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Showing posts from January, 2014

The heirs of 1914: Norway

The young man who was heir to the throne of Norway in 1914 had not been born to be his country's king.  But after a hugely successful reign, he was voted Norwegian of the 20th century such was the love his people had for him.  Of all the heirs to the throne of a century ago, Olav of Norway has the greatest claim to have been the greatest monarch of them all.

Olav, Crown Prince of Norway in 1914 - already popular in his adopted country, his success and the affection his fellow citizens had for him would only grow as the 20th century progressed
Norway's Crown Prince of a century ago had been born in England in 1903 and christened Alexander Edward Christian Frederik.  But the decision of his father, Prince Carl of Denmark, to accept an invitation to become king of Norway in 1905 changed everything for the little prince - including his name.  On the day that Carl became Haakon VII of Norway, his only son and heir became Olav and stayed Olav for the rest of his life.  The little boy…

Birthdays and marriages

The Prince of Asturias is 46 today and the usual media reports for the day have taken on a very different tone this year.  Whereas most birthdays for Felipe have been accompanied by portrait galleries looking back and editorials looking forward, this year just about everything that's going on right now is being looked at. In minute details. With ongoing reports of a marriage crisis in a crisis hit royal household, all eyes this year are on possible problems rather than causes for celebration.

Looking into the future - Felipe tries out Google glass at the recent FITUR tourism exhibition in Madrid.
A brief solo ski-ing trip by the prince was enough to revive rumours that the couple aren't exactly getting on at the moment.  And those whispers are dominating coverage of this king in waiting's big day.  A report in one paper that a spokesperson within the Zarzuela has talked about 'ups and downs' in the royal marriage has been widely re-distributed.

Prince Felipe on his 4…

The Queen's Purse

Queen Elizabeth II is making do with a heating system that's sixty years old and costing her a cool three quarters of a million pounds every year to keep Buckingham Palace warm.  She's also down to her last one million pounds in reserve funds after big overspends in recent times.  But it's not the Queen's fault.  A new report from the Public Accounts Committee says that Elizabeth II has been let down by the Treasury and her Household and the royal purse string holders now need to start saving more cash and making more money.

Luckily, she's staying at Sandringham as the weather gets colder.  A report by an influential committee of MPs says that the Queen's heating system at Buckingham Palace is sixty years old and costing a fortune
The Queen has already opened the doors of Buckingham Palace to visitors with a chance to wander round the royal corridors available in the summer months.  But the committee says that brings in around half a million pounds every year wh…

The heirs of 1914: the Netherlands

In 1914, the little girl who stood to inherit the throne of the Netherlands was about to embark on her education as a princess and a future queen regnant.  Juliana, then aged five, would become her country's second queen and firmly establish the tradition of Dutch monarchs abdicating to ensure a smooth succession.  But in 1914, the princess in the royal nursery in The Hague was the much loved and wanted daughter of a queen regnant and the only hope that her dynasty would continue to occupy the throne.  Juliana wasn't just the only girl in Europe who stood to inherit a crown in 1914, she was the only royal left in her line of succession.  Juliana was pretty special.

Two women who would change the face of royalty in Europe in the 20th century - Queen Wilhelmina with her daughter, Princess Juliana, in 1912.  Their successful reigns, along with that of Juliana's daughter Beatrix, made female rule the norm in the Netherlands
Juliana Louise Emma Marie Wilhelmina had been born in …

Royal birthday bonanza

Mia Grace Tindall has picked the right time to arrive.  Every now and again, there is a rush of royal birthdays and the cold and frosty weeks of January are one of those times.  Since the new year arrived, no less than one queen, one king, seven princesses and one prince have blown out their candles and another prince and a former queen are about to celebrate their big days.  January is a royal birthday bonanza month.

The latest royal birthday girl is Princess Charlene of Monaco who turned 36 on January 25th 2014
Charlene of Monaco is the latest royal to mark her big day as she turned 36 on January 25th 2014 by signing copies of a new book on her home country, South Africa, to which she has written the forward.  Her celebrations were just two days after those of her sister-in-law, and her husband's heir for now, Princess Caroline who was 57 on January 23rd 2014 and opened cards and presents from grandchildren for the first time.  Denmark's royal house has had its fair share of …

The heirs of 1914: Denmark

The heir to the throne of Denmark in 1914 was one of the newest Crown Princes on the continent.  Christian Frederik Franz Michael Carl Valdemar Georg, known as Frederik, had become heir to the throne in 1912 and now, aged fifteen, was enjoying an education that would make him one of the most modern kings his country had known.

Frederik, Crown Prince of Denmark, photographed in 1914
As king of Denmark, a role he assumed on the death of his father, Christian X, in 1947 he would oversee changes to the constitution which would allow women to inherit the throne for the first time and pave the way for his daughter, Margrethe, to become queen and changes to the way his country was run which included a brand new welfare state and better working rights for women.  The seeds of that modernity were sewn in his childhood when Frederik became the first heir to his country's throne to embark on a naval, rather than army, career.  The little boy who had stood at the feet of the legendary Christi…

The heirs of 1914: Belgium

The heir to the throne of Belgium in 1914 bore the name of his dynasty and the hopes of his country but war would make and then break his royal career.  Leopold, Duke of Brabant was thirteen in 1914 and an integral part of the new monarchy being forged by his parents, Albert I and his consort, Elisabeth.  A century ago, Prince Leopold was an eyewitness to the way in which his mother and father changed the image of the Belgian royals through determination and hard work.  He played his own part too but his own royal story would have a less successful ending.

Prince Leopold of Belgium as a teenager.  In 1914, as heir to the Belgian throne, he was helping his parents reshape the monarchy's image after the controversial reign of his great uncle, Leopold II
The young Duke of Brabant entered his teenage years in 1914 but just before he marked that big birthday, World War One began and he and his siblings were sent to England for safety.  The war would be a turning point for the Belgian ro…

A princely proposal

Here's hoping that Cressida Bonas hasn't got her heart set on a sparkler any time soon.  According to the latest poll, Prince Harry of Wales is the royal least likely to pop the question in 2014. In fact, he received not a single vote in the survey meaning - Cressida may have to wait to become a royal duchess.  Prince Carl Philip topped the poll comfortably, taking over 85% of the votes.  The Swedish royal family has had a lot of practice with weddings in recent years so organising a big do would be a walk in the park.  And Sofia Hellqvist has already attended several major royal events in recent years - the strongest sign yet that Carl Philip could be about to hand in his cards as one of the most eligible men in Europe.

Prince Carl Philip of Sweden is the royal most likely to say 'I do' in 2014 according to the latest poll
Amadeo of Belgium got a small show of support but there's no doubt that, according to this poll, anyone wanting a good look at big hats and posh…

The heirs of 1914: Sweden

In 1914, the Swedish heir to the throne was among the oldest of the men waiting to be king.  He was also the only one who was married and the only one to have children.  Of all the heirs, he might have expected his royal life to fade the soonest but Gustaf Adolf, in fact, ended up ruling well into the last half of the 20th centuries and saw many of his fellow heirs of 1914 lose their crowns or renounce their thrones while he was still waiting for his.

Gustaf Adolf of Sweden is seen meeting some footballers in England at some point between 1910 and 1915.  He became Crown Prince of his country in 1907
Oscar Frederik Wilhelm Olaf Gustaf Adolf was born in 1882, the eldest son of Gustaf of Sweden and his wife, Victoria of Baden.  When Gustaf became the fifth king of that name to rule Sweden in 1907, his new Crown Prince was 26 years old and already married with children.  By 1914, Gustaf Adolf and his wife, Princess Margaret of Connaught, had been married for nine years and had three sons a…

Mathilde's solo stint in France

In just under two weeks' time, Queen Mathilde of the Belgians will find herself taking a solo stance as she and King Philippe make an official visit to France.  The couple have been scheduled to pop next door to say hello to the neighbours for several weeks but the visit will take on an added significance - it will be one of the first official visits hosted by President Francois Hollande following his official separation from his former partner, Valerie Trierweiler.  And it means that Mathilde will have no First Lady to accompany her on her welcome to France.

No worries about clashing clothes for the Queen of the Belgians on her official visit to France in a few weeks' time - the French President has just announced there will be no First Lady to welcome the royals on their arrival
The king and queen of the Belgians, six months into their reign, will be visiting France to introduce themselves as monarchs and hold meetings about closer relationships between the two countries.  An…

Catherine of Aragon's finest hour

The queen who ruled England in 1514 is among the most famous women to be a consort of the country but it is the troubled end to her reign that dominates her life story.  However, in 1514 Catherine of Aragon was all powerful, the perfect partner to her dynamic and younger husband, Henry VIII.  Five hundred years ago there was no sign of the things for which Catherine is best known by history - no shadow of divorce, of Anne Boleyn, of only daughters to succeed their father, of public parading of her personal life.  In 1514, Catherine was the queen who had it all - just about - and every hope of having even more as time went on.

Catherine of Aragon, Queen of England between 1509 and 1533 as the first consort of Henry VIII
In 1514, Catherine was a queen who had just completed a successful stint as regent of England.  Henry had left his kingdom in her care while he went to fight in France and during her tenure, the Battle of Flodden Field was fought between English and Scottish troops with …

Royal round up, week ending January 25th 2014

A round up of all the news from Europe's royal houses for the week ending January 25th 2014...

Princess Ingrid Alexandra of Norway turned ten this week.  To mark the occasion, on January 21st 2014, the royal household released a set of three special - and unusual - photos.

Princess Ingrid Alexandra of Norway in one of her tenth birthday portraits released on January 21st 2014
The king and queen of Norway ended their week with a visit to the heritage village of Laerdalsoyri in the west of the country where fire had destroyed forty homes on Sunday 19th January 2014.  King Harald and Queen Sonja spent January 23rd 2014 in the village, meeting people affected by the fire as well as rescue teams and those who will try and rebuild the damaged properties.  Laerdalsoyri is famous for its traditional wooden buildings and attracts thousands of tourists every year.  Ninety people needed hospital treatment after the fire.

King Harald of Norway meeting rescue workers in Laerdalsoyri on Ja…