Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Prince of Wales visits Spain

Today the Prince of Wales began his official visit to Spain. The Prince ad Princess of Asturias welcomed the English heir and his wife, the Duchess of Cornwall.

The English royals arrived from Portugal where they spent some day. During that visit they met the Duke and Duchess of Bragança.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Prince of Wales Visits Iberia

The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall arrive in Portugal

28th March 2011
Portuguese President Anibal Cavaco Silva gave a warm welcome to The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall as they arrived today.

Their Royal Highnesses arrived in Lisbon at the start of a 10-day tour promoting UK trade.
The Prince arrived at the presidential palace in pouring rain with The Duchess, who, sheltering under an umbrella, joked to First Lady Dr Maria Cavaco Silva that they had "brought the British weather with them".

The two national anthems were played before The Prince took a salute from the presidential guard.

Part of the trip to Portugal will include a  visit to the Duchess of Cadaval and her husband, Prince Charles Philippe d'Orléans.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

DVD of The Queen and Prince Philip's Wedding

For the first time ever Demand DVD in association with Celtic Arrow Media releases unseen footage of the Royal Wedding of the then Princess Elizabeth & Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten. Filmed by pioneering Cinematographer Jack Cardiff OBE, BSC (Cinematographer Black Narcissus, Red Shoes and latterly The African Queen and Death on the Nile (and many others) this amazing film was one of the first to be shot in the then new Technicolor process in the 1940s. It contains never seen before footage in full colour of the processions at Westminster Abbey and afterwards at Buckingham Palace in the summer of 1947.

The film has not been digitally enhanced; the footage and soundtrack are as on the original and coming in at just under 30 minutes it is a far cry from today s detailed Media coverage. It is however a piece of History and provides a wonderful reminder of the times and people involved in this momentous event.

This delightful programme brings together never-before-seen footage of the Royal Wedding between HRH Princess Elizabeth and Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten and the processions at Westminster Abbey and Buckingham Palace.

Sotheby's to Sell Henckel von Donnersmarck Tiara

GENEVA.- David Bennett, Sotheby’s Chairman of Jewellery for Europe and the Middle East, today announced that Sotheby’s will sell the most valuable emerald and diamond Tiara to have appeared at auction in over 30 years in its sale of Magnificent and Noble Jewels in Geneva on the 17th May 2011. Estimated to sell for £3.1-6.2 million (CHF 4.5- 9 million / $5-10 million), the Highly Important and Extremely Rare Emerald and Diamond Tiara is composed of 11 exceptionally rare Colombian emerald pear-shaped drops which weigh over 500 carats in total, which may well have originally adorned the neck of a Maharajah. These emeralds are also believed to have been in the personal collection of Empress Eugénie.

This superb tiara was commissioned, possibly from the renowned jewelers Chaumet, by Guido Count von Henckel, First Prince von Donnersmarck for his second wife Princess Katharina (1862-1929). The jewellery collection of the Donnersmarcks was known to be on a par with, or even to have exceeded, those of many of the crowned heads of Europe.

Death of the father-in-law of the Marquess of Milford Haven

Former boxer George Walker has died of a heart attack aged 82 in the South of France

From East-End gangster to millionaire wheeler-dealer who married his daughter to a Marquess, his was a classic rags-to-riches story.

Former boxer George Walker, who has died of a heart attack aged 82 in the South of France, certainly left his mark on the British scene.

He will be forever remembered as the man who invented the shopping centre — he gave birth to the pioneering but brutally ugly Brent Cross in North London, the first of the great shopping complexes which have defined life since the Eighties.

He masterminded his talented boxing brother, Billy Walker, who challenged Henry Cooper unsuccessfully for the British heavyweight title.

He also kick-started Joan Collins's once-ailing career when he helped finance The Stud, the film in which a near-naked, 40-something Joan caused a sensation by besporting herself on a garlanded swing in close proximity to the manly Oliver Tobias.

Such entrepreneurial success was a far cry from George's humble beginnings. Born in Stepney, the son of a £2-a-week drayman, Walker left school at 14 to work as a porter at Billingsgate fish market.

Then, while doing National Service in the RAF, he became interested in boxing: he got out of square-bashing in full kit and heavy rifle by volunteering for the boxing squad.

George took up the noble art as a light heavyweight, becoming known as the Stepney Steamroller and winning the British Amateur Boxing Championship. At one point, he was ranked No7 in the world, but an injury in the mid-Fifties put an end to his fighting days.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Prince Harry to join Walking with the Wounded Expedition to the North Pole, 29th March - 5th April

Prince Harry will join a team of wounded military servicemen at the start of their expedition to trek unaided to the Geographic North Pole. The Prince - Patron of the charity Walking with the Wounded - will join the group at their base camp in Longyearbyen, north Norway on 29th March, where he will undertake three days of training with the team. The Prince will then trek with the team for five days as they commence their expedition high above the Arctic Circle. Prince Harry will depart the ice on 5th April, to return to the United Kingdom for continued military training.
The Walking with the Wounded team includes four wounded soldiers, who have suffered life-changing injuries during active service, including two amputees. They will be accompanied by two expedition leaders and a Norwegian polar guide. Their four week expedition will see the team covering up to 200 miles of the frozen Arctic Ocean by foot, pulling their own equipment in sleds weighing in excess of 100kg and in temperatures that can drop to minus 60.

The Walking with the Wounded Expedition supports other charities that help injured soldiers rebuild their lives. The money raised from this expedition will be used for educational courses and training programmes to aid rehabilitation back into ordinary life.

Notes to editors
Prince Harry is currently training to be an Apache Helicopter pilot with the Army Air Corps.
The Walking with the Wounded Expedition Team includes Afghanistan veterans Captain Martin Hewitt (30), Captain Guy Disney (28), Sergeant Steve Young (28) and Private Jaco Van Gass (24). The team will be accompanied by Inge Solheim (Expedition Leader), Henry Cookson (Polar Guide), Edward Parker (Expedition Founder) and Simon Dalglish (Expedition Founder).

Thursday, March 24, 2011

An Exhibition of Photos by King Carlos of Portugal

An exhibition of photographs by King Carlos of Portugal is open to the public at Torre do Pombo, Lisbon. It will remain open to visitors through June.

Here is a report in Portuguese.

Lisbon, by the way, is a wonderful city and I personally recommend a visit, or two!

Funeral of Princess Antoinette of Monaco

Here is a link to a video of the funeral of Princess Antoinette of Monaco.

May She Rest in Peace!!/x3Fr?OpenDocument&3Fr

My Fifty Years: The Memoirs of Prince Nicholas of Greece

Our friend Régine at Noblesse et Royautés has given a write-up to my version of MY FIFTY YEARS, the memoirs of Prince Nicholas of Greece.

The book was first published in the late 1920s. In 2006, with the consent of his grandchildren, Eurohistory republished the book with four new chapters. These additions followed Prince Nicholas from the time of his book's publication to his death, as well as the remaining years of his wife's life. It also included three new chapters following the lives of the three daughters of Prince Nicholas and his wife, Grand Duchess Helen of Russia: Olga (Princess Paul of Yugoslavia), Elisabeth (Countess zu Toerring-Jettenbach) and Marina (Duchess of Kent).

The book is available at, and at Van Hoogstraten English Bookstore and Librairie Galignani (Paris).

Thanks Régine!

BBC Interview with Crown Prince Alexander of Yugoslavia

If you think of royalty in Europe - Sweden, Spain or the Netherlands might come to mind, but how about Serbia?

The country, now a republic, still has a crown prince and princess from its days as a kingdom many decades ago.

The BBC's Mark Lowen went to meet Crown Prince Alexander II, and Princess Katherine of Serbia.

The Prince of Wales meets award winners at The Prince’s Trust Celebrate Success

The Prince of Wales meets award winners at The Prince’s Trust Celebrate Success

23rd March 2011
The Prince of Wales congratulated award winners during a glittering awards ceremony at Celebrate Success today.

Attending The Prince’s Trust event at the Odeon cinema in Leicester Square, The Prince met a line up of ambassadors involved in the work of his charity, including Cheryl Cole, Philip Schofield, Christine Bleakley and Steve Jones.

Celebrate Success was the national final of a competition that combed the country to find those who have transformed their lives after being helped by His Royal Highnesses’s charity The Prince's Trust.

After meeting the ambassadors, The Prince entered the theatre to watch the ceremony, before being invited up on stage to give the finalists their awards.

A number of categories ranging from the Balfour Beatty Community Impact award to the RBS Enterprise Award.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

ERHJ Issue LXXIX Going to Print!

It is with much satisfaction that we let all subscribers know that next issue of The European Royal History Journal (ERHJ LXXIX) is printing!

In this issue subscribers will find very interesting articles, among them:

1. The Wedding of Prince dom Pedro Gastão of Orleans-Bragança and Princess doña Esperanza of Bourbon-Two Sicilies, Seville, Spain, 18 December 1944.

2. Obituary: Archduchess Ilona of Austria (1927-2011).

3. Grand Duchess Marie Adelaide of Luxembourg.

4. Book Reviews.

5. Queen Augusta of Victoria of Portugal.

6. Obituary: Princess Antoinette of Monaco.

7. Obituary: Prince Alireza of Iran.

8. Royal Collectibles.

9. Royal News.

10. The Engagement of Prince Georg Friedrich of Prussia and Princess Sophie of Isenburg.

We expect to complete mailing by April 4.


Official Website for the Wedding of Prince Albert of Monaco

Here is the loink to the official website for the July wedding of Prince Albert of Monaco. Enjoy!

Prince William's Godfather Thinks Kate's Great

Prince William's Godfather Thinks Kate's Great

An interview with Prince William's godfather, ex-King Constantine of Greece, thinks Kate's great!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Sad End of the Duchess of Windsor – by our friend Hugo Vickers

One of the Duchess's greatest pleasures in life was the presence of her pugs, Ginseng and Diamond. The Duke of Windsor's valet once said they were like the children the couple never had. They ate from their own bowls and even travelled to New York with the Duchess.

When the Duchess fell ill, her nurses feared the dogs might infect her, so Ginseng and Diamond were taken away and lived elsewhere on the estate in Paris until they died. The Duchess never saw them again

While some of these figures were honourable, others were not. There are dangers for rich widows who have considerable worldly goods, if they are frail, more so if their affairs are handled by a dishonest lawyer and an avaricious banker, their health overseen by a doctor acting on the lawyer's instructions.

The Duchess was suffering from the early symptoms of Crohn's disease. Determined to retain her girlish-figure, she did not eat properly and was known to survive on nips of vodka.

Initially, though, all seemed well. Between 1972 and 1975, photographs showed the Duchess at society occasions in Paris, arriving in New York, or strolling along a beach in Biarritz. There were occasional interviews, and at least one photo-session with her pugs in Paris.

Without the Duke, however, age, frailty and grief would take their toll. Over Christmas 1972, she fell out of bed and, though in considerable pain, was not given proper treatment. Only in the new year was it realised that the 76-year-old Duchess had broken her hip. After surgery, she recovered, and was eventually able to walk without a stick.

While the Duchess was in hospital, Blum took the first step to assuming control over her. She dismissed Sir Godfrey Morley, the British lawyer who had handled the Duke's affairs and his last will, after persuading the confused Duchess that he was trying to get his hands on her money.

Hardly had the ink dried on a letter appointing Blum as Wallis's sole legal representative than she set to work. The French government confirmed no tax would be paid on the Duke's estate. In return, the Duchess signed a codicil to her will leaving items to France's great museums, in gratitude to the City of Paris for providing the house on the Bois. As a result of these arrangements, Blum was advanced in the Legion d'Honneur, the highest decoration in France.

After the Duchess's two secretaries left her employment in 1975 and 1978, Blum was able to control the situation as she wished.

Blum had once merely been an adviser, summoned when required. Now the relationship had been twisted to her utter advantage.

Blum and the Duchess had almost nothing in common. The Duchess lived her life at the height of fashion; Blum wore dowdy dresses or tweed suits and an ill-fitting wig, which caused the Duchess quiet mirth. The Duchess was light and social; Blum was austere and ruthless. Her eyes were as narrow as those of an old Mandarin.

The Windsors lived in a grand villa on the edge of the Bois de Boulogne, 20 minutes from central Paris. It was leased to the couple by the City of Paris for a peppercorn rent

The Duchess's health concerns continued. The broken hip had been bad enough, but now came a blow from which Wallis would never fully recover. Late in 1975, she suffered a perforated ulcer that led to a severe internal haemorrhage.

She was taken to the American Hospital and was sent home the following January a wreck. It would, many said, have been better if the Duchess had been allowed to die in hospital. Instead she was destined to live a pathetic existence for the next ten years, virtually unable to move and later unable to speak.

Sometimes, when in pain, she pleaded with nurses, hoping 'the Good Lord would take her away'. As one of the nurses said: 'It gives me great distress to see HRH, who was once a great lady, admired and feted throughout the world, who showed courage which was widely respected, becoming little by little a lady who suffers terribly.'

The Duchess had relied heavily on friends for stimulation but now Blum decided who saw the Duchess, arguing that visitors made her flustered. She was often present to hear what was said. None of this was pleasant for the Duchess.

One of those who succeeded in seeing the Duchess was Robin Beare, a distinguished plastic surgeon. Blum ensured the Duchess was sedated so she could not tell him anything. The only indication that she recognised Beare was a single tear rolling down her cheek.

Blum was continually instilling panic into the Duchess about overspending. In January 1976 she announced that the Duchess had given instructions about which silver and porcelain objects should be sold. 

Twice in February the Duchess was asked to sign new authorisations for Mr Amiguet to sell objects she might no longer wish to keep. The Duchess was still alert enough to refuse to sign these. I have seen the unsigned letters.

Despite the wish for secrecy, rumours of the sales spread in Paris with Blum suspecting the Duchess's staff. As a result, several people were dismissed.

Between September 1976 and December 1977, there was quite a distribution of spoils, none of which the Duchess would have been aware of.

According to documents I have seen, Mr Amiguet was given earrings, a bracelet and a necklace. The Duchess's doctor, Jean Thin, received watches and a gold box, despite the fact he believed that the Duchess's mind was rapidly deteriorating and it would soon be incapable of making any decisions.

Yet Dr Thin also believed her physical health was quite good and she might live quite a while.

Blum received a ring with an oval amethyst surrounded by turquoises and diamonds, an amethyst necklace and a Louis XV gold box.

My research reveals that sales in January and March 1976 made about $470,000, which Mr Amiguet deemed but a fraction of the expenses the Duchess was incurring. Further sales went on until her death in 1986.

After the Duchess returned from hospital, the staff were told that she had to be kept in the upstairs rooms. If she did come downstairs and noticed any item missing, she should be informed that the French government had asked for the piece to be restored.

In May 1977, a number of items were taken by Blum, ostensibly to be handed out as gifts. Among them were a pair of earrings made of rubies, emeralds and diamonds; a bracelet with round brilliants on platinum; a watch-bracelet with two snake chains; a gold Cartier watch; a gold cigarette box with a map of Europe, inscribed 'David from Wallis 1935 Christmas'; and a gold tiepin with a blue enamel 'E' under a crown.

A glimpse of how badly her health had deteriorated was provided by Sir Nicholas Henderson, the British ambassador to Paris, who was allowed to see Wallis in 1977. He later wrote: 'Her hands, which caught the eye immediately, were badly contorted in shape, and paralysed. Our handshakes were perfunctory. There is nothing in the face to recall that distinct and dominating look known to the whole world.'

The ambassador concluded: 'She was perfectly compos mentis but it was as though living was a big task and could only be coped with for short intervals at a time.'

Blum took action to secure final power in October of that year. She came to the house with a notary and his clerk bearing a Power of Attorney document. The purpose of this document was to cover all Blum's various actions and activities.

The Duchess could not sign because her hands were twisted with rheumatoid arthritis, so Blum sent the clerk to the Duchess's room to gain her verbal assent. The clerk began to read the document in French. Not surprisingly, the Duchess could not understand and asked if he would mind translating this document into English.

The clerk pretended that his English was not up to that and explained to the Duchess that it merely confirmed existing arrangements. The Duchess said something like, 'Oh, all right,' at which point the clerk left the room. Blum had what she wanted; she was ready for the Duchess to die.

By the spring of the following year, the Duchess ceased speaking. She had almost ceased to exist as a person. Wallis could hardly move without assistance, being turned to the right and left, moved from her bed to a couch, and then back again.

Blum now had as near full control of the Duchess as she could have, but this was not enough: she now added the role of historian to her selfappointed duties.

The lawyer had several theories that she wished to promulgate. The first, for some bizarre reason, was that the Windsors had never had sex before marriage; Diana Mosley later joked that Blum even gave the Duchess back her virginity. The second was more credible: that the Duchess had not wanted to marry the Duke and had certainly not forced him to abdicate.

Blum claimed that the Duchess had to be defended from allegations made by authors and journalists, that Wallis was upset by such things. In truth, she was beyond caring.

While in Paris in autumn 1978, I heard that the Duchess had lost use of her hands and feet and had to be carried from her bed to a clinical couch. She no longer spoke and had apparently put on 25lbs. She lived in a world of her own, lingering on, spoon-fed, miserable. In 1981 a senior doctor at the American Hospital told me the Duchess was in a pitiable state.

Many of the Duchess's staff had gone, but there was one more figure for Blum to erase from the picture. Eventually, she fell out with Mr Amiguet on the grounds that he refused to send her money from Switzerland, where the Duchess's account was held. What happened to the Duchess's millions there remains unclear.

One person who saw much of the Duchess was Elvire Gozin, her night nurse from 1976 to 1986. She said the Duchess 'died in a slum'. Visits by a hairdresser were terminated and expensive creams from Estee Lauder were replaced by cheap make-up. The bedclothes became tattered. Elvire described her as 'a prisoner in her own home'.

Elvire took photos of the Duchess in her bed, which were published after her death. One shows the head of the Duchess just visible over the sheets, with medical paraphernalia by her bed  -  machinery that kept her alive.

The nurse went twice to London to try to inform the Queen of the Duchess's plight. On her first visit in 1980, Elvire arrived at the gates of Buckingham Palace but was not admitted. In 1983, she saw the Dean of Windsor, Michael Mann, who said he would pass her message to the Queen and would respond. Elvire heard no more.

As further indication of the low ebb that the Duchess had reached, Dr Thin admitted to a newspaper that the Duchess had such serious arthritis that he had ordered her wedding ring from the Duke to be 'gently cut off'.

During these last years, the Duchess had one other visitor  -  the Right Reverend James Leo, Dean of the American Cathedral in Paris. The Dean found the house depressing, the Duke's regimental drums gathering dust, sad relics 'under brooding stillness', the garden with its 'memories of lavish summer evenings' now 'weeds, crab grass and ghosts'.

It was Leo who was summoned to perform the last rites in April 1986. He said: 'She squeezed my hand during the last rites and again as I read a short passage from the Bible.'

The Duchess died on April 24. A memorial service was held in Paris, attended by Blum, who enraged the French by putting herself forward as chief mourner.

Eleven weeks after the Duchess's death, her friend Commandant Paul-Louis Weiller invited me to look around the house. The hall was dimly lit, while tables with eagles under them stood either side of the drawingroom door.

The Commandant turned to me and said quietly: 'You would like to see the room where the Duchess died, I suppose? I have to be very tactful.'

In her bedroom, the double bed was stripped. Only the base, covered in blue silk, remained. An old white telephone was on the floor. There were two shelves either side of the bed and under the glass of one was a photo of the Duchess in bed holding her pugs, her auburn hair done to perfection.

In 1986, Mohamed Al Fayed acquired the lease on the house and in 1998 he sold some of the remaining contents at auction in New York. By this time Blum had been dead four years.

I had my eye on a gouache from the Duchess's bathroom by Dmitri Bouchene, a talented but largely unknown Russian artist. I came home with 20 Bouchenes. I look at them every day. To me they symbolise the best of the Parisian taste of the Duchess.

She was a woman of style and elegance, but a woman who had suffered too long. After years of pain and powerless, silent indignity, she was at last beyond the grasp of those who had harmed her.

King of Bahrain Blames Iran for His Country's Unrest

MANAMA, Bahrain -- Bahrain's king blamed a foreign plot for his nation's weeks-long unrest, using veiled language Monday to accuse Iran of fomenting an uprising by the Shiite majority in the Sunni-ruled island kingdom.

The Bahrain opposition's main demand is for a constitutional monarchy that would keep the royal family in power but would let people elect a government. Inspired by mass protests in Tunisia and Egypt that toppled the two countries' presidents, it rejects accusations of influence by the Shiite powerhouse across the Persian Gulf.

"We don't want Iranians to come. We don't want a big problem in this small country," senior opposition leader Ali Salman said Sunday, adding that the solution to the country's crisis has to come from its people.

Princess Antoinette of Monaco's Funeral – 24 March 2011

The remains of Princess Antoinette of Monaco can be visited by the public today and tomorrow. A book of condolences is available for signing at the Cour d'honneur of the Princely Palace.

The funeral will take place on Thursday at 10am at the Cathedral of Monaco. The burial will take place in private at the Chapelle de la Paix, where the remains of Princess Antoinette's husband, John Gilpin, and those of Stefano Casiraghi (husband of Princess Caroline of Monaco) repose in eternal peace.

©Getty Images

Crown Prince Alexander Signs Japanese Condolence Book

Accompanied by his wife, Crown Prince Alexander of Yugoslavia signed the book of condolences at the Japanese Embassy, Belgrade.


Belgrade, 18 March 2011 – Their Royal Highnesses Crown Prince Alexander II and Crown Princess Katherine signed today the book of condolences at the Embassy of Japan, in honour of the victims of earthquake and huge tsunami that struck the country on March 11. Their Royal Highnesses were greeted by H.E. Mr. Toshio Tsunozaki, ambassador of Japan to Serbia. 

Their Royal Highnesses Crown Prince Alexander II and Crown Princess Katherine wrote: “We are deeply touched by the terrific misfortune that struck the people and the Empire of Japan. 

To all the people of Japan, to the government of His Imperial Majesty, we extend our condolences, our support and our confidence that the nation of Japan will, as many times before, overcome this tragedy.”

William and Catherine: The Wedding Carriages

The Wedding Carriages

22nd March 2011
The 1902 State Landau was specifically built for King Edward VII in 1902
At the end of their wedding service at Westminster Abbey, Prince William and Miss Middleton will travel in the 1902 State Landau along the Processional Route to Buckingham Palace. In the event of severely wet weather, the couple will travel in The Glass Coach.

There will be five horse-drawn carriages in the Carriage Procession from Westminster Abbey to Buckingham Palace. The first carriage will be the 1902 State Landau or Glass Coach carrying the Bride and the Bridegroom. The second and third carriages will be Ascot Landaus carrying the Best Man, Maid of Honour and Bridesmaids. The fourth carriage will be a Semi-State Landau carrying The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh. The fifth carriage will be a Semi-State Landau carrying The Prince of Wales, The Duchess of Cornwall and Mr and Mrs Middleton.

The 1902 State Landau, the Glass Coach, the Ascot and Semi-State Landaus are housed at the Royal Mews, Buckingham Palace.

The 1902 State Landau was specifically built for King Edward VII in 1902 and was intended to be used at his Coronation. It is the carriage in most general use at the Royal Mews and is usually used by The Queen to meet Foreign Heads of State when they arrive on State Visits to Britain. The Prince of Wales travelled to St Paul’s Cathedral in the 1902 State Landau for his wedding in 1981, returning in it with The Princess of Wales after the service. The Duke and Duchess of York also used it for their return to Buckingham Palace at their wedding in 1986.

The Glass Coach was built in 1881 and was purchased for use at King George V’s Coronation in 1911. The Glass Coach has carried previous Royal brides to their weddings – Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon in 1923, Princess Alexandra in 1963, Princess Anne in 1973, Lady Diana Spencer in 1981 and Miss Sarah Ferguson in 1986. It has also carried the bride and bridegroom from the church, as it did when Princess Elizabeth married The Duke of Edinburgh and again when Princess Anne married Captain Mark Phillips.

There are five Ascot Landaus in the Royal Mews. These carriages are always used for The Queen’s procession up the course at the Royal Ascot Race meeting and also for other visits of an official nature.

There are five Semi State Landaus in service. They have been used for The Queen’s coronation visit to Edinburgh, the Investiture of The Prince of Wales at Caernarfon Castle, The Queen’s silver Jubilee visits to Glasgow and Cardiff, and on State Visits following the 1902 State Landau. They are also used to transport new High Commissioners of Republics within the Commonwealth when they are received by The Queen.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Prince William completes his tour meeting those affected by natural disasters in New Zealand and Australia

21st March 2011
Prince William returned home today after meeting those affected by natural disasters in New Zealand and Australia.

He has come to the end of a five-day trip on behalf of The Queen - after visiting earthquake-hit Christchurch, towns ravaged by Cyclone Yasi in North Queensland, and flood-hit areas in South Queensland and Victoria.

Prince William has won hearts everywhere he has visited, hearing tales from those who have suffered at the hands of the natural disasters affecting the region.

He was said to have been "incredibly moved" by what he saw and the stories he heard.
"But everywhere he's gone he has seen a lot of resilience and good humour," a spokesperson for St. James’s Palace said.

"He's very pleased and honoured to have been able to come and meet so many people in some quite hard-to-reach communities."

The spokesperson said Prince William had enjoyed the tour but "he hasn't come here to enjoy himself - he's come to do a job".

"He's been very touched and humbled by what he's seen because these communities have lost everything and the way they have stuck together and looked after one another is genuinely a lesson to all of us."

The tour has been filled with emotional moments, such as a meeting with the family of 13-year-old Jordan Rice, who died, along with his mother in Toowoomba, Queensland, after telling rescuers to save his brother.

But there were some moments of light relief. After a quick introduction to Australian Rules Football from Jim Stynes, Irish-born President of the Melbourne Football Club, Prince William jumped at the chance to kick a ball at the waiting photographers.

"You do realise you are giving me the ultimate - kicking this as hard as I can at you guys is the ultimate," he joked.

"Are you ready because someone's going to get hurt?"

Saturday, March 19, 2011

No Japanese Presence at the English Royal Wedding

Crown Prince Naruhito of Japan informed Buckingham Palace that he will not be attending the wedding of Prince William of Wales and Kate Middleton. The decision was take as a sign of solidarity with the victims of the deadly tsunami.

Crown Prince Naruhito and Crown Princess Masako of Japan.

America's Obsession with the Royal Wedding

Thirty years ago this July, Lady Diana Spencer, dressed in a pale-ivory taffeta gown of pearls and crinoline with a 25-foot train, traveled from Buckingham Palace to St. Paul's Cathedral to marry Charles, Prince of Wales. At the time, it was the biggest live television event in history, watched by 750 million viewers world-wide.

Compared with the crowd their son is expecting April 29, that's nothing.

Very little will have changed about the ceremony itself—the pomp and circumstance hasn't evolved much in centuries—but there will be profound changes in how the proceedings will be recorded and consumed.

Prince William gives a speech during a memorial service in Christchurch, New Zealand

Prince William gives a speech during a memorial service in Christchurch, New Zealand

18th March 2011
Prince William today urged the earthquake-stricken city of Christchurch to "be strong".

In a speech to tens of thousands of people at a memorial service in the city, The Prince told the crowd they were an "inspiration to all people".

Prince William is on a tour of disaster-stricken areas of New Zealand and Australia on behalf of The Queen.

He has seen firsthand the damage to the centre of Christchurch, which was hit by an earthquake in February and also met rescue workers and volunteers.

After a visit to the town of Sumner, which was badly hit by the quake, The Prince attended the National Christchurch Memorial Service in the city.

While some feared people would stay away, the city's Hagley Park was packed with tens of thousands of well-wishers.

At the start of the service the crowd watched a 14-minute video showing the damage caused by the earthquake.

Stages set up in the park were decorated with flowers meant for the Ellerslie International Flower Show, due to happen in Christchurch in March, which was cancelled after the quake.

Prince William, who donned a Korowai - a traditional Maori feathered cloak - was welcomed by Henare Rakiihia Tau, from the Ngai Tuahuriri sub-tribe, who in a speech to the gathered crowd, told William to "nibble at the apple and be fruitful".

In his own address, Prince William said he was conveying his own message, as
well as one from his grandmother.

Referring to a message sent from The Queen to the people of New York after the events of September 11th, he said: "My grandmother once said that grief is the price we pay for love.

"Here, today, we love, and we grieve.

"We honour the lives and memories of all those who did not survive the earthquake - New Zealanders, and those from many countries around the world who came to this city as visitors, or to make it their home.

"Our thoughts and our prayers are with the families, wherever they may
The Prince told the crowd it was hard for them to "grasp the degree of admiration - indeed, awe", with which they were regarded by the rest of the world.

He also told the people they could appreciate more than anyone else the "full horror" of what was unfolding in Japan.

He said: "Courage and understated determination have always been the hallmark of New Zealanders, of Cantabrians. "These things the world has long known.

"But to see them so starkly demonstrated over these terrible, painful months has been humbling.

"Put simply, you are an inspiration to all people. I count myself enormously privileged to be here to tell you that.
"In the last two days, I have heard tales of great tragedy - but also of extraordinary bravery and selfless courage.

"Throughout, one phrase unites them all. With The Queen's heartfelt good wishes, and those of The Prince of Wales and other members of my family, I say it to you now: 'Kia kaha.' Be strong."

The Prince's address was greeted with applause from the crowd, some of whom were sporting T-shirts reading: "Kia kaha".

Earlier in the day, William was greeted by thousands of well wishers as he visited Sumner, taking time to hear their own personal stories from the February quake.

The seaside town was badly hit by the quake - the most obvious sign of the damage is a huge boulder that fell from the cliff, narrowly missing the Returned Services Association (RSA) building.

Three people are believed to have died in the picturesque town, with many houses left uninhabitable.

But the Royal visit sparked excitement in the town today, lifting the mood of many who struggled with the after-effects of the quake.

The Prince met firefighters who helped in the aftermath of the quake, including Chief Fire Officer Alan Kerr, who said: "It's a great lift, there were people walking around with long faces and all of a sudden there's this big boost."

Marnie Kent, 43, a team leader of the Conservation Volunteers, presented The Prince with a painting of two birds.

She said: "It was a token to say thank you for coming all this way and picking up our spirits.

"I am very passionate about my paintings, I don't give them away, I don't even sell them.

"I could not think of anyone better to have the painting."

Friday, March 18, 2011

The Royals Attending the Royal Wedding in London

So 1,900 of those gilded, gold-stamped royal wedding invitations were sent out last week. While heads of state such as President Obama and President Sarkozy reportedly did not receive one, plenty of others heads -- crowned heads that is -- did. The Prince of Wales' office announced that over 40 members of foreign royal families are on the guest list, although as I've said before, the palace does not customarily release the names of individual invitees.

Of course, as with protocol, foreign royals were first given a heads-up in the form of a save-the-date-fax from the Queen back in January (with the embossed invitations arriving afterwards), and several have already confirmed that they will be attending. So we know that King Constantine, the former king of Greece and William's godfather, will be at the wedding along with Queen Anne-Marie and their eldest son Crown Prince Pavlos. Invitations are extended to the spouses as well (even though it's not mentioned) so expect to see Crown Princess Marie-Chantal, Pavlos' American heiress wife to make an elegant appearance at the Abbey. The former King Michael of Romania and members of his family have also confirmed their attendance back in January.

rown Prince Alexander II of Serbia, who's the Queen's godson, and his wife Crown Princess Katharine sent their RSVP via their official website. The prince is no stranger to London, having been born in Claridge's hotel when his family left German-occupied Yugoslavia in 1941, and went into exile in London. Some Yugoslavian dirt was placed underneath the bed when Alexander was born in 1945 so he would technically be born on Yugoslavian soil, and Prime Minister Winston Churchill declared suite 212 (the room where he was born) at Claridge's to be Yugoslavian territory.

The bulk of the foreign royals invited are from reigning families such as Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain, and so on. Queen Elizabeth is close to the other two reigning queens of Europe -- Queen Margrethe of Denmark and Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, and they are certain to be invited. I've heard that Crown Prince Frederick and Crown Princess Mary of Denmark have indicated that they would like to attend. The Australian-born Mary, who made Vanity Fair's best-dressed list in 2010, has just given birth to twins last month and no doubt will be getting in shape for the April 29 nuptials.

Queen Sofia of Spain (the sister of King Constantine of Greece) will likely be there as well. Even though they were invited, she and King Juan Carlos did not attend Charles and Diana's wedding in 1981 due to the political furor over the couple starting their honeymoon on the royal yacht from Gibraltar -- a British dependency territory that is disputed by Spain. This time around, William and Catherine will most likely be spending part of their honeymoon on Richard Branson's private Necker Island, so there won't be such diplomatic concerns.

Royal and style watchers are keen to see if Letizia, the Princess of Asturias, who is always one of the best-dressed at royal weddings, and her handsome husband Prince Felipe will be going to London as part of the Spanish contingency. Likewise, it isn't confirmed yet if another heir to the throne, Prince Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands and his popular wife Princess Maxima will be attending, although I suspect that they will be there. I've had the pleasure of meeting the lovely and down-to-earth Maxima at Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden's wedding last year, and I can tell you she can light up any room with her infectious warmth and friendly manner.

Book by Mountbatten Bomb Survivor Wins Award

MULLAGHMORE IN Co Sligo would always be a special place for him, his wife and their five children despite the murder of his grandfather Lord Louis Mountbatten, Timothy Knatchbull said last night.

The survivor of the bombing was in Belfast to receive the Christopher Ewart-Biggs literary award for 2011. Mr Knatchbull won the £5,000 (€5,800) prize for his book Out of a Clear Blue Sky: Surviving the Mountbatten Bomb.

Writer Guy Hibbert and director Oliver Hirschbiegel won an award for their film F ive Minutes of Heaven , a drama starring Liam Neeson and James Nesbitt about an encounter between a former loyalist killer and the brother of a victim he murdered 33 years earlier.

The prizes recognise works that promote peace and reconciliation in Ireland and are in memory of Sir Christopher Ewart-Biggs, the British ambassador to Ireland who, with civil servant Judith Cooke, was murdered by the IRA in Dublin in 1976.

Mr Knatchbull in his memoir recalls the 1979 IRA bombing of Lord Mountbatten’s Shadow V boat in Mullaghmore. The 79-year-old earl died in the attack as did Mr Knatchbull’s 14-year-old identical twin brother Nicholas and 15-year-old Paul Maxwell from Enniskillen. Mr Knatchbull’s grandmother Lady Brabourne died the following day in hospital.

Mr Knatchbull said winning the award was “a wonderful surprise” and he was delighted to be able to attend last night’s ceremony. “The fact that it aims to promote peace and understanding and reconciliation is just a wonderful set of objectives. I will treasure this prize because it means more than any other prize I could imagine,” he said.

+ Fürst Paul von Quadt zu Wykradt und Isny (1930-2011)

PAUL Franz von Assisi Georg Ghislain Edmund Maria Alexander, Fürst von Quadt zu Wykradt und Isny passed away on 16 March.

At Berg am Starnberger See, he married (civil) on 1 September 1955 Princess Charlotte of Bavaria, a daughter of Duke Albrecht (1905-1996). The couple's religious wedding took place two days later at Schloß  Nymphenburg.

Fürst Paul and his wife had four children and several grandchildren. All survive him.

Alexander Palace to become Tsar Nicholas II Museum

The residence of the last Emperor of Russia Nicholas II in Tsarskoye Selo (Pushkin), which is one of the St. Petersburg suburbs, is gradually turning into a museum. The St. Petersburg authorities have approved a concept for the restoration of the Alexander Palace, which earlier was used as the residence of the Russian Emperor.

700 to 800 people can simultaneously visit the museum complex, which is being re-created in the Alexander Palace, from where the Bolsheviks took him away into exile. In 1918 they killed him and all of his family members in Yekaterinburg in the Ural Region, as the director of the museum-estate Tsarskoye Selo Olga Taratynova said in an interview with the Voice of Russia.

“This is a tragic and in a way a beautiful story, which serves as a point of interest for visitors. They want to learn more about the life of the royal Romanov family. There’s a feeling of suffering and doom in the Alexander Palace where the family of the last emperor of Russia lived. The private rooms of the members of the family of Tsar Nicholas II, which were furnished by Empress Alexandra Fyodorovna according to her tastes, are situated in the eastern wing. It seems to me that they were very comfortable,” the director says.

Many members of the royal family loved the Alexander Palace. Built at the end of the 18th century by the order of Cathrine II for her grandson whom she loved very much, the Alexander Palace is a 2-story building with wings on both sides. There’s a Corinthian colonnade of two rows, and on the park side the façade of the building is shaped as a semi-rotunda with a spherical cupola. The great Italian architect Jacomo Quarengi, who designed that palace, also created the interiors of the Majestic Suite of Rooms. Although during the Second World War the territory on which the Alexander Palace was located was occupied by the German fascists, all the rooms are well preserved. And if the luxurious Cathrine Palace, which was part of the Tsarskoye Selo architectural ensemble - Rastrelli’s baroque masterpiece – was destroyed in compliance with the fascists’ plans, the Alexander Palace survived because the fascists’ headquarters was housed in its premises. After the war the palace was given to the disposal of the Soviet Naval Department.

+ HSH Princess Antoinette of Monaco (1920-2011)

Princess Antoinette of Monaco, the late Prince Rainier III’s older sister and a prominent advocate for animal rights, has died at age 90.

The Prince’s Palace said Friday that she died overnight at Monaco’s Princess Grace Hospital. The palace did not provide a cause of death.
Princess Antoinette was the daughter of Princess Charlotte and Prince Pierre. She was involved in the cause of animal rights and was the president of Monaco’s Society for the Protection of Animals.

Prince Albert II, the son of Rainier and U.S. actress Grace Kelly, ordered all the flags in the principality to be at half-staff.

Prince William meets rescue workers in New Zealand

Prince William meets rescue workers in New Zealand

17th March 2011

Prince William witnessed firsthand the devastation caused by last month's earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand.

The Prince met rescue workers and saw the quake-battered centre of the city on his first stop on a tour of disaster-stricken areas of New Zealand and Australia.

Clearly shocked and taken aback by the scenes in the country's second-largest city, The Prince still managed to boost morale with rescue workers, laughing and joking with them whilst thanking them for their efforts.

The Prince, who works as a helicopter Search and Rescue pilot himself, told them: "There was a lot of us who work in the military who were gnashing our teeth to come out here."

His Royal Highness is travelling on behalf of The Queen on his second official trip to the Commonwealth country.

The Prince is due to attend a memorial service in the city, then will travel to Australia to visit Queensland and Victoria, which were both hit by severe flooding.

Earlier this week, St. James's Palace launched a charitable gift fund set up by Prince William and Catherine Middleton for well-wishers who want to send them a wedding present, which includes New Zealand's Christchurch Earthquake Appeal.

The Prince last visited New Zealand in January 2010, on his first official overseas visit on behalf of The Queen.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Footage of Grand Duke Kirill Vladimirovich of Russia

This is footage of a visit journalists paid to the Russian Imperial Court in Exile at St Briac. One can hear the voice of Grand Duchess Victoria Feodorovna as well as that of her husband Grand Duke Kirill Vladimirovich!

Unprecedented televised address by Emperor Akihito of Japan

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japanese Emperor Akihito made an unprecedented televised address to his disaster-stricken nation on Wednesday, expressing deep worry about the crisis at damaged nuclear reactors and urging people to lend each other a helping hand in difficult times.

Looking somber and stoic, the 77-year-old Akihito said the problems at Japan's nuclear-power reactors, where authorities are battling to prevent a catastrophe, were unpredictable after an earthquake he described as "unprecedented in scale."

TV stations interrupted coverage to carry the emperor's first public appearance since last week's massive earthquake and tsunami that killed thousands of people.

"I am deeply hurt by the grievous situation in the affected areas. The number of deceased and missing increases by the day and we cannot know how many victims there will be. My hope is that as many people possible are found safe," Akihito said.

"I hope from the bottom of my heart that the people will, hand in hand, treat each other with compassion and overcome these difficult times," he said, urging survivors not to "abandon hope."

Japan is reeling from what Prime Minister Naoto Kan has called its worst crisis since the end of World War Two, when the country had to rebuild from its devastating defeat.

For elderly Japanese at least, the sudden message from the emperor doubtless called to mind the August 15, 1945, radio broadcast by his father, Emperor Hirohito, announcing the country's surrender in World War Two.

That was the first time the emperor's voice had been heard on radio and his use of formal court language meant most of those listening could not understand what he was saying.

Footage of the Wedding of the Prince of Asturias and Princess Sophie of Greece

Here is a clip of the events surrounding the wedding of don Juan Carlos, then Prince of Asturias, and Princess Sophie of Greece, Athens, May 1962.

The wedding of King Alfonso XII and Princess Victoria Eugenia of Battenberg – Madrid 1906

On the fateful day she married her husband, Queen Victoria Eugenia and King Alfonso XIII barely survived a terrorist attack!

Charitable Fund Set Up by Prince William and his fiancée

Prince William and Catherine Middleton have set up a Charitable Gift Fund for the Royal Wedding

16th March 2011
Prince William and Miss Catherine Middleton have set up a charitable gift fund for those who very generously may wish to donate to charity to help the couple celebrate their wedding.

Having been touched by the goodwill shown them since the announcement of their engagement, Prince William and Miss Middleton have asked that anyone who might wish to give them a wedding gift consider giving instead to a charitable fund.

Donations can be made through the website which includes a full list of the charities to benefit, personally chosen by Prince William and Miss Middleton.

Many of the charities are little known, without existing Royal Patronage, and undertake excellent work within specific communities. They are charities that have a particular resonance with Prince William and Miss Middleton and reflect issues in which the couple have been particularly interested in their lives to date.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Wedding of the Prince of Asturias, Rome, 12 October 1935

A short clip showing scenes from the wedding of don Juan of Spain, Prince of Asturias, and his cousin doña María de las Mercedes of Bourbon-Two Sicilies – Rome, 12 October 135.

The Bride with her future father-in-law, King don Alfonso XIII of Spain

The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall to visit Portugal, Spain and Morocco

The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall to visit Portugal, Spain and Morocco

14th March 2011
The British Government has asked The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall to undertake official visits to Portugal, Spain and Morocco from 28th March to 6th April 2011.
The themes of the tour will include highlighting commercial diplomacy (including trade and investment promotion), co-operation on climate change and building a low-carbon economy, faith and minority communities and youth opportunities, the military and cultural links.

The tour will begin in Lisbon, Portugal, where among other engagements The Prince and The Duchess will celebrate long-standing co-operation between the Portuguese and British Navies, support British trade and investment opportunities and highlight the work of the substantial resident British community. The President of Portugal will host an official dinner.

In Spain, The Prince and The Duchess will be received in Madrid by The Prince and Princess of Asturias, attend an official dinner at the Royal Palace and have lunch with Their Majesties The King and Queen of Spain. Again, trade and investment promotion will be to the fore to support the UK economy. Their Royal Highnesses will meet and thank the volunteers who support the large British population in Spain and will also visit Seville, where the Royal Couple will undertake a number of engagements throughout the city.

The Spring Tour will finish in Morocco. In Rabat, Their Royal Highnesses will be guests of The King of Morocco, who will receive them for a meeting and an official dinner. The programme will focus on support for British companies and their work on corporate social and environmental responsibility, together with youth opportunities. Their Royal Highnesses will also visit the Moroccan 1st Parachute Infantry Brigade (The Prince of Wales is the Colonel-in-Chief of the British Parachute Regiment). Outside the capital, The Prince of Wales will visit the oasis at Errachidia where he will see efforts to prevent and mitigate the impact of desertification as well as the local community’s work to adapt to climate change. Their Royal Highnesses will also undertake engagements related to inter-faith dialogue and culture in the city of Fez.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Orléans-Bragança/Bourbon-Two Sicilies Marriage: Sevilla 1944

A nice report from the TIME Magazine Archive:,9171,791734,00.html

The Wedding Route in 3D

Google's getting in on the royal wedding action: The company has mapped out a 3D video tour of the wedding procession across London, making for a virtual tour of April 29th, as well as a tour of central London complete with the schmaltzy "Wedding March".

In January, the BBC sent a reporter to cover the actual track the newlyweds will travel on their way to Buckingham Palace.

©Getty Pictures

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Modern Stress of Living Like a King – CP Alexander of Yugoslavia

(Reuters Life!) - Showing visitors the extensive gardens at his 333-acre estate, Alexander Karadjordjevic gestures to a bed of flowers and comments on the burden of maintaining such large grounds.

"We've had to reduce the gardeners to six. These guys are really stretched out," said Karadjordjevic, son of Yugoslavia's last king and heir to the throne. "Tito had 40 -- but he lived like an emperor."

Serbia's monarchy ended during World War Two, after which Communist leader Josip Broz Tito took power, using the royal palaces in Belgrade to host dignitaries and receptions.

Crown Prince Alexander II, son of the late King Peter II who fled to Britain during the 1941 Nazi invasion, returned to live in the palace in 2001 after strongman Slobodan Milosevic fell.
The government still holds title to the royal Dedinje compound, including the six-bedroom 1920s Stari Dvor (Old Palace) where Karadjordjevic lives with his wife, and Beli Dvor (White Palace) used for receptions. Belgrade budgets a million euros a year for upkeep -- far too little, the prince says.

"It's a big responsibility to maintain a place like this," said Karadjordjevic, who wore a doubled-breasted suit and speaks far better English than Serbian. "You have a list of repairs. Number one is the roof. Number 50 is the swimming pool."

Among the areas that are well preserved are the movie theater, billiard room and other ornate basement rooms, ground floor dining room with a massive fireplace and long wooden table, and library stocked with thousands of books.

After World War Two, Communism ended monarchy across the Balkans, although Tito maintained a regal tradition of entertaining top international leaders there. 

Moroccan king says constitution to be revised

 (AP) – 22 hours ago
RABAT, Morocco (AP) — King Mohammed VI said Wednesday that Morocco will revise its constitution for the first time in 15 years, aiming to strengthen democracy in the face of a push across the Arab world.

In a rare TV and radio speech to the nation, the popular monarch said a new commission would suggest constitutional revisions to him by June, and the overall project would be put to Moroccan voters in a referendum.

"By launching today the work of constitutional reform, we embark on a major phase in the process of consolidation of our model of democracy and development," said the king, wearing glasses, a sober black tie and a dark suit. He was flanked by his brother, Prince Moulay Rachid, and his 7-year-old son, Crown Prince Moulay Hassan.

Some Moroccans poured into the streets of Rabat, the capital, to celebrate after the speech, blaring car horns and waving the North African country's single-star flag.

But the overall reaction to the country's first constitutional revision since 1996, and the first since Mohammed VI took the throne following his father's death in 1999, wasn't immediately clear. The speech, which was only announced hours earlier, came as many people in the football-crazy country tuned in to watch the latest European Champions League contests.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Prince William to Visit Australia and New Zealand

Prince William to visit Australia and New Zealand - Thursday 17th to Monday 21st March 2011

8th March 2011
Prince William is to pay a visit to New Zealand and to Australia on behalf of The Queen following the natural disasters in both countries. Prince William will visit following invitations extended by the Prime Minister of New Zealand and the Prime Minister of Australia. The Prince will meet those affected by the recent disasters as well as meeting members of the emergency and other support services.

Prince William will first visit Christchurch from 17th-18th March, where he will attend a National Memorial Service on Friday 18th March, as well as undertake other engagements in the area. The Prince will also visit Greymouth, near the site of the recent disaster at the Pike River Mine.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Duke of York's Increasing Troubles

Goga Ashkenazi, a Kazakh socialite, said that the Duke sent her a BlackBerry message over the weekend expressing his anguish about the coverage of his friendship with Jeffrey Epstein.
He contacted her after the Sunday newspapers contained fresh details over his involvement with the American billionaire, who was sentenced to 18 months in prison in 2008 for soliciting a minor for prostitution.
Last month a picture emerged of the Duke with his arm around Virginia Roberts. The image was taken while she was employed by Epstein as a masseuse but she alleges he sexually exploited her while a teenage minor.
The Government rallied round the Duke yesterday with David Cameron's official spokesman saying the Prime Minister was "fully supportive" of him staying on.

Queen Noor of Jordan's Thoughts

Throughout the extraordinary events of the last few months, across the Middle East and North Africa, long-silenced voices demanding change are being heard worldwide -- and stalwart among them are the voices of women. From the bereaved mother of the first tragic Tunisian protester, to Asmaa Mahfouz, the 26-year-old whose YouTube video brought Egyptians into the streets, to Sally Zahran, a passionate 23-year-old Egyptian woman who was bludgeoned to death on January 28, to Tawakul Abdel-Salam Karman, the activist whose arrest sparked demonstrations in Yemen and countless others, women have joined with men in peaceful protest, braving beatings, rubber bullets, and worse. In Egypt, considered the birthplace of Arab feminism in the 1920s, an estimated quarter of the million protesters at the height of the demonstration were female. In all the pictures from the protest, none was as powerful as that of the woman standing face to face with an Egyptian soldier in a pose of utmost defiance. One young female protester stated, "There are no differences between men and women here. We are all one hand." In more conservative cultures such as Bahrain and Yemen, fewer women have demonstrated, but for that very reason their presence is perhaps even more significant.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Queen Victoria and the Munchi – A Comforting Friendship

I am so very fond of him. He is so good and gentle and understanding… and is a real comfort to me.”

These were the words of Queen Victoria speaking to her daughter-in-law, Louise, Duchess of Connaught, on November 3, 1888, at Balmoral. Perhaps surprising, though, is who she was talking about – not her beloved husband, Albert, who had died in 1861. Nor John Brown, her loyal Scottish ghillie, who in many ways filled the void left by Albert, since Brown had died in 1883.

Instead, Queen Victoria was referring to Abdul Karim, her 24-year-old Indian servant.
Her relationship with Karim was one that sent shockwaves through the royal court – and ended up being one of the most scandalous periods of her 64-year reign.

Indeed, such was the ill-feeling that when Victoria died, her son King Edward ordered all records of their relationship, including correspondence and photographs, to be destroyed.

No More Modelling for Duke of Kent's Granddaughter

Lady Marina Windsor looked every inch a future catwalk star when she modelled for Tatler last year, but she tells Mandrake that she has no plans to do any more modelling. A career in the United Nations would, she feels, be eminently more rewarding.
Lady Marina, 18, featured in the shoot with her brother, Edward Windsor, Lord Downpatrick, 22, and her sister, Lady Amelia Windsor, 15. “We did it for [couturier] Hardy Amies,” she says. “We owed them a lot because they had done so much for our family.”
The grandchild of the Queen’s cousin, the Duke of Kent, is currently at St Mary’s, Ascot, and hopes to go on to Oxford and then the UN. “I’m very interested in diplomacy,” she says. “It’s very hard to get into the UN – there is a lot of competition – so I’ll have to work very hard.”

©Adrian Weinbrecht 

Lady Anson to Organize Queen's Reception for William's Wedding

When it comes to organising the wedding reception of the year, Prince William and Kate Middleton need a planner with discretion and a unique knowledge of what makes a royal party go with a swing.
Step forward Lady Elizabeth Anson, the Queen's cousin and party planner to both British and Hollywood royalty, who has been called upon to help the couple plan their wedding.
Lady Elizabeth, the founder of Party Planners, a London-based events company, will oversee the couple's wedding reception at Buckingham Palace in April, hosted by the Queen.
The Queen is believed to have called upon Lady Elizabeth's know-how for the royal wedding reception following the success of her own 80th birthday party at The Ritz hotel in London in 2006, which Lady Elizabeth organised.

Royals in Uniform

A nice pictorial report on various members of the English royal family while wearing uniform.

I have particularly enjoyed the photo of the venerable Duke of Edinburgh!

©Rex Features