Sunday, 20 February 2011

40 foreign royals invited to British wedding

Several British newspapers, including Sunday Telegraph, Sunday Times, the Observer and the Mail on Sunday, today report that invitations for the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton on 29 April have been sent out this week. Among those invited are fifty members of the extended British royal family and forty members of foreign royal families. Sixty representatives of the Commonwealth nations are also among the invitees, whereas non-royal and non-Commonwealth heads of state have not been invited.
1,900 people have been invited to the marriage ceremony in Westminster Abbey, whereas 600 (mostly family members, friends and foreign royals, but also the Prime Minister and some other selected officials) are invited to the recepetion hosted by Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace afterwards (Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet has taken the phrase “wedding breakfast” literally and writes that these people will join the Queen for breakfast “the next morning”!). 300 friends and family members are also invited to the dinner hosted by the Prince of Wales at the Palace in the evening.
The Mail, not always the most reliable of newspapers, claims to know that the kings of Jordan, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, Tonga and Thailand, the sultans of Oman and Brunei, the Emperor of Japan and the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi are among the foreign royals invited.
The Japanese imperial household have earlier confirmed that the Emperor and Empress have received a “hold the date” fax, but that they will not attend due to previous commitments. The same fax is known to have been received by the ex-King of Romania and the ex-Crown Prince of Serbia, but only the latter and his wife have confirmed that they will actually be present. Clarence House has stated that no guest list will be published ahead of the wedding.
The dress code for the Abbey ceremony is “uniform, morning coat or lounge suit".


  1. I doubt Queen Elizabeth II refers to her godson Alexander as "ex-Crown Prince Alexander of Serbia". If his ex-status has to be underlined it would be of Yugoslavia since he was born as such.He himself, I think, now uses the nomination "Crown Prince Alexander II of Serbia" since as a royal democrat- or should one say democratic royal- he has had to accept that Yugoslavia no longer exists.I think some other members of the family who have no dynastic aspirations go on calling themselves Princes and Princesses of Yugoslavia.
    I was trying to find on-line the guestlist to the recent royal Swedish wedding to see what the Swedish court called him in that connection but did not find it any longer.

    Martin Rahm

  2. She may not, but I do, as that is what he is. And I don't think I am under any obligation to refer to him on my blog in the same way as the British Queen may do?

    The fact is that he is no longer Crown Prince, nor is Konstantinos II any longer King. As an acknowledgement of reality I always use "ex" when referring to former kings, queens or crown princes. Various places you may find people referring to "HIM Empress Farah of Iran", as if pretending that Iran is still a monarchy, which I find quite ludicrous.

    When Yugoslavia ceased to exist its former royal family began using "Serbia" rather than "Yugoslavia" (cf. the ex-Crown Prince's official website). This I find only natural as they were the Serbian royal family before the artificial state of Yugoslavia was created. The alternative might be to refer to him as "ex-Crown Prince Aleksandar of ex-Yugoslavia" (which, as an aside, does not exactly make him sound very relevant - a former crown prince of a country which has ceased to exist...).

    You will find that heads of former royal houses use all sorts of fanciful styles and titles, for instance the self-proclaimed Albanian "King Leka", who is at best the country's ex-Crown Prince. Aleksandar's most fanciful invention is to use a numeral (II), while no actual crown prince in history has to the best of my knowledge ever used a numeral.

    The trickiest thing is of course what to do with the wife of a former monarch or crown prince, as it is not strictly speaking correct to refer to for instance Anne of Romania as ex-Queen given that she was never Queen of Romania.

    I cannot remember what the Swedish court called the Serbian ex-Crown Prince, but I remember there were protests some years ago when the Norwegian court referred to a member of a former royal house as "of that country" - I cannot recall if it was Greece or Bulgaria. Since then the Norwegian court lists for instance the Greek ex-King in the category "Other royals" as simply "HM King Konstantinos".

  3. I found the guestlist! Under the headline Ex-Yugoslavia he is referred to simply as H.R.H. Crownprince Alexander. Under the headline Greece come Their Majesties King Constantine and Queen Anna Maria. No hint of any ex-status!
    Same for other royals from other republics.
    Martin Rahm

  4. Thanks, that sounds quite similar to how the Norwegian court does it. But again I am under no obligation to refer to him in the same way as neither the British Queen nor the Swedish court and I see no reason not to acknowledge the simple fact that he is the former Crown Prince, not the Crown Prince.

  5. I am sorry if I expressed myself as if I meant you should be obliged to anything in this context. I just take a pleasure in speculating on these matters.I was myself astonished to see that the Swedish court made no difference in the relation between King Harald to Norway to the relation of King Constantine to Greece!
    As you remarked the "problem" perpetuates itself when ex-kings or crown princes marry and have children.
    The Vienna Congress took a number of decisions relating to the mediatized families who were stripped of their states. Since nobody calls the families in part II of the Almanach de Gotha such as the Fürstenbergs, the Hohenlohes,the Thurn and Taxis, the Wieds etc princes of ex-Fürstenberg, ex-Hohenlohe...Perhaps a new Vienna Congress should be convened to regulate the use of titles for families dethroned later in history.
    Martin Rahm

  6. Yes, but the difference between for instance the ex-King of the Hellenes and Prince (Fürst) Albert of Thurn and Taxis is that the latter is not a former monarch of an actual country, making it less necessary to point out the fact that he is non-reigning. Whereas referring to Konstantinos II as King of Greece would border on being disrespectful against Greece and its president as it might indicate that one does not acknowledge their current form of government (which is probably why the Greeks or Bulgarians objected to the Norwegian court's use of the titles in a way which indicated that the members of the former royal family of that country were representatives of the country, now a republic).

    For mere princes and princesses this is not much of a problem; it seems to be an accepted norm that members of former royal families may in general be called princes. There is of course an actual difference between a Prince of Norway and a Prince of Greece or a Prince of Fürstenberg, but the difference between Konstantinos II being called "King of the Hellenes" and his second son being called "Prince of Greece" is of course that the former may be interpreted as laying claim to the position of head of state of Greece, whereas the latter only indicate membership of the nation's former royal family. At least I have never seen anyone refer to for instance Kalina of Bulgaria as "ex-Princess Kalina of Bulgaria", whereas "ex-King Simeon" seems to be the norm outside the royal courts.


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