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Showing posts from December, 2013

Royal pictures 2013: Denmark

The most striking image to come from the Danish Royal Family this year really divided opinion. A portrait of the entire family together was unveiled in November but its unusual style and bold composition left many viewers less than impressed.  The portrait, by Thomas Kluge, is an attempt to follow up the famous family portrait of Christian IX and his descendants by Laurits Tuxen but some reviewers labelled it frightening.

The portrait of the Danish Royal Family by Thomas Kluge which was released to very mixed reviews in November 2013
Crown Princess Mary of Denmark's profile abroad increased considerably in 2013.  The wife of the heir to the throne carried out several headline hitting solo tours including a visit to Morocco where she highlighted domestic abuse and women's issues.  But it was her decision to spend some time at a camp for Syrian refugees in Jordan that really caught the public imagination, especially as she had to be evacuated from the area after protests broke o…

Royal pictures for 2013: the Netherlands

The abdication of Beatrix, Queen of the Netherlands was a surprise but not a shock.  The pattern for standing aside is well established in the country but Beatrix's appearance on television on the evening of January 28th 2013 to announce she would abdicate in favour of her eldest son and her heir, Willem-Alexander, was still unexpected at that time.  Her reign came to an end on the 33rd anniversary of its start, April 30th 2013, when she signed away her realm in a moving ceremony that was as emotional as it was simple.  After Willem-Alexander had also signed the instrument of abdication mother and son held hands in a very human gesture at the most important state event of all.

A mother and her son, a former queen and her new king - Beatrix and Willem-Alexander in the moments immediately following her abdication and his accession on Queen's Day, April 30th 2013
The events surrounding the end of one reign and the beginning of a new era had been filled with joy as well as pomp and…

Royal pictures for 2013: Belgium

The abdication of Albert II, King of the Belgians came as a surprise to many and certainly hadn't been predicted at the start of 2013.  Instead, the country began the year by looking forward to the planned celebrations in August for the king's 20th jubilee but on July 3rd 2013 he went on television to tell his fellow citizens that he planned to stand aside in favour of his son on Belgium's National Day, July 21st.  The royal household released an image of the king just before his abdication which gave Albert's departure an emotional touch.

Albert II, King of the Belgians, 1993 - 2013, leaves the stage
King Albert and his consort, Queen Paola, embarked on a farewell tour of the country where they were greeted by huge crowds everywhere they went.  The tour ended in Liege, the city of which Albert was made prince on the day of his birth.  Queen Paola found it hard to contain her tears as the monarchs bade an emotional farewell to their fellow citizens before handing over t…

Royal pictures of 2013: Spain

The unexpected, and unusual, sight of a kiss between King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia caused a stir in September 2013.  The king was waiting for the arrival of King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima of the Netherlands when his queen surprised everyone by joining him and then planting a kiss on his cheek.  There was much speculation as to why Queen Sofia had chosen to show so much affection to her husband in public.  It was later reported that around this time the king had discovered he needed another operation on his hip and his wife was offering some comfort almost immediately after the diagnosis.  But just days later, rumours swept Spain via social media that the king was about to abdicate.  Within hours, the royal household denied this and revealed the king's new health problems.  But the picture remained one of the most surprising of 2013.

The unexpected kiss.  This rare display of public affection between Juan Carlos I and his consort, Sofia, sparked huge speculation The whole…

Royal pictures of 2013: Sweden

There has been plenty to celebrate for the Swedish monarchy in 2013 and as a result, the country's ruling family has been involved in some of the most memorable royal images of the year.  On September 15th 2013, King Carl XVI Gustaf celebrated the fortieth anniversary of his accession to the throne of Sweden and a day of celebrations across the country culminated in dancing in the streets of Stockholm led by the king who earlier toasted the thousands wanting to share the day with him from the top of the Royal Palace.

King Carl XVI Gustaf salutes his people from the Royal Palace in Stockholm watched by his only son, Carl Philip, the prince who lost a throne to his older sister
The marriage of Princess Madeleine, fourth in line to the throne, and Chris O'Neill in Stockholm in June 2013 provided some truly beautiful snaps of a truly beautiful royal bride but it was the unusual and dramatic official wedding pictures that were the most memorable.

Princess Madeleine Therese Amelie Jos…

Best royal pictures of 2013: Great Britain

There's only one picture that can top this round up of the best images of the British Royal Family in 2013.  After a wait of over a century, and for only the second time in the British monarchy's almost 1000 year history, four generations of monarchs were captured together.  The christening photo of Prince George of Cambridge with his great grandmother, Elizabeth II, his grandfather, Charles, Prince of Wales and his father, William, Duke of Cambridge is one for the history books.

Queen Elizabeth and her successors, the three kings in waiting, in an historic photograph taken on the occasion of the christening of Prince George of Cambridge on October 23rd 2013 at St James' Palace, London Almost as historic was that first glimpse of George, future king, in the arms of his mother.  Kate, Duchess of Cambridge left hospital just over twenty four hours after giving birth to her first child with her proud husband, Prince William, protectively at her side and just desperate to get h…

Royal Review of 2013 - a year of surprises

Europe's royals have had a busy year.  But when the dust settles and the ink dries on the history books, 2013 will be remembered for the arrival of a future king and the departure of two monarchs.  The impending birth of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's baby was known about as the year began but the abdications of Beatrix of the Netherlands and Albert II of the Belgians were both unexpected in their own ways and changed the royal landscape of Europe rapidly and decisively.

Memories of times now past - the reigns of Beatrix, Queen of the Netherlands and Albert, King of the Belgians both came to an end in 2013 The abdications brought the continent two new monarchs, two new consorts and two new families of young princes and princesses.  Overnight, the average age of the continent's monarchs and heirs dropped by several decades.  But the events also changed attitudes towards monarchies and suddenly questions were asked about the ongoing reigns of just about every other Europ…

Royal roundup, week ending December 28th 2013

It's been a quiet end to the year for most of Europe's royal houses - here's the latest news from all of the continent's monarchies for the week ending December 28th 2013...

Sweden Queen Silvia celebrated her seventieth birthday on December 23rd 2013 but after several public events to mark the occasion, the day itself was a private affair with close family.  There was however a gun salute at midday and flags were flown.  The royal family also invited wellwishers to leave birthday messages on the royal Facebook page. Silvia Renate, Queen of Sweden, celebrated her 70th birthday on December 23rd 2013 King Carl XVI Gustaf gave his traditional Christmas Day address on December 25th 2013 and thanked his fellow citizens for their support during his 40th jubilee celebrations through the year.  He also spoke of the strong image of the country abroad and the many innovations in business and technology that he had witnessed through 2013. King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden during his 20…

The hidden messages of the royal Christmas speeches

Pictures speak louder than words, goes the saying, and the image given by a first glance at the Christmas Day speeches of Europe's monarchs certainly provides an interesting impression of how they see themselves and how they want to be seen.  Most striking was the background to the speech given by the new king of the Netherands, Willem-Alexander.  While the comfy if imposing chair was to be expected, the new monarch put himself firmly at the centre of his country's royal family with the pictures he displayed around himself.  Most prominent were the three portraits of his daughters on a wall behind him, a reminder of the future of the monarchy he now rules.  But to his side was a photograph of his wife, Queen Maxima, and another of his parents, Princess Beatrix and Prince Claus.  The new king looked forward and back while placing himself firmly in the centre of the royal household.

A king surrounded by the ghosts of Christmas past and those of Christmas yet to come - and firmly …