Return of About Royalty

Hello readers, 

It has been about fifteen months since the last About Royalty post, and there has been an influx of news since the last update. 

2018 is shaping up to be a big year for royal news, with births and a major wedding on the way. Two royal princesses - the Duchess of Cambridge and Princess Madeleine of Sweden - are both due to give birth to their third children in 2018. Another royal relative, Zara Phillips, granddaughter of Queen Elizabeth II, also announced her second pregnancy just a few days ago, which along with the third Cambridge baby will bring the number of great-grandchildren for the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh to seven. 

On an international level, the most high-profile royal event of 2018 is most certainly the May wedding of Prince Harry to Meghan Markle at Windsor Castle. It is expected that Harry's sister-in-law will have already given birth to her child by that time so that she can accompany Harry's brother to the wedding, and all bets are on that Harry's niece and nephew, Charlotte and George, will be participants in the ceremony. 

Some royals will hit milestone birthdays this year - King Felipe VI of Spain turns fifty at the end of this month, while his father, King Juan Carlos, reached his eightieth birthday a few days ago. Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark will turn also turn fifty in May. This year will also see King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden hit a milestone as he is due to become the longest-reigning monarch in Swedish history. 

Reflecting back on the year that just ended, 2017 saw its share of big royal news. The Swedish royal family expanded with the birth of a second son to Prince Carl Philip and Princess Sofia. King Harald V and Queen Sonja of Norway both turned 80, as well as Queen Paola of Belgium and King Simeon II of Bulgaria. Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall turned 70, Crown Prince Pavlos of Greece was 50, and Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden reached 40 all in 2017. The 500th anniversary of the Protestant reformation was celebrated by the royals in Denmark and Norway. Serbia celebrated a royal wedding (albeit a deposed one) with the nuptials of Prince Philip of Yugoslavia and Danica Marinkovic. The Duke of Edinburgh retired from public duties in 2017, capping over six decades of service to the British people, while in November he and the Queen celebrated seventy years of marriage. A state visit by King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia of Spain to the UK brought out a host of tiaras and inter-royal mingling. July 17 also marked the 100th anniversary of the creation of the House of Windsor. Japan's Emperor Akihito announced he would be stepping down from the throne in 2019. 

There was sad news throughout the year as well. Prince Henrik, husband of Denmark's Queen Margrethe II, was confirmed to be suffering from dementia. Countess Mountbatten of Burma, daughter of Lord Louis Mountbatten and a cousin of Prince Philip, died at the age of 93. Richard, Prince of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Burleburg, husband of Princess Benedikte of Denmark, also passed away. The most notable royal death of the year was perhaps that of King Michael of Romania, who died in December at the age of 96. His funeral was attended by a number of European royals and brought thousands into the streets of Bucharest to pay their respects.

Here is to an eventful year of royal news and more updates to come.