Saturday, July 30, 2011

Wedding of Miss Zara Phillips

Miss Zara Phillips, eldest granddaughter of HM The Queen of the United Kingdom, married her longtime boyfriend, rugby player Michael Tindall, today in Scotland. The wedding was a noticeably quieter affair in comparison to the nuptials of Miss Phillip's cousin, the Duke of Cambridge, but it did mark the first time a member of the Royal Family has been married in Scotland since the bride's mother, the Princess Royal, wed her current husband there in 1992.

Mr. and Mrs. Michael Tindall after their wedding. The bride is wearing a tiara once owned by her great-grandmother, Princess Andrew of Greece and Denmark (born Princess Alice of Battenberg), the mother of Mrs. Tindall's grandfather, the Duke of Edinburgh. Princess Andrew gave the tiara to the Queen as a wedding gift in 1947, and the Queen later passed the tiara onto her daughter, the Princess Royal.

Friday, June 10, 2011

90th Birthday of Prince Philip

On June 10, 2011, His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, celebrated his 90th birthday. It is a notable milestone in an extraordinary life - he is already the oldest living spouse of a reigning British monarch and the longest-serving royal consort in British history.

Prince Philip and Buckingham Palace officials insisted that his birthday would not be marked by any formal celebration, but his wife the Queen did bestow him a special birthday gift by creating him Lord High Admiral of the British Navy.

Philip was born Prince Philippos of Greece and Denmark on June 10, 1921 on the Greek island of Corfu. He was the fifth child and only son of Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark and Princess Alice of Battenberg. His family were exiled from Greece when he was just a year old, and he had an often nomadic childhood after his mother was sent to a mental institution and his father went to live in southern France.

Philip met his future wife, Princess Elizabeth, daughter of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, around 1939, when the British royal family were given a tour of Dartmouth naval college by Philip's uncle, Lord Louis Mountbatten. Philip and Elizabeth are third cousins through their mutual lineage from Queen Victoria, and second cousins once-removed through their mutual lineage from King Christian IX of Denmark. They married in November 1947 and have four children, eight grandchildren and one great-granddaughter.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Danish Royalty to Visit Southern California

HRH Prince Henrik of Denmark, husband of Queen Margrethe II, will stop by for an official visit to the Southern California city of Solvang on June 11 (which also happens to be the Prince's birthday).

Solvang, located in the Santa Ynez Valley about 120 miles north of Los Angeles, is a famous California tourist destination renowned for its Danish-styled buildings and culture. The Prince will visit Solvang during his official visit to the United States with the Queen, who will not be joining her husband on his excursion to California.

This is not the first time that Solvang has received Danish royalty. Queen Margrethe and Prince Henrik last visited in 1976. Prior to that, the Queen visited the city in 1960 when she was still simply Princess Margrethe of Denmark.

In 1939, the Queen's parents, Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Ingrid (later King Frederik IX and Queen Ingrid) paid the first royal visit to Solvang.

Friday, April 29, 2011

New Titles for Royal Newlyweds

On the morning of Friday, April 29, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II announced that she "has been pleased today to confer a Dukedom on Prince William of Wales". The prince is now His Royal Highness the Duke of Cambridge, Earl of Strathearn and Baron Carrickfergus. The announcement took place on the morning of Prince William's wedding to Miss Catherine Middleton; traditionally, royal princes in the past have received ducal titles from the monarch upon their marriages.

Miss Catherine Middleton thus becomes Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Cambridge after the wedding. Her official title in full, however, is Her Royal Highness Princess William Arthur Philip Louis, Duchess of Cambridge, Countess of Strathearn and Baroness Carrickfergus.

When Prince Charles, Prince of Wales succeeds to the throne as expected, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will automatically become the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall, the traditional title for the heir apparent. The title Prince of Wales is not automatically inherited and must be granted by the sovereign; therefore the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will become the Prince and Princess of Wales at the will of the sovereign.

When the Duke of Cambridge succeeds to the throne, he would be styled as His Majesty King William V (should he choose his first name to be his regnal name) or simply His Majesty The King, and the Duchess of Cambridge will become Her Majesty Queen Catherine, or simply Her Majesty The Queen.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Death of King George II of Greece and Accession of King Paul

On April 1, 1947, King George II of the Hellenes died suddenly at the Royal Palace in Athens.

The 56-year-old monarch had been recalled to the Greek throne just a year before, following a lengthy exile in London during the Nazi occupation of Greece. His reign had been controversial and plagued with multiple exiles and restorations. He ascended the throne in 1922 after his father, King Constantine I, was driven into exile for a second time. The following year, however, George II found himself packing his bags and fleeing Athens, and in 1924 a republic was proclaimed in Greece. The Greek republic lasted for 13 years, during which time Greece underwent even more instability and political upheaval than it had ever known under the monarchy. Disillusioned with the republic, the Greeks voted to restore King George II, and he returned to Athens in 1935. During his second tenure, George appointed General Ioannis Metaxas as prime minister and gave him permission to declare military rule in Greece so that the country would not fall victim to a Communist takeover. Though constitutional rights were abolished during the dictatorship, the Greeks were not subjected to the brutal circumstances of similar dictatorships of the era-- Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy. Nonetheless, the Metaxas dictatorship remains a controversial subject for many Greeks, on behalf of both the general and the king.

George II and his family went into exile during the Nazi occupation of Greece from 1941-1944, and after the Nazi withdrawal the Greeks pondered whether to continue the monarchy, fearing that the restoration of George II would also spell the return of the military dictatorship. After much debate, the Greeks voted for the return of the king in March 1946. Barely a year later, after complaining of headaches and chest pains, the king was found unconscious on his drawing room floor by his sister, Princess Katherine.

When the announcement was made that George II had died, many Greeks believed it to be an April Fools joke. Later that evening, the king's brother Crown Prince Paul (George II had no children of his own) went to the parliament to accept the oath of the crown and swear his allegiance to the constitution, thus formally becoming King of the Hellenes.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Birthday of Princess Margarita

HRH Princess Margarita of Romania, eldest daughter and heiress of King Michael, celebrates her 62nd birthday tomorrow, March 26.

Named for her maternal grandmother, Princess Margrethe of Denmark (styled Princess Rene of Bourbon-Parma after her marriage), Margarita of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen was born in Lausanne, Switzerland on March 26, 1949. Margarita was born fifteen months after her father's abdication and flight from Romania. He had married her mother, Princess Anne of Bourbon-Parma, the previous year in Athens. Margarita's paternal grandparents are King Carol II of Romania and Princess Helen of Greece and Denmark, and her maternal grandparents are Prince Rene of Bourbon-Parma and Princess Margrethe of Denmark. Through her father, Princess Margarita is a great-great-great-granddaughter of Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom, and through both her parents is a great-great-great-granddaughter of King Christian IX of Denmark.

Margarita and her four sisters - Helen, Irene, Sophia and Marie - were reared in Switzerland. Margarita attended the University of Edinburgh in Scotland where she was romantically involved with Gordon Brown, who became Prime Minister of the United Kingdom in 2007. According to Margarita, the romance fizzled out due to Brown's devotion to his rising political career.

Margarita married the Romanian charity developer Radu Duda in 1996, who was named prince of Hohenzollern by the head of the Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen branch in 1999. In 2007, King Michael created Radu a royal prince of Romania in accordance with the private laws of the royal family, which do not hold official legal standing in Romania.

In 1990, King Michael returned to Romania for the first time in 40 years. Margarita had arrived there earlier as part of a humanitarian effort to aid orphanages and various charities in Romania. The government of the day claimed that King Michael and his family entered the country illegally and barred them from returning. Subsequent governments have rescinded the banishment, and since 1997 Princess Margarita, her husband and her parents have established permanent residences in Bucharest.

Princess Margarita has been designated by her father as heir to the headship of the royal house of Romania, and should the Romanian monarchy ever be restored she would be the likely successor to the crown. However, the previous monarchical constitution legally ratified in Romania banned women from inheriting the throne. King Michael has stated that the Salic law be removed should Romania ever choose to restore its monarchy.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Anniversary of King George I's Assassination

Today, March 18, marks the 98th anniversary of the assassination of King George I of Greece.

In March 1913, the King was in Thessaloniki in northern Greece, where troops under the command of his eldest son Crown Prince Constantine had recently taken control of the region from the Turks during the First Balkan War. The King's arrival in Thessaloniki had tactfully settled what could have been a disastrous dispute between the Greek and Bulgarian armies over who should oversee the city's occupation. King Ferdinand I of Bulgaria was insistent that the Bulgarians should claim victory over Thessaloniki, but the Greek monarch calmly disagreed and stated that in the rules of warfare, the conquering army assumes control, which rightfully belonged to Crown Prince Constantine's forces.

On the afternoon of March 18, 1913, King George insisted on taking his daily stroll unaccompanied by bodyguards. He was advised that due to the uneasy state of the recently liberated city, he should not go unprotected in the streets, but the King would not be deterred. While passing a cafe, a man later identified as Alexandros Schinas emerged from the cafe and shot the King in the back. The 67-year-old monarch collapsed in the street and died almost instantly. A messenger ran and informed the King's third-eldest son, Prince Nikolaos, who had the unfortunate task of telling his elder brother Constantine that he was now the new King.

King George's assassination came just weeks prior to the 50th anniversary of his accession to the Greek throne. He had informed his sons months before that after celebrating his Golden Jubilee later in the year, he hoped to abdicate in favor of Crown Prince Constantine and enjoy his twilight years in peace. Not only did the bullet of Alexandros Schinos rob King George I of that chance, but that bullet also robbed the Greek royal family of any stability it had previously known. None of George's predecessors on the Greek throne would enjoy a reign as continuous and stable as his own.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Who will attend Prince William's wedding?

With a little over a month until the wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton, speculation over who will be attending has been growing.

The Prince of Wales' office confirmed, without offering specific names, that 50 members of the British royal family, 40 members of foreign royal families, 200 members of government, parliament and diplomatic corps, as well as representatives of Prince William's various charities and friends of both William and Catherine will be guests at the wedding.

Various news sources have reported that among the foreign royalty invited to the wedding include royals from the Middle East and Asia.

Out of European royalty, most of whom are distant relatives of Prince William and his family, we believe the following will most certainly warrant an invitation --

Queen Margrethe II and Prince Henrik of Denmark - the Danish queen is a third cousin of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, and reports have poured in that she and her husband will be attending in place of the Crown Prince and Crown Princess, who just gave birth to twins in January.

King Michael and Queen Anne of Romania - the deposed Romanian king is a cousin of Prince Philip and, being just a few months apart in age, were rather close as children. However, King Michael's advanced age (he, along with Prince Philip, celebrates his 90th birthday this year) will probably make it difficult for him to travel, and we feel that the Queen and the Prince of Wales might be more inclined to invite relatives and friends who are closer in age to Prince William.

King Constantine and Queen Anne-Marie of Greece - The exiled king of Greece, aside from being a cousin of both the Queen and Prince Philip, is also a close friend of the Prince of Wales and, most significantly to the wedding, is one of Prince William's godfathers. For being the groom's godfather alone, the king most certainly warrants an invitation to the wedding. Not only that, but the Greek royal family reside in a mansion outside of London, thus giving them the benefit of not having to travel far at all for the nuptials.

King Harald V and Queen Sonja of Norway - King Harald is more closely related to the Queen than any other foreign monarch (the Queen's grandfather, King George V, was the brother of King Harald's grandmother, Queen Maud), and it seems likely that he, or at the very least his son and daughter-in-law, the Crown Prince and Crown Princess, will be invited to the wedding.

Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands - Though not a close relative of the British royal family, the Dutch queen and her son, the Prince of Orange, make appearances at almost every major European royal event, and it would not be surprising to see them turn up at Prince William's wedding.

Prince William of Wales and Catherine Middleton will be married on Friday, April 29 at Westminster Abbey in London.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

More details on Prince William's wedding

The wedding of HRH Prince William of Wales to Catherine Middleton will take place on April 29, 2011 at Westminster Abbey. It will be declared a public holiday throughout the United Kingdom and will likely be broadcast via television across the world.

St. James Palace has confirmed that the wedding ceremony shall begin at 11:00 AM, and that the bride will arrive at the abbey by car rather than carriage, which is the traditional transportation of royal brides.

Certain newspapers have reported that sources are claiming Prince William's reluctance to accept a royal dukedom from the Queen. If this does happen and the prince decides to remain simply Prince William of Wales, this would officially make his wife Princess William of Wales rather than Princess Catherine, which many people will no doubt refer to her as, although it is incorrect as Princess Catherine would infer that she were a princess by birth and not just by marriage.