Sunday, 31 January 2016

5 royal headlines from January 2016

January 2016 is making its way into the past but its left us plenty of royal headlines and moments that will write their way into the history books.  As the first month of the new year comes to an end, it's time to look back at the stories that will endure. Here are 5 royal headlines from January 2016

King Harald V and Queen Sonja of Norway marked 25 years on the throne on January 17th 2016 with a winter games celebration, a church service and a special concert as well as family and formal gala celebrations. It was a truly happy day and tributes for the royal couple poured in across Norway and beyond. 

Infanta Cristina of Spain became the first member of her royal family to face trial on criminal charges when she walked into court in Mallorca on January 11th to face allegations of tax evasion. Along with 17 other defendants, including her husband Inaki Urdangarin, she sat in the stark courtroom as the trial linked to the Noos case began. Cristina, sister of King Felipe VI and daughter of Juan Carlos I, denies the charges. If found guilty she could go to prison.
(photo @ElPais Twitter)

Prince Henrik of Denmark made a big public appearance on January 1st as he attended the traditional New Year gala just hours after his wife had announced his retirement. Queen Margrethe II ended her New Year's Eve speech by revealing her husband is to scale back his official appearances and the following day the royal couple attended the New Year reception together with Crown Prince Frederik, Crown Princess Mary, Prince Joachim and Princess Marie. 

Prince Charles has sometimes been accused of being too stuffy but as January got underway he showed a more relaxed side as a programme about his work with the Prince's Trust was broadcast. The show, which featured footage from a whole year when he showed Ant and Dec his work with the charity, captured Charles singing and telling jokes and also featured interviews with his sons, William and Harry, in which they revealed some of Charles' embarrassing dad moments. The ITV1 programme, broadcast on January 3rd.
(photo ITV1 screen shot)

In Sweden, January was all about excitement for the future as royal baby bumps took centre stage. The Royal House confirmed that Crown Princess Victoria will take on her last public engagement on February 10th before resting ahead of the birth of her second baby, due in March. Meanwhile, her sister-in-law, Princess Sofia, is getting ready for her first baby which is expected in April. The New Year is under way and there are lots more royal headlines still to come.

Saturday, 30 January 2016

The Royal Wardrobe: long and layers

This weeks' royal fashion was all about long and layers. We had three great evening looks which took on below the knee in different ways. And there were a couple of daytime outfits that showed adding layers can add chic to any look. Here are five stand out looks from this week's Royal Wardrobe.

Princess Sofia gave us an evening look that is already a stand out of 2016 as she attended the Swedish Sports Gala 2016. Her long, dark navy maternity gown will take some beating and would suit any gala event. Totally fabulous.

Princess Charlene of Monaco layered up to attend an evening ceremony marking the feast of St Devota. Her beige and grey mix looked perfect on a crisp winter's evening.

Crown Princess Mary treated us to another cracking full length evening dress as she attended a navy dinner in Copenhagen. Her purple gala gown, with mauve details on the waist, was another winter winner
(photo Billed Bladet TV screen shot)

Queen Mathilde of the Belgians added a layer of  lace to an elegant cream day dress worn for a reception for authorities in Belgium and showed that she is on a run of fashion form that has won plenty of admiration

Queen Maxima of the Netherlands can wear clothes no one else would get away with and her bold print trouser suit was a perfect example. The wide legged trousers, the out there print, the whole retro vibe was right on trend - this long look rounded off a fabulous royal fashion week.

Prince Harry's 100 day countdown

Prince Harry had a couple of centuries to think about on his latest public appearance. Heading to the trials for the Invictus Games in Bath, he watched hundreds of hopefuls compete for exactly 100 places in the British team as the countdown to the event hit 100 days and counting.

Prince Harry speaks to Invictus Games hopefuls at the University of Bath
January 29th 2016, Bath
(photo @KensingtonRoyal Instagram)

The trials will last three days, ending on Sunday, and will see the final team for the second Invictus Games take shape. Competitors are vying for the chance to represent Britain in the ten sports that will feature in the Games which are being held in Orlando.

Prince Harry visited the trials on Friday January 29th and spent time chatting with the competitors, all injured servicemen and women, at the event held at the University of Bath. He went on to make a speech in which he told them that ''the excitement is building not just here but also across the pond. You will be unbelievably amazed by the amount of support there is out there for you''. The prince told them that ''You are now, or will be, ambassadors for the Invictus shirt and the Invictus spirit. Wherever you go and whatever you do, spread the word''.

The team, once completed, will start preparing for the Games which take place between May 8th and May 12th at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando and follow the hugely successful Invictus Games held in London in September 2014. Prince Harry was instrumental in the idea for the event and in bringing it to fruition and he has given his wholehearted support to this second running of the event, launching it last year in a video message. 

He also took time to pay tribute to his friend, Henry Worsley, who died this week while trying to complete the first solo crossing of Antarctica to raise money for the Endeavour Fund which helps wounded service men and women. Prince Harry told his audience that Henry Worsely ''was raising funds for the Endeavour Fund so people like you can do amazing things and rediscover yourselves. Thanks to him we have huge options for more and more people.''  Just days ago, Prince William had also paid tribute to Henry Worsley.

The Duke of Cambridge's statement following the death of Henry Worsley

With both royal brothers pledging their support to continue helping wounded servicemen and women, the campaign goes from strength to strength. And we can expect to see more of their involvement in the coming weeks and months as the countdown to Invictus drops below 100 days.

Friday, 29 January 2016

Crown Princess Mary looks to the future

Crown Princess Mary wasn't just back in action yesterday, she was already making plans for the future. Mary attended a New Year Reception for Women Deliver in Copenhagen - and heard more about their conference being held in the city in May.

Crown Princess Mary of Denmark at the Women Deliver Reception
Copenhagen, January 28th 2016
(photo @Kristian_Jensen Twitter)

Women Deliver is an international organisation working towards improving health, education and social rights for women and girls around the world. Its conference takes place in Copenhagen between May 16th and 19th this year and will focus particularly on health issues. Crown Princess Mary will be one of the speakers.

Princess Mary at the Women Deliver reception on January 28th 2016
(photo @LotteHansen Twitter)

Mary has been involved with Women Deliver on several occasions before and her work with the Mary Foundation also places a focus on women's rights and helping younger women and girls into education and through issues including violence and abuse. This New Year reception was a way of hearing about the focus for 2016 and exchanging ideas ahead of the May conference. It might still be January but Mary is already looking to the future.

Thursday, 28 January 2016

Dowager Queen of England, against all the odds

She may have mourned, she may have breathed a huge sigh of relief. For on this day, in 1547, Katherine Parr became the Dowager Queen of England, Somehow, the sixth wife of Henry VIII had survived him with her head and her crown intact. She had been very lucky indeed but widowhood would prove to be as dangerous for Katherine as married life had been.

Katherine Parr, Queen of England
1543 - 1547

Katherine Parr had been Queen of England for three and a half years when the man who made her a king died. And those 40 odd months had proved eventful and then some for this consort. Henry had picked her as his queen while she was intrigued by courtier, Thomas Seymour, but she quickly adapted to her new life and was even named regent by her husband when he headed to France. She worked hard to reconcile Henry with his daughters, Mary and Elizabeth, but she made enemies along the way and narrowly escaped a plot to have her arrested and probably executed by careful treatment of Henry VIII. Her power was never the same after that but she was well respected and relatively secure in her position when the man who had terrified the world died on January 28th 1547 after a reign lasting 38 years.

Katherine Parr survived a plot to have her arrested during the later years of Henry VIII's reign

But life as a widow didn't work out how the woman who signed herself 'Kateryne the Quene' had expected. She was given no role in the upbringing of her stepson, the new King Edward VI, and found herself marginalised at the court she had once ruled. Within months she upset even more people by marrying Thomas Seymour, Edward's maternal uncle, and by the time the first anniversary of Henry's death came around she was pregnant for the first and only time in her life.

Wife number six, the great survivor

The eighteen months following Henry's death were even more complicated for Katherine as she brought her stepdaughter, Elizabeth, into her new household only to see her new husband start to behave very inappropriately towards her. Elizabeth was sent away and Katherine retired to Gloucestershire where she gave birth to a daughter in August 1548 at Sudeley Castle. She died of childbed fever days later and was buried at the castle she had come to call home.

Katherine Parr died of childbed fever just twenty months after Henry VIII's death

It was an unexpectedly tragic end for a woman who had done what five others had failed to do - survived marriage to Henry VIII. Katherine Parr is often portrayed as a mousy, dull woman who nursed a fat king in his last years. In fact, she was a leading politician, a great thinker, a proponent of religious reformation and an ambitious woman who grabbed every opportunity that passed her way. And she is also the woman who became a Dowager Queen of England, against all the odds.

Charles and Camilla take to the stage

The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall have taken to the stage to declare the oldest surviving music hall in the world open again. Charles and Camilla were at Wilton's Music Hall in east London to see the extensive renovation work that has returned this historic building to its former glory.

The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall helped relaunch an historic theatre today by writing on a piece of paper
(photo @Clarence House Twitter)

Wilton's Music Hall first put on shows just after Charles' great, great, great grandmother, Queen Victoria, came to the throne. In 1839 a concert hall took shape at the ale house in Graces Alley in London and in 1853 it became a music hall. By the end of the 19th century it had become a Methodist Mission but it was badly damaged in the war and fell into disrepair. The 21st century saw a campaign to renovate it and today, Victoria's descendant was on stage to sign the official document that brought Wilton's Music Hall officially back to life.


Charles, who has shown a love of theatre in the past, didn't give us a song but he did get to see some Victorian style magic tricks and hear a few songs from pupils from Harry Gosling school. Alongside Camilla, he heard about the two stage renovation project which has taken place at Wilton's and which has helped it become a centre for entertainment and social history in the local area once again.

This visit to east London is the latest engagement for Charles and Camilla this week - their diary is really starting to fill up. Yesterday, Camilla threw the spotlight on domestic violence with a visit to the charity, Safe Lives, where she heard the experiences of women who have been affected by the issue and talked to those who offer support. 

The evening before, she had hosted a reception at Clarence House for the 21st anniversary of the Amber Trust which supports young people with visual impairments get into music. And Prince Charles had spent the day in Stoke-on-Trent where he carried out several engagements linked to the potteries which made the town famous and saw another old building, the Wedgewood Institute, being brought back to life.

So today's visit rounds off a week of back to the future for the Prince of Wales as he and Camilla took to the stage.

Maxima on film

Queen Maxima opened the International Rotterdam Film Festival last night but the headlines were all about her. The Dutch queen chose an outfit by Etro that stood out in more ways than one. There were quite a few film stars at the event but no one came close to taking the lead - Maxima outshone them all.

Queen Maxima at the opening of the Rotterdam International Film Festival on January 27th 2016
(photo @koninklijkhuis Twitter)

The Rotterdam International Film Festival focuses on cutting edge material, works by independent film makers and experimental material from emerging talents. So this was never going to be a little black dress event. But Queen Maxima's choice of on trend print with even more on trend wide leg trousers summed up the spirit of the event and turned her into the film festival's star.

The festival, which usually runs at the end of January, was set up in 1972 so the print on the royal jumpsuit was a bit of a nod to its origins but it was also another example of the fabulous run of fashion form currently being seen on this queen.


 Three years ago this month, Beatrix of the Netherlands announced her intention to stand aside and paved the way for her son to succeed her as king. And it's clear from this latest appearance that Maxima is confident and calm in her role as consort as she stole the show on this big night out.

Maxima's trouser style - 5 great looks

Queen Maxima's stunning outfit worn last night for the opening of the Rotterdam International Film Festival is a reminder, if we needed one, that when it comes to stand out trousers then this consort is the one to beat. From hot colours to hot prints, Maxima knows how to choose a pair of trousers no one will ever forget. Here are 5 of her best looks.

On her arrival in America last year, Maxima walked out to lunch in this classic white trouser look and created an instant classic

For one of her last appearances before her husband became king, Maxima chose an all beige trouser outfit which combined elegance and on trend

It's red, it's Valentino. Queen Maxima chose this striking trouser suit in September 2015 and was on to another winner.

For a visit to Germany, Queen Maxima gave us another chance to see the bright pink trouser suit she'd debuted just weeks earlier. No one else could get away with it and why would they try when Maxima looks this good.

Maxima's choice of bold print plus big trousers for her latest public appearance was another stunning style statement - one of her best trouser looks to date

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

5 royal flames

The end of January usually sees Monaco's royals taking part in the traditional ceremony for Saint Devote, patron saint of the principality. And a big part of that tradition is the moment when the royal guests set fire to a boat. This year Prince Albert II and Princess Charlene did the honours and the images were pretty spectacular. Here are five moments we've seen royals with flames.

Prince Albert and Princess Charlene take part in the traditional ceremony to Saint Devote in Monaco on January 26th 2016

His big sister, Princess Ingrid Alexandra, will be lighting the Olympic torch at the Winter Youth Games in Norway next month but on their grandparents' Jubilee it was Prince Sverre Magnus who got to hold the flame high

The Queen didn't set fire to the Commonwealth baton but she made it her own by placing a special message inside it which was read at the opening ceremony of the Games in 2014

In 2012, Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark was one of thousands who carried the Olympic torch as it made its way towards the Games in London that summer

Newlyweds Felipe and Letizia of Spain watched the Olympic flame flicker in the bright Madrid skies in 2004 as the torch relay made its way towards Athens

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

6 daytime versions of bright pink

Queen Mathilde has really hit a run of form when it comes to fashion and for her latest appearance she was in the pink. Her fuchsia dress, chosen for a diplomatic reception in Brussels, was block colour at its most elegant. But she's not the only royal to make this bright colour shine and sparkle. Here are 6 bright pink royal outfits that will live long in the memory.

For the annual reception for Belgian diplomats at the Royal Palace in Brussels, Queen Mathilde really stood out from the crowd in a bright pink dress

Crown Princess Mary wowed in her own fuchsia pink shift dress in September 2015. Like Mathilde she kept it simple and like the Belgian queen, she scored a big hit.

Kate and William said they didn't know the gender of royal baby number two before Princess Charlotte arrived in May 2015 but the colour of the Duchess of Cambridge's coat on her final engagement before the birth proved to be spot on. And it is a pretty fine coat to boot.

Queen Letizia has worn this bright pink fitted dress with wide black belt many times but it can take any number of repeats. Every time, it looks fantastic.

Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden chose a bright pink coat to go with her black maternity dress this week and gave us one of the looks of the month so far.

Princess Beatrice was pretty in (bright) pink on a bright day at Royal Ascot in 2014

Monday, 25 January 2016

The best royal maternity evening gown ever?

It's cool, it's classy, it's on trend, it's just really rather fantastic. Princess Sofia stepped out at the Swedish Sports Gala 2016 tonight in a maternity gown to remember. In fact, it might just be the best royal mama in waiting evening look ever.

Princess Sofia of Sweden looking stunning at the Swedish Sports Gala 2016

Sofia's dress, in dark navy, just keeps on getting better with every look. It starts with a classic collar, adds long sleeves and the soft, draping material works perfectly on the top half. And then we get to the empire line belt. The belt is wide, it's the same colour and it sits across the top of Sofia's baby bump like a dream.

Add in a long skirt with a slight flare and even a merest hint of a train and you have a maternity look that won't be bettered this side of Christmas.

Sofia topped it all off with a chic, one sided semi up do in her hair and a pair of earrings that are so right now they are almost ahead of themselves. Not to mention the equally on trend mauve nails. Top it off with a sparkling clutch bag and you don't really get any better.

So what do you think? Is Sofia's gown the best royal maternity evening look ever?

Mathilde's marvellous week

She already had plenty to celebrate as she marked her 43rd birthday in the week. But the past seven days have been pretty special all round for Queen Mathilde of the Belgians. She took on a new role with the UN, enjoyed a high profile at the World Economic Forum in Davos and then ended up centre stage at a concert marking the Dutch Presidency of the EU in Brussels. Mathilde has had a marvellous week.

The photo tweeted by the Belgian royals with a thank you message from Queen Mathilde for her birthday wishes

It all began with an invitation from Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary General of the United Nations, to join the Sustainable Development Goals Advocacy Group which was officially launched at the World Economic Forum. The group of fifteen people will help the UN work towards realising the objectives on sustainable development it adopted in September 2015. Queen Mathilde accepted the invitation and will now sit on the group alongside Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden and pop star, Shakira.

The Belgian queen arrived in Davos mid week for a series of events at the forum which this year took as its focus 'mastering the fourth industrial revolution'. On her arrival, she attended the 22nd annual Crystal Awards at the opening of the WEF and the following day was photographed at a session about humanitarian issues.

Alongside her husband, King Philippe, she hosted the Belgian Power Breakfast at the Forum before the royal couple met Ban Ki-Moon. And, on the same day, Queen Mathilde attended her first meeting of the Advocacy Group.

Her eventful time at Davos was quickly followed by a high profile appearance in Brussels on Friday when she and Philippe welcomed King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima to the Palais des Beaux-Arts for a concert marking the start of the Dutch Presidency of the EU.  And her choice of outfit for that event confirmed another success of the week - Mathilde has hit a high fashion moment from a particularly chic blouse and skirt combo at Davos to a grey coat that wowed to this glamourous cocktail frock.

In between all that, she celebrated her birthday - Mathilde Marie Christiane Ghislaine d'Udekem d'Acoz was born on January 20th 1973 in Uccle and married Philippe, then heir to the Belgian throne, on December 4th 1999 in Brussels. On his accession to his country's throne on July 21st 2013, she became the first ever Queen of the Belgians to be born in Belgium.

An official portrait of Mathilde, Queen of the Belgians

As a princess and consort she has been hugely popular and now she can add another successful seven days to that. It's been a marvellous week for Mathilde.

Sunday, 24 January 2016

A piece of cake for the Queen

It's a traditional January engagement for the Queen and this year, it was a piece of cake. As she joined the Sandringham and West Newton Women's Institute for their meeting, as she nearly always does in the weeks after Christmas, the Queen was given her first birthday cake of the year. And as this is a big birthday with several big parties lined up, we can expect a lot more cake for the Queen in the weeks and months to come.

Cake number one for her 90th birthday was presented to the Queen in Norfolk this week

The first delicacy to help her celebrate her 90th birthday, which takes place on April 21st, was an iced fruit cake. And her hosts also provided champagne to toast her big day with. And with the Women's Institute's stellar reputation for cake, this was a slice to savour as celebrations for her big day got under way - three months early.

The Queen usually visits her local WI in the middle of January and this year she heard from guest speaker, TV presenter Sian Williams, who said she had been so nervous the last time she met the monarch that she nodded her head, bowed and curtsied, all at the same time. And she admitted to nerves this time round too but was determine to put on a good show.

There will be many more cakes between now and April and even more after that as the national celebrations for the Queen's 90th take place in May and June and include a huge picnic in the Mall to celebrate her nine decades and counting and raise a glass to her record breaking reign. In her Christmas speech, the Queen said she had been warned she would hear 'Happy Birthday' sung to her many times in 2016. We can expect lots of cake, too. The party is already getting started.

Birthday girl Athena takes to the snow

If you can't have fun in the snow when you are four, then when can you enjoy it? And Denmark's littlest princess is really enjoying it in a set of new photos taken to mark her fourth birthday.

Princess Athena of Denmark with her big brother, Henrik, in a new image released to mark her fourth birthday

We got a double dose of images of Athena of Denmark for her fourth birthday and they show a little princess growing up fast and a daughter looking more and more like her mummy every day.  Princess Athena is the image of Princess Marie while big brother, Henrik, is really rather like dad, Prince Joachim,

Mummy's mini me - Marie of Denmark's daughter is the image of her in new photos released today

Athena Marguerite Francoise Marie of Denmark was born on January 24th 2012 at the Rigshospitalet in Copenhagen, the only daughter of Prince Joachim and Princess Marie. She is tenth in line to her country's throne.  

Photo credit: Steen Brogaard and kongehuset,dk

Saturday, 23 January 2016

Mathilde and Maxima steal the show

It's hard for kings, really, to make a fashion statement unless it's a crown and uniform kind of occasion. And King Willem-Alexander and King Philippe, two of the continent's newest monarchs, looked resigned to that as they attended an event together in Brussels last night.  Queen Mathilde of the Belgians and Queen Maxima of the Netherlands stole the show at a concert held to mark the beginning of the Dutch Presidency of the EU.

Mathilde and Maxima both look stunning at a concert in Brussels on January 22nd 2016

The Dutch King and Queen joined their Belgian counterparts at the concert held at the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels and performed by the Dutch Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. The Dutch Foreign Minister was also there but that didn't really matter either. Everyone was looking at Maxima and Mathilde.

Queen Mathilde chose a grey silk dress with a bright pink panel overlay on top with a drape details at the shoulder. Queen Maxima went for all out dazzle in a black sequinned cocktail dress. It didn't matter who had the most sparkled, standing next to one another this was a clear draw in the fashion stakes and a cracker of one at that. They both looked stunning.

And it was clear again from this appearance that the two royal couples get on famously well with plenty of smiles and jokes as they posed briefly for the cameras.

You can't beat a balcony shot when it comes to royalty and just to round off the perfect regal evening we got a glimpse of the two kings and two queens in the box at the theatre. But while the two kings might have taken the centre seats for that part of the event, all eyes were still on their consorts. Mathilde and Maxima really stole the show.

Friday, 22 January 2016

The Royal Wardrobe: 5 fabulous fashion moments

High neck blouses and bold colours was where the Royal Wardrobe was at this week. It all felt quite wintry so it must be January and the overall effect was understated elegance with a few little flourishes thrown in for good measure.  Here are 5 looks that caught the eye this week.

Queen Mathilde isn't the first royal to try the high neck bow blouse this year or even the first one to try it in dark green (see Queen Maxima last week) but she is the first to have to add a name badge and still make it look stunning. Add in an on trend A line skirt and big hair and you have a winner of a look. Birthday girl, Mathilde, rules this week.

Queen Rania of Jordan has shown us some stunning outfits this week but for understated with wow factor, this white blouse and beige trousers combo takes a lot of beating. The palazzo pants are classic, the blouse is beautiful and the overall effect is total elegance.

Princess Charlene of Monaco wore white for her visit to the Vatican this week - privilege du blanc. And her cream coat was about as perfect as you can get.

Princess Sofia gave us a maternity cocktail dress with jacket effect and scored a hit. Her black and white outfit for an awards ceremony in Stockholm was smart, sleek and sophisticated.

Queen Sonja celebrated 25 years on the throne this week and for her late afternoon appearance on Jubilee Day, for a concert in Oslo, she chose a very regal royal blue coat with black hat. It was a total winner of a look and crowned Sonja as a style icon of the week.

Thursday, 21 January 2016

Mummy Madeleine's photo album

It was meant to be a private family holiday but when Princess Madeleine found photographers trying to get photos of her, her husband and their two children while they enjoyed their sunshine break she totally got the better of them. Madeleine posted some top snaps of the family on her Facebook page, making sure she was in charge and that there was no market for snatched images.

Princess Madeleine of Sweden with her son, Prince Nicolas, in family photos from their holiday shared by the royals on Madeleine's Facebook page

Madeleine shared photos of Princess Leonore, who is about to turn two, and seven month old Prince Nicolas on her own social media account with the message ''Family time, sadly interrupted. What a pity we weren't just asked for photos, because here are some sweet ones.''.  And she is right, they are really sweet.

Family time, sadly interrupted. What a pity we weren't just asked for photos, because here are some sweet ones.
Posted by Princess Madeleine of Sweden on Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Perhaps the sweetest of all shows Princess Leonore enjoying an ice cream.  There are also snaps of both children enjoying a cuddle with their mum while Prince Nicolas seems to be trying to snatch the camera away in another image.

Leonore + ice cream = super sweet photo
(Princess Madeleine's Facebook page)

It shows another attempt by the younger generation of royals to provide a private and normal upbringing for their children. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have released several photos of Prince George and Princess Charlotte to the media in recent months to try and satisfy the huge interest there is in their family life while keeping their children away from the cameras themselves.

Leonore and her mum in another family photo shared by Princess Madeleine
(photo Princess Madeleine's Facebook page)

And we can expect more Swedish baby photos in months to come as Madeleine's sister, Crown Princess Victoria, prepares to welcome her second baby in March and her brother, Prince Carl Philip, becomes a dad for the first time in April. 

Sofia sparkles

You wait months for a new royal portrait and then suddenly they all arrive at once. Just days after a fabulous photo album from Norway for King Harald's Jubilee and a super selection of birthday pics celebrating Princess Ingrid Alexandra of Norway's 12th birthday, the Swedish Royal Family have shared some new images. And one shows its newest princess, Sofia, sparkling.

Princess Sofia of Sweden in a new portrait released on January 20th 2016
(photo Royal Court/ Anna-Lena Ahlstrom)

Sofia wears a baby blue lace gown, not dissimilar in style to the dove grey lace effect dress chosen by Princess Madeleine for the Nobel Prizes at the end of 2015, and her wedding tiara made up of diamonds and emeralds. Whether the blue is a hint linked to the baby bump which is just visible at the bottom of the photo is anyone's guess - Sofia and her husband, Prince Carl Philip, have said they won't find out the gender of their first child before he or she arrives in April this year. It wasn't the only photo we got of Sofia's baby bump yesterday - she chose a sweet black and white maternity dress for an appearance at the 'Music at the Castle' event she attended with King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia.

Princess Sofia at the Music at the Castle event on January 20th 2016

And Queen Silvia also starred in a new royal portrait yesterday. She was shown looking relaxed in a white suit - far less formal than the grand image of three queens taken at the weekend when she attended the Jubilee celebrations in Norway.

Silvia of Sweden in a new portrait

And we all know these won't be the last official portraits from Sweden this year or even this spring. With two royal babies, two royal christenings and the 40th wedding anniversary of Carl XVI Gustaf and Silvia coming up in the next six months, 2016 is going to bring a huge official photo album from Sweden's royals. It's going to be a great year.

Royal Wedding Dresses: Queen Victoria

May is Victoria month, marking two centuries since the start of her story It's one of the most famous royal wedding dresses of al...