Sunday, 31 December 2017

Happy New Year!

As we head into 2018, all the very best wishes for happiness, health and peace in the year to come. Thanks for reading, for commenting, for sharing, it means a huge amount to me. I hope the next twelve months bring you all your dreams and so much joy. Happy New Year!!!

The Royal 2017: Harry and Meghan's engagement

It was the most eagerly awaited royal news of the year and they kept us waiting until almost the very end. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle announced their engagement as the Royal 2017 came to an end and got us all very excited for the Royal 2018. Here's a look back at how Harry and Meghan began a whole new wave of royal wedding fever....

The Royal 2017: the Windsor Wrap

It's been a while since we had a video but what better time to bring them back than at the end of the old year? As 2017 ticks into history, here's a look back at the headlines for the House of Windsor over the past 12 months (there's music, too, just make sure you're not on mute). One year in one minute....

Saturday, 30 December 2017

The Royal 2017: the Royal Platinum Wedding

Elizabeth II is getting so good at breaking records that this year she added not one but two new milestones to her already impressive collection. We've already had a look at the Sapphire Queen so now it's the turn of the Platinum Bride. The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh celebrated 70 years of marriage in November 2017. Here's how this latest chapter in their historic story unfolded...

Friday, 29 December 2017

The Royal 2017: State Visit Sparkle

You can't beat a bit of sparkle and ceremony and in a royal context, State Visits always provide. This year has seen the regular comings and goings that accompany every twelve months but a few stood out for their extra shimmer and glamour. As the Royal 2017 winds to an end, here are some of the sparkliest highlights of this year's State Visits....

Thursday, 28 December 2017

The Royal 2017: those who passed away

The royal year has seen several sad passings. As the old year comes to an end, let's take a moment to those whose have gone. Here are those who left the stage in 2017...

Wednesday, 27 December 2017

The Royal 2017: a year of big birthdays

The old year is winding to an end, leaving its memories in its wake. And amongst them are a string of big royal birthdays that were celebrated in 2017. A half century, one big 4-0 and several sisters with serious celebrations make this line up. As the year comes to an end, here's  a look back at who passed major milestones in the Royal 2017....

5 things we learned from Prince Harry's Today stint

Prince Harry has had a great year and he finished in style. The prince was guest editor of BBC Radio 4's Today programme on December 27th 2017 and provided presenters Justin Webb and Sarah Montague with a running order filled with topics close to his heart. The programme has handed over the agenda to big names for the past fourteen years but getting the fifth in line to the throne to guest edit is a bit of a win all round. We got some great radio, Harry produced some big stories and we still got to talk about Meghan and the wedding. Even if the big ''aah' factor was saved for his dad at the end. Here are five things we learned from the day that Prince Harry edited the Today programme.

Tuesday, 26 December 2017

5 sparkly royal moments from 2017

The presents are given, the turkey's been eaten, the tree is looking a little tired. Sometimes, the day after Christmas can leave us all feeling slightly less sparkly than we'd like. So to up the glitter factor, here's a look back at five of the most twinkling royal moments of 2017. It's got history, it's got romance, it's got a wall of diamonds so big you might have nightmares. Welcome to 5 sparkly moments from the Royal 2017....

The Royal Christmas 2017: royal telly wins all round

A matriarch with a family all about as different as can be but home together for Christmas. It's guaranteed to pull in the punters at Christmas and it did just that. Yep, the Christmas Day ratings were a battle to the last between the Queen and Mrs Brown's Boys. And in the end, the cardie and the car wash Christmas tree had to drop a small curtsey and make way for a right royal line up in our most watched shows on Christmas Day.

Monday, 25 December 2017

The Royal 2017: the Queen's Speech

We already knew that Christmas Day TV this year would involve a spot time travelling by a woman making TV history but the Queen surprised us all by stealing a march on Doctor Who and getting in there first. Elizabeth II's Christmas Day message this year saw us go back to the Fifties with the Royal Family and then come right back up to date again. As all good messages at this time of year should, it also looked to the future. But at the heart of it all was one word - home.

Kate and Meghan: Christmas stars

Christmas is sparkling at Sandringham this year with huge crowds turning out to see the Royal Family. Well, let's face it, to see a soon to be member of the Royal Family. Meghan Markle has spent her first festive season with Harry's rellies and it all looks to be going marvellously well. Ms Markle came dressed as a (very stylish) duchess and we all got the photo we wanted as she and Kate strode to church together. Here's how Mrs Cambridge and Mrs (in May) Sussex gave the royal Christmas some sparkle.

Sunday, 24 December 2017

The Royal Christmas 2017

Christmas Eve. That most wonderful, magical, happiest of days when all the excitement of the celebration to come bubbles into life. It's a day for anticipation and preparations and joy. As it weaves its wonder, here's a round up of how the royals of Europe have wished us Merry Christmas. There's lots to love and some head scratchers but all with the same message of peace and hope and joy. And I wish everyone reading my blog the same. Have a very, very Happy Christmas.

Saturday, 23 December 2017

#2017bestnine: your favourite royal pics of the year....

Here's your royal year in an Insta. That social media favourite is becoming a go to for the royal houses of Europe as they share their news and now it's time to find out what's been winning them hearts. We all love a bit of #2017bestnine and after you've checked out your own top nine posts, why not have a look at what's got us clicking on the royal accounts. This is the top nine pictures for each royal Instagram and it kind of sums up the year rather well. So settle back and get ready for a trip down memory lane as we find out what have been your favourite royal pictures of the year....

Friday, 22 December 2017

Twenty million reasons why royals love social media

There's nothing like a bit of love at Christmas and, right now, there are over twenty million reasons for the royals to love social media. In 2017, the official accounts of the ruling houses of Europe really came into their own with all of them seeing a surge in followers and a spike in activity. And as the old year comes to an end, a quick tally shows that the biggest official royal Instagram account, that of Kensington Palace, has gone and got itself over twenty two million likes in the past twelve months. The royals of Kensington Palace are ending 2017 on a high.

The Royal 2017: the most popular photo was....

True love really does conquer all. It's less than a week old and we've only known about it since yesterday but THAT black and white snap of a snuggling Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, released as one of their official engagment portraits, can now lay one claim to being the most popular royal photos of the year. It's topped the poll of the most liked pictures on the official royal Instagram accounts this year.

Thursday, 21 December 2017

Harry and Meghan: the official photos

On the shortest day of the year, we need something to cheer us up and everyone's favourite royal lovebirds have just the answer. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have released their official engagement photos and put just a little bit of sparkle into the greyest day of the year. 

The Royal Christmas 2017: Victoria's snow delights

This is the way to do a royal Christmas in 2017. Crown Princess Victoria has it sorted. She gave us snow, she gave us smiles, she gave us cute children saying Happy Christmas. In a year when everyone else has gone all low key on us, Victoria and Daniel are the royals who saved regal Christmas.

Wednesday, 20 December 2017

The Royal Christmas 2017: spot a royal at Buckingham Palace

It's that time of year again. The Queen's Christmas Lunch at Buckingham Palace is a chance for the House of Windsor to gather en masse for a pre festive knees up and a chance for the rest of us to spot royals through car windows as they drive into the courtyard ahead of the bash. And while there's always plenty of excitement to see the extended clan as they whizz past, all eyes were on the most famous non royal at the lunch this year. Yep, Meghan has made her debut. We've got a sighting of Ms Markle at the Palace as she arrives for her final London Christmas lunch before she becomes a duchess. Start practising that curtsey now.

Tuesday, 19 December 2017

The Royal Christmas 2017: those moody Belgians

This year's royal Christmas cards haven't really ticked the festive box. We know they are meant to be lovely momentoes of the year just gone and a chance to send warm wishes for all that is still to be, but a little bit of snow or sparkle goes a long way. Not in 2017, it seems. The royals of Europe are sticking to formal portraits with about as much ho, ho, ho as a pair of flip flops and Belgium's bunch aren't going to do things any differently. The Christmas card from Philippe and Mathilde is all about moody.

Monday, 18 December 2017

The Royal Christmas 2017: the Cambridge card

They wish you a Merry Christmas, they wish you a Merry Christmas....William, Kate and the kids have shared their 2017 festive card with us today. But if you were expecting snow, shuffle you off to Sweden. The Cambridges are keeping their cool in ice blue in a photo from earlier this year. If the Royal 2018 is all about baby number three, then the Cambridge Christmas 2017 is all about us four.

Saturday, 16 December 2017

6 stopovers for Royal Wedding Visitors

The Royal Wedding date is set and, appropriately enough given that Harry and Meghan announced just before Christmas, there is very little room left in the inn. Hotel rooms in Windsor are at a premium as the world gets ready to converge on St. George's Chapel on May 19th 2018. That doesn't mean a trip to Windsor is out of the question. The town is well connected by train so if you're hoping to hop across for a royal wedding holiday, then here are six places around an hour or less away from Windsor by rail. They may well be easier to find accommodation in right now and they also have royal links of their own. Make it a truly regal holiday and get busy with these stopovers for Royal Wedding Visitors.....

Friday, 15 December 2017

The Royal 2017: the State Visit row

Controversy is never far from royal circles and at the start of the year, the Queen found herself involved in a row entirely of other people's making. The prospect of a State Visit by the President of the United States, Donald Trump, caused all kinds of arguments, and led to a headline grabbing petition with the Queen at its very heart. The Royal 2017 looks back at the row about a State Visit which still isn't over yet...

Royal Wedding 2018: Harry and Meghan's big date revealed

The date for your diary is....May 19th 2018. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's wedding day has been confirmed by Kensington Palace. And put those dreams of a Bank Holiday on hold. Those modern royals are making like most of us and getting wed on a Saturday.

The Royal Christmas 2017: sharing the festive love

Christmas is the season of goodwill and there's been plenty of evidence of that in recent days. We've had a little market shopping, a very special trimming of a Christmas tree and celebrating with a meal with new friends. This is how the royals are sharing the festive love this December....

Thursday, 14 December 2017

The Royal 2017: Denmark's summer horribilis

Not all news is good news. And one royal family had their fair share of difficult times this year. A sad loss early on in the year was followed by a family discussion that became very public and caused angry headlines around the world. It ended with a very sad statement. Here's how the Royal 2017 resulted in a summer horribilis in Denmark...

The Royal Christmas 2017: Oscar shakes on a festive tradition

You're never too young to perfect the royal handshake. With a whole liketime of saying hello and how do you do ahead of him, Prince Oscar of Sweden got in some practice as he helped his mum and sister bring the Christmas trees into the Royal Palace in Stockholm ready for the festive season. The face might say otherwise, but Oscar has this one down pat.

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

The Royal 2017: a prince is born

After a run of regal babies in recent times, 2017 was a little quiet on the nursery front. However, those lovely royals in Sweden weren't going to let the year pass without adding to their number. The House of Bernadotte welcomed a new prince as the summer came to an end. Let's celebrate the birth of Gabriel, Duke of Dalarna in the latest look back at the Royal 2017.....

Meghan's First Royal Christmas

There had been rumours that the future Duchess of Sussex had been seen snapping up amusing but posh presents for under a fiver, just the sort that the Royal Family loves to swap on Christmas Eve, but now the news is official. Meghan Markle will be joining Prince Harry at Sandringham for the festive holidays. William and Kate will be there, too. And, let's face it, if George and Charlotte also make their Sandringham church debuts this year then Twitter is in danger of imploding on Christmas Day. Bring it on.

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

The Royal 2017: Spain's royals in the dock

One day, maybe, we'll get to write about a Spanish royal year and not use the words ''tough'', ''controversial'' and ''beleaguered''. But not this year. The past twelve months have been both tough and controversial for the beleaugured royal family. And that's with the end that 2017 brought of a problem that has hounded them for years. The Royal 2017 looks back at Spain's royals in the dock....

The Buried Giants of Sweden's Royal Jewellery Box

Sweden's royals were sparkling again last night as they hosted the Nobel Prize winners at a celebratory banquet. The King's Dinner is the last royal event in the always glittering galas that surround these awards (presumably Carl Gustaf isn't up first thing peeling spuds for it despite the name) and to round off this year's celebrations, the Swedish Royal Family brought out some of their biggest and best tiaras. And all of them with a wedding link.  As they pose for a photo with Literature Laureate, Kazuo Ishiguro, let's look at the buried jewellery giants they brought out to play...

Kate and William's Gold Blue Peter Badges

They just about played it cool. Anyone who grew up in Britain in the 70s, 80s or 90s will know the thrill that 'Blue Peter badge' can bring with it. So William and Kate were right to look pretty pleased with themselves when they were awarded gold badges, the highest possible version of the award, on a visit to Blue Peter last week.

The Royal Christmas 2017: Christmas Cards

We have a winner. The first royal Christmas pose of 2017 comes from Spain. Admittedly, it's about as festive as a prawn curry but it's on the official Christmas card from Felipe and Letizia. The regal Christmas season is well and truly under way.

Windsor Wedding Dresses: the Princess Royal, December 1992

While everyone is still scrabbling to find their best dressed royal of 2017, we already know the regal outfit of 2018 and it doesn't even exist yet. Meghan Markle's wedding dress will be the stand out image of the royal style year. There are already lots of predictions as to what it might look like but the bride in question will keep us all guessing right up until the moment she walks into St. George's Chapel, Windsor in May. Ahead of that. we're taking a look back at some of the wedding dresses that already grace the history books of teh House of Windsor and today it's the most low key of them all. Princess Anne, the Princess Royal made history when she wed Timothy Laurence on December 12th 1992. She was the first divorced royal to remarry in almost ninety years. Today, the couple celebrates their silver wedding anniversary so what better time to look back at what Anne wore then in the latest installment of Windsor Wedding Dresses. 

Monday, 11 December 2017

The Royal 2017: the Sapphire Queen

Another year, another landmark for the Queen. The Royal 2017 saw Elizabeth II add two more major milestones to her already impressive list of regal records. More on the marriage that made history in the days to come but now it's time to look back on her 65th anniversary as monarch and the day she became the Sapphire Queen....

Sweden's Sparkling and Surprising Celebration

OK, it's not actually a state event but it's as regular in the royal calendar as any official visit or gala banquet. Sweden's royals have celebrated the Nobel Prize winners at a glittering ceremony in Stockholm and packed in all the tiara surprises while they were at it. Apart from Queen Silvia. But when you've got access to some of the biggest and best jewels in Europe, who needs surprises? Settle back and enjoy some pre-Christmas sparkle with this look at the tiaras that came out to dazzle at the 2017 Nobel Prize Ceremony.

Sunday, 10 December 2017

The Royal 2017: Kate's new baby and other great expectations

This royal year has given us plenty of happy news and promised yet more to come. For in the last part of the Royal 2017 we got a hat trick of pregnancy announcements which will bring us babies galore in the year to come. As we continue our look back at the last 12 regal months, we arrive at the excitement that is pregnancy announcements and great expectations...

Saturday, 9 December 2017

Windsor Wedding Dresses: Princess Margaret

It's been called the height of simplicity and the epitome of sophistication. Vogue loved it while thousands have copied it. The wedding dress worn by Princess Margaret on May 6th 1960 as she wed Antony Armstrong-Jones is one of the most famous royal gowns of all. And you don't even need to look closely to find out why. As we wait for Meghan Markle to add her own sense of style to royal marriage history, here's a look at Princess Margaret's moment as a bride in Windsor Wedding Dresses....

The Royal 2017: Prince Philip retires

Apparently, he really doesn't like a fuss which is rather unfortunate because when Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh announced earlier this year that he would be retiring from public engagements there was a hooha on a global scale which will take some beating. The Royal 2017 arrives at one of the more bizarre happenings of the year as we look back at the day Prince Philip said he was stepping back...

Friday, 8 December 2017

The Royal 2017: a double birthday celebration

December means many things. Christmas trees, Christmas jumpers, too much chocolate. It's also the time when we start to remember, to pull together the strands of the year just gone as we look forward to the one about to start. So many royal events have kept us busy in 2017 but some have really made their mark. For the next two weeks, we'll be recalling the major events of the past twelve months from those we welcomed to those we lost, from the major anniversaries to the unexpected moments that will linger long. We already know that 2018 is going to be a bumper royal year but 2017 has made its mark,too. The old year might be almost done but our look back is only just beginning. The celebration of the Royal 2017 starts with a double birthday that brought together all the ruling houses of Europe....

Thursday, 7 December 2017

Royal Christmas 2017: the Royal Christmas Tree

Deck those halls with boughs of holly....even the most regal residence needs a Christmas tree and Europe's ruling houses are already getting in the festive spirit. Trees are being trimmed at palaces across the continent and thanks to the marvels of social media, the photos we all take every year of the decorations can now be shared on an epic scale. Which is rather marvellous. So settle back and enjoy the slowly building forest of regal Christmas trees being trimmed and tweeked as the big day approaches. Be warned, there are no 3 footers in pots here. These are Royal Christmas Trees....

Royal Wedding Dresses: Princess Lilian of Sweden

Let's take a break from Windsor Wedding Dresses for just a moment (you can catch the ones featured so far again here if you need another fix) and focus on a gown that starred in one of the most romantic royal marriages of the 20th century. Forty one years ago today, Prince Bertil of Sweden married Lilian Craig, nee Davies, and set the seal on a love story that has its own place in royal history. As we remember this pair of stylish love birds, here's a look back at the wedding dress Lilian wore when she finally got to wed her handsome prince...

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Prince Gabriel's Christening: the photo album

Mum did the really hard work, so as she celebrates her birthday, let's celebrate her baby. Princess Sofia of Sweden's second son, Prince Gabriel Carl Walter, was born on August 31st 2017 and on December 1st he was christened. The sixth in line to the Swedish throne was baptised at Drottningholm Castle on December 1st 2017 in an intimate ceremony attended by close family and friends. The baby cried, his parents looked beyond proud and his big brother almost stole the show. What more do you want? Here's a look at Prince Gabriel's christening, in pictures....

Windsor Wedding Dresses: Diana, Princess of Wales

As we wait to find out what Meghan Markle will wear for the Royal Wedding of 2018, we're taking a look back at the gowns chosen by other Windsor women for their marriages. And today we arrive at perhaps the most famous and most poignant. It's the one worn by Diana, the mum that Harry said would be 'thick as thieves' with his bride to be, Meghan Markle.  The Emanuel design chosen by Lady Diana Spencer as she married the Prince of Wales on July 29th 1981 remains an icon of modern royal fashion. We know the bows, the frills and the creases like the backs of our own hands but that doesn't mean we can't enjoy them one more time. Diana's dream is the latest to feature in Windsor Wedding Dresses.

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Michael, King of Romania, has died

Michael, King of Romania
1921 - 2017

Michael, the last King of Romania, has died. He was 96 years old. King Michael, who ruled his country twice, had been ill for some time. He is survived by his five daughters, the eldest of whom, Margareta, is now claimant to the long defunct throne. With him ends a chapter of European royal history.

Windsor Wedding Dresses: the Duchess of Cambridge

Catherine Elizabeth Middleton married Prince William on April 29th 2011
They emerged from Westminster Abbey as Duke and Duchess of Cambridge

Ahead of THE royal wedding (Megs and Haz in case you've been under a rock for the last week or so), there is a lot to get excited about. The flowers, the tiara, the bridesmaids, the cake. Oh, and the dress. Let's drop the dignified front and cut to the chase. We all want to know what Meghan Markle will be wearing when she steps into St. George's, Windsor to wed her handsome prince. The bride to be will keep us guessing for months yet so to fill the frock void, this new series is looking back at the wedding dresses worn by other Winsdor brides. Today, we arrive at a gown that is just about as famous as a wedding dress gets and every inch of it has been photographed over and over again. The dress that Kate Middleton wore on the day she married her prince and became HRH The Duchess of Cambridge is already a part of royal history. As we wait for Meghan to add her style choice to the history books, here's a look back at what Kate wore in the latest installment of Windsor Wedding Dresses.

Monday, 4 December 2017

11 royal birthdays for December

December babies, Prince Jacques and Princess Gabriella of Monaco

On the twelfth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me thirteen cards for royal birthdays on eleven separate dates with two heirs to the throne among them and a queen consort celebrating too. December is a busy month for royal birthdays so if you're in the mood for baking (non Christmas cakes) and blowing out (non festive) candles, the next four weeks will be a dream. Here are 11  dates for December when royals mark their birthdays.....

Windsor Wedding Dresses: the Countess of Wessex

Edward and Sophie in an official wedding portrait taken on June 19th 1999

OK, anyone excited for the Royal Wedding? Thought so. We've still got five and a bit months to go before we see Meghan Markle as a royal bride but that doesn't mean we can't start ramping up the wedding fun and thinking all things matrimonial. There will be lots of features on the blog in the run up to the marriage of the year in May 2018 when Megs and Prince Harry plight their troths and first out of the starting blocks is a series on the frocks. Yep. we can pretend all we like that we're interested in the hymns/ cake/ groom's uniform but what we really all want to know is what Meghan's wedding dress will be like. So to get in the mood, I'm going to profile the Windsor Wedding Dresses over the coming weeks and I'm starting with the last major royal bride to walk down the aisle at St. George's, Windsor - the Countess of Wessex. Sophie Rhys Jones was the last British royal bride of the 20th century and she did it in style. Here's a look back at this very regal gown from June 19th 1999 as we start the series, Windsor Wedding Dresses.

Friday, 1 December 2017

Meghan's official debut: the photos

All eyes were on her. Meghan Markle wasted no time in starting her new life, carrying out her first official royal engagement just four days after announcing her, well, royal engagement. Meghan and Harry headed to Nottingham for a day of events on Worlds Aid Day. The Terence Higgins Trust charity fair and the Full Effect programme at the Nottingham Academy were in Meghan's debut diary where the couple heard about the work going on as well as meeting people who are being helped. And the crowds were huge for this very special royal event. Here are some of the best photos from Meghan's official debut...

Three royal brides for December

Queen Mathilde of the Belgians was a December royal bride

Let's face it, December is a tricky one for weddings. While it's all very well dreaming of adding the festive red to the dreamy white of a wedding or entertaining guests to a party in front of an open log fire, the fact is that Christmas just well and truly gets in the way. Not only have you got to contend with the big day itself, there are all the Christmas parties, family visits and last minute shopping trips that are likely to mean getting your guests to commit to a date in December is going to be a big ask and then some. So it's perhaps no surprise that of the three modern royal brides who have said 'I do' in December, two of them were going for the low key approach. The other was the star of the last major royal wedding of the 20th century. Clearly, the save the date cards went out early on that one. Here are three royal brides for December.

Thursday, 30 November 2017

Royal Christening Countdown: Prince Gabriel's godparents

Stop thinking weddings for just a moment. We've got another big royal event this week - Prince Gabriel of Sweden is christened on December 1st. Ahead of his big day, the Swedish Royal Court has announced the names of his godparents. Here's who gets the honour of standing sponsor to Gabriel.