Monday, 30 January 2017

Eight royal reasons to remember January 2017


January 2017 has certainly made its mark. There was no such thing as a quiet start to the year as another royal twelve months got under way. As January comes to an end, the biggest story of the whole month is only just beginning and will no doubt have an impact in months to come. Here are eight royal reasons to remember January 2017.

1. The State Visit Row

The Royal January of 2017 will be most remembered for the huge row that blew up as it came to an end. On January 27th 2017, Prime Minister Theresa May extended an invitation to new US President Donald Trump to make a State Visit to the UK. Within hours of accepting, President Trump had announced a ban on people from seven countries, all with mainly Muslim populations, entering the US. A petition to stop him making a State Visit, stating it wanted to save the Queen from embarrassment, had attracted 1.4 million signatures by the end of January 30th 2017. It's likely to be debated in the House of Commons now but there's little chance of the invitation being rescinded. No date is yet set for this State Visit but given the headlines it's made in January, whenever it takes place in 2017, it's bound to be controversial.

2. All change for William and Kate

On the day that Donald John Trump took the oath of office as 45th President of the United States of America, a discreet press release issued forth from Kensington Palace confirming that the Duke of Cambridge would be leaving his job as an air ambulance pilot at the end of his contract this year and that William, Kate, George and Charlotte would be making a permanent move to London. The young prince will go to school in the capital from September while his sister is set to start nursery around then as well. Their mum and dad will be taking on more royal engagements, too. Expect to see a lot more of the Cambridges in 2017 and it all started in January.

3. End of a royal marriage

January made its mark with sad news when Prince Louis and Princess Tessy of Luxembourg announced they are to divorce just months after celebrating their tenth wedding anniversary. The couple married in August 2006 and had two sons, Noah and Gabriel, together. The family had been living in London. The announcement was made by the Ducal Court of Luxembourg with Princess Tessy speaking of her sadness in a short statement afterwards. 

4. Sparkle in Copenhagen

There was plenty of dazzle to take away the greyness of the January days and it was all coming from Copenhagen. Denmark's royals began 2017, as is traditional, with a set of New Year levees which included tiaras and tails on January 1st itself. There were more diamonds and diadems at the end of the month as Queen Margrethe II hosted the first State Visit of 2017 when she welcomed the President of Iceland, Gudni Johannesson, to Denmark. No controversies here, thanks very much for asking.

5. Meghan and Harry mania

Royal wedding anyone? Speculation about the relationship between Prince Harry and Meghan Markle continued to grow with odds on them marrying slashed and then some after it was revealed they had headed off on a romantic holiday to see the Northern Lights. The tea towels were all but in the shops when it was reported that Meghan had met the Duchess of Cambridge and Princess Charlotte and even bought Kate a birthday presents (35 on January 9th in case you missed it). Less positive stories involving Meghan's brother and gun threats did little to dampen speculation that Ms Markle might well be a royal duchess before the year is done. Let's hope they've put the save the date in already - 2017 is looking packed as it is.

6.  A special photo for a special birthday

In a year with plenty of landmark birthdays and anniversaries, January got more than its fair share with Princess Caroline of Hanover celebrating her 60th and Princess Ingrid Alexandra of Norway becoming a teenager in the first weeks of the New Year. Princess Margriet of the Netherlands celebrated 50 years of marriage in January as well. But the biggest celebrations, and the most talked about photo, came with the 80th birthday of Princess Birgitta of Sweden. The second eldest sister of King Carl XVI Gustaf partied at Drottnignholm Palace with her siblings and all five of them posed for a picture for the history books as Birgitta marked eight decades.

7. The death of the Earl of Snowdon

Antony, Earl of Snowdon, former husband of Princess Margaret died on January 13th 2017. He was 81. Tony Armstrong-Jones was a well known photographer when he said 'I do' to the Queen's only sister in May 1960. They were one of the most glamourous royal couples of their generation but divorced in 1978. The Earl of Snowdon was succeeded to his title by his and Margaret's only son, David. Lord Snowdon was buried on January 20th 2017 in Llanfaglan, Carmarthenshire.

8. The Queen, back to full health

The end of 2016 had been marked by concerns for the Queen's health after she missed Christmas Day service for the first time in decades after becoming ill with a heavy cold. On January 8th she appeared again in public, looking very well, as she travelled to church with the Duke of Edinburgh and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Several more church appearances followed with her traditional visit to the Women's Institute at Sandringham getting her royal year rolling while on January 27th she carried out her first official engagement of 2017.

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