Friday, 28 February 2014

And the Oscar goes to....

The Oscars, taking place in Los Angeles on March 2nd 2014, are the meeting place of Hollywood royalty.  But while real royals might have some of the best stories in town, it's rare for a regal role to win a king or queen of the big screen the ultimate prize - an Oscar.  In the eighty six years of the Academy Awards, just a dozen or so royal roles have led to an Oscar win.  And with no kings, queens, princes or princesses among the parts nominated this year, it will be another year before any chance of an extra royal joining the list.  Here are the royals whose lives have landed their stars an Oscar.

The Queen - Helen Mirren won the Best Actress Oscar for her portrayal of Elizabeth II during the days following the death of Diana, Princess of Wales in 1997

In the last fifteen years there have been three winners who scooped the ultimate acting award with a royal role with perhaps the best known being Dame Helen Mirren who won just about every prize going for her portrayal of Elizabeth II in The Queen.  The film, which was set in the days following the death of Diana, Princess of Wales in 1997, was released in 2006 with Dame Helen collecting her award in February 2007.

Dame Helen Mirren as the Queen - she ended her Oscar acceptance speech by praising Elizabeth II

Four years later, a portrayal of Elizabeth II's father landed British actor Colin Firth a Best Actor Oscar. He played George VI in The King's Speech (released in 2010) which told the story of the unexpected monarch through his struggle to overcome his stutter.  And while Helena Bonham Carter was also nominated for her portrayal of Bertie's wife, later better known as the Queen Mother, it was the make believe king who took home the gold statuette when the awards were held in early 2011.

Colin Firth as George VI in The King's Speech, the role for which he won Best Actor at the Oscars

Dame Judi Dench had started the royal trend in 1999 when she won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her performance as Elizabeth I in Shakespeare in Love.  It's one of the shortest ever appearances to win an Academy Award and as well as winning for her star turn as Gloriana, many commentators believe it was also an opportunity to recognise Dame Judi's performance as another royal - the year before she had just missed out on the Best Actress Oscar for her potrayal of Queen Victoria in Mrs Brown.

Dame Judi Dench as Elizabeth I in Shakespeare in Love, released in 1998, and a big winner at the Oscars ceremony in February 1999

And there was another daughter/ father twist in this Oscar tale - the first actor to win an Academy Award for portraying a royal was Charles Laughton who grabbed the gold statuette in 1933 for playing Elizabeth I's father, Henry VIII, in The Private Life of Henry VIII. He was only the seventh actor to win the prize and the film was the first British production to be nominated as Best Film - it took the Oscar.It's also one of the few tellings of Henry's story to set out to be a comedy handling the last part of his reign, seen by many as a tyranny, with a lightness of touch and lots of one liners.

Charles Laughton as Henry VIII in his Oscar winning performance from 1933

It's not really surprising that it's the great powerhouses of the English monarchy who provide parts that win Oscars.  Katherine Hepburn won her fourth and final Academy Award for her role as Eleanor of Aquitaine in the 1968 film, A Lion in Winter.

She had to share the prize but she still got a full Oscar - Katherine Hepburn won Best Actress for playing Eleanor of Aquitaine in a tied result which also saw Barbra Streisand recognised for her role in Funny Girl

But finding other royal links to Oscar winning roles is much harder. Audrey Hepburn won in 1953 for Roman Holiday in which she played a fictional princess called Ann.  And Laurence Olivier won in 1948 for his version of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark in the film version of Shakespeare's famous play.  

Audrey Hepburn in her Oscar winning role as Princess Ann in Roman Holiday

But to get really royal at the Oscars, a trip back to the 1950s is needed.  In 1957, Yul Brynner won the Best Actor award for his part in The King and I where he played King Mongkut of Siam - albeit in a musical based on a memoir.  In the same year,  Ingrid Bergman won a Best Actress Oscar for her part as a woman involved in a plot to prove she is Anastasia, the Tsar's daughter rumoured to have survived the killing of the royal family in 1918.  But as they were collecting their Oscars, another Academy Award winner from the 50s was beginning a new life as a real princess.  Grace Kelly won the Best Actress Oscar in 1955 for her part in The Country Girl but in 1956 she married Prince Rainier of Monaco and became his consort.  Hollywood royalty doesn't get much more royal than that.

And the Oscar goes to....Grace Kelly with her Academy Award as Best Actress in 1955

Thursday, 27 February 2014

Another Aenor

The decision of Madeleine of Sweden and Chris O'Neill to name their daughter, Leonore, has turned the name - and its variants - into one of the most popular royal monikers around.  Leonore is another version of Eleanor and in less than ten years this once forgotten regal name has enjoyed a resurgence that has seen it invade just about every royal court in Europe.  While the name may be rare in Sweden - the princess shares her name with just 128 of her fellow citizens - in the royal houses of the 21st century it's hard to get past go without passing an Eleanor.

Leonore of Sweden is following a royal trend with her first name

The name has several variations so in Spain it became Leonor when the Prince and Princess of Asturias surprised many by choosing it for their first daughter, and the country's future queen, when she arrived in October 2005.  In Belgium, the version Eleonore was used by the then Prince Philippe and Princess Mathilde for their youngest child, the princess who was born in April 2008.  And it was spelt as Leonore when Prince Constantijn and Princess Laurentien used it for their youngest child in June 2006.

The Infanta Leonor of Spain, future queen regnant, was the first of a new wave of royal babies to receive the name Eleanor in one of its many versions

And the newest Leonore shares something more with the Eleanors.  Her middle names pay tribute to other royals. The littlest princess of Sweden bears the name of the late Princess Lilian, who died last year, and who was an influential figure in the life of her grandfather, Carl XVI Gustaf, as well as her mother, Madeleine, and her brother and sister.  Eleonore of Belgium has Fabiola as a middle name in honour of the queen of King Baudouin and is also called Victoria, like her godmother Princess Victoria of Sweden.  

Eleonore of Belgium is fourth in line to her country's throne

The meaning of the name is disputed, with some dictionaries giving it as 'shining light'.  But most historians agree that it actually means something far less inspiring.  Its original meaning is often given as 'the other Aenor'.  It came to prominence in the 12th century as the name of one of the most famous queens of all time - Eleanor of Aquitaine.  In her lifetime, she was known as Alienore or 'Alia Aenor' and her mother's name was Aenor.  It's widely thought that her name, which became the most famous in Europe for a while thanks to her power and determination, was just a way of distinguishing her from her mother.  But Eleanor of Aquitaine distinguished herself far more than that and became first queen consort of France and then queen consort of England before becoming so powerful that her husband, Henry II, put her under house arrest.  In the reigns of her sons, Richard I and King John, she was the power behind the throne.  And as a result, many of the princesses of royal courts across Europe were called Eleanor - or a variation of it.  Many were descended from her, others had parents inspired by her and within a few years it had become such a typical royal name that many used it just because it sounded so regal.

Alia Aenor, Duchess of Aquitaine and Queen of France then England - the first royal Eleanor

Now, 800 years after her death, Europe has a new wave of royal Eleanors.  And while the name may have started as a way of not confusing two women who at the time had little importance between them at the court of powerful Duke of Aquitaine, it became a byword for female royal power and magnificence.  The new generation of other Aenors are following in the footsteps of perhaps the greatest female royal role model of all.

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Grandmother first, for a moment...

She has been a queen for almost forty years but for a moment, Silvia of Sweden was a grandmother first.  In a photo released to mark the official naming of her second grandchild, the Swedish consort is seen beaming with pride as she holds Princess Leonore, Duchess of Gotland in her arms.  No crown, no throne, no robes but a huge smile that shows even queens fall in love with princesses.

A king, a queen and their little royal duchess - Sivlia of Sweden holds little Leonore while Carl XVI Gustaf looks on

And Madeleine's daughter is called....

Her Royal Highness Princess Leonore Lilian Maria of Sweden has made her debut.  Little Leonore, born to Madeleine on February 20th 2014 in New York, has been seen for the first time in a photo released to mark the official announcement of her name.

The Duchess of Gotland sleeps through her first photocall

As is traditional for the Swedish Royal Family, special ceremonies had to be observed for the naming of its latest member.  King Carl XVI Gustaf told his country's cabinet about the arrival of its newest princess, informed them of her name and full title and only then could the rest of his fellow citizens be told.  

The king who couldn't help being a grandfather - Carl XVI Gustaf bursting with pride as he tells the Swedish cabinet all about his new granddaughter

Auntie Victoria was there for the special announcement to the cabinet before the Marshal of the Realm took over to formally announce the full name of the fifth in line to the throne as HRH Princess Leonore Lilian Maria of Sweden, Duchess of Gotland.  But the first photo is a family affair as well as a matter of state - it was taken by proud daddy, Chris O'Neill.

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Going for gold and silver and bronze

King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima of the Netherlands seemed to love every minute they spent at the Winter Olympics in Sochi so it's no surprise that they are keeping the flame of the Games alive back home in The Hague.  Today the king and queen held a reception for the winners of the twenty four medals their country brought back from Russia.

More to celebrate for medal winners from the Netherlands as they get a royal reception from their king and queen at the Noordeinde Palace in The Hague

Willem-Alexander had presented one of the eight gold medals won by his fellow citizens as well as one of the bronzes and Maxima had cheered plenty of winners from the stands.  And today they sealed the celebrations with a right royal reception and kept the Olympic spirit alive just a little bit longer.

Monday, 24 February 2014

Zara's daughter becomes a headline act

The decision of the Queen's granddaughter, Zara Phillips, to show off her baby girl in a photospread in Hello magazine has raised eyebrows.  Zara's brother, Peter, famously sold his wedding pictures to the magazine and received quite a bit of stick as a result.  Questions were raised about the fact that the photos, for which Peter received around £500,000, included images of other members of the royal family and it was reported that the Queen was not overly amused.  Zara Phillips' decision to show her little girl off in Hello doesn't involve any other member of the royals but it has led to some criticism.

Sixteenth in line to the throne and the fourth great grandchild of Elizabeth II, Mia Grace Tindall makes her debut on the front of Hello magazine

It's led to more questions about royals making deals with magazines.  But while the first image of Mia may have caused a stir, there's one thing that won't raise any questions.  Who she looks like. Little Miss Tindall is the image of her granny, Princess Anne, famous for her scary stare.  So if anyone wants to take the Tindall family to task for their deal with Hello, just watch out for the youngest member.  And the knock them out at fifty paces stare that she's inherited from her royal grandmother.  

Being number five

The new princess of Sweden is fifth in line to her country's throne and unlikely ever to occupy it.  And that she has in common with the other princes and princesses who find themselves at number five on the countdown to a crown.

The new princess of Sweden and her parents leave hospital on February 22nd 2014 in New York where she was born, fifth in line to the throne, on February 20th 2014

The oldest royal at number five is the Duke of York who fell to his lowest position in the British line of succession on the birth of his great nephew, Prince George of Cambridge, in July 2013.  Andrew Albert Christian Edward was born second in line to the throne in February 1960, the third child and second son of Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh.  He held that role for 22 years until he was moved down the order by the birth of William of Wales and then again, a few years later, by the arrival of Prince Harry. Andrew's path, like all the number fives, is only downwards as younger royals with a stronger claim to the throne than him increase their families.

Andrew, Duke of York - seen here with his daughters Beatrice and Eugenie - is now fifth in line to the British throne

Princess Astrid of Belgium is another 1960s baby who finds herself sliding down the succession as the years go one but, unlike Andrew, she didn't hold dynastic rights from birth.  When Astrid Josephine-Charlotte Fabrizia Elisabeth Paola Marie of Belgium was born in June 1962, women were not able to ascend her country's throne.  When the law was changed in 1991, Princess Astrid immediately overtook her younger brother in the line of succession and became third after her father, Albert, and her brother, Philippe.  On Albert's accession in 1993, Astrid went up another rung and for a while it seemed the throne might pass to her until Philippe announced his plans to marry in 1999.  Since then the princess has continued to fall down the line of succession although she went back up to fifth from sixth in July 2013 when her father abdicated and her brother became king.

Princess Astrid of Belgium, Archducess of Austria-Este is fifth in line to the Belgian throne

A young countess in the neighbouring kingdom of the Netherlands found herself in a similar position in 2013 when her grandmother abdicated and her uncle became king.  Countess Eloise Beatrix Sophie Laurence of Orange-Nassau is the eldest grandchild of the former queen of the Netherlands, Beatrix, and on her birth in 2002 she was fourth in line to the throne.  Since then her position has gone up and down - the birth of three children to her uncle, Willem-Alexander, sent her further down the line of succession but the decision of her other uncle, Johan Friso, to give up his dynastic rights in 2004 to marry Mabel Wisse meant that Eloise moved up a place.  In April 2013, she was sixth in line to the throne behind Willem-Alexander and his three daughters and her own father, Prince Constantijn.  The accession of the new king means she, like Astrid, moved up to fifth in line.

Countess Eloise of Orange-Nassau with her grandfather, Claus, soon after her birth in 2002

The fifth in line to the Danish throne is unlikely to ever rise higher than her current position.  Josephine Sophia Ivalo Mathilda, Princess of Denmark and Countess of Monpezat has held that number in the line of succession behind her father and three older siblings since the moment of her birth.  Josephine will only slide further away from the throne as she grows older.

Princess Josephine of Denmark on her third birthday

Her counterpart in Norway is in a similar situation.  Maud Angelica Behn is the eldest grandchild of King Harald and Queen Sonja and, on her birth in April 2003, she was briefly third in line to the throne.  But the birth of her cousins, Ingrid and Sverre, mean that Maud has moved down the line of succession and is unlikely ever to climb up it again.

Maud Angelica Behn was born on April 29th 2003, the eldest daughter of Princess Martha Louise of Norway and her husband, Ari Behn

Another eldest grandchild now fifth in line to the throne is Felipe Juan Froilan de Todos los Santos de Marichalar y Borbon, the first grandson of King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia of Spain.  On his birth in July 1998 he was third in line to the throne behind his uncle, Prince Felipe, and his mother, the Infanta Elena.  The birth of two cousins, Leonor and Sofia, means that Felipe's slide away from the throne is well and truly under way.

Froilan of Spain with his sister, Victoria.  The eldest grandchild of Juan Carlos and Sofia is now fifth in line to his country's throne

The new princess of Sweden, like the other royals who find themselves fifth in line, occupies a strange position.  Regal enough to count when successors are counted but unlikely ever to succeed.  Being number five is high enough to matter but not really enough to count.

Sunday, 23 February 2014

Estelle turns two

While she waits to meet the cousin who will no doubt turn into a playmate, Princess Estelle has kept herself busy posing for photos to mark her second birthday.  The future queen is looking very grown up as she marks her milestone and mum and dad are fading into the background as the little princess takes centre stage.

One down, one to go - Princess Estelle tackles her birthday candles one by one in a special photo released on February 23rd 2014

The princess is also seen painting before settling on a sofa at the Haga Palace for a very smart portrait to mark her big day.  The little girl who was famously shown off by her parents for the first time in a car seat on their way home from hospital in February 2012 is now queen of the photoshoot.

Estelle of Sweden on her second birthday, February 23rd 2014

Car seat royals

Princess Madeleine kept to tradition to announce the birth of her baby girl but the royal Facebook fan was back to social media for the first photo of her daughter.  As the princess and her husband, Chris O'Neill, took their baby home the posted a picture on Facebook of the proud family complete with Sweden's newest royal safely tucked up in her car seat.

Baby makes three - two princesses and a proud daddy on their way home from hospital in New York

The photo is reminiscent of the famous first photo of future queen, Estelle, who was shown to the world for the first time bundled up in her car seat on her way home from hospital in February 2012.

Royal trendsetters - Victoria and Daniel of Sweden started the wave of baby princes and princesses in car seats when they took Estelle home from hospital in February 2012

And the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge also showed Prince George off in his car seat when they left hospital with him in July 2013.  After posing for photographers, Kate got into the car and left the new daddy to make sure the baby carrier was safely locked in place.  William managed it first time - much to his relief.

Have baby, will travel - two future kings get ready for one of the trickiest parts of bringing baby home from hospital, getting the car seat locked in place

As safety regulations increase, it's increasingly likely that we'll see more royal babies for the first time tucked up in their car seats.  And it's always one instance where the pressure is off the royal yummy mummies - fitting that carrier in place is definitely a daddy duty, however regal that daddy might be.

Royal round up, week ending February 22nd 2014

A round up of all the news from Europe's royal houses for the week ending February 22nd 2014...


Princess Madeleine of Sweden gave birth to a daughter on February 20th 2014.  The little princess was born in New York at 22:41 local time and her father, Chris O'Neill, revealed at a press conference the following day that she had weighed 3.15 kilos at birth and was 50 centimetres long.  The official announcement of the birth was made by the Marshal of the Realm and the baby's name will be revealed by King Carl XVI Gustaf at a cabinet meeting.  Princess Madeleine and her daughter, who are both reported to be doing well, were visited by the king and Queen Silvia on February 21st after they flew out to America on hearing the news of the arrival of their second grandchild.

Princess Madeleine of Sweden and her husband, Chris O'Neill, became parents of a daughter on February 20th 2014

The king and queen had begun their week in Russia - they had arrived in Sochi to support the Swedish team at the Winter Olympics 2014 on February 14th 2014 and they watched several of their team's athletes competing during their stay which lasted until February 16th 2014.  They also spent time in the Olympic village and were photographed at the Olympic flame.

King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia of Sweden at the Olympic flame in Sochi during their visit which lasted from February 14th to February 16th 2014

On his return to Sweden the king welcomed the Norwegian Prime Minister, Erna Solberg, to the Royal Palace in Stockholm on February 17th 2014 for her first visit since her election.  

King Carl XVI Gustaf meets the Norwegian Prime Minister, Erna Solberg, at the Royal Palace in Stockholm on February 17th 2014

The Swedish prime minister joined his Norwegian counterpart later that day at the Nordic Post Davos Summit in Stockholm which was also attended by Crown Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel.

Crown Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel at the Post Davos Summit at the Grand Hotel in Stockholm on February 17th 2014

On February 18th 2014, Crown Princess Victoria held a meeting with Wateraid to find out about its latest projects and in particular its work in Africa.  The princess, who met representatives of the charity in Stockholm, has been a patron - along with Prince Daniel - since 2011. The princess also discussed projects in Africa on February 20th 2014 when she met representatives of the Swedish Institute at the Royal Palace in Stockholm.  The institute promotes Sweden around the world and Crown Princess Victoria also heard about this work at her meeting.

Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden meets representatives of the Swedish Institute at the Royal Palace in Stockholm on February 20th 2014

On February 18th 2014, Prince Daniel visited the offices of entrepreneur and start up organisation, SUP46, in Stockholm.  SUP46 works with budding businesses to encourage networking and provide support to those who want to start their own firms.  On February 20th 2014, Prince Daniel visited the offices of gaming company, King, in Stockholm.  The business has a huge presence on mobile platforms and Facebook.

Prince Daniel during his visit to the offices of SUP46, working to encourage entrepreneurs, on February 18th 2014

Also on February 20th 2014, just hours before she became a grandmother for the second time, Queen Silvia held an audience with Anka Wittenberg, the new President of the World Childhood Foundation, Germany at the Royal Palace in Stockholm.  The foundation, which supports over 1,000 projects linked to helping children around the world, was founded by Queen Silvia who is now its honorary chairman. Princess Madeleine works for the Foundation in New York.

Queen Silvia, probably aware that her youngest daughter was in labour, at a meeting with the president of the World Childhood Foundation at the Royal Palace in Stockholm on February 20th 2014

The Netherlands

The royal family of the Netherlands also welcomed a new baby this week when the king's cousin, Prince Jaime of Bourbon-Parma, became a father for the first time.  The prince and his wife, Viktoria, welcomed a daughter on February 21st 2014 in Amsterdam.  Princess Zita Clara of Bourbon-Parma was named after the last Empress of Austria, Zita, who was her great-great aunt and her maternal grandmother, Dorottya Klara Bartos.

Jaime of Bourbon Parma and his wife, Viktoria, seen here on their wedding day in October 2013 became parents for the first time on February 21st 2014

On February 17th 2014, the Dutch royal family posed for photographs at the beginning of their winter holidays in Lech, Austria.  King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima, along with their three daughters, were joined by Princess Beatrix.  Also there were Prince Constantijn, Princess Laurentien and their children and the widow of Prinee Friso, Mabel, with her two daughters.  The pictures were taken exactly two years to the day since the accident in Lech which left Prince Friso in a coma from which he never recovered and which led to his death in August 2013 at the age of 44.  The family posed together in a muted photocall which mixed happiness at being together with deep sadness in memory of the loss of a loved one.

The king and queen of the Netherlands at the centre of a royal family pose in Lech, Austria on February 17th 2014


The royal week began with an official photocall for the whole family to celebrate the engagement of Prince Amadeo and Lili Rosboch on February 16th 2014.  The couple announced their engagement on February 15th 2014. 

The Belgian royal family celebrates the engagement of Prince Amadeo and Lili Rosboch on February 16th 2014

King Philippe and Queen Mathilde completed two official overseas visits this week.  On February 17th 2014, the king and queen arrived in Berlin for their one day visit to Germany.  The royal couple were welcomed by the president of Germany, Joachim Gauck, and his wife and later met the Chancellor, Angela Merkel.  During their one day visit, the king and queen also went to the Brandenberg Gate in Berlin.

King Philippe and Queen Mathilde of the Belgians in Berlin on February 17th 2014

On February 19th 2014, the king and queen travelled to Rome for a one day state visit to Italy.  They were greeted by the Italian president, Giorgio Napolitano, on their arrival at the Palazzo del Quirinale.  Later they visited the Palazzo Giustiniani where they met the President of the Italian Senate, Pietro Grasso, who showed them an original version of the Italian Constitution.

King Philippe and Queen Mathilde are shown an original version of the Italian Constitution during their one day visit to Rome on February 19th 2014

On February 18th 2014, the king and queen were joined by the rest of the royal family at the Church of Our Lady in Laeken for the traditional mass offered in memory of members of the family who have passed away.  The king ended his week with two audiences on February 20th 2014 at the Royal Palace in Brussels.  King Philippe met two deputy prime minister, Servais Verherstraeten and John Crombez, in separate audiences.


After finishing their winter holidays in Switzerland, Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary had high profile engagements in the week.  The Crown Prince went to Sochi to support the Danish team there and visited the Olympic village as well as cheering his country's athletes on in several events.  Prince Frederik also took part in some ski-ing - outside of the competition.

Crown Prince Frederik with some of the Danish team at the Winter Olympics in Sochi

Crown Princess Mary was in Birkeroed in eastern Denmark on February 19th 2014 for the opening of a conference for young people - the Birkeroed High School Model United Nations Conference.  Students from Denmark, the USA, Germany, the Netherlands and Turkey spent several days debating issues including women's rights in a simulation of a UN summit.

Crown Princess Mary of Denmark gives the opening speech at a conference for young people, run along the lines of a real UN summit, in Birkeroed on February 19th 2014


The King and Queen of Norway were joined by the Crown Prince and Princess and their children at an event on February 16th 2014 to mark the beginning of a year of celebrations marking the 200th anniversary of the Norwegian Constitution.  The event took place at Eidsvoll where the constitution was signed and the date marked exactly 200 years since the then governor of Norway, Prince Christian Frederik, called a meeting of leading dignitaries who declared that their country was now independent and paved the way for the formation of the Constitution.

King Harald next to his heir, Crown Prince Haakon Magnus, with the future queen regnant, Ingrid Alexandra in the foreground as the royal family arrived to begin celebrations for the 200th anniversary of the Norwegian constitution in Eidsvoll on February 16th 2014

King Harald and Queen Sonja travelled to Sochi on February 17th 2014 to spend five days supporting their country's athletes at the Winter Olympics.

The king and queen of Norway at the Sochi Winter Olympics - they arrived at the Games on February 17th 2014


The king of Spain held two audiences this week.  On February 17th 2014 he met the president of the Andalucian government, Susana Diaz Pacheco, at the Zarzuela Palace in Madrid.  And on February 18th 2014, again at the Zarzuela, King Juan Carlos met his former sports teacher who looked after his physical education when he was studying in the 1940s.  Fernando Ruiz Garcia was accompanied at the audience by his wife, Milagros Armesto Otones.

King \Juan Carlos of Spain with his former sports teacher, Fernando Ruiz Garcia, at their audience at the Zarzuela Palace in Madrid on February 18th 2014

On the same day, February 18th 2014, Queen Sofia was in Valencia where she inaugurated an exhibition marking the 25th anniversary of the Valencian Institute of Modern Art - known as IVAM - which was founded to trace the progress of art in the 20th century.

Queen Sofia at the IVAM exhibition in Valencia which she inaugurated on February 14th 2014

Prince Felipe began his week by attending the eighth conference on Budgeting, Accounting and Public Control on February 17th 2014 at the Royal Mint in Madrid.  On February 18th 2014, the prince held three audiences at the Pardo Palace in Madrid.  He met a group of colonels and captains in the Spanish Navy following their appointment to take command of different military units.  And the prince then held an audience to mark the 20th anniversary of the founding of the Defense delegations.  Later the same day, Prince Felipe met a group of non-commissioned officers in the Army and Civil Guard who have just been appointed to various military units.

Prince Felipe of Asturias with members of the Defense delegation with whom he held an audience on February 18th 2014 at the Pardo Paalce in Madrid

The following day, February 19th 2014, the Prince and Princess of Asturias paid an unofficial visit to the set of the TV series, Isabel, which is telling the story of Ferdinand of Aragon and Isabel of Castile.  The royal couple are said to be big fans of the show and attended filming of one of the biggest scenes of the whole series - the death of Isabel.  They met the cast and crews and heard about the sale of the show to foreign TV stations.

The Prince and Princess of Asturias on the set of 'Isabel' with Michelle Jenner (Isabel) and Rodolfo Sancho (Ferdinand) during their visit to the set of the TV series on February 19th 2014

On February 20th 2014, the Prince and Princess of Asturias attended the opening of the 33rd Contemporary Art Fair, ARCO, at the Juan Carlos I Park in Madrid.

Prince Felipe and Princess Letizia at the opening of ARCO in Madrid on February 20th 2014

On February 21st 2014, Princess Letizia was in Caldes de Malavella in Girona where she attended the second annual conference on entrepreneurial education which aims to help students learn about business and exploring their business ambitions.

Princess Letizia on her arrival at the entrepreneurship and education conference in Girona which she attended on February 21st 2014

The Infanta Elena opened the 22nd International Student and Educational Opportunities Forum in Madrid on February 19th 2014.  The conference provides a forum for education providers to meet.

The Infanta Elena meets students at the education fair she opened in Madrid on February 19th 2014

United Kingdom

The Queen held a reception at Buckingham Palace for representatives from the arts world on February 17th 2014.  The event was co-hosted by the Duchess of Cambridge and celebrated the Queen's sixty years as patron of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts.  The Queen and the Duchess, along with Prince Michael of Kent, late watched several special theatre performances at the Palace.  Among those attending were Sir Roger Moore, Helena Bonham Carter, Joan Collins, Lenny Henry, Gemma Arterton and Dame Helen Mirren.

The Queen, the Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Michael of Kent at the special arts event held at Buckingham Palace on February 17th 2014

Dame Helen had been presented with a special BAFTA the night before at the annual ceremony in London.  The Duke of Cambridge had awarded her the BAFTA fellowship and in his speech told the stars at the ceremony that he should really call Dame Helen 'granny' after her Oscar winning performance as Elizabeth II in 'The Queen'.  

Prince William presents Dame Helen Mirren with the BAFTA Fellowship on February 16th 2014

The prince made more headlines for his appearance at the awards ceremony when Tinie Tempah high fived him in the opening number of the show.  The rapper later revealed he's met William several times and knew that the high five would be OK.

Prince William high fives Tinie Tempah at the BAFTAS on February 16th 2014

On February 18th 2014, the Queen held audiences at Buckingham Palace for those who have just been appointed as Justices of the High Court.  They were also invested as Dames and Knights.  On February 19th 2014, the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh held an audience at Buckingham Palace for the Governor General Designate of Australia, Peter Cosgrove, and his wife, Lynne.  Earlier in the day, the couple had been received at Clarence House by the Duchess of Cornwall.

The Duke of Edinburgh meeting Lynne Cosgrove, wife of the Governor General Designate of Australia, at the audience the Queen held for him on February 19th 2014 at Buckingham Palace

The Duchess of Cornwall was acting on behalf of the Prince of Wales who had begun a tour of Saudi Arabia, arriving on February 17th 2014.  He was given a guard of honour before holding private meetings with the Saudi Royal Family.  On February 18th 2014, the prince was in Riyadh where he took part in a traditional sword dance, the Ardah, wearing full traditional robes.  The ceremony was held to mark the Janadriyah Festival in Riyadh.

Prince Charles taking part in the Ardah in Riyadh on February 18th 2014 during his tour of Saudi Arabia

On February 19th 2014, Prince Charles visited Diri'yah to see the reconstruction work going on there - it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2010 and two British companies are involved in the restoration work on the site which will open to the public in 2015.  The prince also met several local businesswomen who have been given help by his Centennial Fund to set up their firms.  He later took part in a meeting convened by the King Faisal Foundation to address regional issues.

Prince Charles at the meeting of the Faisal Foundation which he attended on February 19th 2014 during his visit to Saudi Arabia

On February 20th 2014, the prince travelled to Qatar where he visited the Arab Museum of Modern Art before taking part in an interfaith dialogue.  In the afternoon, the prince spent some time at the National Heritage Library before meeting the Amir of Qatar.

The Prince of Wales on the first day of his visit to Qatar - February 20th 2014

On February 21st 2014, the Prince of Wales visited the Doha Religious Complex where he visited the St Isaac and St George Greek Orthodox Church, the Catholic Church of Our Lady of the Rosary and the Anglican Church of the Epiphany.  On the same day, the prince travelled to Abu Dhabi where he met the Crown Prince and Prince Charles then went on to Bahrain where he was met by the Crown Prince of Bahrain before a reception from the King of Bahrain at Bustan Palace.

The Prince of Wales meets worshippers at the Doha Religious Centre on February 21st 2014

The Duchess of Cornwall had two engagements in the week.  On February 18th 2014, she was in Wiltshire where she visited the Pound Art Centre in Pound Pill, Corsham.  And on February 19th 2014, the Duchess spent some time at the Trinity Hospice in South London of which she is patron.

The Duchess of Cornwall with a patient at the Trinity House Hospice in south London which she visited on February 19th 2014

The Princess Royal attended the City Food Lecture at the Guildhall in London on February 17th 2014 in her role as Past Master of the Worshipful Company of Butcher and Court Assistant of the Fishmongers' Company.  On February 18th 2014, Princess Anne held an audience at Buckingham Palace and then went on to open the renovated Special Forces Club in London - she is its patron.  On the same day, the princess attended a seminar on learning for mature students in her role as patron of the National Institute of Adult Continuing Education.  Later that day, the princess was at Lady Margaret Hall at the University of Oxford where she presented the Ockendon International Prize.

The Princess Royal during her visit to Lady Margaret Hall in Oxford on February 18th 2014

The Duke of Kent held an audience at St James' Palace on February 18th 2014 and the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester held several audiences at Kensington Palace on the same day.  Earlier in the week, Prince Harry had taken part in a charity day, the Endeavour Fund track day at Goodwood, to raise money for injured service personnel.  The Endeavour Fund was set up by the Royal Foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry.  As part of the event, on February 15th 2014, Prince Harry tried his hand at racing cars at Goodwood as well as sitting in the cockpit of a Spitfire.

Prince Harry races a car at a charity day at Goodwood in West Sussex on February 15th 2014


Prince Albert II of Monaco was in Sochi this week as the Winter Olympics continued.  The prince was seen at several events during the competition.  On February 16th 2014, he held a meeting with the President of the International Olympic Committe, Thomas Bach.

Prince Albert of Monaco with the IOC President, Thomas Bach, during their meeting in Sochi on February 16th 2014

The prince was back in Monaco on February 19th 2014 when he held an audience with the President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev.  On February 21st 2014, the prince took part in the last part of a conference about diplomacy in Monaco at the Fairmount Hotel in Monte Carlo.

Prince Albert attends a conference in Monte Carlo on February 21st 2014