Sunday, 30 March 2014

Four faces of George

The future king of England, Prince George of Cambridge, has made just his fourth appearance in official photos as his parents release a snap of him ahead of the family's tour of Australia and New Zealand.  Now aged eight months, the little prince poses in a window and one again is joined by the Cambridges' pet dog, Lupo, in the photo - as he was in his first official snap released in August 2013.

Prince George and Lupo square up for their first photo face off in the official portrait of the future king released in August 2013

The next official photos of George came in October 2013 when the little prince was pictured with his father, grandfather and great grandmother in an historic image of four generations of royalty together. The monarch took centre stage in this portrait with her three kings in waiting around her.

And George makes four - the reign of Elizabeth II began in 1952 and here she is seen with the kings in waiting who will take her dynasty into the 22nd century

A few days afterwards, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge released another photo of their son on his christening day showing him staring up into his mother's face and while we all went 'ah' it was Kate who was the star of this one.

Mother knows best - Kate and George share a special look while William looks on

But in his latest photo, George conquers all before him.  Lupo is relegated to a bit part, staring on as the little king to be babbles in his face.  And while mum and dad look relaxed and happy, it's George in his specially made jumper and showing off his blonde hair who really grabs attention.  Over the next month, the little prince will make several more appearances on his tour of Australia and New Zealand.  And it looks like he's ready for his close up at just the right moment.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge with Prince George and Lupo in a new official photo

Which is the best photo of George so far?  This week's poll is all about the littlest Cambridge.

Saturday, 29 March 2014

George gets his own back on Lupo

He was the dog that stole the show in one of the most eagerly awaited royal photos of the decade.  Lupo, pet of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, took a starring role in the first official pictures of Prince George released in the summer of 2013.  But in the official snap of the family ahead of their tour of Australia and New Zealand, there is no way George is letting his family pet pull the same trick twice.  Cheeky, confident and full of charm, George outstares Lupo and makes sure all eyes are on him as he makes just his fourth appearance before the cameras since his birth.

He's learning fast - this time George makes sure Lupo takes a supporting role as the Cambridges pose for photographer Jason Bell ahead of their tour of Australia and New Zealand

The photo is a quirky and modern take on monarchy with the faded colour of many an Instagram snap.  The little prince has glimpses of his daddy about him but mostly looks more and more like his mummy.  But most of all he makes sure that all eyes are on him and that Lupo remains firmly in a supporting role this time round.

Friday, 28 March 2014

Letizia almost cuts ahead of Kate

The comparisons between their styles are growing by the day but in one area, Princess Letizia has a head start on the Duchess of Cambridge.  The Princess of Asturias has a new hair style.  In fact, Letizia has been changing her hair quite a lot in recent times while Kate is sticking to what she knows best meaning her long, dark locks rarely move from their perfectly coiffed positions on her shoulders. But on the day a Spanish fashion writer claimed that Letizia was copying Kate's clothes, the Princess of Asturias surprised many by putting her hair up to look like she'd cut it all off.

Letizia's locks get a second look - the Princess ofAsturias showed off a new hairstyle in her latest appearance

It was just one pesky strand at the front that gave the game away as it worked its way loose to reveal that the new short do was in fact just a temporary measure.  It's not the first time in recent months that Letizia has surprised with her barnet - she went all Great Gatsby with a twenties style up do on her November visit to America.

The Princess of Asturias hit the Gatsy trend just before the rest of the fashion pack proving she's always one trend step ahead

Not long afterwards, Kate tried an up do at a film premiere where she paired tied back hair with a repeat couture dress but most attention was focused on the High Street necklace she chose to top the outfit off. And she was back to long and lovely again within days, showing that when it comes to hair then her style rival, Letizia, is still moving ahead.

A rare glimpse of the Duchess of Cambridge with a different hair style

Thursday, 27 March 2014

The Maxima Effect

Europe could have a new queen of hearts.  Royal commentators in England have been chattering about the Maxima effect as the consort of the Netherlands seemed to win over the world leaders who visited her and her husband at Huis den Bosch Palace this week ahead of the Nuclear Security Summit.  There seems to be general agreement that the Dutch queen impressed everyone she met at this major event for the new monarchs with some arguing she outshone her husband.

Queen Maxima meets Barack Obama - and the king was there too.  The Dutch consort wins over world leaders at one of her biggest events since she and her husband became monarchs in 2013

Ever since her marriage in 2002, Maxima has been one of the most popular royal consorts on the continent and she has always seemed happy in her royal role.  Commentators noticed how relaxed the queen was hosting dozens of world leaders and representatives at what was a difficult dinner to make a success.

Queen Maxima is seen at the front of this photo, making sure everything goes perfectly for her guests

The Dutch queen has always been popular in her adopted country but the fact that royal watchers in other nations are now noticing her successes shows that this queen is ruling hearts and minds everywhere she goes. The Maxima Effect takes full effect.

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Royal round up, week ending March 22nd 2014

A round up of all the news from Europe's royal houses for the week ending March 22nd 2014...


Queen Margrethe II of Denmark welcomed the President of Turkey and his wife for a two day state visit, beginning on March 17th 2014.  The Danish Queen led the royal family as they met the president at Copenhagen airport at the start of his visit.

Queen Margrethe of Denmark with the President of Turkey.  The Danish Queen was accompanied by the royal family to greet the President at the start of his two day visit to Denmark on March 17th 2014

On the afternoon of March 17th, Crown Prince Frederik and President Abdullah Gu attended a business lunch and a Turkish-Danish Trade and Investment Forum at the Confederation of Danish Industries in Copenhagen.  On the evening of March 17th, Queen Margrethe and Prince Henrik hosted a gala dinner for President Gul and his wife at the Amalienborg Palace with the royal family in attendance.

Queen Margrethe II of Denmark leads the toasts at the gala dinner she gave for President Abdullah Gul of Turkey on the first day of his state visit, March 17th 2014

On March 18th, Crown Princess Mary and the Turkish First Lady visited the Danner Women's Shelter in Copenhagen and saw some of the projects there which are being supported by the Mary Foundation.

Crown Princess Mary of Denmark and the First Lady of Turkey, Hayrunnisa Gul, at the Danner Women's Shelter in Copenhagen during their visit on March 18th 2014

The Turkish President held a meeting with the Danish Prime Minister, Helle Thorning-Schmidt before hosting a dinner, in the evening, for the Danish Royal Family at the Hotel d'Angleterre in Copenhagen.

Queen Margrethe of Denmark and President Gul of Turkey at the end of his visit on March 18th 2014

The Netherlands

The King and Queen of the Netherlands ended their week by welcoming the President of China and his wife on a state visit.  The Dutch monarchs met the President Xi Jinping and his wife, Peng Liyuang, at Schipol Airport on their arrival on March 22nd 2014 before holding an audience with the couple at the Royal Palace in Amsterdam.  In the evening, King Willem-Alexander hosted a gala dinner for the couple at the Royal Palace accompanied by Queen Maxima and Princess Beatrix.

King Willem-Alexander hosted the President of China on a two day visit to the Netherlands, beginning on March 22nd 2014

The king had started his week by holding an audience with the new ambassador of the United States who presented his letters of credentials at the Noordeinde Palace on March 19th 2014. Later that day, at the Noordeinde Palace, King Willem-Alexander and his aunt, Princess Margriet, hosted a reception for the Dutch Paralympics team on their return from the Sochi Games.  The team brought back a gold medal from the games.

King Willem-Alexander and Princess Margriet host a reception for the Dutch Paralympic team on March 18th 2014 at the Noordeinde Palace in The Hague

On March 21st 2014, the Dutch King led the royal family in a day of voluteering.  The royals helped out on a variety of community projects around the country.

Princess Beatrix of the Netherlands taking part in the Day of Volunteering on March 21st 2014

On the same day, the Dutch monarchs travelled to Germany where Queen Maxima was awarded the German Media Prize for 2013 at a ceremony in Baden-Baden.  The queen was recognised for her work as a Special Advocate for the UN Secretary General for Inclusive Finance for Development, a role she has held since 2009.

Queen Maxima with the German Media Award which she received on March 21st 2014 at a ceremony in Baden Baden

Earlier in the week, on March 18th 2014, Queen Maxima had visited Tilburg in the southern Netherlands where she attended a seminar about social innovation before visiting a scheme in the city which helps young people with learning difficulties to learn the skills they need to find jobs.

Queen Maxima of the Netherlands in Tilburg on March 18th 2014 where she met young people involved with a scheme which provides work training for people with learning difficulties

Princess Beatrix visited a Military Training Centre on March 16th 2014 where she met around 50 relatives who had lost soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq as part of an Army Buddy Day which provides support for those who have been hurt or who have lost a loved one on military operations.  On March 21st 2014, the princess opened the MOA Museum in Bunnik in the central Netherlands which is dedicated to the work of the artist and sculptor, Armando.  On March 18th 2014, Princess Beatrix's sister, Margriet, was in Brussels with Princess Laurentien for the ECF Princess Margriet Award which is given in the field of the arts and writing and recognises sharing knowledge across Europe.

Princess Margriet and Princess Laurentien with the winners of the Princess Margriet ECF prize - Teatro Valle Occupato from Italy and Teodor Celakoski from Croatia - at the prize giving ceremony in Brussels on March 18th 2014

United Kingdom

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge carried out their first joint public engagement of the year on Monday 17th March 2017 when they attended the St Patrick's Day Parade of the Irish Guards at Mons Barracks in Aldershot, Hampshire.  The Duke later told guests at a reception that there would be no more royal babies for a while as 'one is enough for now'.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge with the Irish Guards on St Patrick's Day

On March 18th 2014, the Duke of Cambridge carried out an investiture at Buckingham Palace on behalf of the Queen. On the same day, Elizabeth II received the President of Bulgaria at Buckingham Palace before holding several audiences, firstly meeting the Earl of Home and later the Chancellor of the Exchequer who had just presented his Budget to the House of Commons.  On March 19th 2014, the Queen received the letters of credentials from the new ambassadors of Cabo Verde and India in audiences at Buckingham Palace.  Later that day, Elizabeth II presented the Queen's Medal for Music to Sir Thomas Allen in a ceremony at Buckingham Palace.  In the evening, the Queen held an audience with the Prime Minister, David Cameron.  

Queen Elizabeth II with Maria Jesus de Mascarenhas, the new ambassador of Cabo Verde, at their audience at Buckingham Palace on March 19th 2014

On March 20th 2014, the Queen held a series of audiences at Buckingham Palace including meetings with several new UK ambassadors.  In the evening, Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh held a reception at Buckingham Palace for the Lieutenant Governors of the Crown Dependencies - Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man.  

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh at the reception they held at Buckingham Palace on March 20th 2014

On March 21st 2014, the Queen and Prince Philip officially opened the new Rambert Dance Studios in Chiswick in London and watched several performances including one by a pensioners' group.

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip watch a dance performance during their visit to Ramberts Studios on March 21st 2014

The Duke of Edinburgh had begun his week by holding a dinner at Frogmore House, Windsor Home Park for the Outward Bound Trust of which he is patron.  The duke held an audience at Buckingham Palace on March 19th in his capacity as Admiral of the Royal Yacht Squadron before hosting a reception in the evening at St James' Palace as Patron and Twelfth Man of the Lord's Taverners.  On March 19th 2014, Prince Philip held a series of receptions at St James' Palace for young people who have attained the Duke of Edinburgh's Gold Award.  

The Duke of Edinburgh with the Queen during their visit to Ramberts on March 21st 2014

On March 17th 2014, the Prince of Wales held a dinner at St James' Palace for the Prince's Charities International Sustainability Fund.  On March 18th 2014, the prince and the Duchess of Cornwall, opened the Chelsea Children's Hospital and spent some time talking to staff and patients.

The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall meeting patients at the Chelsea Children's Hospital in London which they opened on March 19th 2014

In the afternoon of March 19th 2014, the Prince of Wales held a series of audiences at Clarence House.  On March 20th 2014, Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall were in Kent where they met residents in Yalding who were badly hit by the recent flooding.  They went on to visit Teapot Island Museum in Yalding before heading to Bateman's, the former home of Rudyard Kipling, which they visited as part of the prince's work with the National Trust for Places of Historic Interest or Natural Beauty.  On her return to London the Duchess of Cornwall held an audience in her role as patron of the National Literacy Trust while on the same evening, the Prince of Wales hosted a dinner at St James' Palace for officers of the Army, Navy and RAF.

The Prince of Wales meets those affected by recent flooding on a visit to Yalding in Kent on March 19th 2014

The Duke of York visited British Exploring at the Royal Geographical Survey in London on March 17th 2014 before going on to host a lunch at Buckingham Palace for the Vice Chancellors of Yorkshire University.  The duke held an audience in the afternoon and in the evening welcomed Young Enterprise to Buckingham Palace for a dinner.  The following day, the Duke of York held several audiences at Buckingham Palace and in the evening attended a dinner for the Enterprise Education Trust in London.  The Duke of York is the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Outward Bound Trust and held a meeting with them at Buckingham Palace on March 19th before a series of audiences at the palace that afternoon.  In the evening, Prince Andrew attended the Fitting-Out Dinner at the Royal Thames Yacht Club in London.  On March 20th 2014, the Duke of York travelled to Lancashire where he opened Visions Learning Trust Technical College in Burnley in his capacity as patron of the Baker Dearing Educational Trust.  He went on to visit Manchester where he spent some time at TechHub Manchester before going on to see Code Club at Rolls Crescent Primary School, Hulme.  Later that day, Prince Andrew visited Broughton House, Home for Ex-Service Men and Women in Salford.

The Duke of York meeting former members of the Armed Forces at Broughton House in Manchester on March 20th 2014

The Countess of Wessex broke down in tears this week when she returned to the hospital where she gave birth to her daughter, Lady Louise, in dramatic circumstances in November 2003.  The countess was at Frimley Park Hospital in Surrey on March 18th 2014 to open the new neo-natal unit there.  On her arrival she was hugged by some of the medical staff who had cared for her when she was rushed there to deliver her daughter by emergency Caesarean section.  The countess began to cry when she made a speech thanking the hospital for all they did for her and for many others in similar circumstances.  She went on to visit mothers and babies at Frimley Park.

The Countess of Wessex at Frimley Park Hospital in Surrey on March 18th 2014.  Here she is seen meeting Katrina Millard and her daughter, Angel.

The countess had begun her week on March 17th 2014 by holding a meeting for the Duke of Edinburgh's Award at Buckingham Palace before attending a reception for the NSPCC, of which she is patron, at the House of Lords.  After her visit to Frimley Park on March 18th 2014, the countess held a lunch the same day for the charity Meningitis Now.  On March 19th 2014, the Countess of Wessex was in Ipswich in Suffolk where she opened the new Heart Centre at Ipswich Hospital.  Later the same day, she visited Genesis Orwell Mencap in Suffolk before spending time at the Brain Injury Association, Headway, also in Ipswich.  

The Countess of Wessex on the front of the Ipswich Star newspaper on the day after her visit to the town on March 19th 2014

On March 20th 2014, the Countess of Wessex was at a prize giving lunch in London for the Combined Services Winter Sports Association of which she is patron.  She attended a concert in London that evening in her role as Colonel-in-Chief of the Corps of Army Music.  On the same day, the Earl of Wessex was in Windsor where he opened the new offices for the Duke of Edinburgh Award in the town.  That evening the earl was at a concert given by the London Mozart Players of which he is patron.  The earl's week had begun with meetings linked to his work with the Duke of Edinburgh Award on March 18th 2014.  On the same day, Prince Edward held a lunch at Buckingham Palace to mark England's participation in the Commonwealth Games which will be held in Glasgow this summer. That evening, he held a dinner at Buckingham Palace for the National Youth Theatre of which he is patron.  

The Earl of Wessex arriving at the concert given by the London Mozart Players which he attended on March 20th 2014

The Princess Royal held several audiences at Buckingham Palace on March 18th 2014 before handing out the prizes at the Torch Trophy Trust Awards in London.  The ceremony recognises the unsung heroes of British sport but there was also a Lifetime Achievement Award this year for World Cup winner, Sir Bobby Charlton.  The princess later attended a dinner in London in her capacity as patron of Opportunity International United Kingdom.

The Princess Royal presents Sir Bobby Charlton with his Lifetime Achievement Award at the Torch Trophy Trust Awards in London on March 18th 2014

On March 19th 2014, the Princess Royal was the Defence Logistics School in Surrey in her role as Colonel-in-Chief of The Royal Logistics Corps.  Later the same day, Princess Anne held an audience at Buckingham Palace and then hosted a reception there for Young Achievers with St John Ambulance of which she is patron.  In the evening, the princess was in the City of London for the Cavell Nurses' Trust Scholarship Awards Ceremony which is part of the Edith Cavell Centenary Appeal of which she is patron.  On March 20th 2014, the Princess Royal visited Essex where she began a day of engagements at Kent Blaxill and Company Limited in Colchester to mark its 175th anniversary.  The princess went on to review the renovations at Colchester Castle.  Princess Anne returned to London in the afternoon where she presented the Butler Trust's annual awards at a reception at Buckingham Palace - she is their patron.  In the evening the princess and her husband, Timothy Laurence, attended an event at the Tower of London for the Special Forces Club in the princess' role as their patron.  On March 21st 2014, the princess held an audience with London Mayor, Boris Johnson, at Buckingham Palace linked to her work with the Organising Committee of the London 2012 Olympic Games.  That afternoon, the princess attended the Four Hundredth Whitgift Foundation Founder's Day Service at Croydon Minster for the Fishmonger's Company of which she is Court Assistant.  She went on to a lunch at Old Palace of John Whitgift School, Old Palace Road in Croydon.

Princess Anne in Colchester in Essex on March 20th 2014


King Juan Carlos of Spain began his week by overseeing the oath taking ceremony of the new judge of the Constitutional Court, Ricardo Enriquez, at the Zarzeula Palace in Madrid on March 18th 2014.  The Spanish Prime Minster, Mariano Rajoy, was also present.

King Juan Carlos of Spain and Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, look on as Ricardo Enriquez takes his oath as the new judge of the Constitutional Court on March 18th 2014

On the same day, the king held an audience at the Zarzuela Palace for the Royal Housing Trust Foundation of Seville which is marking its centenary.  The foundation aims to help people who can't afford housing at market prices to find homes.  On March 20th 2014, King Juan Carlos held an audience at the Zarzuela Palace with the Fiscal Council following recent changes to the organisation.

King Juan Carlos with members of the Royal Housing Trust Foundation at their audience on March 18th 2014 in Madrid

Queen Sofia spent much of her week in Guatemala for her annual support trip to the country.  Queen Sofia arrived on March 18th 2014 and she was met at the airport by Guatemala's First Lady, Rosa Leal, and her daughter, Lisette.  The queen brought 50,000 euros of medicine with her, donated by charities for the visit.  On the same day, Queen Sofia had an audience with the President of Guatemala, Otto Perez Molina, and went on to visit the Ministry of Equality accompanied by the First Lady.  

Queen Sofia on her arrival in Guatemala on March 18th 2014

Later the same day, the Spanish queen visited the Technical Co-operation Office to hear about work on water sanitation projects before spending time at the Workshop School of Guatemala.  Queen Sofia went on to meet the country's Attorney General and then spent time seeing a project called 24-0 which works with young people in particular to stamp out violence - it stands for 0 deaths in 24 hours.  The queen's last engagement of March 18th 2014 was a visit to the Future Live Association which works to improve education, health and nutrition for children in Guatemala.

Queen Sofia of Spain during her visit to the 24-0 project in Guatemala on March 18th 2014

The following day, March 19th 2014, Queen Sofia was in Quezaltepeque, Chiquimula in the east of the country where she visited the Centre for Nutritional Recovery and Care for the Disabled in the area. In the afternoon, the queen visited a farming co-operative in Chortijol which is funded by Spanish donations and which helps people buy, grow and process beans to make a better living.  In the evening, Queen Sofia attended a dinner given by the President of Guatemala and his wife in her honour.

Queen Sofia of Spain during her visit to the Centre for Nutritional Recovery and Care for the Disabled on March 19th 2014

On the third day of her tour, March 20th 2014, Queen Sofia visited the Cultural Centre of Spain in Guatemala before walking through the Sixth avenue area which has been restored with help from Spain.  The queen then met the president and his wife at the National Palace of Culture before heading to the crafts market of Old Guatemala where she was presented with a necklace of silver coins which she wore for the rest of the day.  In the afternoon, Queen Sofia attended the closing of a seminar on Spanish Co-operation in Guatemala.

Queen Sofia of Spain meets a market stall holder in Guatemala on March 20th 2014

On the final day of her tour, March 21st 2014, Queen Sofia of Spain visited the Our Lady of Pilar Hospital in Guatemala and laid the foundation stone for a Mother and Baby Unit there before meeting patients and staff.  Her last engagement was a visit to the Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology before she returned to Spain.

Queen Sofia with one of the children she met on her visit to the Hospital of Our Lady of Pilar on the last day of her four day tour of Guatemala

Prince Felipe began his week on March 18th 2014 in Seville where he opened the first International Congress on Spain, Europe and America working together for Innovation, Technology and Excellence which brought together over 400 entrepreneurs from Spain.  On March 19th 2014, the prince held several audiences at El Pardo Palace in Madrid.  Firstly, he met representatives from the Iberoamerican Forum 21st Century which focuses on helping development in Latin America and which has held a number of events and seminars over the last ten months.  The prince went on to hold an audience with students and professors from the Columbia Business School who are visiting Spain before meeting students on a programme called Inside 2013 which aims to strengthen education, cultural and technological ties between Spain and the rest of the world.

Prince Felipe of Spain with the students and teachers from Colombia Business School during their audience in Madrid on March 19th 2014

The prince held another audience on March 20th, this time at the Zarzuela Palace in Madrid, for Ambassadors and Permanent Representatives at the United Nations who were visiting Spain to attend a seminar on global cyber security.

The Prince of Asturias at the audience he held on March 20th 2014

The prince ended his week by visiting Galicia where he opened an exhibition about water at the Gaias Musuem Centre in Santiago de Compostela.  He then went on to attend a lunch in Vigo with members of the Confederation of Pontevedra who presented him with their institution's gold medal.

Prince Felipe is presented with the gold medal of the Confederation of Pontevedra on March 21st 2014

The Prince and Princess of Asturias had one joint engagement in the week when they visited workshops and a concert linked to the Prince of Girona and Viana Prize for Arts and Letters.  The event, in Barcelona on March 18th 2014, aimed to show how music can unify people.

The Prince and Princess of Asturias with some of the performers at a concert they attended in Barcelona on Marc 18th 2014

Princess Letizia was in Asturias on March 20th 2014 when she visited a vocational training centre in La Felguera.  The princess met some of the students who use the centre and also saw its facilities.  Earlier she had attended a working meeting with teachers and businesses involved in the centre.

Princess Letizia with some of the students at the Vocational Training Centre she visited in Asturias on March 20th 2014


King Philippe of the Belgians attended the opening of the Science Centre World Summit in Malines on March 17th 2014 which brought together industry representatives and policy makers.

King Philippe of the Belgians at the opening of the Science Centre World Summit on March 17th 2014

On Mach 21st 2014, the Belgian king attended the opening of the ninth Brussels Forum, organised by the German Marshall Fund, which brings together political and business leaders from America and Europe.  This year's theme was 'A World in Transition'.  The king also held a series of audiences throughout the week at the Royal Palace in Brussels.  On March 17th he held his regular meeting with Belgian Prime Minster, Elio di Rupo, and on March 18th he met Finance Minister, Koen Geens, and later held an audience with Rudi Vervoort, who is president of the regional government of Brussels.  On March 21st 2014, King Philippe met the Justice Minister, Annemie Turtelboom, in his last audience of the week.  Queen Mathilde had one engagement in the week - on March 19th 2014, she visited the Het Huizeke association in Brussels, an organisation which aims to empower poorer and disadvantaged families and to end poverty.

Queen Mathilde of the Belgians meets some of the users and workers of Het Huizeke in Brussels which helps poorer families have their opinions heard

King Albert II and Queen Paola visited an organisation which aims to help younger people in the centre of Brussels.  Habbrekats is based on the Grande Place and was formed in 2013.  The king and queen spent some time there meeting those who run it and use it.  Princess Astrid spent the week in Saudi Arabia and Oman on an economic mission.  And at the end of the week, it was confirmed that Prince Laurent was being treated in hospital - later reports said that the prince had pneumonia and was in intensive care.


Prince Albert of Monaco celebrated his Irish heritage on March 17th and 18th 2014 by having the Prince's Palace illuminated green to celebrate St Patrick's Day.  The prince's maternal grandfather, Jack Kelly, was Irish American and his father, John Kelly, was born and raised in County Mayo before emigrating to America in the 1860s.

The Prince's Palace in Monaco bathed in green light to mark St Patrick's Day on March 17th 2014


The Crown Prince and Princess of Norway made a four day visit to Vietnam in the week, arriving on March 18th 2014.  Prince Haakon Magnus and Princess Mette-Marit began their trip officially on March 19th with a welcome ceremony at the Presidential Palace where they were greeted by the Vice President, Nguyen Thi Doan.  The royal couple were accompanied by a large delegation of Norwegian businesses and there were some business talks following the welcome ceremony. The royal couple then went on to visit the Temple of Literature in Hanoi - it is dedicated to the Chinese philosopher, Confucius.  Crown Princess Mette-Marit made a speech at a business lunch the couple attended later and in the evening, they were guests of honour at a banquet and concert in Hanoi given by the Vice President.

The Crown Prince and Princess of Norway on their visit to the Temple of Literature in Hanoi on March 19th 2014

The following day, March 20th 2014, the royal couple held a meeting with the President of Vietnam, Truong Tan Sang before heading to Hue which is described as the cultural capital of the country. 

Prince Haakon Magnus and Princess Mette-Marit meet Truong Tan Sang, the President of Vietnam, in Hanoi on March 20th 2014

Their first engagement there was a visit to the Ho Dynasty citadel and a meeting with representatives of local authorities, the People's Committee of Hue.  They went on to see projects in the area which have been set up and run by Norwegian organisations.  They visited Huong An Secondary School where they saw work being carried out by Norwegian Church Aid, Norwegian People's Aid and Football for All.  Norwegian Church Aid is providing swimming lessons for children to help them cope with weather extremes and flooding.  

The Crown Prince and Princess of Norway at a football match organised by Norwegian charity, Football for All, during their visit to Hue in Vietnam on March 20th 2014

Football for All helps children enjoy sport as well as aiming to educate them on issues like democracy and health, including AIDS/ HIV prevention.  It's also involved with Norwegian People's Aid in clearing land mines - the People's Aid charity works across Vietnam surveying and removing landmines safely. In the evening, the royal couple attended a banquet in Hue given by local authorities.

Haakon Magnus and Mette-Marit of Norway hear about work to clear landmines in Vietnam on March 20th 2014

The last day of the couple's tour was spent in Ho Chi Minh City - the most populous in Vietnam.  They began their day by meeting the Chairman of the People’s Committee of Ho Chi Minh City, Mr Le Hoang Quan.  

The Norwegian royals at their meeting with Le Hoang Quan on March 21st 2014

Crown Prince Haakon then went on to talks about a free trade agreement between Vietnam and the European Free Trade Agreement states - it is due to be finalised by the end of 2014.  The prince then opened the new offices of Norwegian firm, DNV GL, which has been established in Vietnam for several years.  The princess then joined him for a visit to the famous Reunification Palace in Ho Chi Minh City before a business lunch for the delegation travelling with the royal couple.  

Prince Haakon Magnus and Princess Mette-Marit at Reunification Palace in Ho Chi Minh City on March 21st 2014

The couple ended their trip by meeting two more Norwegian companies working in Vietnam - fishfeed supplier, EWOS, and Pharmaq which makes vaccines for fish.

Crown Princess Mette Marit and Crown Prince Haakon Magnus learn how to vaccinate fish on the last day of their visit to Vietnam on March 21st 2014

King Harald inspected the military exercise, Cold Response 2014, going on for two weeks in Norway on a two day visit on March 17th and 18th 2014.  The international exercise involved 12 countries and 16,000 personnel all training in temperatures reaching as low as minus thirty degrees Celsius.  Its main aim is to practice high intensity exercises in extreme winter conditions.

King Harald of Norway is briefed by Lieutenant Colonel Cantrill of the Royal Marines who were taking part in the exercise Cold Response 2014.  The king is their honorary Colonel-in-Chief.

On March 20th 2014, the king of Norway held an audience at the Royal Palace in Oslo with the Foreign Affairs Minister and on March 21st 2014 he presided over a Council of State, again at the Royal Palace. At the end of the week, King Harald was in Holmenkollen for the end of the Biathlon World Cup.  The king arrived on March 22nd 2014 for the winter sports event.

King Harald of Norway meets Austrian competitor, Simon Eder, in Holmenkollen on March 22nd 2014

Queen Sonja attended the opening of an exhibition at Norway's National Gallery on March 18th 2014. The event features photographic portraits of the queen consort taken by Mette Tronvell.

Queen Sonja and photographer, Mette Tronvell, at the opening of an exhibition featuring portraits of the queen on March 18th 2014


King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia welcomed experts from the Foreign Ministry to the Royal Palace on March 17th to receive briefings ahead of their state visit to Latvia which begins on March 26th 2014.  The royal couple then met journalists in Princess Sybilla's apartments in the palace to answer questions about their trip.

King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia speaking to a Latvian TV reporter on March 17th 2014 ahead of their visit to Latvia

Later the same day, the king welcomed dairy farmers to the Royal Palace in Stockholm where he awarded 31 of them the industry's gold medals presented by the LRF Dairy Association.  On March 19th 2014, the king presented a new standard to the Life Guards at their barracks in Stockholm.  On March 20th 2014, the king held a series of audiences with the new ambassadors from Afghanistan, Montenegro and Slovenia.

King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden awards Marit Ottoson Svensson a gold medal from the LRF Dairy Association at a ceremony on March 18th 2014

King Carl XVI Gustaf led the royal family at an official dinner at the Royal Palace in Stockholm.  It was held for members of the diplomatic corps and government and parliament representatives as well as people that the king met during jubilee celebrations in 2013.

The Swedish king and queen arrive for an official dinner with Prince Carl Philip and Prince Daniel on March 19th 2014

The following day, March 20th 2014, the king and queen held the annual celebrations for the Witterhets Academy which was founded in the 19th century by Queen Louisa Ulrike.  The king handed out prizes for humanitarian work at the ceremony which was held at the academy in Stockholm.  On March 21st 2014, Queen Silvia was in Gothenburg where she visited a project for teenagers which includes an exhibition centred around young people's thoughts on the future.  She also saw a new parkour course at a local school.

Queen Silvia meets Hallma, one of the young people who contributed to an exhibition on what the future will look like in Gothenburg during her visit to the city on March 21st 2014

Prince Carl Philip attended a seminar on Global Food Security on March 19th 2014.  The event was held in Stockhom and looked at Sweden's role in global food supply.

Prince Carl Philip at a seminar on food security in Stockholm on March 19th 2014

Prince Daniel attended the final of the annual bandy competition and presented the trophy to Sandviken AIK who beat Vasteras in the match which was played at the Friends Arena in Solna on March 16th 2014.  On March 20th 2014, the prince was in Stockholm at the offices of Klarna, a company that provides payment solution in e-commerce and which now has a growing international presence.

Prince Daniel presenting the trophy at the end of the bandy finals on March 16th 2014

Crown Princess Victoria made a five day visit to Africa in the week, arriving in Ghana on March 17th 2014.  Her first engagement was in Accra where she visited Tech Needs Girls, a programme to help young women in slum areas learn the IT skills they need for work.  In the evening, the princess attended a meeting with Swedish and Ghanian businesses about trade between the two countries.

Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden at the Tech Needs Girls project which she visited in Accra on the first day of her visit to Ghana on March 17th 2014

On March 18th 2014, Princess Victoria attended a presentation by Swedish companies working in Ghana before going on to visit the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre before having lunch with the country's president, John Dramani. Later the same day, the princess attended another meeting with companies from Sweden and Ghana to discuss business opportunities.

Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden and the President of Ghana, John Dramani, during their meeting on March 18th 2014

The princess travelled to Tanzania on March 19th 2014 where she took part in a bilateral meeting with the Foreign Minister, Bernard Membe, in Dar Es Salaam.  She later met the President of Tanzania, Jakaya Kikwete, to discuss economic development and future relations between the two countries.  In the evening, Crown Princess Victoria attended a dinner given by the Swedish ambassador at his residence in Dar es Salaam.

Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden during her meeting with the President of Tanzania on March 19th 2014

On March 20th 2014, Princess Victoria held talks with businesses about trade between Tanzania and Sweden before heading to Kigamboni to see some of the work carried out by WaterAid in the country.  It is estimated that almost half of Tanzania's 45 million residents don't have access to clean water and the princess visited a school that has been helped by WaterAid.  In the evening, the princess attended a reception at the Swedish residence in Dar Es Salaam and heard about the work of the World Wildlife Foundation in Tanzania.  

Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden during her visit to WaterAid projects in Tanzania on March 20th 2014

On the last day of her tour, the princess visited the CCBRT Hospital in Dar es Salaam which began as an eye hospital but is now expanding its facilities for mother and baby care as well as for looking after people with disabilities.  Princess Victoria's last engagement was a seminar at the Swedish Embassy on young entrepreneurship.  

Princess Victoria inspects the work going on to build new maternal health care facilities at the CCBRT hospital in Dar es Salaam on the last day of her visit to Tanzania, March 21st 2014


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