiting Limbourg in the east of Belgium.  They had a working lunch in Hannelt before greeting the two thousand school children who had turned out to greet them.
The king and queen of the Belgians, Philippe and Mathilde, in Hannelt on their visit to Limbourg on September 24th 2013
The following day the king and queen gave an audience to Jacques Rogge, now honorary president of the COI, at Laeken Palace. 
King Philippe and Queen Mathilde with Jacques Rogge and his wife at Laeken Palace on September 25th 2013
Later in the evening, Philippe and Mathilde attended a concert held for three kings.  The event, at the church of Notre-Dame de la Cambre in Ixelles, featured a performance by the violinist, Lorenzo Gatto, and was given to mark the accession of King Philippe, to celebrate the twenty year reign of King Albert II and to remember King Baudouin.  September 26th was taken up with audiences for the king who met the winner of l'Epee du Roi 2013, Simon Derwael, and the new ambassador for the United States, Denise Campbel Bauer.  He also met with the President of the council of the French community, Jean-Charles Luperto. 
Philippe and Mathilde at a concert given in honour of the three most recent kings of Belgium on September 25th 2013
On September 27th, the king and queen had another Joyeuse Entrée this time to Antwerp where they were heckled for the first time on their tour.  They moved on to help inaugurate a new museum about the Red Star Line.  On the same day, Prince Laurent represented King Philippe at the centenary celebrations for the Royal Meteorological Institute of Belgium.
The king and queen of the Belgians on their visit to Anvers on September 27th 2013


Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary visited a new container ship in Copenhagen on September 25th 2013.  The ship, one of the largest in its class, was named the Majestic Maersk by Mary before being opened up for a quick viewing before it went into service.
Crown Princess Mary and Crown Prince Frederik during their tour of the Majestic Maersk which was named by the princess on September 25th 2013
Princess Mary also became a cover girl when she appeared on the front of the 80th anniversary edition of Australian Women's Weekly.  The princess has given an interview to the magazine with an insight into a day in her life - and she has royal company in the magazine (more later in the roundup).

The barefoot princess.  Australian born Princess Mary of Denmark on the front of a special edition of one of Australia's best known magazines

Princess Marie presented the Innovation Storm award in Copenhagen on September 25th with the main award going to a company called Universal Robots.  The next day, the princess was in Budapest on September 26th to take part in a European Congress on autism in her capacity as patron of Denmark's National Autism Association. 
Princess Marie at the Innovation Storm awards in Copenhagen on September 25th 2013


After the packed schedule of the jubilee festivities, there was no let up for the Swedish royal family this week.  King Carl XVI Gustaf began his seven days by opening a tourism initiative called Visit Djurgården in central Stockholm on September 23rd.  On the same day, he held farewell audiences for the ambassador of Japan, Yoshiki Watanabe, and China, Lan Lijun.
King Carl XVI Gustaf with the outgoing ambassador of Japan, Yoshiki Watanabe, at his farewell audience in Princess Sybilla's apartments in the Royal Palace on September 23rd 2013
On September 24th, Queen Silvia and Crown Princess Victoria attended the opening of the Swedish Church's General Synod in Uppsala.  The day began with a special service before the 251 members of the synod came together for their meeting.
 Queen Silvia and Crown Princess Victoria in Uppsala on September 25th 2013 at the opening of the General Synod of the Swedish Church
The queen kept up the mother and daughter duties the following day when Silvia joined her youngest child, Princess Madeleine, at the Royal Palace in Stockholm for a meeting of the World Childhood Foundation International Council where they heard about the organization and its work.
Queen Silvia and Princess Madeleine hear about the work of the World Childhood Foundation on September 25th 2013
The same day, Crown Princess Victoria was at the Royal Palace meetings experts working on developing children's memory and concentration skills.  And it was announced that the princess would be patron of the pink ribbon campaign, focusing on finding a cure for breast cancer and helping women with the condition.
Crown Princess Victoria is the patron of the 2013 pink ribbon campaign which will run through October to raise awareness of breast cancer
Prince Daniel was in Lund to talk about the Foundation that bears his name on September 23rd.  And Prince Carl Philip opened a new motor speedway facility for people with physical disabilities in Kumla.  He was given a tour of the circuit before taking part in an exhibition drive with five other racers.
Prince Carl Philip of Sweden with Sven Brygg of the Kumla Disability Motor Club at the opening of a new circuit on September 28th 2013

United Kingdom

Prince Charles has given an interview to Australian Woman's Weekly to mark its 80th birthday.  The prince has been talking about Camilla, William and Harry and his charities.  But he missed out on the cover - that honour went to Princess Mary of Denmark.
The photo accompanying an interview the Prince of Wales has given to Australian Women's Weekly to mark its 80th edition
The Duchess of Cornwall was in Scotland, where she is known as the Duchess of Rothesay, to open Maggie's Centre alongside Queen Sonia of Norway.  The duchess has been patron of the charity since 2008 and has already visited several of its sixteen other centres.
The Duchess of Rothesay with Queen Sonia in Aberdeen on September 23rd 2013
Prince Harry attended a reception for an emergency response organization called MapAction in London on September 26th.  The prince is patron of MapAction which has helped in over forty major emergencies in the last ten years.  The prince was given a demonstration of how the response activity works in a mocked up situation at the reception.
Prince Harry with the Chief Executive of MapAction, Liz Hughes, in London on September 26th 2013
The Duke of York was in Vietnam where he presented scholarships bearing his name at the British University.  He met the Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, Bui Thanh Son, and went on to have lunch with local entrepreneurs.  He met the Deputy Prime Minister, Nguyen Thien Nhan, and later the Chairman of the National Assembly, Nguyen Sinh Hung, before completing his tour with a dinner marking British Education.  Earlier in the day he had held meetings with the Vice Chancellors of the British University in Vietnam and later with the British Council Alumni Leaders Group.  Meanwhile, the Countess of Wessex was in Qatar where she visited the Qatar Foundation and Qatar Science Technology Park in Doha.
The Countess of Wessex was in Qatar this week and here she is seen taking Qatari donors on a tours of the ORBIS Flying Eye Hospital at Doha International Airport on September 23rd 2013
The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester attended the Goldsmiths' Fair in London on September 23rd - the duke is Liveryman and Honorary Freeman, the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths. The Duke also attended the Horace Walpole Birthday Dinner at Strawberry Hill in Twickenham on the same day in his capacity as patron of the Strawberry Hill Trust.  On September 26th, the Duke was in Bristol where he presented the Queen's Award for Enterprise to Metryx Limited before opening the renovated Pegasus House for Airbus Operations Limited in Filton.  He spent the afternoon visiting the Bristol and Bath Science Park.  The Duchess opened a new building at King Edward's School in Godalming, Surrey on the same day.  The Duke of Kent was also on school duty - on September 24th he visited Repton school in Derby and Foremarke Preparatory School in Milton, Derbyshire.  During his day in the county he also saw work at Toyota Motor Manufacturing in Burnaston.  The day before he had been across the border in Nottinghamshire where he visited the Attenborough Nature Reserve as part of the 50th anniversary celebrations for the Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust.
The Duke of Kent in Nottinghamshire on September 23rd 2013 to mark 50 years of that county's Wildlife Trust
And at the end of the week, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge announced that their son, Prince George, will be christened on October 23rd 2013 at St James' Palace in London with the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, conducting the ceremony.  There is still no word on godparents.
The next chance to see Prince George of Cambridge will be on October 23rd 2013 when he is christened in London


Royal generation game

With the announcement of the christening date for little prince George, we also have a deadline on that other much awaited photo of the year.  Ever since the arrival of baby Cambridge, there have been calls for a photo of the tot who will be king with the other two chaps expecting to have a crown in day and the woman who currently wears it.  October 23rd won't just be George's christening day. It will be the date we finally get to see all four generations of rulers of the House of Windsor together. 

Prince George of Cambridge is still to be seen on film with anyone other than his mum and dad - all that could change on October 23rd 2013
We know that the little prince has met his granddad and great grandmother but he's yet to be seen with them.  The photo will be one for the history books and yet another seal of success on the reign of Elizabeth II.  All monarchs want to assure the succession and the girl who was born not to be queen has done just that with three kings in waiting lining up behind her.  The only other time a monarch has been able to look that far ahead with such certainty was at the end of the 19th century when Victoria, Queen and Empress, saw her heir's heir produce an heir and then another three besides before she died.
Queen Victoria with her heir, Edward, and his heir, George and in her arms, George's heir, Edward. 
We got used to four generation photos of the House of Windsor while the Queen Mother was alive but of course she was a queen consort rather than a regnant so when her daughter is snapped with her great grandson, this will be another rare chance to see a quartet of monarchs at the same time. The famous photo of the Queen Mother for her 100th birthday stamps was a rare posed photo of all four generations together and stands with William's christening photos as a template for the picture that will most likely happen at George's christening.
Four generations of royalty - a queen consort with her queen regnant and her two kings in waiting

Saturday, 28 September 2013

Dress down Friday for Letizia

In recent months the Princess of Asturias has been criticized in some parts of the Spanish press over reports that as far as she's concerned, Friday night is alright for dancing.  Accounts of Letizia out at bars or concerts with her mates as the weekend gets under way contributed to the rumours of a marriage crisis for the consort in waiting.  But when the prince and princess turned up at the Quiron clinic in Madrid on Friday 27th September to see King Juan Carlos, who is recovering from a hip operation, Letizia certainly looked half way ready for a night out.  As did Felipe.  While Queen Sofia went for her regular smart casual trouser suit, the Asturias and their girls looked as if they might drop granny back home and then head off for a pizza.

Felipe, Letizia and their girls joined Queen Sofia for a trip to see the king of Spain during his recuperation at a hospital in Madrid  on Friday 27th September 2013
Skinny black jeans, trendy t and on message black heels were the princess' choice for her latest trip to see her father in law.  When you're a regular on the Vanity Fair best dressed list, then keeping up with the latest fashions is a must, even when the soft mega bag in your hand does contain Lucozade and grapes by royal appointment. 

Royal godparents for prince George?

We now know when Prince George will be christened and where and we know there will be a special coin to mark the occasion.  Nearly all the pieces of the jigsaw are in place apart from the names of the godparents.  While the smart money has been on Prince Harry and Pippa Middleton from day one, there's still no confirmation of who will stand sponsor to this future king on the day of his christening.  And if William and Kate want to stick with one royal tradition, they need to find themselves a king and/ or a queen with a spare few hours on October 23rd.

The Cambridges broke with tradition for their first official pose with Prince George but will they stick to another habit when it comes to christening their son?
Since the day in 1819 when Queen Victoria was baptized, future British monarchs have counted on a king or queen to be their godparent.  Little Vicky, although only fifth in line to the throne at the time, had the Queen of Wurttemburg (admittedly her kingdom had only existed for thirteen years at the time and if she'd been asked earlier she would have been an electress), the Prince Regent (who was just months away from becoming a king) and the Emperor of Russia as godparents as well as her maternal granny who was only a lowly dowager duchess. 

She might not have been born to rule but Victoria counted an emperor among her godparents and grew up to be an empress herself

And ever since then, the godparents of those born to be future kings and queens all include at least one crowned head.  Victoria's son and heir, Edward VII, had the King of Prussia as one of his sponsors while his eldest son, Albert Victor, had two kings (Denmark and Belgium) and one queen (Victoria herself) among his godparents.  Of course, Albert Victor died before his father and the role of heir passed to his brother, the future George V.  Even though he hadn't been expected to grow up to be king, this little George still had a monarch among his godparents with the King of Hanover standing sponsor alongside the Crown Prince of Denmark who succeeded to the throne of his country in 1906.

  A clatter of kings.  Nine crowned heads gather for the funeral of Edward VII I 1910.  In the centre is King George V and to his left is his godfather, King Frederick VII of Denmark

By the time that George V got round to baptising his first born, the vogue for kings and queens as godparents had reached its zenith.  No less than five of the future Edward VIII's sponsors were monarchs.  Leading them, as always, was Queen Victoria with the King and Queen of Denmark close on her heels followed by the Queen of Greece and the King of Wurttemburg.  George VI's christening, just over a year later, pulled in two empresses as godmothers - Victoria, again, and her daughter, Vicky, who was by then Empress of Germany.

Victoria with her three kings - Edward VII, George V and the future Edward VIII

George VI never expected to be king and when his first daughter, Elizabeth, was born in 1926 no one thought she would come close to being queen.  Her godparents included monarchs almost by accident as George VI, then Duke of York, and his wife, Elizabeth, asked their parents meaning that George V and Queen Mary stood sponsor to the little girl who would become the longest serving ruler of the House of Windsor.  Prince Charles' arrival, on the other hand, was very much celebrated as the birth of a king in waiting and the choice of his grandfather, George VI, wasn't just a family tribute but a very royal choice for a very royal baby who also counted the King of Norway and Queen Mary among his sponsors.

A king and a queen consort with their godson, a king in waiting.  George VI, Queen Mary, the then Princess Elizabeth and baby Charles at his christening
Charles and Diana chose one king, albeit a former one, for their eldest son when they selected godparents.  Ex-King Constantine of Greece stood sponsor to baby William in 1982, the lowest tally of monarchs since Edward VII a whole 140 years earlier.  If there is no crowned head round the font when the Archbishop of Canterbury pours the waters from the river Jordan on the little head that will one day wear a crown, George of Cambridge will become the first monarch since William IV not to have a monarchical godparent.  Those royal brothers had a smattering of dukes and a dowager princess as their sponsors which is still one up from a cousin you never see and someone your parents were mates with at uni but only send Christmas cards to now.  But there wasn't a king or queen to be seen, not even an heir to the throne.  George III and Queen Charlotte, founders of  the modern idea of the royals as a family, did what ever other family in the land did.  They asked the grumpy uncles and cousins who expected to be asked. 
Prince William had just one monarch among his godparents -former King Constantine of Greece
William and Kate have a lot more leeway.  They are the modern face of this ancient institution so whoever they pick can be explained as either a subtle change to centuries of tradition or a nod to the past from a couple with their eyes on the future.  We'll know who they have chosen soon enough.  The last part of the christening tradition jigsaw is whether the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will make a break and give us the first future king in over two hundred years with no crowned head as a godparent.

Friday, 27 September 2013

George's link to Diana

An important first step in Prince George's journey through life will take place in the same location where his late grandmother, Diana, began her final journey at the end of her life.  He will be christened in the Royal Chapel of St James' Palace, where the princess' body was placed the night before her funeral. 

Diana and William.  Her grandson, George, will be baptized in St James Palace on October 23rd 2013

When William and Kate became engaged he used Diana's famous sapphire ring because he said he wanted his mother to be a part of it all.  The chapel's link to the princess provides another chance for her to be remembered at one of the most important celebration in the lives of her eldest son and his first born child .

Baby George's christening date

The boy born to be the head of the Church of England will take his first steps into religion on October 23rd 2013.  Prince George Alexander Louis of Cambridge will be christened then at St James Palace with the Archbishop of Canterbury leading the service.  The current head of the church, Queen Elizabeth II, will be present as will the next in line to carry the title created by Henry VIII almost 500 years ago.  But George's granddaddy, Charles, has already signaled a change that will mean the role the baby prince inherits in the Church of England might be very different from the one his great grandmother holds now.

George of Cambridge, future king and head of the Church of England, will be christened on October 23rd at St James Palace in London
The Queen also bears the title Defender of the Faith.  Check your coins, it's there for all to see, emblazoned in its Latin form FD, or FID DEF.  But Prince Charles has said he wants to be known as Defender of Faith - a subtle shift that would acknowledge and embrace the changes in culture and faith seen in the country he will rule. 
Prince Charles at the recent installation of the new chief rabbi, Ephraim Mirvis.  The prince was praised at that service for his willingness to embrace all faiths.
How that role as head of the Church of England - a creation of a king of England - and as a defender of the faith or faith will develop before George acquires them remains to be seen and rests in the hands of those who will cradle him on his christening day.  For George, his christening is not just a personal experience for him and his family, it is part of his constitutional role as well.  He may be a little man in  his mummy's arms but on October 23rd 2013, George begins his journey as a future leader and monarch.