Sunday, 31 May 2015

Five royal reasons to remember May 2015

It's been a right royal month. From the very start, the days of May have been packed with royal news, events and unforgettable photographs. As the fifth month of 2015 retires into history, here are five reasons to remember this most royal time.

1.  Charlotte Elizabeth Diana of Cambridge

It's hard to believe now but as May got under way Princess Charlotte of Cambridge hadn't even been born. On May 1st all the talk was of how overdue her mum, Kate, was, whether the second royal baby would be a boy or a girl and how much money the bookies would lose if a baby called Alice was born. And then George's little sister arrived, in super fast time, and less than ten hours after the Duke and Duchess ducked in a side door at St Mary's Hospital in Paddington they left again - more publicly - with their baby daughter in their arms. Her name caused widespread aahing when it was announced as it honoured her grandfather, her great grandmother and, of course, the maternal grandmother she will never know. May 2015 belongs to Charlotte Elizabeth Diana of Cambridge.

2.  The baptism of the last passed over princess?

Another little princess also made the headlines as May 2015 took hold. Princess Gabriella Therese Marie of Monaco was baptised alongside her twin brother, Hereditary Prince Jacques Honore Rainier, in a gorgeous ceremony at their country's cathedral. But little Gabriella made history - she is quite possibly the last royal baby girl born in Europe who will lose the right to reign to a little brother.

Royal rules in Monaco currently give boys precedence so even though he was born two minutes after his sister, Jacques will take the top job one day. But the world is changing fast, even for ancient monarchies, and those rules are now isolated and could well alter. It didn't matter a jot to the little royal twins or their parents who were clearly, openly and obviously besotted with their son and daughter. The royal christening, beneath the blazing May sun of Monaco, saw mum and children in Dior, thousands turn out to wish them well and a very happy royal family greet the crowds on a perfect christening day.

3.  A handshake that made headlines

The Prince of Wales's visit to the Republic of Ireland was always going to make headlines but the meeting that he had with the Sinn Fein President, Gerry Adams, in Galway was beamed around the world. The handshake shared by the two men was followed by fifteen minutes of talks but it was the photo of their first meeting that ended up on the front pages of newspapers around the world. Historic is an overused word but this was a moment of history and a very special one at that. It is an image that will live on for decades to come.

4.  Welcome to the family

The passed over prince, Carl Philip of Sweden, will make June 2015 all his own as he and his bride, Sofia Hellqvist say 'I do' on the 13th of the month with many of Europe's royals in the chapel for the big day. But the happy couple started a wave of wedding fever in May too as their banns were read, they accepted gifts and then posed for a big family photo with both sets of relations smiling for the camera. The groom, who was born to be king then lost the right in a law change that gave the promise of the throne to his big sister, looked proud and protective of his bride who also got confirmation this month that she will be known from the moment of her marriage as Her Royal Highness Princess Sofia, Duchess of Varmland. 

5.  Harry on the up down under

There's something about Harry but then we knew that already. In days gone by princes might have mourned being bumped a place down the line of succession but while his new niece, Charlotte, settled into the number four spot that had been his, uncle Harry was on the up down under. May was a huge month for Harry as he ended his secondment to the Australian Defence Force before charming most of Sydney on a walkabout as the attachment finished. Then he headed to New Zealand for a week long tour that was so successful the superlatives were quickly exhausted and everyone just kept sighing with happiness everytime he gave out cupcakes/ cuddled puppies/ dodged another marriage proposal. And then, just when it was almost physically impossible for him to do anything more impressive, he hopped off the plane and went straight to Chelsea to cheer for a garden supporting his charity, Sentebale. Harry is a one man walking, talking royal charm offensive and May was perhaps his best month yet. Roll on June.

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