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Showing posts from October, 2014

Queen of the Palace

There might be two queens in Spain right now but one took the limelight on Wednesday night. For the first time in the ten and a half years since she married the man who is now King Felipe VI, Letizia ruled at the Zarzuela on gala night. The first State Dinner of the reign of her husband was hosted by both of them for the President of Chile. But there was one outright start.  Queen Letizia.

Letizia of Spain greets Michelle Bachelet of Chile while her husband, King Felipe, looks on
For the first time, the newest consort in Europe was the leading lady at this major royal event and she was picture perfect on the night. In on trend black lace (what else would you expect from Letizia but on trend) and wearing one of the most magnificent tiaras in the royal collection (the Floral but set off with an unusual updo -again, very Letizia) she glittered on what was a glamourous gala night at the Zarzuela Palace in Madrid.

The King and Queen of Spain with the President of Chile
And just as we've …

Camilla in Colmbia

Her husband has been here before but for Camilla this is a new experience.  The Duchess of Cornwall has just begun an official visit to Colombia.  The Prince of Wales and his wife arrived in Bogota at the start of a four day visit which will form part of a longer tour of Colombia and Mexico.  The royal couple are visiting the South American countries to strengthen ties between them and the United Kingdom.

Camilla in Colombia - the duchess and her husband, Prince Charles, arrive in Bogota
The prince and the duchess were welcomed at the airport by the British ambassador to Colombia, Lindsay Croisdale-Appleby, and his wife, Barbara.  There will be an official reception for the royals, hosted by Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, today.
¡Hola Colombia! El Príncipe de Gales y La Duquesa de Cornualles, llegaron a Bogotá para el comienzo de #RoyalVisitColombia A video posted by Clarence House (@clarencehouse) on Oct 10, 2014 at 5:38pm PDT
During their stay in Colombia, Prince Charles and …

Another first for Felipe

In the four months since he took the throne of Spain, King Felipe has packed in plenty of firsts. And today there is another to add to the list as he takes charge of the first State Visit of his reign.  The king has welcomed Michelle Bachelet, President of Chile, to Madrid on an official trip.

Felipe VI and Letizia welcome the President of Chile to Madrid on October 29th 2014
The visit by the Chilean president marks the first state visit of Felipe's reign.  Michelle Bachelet arrived early in the morning and was given an official welcome by the king and queen at the Pardo Palace in the Spanish capital. 

Part of the official welcome ceremony at the start of the state visit to Spain by Michelle Bachelet
Later on, President Bachelet held an audience with King Felipe at the Zarzuela Palace before enjoying a lunch hosted in her honour by the monarch and his wife.  In the evening they will host a gala dinner for their guest.

The King of Spain and the President of Chile at the Zarzuela Palac…

The sweet taste of success for Letizia

She's been seen making a big entrance to a hotel famous around the world for its chocolate cake and there's no doubt that a flying visit to Austria is proving a huge success for Queen Letizia.  The Spanish consort is in Vienna to open an exhibition on Velazquez on what is her first overseas solo trip since her husband took the throne in June this year.

Queen Letizia of Spain meets the President of Austria, Heinz Fischer, and his wife, Margit, at the start of her visit to Vienna
And food has never been far from the agenda.  Almost as soon as she arrived in Vienna, Letizia was off to the Presidential Palace where she met the President of Austria, Heinz Fischer, and his wife Margit.  And after a brief photo call the three disappeared off for a private lunch.

A brief smile before lunch for a happy trio
After her meeting with the president, the queen headed to the world famous Hotel Sacher where she was greeted by a crowd all eager to take her photo.  The legendary Sachertorte is se…

The day the Tudors started

The Tudor dynasty took the throne of England in 1485 but their beginnings were in France on this date in 1401.  For on that October day, a princess was born to the King and Queen of France and her destiny was to marry a famous king and then begin an even more celebrated line with her second husband, one of her servants.  Katherine of Valois, Queen of England, was born on October 27th 1401.

Katherine of Valois was queen consort of England between 1420 and 1422
Katherine, Princess of France was the daughter of King Charles VI and the wife of Henry V. Her son, Henry VI, succeeded to both the English and French thrones, But had that been the end of Katherine's contribution to history, she wouldn't be nearly so interesting.  Her father was more commonly called Charles the Mad because of his steadily increasing mental health problems. Today, King Charles would receive help for his health issues which led him to believe that he was made of glass.  In 15th century Europe, he was just l…

Royal blue

It's a colour associated with royalty.  In fact the link is so close, there's a shade that takes the name of royal.  And this week, queens and princess across Europe have been showing their affection for blue at every opportunity.  Crown Princess Victoria chose midnight blue at the start of the week when she formally greeted the President of Pakistan as he visited Sweden.

The Duchess of Cambridge picked palest baby blue for her appearance at the Wildlife Photographer of the Year awards - her third engagement in three days.  But as Kate is around twelve weeks into her second pregnancy it's probably too soon to know the sex of her next baby so this brand new evening dress isn't a clue to the newest member of the Royal Family.

Queen Margrethe of Denmark chose powder blue for the first outfit on her State Visit to Croatia before changing into midnight blue for the State Dinner held in her honour that evening.

The Queen was in darkest blue when she greeted the President of …

Royals on social media, week ending October 25th 2014

The Queen tweeted.  There was other social media presence this week but let's face it when Elizabeth II takes over Twitter everything else takes a back seat.

Watching history unfold - the Queen moments after sending her first tweet (photo Science Museum Twitter)
Here's a round up of what the Royal Courts of Europe posted on their official social media accounts this week.

Major moments The Queen tweeting was an historic moment in royal history as, for the first time, a social media message was sent with the signature Elizabeth R.  The tweet came from the British Monarchy's official account and so far has been retweeted 34,000 times and been favourited 35,000 times.
It is a pleasure to open the Information Age exhibition today at the @ScienceMuseum and I hope people will enjoy visiting. Elizabeth R.
— BritishMonarchy (@BritishMonarchy) October 24, 2014

The Spanish Royal Household announced in the week that the Prince of Asturias Prizes, begun in 1980, would soon be changing t…

The Queen Tweets

For some reason, it's a big deal.  One hundred and thirteen characters and not a hashtag in sight.  Still, it's one of the most talked about messages of the year.  The Queen has tweeted.

The Queen Tweets The Science Museum, London. 2014
For an 88 year old who was born before television was invented, Elizabeth II certainly knows how to steal a march on her technological rivals. She sent one of the first emails back in 1976 and in the summer she all but broke Twitter by photobombing a selfie being taken by two athletes at the Commonwealth Games.  Today she sent her first tweet, via the British Monarchy Twitter account, and in the first three hours it was re-tweeted 14,000 times and favourited 12,000 times.  That's pulling power.

It is a pleasure to open the Information Age exhibition today at the @ScienceMuseum and I hope people will enjoy visiting. Elizabeth R.
— BritishMonarchy (@BritishMonarchy) October 24, 2014
The Queen was opening the Information Age gallery at the Scienc…

Kate completes the trio

The Duchess of Cambridge has made her third public appearance in three days as she joined the Action on Addiction gala dinner in London on Thursday night. Wearing a new black Temperley London dress and with a very definite little baby bump on show, Kate looked well and back in the swing of royal things after weeks of treatment for hyperemesis gravidarum. The duchess is back on duty.

The Duchess of Cambridge arrives at a gala event for one of her charities, Action Aid, in London on October 23rd 2014 (photo Clarence House Twitter)
The charity event took place at L'Anima restaurant in London and guests could read words of support from the duchess in the programme for the evening in which Kate said 'she couldn't be more proud' to be patron of Action on Addiction.  The organisation works to help people overcome addiction and Kate became involved with their work soon after her marriage. And by attending such a high profile event at such a high profile time in her life …

Prince to Princess

The Prince of Asturias Awards were set up in 1980 to recognise achievement in a wide range of areas and for thirty four years they have carried that name.  But from next year, it's all change. Spain has a new heir to the throne and from 2015 the prizes will be named after her. Next year the Princess of Asturias Awards will take over Oviedo.

Leonor, Princess of Asturias will give her name to some major awards in Spain as of 2015
The title Prince of Asturias has been given to the heir to the Spanish throne for centuries - the first creation was in 1388 for the first in line to the throne of Castile, Henry, and his English wife, Catherine of Lancaster.  Leonor isn't the first Princess in her own right.  Isabella, sister of Alfonso XII, was proclaimed heiress and Princess of Asturias in 1875.  When her brother became father of a daughter, Maria de las Mercedes, in 1881 she became heiress and a few months afterwards was given the title of Princess of Asturias.  She remained first in…

Lucky thirteen for Carl Philip and Sofia

Prince Carl Philip of Sweden and his wife to be obviously aren't superstitious.  For the young couple have chosen to celebrate their wedding on the thirteenth.  The date has been set for the royal marriage of 2015 (so far) and the celebrations will get underway on Saturday June 13th in Stockholm.

Prince Carl Philip and Sofia Hellqvist will marry in June 2015
The couple say, in a statement, that they are looking forward to a summer wedding when Sweden is 'very beautiful'.  They will say 'I do' in the Royal Chapel of the Royal Palace in Stockholm where his younger sister, Madeleine, married Chris O'Neill in June 2013. And he will also share the same wedding planner as Madeleine and big sister, Victoria, with the Royal Household announcing that Hakan Pettersson taking that role - he is head of King Carl XVI Gustaf's staff.

Princess Madeleine marries Chris O'Neill - her brother will wed in the same chapel in 2015
No further details have been released but the …

A State Banquet for Singapore

State Visits happen twice a year in the United Kingdom and both of the tours this year have been firsts. Michael D Higgins became the first President of the Republic of Ireland to make a State Visit to the UK when he spent three days in London and Windsor in April 2014. And now the President of Singapore has become the first head of state from his country to make a State visit to the country.   But whether it is a first visit from that country or the next in a long line, all State events include a State Banquet and this week's tour is no exception.  The Queen entertained the presidential couple and guests with links to Singapore and the UK to a gala dinner at Buckingham Palace on day one of the tour.

The Queen toasts the President of Singapore during a banquet during the first full day of the State Visit 
The State Visit began with an official welcome at Horse Guards Parade.  It was made more high profile profile by the appearance of the Duchess of Cambridge for the first time sinc…

Oscar de la Renta, by royal appointment

His career spanned decades and even towards the end of his life he was designing world famous gowns. But while his last celebrated creation was for the wife of Hollywood royalty, Oscar de la Renta dressed many of the ladies of Europe's royal houses for years. From Diana, Princess of Wales to Victoria, Crown Princess of Sweden the designer was responsible for some truly iconic outfits.

Diana, Princess of Wales with Ocar de la Renta
He was also a friend of Queen Sofia of Spain and chair of the Spanish Queen Sofia Institute.  Oscar de la Renta was born in the Dominican Republic and came to Spain at the age of eighteen to pursue his dream of becoming a fashion designer.  By the 1980s he was one of the biggest names in the industry - a position he held on to for the rest of his life.

Oscar de la Renta with Queen Sofia of Spain, Hillary Clinton and Antonio Banderas
Apart from his friendship with Queen Sofia, his most famous royal relationship was with the late Diana, Princess of Wales wh…

Kate returns

The Duchess of Cambridge made her first public appearance today since confirmation of her second pregnancy with two engagements.  From officially welcoming a head of state on behalf of the Queen to talking photography with young enthusiasts, after a two month absence Kate was back. And there may even have been the hint of a baby bump too.

The Duchess of Cambridge at the Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year awards (photo Clarence House Twitter)
Kate's day started at the Royal Garden Hotel in central London where she and the Duke of Cambridge officially greeted the President of Singapore, Tony Tan, and his wife, Mary.  They accompanied them to Horse Guards Parade where they were met by the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh.

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh greet the President of Singapore and his wife at the start of their State Visit (photo British Monarchy Twitter)
After a welcome ceremony, also attended by David Cameron, the royals and their guests took part in a carriage process…

An April baby for Kate

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have announced that their second child is due in April.  The duchess' pregnancy was already public knowledge after she was forced to retire from public engagements at the start of September as she was affected by Hyperemsis Gravidarum.  The official release from Kensington Palace today confirms what many people's maternity maths had already worked out - the next member of the House of Cambridge will be a spring baby.

Soon to be four - the Cambridge family will welcome its newest member in April 2015
The announcement also lays rest to twin rumours as it states quite clearly that the couple are expecting 'a baby'.  And it also confirms that while she is feeling better, the duchess continues to experience severe morning sickness.  However, she is now well enough to take on duties and will make her first public appearance since her pregnancy was revealed when she and the Duke of Cambridge welcome the President of Singapore and his wife at t…

Picking a princess

It's time to bring back the polls which used to feature on Queens of England - after all, there are plenty of royal stories that invite opinion right now. And the first subject up for debate is royal baby name games. With confirmation that Princess Charlene of Monaco is expecting twins, the poll this week asks which name is most likely for a little girl (or two) at the Prince's Palace.

Twins means two chances for a new princess for Monaco
There are four choices to start with - Grace (in honour of Albert's mother), Antoinette (the name of Prince Rainer's sister), Charlotte (Albert's paternal grandmother) and Marie.  The poll shuts on Thursday afternoon with the results posted soon afterwards.  To vote, just click on the graph on the right hand side of the page.

Kate's great expectations

It's been over two months since she was last seen in public but hopes are high that the Duchess of Cambridge will be well enough to take up engagements again and be part of the welcome for the President of Singapore when he arrives for a State Visit on October 21st.  At the moment, it's expected that Kate will be present as the trip gets under way this Tuesday. And while she may not have been seen for almost ten weeks, the duchess has kept everyone talking in her absence.

Kate could be back on duty in just a few days' time (photo Clarence House Instagram)
Kate was last seen out and about on August 5th when she visited the poppies installation at the Tower of London with William and Harry.  Just weeks later, on September 8th, it was announced that the duchess was expecting her second child and suffering from hyperemesis gravidarum - just as she did with George.  Since then several high profile appearances have had to be cancelled including her first overseas solo tour to Malt…

Bullying and the bride

In his first major TV interview, Prince Carl Philip of Sweden didn't hold back.  Speaking to Hellenius corner on TV4 he told viewers that he felt that parts of the media had treated his future wife, Sofia Hellqvist, very badly and that some of it bordered on bullying.  The handsome prince, who usually keeps his own counsel, wasn't afraid to let everyone know exactly what he thought.

In defence of his wife to be - Prince Carl Philip opened up about how hurtful he found some of the comments made about his fiancee during a TV interview shown in Sweden this week
Speaking in a surprise interview, the prince said that reports other members of the Swedish Royal Family hadn't welcomed Sofia were wrong.  He said that his parents and sisters were interested in his fiancee and had greeted her arrival in his life with happiness.  And then he added the most cutting comment of all - that the way some parts of the media had treated Sofia came close to bullying. Since their engagement was …