Thursday, 30 October 2014

Queen of the Palace

There might be two queens in Spain right now but one took the limelight on Wednesday night. For the first time in the ten and a half years since she married the man who is now King Felipe VI, Letizia ruled at the Zarzuela on gala night. The first State Dinner of the reign of her husband was hosted by both of them for the President of Chile. But there was one outright start.  Queen Letizia.

Letizia of Spain greets Michelle Bachelet of Chile while her husband, King Felipe, looks on

For the first time, the newest consort in Europe was the leading lady at this major royal event and she was picture perfect on the night. In on trend black lace (what else would you expect from Letizia but on trend) and wearing one of the most magnificent tiaras in the royal collection (the Floral but set off with an unusual updo -again, very Letizia) she glittered on what was a glamourous gala night at the Zarzuela Palace in Madrid.

The King and Queen of Spain with the President of Chile

And just as we've come to expect from Felipe and Letizia, the format of this most official of occasions was changed as well. There was the usual reception for the guests and then the king and queen posed happily for photos with Michelle Bachelet who is on a two day State Visit to Spain - the first time a head of state has been given this honour since the ascension of Felipe VI.  But before the traditional meal, everyone was treated to a mini concert as they stood in one of the grand rooms of the Palace to hear the soprano, Auxiliadora Toledano Redondo, and pianist, Alexis Munoz Ortega, give a short recital.

The mini concert that formed part of the State Dinner at the Zarzuela on October 29th 2014

During the meal there was a speech from King Felipe who talked about the close ties between Spain and Chile and the investment both countries make in each other. Then it was time for the toasts before day one of the State Visit came to an end.  The first full day may have been about the king hosting his first major overseas visitor and the Chilean President holding talks with Spanish dignitaries.  But the evening was all about Letizia.

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Camilla in Colmbia

Her husband has been here before but for Camilla this is a new experience.  The Duchess of Cornwall has just begun an official visit to Colombia.  The Prince of Wales and his wife arrived in Bogota at the start of a four day visit which will form part of a longer tour of Colombia and Mexico.  The royal couple are visiting the South American countries to strengthen ties between them and the United Kingdom.

Camilla in Colombia - the duchess and her husband, Prince Charles, arrive in Bogota

The prince and the duchess were welcomed at the airport by the British ambassador to Colombia, Lindsay Croisdale-Appleby, and his wife, Barbara.  There will be an official reception for the royals, hosted by Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, today.

During their stay in Colombia, Prince Charles and Camilla will visit Cartagena and the Macarena National Park.  But before that there are all the hallmarks of an official visit by royalty with a gala banquet for the couple on the agenda.  Earlier this year, Prince Harry visited Brazil and Chile and this tour by his father ensures that British royalty has made its mark in South America in 2014.

Another first for Felipe

In the four months since he took the throne of Spain, King Felipe has packed in plenty of firsts. And today there is another to add to the list as he takes charge of the first State Visit of his reign.  The king has welcomed Michelle Bachelet, President of Chile, to Madrid on an official trip.

Felipe VI and Letizia welcome the President of Chile to Madrid on October 29th 2014

The visit by the Chilean president marks the first state visit of Felipe's reign.  Michelle Bachelet arrived early in the morning and was given an official welcome by the king and queen at the Pardo Palace in the Spanish capital. 

Part of the official welcome ceremony at the start of the state visit to Spain by Michelle Bachelet

Later on, President Bachelet held an audience with King Felipe at the Zarzuela Palace before enjoying a lunch hosted in her honour by the monarch and his wife.  In the evening they will host a gala dinner for their guest.

The King of Spain and the President of Chile at the Zarzuela Palace on October 29th 2014

The visit continues on October 30th with a reception at the Pardo Palace hosted by the Chilean president for her hosts.  And with that yet another first for Felipe VI of Spain will be completed. As the debuts begin to dwindle, he will get on with the day to day business of being a monarch. But for one day more he can revel in another first as he enjoys being the newest king on the continent.

Monday, 27 October 2014

The sweet taste of success for Letizia

She's been seen making a big entrance to a hotel famous around the world for its chocolate cake and there's no doubt that a flying visit to Austria is proving a huge success for Queen Letizia.  The Spanish consort is in Vienna to open an exhibition on Velazquez on what is her first overseas solo trip since her husband took the throne in June this year.

Queen Letizia of Spain meets the President of Austria, Heinz Fischer, and his wife, Margit, at the start of her visit to Vienna

And food has never been far from the agenda.  Almost as soon as she arrived in Vienna, Letizia was off to the Presidential Palace where she met the President of Austria, Heinz Fischer, and his wife Margit.  And after a brief photo call the three disappeared off for a private lunch.

A brief smile before lunch for a happy trio

After her meeting with the president, the queen headed to the world famous Hotel Sacher where she was greeted by a crowd all eager to take her photo.  The legendary Sachertorte is served at the hotel - a chocolate cake with ground almonds, its recipe is a closely guarded secret.  And after a brief rest at the hotel, the queen was back in action in the evening as she made her way to the Kunsthistorisches Museum where the major retrospective on Velazquez is being held.

Queen Letizia arrives to open the new Velazquez exhibition in Vienna

Letizia was sometimes criticised while still Princess of Asturias for not having her own agenda and for not taking on a fuller oversea agenda - she had just a handful of solo engagements in foreign countries during that decade.  But since becoming king and queen, Felipe and Letizia have taken on a bumper overseas agenda with trips to the Vatican, Morocco, Portugal and the Netherlands among many. But this first step into solo territory marks another milestone for her. And judging by the packed hallways at the museum and the cheering crowds at the Sacher, this visit will leave the sweet taste of success.

The day the Tudors started

The Tudor dynasty took the throne of England in 1485 but their beginnings were in France on this date in 1401.  For on that October day, a princess was born to the King and Queen of France and her destiny was to marry a famous king and then begin an even more celebrated line with her second husband, one of her servants.  Katherine of Valois, Queen of England, was born on October 27th 1401.

Katherine of Valois was queen consort of England between 1420 and 1422

Katherine, Princess of France was the daughter of King Charles VI and the wife of Henry V. Her son, Henry VI, succeeded to both the English and French thrones, But had that been the end of Katherine's contribution to history, she wouldn't be nearly so interesting.  Her father was more commonly called Charles the Mad because of his steadily increasing mental health problems. Today, King Charles would receive help for his health issues which led him to believe that he was made of glass.  In 15th century Europe, he was just looked at with incredulity while his family and advisers went to war over his kingdom.

Charles VI, King of France, was known first as the Beloved and then as the Mad

Katherine was one of six princesses born to the king and his ambitious wife, Isabeau of Bavaria. Those who survived to adulthood were expected to do what all royal girls did and marry for politics to help shore up their dynasty's power.  Catherine's eldest sister, Isabella, had been Queen of England briefly when she wed Richard II a few years before his deposition - the bride was six at the time. She later married the Duke of Orleans while another sister, Joan, married the Duke of Brittany and a third, Michelle, wed the Duke of Burgundy. Catherine was the youngest of the girls and by the time she was ready for marriage, her father and his court were desperate for peace in the war being fought against the new King of England, Henry V.  The Treaty of Troyes did end the fighting and it also made Katherine a queen - part of the deal was her marriage to Henry V and his recognition as heir to the throne of France.

The wedding that turned a princess into a queen and a king into the heir to his rival's crown - Katherine of Valois marries Henry V in 1420

At that point, a long career as consort to a man already carving himself a reputation as a medieval powerhouse and great king in the making seemed to be in store for Katherine.  She gave birth to a son, Henry in December 1421 - everything was going according to plan.  Her baby guaranteed the future of two kingdoms and the glory of the Lancastrian dynasty.  Less than a year later, her husband and father were dead and her nine month old son was King of England and France.  Just like his grandfather, baby Henry found himself surrounded by relatives and advisers who were bent on winning power no matter what.  Katherine was pushed to the sidelines, destined to become a royal footnote as a long widowhood beckoned, and England and France went to war once more.

Henry V's premature death in 1422 made his baby son king

But Katherine was far from quiet as events unfolded around her.  She first began a flirtation with Edmund Beaufort which so worried those around her that a law was passed requiring a queen dowager to obtain the permission of the king himself before she could marry.  That didn't deter Katherine.  In her stubborness, her secrecy and her striving for a life of her own she began the dynasty that would take England as its own.  For soon after that law was passed, Katherine the Queen met Owen Tudor, who worked in her household and by 1431 they had a son.  Through this boy, Edmund, they became the matriarch and patriarch of the Tudors.

Henry VII, son of Edmund Tudor, became King of England in 1485

Katherine's life after the death of her first husband was controversial and sometimes put her at risk. So it's no surprise that this tenacious and ambitious woman should give rise to a dynasty that took risk taking to new heights.  Katherine died in 1437 when her Tudor sons were all still small but within fifty years her grandson sat on the throne as another King Henry. The bright Tudor rose would dominate England for over a century - it still looms large in history today. And it all began on October 27th 1401 in Paris where a baby princess called Katherine made her debut and began a story that would change two countries forever.

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Royal blue

It's a colour associated with royalty.  In fact the link is so close, there's a shade that takes the name of royal.  And this week, queens and princess across Europe have been showing their affection for blue at every opportunity.  Crown Princess Victoria chose midnight blue at the start of the week when she formally greeted the President of Pakistan as he visited Sweden.

The Duchess of Cambridge picked palest baby blue for her appearance at the Wildlife Photographer of the Year awards - her third engagement in three days.  But as Kate is around twelve weeks into her second pregnancy it's probably too soon to know the sex of her next baby so this brand new evening dress isn't a clue to the newest member of the Royal Family.

Queen Margrethe of Denmark chose powder blue for the first outfit on her State Visit to Croatia before changing into midnight blue for the State Dinner held in her honour that evening.

The Queen was in darkest blue when she greeted the President of Singapore as he and his wife began their State Visit to the UK.

And it was turquoise blue for her now legendary appearance at the Science Musuem where she made royal history by sending her first tweet.

The week ended with Queen Letizia choosing dark blue and black for her gala outfit at the Prince of Asturias Awards in Oviedo.

Saturday, 25 October 2014

Royals on social media, week ending October 25th 2014

The Queen tweeted.  There was other social media presence this week but let's face it when Elizabeth II takes over Twitter everything else takes a back seat.

Watching history unfold - the Queen moments after sending her first tweet
(photo Science Museum Twitter)

Here's a round up of what the Royal Courts of Europe posted on their official social media accounts this week.

Major moments

The Queen tweeting was an historic moment in royal history as, for the first time, a social media message was sent with the signature Elizabeth R.  The tweet came from the British Monarchy's official account and so far has been retweeted 34,000 times and been favourited 35,000 times.

The Spanish Royal Household announced in the week that the Prince of Asturias Prizes, begun in 1980, would soon be changing their names. As of 2015 they will be known as the Princess of Asturias Prizes in honour of the new heiress to the throne, Leonor. Her parents presented the annual awards in Oviedo this week and Casa Real TV, the official You Tube channel, shared several videos of the event including one of the arrival of King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia.

Prince Daniel of Sweden helped mark Sweden's Transplant Day which celebrated fifty years since the first kidney transplant in the country. The prince underwent a kidney transplant in 2009 when he received a new organ from his father.  And the official Facebook page shared images of Daniel with his dad and mum at the event.

The written word

The King of the Belgians received the letters of credence from several new ambassadors in the week and images of these important events were shared on the official Belgian Monarchy Twitter account.

There was a social media save the date for a big royal wedding in the week as the Swedish Royal Household posted information about the wedding of Prince Carl Philip on its official Facebook page. The marriage takes place in Stockholm on June 13th 2015.

There was another major royal announcement shared on Twitter in the week when Clarence House issued a statement confirming that the second baby of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge is due in April.

Overseas visit

The Crown Prince and Princess of Norway made a visit to Jordan in the week to see the work going on to help Syrian refugees in the country.  The Royal Household's official You Tube channel shared a video of them during their time in the country. 

Princess Astrid of Belgium visited Colombia in the week and the official Twitter feed retweeted images shared by the Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the trip.

Behind the scenes

Ahead of his speech at the Prince of Asturias Awards, King Felipe VI was shown putting the finishing touches to his words in an image shared on the official Twitter account.

The State Visit by the President of Singapore to the United Kingdom in the week got plenty of coverage and amidst the photos of the Queen, her guests and the Duchess of Cambridge (who made her first public appearance since the announcement of her second pregnancy) the British Monarchy Instagram account shared lots of images of the food being served up to guests at the State Banquet.

Friday, 24 October 2014

The Queen Tweets

For some reason, it's a big deal.  One hundred and thirteen characters and not a hashtag in sight.  Still, it's one of the most talked about messages of the year.  The Queen has tweeted.

The Queen Tweets
The Science Museum, London. 2014

For an 88 year old who was born before television was invented, Elizabeth II certainly knows how to steal a march on her technological rivals. She sent one of the first emails back in 1976 and in the summer she all but broke Twitter by photobombing a selfie being taken by two athletes at the Commonwealth Games.  Today she sent her first tweet, via the British Monarchy Twitter account, and in the first three hours it was re-tweeted 14,000 times and favourited 12,000 times.  That's pulling power.

The Queen was opening the Information Age gallery at the Science Museum in London - it is the first permanent exhibition in the UK about the history of information and communications technology.  The historic tweet was sent in front of hundreds of people at the museum for the opening and followed up by photos with the hashtag #TheQueenTweets.

The Queen also spent time at the exhibition hearing about more old fashioned methods of communication - everything from the telephone to email is covered in the gallery. But October 25th 2014 will be remembered for one thing in royal circles.  It was the day the Queen tweeted.  It really does matter.

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Kate completes the trio

The Duchess of Cambridge has made her third public appearance in three days as she joined the Action on Addiction gala dinner in London on Thursday night. Wearing a new black Temperley London dress and with a very definite little baby bump on show, Kate looked well and back in the swing of royal things after weeks of treatment for hyperemesis gravidarum. The duchess is back on duty.

The Duchess of Cambridge arrives at a gala event for one of her charities, Action Aid, in London on October 23rd 2014
(photo Clarence House Twitter)

The charity event took place at L'Anima restaurant in London and guests could read words of support from the duchess in the programme for the evening in which Kate said 'she couldn't be more proud' to be patron of Action on Addiction.  The organisation works to help people overcome addiction and Kate became involved with their work soon after her marriage. And by attending such a high profile event at such a high profile time in her life - confirmation of her second pregnancy came just weeks ago - she is ensuring that this cause so close to her heart gets an even higher profile of its own.

Photo gallery

Prince to Princess

The Prince of Asturias Awards were set up in 1980 to recognise achievement in a wide range of areas and for thirty four years they have carried that name.  But from next year, it's all change. Spain has a new heir to the throne and from 2015 the prizes will be named after her. Next year the Princess of Asturias Awards will take over Oviedo.

Leonor, Princess of Asturias will give her name to some major awards in Spain as of 2015

The title Prince of Asturias has been given to the heir to the Spanish throne for centuries - the first creation was in 1388 for the first in line to the throne of Castile, Henry, and his English wife, Catherine of Lancaster.  Leonor isn't the first Princess in her own right.  Isabella, sister of Alfonso XII, was proclaimed heiress and Princess of Asturias in 1875.  When her brother became father of a daughter, Maria de las Mercedes, in 1881 she became heiress and a few months afterwards was given the title of Princess of Asturias.  She remained first in line to the throne all her life - her younger brother was born Alfonso XIII and she died before he had a family of his own to fill up the line of succession.

Maria de las Mercedes, Princess of Asturias

Isabella and Maria came close to being queen but lived in an age where a male heir was all.  As such, despite their popularity, they were always overshadowed in their own royal families. But Leonor lives in a different age where Europe is filled with females waiting to inherit thrones.  So changing the names of these major awards is simply another step to recognising that in the 21st century, it's all about princesses.

Lucky thirteen for Carl Philip and Sofia

Prince Carl Philip of Sweden and his wife to be obviously aren't superstitious.  For the young couple have chosen to celebrate their wedding on the thirteenth.  The date has been set for the royal marriage of 2015 (so far) and the celebrations will get underway on Saturday June 13th in Stockholm.

Prince Carl Philip and Sofia Hellqvist will marry in June 2015

The couple say, in a statement, that they are looking forward to a summer wedding when Sweden is 'very beautiful'.  They will say 'I do' in the Royal Chapel of the Royal Palace in Stockholm where his younger sister, Madeleine, married Chris O'Neill in June 2013. And he will also share the same wedding planner as Madeleine and big sister, Victoria, with the Royal Household announcing that Hakan Pettersson taking that role - he is head of King Carl XVI Gustaf's staff.

Princess Madeleine marries Chris O'Neill - her brother will wed in the same chapel in 2015

No further details have been released but the official statement starts the countdown to one of the royal events of 2015.  And no one is likely to forget the date of this one - lucky thirteen.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

A State Banquet for Singapore

State Visits happen twice a year in the United Kingdom and both of the tours this year have been firsts. Michael D Higgins became the first President of the Republic of Ireland to make a State Visit to the UK when he spent three days in London and Windsor in April 2014. And now the President of Singapore has become the first head of state from his country to make a State visit to the country.   But whether it is a first visit from that country or the next in a long line, all State events include a State Banquet and this week's tour is no exception.  The Queen entertained the presidential couple and guests with links to Singapore and the UK to a gala dinner at Buckingham Palace on day one of the tour.

The Queen toasts the President of Singapore during a banquet during the first full day of the State Visit 

The State Visit began with an official welcome at Horse Guards Parade.  It was made more high profile profile by the appearance of the Duchess of Cambridge for the first time since her second pregnancy was announced.  But while Kate may have started the event off, once she and William had introduced the guests of honour to the Queen they slipped into the background.

A photo posted by The British Monarchy (@the_british_monarchy) on

The Queen hosted a private lunch at Buckingham Palace and gave the president and his wife a tour of some of the Singaporean items in the Royal Collection.  

But the jewel in the crown of this day of engagements was a State Banquet at the Palace.

The official photo of the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh, President and Mrs Tan taken before the State Banquet at Buckingham Palace

The Queen hosted 170 guests at Buckingham Palace for the State Dinner which started with Dover Sole before chefs served up Windsor Castle pheasant and an ice cream bombe.

The meal was held in the ballroom. As well as the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh, the royal guests included the Earl and Countess of Wessex, the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, the Duke and Duchess of Kent, Princess Alexandra and Princess Michael of Kent.

The royal guests joined 170 others at a State Banquet

There were speeches from the Queen and President Tan as well as toasts and warm words.  The State Visit will continue for another three days but this gala dinner is the highlight that everyone will remember.

Oscar de la Renta, by royal appointment

His career spanned decades and even towards the end of his life he was designing world famous gowns. But while his last celebrated creation was for the wife of Hollywood royalty, Oscar de la Renta dressed many of the ladies of Europe's royal houses for years. From Diana, Princess of Wales to Victoria, Crown Princess of Sweden the designer was responsible for some truly iconic outfits.

Diana, Princess of Wales with Ocar de la Renta

He was also a friend of Queen Sofia of Spain and chair of the Spanish Queen Sofia Institute.  Oscar de la Renta was born in the Dominican Republic and came to Spain at the age of eighteen to pursue his dream of becoming a fashion designer.  By the 1980s he was one of the biggest names in the industry - a position he held on to for the rest of his life.

Oscar de la Renta with Queen Sofia of Spain, Hillary Clinton and Antonio Banderas

Apart from his friendship with Queen Sofia, his most famous royal relationship was with the late Diana, Princess of Wales who wore his creations on a number of occasions.  In the last ten years, he has become a favourite designer for many of Europe's younger royals.  In the last few months, Crown Princess Mary of Denmark and Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden have been seen in some his creations.

Crown Princess Mary of Denmark in an Oscar de la Renta coat during a visit to the Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen at the end of August
(photo Tivoli Gardens)

Queen Letizia and the Infanta Elena of Spain have also chosen his outfits for engagements and Queen Maxima was seen earlier this year in a de la Renta jacket.

Queen Maxima in March 2014

Oscar de la Renta's legacy is huge.  His fabulous evening dresses turned Hollywood royalty into princesses for the night when they walked the red carpet at major awards or premieres.  And the clothes he made for princesses and queens got just as much attention and will be one of the ways he is remembered for many years to come.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Kate returns

The Duchess of Cambridge made her first public appearance today since confirmation of her second pregnancy with two engagements.  From officially welcoming a head of state on behalf of the Queen to talking photography with young enthusiasts, after a two month absence Kate was back. And there may even have been the hint of a baby bump too.

The Duchess of Cambridge at the Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year awards
(photo Clarence House Twitter)

Kate's day started at the Royal Garden Hotel in central London where she and the Duke of Cambridge officially greeted the President of Singapore, Tony Tan, and his wife, Mary.  They accompanied them to Horse Guards Parade where they were met by the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh.

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh greet the President of Singapore and his wife at the start of their State Visit
(photo British Monarchy Twitter)

After a welcome ceremony, also attended by David Cameron, the royals and their guests took part in a carriage procession to Buckingham Palace where the Queen hosted a private lunch and then gave the President and his wife a tour of some of the Singaporean items in the Royal Collection.  And the duchess was clearly enjoying herself, telling Mary Tan that she was glad to be out of the house again.

Kate chose a grey check Alexander McQueen coat with grey Jane Taylor hat and black shoes for her first pregnancy outfit second time round. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visited Singapore in the autumn of 2012 and joked with President Tan and his wife that the weather had been better last time they met.

Kate was back on duty later in the day when she was at the Natural History Museum in London for the Wildlife Photographer of the Year awards - she is the museum's patron.  And she looked stunning, and very happy, as she walked in wearing a Jenny Packham evening dress that - from some angles - showed the tiniest hint of a baby bump.

The duchess is still suffering from Hyperemsis Gravidarum but is recovering. And she looked healthy and well as she resumed her royal duties. The duchess is around twelve weeks pregnant and her second child is expected at the end of April 2015.  That recent confirmation of her due date attracted plenty of headlines as has Kate's return to work.  But by resuming her agenda, the duchess has added a touch of normality to her extraordinary life once more.

Monday, 20 October 2014

An April baby for Kate

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have announced that their second child is due in April.  The duchess' pregnancy was already public knowledge after she was forced to retire from public engagements at the start of September as she was affected by Hyperemsis Gravidarum.  The official release from Kensington Palace today confirms what many people's maternity maths had already worked out - the next member of the House of Cambridge will be a spring baby.

Soon to be four - the Cambridge family will welcome its newest member in April 2015

The announcement also lays rest to twin rumours as it states quite clearly that the couple are expecting 'a baby'.  And it also confirms that while she is feeling better, the duchess continues to experience severe morning sickness.  However, she is now well enough to take on duties and will make her first public appearance since her pregnancy was revealed when she and the Duke of Cambridge welcome the President of Singapore and his wife at the start of their State Visit on October 21st 2014.  

Kate's last public appearance was on August 5th when she visited the Tower of London
(photo Historic Royal Palaces)

And after a brief lull, it seems that royal baby mania part two will start all over again with the increase in public appearances by Kate.  The future queen will live her second pregnancy, as she did her first, in the public eye and all eyes will be on her when she welcomes her April baby.

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Picking a princess

It's time to bring back the polls which used to feature on Queens of England - after all, there are plenty of royal stories that invite opinion right now. And the first subject up for debate is royal baby name games. With confirmation that Princess Charlene of Monaco is expecting twins, the poll this week asks which name is most likely for a little girl (or two) at the Prince's Palace.

Twins means two chances for a new princess for Monaco

There are four choices to start with - Grace (in honour of Albert's mother), Antoinette (the name of Prince Rainer's sister), Charlotte (Albert's paternal grandmother) and Marie.  The poll shuts on Thursday afternoon with the results posted soon afterwards.  To vote, just click on the graph on the right hand side of the page.

Kate's great expectations

It's been over two months since she was last seen in public but hopes are high that the Duchess of Cambridge will be well enough to take up engagements again and be part of the welcome for the President of Singapore when he arrives for a State Visit on October 21st.  At the moment, it's expected that Kate will be present as the trip gets under way this Tuesday. And while she may not have been seen for almost ten weeks, the duchess has kept everyone talking in her absence.

Kate could be back on duty in just a few days' time
(photo Clarence House Instagram)

Kate was last seen out and about on August 5th when she visited the poppies installation at the Tower of London with William and Harry.  Just weeks later, on September 8th, it was announced that the duchess was expecting her second child and suffering from hyperemesis gravidarum - just as she did with George.  Since then several high profile appearances have had to be cancelled including her first overseas solo tour to Malta - her husband took her place on that one.

Prince William during his trip to Malta where he stood in for his wife

In the meantime, there has been plenty of Kate chatter to keep everyone busy.  Newsweek did a survey in which they found out just 1% of people asked wanted to be the duchess.  And there has been endless speculation around the world that Kate is pregnant with a baby girl or even twins.  It's also been reported that the duchess, who was admitted to hospital because of her severe morning sickness with Prince George, has gone home to her mum to recover this time round.

Kate's pregnancy has already been the source of endless speculation and she's only just approaching the twelve week mark

So if the duchess does appear on Tuesday there's little doubt that there will be even more talk, attention and interest in what she's doing.  It's not just a case of getting back to work for Kate, it's all about the great expectations that accompany everything the duchess does.

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Bullying and the bride

In his first major TV interview, Prince Carl Philip of Sweden didn't hold back.  Speaking to Hellenius corner on TV4 he told viewers that he felt that parts of the media had treated his future wife, Sofia Hellqvist, very badly and that some of it bordered on bullying.  The handsome prince, who usually keeps his own counsel, wasn't afraid to let everyone know exactly what he thought.

In defence of his wife to be - Prince Carl Philip opened up about how hurtful he found some of the comments made about his fiancee during a TV interview shown in Sweden this week

Speaking in a surprise interview, the prince said that reports other members of the Swedish Royal Family hadn't welcomed Sofia were wrong.  He said that his parents and sisters were interested in his fiancee and had greeted her arrival in his life with happiness.  And then he added the most cutting comment of all - that the way some parts of the media had treated Sofia came close to bullying. Since their engagement was announced in June this year, Sofia has made several appearances at Carl Philip's side - most notably when she accompanied the Royal Family to the opening of Parliament in September.

Standing up for Sofia - Carl Philip of Sweden has spoken of his anger about some of the things written and said about his soon to be wife

But when it came to talk of weddings, the prince kept himself to talk about love even when pressed several times over the actual date he will say 'I do'.  It's been announced that the couple will marry in Sweden in 2015 but Carl Philip wasn't willing to give any more details about when or where the wedding will take place.  

Prince Carl Philip during his TV interview

The prince also opened up about the impact that dyslexia has had on his life and why he thinks it is so important to send a positive message that it doesn't have to hold anyone back.  He talked about feeling 'hung out' when he was mocked after getting confused during an appearance at an awards show - the muddle started because of his dyslexia.  And he talked about how determined he was to appear at another big awards show as soon as possible to show that he could cope with anything.  But it was his comments about his fiancee that drew most attention.  Sofia will soon be a princess of Sweden and she knows before that even happens that she has a handsome prince ready to go into battle on her behalf anytime she needs him.