Thursday, 8 October 2015

My new book is out today - "Norges krone"

I am glad to report that my new book, Norges krone - Kroninger, signinger og maktkamper fra sagatid til nåtid, is on sale from today. The title translates roughly as "The Crown of Norway: Coronations, Solemn Blessings and Power Struggles from the Age of the Sagas to the Present" and the book deals with the role of coronations (and solemn blessings) in Norwegian history from Magnus Erlingsson's coronation in 1164 to the future solemn blessing of the current crown princely couple, which amounts to telling the history of the Norwegian monarchy viewed through the coronations.
Coronations run through Norwegian history as a red thread and many of them have taken place in connection with important events, for instance the bloody civil wars of the twelfth century and the attempt to introduce a new state order based on sacral monarchy, the excommunication of King Sverre in 1194, the unificiation of the Nordic countries in Kalmar in 1397, the final choice between Sweden or Denmark as union partner in 1448-1450, the nation's rebirth in 1814, the conflict between Carl XIV Johan and Parliament and the dissolution of the union in 1905. The book also offers the first thorough investigation of the history and symbolism of the crown regalia and shows how the coronations saved Nidaros Cathedral from ruin.
For my readers in Norway the book is of course available in bookshops (ask the staff if you cannot find it and they will order it) and through online bookstores such as Haugen Bok (external link) or Adlibris (external link). Haugen Bok also ships abroad, while my Swedish friends may order it from the Swedish version of Adlibris (external link).

Friday, 2 October 2015

Queen's childhood home to be moved to museum

The news that the villa in which the Queen grew up was to be demolished caused some consternation a while ago, but yesterday it became known that the house has now been saved and will be moved to the open air museum Maihaugen at Lillehammer.
Until her marriage to the then Crown Prince Harald in 1968, Sonja Haraldsen, as she then was, lived in a functionalist villa in Tuengen allé 1B at Vinderen in Oslo, which had been built in 1935, two years before her birth. After her mother Dagny Haraldsen moved to an apartment at Majorstua, the villa was taken over by Dag Swanstrøm, son of the Queen's late sister Gry Henriksen, but because of reconstruction of the area it had now been decided to demolish the house.
However, Maihaugen has since 1993 collected houses in order to documents Norwegian homes of the twentieth century, but has until now lacked houses from the 1930s and 1960s. The Queen's childhood home will thus fill a gap in the museum's collection while preserving a house that is of more than usual historical interest.
The villa has been modernised and altered through the years, but in connection with its move to Maihaugen later additions will be removed and the house restored to its original appearance. The Queen has agreed to assist in this work by making available items, documentation and memories.

Thursday, 1 October 2015

My latest articles: Princess Esmeralda on her grandparents, Queen Charlotte and Ludwig II's bride

I used to post updates here about articles I write, but in the final months of work on my new book there was no time for that, but now that the book is done I will try to resume that habit, starting with the October issue of Majesty, which went on sale in Britain last Thursday and will soon reach other countries too.
In this issue (Vol. 36, No. 10, October 2015) you will find the first part of an interview I recently did with the author and climate change activist Princess Esmeralda of Belgium, the youngest daughter of King Léopold III. This time she speaks about her grandparents, King Albert I and Queen Elisabeth, who are the topic of a book she and Christophe Vachaudez co-authored last year. In the second part of the interview, which will appear in the November issue, Princess Esmeralda will talk about her father, his downfall and how he built a new life for himself after his abdication, and in the third and final part, in the December issue, she will share her memories of her controversial mother, Princess Lilian. All three parts will include several unusual photos.
In the October issue I have also written an article on Queen Charlotte of Britain, the long-suffering consort of "mad" King George III, who was often severely tested by misfortune, but who, in spite of everything, managed to maintain her sanity.
I have written no less than three articles in this issue, and the last of them deals with Duchess Sophie in Bavaria, the younger sister of Empress Elisabeth of Austria, who was engaged to the legendary, eccentric King Ludwig II of Bavaria, fell in love with a photographer, married a French Prince, was locked away in a mental asylum when she fell in love with her doctor and died a horrible death. Hers was surely one of the most dramatic and tragic of royal life stories.

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

At the road's end: Prince Friedrich Wilhelm of Prussia (1939-2015), historian

A spokeswoman for the former royal house of Prussia has announced that the historian Prince Friedrich Wilhelm died yesterday, following a lengthy illness. The eldest uncle of the head of the dynasty was 76 years old.
The eldest son of Prince Louis Ferdinand of Prussia and his wife, née Grand Duchess Kira Kirillovna of Russia, Louis Ferdinand Friedrich Wilhelm Hubertus Michael Kyrill Prinz von Preussen was born on 9 February 1939. At that time his great-grandfather, ex-Emperor Wilhelm II, was still living in exile in the Netherlands, but the headship of the royal house eventually passed to Friedrich Wilhelm's father. As the eldest son, Friedrich Wilhelm was first in line to succeed to the headship, but he forfeited his rights when he made an unapproved marriage with the commoner Waltraut Freydag in 1967. As his next brother, Michael, who died last year, also lost his rights through marriage, the headship of the royal house passed to their nephew Prince Georg Friedrich, son of the third brother, who had been killed in an accident in 1977. The issue of inheritance caused a protracted legal battle.
Prince Friedrich Wilhelm studied at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg and obtained a doctorate in history in 1971. He was however accused of having plagiarised a substantial part of his dissertation and was stripped of the doctorate in 1973. Eventually he obtained a new doctorate from the Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich, this time on the topic of the Hohenzollern dynasty's relations to Nazism.
His first marriage was dissolved in 1971, and in 1976 he married Ehrengard von eden. That marraige was also dissolved in 2004, and later that year he married his third wife, Sibylle Kretschmer. He had one son from his first marriage and two sons and a daughter from the second.
For Prince Georg Friedrich, this is the second death in the family in little more than three weeks, following the death of his mother, Duchess Donata of Oldenburg, on 5 September.

Prince Joachim of Denmark appoints cabinet minister

Earlier today Prince Joachim of Denmark appointed Peter Christensen of the Liberal Party Minister of Defence and Nordic Co-operation. Prince Joachim acts as Guardian of the Realm in the absence of Queen Margrethe and Crown Prince Frederik, and it seems this is only the second time that he has appointed a cabinet minister.
The outgoing Minister of Defence, Carl Holst, announced his resignation yesterday, 93 days after his appointment, after accusations of using a public servant for his own party-political purposes while he led the Regional Council of Southern Denmark but was seeking election to Parliament.
If the Queen is abroad or incapacitated, the Crown Prince is first in line to act as Regent, but if he is also unavailable Prince Joachim or Princess Benedikte will act as Guardian of the Realm, carrying out the monarch's constitutional functions. According to the television network DR, the only previous occasion on which Prince Joachim has appointed a cabinet minister was in December 2012, when Marianne Jelved succeeded Uffe Elbæk as Minister of Culture.

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Queen Sofía nominated for Nobel Peace Prize

It was reported this week that Queen Sofía of Spain, the mother of King Felipe VI, has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. The Queen, whose husband King Juan Carlos I abdicated last year, has been nominated by representatives of an undisclosed American university for her commitment to research into Alzheimer's disease and for her work on behalf of the disabled and other marginalised groups.
The nomination was revealed by the head of Spain's Centre of Investigation into Neurological Diseases (CIEN) on World Alzheimer's Day on Monday. However, it was not clear whether the nomination has just been made or if Queen Sofía was nominated for the 2015 Nobel Peace Prize before the deadline for nominations expired on 31 January.
The recipient or recipients of this year's Nobel Peace Prize will be announced on 9 October, but there are hundreds of nominees and I would say it is highly unlikely that Queen Sofía would be seriously considered. The Nobel Peace Prize Committee has in recent years expanded the peace concept somewhat, which has resulted in the Peace Prize being awarded for for instance environmental work or the promotion of girls' rights to go to school, but supporting medical research seems to be too far-fetched to be covered by any definition of peace (it seems to be a general misunderstanding that all sorts of good deeds can be rewarded with the Nobel Peace Prize).
The European royal who is known to have come closest to receiving the Nobel Peace Prize is Prince Carl of Sweden, who was President of the Swedish Red Cross for forty years and was on a number of occasions seriously considered based on his humanitarian work.

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

My new book: Coronations and their role in Norwegian history

Today I have the pleasure of announcing the publication of my third book. Norges krone - Kroninger, signinger og maktkamper fra sagatid til nåtid, which translates roughly as "The Crown of Norway: Coronations, Solemn Blessings and Power Struggles from the Age of the Sagas to the Present", deals with the role of coronations (and solemn blessings) in Norwegian history from Magnus Erlingsson's coronation in 1164 to the future solemn blessing of the current crown princely couple.
This might sound like rather dry ceremonial history, but coronations run through Norwegian history as a red thread and many of them have taken place in connection with important events, for instance the bloody civil wars of the twelfth century and the attempt to introduce a new state order based on sacral monarchy, the excommunication of King Sverre in 1194, the unificiation of the Nordic countries in Kalmar in 1397, the final choice between Sweden or Denmark as union partner in 1448-1450, the nation's rebirth in 1814, the conflict between Carl XIV Johan and Parliament and the dissolution of the union in 1905.
Thus the history of the coronations is also the history of the Norwegian monarchy and a prism through which more than 800 years of Norwegian history may be viewed. In addition the book offers the first thorough investigation of the history and symbolism of the crown regalia and shows how the coronations saved Nidaros Cathedral from ruin.
The book will be published by Forlaget Historie & Kultur and go on sale around 8 October. More information about its publication and how to buy it will appear in due course.

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Former Princess Alexandra to divorce second husband

A lawyer speaking on behalf of Countess Alexandra of Frederiksborg, the former Princess of Denmark, today announced that she and her second husband Martin Jørgensen are set to divorce. In an interview with the news agency Ritzau, the Countess claims that the decision was hers alone. She adds that "When one can see that there is no shared future and that there are some fundamental values we all have in a marriage that become too different, one has to rethink it".
Born in Hong Kong in 1964, the businesswoman Alexandra Manley married Prince Joachim of Denmark, the second son of Queen Margrethe II, in 1995. They had two children, Princes Nikolai and Felix, but announced their separation in September 2004 and divorced in April 2005. At the time of the divorce, Princess Alexandra was given the additional title Countess of Frederiksborg, after the palace where she and Prince Joachim married. When she married the film photographer Martin Jørgensen, who is fourteen years her junior, on 3 March 2007, she forfeited the title of Princess but kept the comital title (which is personal). In spite of having been only briefly married to the monarch's younger son, Countess Alexandra receives 2.1 million DKK from the civil list annually for the rest of her life, an arrangement that has come under criticism in recent years.

Friday, 4 September 2015

Crown Princess Victoria is pregnant

The Swedish royal court this afternoon announced that Crown Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel are expecting their second child. The baby, who will be third in line to the Swedish throne, is expected to be born in March 2016. The couple's first child, Princess Estelle, was born on 23 February 2012.

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Prince Nicolas to be baptised on 11 October

The Swedish royal court today announced that Prince Nicolas, the son born to Princess Madeleine and Christopher O'Neill on 15 June, will be christened in the chapel at Drottningholm Palace on 11 October. This is the same chapel where his sister, Princess Leonore, was christened on 8 June 2014. It was also the venue for the funeral of Princess Kristine Bernadotte in November last year and the wedding of Prince Bertil and Princess Lilian in December 1976.

Sunday, 5 July 2015

Princess Charlotte of Britain christened

The christening of Princess Charlotte of Britain, the daughter of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (Prince William and his wife Catherine), took place in St Mary Magdalene Church at Sandringham in Norfolk today. The godparents were Prince William's first cousin Laura Fellowes (daughter of Princess Diana's eldest sister Jane and Queen Elizabeth's former Private Secretary Robert Fellowes), the Duchess of Cambridge's first cousin Adam Middleton (son of her father's brother Richard), and three friends of the parents: Sophie Carter, James Meade and Thomas van Straubenzee.
The Princess wore a christening dress from 2007 which is a replica of one first worn by Queen Victoria's eldest daughter, Victoria, later German Empress, in 1841. The so-called Lily Font, a silver gilt baptismal font made for the same occasion, had been brought to Sandringham from the Tower of London, where it is usually displayed together with the Crown Jewels (sparking silly stories in the media about "the Crown Jewels leaving London for the first time").
Princess Charlotte was baptised by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby. The only invited guests, except from her parents and elder brother George, were her great-grandparents, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip; her grandfather Prince Charles and his wife Camilla; her grandparents Michael and Carole Middleton; her uncle James Middleton; her aunt Philippa ("Pippa") Middleton; and the five godparents, four of them accompanied by their spouses.
St Mary Magdalene Church is located at the royal Sandringham estate in northeastern England, where the parents of Princess Charlotte nowadays have their primary home at Anmer Hall. The church has also been the venue of the christenings of, among others, the future King George VI of Britain in 1896, the future King Olav V of Norway in 1903, and Princess Charlotte's grandmother Diana, the future Princess of Wales, in 1961.

Thursday, 18 June 2015

Prince Nicolas Paul Gustaf of Sweden, Duke of Ångermanland

At 1.45 p.m. on Monday 15 June, less than 48 hours after the wedding of her brother Prince Carl Philip and Sofia Hellqvist, Princess Madeleine of Sweden gave birth to a son at Danderyd Hospital in Danderyd outside Stockholm, and in a council meeting with the government earlier today King Carl XVI Gustaf announced that his grandson's name and titles will be Nicolas Paul Gustaf, Prince of Sweden and Duke of Ångermanland.
The name Nicolas has not been used in the Swedish royal family before, except in the version Nicolaus. In 1831, the fourth son of the future King Oscar I and Queen Josephine received the name Nicolaus August, the first of them in honour of Emperor Nikolaj I of Russia, but when the Emperor shortly thereafter cracked down on the Polish uprising the reactions in Sweden were so strong that it was apparently felt safest to let the newborn prince be known by his second name, August.
Paul is obviously in honour of Prince Nicolas's paternal grandfather, the late Paul O'Neill, while Gustaf is a name with deep roots in Swedish royal history and of course also the second name of the current King, the baby's maternal grandfather.
All three names were also used in 1909, when the only child of Prince Wilhelm and his Russian-born wife Maria Pavlovna was named Gustaf Lennart Nicolaus Paul, although he was always known as Lennart.
The dukedom, on the other hand, is without precedent. Since Gustaf III re-introduced dukedoms in 1772 these have been derived from the provinces of Sweden. Some have been used more often than others, while some have never been used for dukedoms. Until today, Ångermanland was one of the latter.
The newborn Prince is sixth (and last) in the order of succession to the Swedish throne. He is the second child of Princess Madeleine and her husband Christopher O'Neill, following Princess Leonore, who was born on 20 February 2014.

Saturday, 13 June 2015

Swedish royal wedding on Norwegian television

Today Prince Carl Philip of Sweden will marry Sofia Hellqvist in the Palace Church in Stockholm, a glittering event that seems likely to be the last but one major royal wedding in several years.
NRK will broadcast the arrival of the guests, the wedding and the carriage procession through Stockholm from 3.50 p.m. (the actual wedding begins at 4.30 p.m.) until about 6.30 p.m., with Anne Grosvold and me as commentators. The broadcast should also be available at either or, or possibly both.
The dinner and dance will also be broadcast on Swedish television SVT, but not on NRK - SVT's broadcast of these events will however also be available through NRK's website.

Friday, 12 June 2015

Official guest list for the Swedish royal wedding

The Swedish royal court has today released the official lists of guests who will be present in the Palace Church in Stockholm tomorrow for the wedding of Prince Carl Philip and Sofia Hellqvist. Some of the interesting names are:

Members of reigning royal families with partners:
TM King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia of Sweden
HM Queen Margrethe II of Denmark
HM Queen Sonja of Norway
HM Queen Máxima of the Netherlands
HM Queen Mathilde of the Belgians
TRH Crown Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel of Sweden
TRH Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary of Denmark
TRH Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway
HRH Princess Estelle of Sweden
HRH Princess Madeleine of Sweden and Mr Christopher O'Neill
HRH Princess Birgitta of Hohenzollern and Sweden
Princess Margaretha of Sweden, Mrs Ambler
Princess Désirée of Sweden, Baroness Silfverschiöld and Baron Niclas Silfverschiöld
Princess Christina of Sweden, Mrs Magnuson and Mr Tord Magnuson
TRH Prince Edward and Sophie of Britain, Earl and Countess of Wessex
TRH Prince Joachim and Princess Marie of Denmark
HIH Hisako, Princess Takamado of Japan
HH Princess Märtha Louise of Norway and Mr Ari Behn
Countess Marianne Bernadotte af Wisborg (widow of the late former Prince Sigvard of Sweden)

Members of non-reigning royal families:
TRH Prince Nikolaós and Princess Tatiana of Greece and Denmark
HRH Prince Leopold and Princess Ursula of Bavaria
TRH Prince Manuel and Princess Anna of Bavaria
HH Hereditary Prince Hubertus of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
TSH Prince Hubertus and Princess Ute Maria of Hohenzollern

Descendants of royalty with partners
Baroness Sybilla von Dincklage (daughter of Princess Margaretha)
Mr James and Mrs Ursula Ambler (son and daughter-in-law of Princess Margaretha)
Mrs Désirée and Mr Eckbert von Bohlen und Halbach (daughter and son-in-law of Princess Birgitta)
Baron Carl Silfverschiöld (son of Princess Désirée)
Baroness Christina and Baron Hans De Geer (daughter and son-in-law of Princess Désirée)
Baroness Hélène Silfverschiöld (daughter of Princess Désirée) and Fredrik Dieterle
Mr Gustaf and Mrs Vicky Magnuson (son and daughter-in-law of Princess Christina)
Mr Oscar and Mrs Emma Magnuson (son and daughter-in-law of Princess Christina)
Mr Victor Magnuson (son of Princess Christina) and Miss Frida Bergström
Countess Bettina Bernadotte af Wisborg and Philipp Haug (daughter and son-in-law of the late former Prince Lennart of Sweden)
Mr Emil Bernadotte af Wisborg (son of Bettina Bernadotte and Philipp Haug)
Mrs Dagmar von Arbin (granddaughter of the late former Prince Oscar of Sweden and of Norway) (aged 99!)
Count Bertil and Countess Jill Bernadotte af Wisborg (grandson and granddaughter-in-law of the late former Prince Oscar of Sweden and of Norway)

Members of Queen Silvia's family:
Mr Ralf and Mrs Charlotte de Toledo Sommerlath (brother and sister-in-law)
Mrs Carmita Sommerlath Baudinet (daughter of Ralf de Toledo Sommerlath) and Mr Pierre Baudinet
Miss Chloé Radigues de Chennevière (daughter of Carmita Sommerlath Baudinet)
Mr Thomas de Toledo Sommerlath (son of Ralf de Toledo Sommerlath) and Ms Bettina Aussems
Mr Tim de Toledo Sommerlath (son of Thomas Sommerlath) and Mrs Kristina de Toledo Sommerlath
Mr Philip de Toledo Sommerlath (son of Thomas Sommerlath)
Miss Giulia de Toledo Sommerlath (daughter of Thomas Sommerlath)
Mr Walther L. and Mrs Ingrid Sommerlath (brother and sister-in-law)
Mr Patrick and Mrs Maline Sommerlath (son and daughter-in-law of Walther L. Sommerlath)
Mr Leopold Lundén Sommerlath (son of Patrick Sommerlath)
Miss Chloé Sommerlath (daughter of Patrick Sommerlath)
Miss Anaïs Sommerlath (daughter of Patrick Sommerlath)
Miss Helena Christina Sommerlath (daughter of the Queen's late brother Jörg Sommerlath) and Mr Jan Sohns
Ms Maria Salles Souto Ferreira (maternal relative of Queen Silvia)

Members of the bride's family:
Mr Erik and Mrs Marie Hellqvist (parents)
Miss Lina Hellqvist (sister) and Mr Jonas Frejd
Miss Sara Hellqvist (sister) and Mr Oskar Bergman
Mrs Britt Rotman (maternal grandmother)
Mr Anders Rotman (maternal uncle) and Mrs Laila Rönn Rotman
Mr Victor Rotman (cousin) and Miss Eleonora Caiazza
Mr Johan Rotman (cousin)
Mrs Lena Rotman (maternal aunt) and Mr Peter Nygren
Miss Hanna Nygren (cousin)
Mr Andreas Nygren (cousin)
Mr Lars and Mrs Irena Hellqvist (paternal uncle and aunt)
Mr Daniel Hellqvist (cousin)
Mr Martin Hellqvist (cousin)

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Foreign guests for Swedish royal wedding

With only three days to go before the wedding of Prince Carl Philip of Sweden and Sofia Hellqvist on Saturday, the Swedish royal court has not yet released on official guest list, nor do the media seem to have been able to get hold of it, but several foreign courts have already announced which royals who will travel to Stockholm for the nuptials.
The only foreign monarch expected is Queen Margrethe II of Denmark, who is the groom's godmother (the other sponsors being Princess Birgitta of Hohenzollern, Prince Leopold of Bavaria and the late Prince Bertil of Sweden). She will be accompanied by Crown Prince Frederik, Crown Princess Mary, Prince Joachim and Princess Marie.
There will also be a strong Norwegian contingent, headed by the Queen. She will be joined by the Crown Prince and Crown Princess and by Princess Märtha Louise and Ari Behn.
The Queens of the Netherlands and the Belgians will also attend, while the Earl and Countess of Wessex (Prince Edward and his wife Sophie) will as usual represent Britain. The Japanese imperial family will be represented by Princess Takamado, the wife of a first cousin of the Emperor, who also attended Princess Madeleine's wedding two years ago.
It is not yet known whether Luxembourg, Monaco and Spain will be represented, but the presence of Spanish royals are for security reasons mostly only made just before the event.

Sunday, 7 June 2015

Statue of King Olav unveiled in Oslo

24 1/2 years after the death of King Olav V and 20 years after the municipality of Oslo decided to erect a statue of him, the King and Princess Astrid today unveiled Olav Orud's statue of their father outside the City Hall in Oslo. 36 members of the extended royal family attended the unveiling ceremony.
The statue shows the late King in a civilian outfit and holding his hat behind his back, having stepped down from the plinth, which is decorated with four reliefs showing scenes from King Olav's life. It is located in Crown Princess Märtha Square, where Queen Maud Street, Haakon VII Street and Olav V Street meet.
There were speeches by among others the Mayor of Oslo, Fabian Stang, and the Minister of Defence, Ine Marie Eriksen Søreide, and all surviving cabinet ministers and members of the royal household during the reign of King Olav had been invited to the unveiling, which also saw an unusual gathering of almost all the living descendants of King Olav and Crown Princess Märtha.
The King and Queen were of course there, accompanied by the Crown Prince and Crown Princess, Princess Ingrid Alexandra, Prince Sverre Magnus, the Crown Princess's son Marius Borg Høiby, and Princess Märtha Louise and Ari Behn with their three daughters, Maud, Leah and Emma Behn.
Princess Astrid's branch of the family was also complete. The Princess's eldest daughter Cathrine Ferner Johansen was accompanied by her husband Arild Johansen and their children Sebastian and Madeleine; Benedikte Ferner by her partner Aage Hvinden; Alexander Ferner by his wife Margrét and their children Edward and Stella; Elisabeth Ferner by her partner (whose name escapes me) and her son Benjamin Beckman; and Carl-Christian Ferner by his wife Anna-Stina S. Ferner.
Sadly Princess Ragnhild, who would have turned 85 on Tuesday, did not live to see the statue of her father unveiled, but her 92-year-old widower, Erling S. Lorentzen, had come from Brazil. Their son Haakon Lorentzen and his wife Martha were absent, but Haakon's and Martha's eldest son, Olav, and their daughter Sophia Anne were present, while their younger son Christian was absent. Princess Ragnhild's eldest daughter, Ingeborg Lorentzen Ribeiro, was accompanied by her husband Paulo Ribeiro, their only child Victoria Ribeiro Falcão and her husband Felipe Falcão. The late Princess's youngest daughter, Ragnhild Lorentzen Long, did not bring her husband and their two daughters.
The unveiling took place on a symbolically important date: The union of crowns with Sweden was dissolved 110 years ago today, paving the way for the election of the new dynasty in the autumn, King Haakon VII and Crown Prince Olav were forced to leave Norway for exile in Britain 75 years ago today, and King Haakon, Crown Princess Märtha, Prince Harald, Princess Ragnhild and Princess Astrid returned to Norway in triumph 70 years ago today (Crown Prince Olav had returned already on 13 May).

Friday, 5 June 2015

Princess Charlotte to be christened at Sandringham

It was announced today that the christening of Princess Charlotte of Britain will take place in St Mary Magdalene Church at Sandringham on 5 July. Her brother, Prince George, was christened in the Chapel Royal at St James's Palace, London, but the parents are now living primarily at their country home Anmer Hall on the Sandringham estate, which makes the local church seem a natural choice of venue.
Among other royals baptised in St Mary Magdalene Church are the baby's late grandmother Diana, Princess of Wales, who was born in Park House on the Sandringham estate and christened in the local church on 30 August 1961, Princess Eugenie, who was christened there on 23 December 1990, and the future King Olav V of Norway, who was born at Appleton House, also on the Sandringham estate, and baptised on 11 August 1903.
Like her brother, Princess Charlotte will be christened by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Princess Madeleine moving to England

The Swedish royal court today confirmed what has been long expected, namely that Princess Madeleine and her family will soon be moving to England. Princess Madeleine moved to New York on the day the end to her engagement to Jonas Bergström was announced in April 2010 and remained there after marrying Chris O'Neill in June 2013. Their daughter, Princess Leonore, was born in New York in February last year, while their second child, which is expected almost any day now, will be born in Stockholm, whence the family moved at the end of 2014. However, it was stated at that time that they were only living in Stockholm temporarily while looking for a home somewhere in Europe.
Chris O'Neill holds both British and American citizenships, but has stated that he considers himself primarily British. London is also where he was born, and where his mother Eva O'Neill lives. While Chris O'Neill changed his tax domicile to England on 22 April, Princess Madeleine and their daughter are still living in Stockholm. His absence from a handful of recent events, including the celebrations of King Carl Gustaf's 69th birthday on 30 April, has been remarked upon by the press, and it is now clear that he will also be unable to attend the National Day celebrations on 6 June. Obviously this is not too strange considering that he is not a working member of the royal family, but has a full time job to look after even though he is married to a princess.
The Act of Succession includes a rather vague stipulation for princes and princesses to be brought up in Sweden, and at the time of Princess Leonore's birth it was stated by the Marshal of the Realm, Svante Lindqvist, that the court had interpreted this to mean from about the age of six and that the children should attend Swedish schools in order to maintain their succession rights. It is of course not really for the royal court to make binding interpretations of constitutional matters, but as their interpretation has not been challenged it seems the family will have to return to Sweden before 2020 if Princess Leonore is to retain her succession rights (and possibly her royal titles, which have in recent generations been seen as conditioned by succession rights).

Monday, 18 May 2015

Title issues: Sofia Hellqvist to become a princess and a duchess

With less than a month to go before the wedding of Prince Carl Philip of Sweden and Sofia Hellqvist on 13 June, the banns of marriage were published in connection with a service in the Palace Church in Stockholm on Sunday. This is no longer mandatory, but the Swedish royal family upholds the tradition and uses it as an occasion for the presentation of wedding gifts.
King Carl Gustaf also took the opportunity to announce his decision that Sofia Hellqvist will receive the titles Princess of Sweden and Duchess of Wermlandia as well as the style Royal Highness. This is not automatic, but decisions about titles for members of the royal family are the King's prerogative. As a logical consequence of the introducing of gender-neutral succession, King Carl Gustaf decided to treat the issue of princesses in the same way as the issue of princes, which means bestowing royal titles upon the children of Princess Madeleine. However, he seems to have changed his mind when it comes to the titles of his younger children's spouses.
When Princess Madeleine became engaged to Jonas Bergström in 2009, it was announced that her future husband would become Duke of Helsingia and Gastricia, i.e. of his wife's dukedom, but not a prince. On the other hand, her marriage to Christopher O'Neill in 2013 was preceeded by an announcement that her husband would become neither a prince nor a duke since he would not become a Swedish citizen and was not willing to give up his business interests, which suggests that the title of prince had been offered in addition to that of duke, as is now the case with the future wife of Prince Carl Philip.
The service in the Palace Church, which was followed by a lunch and reception, was attended by among others King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia, Crown Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel with Princess Estelle, Princess Madeleine and Chris O'Neill with Princess Leonore, Princess Christina's son Gustaf Magnuson and his wife Vicky Andrén, the King's aunt by marriage Countess Marianne Bernadotte af Wisborg, and Sofia Hellqvist's parents Erik and Marie Hellqvist as well as her sisters Lina and Sara with their boyfriends Jonas Frejd and Oskar Bergman.

Sunday, 10 May 2015

Monegasque twins baptised

Today Hereditary Prince Jacques and Princess Gabriella, the twins born to Sovereign Prince Albert II and Princess Charlène on 10 December, were christened in Monaco's Cathedral.
The children wore christening gowns from Dior and the godparents were Diane de Polignac Nigra and Christopher LeVine Jr for Prince Jacques and Gareth Wittstock and Nerine Pienaar for Princess Gabriella. Christopher LeVine Jr is the son of the only surviving child of Princess Grace's sister, Lizanne Kelly LeVine, and as such Prince Jacques's second cousin, while Diane de Polignac Nigra is a granddaughter of Thérèse de Polignac, who if I am not mistaken was a second cousin of Sovereign Prince Rainier III, making Prince Jacques's godmother his fourth cousin. Gareth Wittstock is Princess Charlène's brother, while I assume Nerine Pienaar is a friend of hers.
Princesses Caroline and Stéphanie attended with their families (the former as usual without her estranged husband), while the only foreign royals to have attended seem to have been Prince Charles and Princess Camilla of Bourbon-Two Sicilies, who are friends of the children's father.