Monday, 31 July 2017

5 royal reasons to remember July 2017

And then we came to the end. After a month that's been positively overrun with royal events, just about everyone is feeling exhausted from so much regal news. We've had big stories, big anniversaries and big visits and that's just to get things started. As July winds to a close, here's a look back at the major moments that will linger. Here are 5 royal reasons to remember July 2017....

1. A sparking State Visit

What: The Spanish State Visit to the United Kingdom
Who: Queen Elizabeth II hosted King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia of Spain
When:  July 12th to July 14th 2017
Where: London and Oxford
Why we'll remember it: Almost two years in the making, this was a showpiece of a State Visit. Picture perfect in every way, it put Queen Letizia on front pages around the world while King Felipe's speeches made headlines everywhere. It was a success in every sense of the word and gave Spain's recently beleagured monarchy a boost that could last for years.

2. A fabulous 40th celebration

What: The 40th birthday of Victoria, heir to the throne of Sweden
Who: Crown Princess Victoria (with lots of family support)
When: July 14th 2017 and July 15th 2017
Where: Stockholm and Solliden
Why we'll remember it:  a hugely popular princess marking a big birthday in summer sunshine was always going to stick in the memory but Victoria of Sweden's celebrations surpassed all expectations. From the moving Te Deum on the morning of her actual birthday (July 14th) to the huge crowds that cheered her through Stockholm on a carriage ride to the mighty turnout at Solliden the following day, this birthday party showed just how well loved Sweden's future queen really is. A really happy birthday all round.

3. William and Kate on tour

What: an official visit to Poland and Germany
Who: the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge
When: July 17th to July 21st 2017
Where: Warsaw, Gdansk, Berlin, Heidelberg and Hamburg
Why we'll remember it: this was a major tour for William and Kate who made the five day visit at the request of the Foreign Office. All eyes are on the Cambridges right now as they prepare to move to London and take on more royal duties. This visit had plenty of set pieces but was a watershed as, for the first time, the couple didn't receive universal praise. Prince George and Princess Charlotte's presence on the tour (limited to airport appearances) was questioned while the rather predictable agenda also came in for scrutiny. A big moment for William and Kate in more ways than one.

4. A king making his mark

What: the fourth anniversary of the accession of King Philippe of the Belgians
Who: Philippe, King of the Belgians and Mathilde, Queen of the Belgians
When: July 21st 2017
Where: Brussels
Why we'll remember it: it might not have been the biggest royal headline of the month but this quiet king doesn't need shockwaves to make his mark. Four years on from his father's surprise abdication, Philippe of the Belgians has made the role of king his own. Philippe and his wife, Queen Mathilde, are hugely popular and the massive crowds at Belgium's national day, the actual anniversary of the start of his reign, were cheering them all the way. It's not hard to see why. Philippe has taken hold of this sometimes tricky crown and handled every move with a calm confidence that is turning him into a model monarch. He ended the month hosting royalty for commemorations of the centenary of the start of the Battle of Passchendaele, every inch the statesman. Philippe is a king at the top.

5. Diana's legacy

What: Diana's sons paying tribute to their mum
Who: the Duke of Cambridge, Prince Harry - and Diana, Princess of Wales
When: July 24th 2017
Where: an ITV documentary and Kensington Palace social media
Why we'll remember it: as the 20th anniversary of Diana's death approaches, there is no shortage of material about the late princess. But July 2017 was all about her sons reclaiming their mother's legacy. The ITV programme they made about Diana attracted huge audiences and global interest. Along with social media posts including never before seen photos, Harry and William put their image of their mum before the world and won new fans for themselves and for Diana. Yes, July also contained rows about whether tapes made by the princess should be broadcast and debate ignited by her brother, Earl Spencer, who told the Today programme on Radio 4 he didn't know his nephews hadn't wanted to walk behind their mother's coffin on that sad September day in 1997. Diana will be remembered in many ways ahead of August 31st this year but July saw William and Harry ensure their memories matter most.


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