Sunday, 31 August 2014

Royal news, August 30th 2014

King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima led celebrations in Maastricht for the 200th anniversary of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.  The event, one of six marking the bicentenary, had a focus on the country's international outlook and was also attended by King Philippe and Queen Mathilde of the Belgians, the Grand Duke and Duchess of Luxembourg and the President of Germany, Joachim Gaucke.

The royals of the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg with the President of Germany and his partner in a photo tweeted by @MonarchieBe

Crown Princess Victoria, accompanied by Prince Daniel, attended a series of events marking the 1000th anniversary of the Diocese of Skara in central Sweden.

King Juan Carlos attended the opening match of the Basketball World Cup being played in Spain and watched his country's team beat Iran 90-60.

The Earl of Wessex, Patron of the British Paralympic Association, attended the National Paralympic Day which was held at the Queen Elizabeth Park in Statford, East London.

Queen Margrethe was in Aarhus where she had opened the festival on August 29th 2014.  She attended a puppet show called 'Comedy in Florence' on August 30th.  Later the queen attended a performance by Aarhus Summer Opera of 'Rosa and Eternity'.  Prince Henrik of Denmark attended a literary festival called the 'Forest of Books' in France.  

Royals on social media, week ending August 30th 2014

Here are the highlights of the images, videos and messages shared by Europe's royal houses on their official social media sites over the last week.  And things are starting to change, like the weather..

A new look

King Felipe of Spain was the star of his official Twitter feed, @CasaReal, this week and for once it was his wardrobe choices grabbing the headlines rather those of his wife.  He was seen in an image taken at a basketball match ahead of the World Cup taking place in Spain in September sporting a very sporty checked jacket.

And days later he was photographed at an audience at the Zarzuela Palace in a light blue blazer that got a mixed response.

At the end of the week, King Juan Carlos attended the opening of the basketball World Cup and the Twitter feed showed him cheering on the Spanish team in their first match and meeting the players afterwards.

Embracing social media

Crown Princess Mette-Marit joined Instagram on August 30th and picked up 15,000 followers in less than a day.  The princess' first photo, shared on her account crownprincessmm, showed her looking very relaxed and she announced her new channel on her official Twitter, @CrownPrincessMM.

And the official Twitter feed of the Crown Prince and Princess, @Kronsprinsparet, retweeted an image by @Wintershall, showing Queen Sonja and Prince Haakon Magnus during their day at a conference about sealife.

A gathering of royals

The Dutch and Belgian monarchs were in Maastricht on August 30th 2014 for events marking the 200th anniversary of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.  It's one of several events celebrating the anniversary and this one had a focus on the country's international outlook.  The official Twitter feed of the Belgian Monarchy, @MonarchieBe, shared a photo of the royals attending the event who posed alongside the President of Germany, Joachin Gauck.

The Dutch Royal Household's official Twitter feed, @KHTweets, linked to the live coverage of the festivities which were provided by the 200jaarNL channel.

Saturday, 30 August 2014

Royal news, August 29th 2014

Queen Margrethe II of Denmark launched the Aarhus Festival which began with an open house event.  The festival will run for eight days.

Queen Margrethe of Denmark is presented with flowers on her arrival at the Aarhus Festival 

King Harald of Norway held a Council of State at the Royal Palace in Oslo with Crown Prince Haakon Magnus in attendance.  The two men also held an audience with the Norwegian Prime Minister.  King Harald also held audiences with members of the Students Association of As in eastern Norway, with the Oslo Military Society and with representatives from the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters.  

Friday, 29 August 2014

Royal news, August 28th 2014

Prince Harry hit the headlines around the world as reports emerged that he was holidaying in the south of France with a new girlfriend, Camilla Thurlow.  The prince met Camilla, a charity worker, earlier this summer and according to reports has been dating her for around six weeks.  Newspapers around the world have carried details of a romantic holiday for the pair at a friend's villa in St Tropez.

Prince Harry photographed at Tanfield on day one of the Tour de France in July this year - around the time he is reported to have started dating Camilla Thurlow
(photo (@joncowap Twitter)

It was the end of the holidays for King Felipe of Spain who held his first audience after the summer break when he welcomed the new World Health Organisation's Director of Malaria, Pedro Luis Alonso Fernandez, to the Zarzuela Palace in Madrid. The doctor was appointed to the role in July and will begin officially in October.

King Felipe of Spain at the audience he held on August 28th 2014

Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden presented the annual Export Hermes prize which is given to companies that have enjoyed success in export development.  The princess presented the awards at a ceremony in Stockholm.

Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden at the Export Hermes Awards in Stockholm

Prince Nikolai of Denmark celebrated his fifteenth birthday and the Danish Royal Household released new photos to mark the occasion.

Prince Nikolai of Denmark in one of his official birthday portraits

King Harald of Norway held a series of audiences at the Royal Palace in Oslo, greeting the new ambassadors of the United Kingdom and Bangladesh and meeting the Norwegian Foreign Affairs Minster. Queen Sonja held an audience with representatives from the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra and in the evening was at Oscarshall for a concert in association with the International Music Competition that bears her name. The Crown Prince and Princess of Norway attended the board meeting of their Foundation.

Thursday, 28 August 2014

A lesson in royalty

Prince Nikolai of Denmark, first born grandson of Queen Margrethe II, celebrates his fifteenth birthday today.  The teenager, eldest son of Prince Joachim and his first wife Alexandra Manley, has posed for two official birthday portraits and has chosen his school as the backdrop.

Nikolai of Denmark is fifteen today

The images, strikingly shot and dramatically lit, are very different from the usual birthday portraits which normally feature a head and shoulders image of the royals or a pose in the gardens of one of their homes. These snaps show the young prince as he starts a new stage in his life - he started Herlufsholm boarding school earlier this year and is expected to stay there until he completes this stage of his education.

Nikolai, first grandson of Margrete of Denmark, in his fifteenth birthday portraits

And these images are the first indication of another new phase in Nikolai's life.  For although he is the first born of a new generation of Danish royals, he is already seventh in line to his country's throne and will only move further away from the crown as he gets older.  While his younger cousins, the children of Crown Prince Frederik, will form the new royal family Nikolai will be on the fringes of the monarchy as time moves on.  These photos show a young man starting to make his way in the world by himself as he will do as his future unfolds.  They are birthday portraits and a lesson in royalty.

Royal news, August 27th 2014

Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway opened the Bjorson Festival in Molde.  The international literary event features talks from authors and workshops for aspiring writers and takes place every year.  Mette-Marit gave a speech and presented the Bjornson scholarship during her visit. Meanwhile, Crown Prince Haakon visited the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment in Kjeller.

Crown Princess Mette-Marit at the Bjornson Festival in Molde
(photo @hardesjourno Twitter)

Queen Silvia of Sweden took part in the annual day for older people which is held in Ekero, near Stockholm. For the past sixteen years there has been a special day to celebrate older people - it was the queen's idea.

Queen Silvia of Sweden at the day for older people in Ekero

Crown Princess Victoria took part in a seminar on the Baltic Sea held at the Finnish Embassy in Stockholm.  The event was organised by the World Wide Fund for Nature to discuss how businesses and government can work better together to protect nature.  

Crown Princess Victoria also presented awards at the seminar in Stockholm on August 27th 2014

Princess Marie of Denmark opened the European School in Copenhagen.  The school, which focuses on languages and science, is multilingual and multicultural.  Princess Marie, who attended the opening with the Danish Minister for Education, will work with the school to increase awareness of its educational reputation.  European Schools were set up for children of people working for European institutions.

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Pink perfection

There's a colour theme going on this year.  Just about every royal woman in every royal house has made a fashion statement in pink in 2014.  The latest to go rosy is Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden who has worn two not likely to miss them outfits in the colour this week alone.  Her first foray into pink saw the princess choose a fuchsia sheath dress for a prize giving in Stockholm.

Pink for a crown princess - Victoria of Sweden stuns again

A few days later, a pale pink stunner of an outfit chosen for the Polar Music Prize 2014 ceremony went straight to the top of the top royal outfits of the year list.

Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden has every reason to look so pleased - the dress is a total winner
(photo @polarmusicprize Instagram)

Her mother, Queen Silvia, went for bright pink as she attended a ceremony in Germany marking the fifteenth anniversary of the country's World Childhood Foundation where she presented awards.

Queen Silvia of Sweden presents Wan Bing with the Global Childhood Award at an event in Germany in August 2014

And Princess Madeleine was in palest pink when she and husband, Chris O'Neill, brought their daughter home to be christened in June this year.

Pink for her princess - Madeleine with Leonore on her christening day 
(photo Swedish Royal Household)

But the pink trend has been going on for much of the summer.  On her visit to Poland in June 2014, Queen Maxima chose a bright pink dress with matching hat and accessories and stole the show in the process.

She was following in the footsteps of Queen Mathilde of the Belgians who stunned everyone with a pink outfit on an overseas trip when she chose pale and interesting for her introductory visit to Paris in February this year.

Queen Mathilde of the Belgians on her visit to Paris in February 2014
(photo @MonarchieBelge Twitter)

Queen Letizia of Spain had a blush moment on her introductory tour to Morocco when she chose an all pink trouser suit and won plenty of plaudits for it.

Just before her pregnancy was announced, Princess Charlene of Monaco chose a bright pink evening dress for an appearance in Monte Carlo.

When only they knew their secret - Charlene in pink days before her pregnancy was announced

Queen Sonja chose bright pink for the celebrations for the 200th anniversary of the Norwegian constitution in May this year.

Queen Sonja takes centre stage in bright pink in May 2014
(photo Danish Royal Household)

And Queen Margrethe chose bright pink for her outfit for a gala concert for Prince Henrik's 80th birthday in June.

Queen Margrethe is in the pink on her husband's birthday in June 2014
(photo Danish Royal Household)

It was pale pink for Princess Mary when she stepped out in the colour at a gala event earlier in 2014.

Pink for a princess, again - Mary of Denmark goes pastel
(photo Danish Royal Household)

The Duchess of Cambridge picked pink for one of her engagements on her tour of Australia. The duchess chose a pale, Alexander McQueen outfit for her visit to Adelaide where she tried out DJ-ing and watched a skateboard display.

The Duchess of the Decks - Kate, in pink, mixing it up in Adelaide
(photo @channeltennews Twitter)

But the queen of pink this year has to be the Queen who chose the colour twice for her visit to Paris in June.  She was in palest pink when she opened a flower market named after her.

The Queen with Anne Hidalgo, Mayor of Paris, in June 2014
(photo @AnneHidalgo Twitter)

But it was her candy pink suit with matching hat that really turned heads in the fashion capital of the world.  Worn for her audience with French President, Francois Hollande, it was the epitome of statement outfits.  And the ultimate in pink perfection.

Elizabeth II with President Francois Hollande in Paris in June 2014

Royal news, August 26th 2014

Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden stole the show at the annual Polar Music Prize which was held in Stockholm on August 26th 2014.  While her father, King Carl XVI Gustaf, presented the awards all eyes were on the heiress to the throne as she stepped out in a stunning summer frock.

Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden at the Polar Music Prize in Stockholm on August 26th 2014
(photo @polarmusicprize Instagram)

Chris O'Neill also attended this year's ceremony and his wife, Princess Madeleine, along with Queen Silvia joined the group afterwards for a banquet to mark the occasion.  The awards, which began in 1992, went this year to Peter Sellars and Chuck Berry with Dave Edmunds picking it up on his behalf.

Opera director Peter Sellars receives the 2014 Polar Music Prize from King Carl XVI Gustaf on August 26th 2014
(photo Swedish Royal Household)

Earlier in the day, King Carl XVI Gustaf held farewell audiences with the outgoing ambassadors from France, Norway and the United Arab Emirates.  And it was announced the Crown Princess Victoria is to be godmother to the sailing team, SCA, which is taking part in a round the world yacht race that starts from Alicante next month.  Photos were released of a recent visit the princess made to the team in Stockholm where she presented them with a symbolic coin bearing her image to be with them throughout the race.

Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden during her visit to Team SCA in Stockholm
(photo team_sca Twitter)

Crown Princess Mary attended a meeting of her foundation which was held in Copenhagen.  The Mary Foundation, chaired by the princess, was set up with the aim of fighting social isolation and has projects going on in Denmark and the rest of the world.

Crown Princess Mary of Denmark on her way to a meeting of her foundation in Copenhagen on August 26th 2014

Princess Marie visited the food fair, Copenhagen Cooking, on August 26th where she toured stalls and tried fishcakes made by some of the children taking part in the event - the princess is patron of Copenhagen Cooking for Kids.

Princess Marie of Denmark at the Copenhagen Cooking event which she visited on August 26th 2014
(photo Copenhagen Cooking Instagram)

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Richard of Gloucester

The baby of King George V and Queen Mary's family turns seventy today.  Richard, Duke of Gloucester is the youngest grandchild of George and Mary and marks his big birthday in private. Born as World War Two raged, this prince spent the early part of his life in relative obscurity - even the details of his christening were kept scarce for security reasons.  But he was called to a very different role by tragic circumstances.

Richard, Duke of Gloucester who turns 70 on August 26th 2014
(By Allan warren (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons)

Born fifth in line to the throne, behind his two cousins, his father and his brother, by 1972 Prince Richard of Gloucester was tenth in the succession and settling down to married life with his new wife, Birgitte, having qualified as an architect.  Then, six weeks after the joy of his wedding, the prince was plunged into mourning when his older brother, William, was killed when his light aircraft crashed.  Prince Richard was now heir to his ailing father, Henry, as Duke of Gloucester.

The unexpected duchess - Birgitte of Gloucester
(By The National Churches Trust [CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons )

He became Duke of Gloucester on June 10th 1974 when Henry, third son of George V and Queen Mary, died.  A quiet life on the fringes of royal life was no longer a possibility and the new Duke and Duchess of Gloucester took on more engagements representing the Queen.  In the last forty years, their schedule has slimmed down as younger members of the Royal Family take on more duties.  But the life they have led since the start of their marriage has been very different from the one imagined for the little boy who was born in Hadley Common, Hertfordshire seventy years ago today.  The last grandchild of a king and emperor who tried for a quiet life and ended up very royal indeed.

Royal news, August 25th 2014

Crown Princess of Mary attended a concert by the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra on August 25th 2014.  The music played at the Concert Hall at the famous Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen.

Princess Mary at the Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen on August 25th 2014
(photo @PlankTpl Twitter)

The concert was the final date for the orchestra after a major European tour.  The princess met the orchestra afterwards.  She chose a navy blue coat dress with bead detailing at the neck.

Crown Princess Mary arrives at Tivoli in Copenhagen on August 25th 2014
(Tivoli Gardens Instagram)

King Felipe was a spectator at the friendly warm up match between Spain and Argentina ahead of the Basketball World Cup.

King Felipe at a friendly basketball match in Madrid on August 25th 2014
(photo @baloncestofeb Twitter)

The match took place in Madrid and is the last friendly ahead of the World Cup which takes place in Spain and starts on August 30th. Spain won 86-53.

King Felipe of Spain at the friendly basketball match in Madrid which he attended on August 25th 2014
(photo @baloncestofeb Twitter)

Queen Sonja of Norway opened the Offshore Northern Seas conference in Stavanger on its fortieth anniversary.  The queen made a speech in which she talked about the central role climate change now has on the global agenda.

Queen Sonja's image is projected onto a big screen at the ONS conference as she made her speech there on August 25th 2014
(photo @ONS_Stavenger Twitter)

Later in the day, Crown Prince Haakon Magnus also visited the event.

Queen Silvia of Sweden welcomed the new intake of students who will train to be Silvia nurses - healthcare professionals who specialise in treating people with dementia.  The scheme was founded by the queen in 1996.

Queen Silvia meets some of the new nurses which take her name and who work with people with dementia - August 25th 2014
(photo Swedish Royal Household)

And Princess Estelle of Sweden started pre-school - she arrived at classes, just outside Stockholm, with her parents, Crown Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel.

Princess Estelle starts school
(photo Swedish Royal Household)

Monday, 25 August 2014

Estelle, princess and pupil

Princess Estelle of Sweden, Duchess of Ostergotland, second in line to her country's throne and a future queen in waiting has begun a new role.  From this morning, she is also a school pupil.  The little princess started pre-school in Danderyd, just outside Stockholm, today and looked calm and confident as she headed into class holding hands with her parents, Crown Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel.

Ready for her adventure - Estelle of Sweden arrives at pre-school on August 25th 2014 with her parents

Estelle is beginning classes which aim to teach toddlers about nature and the world around them as they begin their education.  The princess, who is now two and a half, is beginning a path she must fulfil to be Queen of Sweden - to be eligible for the Swedish throne, a royal must be educated in the country.

Estelle's education must take place in Sweden for her to be able to inherit her country's throne

But for Estelle and her parents, this is an even bigger day as it marks a major milestone in her growing up.  Mum and dad looked nervous but happy as they helped their little girl with this big step.  It's a moment for the family album and also for the history books - Estelle, princess and now pupil.

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Royals on social media, summer 2014

It's been a quiet few weeks for Europe's royal houses but as the summer holidays come to an end, there's been a gentle ripple of activity on the official social media accounts.  Here are some of the highlights of the week just gone..


This week was filled with commemorations for the Belgian Royals with King Philippe visiting Dinant on August 23rd 2014 to mark the centenary of the execution of 674 civilians during World War One.  Photos of the ceremonies were shared on the royal household's official Twitter feed.

And the British Monarchy was also looking back to World War One, sharing information about the active service of Prince Albert - later King George VI - in World War One via its Twitter feed.

The Danish royals, meanwhile, were looking back on the week's tour undertaken by the Crown Prince and Princess and their four children earlier in August with a series of videos uploaded to the official You Tube channel.

Where did you get that hat?

King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia of Sweden both donned vintage style hats in the week as they visited the Royal Swedish Rally.  Photos of them at the event, featuring classic cars, were posted on the official Facebook page.

Crown Prince Haakon Magnus of Norway is back on duty after the summer break and on August 15th he visited the world's first plant that automatically sorts plastic waste and ended up taking on another royal tradition - donning a health and safety inspired hat.  The photo was tweeted by the Crown Prince and Princess' official account.

The queen of ripped jeans

After a week away from the spotlight, the Queen of Spain is back.  Letizia made her reappearance in Madrid where she and King Felipe did their usual Friday night thing and headed to the cinema. And the queen wore ripped jeans.

King Felipe and Queen Letizia hit the cinema in Madrid 

Queens have always been expected to wear the best and while in centuries past that meant cloth of gold and chests of jewels, today it means high fashion and Letizia was - as ever - right on trend. The ripped white jeans were paired with a top in one of the hottest colours of summer- bright yellow - and the money for her popcorn was stashed in a snakeskin shoulder bag.  Felipe did what all royal men tend to do in this situation and chose blue trousers and a blue shirt - it's a sure fire thing that if you have a trend setting royal wife you either go for that look or a pair of chinos with something white on your top half.

Cinema by royal appointment - Felipe and Letizia on their latest outing

The royal couple didn't seem overly happy to see the photographers who snapped their latest visit to a cinema in the city centre.  The queen, in particular, looked annoyed by their presence.  Felipe and Letizia are regular visitors to the cinema but their visits are usually chronicled on social media as other film goers tweet their surprise at finding the royals hanging out at the local multiplex.  They've been regular fixtures on the film scene for years but they might find that future visits - like this one to see the latest Luc Besson picture - attract more attention that a few tweets here and there now that they are monarchs.

Almost smiling for the camera - the King and Queen of Spain at the cinema