Friday, 31 January 2014

The heirs of 1914: Norway

The young man who was heir to the throne of Norway in 1914 had not been born to be his country's king.  But after a hugely successful reign, he was voted Norwegian of the 20th century such was the love his people had for him.  Of all the heirs to the throne of a century ago, Olav of Norway has the greatest claim to have been the greatest monarch of them all.

Olav, Crown Prince of Norway in 1914 - already popular in his adopted country, his success and the affection his fellow citizens had for him would only grow as the 20th century progressed

Norway's Crown Prince of a century ago had been born in England in 1903 and christened Alexander Edward Christian Frederik.  But the decision of his father, Prince Carl of Denmark, to accept an invitation to become king of Norway in 1905 changed everything for the little prince - including his name.  On the day that Carl became Haakon VII of Norway, his only son and heir became Olav and stayed Olav for the rest of his life.  The little boy's childhood switched to his new country and by 1914, the eleven year old Crown Prince was well into an education that would turn him into an academic and athlete in equal measure and lay the groundwork for his successful reign.

Olav with his parents, King Haakon VII and Queen Maud, early on in their time as the new royal family of Norway

Olav went on to enjoy academic success at Oxford and athletic success in the Olympics where he won a gold medal for sailing in 1928.  But his greatest success came from 1957 onwards when he succeeded his father as king of Norway and went on to win great affection from his fellow citizens.  In 2005, exactly 100 years after his father had carried him off a ship from England and into a new life in Norway, his adopted country voted him their person of the century.  Olav, of all the heirs of 1914, made the crown he inherited his own.

Thursday, 30 January 2014

Birthdays and marriages

The Prince of Asturias is 46 today and the usual media reports for the day have taken on a very different tone this year.  Whereas most birthdays for Felipe have been accompanied by portrait galleries looking back and editorials looking forward, this year just about everything that's going on right now is being looked at. In minute details. With ongoing reports of a marriage crisis in a crisis hit royal household, all eyes this year are on possible problems rather than causes for celebration.

Looking into the future - Felipe tries out Google glass at the recent FITUR tourism exhibition in Madrid.

A brief solo ski-ing trip by the prince was enough to revive rumours that the couple aren't exactly getting on at the moment.  And those whispers are dominating coverage of this king in waiting's big day.  A report in one paper that a spokesperson within the Zarzuela has talked about 'ups and downs' in the royal marriage has been widely re-distributed.

Prince Felipe on his 46th birthday - he spent the morning with the Spanish Paratrooper Brigade

With the whole royal family in the spotlight, and all eyes turning towards Felipe's sister Cristina ahead of her court appearance next week, the speculation will remain just that - speculation.  But it does mean that, after 46 years, from a media point of view the Prince of Asturias is experiencing his most challenging birthday yet.

The Queen's Purse

Queen Elizabeth II is making do with a heating system that's sixty years old and costing her a cool three quarters of a million pounds every year to keep Buckingham Palace warm.  She's also down to her last one million pounds in reserve funds after big overspends in recent times.  But it's not the Queen's fault.  A new report from the Public Accounts Committee says that Elizabeth II has been let down by the Treasury and her Household and the royal purse string holders now need to start saving more cash and making more money.

Luckily, she's staying at Sandringham as the weather gets colder.  A report by an influential committee of MPs says that the Queen's heating system at Buckingham Palace is sixty years old and costing a fortune

The Queen has already opened the doors of Buckingham Palace to visitors with a chance to wander round the royal corridors available in the summer months.  But the committee says that brings in around half a million pounds every year while other royal buildings do far better - the Tower of London made £2 million in the same year from ticket sales.  Now the committee is suggesting that the Royal Household look at ways to make efficiencies as well as exploring methods of bringing in more cash.

Open all hours?  A group of MPs suggested the Royal Household should find ways of making more money after overspends in recent times

The criticisms in the report were a surprise and are the first leveled at the royal finances for several years. The timing is also a bit of a shock as criticisms of a royal family's spending usually come when they're under fire on all fronts.  The last time the Queen faced real outrage over royal financial affairs was in the early 1990s when her family was fragmenting and Charles and Diana were going through a very public separation and divorce.  Perhaps the most surprising element of this latest angst over cash is that it comes at a time when the House of Windsor is riding high.  The Queen is enjoying huge personal popularity. The celebrations for the Diamond Jubilee and the 60th anniversary of her coronation as well as the already growing anticipation for the September day in 2015 when she overtakes Queen Victoria as Britain's longest reigning monarchs have all cemented appreciation for Elizabeth II and her family.  And the global superstar status of Kate, Duchess of Cambridge and - to a lesser extent - her husband and her brother-in-law mean that the British royals haven't had it this good for decades.

The Queen has enjoyed huge popularity in recent years

This controversy over royal finances is small compared to previous criticisms and the fact that it is focused on the way the Queen's budget is managed for her, rather than on what the royals themselves are spending, means that the negative press reaction hasn't, so far, hit the House of Windsor directly.   But it does open up a vein of criticism that had lain dormant for a long time.  It will be interesting to see how the Royal Household reacts. 

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

The heirs of 1914: the Netherlands

In 1914, the little girl who stood to inherit the throne of the Netherlands was about to embark on her education as a princess and a future queen regnant.  Juliana, then aged five, would become her country's second queen and firmly establish the tradition of Dutch monarchs abdicating to ensure a smooth succession.  But in 1914, the princess in the royal nursery in The Hague was the much loved and wanted daughter of a queen regnant and the only hope that her dynasty would continue to occupy the throne.  Juliana wasn't just the only girl in Europe who stood to inherit a crown in 1914, she was the only royal left in her line of succession.  Juliana was pretty special.

Two women who would change the face of royalty in Europe in the 20th century - Queen Wilhelmina with her daughter, Princess Juliana, in 1912.  Their successful reigns, along with that of Juliana's daughter Beatrix, made female rule the norm in the Netherlands

Juliana Louise Emma Marie Wilhelmina had been born in 1909, the only child of Queen Wilhelmina and her consort, Heinrich.  Wilhelmina had been queen since the age of 10 and wasn't shy about showing her strong personality and determined views.   The birth of her only daughter had assured a succession that was about to run out - Wilhelmina had no surviving siblings to help provide heirs.  Juliana, in 1914, was about to start her formal education and the next year a classroom was set up at the Noordeinde Palace for the princess to learn alongside children of her own age.  While the First World War raged, Juliana learned ready for her own accession which would come in 1948 when her mother stepped aside in her favour.  Both queens, along with the third woman to rule the Netherlands as a regnant, were popular and successful at the role assigned them because of a lack of male heirs.  And they made sure to use their power to ensure that future generations would take the throne by birth order and not gender.  The Dutch heir of 1914 was part of a triumvirate of strong queens who changed the face of European monarchy.

Royal birthday bonanza

Mia Grace Tindall has picked the right time to arrive.  Every now and again, there is a rush of royal birthdays and the cold and frosty weeks of January are one of those times.  Since the new year arrived, no less than one queen, one king, seven princesses and one prince have blown out their candles and another prince and a former queen are about to celebrate their big days.  January is a royal birthday bonanza month.

The latest royal birthday girl is Princess Charlene of Monaco who turned 36 on January 25th 2014

Charlene of Monaco is the latest royal to mark her big day as she turned 36 on January 25th 2014 by signing copies of a new book on her home country, South Africa, to which she has written the forward.  Her celebrations were just two days after those of her sister-in-law, and her husband's heir for now, Princess Caroline who was 57 on January 23rd 2014 and opened cards and presents from grandchildren for the first time.  Denmark's royal house has had its fair share of jelly and ice cream birthday parties this month with twins Vincent and Josephine first to celebrate, turning three on January 8th 2014.  Little cousin, Athena, was two on January 24th.  

Athena of Denmark stands still just long enough for a photo to mark her second birthday

Mia Tindall will never have the most famous royal January birthday in Great Britain as cousin Kate of Cambridge celebrates her big day in the same month.  The duchess turned 32 on January 9th with no public appearances or photographs or even a glimpse of her but the event still dominated royal news for days.

Kate, Duchess of Cambridge made headlines for days when she celebrated her birthday on January 9th even though she wasn't seen in public at all 

In Norway, future queen Ingrid Alexandra turned ten on January 21st while the day before the new Queen of the Belgians, Mathilde, celebrated her 41st birthday.  And to make it a hat trick, the Countess of Wessex also turned 49 on January 20th.  While Sophie and Mathilde were hidden from view with no special events to mark their big days, Ingrid starred in a set of birthday portraits.  

One of three birthday portraits released to mark Princess Ingrid Alexandra celebrating her first decade

In Spain, the royals have got very little to celebrate at the moment and no mention was made of the birthday of the king's son-in-law, Inaki Urdangarin, who turned 46 on January 15th.  Ten days earlier, King Juan Carlos celebrated his 76th birthday with no public events or photos.  As his son and heir, Felipe, prepares to turn 46 on January 30th there have been a rash of articles about a possible crisis in his marriage to Princess Letizia as well as more questions about the future of the crown itself.  

The latest appearance of Prince Felipe and Princess Letizia, two days ahead of his 46th birthday, as they visited Tenerife

And to round off the royal birthdays this month, Beatrix of the Netherlands celebrates her first big day since abdicating.  The former queen of the Netherlands turns 76 on January 31st 2014. And the royal birthday cake makers get to breathe a sigh of relief - February is a much quieter month for royal anniversaries.

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

The heirs of 1914: Denmark

The heir to the throne of Denmark in 1914 was one of the newest Crown Princes on the continent.  Christian Frederik Franz Michael Carl Valdemar Georg, known as Frederik, had become heir to the throne in 1912 and now, aged fifteen, was enjoying an education that would make him one of the most modern kings his country had known.

Frederik, Crown Prince of Denmark, photographed in 1914

As king of Denmark, a role he assumed on the death of his father, Christian X, in 1947 he would oversee changes to the constitution which would allow women to inherit the throne for the first time and pave the way for his daughter, Margrethe, to become queen and changes to the way his country was run which included a brand new welfare state and better working rights for women.  The seeds of that modernity were sewn in his childhood when Frederik became the first heir to his country's throne to embark on a naval, rather than army, career.  The little boy who had stood at the feet of the legendary Christian IX, the father in law of Europe, turned his monarchy into one of the most modern on the continent.  And perhaps of all the heirs of 1914, his future was the clearest then.  The boy who would be Christian X never made any secret of his desire to move with the times, not even as a teenage Crown Prince.

The future Frederik X stands on a chair to the side of the then King of Denmark, Christian IX, with another king Christian and king Frederik with them.  This historic photo of four kings together was taken in 1903 when the youngest Fred was just four

Monday, 27 January 2014

The heirs of 1914: Belgium

The heir to the throne of Belgium in 1914 bore the name of his dynasty and the hopes of his country but war would make and then break his royal career.  Leopold, Duke of Brabant was thirteen in 1914 and an integral part of the new monarchy being forged by his parents, Albert I and his consort, Elisabeth.  A century ago, Prince Leopold was an eyewitness to the way in which his mother and father changed the image of the Belgian royals through determination and hard work.  He played his own part too but his own royal story would have a less successful ending.

Prince Leopold of Belgium as a teenager.  In 1914, as heir to the Belgian throne, he was helping his parents reshape the monarchy's image after the controversial reign of his great uncle, Leopold II

The young Duke of Brabant entered his teenage years in 1914 but just before he marked that big birthday, World War One began and he and his siblings were sent to England for safety.  The war would be a turning point for the Belgian royals and their dedicated to their people and to sharing the consequences that the war brought with it hugely increased their popularity.  Leopold played his part in that.  The stay in England that began in 1914 ended within months when he returned to Belgium to join the army.  

Leopold of the Belgians on the day of his engagement - he grew into a popular prince with great hopes for his kingship

Prince Leopold did become his country's king, in 1934, after the death of his father in a climbing accident.  By then he had made a hugely popular marriage to Astrid of Sweden but she died in a car accident just a year after they acceded the throne.  Leopold's later life and kingship were dominated by his role in the surrender of Belgian troops at the start of World War Two.  His reputation never recovered and despite remaining king, it was deemed unwise for him to return to Belgium after the end of the war and his brother, Charles, ruled as regent.  The king eventually returned in 1950 but widespread protests soon made his rule untenable and he handed over power to his son, Baudouin, in 1951.  But that was all to come.  In 1914, Leopold - like the other heir who would abdicate, Edward VIII - was a hugely popular royal with hopes of greatness ahead of him.  

A princely proposal

Here's hoping that Cressida Bonas hasn't got her heart set on a sparkler any time soon.  According to the latest poll, Prince Harry of Wales is the royal least likely to pop the question in 2014. In fact, he received not a single vote in the survey meaning - Cressida may have to wait to become a royal duchess.  Prince Carl Philip topped the poll comfortably, taking over 85% of the votes.  The Swedish royal family has had a lot of practice with weddings in recent years so organising a big do would be a walk in the park.  And Sofia Hellqvist has already attended several major royal events in recent years - the strongest sign yet that Carl Philip could be about to hand in his cards as one of the most eligible men in Europe.

Prince Carl Philip of Sweden is the royal most likely to say 'I do' in 2014 according to the latest poll

Amadeo of Belgium got a small show of support but there's no doubt that, according to this poll, anyone wanting a good look at big hats and posh frocks will be directing their gaze at Stockholm this year.  

Sunday, 26 January 2014

The heirs of 1914: Sweden

In 1914, the Swedish heir to the throne was among the oldest of the men waiting to be king.  He was also the only one who was married and the only one to have children.  Of all the heirs, he might have expected his royal life to fade the soonest but Gustaf Adolf, in fact, ended up ruling well into the last half of the 20th centuries and saw many of his fellow heirs of 1914 lose their crowns or renounce their thrones while he was still waiting for his.

Gustaf Adolf of Sweden is seen meeting some footballers in England at some point between 1910 and 1915.  He became Crown Prince of his country in 1907

Oscar Frederik Wilhelm Olaf Gustaf Adolf was born in 1882, the eldest son of Gustaf of Sweden and his wife, Victoria of Baden.  When Gustaf became the fifth king of that name to rule Sweden in 1907, his new Crown Prince was 26 years old and already married with children.  By 1914, Gustaf Adolf and his wife, Princess Margaret of Connaught, had been married for nine years and had three sons and a daughter.  While his fellow heirs were still completing their educations, Gustaf Adolf was becoming well known for his passions for botany, archaeology and sport.

The Crown Prince and Princess of Sweden in 1912 with their newborn son, Bertil, and their three other children - Gustaf Adolf, Sigvard and Ingrid

The heir of 1914 had another 36 years to wait before he became king and in the meantime he would lose his first wife, marry again and lose his only son in a plane crash in 1947.  His reign lasted from 1950 until 1973 and he would be succeeded by his grandson.  But in 1914, Gustaf Adolf was one of the few adult heirs in Europe - and no one could have guessed that he would still be ruling when most of the others had faded into history.

Mathilde's solo stint in France

In just under two weeks' time, Queen Mathilde of the Belgians will find herself taking a solo stance as she and King Philippe make an official visit to France.  The couple have been scheduled to pop next door to say hello to the neighbours for several weeks but the visit will take on an added significance - it will be one of the first official visits hosted by President Francois Hollande following his official separation from his former partner, Valerie Trierweiler.  And it means that Mathilde will have no First Lady to accompany her on her welcome to France.

No worries about clashing clothes for the Queen of the Belgians on her official visit to France in a few weeks' time - the French President has just announced there will be no First Lady to welcome the royals on their arrival

The king and queen of the Belgians, six months into their reign, will be visiting France to introduce themselves as monarchs and hold meetings about closer relationships between the two countries.  And now that Francois Hollande has said he'll be steering a solo course, with no First Lady at his side, it means that this visit will be one of the first chances to see the president welcome dignitaries without a companion to help do the honours.  Mathilde will be going solo in France and has the best outfit of the visit award sewn up already.

Catherine of Aragon's finest hour

The queen who ruled England in 1514 is among the most famous women to be a consort of the country but it is the troubled end to her reign that dominates her life story.  However, in 1514 Catherine of Aragon was all powerful, the perfect partner to her dynamic and younger husband, Henry VIII.  Five hundred years ago there was no sign of the things for which Catherine is best known by history - no shadow of divorce, of Anne Boleyn, of only daughters to succeed their father, of public parading of her personal life.  In 1514, Catherine was the queen who had it all - just about - and every hope of having even more as time went on.

Catherine of Aragon, Queen of England between 1509 and 1533 as the first consort of Henry VIII

In 1514, Catherine was a queen who had just completed a successful stint as regent of England.  Henry had left his kingdom in her care while he went to fight in France and during her tenure, the Battle of Flodden Field was fought between English and Scottish troops with the queen consort riding north to address her army even though she was in the final stages of pregnancy at the time (Catherine gave birth to a stillborn son in October 1513).  Her speech was reported across Europe and her time as regent hailed, generally, a success. Five hundred years ago, Catherine of Aragon was as powerful a consort as England had known in decades. But history would mean that was all forgotten by the time her story came to be told.

Saturday, 25 January 2014

Royal round up, week ending January 25th 2014

A round up of all the news from Europe's royal houses for the week ending January 25th 2014...


Princess Ingrid Alexandra of Norway turned ten this week.  To mark the occasion, on January 21st 2014, the royal household released a set of three special - and unusual - photos.

 Princess Ingrid Alexandra of Norway turned 10 on January 21st 2014

Princess Ingrid Alexandra of Norway in one of her tenth birthday portraits released on January 21st 2014

The king and queen of Norway ended their week with a visit to the heritage village of Laerdalsoyri in the west of the country where fire had destroyed forty homes on Sunday 19th January 2014.  King Harald and Queen Sonja spent January 23rd 2014 in the village, meeting people affected by the fire as well as rescue teams and those who will try and rebuild the damaged properties.  Laerdalsoyri is famous for its traditional wooden buildings and attracts thousands of tourists every year.  Ninety people needed hospital treatment after the fire.

King Harald of Norway meeting rescue workers in Laerdalsoyri on January 23rd 2014

On the following day, January 24th 2014, King Harald held a regular meeting with the Council of State at the Royal Palace in Oslo.  The Crown Prince had acted as regent briefly over the weekend, another regular occurrence, and during that time he and the Crown Princess attended the awards ceremony for 'Role Model of the Year' at the Nobel Institute in Oslo.  The event, on January 20th 2014, recognised the achievements of Musa Anderssen for his work with children and young people.

Crown Prince Haakon Magnus, Crown Princess Mette Marit and award winner, Musa Anderssen, with Norway's minister for Children, Equality and Social Inclusion, Solveig Horne, who presented the prize

Young people were also the main feature of the Crown Prince and Princess' interest at the World Econonic Forum in Davos which took place this week and which the royal couple attended on January 24th 2014.  At a press conference the Crown Princess spoke about the importance of finding new, young voices to speak out before attending a session on climate change and youth leadership with her husband.

The Crown Prince and Princess of Norway at a press conference at the World Economic Forum in Davos on January 24th 2014


King Philippe and Queen Mathilde of the Belgians also attended the World Economic Forum for three days this week.  The monarchs arrived on January 21st 2014 and attended many of the sessions at the forum as well as holding individual meetings.

King Philippe of the Belgians meets Professor Joseph Stiglitz to discuss the growth of opportunities for young people at the World Economic Forum in Davos on January 22nd 2014

The royal couple finished their visit by hosting a working breakfast for Belgian entrepreneurs and foreign investors on January 23rd 2014.

King Philippe and Queen Mathilde of the Belgians at a working breakfast in Davos which they hosted on January 23rd 2014

Before heading to Davos, King Philippe had held two audiences at the Royal Palace in Brussels on January 20th 2014.  The first was his weekly meeting with Belgian Prime Minister, Elio di Rupo, while the second was with Yves Kreins who took his oath as President of the State Council.  On January 21st, Prince Laurent continued the royal engagements at the European Motor Show in Brussels - his visit included seeing environmentally friendly cars.  And on January 24th 2014, Princess Astrid and Prince Lorenz welcomed Prince Albert of Monaco to Brussels where the princess handed over the honorary presidency of the European Organisation for the Research and Treatment of Cancer Charitable Trust.

Princess Astrid and Prince Lorenz with Prince Albert of Monaco in Brussels on January 24th 2014

Queen Mathilde of the Belgians celebrated her 41st birthday on January 20th - her first as consort.  There were no official celebrations or photographs to mark the occasion.

Queen Mathilde of the Belgians, seen here with her children in an earlier photograph, marked her 41st birthday on January 20th 2014


The king of Sweden, Carl XVI Gustaf, began his week with a farewell audience for the ambassador of Sudan, Abu Bakr Hussein Ahmed at the Royal Palace in Stockholm on January 21st 2014.  The following day, King Car XVI Gustaf, welcomed new ambassadors from Kazakhstan, Egypt, Armenia and Mauritania in a traditional ceremony at the Royal Palace.  Also on January 22nd the king met a fourteen year old called Samir, originally from Afghanistan, who has lived in Sweden for two years and has been facing challenges after an accident.  His wish was to meet the king and it came true at the Royal Palace thanks to My Big Day, the organisation that helps dreams come true for children and young people with life challenging or life changing conditions and which has Princess Madeleine as its patron.

King Carl XVI Gustaf with Samir, the teenager he met on January 22nd at the Royal Palace

Later the same day the king met representatives from the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency to hear about the work they do to help communities cope with emergencies.

King Carl XVI Gustaf with members of the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency on January 22nd 2014

On January 21st, Queen Silvia had joined King Carl XVI Gustaf at a concert at the Royal Chapel in Stockholm as part of the festival 'Young Music at the Palace'.  On January 22nd 2014, the queen presented scholarships from the Jubilee Fund which bears her name to young people involved in work and research to help children and people with disabilities.

Queen Silvia presented scholarships from the Jubilee Fund which bears her name at the Royal Palace in Stockholm on January 22nd 2014

Crown Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel held a board meeting for their foundation at the Royal Palace on January 20th 2014.  And on January 23rd, at the Royal Chapel, the Crown Princess met students involved in the Young Music at the Palace festival.

Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden meets students taking part in the festival 'Young Music at the Palace' in Stockholm on January 23rd 2014

And Princess Madeleine posted a photo of herself on her Facebook page as she approached the end of her pregnancy.  The princess, whose baby is due in February 2014, proudly showed off her bump and added a message on the problems of a commute home in snowy New York, the city where she lives with husband Chris O'Neill and where her baby will be born.

Princess Madeleine of Sweden in her office in New York in a photo posted on her Facebook page


Prince Henrik, the Prince Consort, attended a concert at the Court Theatre in Copenhagen on January 23rd 2014.

Prince Henrik of Denmark with soprano, Camilla Illeborg and pianist Semion Balschem as well as director Sejer Anderson following a performance by the Vitus Bering Theatre which he attended at the Court Theatre in Copenhagen on January 23rd 2014

Crown Prince Frederik paid a two day visit to Abu Dhabi, starting on January 20th 2014.  He attended the World Future Energy summit, part of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week as well as taking part in other engagements focused on renewable energy and sustainable development.  The Crown Prince's visit included seeing the SHAMS 1 Solar Energy Plant and an awards ceremony.

Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark meets the Director General of the International Renewable Energy Agency, Adnan Z. Amin, during his visit to Abu Dhabi on January 20th and 21st 2014

Prince Joachim presented the DI Initiative Award in at the House of Industry in Copenhagen on January 22nd 2014.

Prince Joachim of Denmark at an awards ceremony in Copenhagen on January 22nd 2014

Princess Marie of Denmark began her week by opening a conference on children's language at the University of Southern Denmark in Odense on January 20th 2014.  The princess heard speeches on how social issues can affect children's language acquisition and development.

Princess Marie of Denmark on her arrival at the University of Southern Denmark in Odense on January 20th 2014 ahead of a conference on children's language skills

On January 23rd 2014, Princess Marie was at the International House in Copenhagen to mark a new initiative for the organisation.  The International House seeks to offer help to non Danish people settle in the country by helping them with things like finding work, homes or networking.  visitors to Denmark when they're looking for work or for somewhere to live.  The new initiative sees fifteen municipalities in the country join the project.

Princess Marie of Denmark at the International House of Copenhagen on January 23rd 2014

And Princess Athena of Denmark turned two on January 24th 2014 with the royal household releasing two special photos to mark the occasion

Princess Athena of Denmark turned two on January 24th 2014

The Netherlands

King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima welcomed the President of France, Francois Hollande, on a one day visit on January 20th 2014.  The visit began with a reception at the Noordeinde Palace in The Hague followed by an audience between the king and the president.

King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima of the Netherlands greet the President of France, Francois Hollande, at the Noordeinde Palace in The Hague on January 20th 2014

The French president's visit had been planned for several months and its focus was on strengthening ties between France and the Netherlands, especially in economic issues.  After the official welcome President Hollande went on to a meeting at the Senate and to an audience with the Dutch Prime Minister before attending an official lunch hosted by the king and queen and Princess Beatrix.

King Willem-Alexander addresses guests at the official lunch he hosted for French President, Francois Hollande, during the president's one day visit to the Netherlands on January 20th 2014

In the afternoon, President Hollande visited the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons whcih was recently awarded the Nobel Peace Prize before moving on to the Maritime Museum in Amsterdam where he took part in round table discussions with Dutch and French companies.

Another image from the official welcome in The Hague for French President, Francois Hollande, on January 20th 2014

On the evening of January 20th 2014, Princess Beatrix attended the Ballet Gala Foundation Dancers event at the De La Mar Theatre in Amsterdam held to support artists whose careers have ended because of injury. At the end of the week, January 24th 2014, the princess attended 'Jumping Amsterdam', an international horse riding show being held in Amsterdam.

Princess Beatrix of the Netherlands following a gala dance performance in Amsterdam on January 20th 2014

On January 21st 2014, King Willem-Alexander opened the renovated Bovag House in Bunnik in the central region of the Netherlands.  Bovag is home to around 10,000 entrepreneurs in the mobility field and the centre was rebuilt to make it more eco friendly.  On January 22nd 2014 the king attended a ceremonial minting of new coins at the Dutch Royal Mint in Utrecht.  

King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands ceremonially minting the new coins which bear his image and which will replace those showing his mother, Princess Beatrix.  The minting took place in Utrecht on January 22nd 2014

The event marked a final stage in the transition from the rule of his mother, Beatrix, to his own kingship as from now on his image will appear on his country's coins.

A prototype for the new Dutch coins which will bear the image of King Willem-Alexander

On January 23rd 2014, King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima paid a one day introductory visit to Italy where they received a formal welcome at the Palazzo del Quirinale in Rome from the country's president, Giorgio Napolitano.  

King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands with the Italian president, Giorgio Napolitano, at the start of the Dutch king and queen's one day visit to Italy on January 24th 2014

The king and queen went on to hold a lunch meeting with Italian Prime Minister, Enrico Letta, at the Palazzo Chigi before heading to the Palazzo Guistiniani for a meeting with the President of the Senate, Pietro Grasso.

Queen Maxima of the Netherlands on her arrival in Rome for a one day visit on January 23rd 2014

Princess Laurentien helped launch National Reading Day in the Netherlands on January 22nd 2014 when she took part in a breakfast story session at the Horizon Elementary School in Delft.  The National Reading Initiative runs until February 1st 2014.

Princess Laurentien reads to children in Delft at the start of National Reading Day on January 22nd 2014

United Kingdom

Zara Tindall and her husband, Mike, shared their new daughter's name.  Mike Tindall made the announcement on Twitter, confirming that the sixteenth in line to the British throne is called Mia Grace Tindall.

The announcement of the name of Queen Elizabeth II's fourth great grandchild, made on Twitter on January 23rd 2014 by Mike Tindall

Prince Harry attended a press conference marking the successful completion of the 200 mile trek across Antarctica to the South Pole which he took part in during December 2013.  The prince talked about his pride at what he and his team mates (who included twelve military personnel with life changing injuries) had achieved.  A fellow team patron, Dominic West, also spilled the beans on some of the jokes that Prince Harry had told to keep spirits up and the prince's skill at creating makeshift toilets out of snow and ice.

Prince Harry with some of his colleagues on the Walking with the Wounded expedition to the South Pole at their press conference on January 21st 2014

The prince also showed he listens to his granny.  He appeared at the press conference, in London, clean shaven after growing a beard during the trek.  It was reported that the Queen had advised Harry to remove his facial hair before beginning royal duties again after Christmas.

Prince Harry at the South Pole in December 2013 sporting the beard that the Queen reportedly advised him to remove

The Queen remained at her Sandringham estate during the week and attended a church service at Wolferton in Norfolk on January 19th 2014.

Elizabeth II at Wolferton in Norfolk on January 10th 2014 - she attended a church service there

The Prince of Wales' press office was reported to be merging with that of the Queen with a senior member of the prince's team taking the lead in the new communications office.  The prince had a busy week.  On January 21st 2014 he was in Scotland (where he is known as the Duke of Rothesay) to start the Sport Relief Mile at Dumfries House in Ayrshire.

Prince Charles starts the Sport Relief Mile in Ayrshire on January 21st 2014

The following day, Prince Charles as Colonel of the Welsh Guards, received Colonel Thomas Bonas and on January 23rd, the prince and the Duchess of Cornwall paid a visit to King's College Hospital in London where he revealed that he and the duchess had both been delivered by the same doctor.  

The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall speaking to a patient in the Health and Ageing Unit at King's College Hospital, London which they visited on January 23rd 2014

That afternoon, the prince gave a tea at Clarence House for the Prince's School of Traditional Arts.  And that evening, Prince Charles was at the Royal Courts of Justice in London for a leadership reception which he hosted as part of his work with his Prince's Trust.

Prince Charles speaking to guests at a reception celebrating leadership which he hosted on January 23rd 2014

The Duchess of Cornwall had one solo engagement this week.  On January 21st 2014, she hosted a reception and concert at St James' Palace, London to mark the 125th anniversary of the charity now known as I CAN and which helps children develop communication and speech skills.

The Duchess of Cornwall and choir supremo, Gareth Malone, at a reception and concert at St James' Palace, London on January 21st 2014 for the children's charity, I CAN

The Duke of York was at the World Economic Forum in Davos on January 22nd 2014.  Princess Anne, the Princess Royal spent January 22nd 2014 in South Shields where she carried out a series of engagements including opening the renovated SOS Housing Limited Association for the Mission of the Seafarers of which she is patron.  The princess returned to London that evening where she attended the International Financing Review Awards Ceremony and Dinner for Save the Children, of which she is patron.

Princess Anne, the Princess Royal during her visit to the Mission of the Seafarers in South Shields on January 22nd 2014

On January 23rd 2014, Princess Anne opened a new Citizens' Advice Bureau in Walton-on-Thames in Surrey - she is the charity's patron.  On the same day she opened the International Head Office of the organisation Voluntary Services Overseas - she is also their patron.  And the princess also opened the new DHL International Flight Centre in Houslow in London on January 23rd 2014.

The Princess Royal at the new International Head Office of VSO in Surrey which she opened on January 23rd 2014

Sophie, Countess of Wessex turned 49 on January 20th 2014 - she celebrated privately and there were no official photographs to mark the occasion.  Two days later, the countess opened the Livity School in London and chaired a charity forum at Buckingham Palace later in the day.  On January 23rd 2014, she held a meeting for the Duke of Edinburgh's International Award Foundation.  Her husband also attended an event linked to the award when he was in Kensington in London on January 21st to present a lifetime achievement award to Barry Hieger, the longest serving volunteer with the Jewish Lads and Girls Brigade.

The Earl of Wessex presents an award to Barry Hieger of the Jewish Lads and Girls Brigade on January 21st 2014

On January 23rd 2014, her husband was also cutting ribbons at a school.  The Earl of Wessex was in Cambridgeshire to inaugurate the Great Hall at Leys School in Fen Causeway.  Later the same day, the earl visited Anglican training college, Westcott House, in Cambridge - he is the patron of their Building Appeal - before paying a return visit to Jesus College, Cambridge where he studied history.

The Earl of Wessex meets students at Westcott House in Cambridge on January 23rd 2014

The Duke of Kent an audience at St James' Palace on January 23rd 2014.  Prince William continued his studies at Cambridge University.  And on January 23rd 2014, the former Kate Middleton marked her 1,000th day as Duchess of Cambridge.


King Juan Carlos I began his week with an audience at the Zarzuela Palace for two Civil Guard officers who had headed the security team at the farm, Las Jarillas, where the king had studied in the late 1940s.

King Juan Carlos of Spain with Jose Garcia Velasco and Antonio Jodra who had been on the security team which looked after him while he studied in the late 1940s.  Their wives were also at the audience on January 20th 2014 at the Zarzuela Palace in Madrid

On January 21st 2014, at the Zarzuela Palace, the king received the letters of credentials of fifteen new ambassadors to Spain - since his two operations late in 2013, the king has held group audiences for new representatives rather than the traditional individual ceremonies.

The king of Spain greets fifteen new ambassadors to his country on January 21st 2014 in Madrid

And on January 22nd 2014, the king and queen of Spain welcomed the president of Colombia and his wife to the Zarzuela Palace in Madrid.  Juan Manuel Santos Calderon was on a state visit to the country.

King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia of Spain welcome the president of Colombia and his wife to the Zarzuela Palace on January 22nd 2014 at the start of an official visit

On January 21st 2014 the Prince of Asturias closed the seventh Exceltur tourism leadership forum in Madrid which took place in the IFEMA Conference-Centre in Madrid and brought together tourism experts from 35 countries.  

Prince Felipe of Asturias at the closing session of the Exceltur tourism forum in Madrid on January 21st 2014

The prince's engagement the next day also involved tourism as he and the Princess of Asturias opened the 34th FITUR International Tourism Fair in Madrid.  They visited many of the exhibitions there, representing tourism in 165 countries.

The Princess of Asturias watches as Prince Felipe tries Google Glass at the FITUR tourism fair in Madrid on January 22nd 2014

Earlier in the week, on January 20th 2014, the princess had attended a working meeting of the Spanish Association against Cancer, of which she is honorary president, in Madrid.  And on January 24th 2014, Princess Letizia was in Almeria where she inaugurated the first Congress on Rare Diseases - the princess works closely with the Spanish Federation on Rare Diseases.

Princess Letizia on her arrival in Almeria for a congress on January 24th 2014


Princess Charlene of Monaco celebrated her 36th birthday on January 25th 2014.  To mark the occasion, she signed copies of a new book for which she has written the forward.

Princess Charlene of Monaco at a book signing on her 36th birthday, January 25th 2014

Princess Caroline of Monaco celebrated her 57th birthday on January 23rd 2014, her first as a grandmother.

Princess Caroline at the Ecole des Cigales earlier in January 2014

Prince Albert and Princess Charlene along with Princess Stephanie attended the closing evening of the International Festival of the Circus, held in Monte Carlo, on January 21st 2014.  

Monaco's royal family at the International Circus Festival in Monte Carlo on January 21st 2014