Tuesday, 29 July 2014

As granny does...

Just to prove that at 88, the Queen is still the ultimate royal trend setter, she has inspired a royal wave of photobombing.  After THAT photo last week when the Queen lent in and stole the show as two Australian hockey players posed for a selfie at the Commonwealth Games, two of her grandsons have been following in her social media footsteps.  And no surprises for guessing which one really got into the spirit of things.  Here's Harry.

Anyone spot the fourth in line to the throne in this photo?  Thought not...

William also had a go but his was a very sophisticated photobomb.  A genteel smile over the shoulder of sporting knight of the realm, Sir Chris Hoy, completed the set of selfie stealing moments.

 Six times Olympic gold medallist and poster boy for the Commonwealth Games, Sir Chris Hoy, provides the perfect setting for a future king's photobombing

That's not to say a Kate photobomb wouldn't be welcome but for the time being, a hat trick of royal social media star turns is enough to keep everyone happy.  And those two young princes have shown that in some things, it's always best to do as granny does.

Monday, 28 July 2014

Crazy for the Commonwealth Games

As the Commonwealth Games really get into their swing in Glasgow, there's a large royal presence - and a lot of press interest.  For in the last hour, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge with Prince Harry have arrived at the games to watch some gymnastics and boxing.

The royal trio took their seats in one arena while the Earl and Countess of Wessex popped into another to give a royal audience to as many sports as possible.  

But all of the royal visitors might struggle to get the attention that the Queen has had at the games.  From watching and waiting for the baton to be opened on the day she declared the event under way to stunning the world by photobombing a selfie, these games have been all about Elizabeth II.  Head of the Commonwealth and star of the games, the Queen is a tough act to follow.

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Royal round up, week ending July 26th 2014

A round up of all the news from Europe's royal houses for the week ending July 26th 2014...


The Royal Family of Denmark have been enjoying their summer holidays and posed for photographs at Grasten Palace on July 24th 2014.

Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary with Isabella, Vincent and Josephine on July 24th 2014

Queen Margrethe II and Prince Henrik had arrived in Grasten on July 19th 2014 and on the following day, July 20th 2014, they received the Grasten Riders Association at the palace accompanied by the queen's sisters, Anne-Marie of Greece and Benedikte.

Queen Margrethe of Denmark meets the Grasten Riders Association on July 20th 2014

Prince Felix of Denmark celebrated his twelfth birthday on July 22nd - the day was kept privately and there were no new official portraits.


The King of the Belgians, Philippe, marked his first anniversary as monarch on July 21st 2014 - his country's national day.

King Philippe of the Belgians with Queen Mathilde on July 21st 2014 - the first anniversary of his accession as monarch

The king and his wife, Mathilde, had attended the celebrations that begin national day festivities on July 20th 2014 in the centre of Brussels.  The National Ball was also attended by Princess Astrid and her husband, Prince Lorenz and Prince Laurent and his wife, Princess Claire.

King Philippe and Queen Mathilde attend the National Ball in Brussels on July 20th 2014

On the day itself, the king and queen with their four children attended the Te Deum in Brussels before undertaking a walkabout in the city centre.  They later attended a military parade in the city.

Princess Elisabeth, Prince Gabriel, Prince Emmanuel and Princess Eleonore of Belgium on their country's national day, July 21st 2014

The king and queen attended an evening of celebrations at the Festival in the Park and the day ended with a fireworks display in Brussels.

The King and Queen of the Belgians at the end of the National Day celebrations on July 21st 2014

The king held a series of audiences at the Royal Palace throughout the week as he witnessed the swearing in of several new heads of regional governments.  On July 20th 2014, the new president of the Brussels regional government, Rudi Vervoort, took his oath and on July 22nd it was the turn of the president of the French community, Rudy Demotte, and the president of the Walloon community, Paul Magnette.  On July 25th 2014, Geert Bourgeois took the oath in front of the king as president of the Flemish government.  

The Netherlands

Prince Laurent of Belgium travelled to the Netherlands on July 23rd 2014 to represent the king at a ceremony held to repatriate the bodies of some of those killed on flight MH17.  The ceremony took place on a day of national mourning for the country which lost 193 people on the flight.  King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima watched as forty coffins were taken from the military planes bringing them to Eindhoven and placed in hearses. Thousands of people lined the route to pay their respects to those who died.

Queen Maxima weeps as some of the coffins of those who died on flight MH17 are returned to the Netherlands on a national day of mourning in the country on July 23rd 2014

On July 21st 2014, the king and queen had visited families of many of those who had died and Willem-Alexander later spoke of how they had told him they just wanted to be able to say a proper farewell to their loved ones.


King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia paid a presentation visit to Paris on July 22nd 2014, the fourth in a series of trips they have undertaken since the accession in June.  The royal couple were given an official welcome at the airport before travelling to the Elysee Palace for an audience with President Francois Hollande.

King Felipe and Queen Letizia of Spain at he Elysee Palace on July 22nd 2014

After lunch with the president and other politicians, the king and queen travelled to the National Assembly where they had an audience with its president, Claude Bartolone.  They were also welcomed to the Matignon Palace for an audience with France's Spanish born Prime Minister, Manuel Valls, and his wife, Anne Gavoin.  The visit concluded with a trip to the Senate and a meeting with its president, Jean-Pierre Bel.

Felipe VI with Letizia and Jean-Pierre Bel on July 22nd 2014 during their visit to the French Senate in Paris

The king and queen had begun their week by holding an audience with the teenagers taking part in this year's BBVA expedition.  The trips - which aim to show those taking part different cultures and ways of life - have been going since 1979.  Felipe and Letizia met around 200 people taking part this year at an audience at the Pardo Palace in Madrid on July 21st 2014.

The King and Queen of Spain with the participants in the BBVA programme for 2014 at their audience in Madrid on July 21st 2014

King Felipe held an audience with the Director General of the International Organisation of Work, Guy Ryder, at the Zarzuela Palace in Madrid on July 24th 2014.  And on July 25th 2014, the king and queen travelled to Galicia where they took part in a traditional royal ceremony at Santiago de Compostela.  The visit also came as Galicia marked the first anniversary of the train accident at Angrois in which 79 people died and the king spoke of how the tragedy had affected so many people.

King Felipe VI pays tribute77  to those who died in the rail disaster that affected Angrois during a speech in Santiago on July 25th 2014

In the week, it was also confirmed that the king and queen and their two daughters, Leonor and Sofia, will spend a week in Mallorca in August as part of their summer holidays.


Crown Prince Haakon of Norway took part in a commemoration service at Oslo Cathedral on the third anniversary of the killings at Utoya which claimed 77 lives.  The ceremony, on July 22nd 2014, was also attended by the Prime Minister of Norway.

Crown Prince Haakon Magnus of Norway attends a ceremony remembering those who died at Utoya on the third anniversary of the twin attacks, July 22nd 2014

The prince travelled to New York later in the week and on July 24th 2014, he attended the Nexus Global Youth Summit at the UN Building in the city.  On July 25th 2014, he met the Head of the UN Development Programme, Helen Clark, in New York.  Queen Sonja was also on her travels in the week, arriving in the Faroe Islands on July 19th 2014 for a series of engagements which included a visit to the historic village of Kirkjubour and a visit to the National Museum of Arts in Torshavn.

Queen Sonja of Norway arrives in the Faroe Islands on July 19th 2014

The King of Norway, Harald V, handed out the prizes at the Europe Week anniversary regatta on July 22nd in a ceremony held at the Norwegian Maritime Museum.

United Kingdom

The Queen opened the twentieth Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in a ceremony at Celtic Park on July 23rd 2014.

The Queen during her speech opening the Commonwealth Games on July 23rd 2014

The Queen had arrived in the city by train earlier the same day and made her appearance at the opening ceremony in a vintage car accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh.  There was a minor hiccup when Prince Imran of Malaysia had trouble opening the Queen's Baton to hand Elizabeth II the message she placed inside it in October 2013 to be read out at the opening ceremony but after a small wait, the paper was retrieved with help from Sir Chris Hoy.  The Duke and Duchess of Rothesay and the Earl and Countess of Wessex were also present at the opening ceremony of the games and have attended events there since.  

Prince Imran of Malaysia shows his injured thumb - he cut it while trying to open the Queen's Baton at the Commonwealth Games on July 23rd 2014

On July 24th 2014, the Queen toured the Commonwealth Games site with the Duke of Edinburgh.  They watched some of the hockey matches and toured the facilities being used by athletes before having lunch in the games village.  During the day, the Queen photobombed a selfie being taken by two Australian hockey players, Brooke Peris and Jayde Taylor, with the photo becoming an internet sensation.

The Queen shows perfect timing to create one of the most famous royal images of the year so far - July 24th 2014 in Glasgow

The Duke of Edinburgh visited Bowles Rocks Trust in Tunbridge Wells in Kent on July 21st 2014 and on July 22nd 2014, Prince Philip spent time at the Royal Museums Greenwich viewing two exhibitions linked to maritime history.  

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh arrive in Glasgow on July 23rd 2014

The Duke and Duchess of Rothesay carried out a series of engagements in Scotland in the week.  On July 21st 2014, they visited a jazz workshop run by the Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival at Edinburgh Napier University.  The couple later attended a performance as part of the festival which took place in the city.

The Duke and Duchess of Rothesay in Edinburgh on July 21st 2014

Later the same day, the Duke of Rothesay visited Dovecot Studios in Edinburgh and went on to attend a recital by the Scottish Chamber Orchestra.  He also held an audience with Alex Salmond, First Minister of Scotland.  The Duchess of Rothesay watched a baton handover and then attended a reception to mark the Royal Voluntary Service's Scottish Baton Pass Challenge.

The Duchess of Rothesay with the RVS Scottish Baton Challenge in Edinburgh on July 21st 2014

On July 22nd 2014, Prince Charles opened the Black Watch Regimental Museum in Perth.  Later the same day, the prince visited Glendelvine Estate in Dunkeld to see a project aimed at preserving the red squirrel - he was there in his role as patron of theScottish Wildlife Trust.  The prince was presented with a giant red squirrel as a birthday present for Prince George.

Prince Charles is given a giant red squirrel for Prince George during his visit to the Glendelvine Estate in Dunkeld on July 22nd 2014

The prince later attended tea with the High Constables in Edinburgh.  On the same day, the Duchess of Rothesay had several engagements in Edinburgh.  She visited the House of Shortbread to see their traditional ways of making the famous biscuit and had a go at cutting some shortbread herself.  The duchess later visited a bookshop run by Barnados - she is patron of the charity.  Her last engagement of the day was at the Edinburgh International Fashion Festival at the Assembly Rooms in the city.

The Duchess of Rothesay visits the House of Shortbread in Edinburgh on July 22nd 2014

On July 23rd 2014, the Duke of Rothesay visited the Emirates Arena in Glasgow and later, with the duchess, visited Scottish Ballet.  Prince Charles held a series of audiences at Dumfries House on July 24th 2014 and gave receptions there during the day - firstly for the Commonwealth Small Island States leaders and then for the Commonwealth Youth Leaders.  The Duchess of Rothesay visited the Pierburg Education Centre at Dumfries House during the day.

The Duke and Duchess of Rothesay at the Scottish Ballet on July 23rd 2014

On July 25th 2014, the Duke of Rothesay met participants in a sewing course at Dumfries House and later visited Morton Young and Borland cotton weavers.

Prince Charles hears from those taking part in a sewing course at Dumfries House on July 25th 2014

Prince George of Cambridge marked his first birthday on July 22nd 2014 with a small party at Kensington Palace attended by, among others, the Queen.  Dozens of wellwishers gathered outside the palace to see the guests arrive.  The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge released three official photos of their son to mark the occasion and also sent a message of thanks to all those who had wished him and them well over the past year.

Clarence House released two official birthday portraits of Prince George on the eve of his birthday.  The son of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge turned one on July 22nd 2014

In the week it was announced that George's mother, the Duchess of Cambridge, would make her first overseas solo trip in September.  The duchess will spend two days in Malta to mark the island's 50th anniversary of independence.

The Duchess of Cambridge will visit Malta on September 20th and 21st 2014

Prince Harry visited the Bethnal Green Academy in London on July 21st 2014 to see an initiative linked to the Invictus Games which he is organising and which will take place in London in September.  Part of the event focused on using social media and the prince admitted he had once used Facebook under a pseudonym but that he hated some social media because of the invasion of privacy that it entails.

Prince Harry at the Bethnal Green Academy on July 21st 2014

The Duke of York visited MBDA Missile Systems in Hertfordshire on July 21st 2014 to mark their 60th anniversary.  Later in the week, on July 24th 2014, Prince Andrew visited the conference of the Baker Dearing Educational Trust - of which he is patron - in London.  The prince went on to open Fish Island Labs in London in his role as patron of the Trampery.  The Earl and Countess of Wessex carried out a series of engagements in Glasgow linked to the Commonwealth Games in the week. The Princess Royal visited the Isle of Skye in the week.


There were no official engagements for the Swedish Royal Family in the week as they enjoyed their summer holiday.

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Royal fashion, week ending July 26th 2014

With so much attention on what royals wear these days, every week this section will feature the best outfits worn by leading royals in Europe in the week just gone.  It probably all comes down to different tastes in the end but here are the top choices from the last seven days.


Queen Mathilde of the Belgians wore several stunning outfits in the week as her country marked its national day and the first anniversary of the accession of King Philippe.  But it was her choice of evening outfit on July 21st 2014 that really stood out.  The queen wore a simple white dress with a striking print on the skirt featuring Flanders poppies - a reminder that in just a few days time, it will be a century since the start of World War One.

Going green

There were more prints on display in the only outfit seen on the Duchess of Cambridge this week.  Kate chose a green dress by Suzannah for the birthday portraits with Prince George.  It was a repeat but only the hem had made it into photos before as the duchess usually teams it with a green Erdem coat - however hot it gets.

Princess Mary of Denmark went for a green print maxi dress as she appeared alongside other members of the Royal Family for the traditional summer photo call as the holidays got under way on July 24th 2014.

The Duchess of Cornwall also chose a green print dress for one of her visits to the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

Pale and interesting

The Queen of Spain chose pale shades throughout the week for her public appearances but the best was a white shirt and skirt combo worn with snakeskin shoes for an appearance at the Pardo Palace in Madrid on July 21st 2014.

Royals on social media, week ending July 26th 2014

A round up of the best images and messages on the official social media accounts of Europe's royal houses for the week ending July 26th 2014...

Let the Games begin

The Commonwealth Games got under way in Glasgow on July 23rd 2014 and the Queen starred in several images taken at the opening ceremony and posted on the British Monarchy and Clarence House Instgram accounts including a behind the scenes image.

The British Monarchy tweeted several photos of the Queen and Prince Philip touring the Games on July 24th 2014.

And the British Monarchy retweeted one of the most famous photos of the week - the Queen photobombing a selfie being taken by Jayde Taylor and Brooke Peris. 

Elizabeth and Elisabeth

Buckingham Palace released previously unseen footage of the Queen as a young princess to mark the opening of a new exhibition on royal childhood.  The video was placed on the official You Tube channel of the British Monarchy.

Princess Elisabeth of Belgium took a leading role in the events marking her country's national day.  The Duchess of Brabant did a walkabout with her parents as they marked the first anniversary of the accession of King Philippe and led the events on Belgium's special day for the first time - as seen on the Belgian Monarchy's Twitter account and Facebook page.

Birthday boy

There was a lot of interest in a little boy who turned one on July 22nd 2014.  Prince George of Cambridge's birthday was marked on the Clarence House and British Monarchy Twitter accounts with the release of the three official photos and the hashtag #HappyBirthdayPrinceGeorge.  

George's grandfather, Prince Charles, was seen showing one of the presents given to him to pass on to the little prince on a public engagement on a photo retweeted by Clarence House and taken by Radio Tay News.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge put out a social media thank you on the Clarence House Twitter account to pass on their good wishes to all those who had celebrated the first year of their son's life with them.

Out and about

The King and Queen of Spain made a presentation visit to Paris on July 22nd 2014 and the Royal Household's official Twitter feed retweeted a Vine by the Elysee Palace showing Felipe VI and Letizia with Francois Hollande.

Queen Sonja of Norway made her first visit to the Faroe Islands and photos of her in traditional costume featured on the official Facebook page.

Friday, 25 July 2014

The young royal trend setters

While all eyes are on what the queens of Europe are wearing at the moment, there seems to be a style trend growing among the heiresses of the continent as well.  Because if you're in line for a throne and have a big day out to attend, chances are you'll be doing it in a pastel dress that co-ordinates perfectly with your sister's clothes.  Pastel pink, pastel blue and ballet pumps are the order of the day for the queens in waiting of Europe right now - in fact, it's hard to find an heiress not making that fashion chouce.

Princess Leonor and the Infanta Sofia of Spain on the day their father became king - pale blue and pale pink are the choices of heiresses across Europe right now

The outfits worn by Leonor, Princess of Asturias and her sister, Sofia, on the day of their father's accession to the throne of Spain won international attention.  The dresses were in matching designs but constrasting colours - palest pink for Leonor and palest blue for Sofia.  Just a few weeks later, the heiress to the throne of Belgium appeared on her country's national day wearing pastel blue.  Elisabeth, Duchess of Brabant wore a blue coat with matching dress while little sister, Eleonore, was in pastel pink.

Elisabeth and Eleonore of Belgium on their country's national day in 2014

It all started back in April when the three daughters of King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima appeared on Kings' Day wearing pastel pink dresses with pale grey (almost blue) cardigans.  And now it seems there's not an heiress in sight who hasn't gone for the colours and style.  Even Europe's youngest royals are turning into trend setters.

Alexia, Amalia and Ariane of the Netherlands on Kings Day 2014

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Letizia loses out

She is the fourth queen to visit Paris in less than six months and royal fashion watchers would have expected Letizia of Spain to storm to an outright style victory on her trip to the home of chic.  But her outfit for her presentation visit to France has been slightly underwhelming and leaves Europe's newest queen trailing her counterparts in the royal fashion stakes.

The Queen of Spain at a lunch in the Elysee Palace on July 22nd 2014

King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia arrived in the French capital at noon for their short presentation visit to the country and after an official welcome at the airport they were driven to the city centre for a meeting with the country's president, Francois Hollande.  He's got used to welcoming royals to his very own palace in recent times with the monarchs of the Netherlands, Belgium and the United Kingdom already popping by in 2014.

The King and Queen of Spain with the President of France at the start of their presentation visit

The royal couple then headed into the Elysee for a short meeting with Francois Hollande and then it was time for lunch.  The queen chose a pale dress with gold adornments on the full skirt and matched it with white open toe sandals and nude coloured bag.  But unlike the other queens who have visited the Elysee this year, Letizia chose not to wear a hat or a jacket.  It was easily the most dressed down of the royal outfits in Paris and its simplicity means that the fashion conscious queen has been outshone by her counterparts.

Felipe and Letizia during their audience with Francois Hollande

In the afternoon, the King and Queen of Spain visited the Matignon Palace, the official residence of the French Prime Minister where they had an audience with the current premier, Manueal Valls who was born in Barcelona. The king and queen posed for photos with him and his wife, Anne Gravoin, before their meeting which provided the most romantic images of this day visit to the city of love and Felipe put his arm around his wife while the Mr and Mrs Valls held hands.

All loved up in the city of love - Felipe and Letizia with Manuel and Anne

The last stop of the day was the Luxembourg Palace where Spanish monarchs held an audience with the President of the French Senate, Jean-Pierre Bel.

King Felipe and Queen Letizia meet Jean-Pierre Bel on July 22nd 2014

It was a short visit to France but President Hollande has already invited the couple back next spring when a special exhibition of works by Velazquez will be on show in Paris.  And that will mean another chance to be queen of fashion in this super stylish capital for Letizia.

Prince George is one

Prince George of Cambridge is now officially one.  The little boy who will be king celebrates his landmark birthday on July 22nd 2014.  And just like every little monarch in waiting, he now stars in new photos released to celebrate his special day.

The prince and his parents are chasing butterflies and are caught, for posterity, staring into a future that is bright for all of them.  A new poll taken this month shows an increase in the number of people in the UK feeling positive towards the royals since the birth of George.  Kate is developing her own solo agenda even further and William is campaigning passionately for his causes, including wildlife issues, while balancing this with his royal role.  

The Cambridges have also been thinking about the past on this special day and have issued a short statement thanking everyone who has sent them and George gifts and good wishes in the last year.  The twelve months since the birth of a future king have seen much happen in royal terms but one thing is sure - the future is bright for all three of them

Monday, 21 July 2014

Queens and their new crowns

Two of Europe's newest queens have shown a preference for a very new kind of headwear.  For while in centuries past, Mathilde of the Belgians and Letizia of Spain would have had to stick to crowns and coronets, today the two royals have gone a bit more modern than that.  And leading the way, as always, is fashion queen, Queen Letizia, who wore an Alice Band with stars for an engagement in Madrid.

Queen Letizia does modern headwear her style on July 21st 2014

Meanwhile, Queen Mathilde was turning heads in a stunning hot orange feathered hat chosen for her country's national day and the anniversary of her husband's accession to the throne.

There's a queen under there somewhere - Mathilde takes statement hat to new levels

Both women have their monarchy's royal jewellery collection at their disposal but have chosen to do things their way.  And judging by the response, these consorts know how to pick the right option.  Heads, they win.

Kate goes solo

It's usually a big moment in a royal career and now we know when it will happen to the Duchess of Cambridge.  Being sent abroad all by yourself to represent the Queen is a big deal and in September that duty falls to the duchess.  Kate will go to Malta for two days to help in the celebrations marking the island's 50 years of independence.

Kate meets the crowds in New Zealand in April during a tour with husband, William.  In September, she will visit Malta by herself on her first solo overseas tour
(photo Natalie Owens Instagram)

Kate will be there on September 20th and 21st and Prince George won't be going with her.  Malta became independent from the United Kingdom in 1964 but the Queen remained head of state until 1974. The Queen last visited Malta in 2007 and while details of the duchess' itinerary haven't been released, the trip is bound to get global coverage marking, as it does, a milestone in her royal career.

Kate leads the way and in September she'll be branching out on her own

 Elizabeth II lived on the island when she was a newly wed princess as the Duke of Edinburgh was on naval service there.  It marked the start of a new phase in her royal life.  And now Malta will be the setting for a new chapter in the life of Kate of Cambridge - the island of royal beginnings.