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Showing posts from November, 2013

Queen Sofia gets cute

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What more can a queen consort ask for than a baby panda to pose with.  Queen Sofia of Spain got her wish when she popped into Madrid zoo to meet the new baby panda born there in August 2013. 

That's definitely an 'ah' moment.  Queen Sofia of Spain and the baby panda born at Madrid Zoo this summer The queen has taken a big interest in the giant panda breeding programme at the zoo for over thirty years.  Pandas first arrived at Madrid zoo after the king and queen were given a pair on a state visit to China in 1978.  Since then four cubs, including the one that gave the queen a very cute cuddle this week, have been born. That's an even bigger 'ah'.  The queen and her cub at Madrid zoo There's no name for the latest addition - tradition dictates that pandas are named once they are over 100 days old.  But the queen didn't seem to mind, looking totally besotted with the little cub.  She heard all about the care the panda is getting and how it will continue to …

Royal tummies

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Princesses must know that that their tummies are always on show.  And those two fashion icons extraordinaire, Letizia of Asturias and Kate of Cambridge, have been having belly laughs at everyone's expense in recent days.  Kate's tum was famously flat as a pancake less than two months after the birth of Prince George but on her latest public engagement she's made sure any photos of the royal midriff will be totally complimentary by wearing a semi-empire line lace dress that covers everything while showing off just how slim this new mum really is.

Kate of Cambridge at the Sportaid awards in London on November 28th 2013 Meanwhile, Princess Letizia hasn't been subject to pregnancy rumours for at least a day and a half recently but luckily walked across a stage in high heels that made her stick her tummy out and suddenly we have lift off again.  Admittedly, Letizia is so slim that any weight gain or wrinked skirt front makes her look larger than she really is so it's no …

Eleanor, England's most romantic queen

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Eleanor of Castile was loathed by many of her English subjects in her lifetime.  The wife of Edward I, who died on November 28th 1290, was seen as a dangerous influence at court.  Following her marriage to Edward, heir to the throne of England, in 1254 there were many in her new country who feared all she would bring with her when she arrived to take up her royal role were greedy relatives and friends.  That image never really altered.  But in death, Eleanor was transformed from grasping to ultimate romantic heroine. 

Eleanor of Castile, Queen of England, became one of the most romantic figures in medieval Europe after her death and that legacy has endured for over 700 years Her legend began through the deep grief her husband showed on her death.  So devastated was Edward on the loss of his wife that he ordered a series of crosses to be erected at each of the twelve places where Eleanor's coffin rested on the long journey to Westminster Abbey for her funeral.  The princess born in…

William, the Karaoke King

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Prince William has a few royal firsts under his belt but belting out karaoke with Bon Jovi and Taylor Swift is a totally new one.  The Duke of Cambridge had invited the two stars to Kensington Palace for a charity fundraiser on behalf of Centrepoint.  And while everyone expected some uber glam snaps of a future king and a pop princess, no one thought they would sing together.

William, Duke of Cambridge tries and fails to outsing Jon Bon Jovi and Taylor Swift But when you're going to be king one day and you've let everyone take over your London residence, if you want to sing then you sing.  William treated the royal family to a rendition of Livin' on a Prayer at Zara Phillips' wedding in 2011 but the monarch in waiting decided he'd kept the rest of us waiting long enough to hear him sing and jumped on stage to join in his favourite karaoke song in front of an audience of, well, millions by the time the footage has gone global. Luckily for all of us he was quite a long…

Taylor Swift sings Prince George to sleep

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Let's hope that Taylor Swift is good at lullabies.  The US star is at Kensington Palace tonight for the Winter Whites Gala, an annual event held in aid of homelessness charity, Centrepoint UK.  And as their patron is Prince William, he's offered them his spare ballroom at Kensington Palace to host the event.  Which means Taylor and the other headline act, Jon Bon Jovi, are going to have to be really quiet.  There's a future king asleep in the nursery.

Taylor Swift and Prince William talk about noise levels ahead of her performance at Kensington Palace in aid of Centrepoint UK William has also invited along Jon Bon Jovi - he did one of their songs in karaoke at cousin Zara Phillips' wedding - and James Blunt.  Kate is on babysitting duty so there's no chance to see her next to some of the best known faces in the world at the moment.  Unless they get really noisy in which case she might just pop down to tell them to keep it quiet or they will have to get Prince George…

Richard III's final battle

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For a king who died over 500 years ago, Richard III is getting a lot of attention.  For centuries, the bad boy of British monarchs has been pretty easy to sum up.  Jealous brother became jealous uncle who knocked out the rightful monarch to take the crown himself and then lost it in a fight with an upstart of a cousin.  Oh, and he had a hunchback, withered arm and really, really needed a horse when his big day out at Bosworth went really, really wrong.  That's the Tudor version of history and, just as that royal house shaped a lot of what we call modern Britain, so that version of Richard's story remained pretty much unchallenged.  And suddenly, this most beleaguered king is box office.

Richard III was king of England for just over two years but has cast a long, if predictable, shadow ever since It helped that he was played by an easy on the eye actor in the BBC adaptation of The White Queen.  Aneurin Barnard's interpretation of a confused and concerned king in the making w…

The day of England's missing queen

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For a long time, November 26th was a notorious date in England's history.  It marked the day when the country had to come to terms with its fledgling monarchy stumbling into serous trouble.  Today, in 1120, the English king found out his only legitimate son was dead and his throne was in danger of falling empty. And so started a chain of events that would lead a young girl in what is now Belgium becoming queen consort of England.  And it marked the beginning of a fight by an exceptional woman to become the first queen regnant of her country. 

The woman who's fight for the throne of England began today 893 years ago.  The Empress Matilda, daughter of Henry I, found her life had changed in many ways when she woke up on November 26th 1120 In the cold, dark hours of the evening of November 25th 1120 one of the most modern ships in northern Europe set sail from Normandy. The White Ship was an amazing feat of engineering and, as befits such a remarkable vessel, its passengers were V…

The day the White Queen secured her legacy

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On this day, in 1487, that most ambitious of medieval monarchs, Elizabeth Woodville secured her legacy.  Her eldest child, Elizabeth of York, was crowned queen consort of England.  And over 500 years later, it is Elizabeth Woodville who still grabs all the headlines.  Her daughter wasn't as pretty, as scheming or as determined as the first commoner queen.  And so while Elizabeth, Princess of York was the daughter, sister, wife and mother of kings of England, she remains eclipsed by her mother. 

Elizabeth of York, queen of England, is better known as the daughter and mother of monarchs than as a consort in her own right Elizabeth of York had a better claim to the throne of England than the man who gave her a crown.  And that's perhaps why her husband, Henry Tudor, made her wait for a wedding ring and then for a coronation of her own.  Elizabeth's coronation, on November 25th 1487 at Westminster Abbey, came over two years after Henry had triumphed at the Battle of Bosworth. …

Monarchs in training

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Her voice has rarely been heard in public until now but as the Spanish royal family left the Quiron clinic in Madrid after visiting King Juan Carlos, it was the Infanta Leonor who led the family's interviews with journalists.  The eight year old, who one day will be queen of Spain, answered several questions from journalists as she ended her hospital visit alongside dad, mum, granny and little sis, Sofia.  And if she looked a little bit nervous at times - who could blame her with just a few dozen people shouting at her and letting flashes off in her face - she's now got her first big public moment out of the way.  Just like her fellow heirs across Europe.

A future queen steps up to the mic - Leonor of Spain, aged eight, leads the royal family's chat with journalists after a visit to King Juan Carlos in the Quiron Hospital in Madrid Leonor has often seemed hidden from view compared to her counterparts in royal courts across the continent.  Until this year, she and her own he…

Doctor Who, by royal appointment

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It was all the fault of Elizabeth I.  That amazing queen of England has just added another string to her bow by being part, albeit as a fictional creation, of the 50th anniversary episode of one of the biggest TV dramas ever.  Doctor Who has just marked its half century with an amazing adventure and thankfully, the show went back to its whimsical best and made one of England's most famous monarchs one of the stars of the show.

All of them together again - the Doctor turns fifty today and brought along Elizabeth I to celebrate Many actresses have tried to bring Gloriana herself to life and Joanna Page made a very good job of it for this hugely significant show.  It might not be the dramatic, haughty Elizabeth of legend but she had all the spark and determination of that amazing monarch and delivered the queen's most famous line from that speech at Tilbury as well as anyone else.  Three doctors, one man and a total TV success.  Matt Smith, David Tennant and John Hurt have their o…

The ice prince

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Prince Harry is now in Antarctica to get ready for the race to the South Pole.  The prince is patron of the British team taking part in the event and, like the US and Commonwealth teams, he's now spending several days getting used to the temperatures and altitude that will surround him for the next four weeks.  He's hoping to reach the Pole by December 17th and already has the makings of a polar explorer beard.  Just the makings.  Here's hoping that's just a few days' growth - given that he's descended from Edward VII and George V who sported two of the most famous royal beards in history, it's not his best effort.

Prince Harry touches down in the Antarctic ahead of the race to the South Pole in support of Walking with the Wounded

Kate and Letizia: Marilyn moments

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The Duchess of Cambridge's skirt malfunction in London today is small fry compared to the rather more revealing breeze moment she had in Calgary on her first official overseas tour following her marriage.  Then, her primrose yellow dress caught in the wind and almost gave us a royal knicker flash.

Kate's first breezy dress moment in 2011 Kate quickly learned the lesson of leaving long hair untamed in windy weather after her locks wrapped themselves round her face as she stepped out of a car in London on November 19th.  On November 20th, she was all neat coiffure and hair pins as she arrived at another engagement only to find the skirt off on its own little trip.  But whether she'll change anything after the dress moment is less certain.  The yellow dress of Calgary isn't her only windblown moment.  She was caught out by a floaty summer print frock as she got off a plane in Brisbane last year and had to move pretty quickly to stop that one in its tracks. A demure tea dres…

Europe's ageing monarchies

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Charles, Prince of Wales is the boy who waited.  The prince is the oldest person ever to be heir to the British throne and he's also held that position longer than any other.  And if his mother lives anywhere near as long as her own mother, the boy who became first in line to the throne at the age of just three will be a man approaching eighty when he becomes king.  But Charles is just the beginning of a generation of men and women who will assume their destinies at a much greater age than any of their predecessors.  Europe's monarchies are getting older.

Prince Charles is just the beginning of a new wave of older kings with Prince Frederik among a whole generation of monarchs unlikely to begin their reigns until their sixth or seventh decade This new wave of blue rinse bods at the top is inevitable given the general ageing of the population.  Although royal families have had the best of everything from nice, warm places to sleep to top doctors to sort out their aches and pains…

Kate's gone with the wind

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Not for the first time, the Duchess of Cambridge has been caught out by a breeze.  She's struggled with flimsy skirts in gusty weather before and has had two wind in hair moments this month already, the latest just yesterday when she arrived at an engagement only to find her locks in her face within seconds of getting out of the car.  Today, she'd made sure that didn't happen by tying the royal hair back but almost as soon as she'd got out of her car today, she learned another royal lesson.  Why royals don't wear chiffon skirts in November.  Her flimsy frock went for an upward dive as a gust of wind caught it outside Place2Be but fluttered down just in time to spare Kate's blushes.  Which meant the only controversy about this outfit was why she'd chosen dark navy shoes with an all black outfit. 

Kate tries the bright coloured shoes with black trend and fails

Royal round up, week ending November 10th 2013

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A round up of the news from Europe's royal houses for the week ending November 10th 2013...part one... Norway King Harald of Norway began his week by laying a wreath in memory of all those who have been killed in service.  The ceremony, on Sunday November 3rd 2013, took place at Akershus Fortin Oslo. King Harald of Norway honours the fallen on Memorial Day on November 3rd 2013 The king and queen left for a state visit to Turkey on November 5th 2013.  Their visit, which lasted two days began with King Harald laying a wreath at the Atatürk Mausoleum.  The official welcome came from Turkish president, President Abdullah Gül, and his wife before the king met with the Turkish Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.  The queen visited Saray Rehabilitation and Care Center and Ankara Sevgi Evleri Nursery School in Istanbul in the afternoon.  Later that day, Queen Sonja opened the Munch/Warhol exhibition at the CerModern Museum in Ankara before attending a state dinner with the king in the e…