Saturday, 16 November 2013

Crown Princess undergoes surgery - and Crown Prince promoted

On Friday the Crown Princess underwent surgery at the National Hospital in Oslo to remove a herniated disc from her neck. The Crown Princess has been on sick leave for a while, but as the pain increased it was decided to go through with this surgery. Her neck problems reportedly date from a fall during a visit to the Ukraine five years ago. The Crown Princess will remain in hospital for a few days and it is not known when she will be able to resume her royal duties.
Meanwhile the Crown Prince was promoted to the highest rank in the armed forces in the State Council held on Friday, thus becoming an admiral of the navy and a general of the army and the air force. The King, the Crown Prince and the Defence Chief are the only generals who are accorded four stars.

Friday, 15 November 2013

On this date: 150 years of the Glücksburgs

Today the House of Glücksburg has been on the Danish throne for 150 years. The former Prince Christian of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg ascended the Danish throne as King Christian IX upon the sudden death of King Frederik VII, which, ironically, happened at Glücksburg Castle on 15 November 1863.
The death of King Frederik VII marked the extinction of the House of Oldenburg, which had ascended the Danish throne with King Christian I in 1448. Two centuries later, in 1660, the Danish crown become hereditary in that dynasty. From the accession of King Frederik I in 1523 to the death of King Frederik VI in 1839 the Oldenburgs boasted an unbroken line of eleven generations where son succeeded father, an unusual long line of direct dynastic descent which could only be rivalled by the Capets of France and the Stuarts of Scotland. Upon the death of Frederik VI in 1839 the crown passed to his half-cousin (at least officially), Christian VIII, whose son, Frederik VII, had no legitimate children.
Prince Christian of Glücksburg belonged to a junior line of the Oldenburgs, descending from one of the 23 children of Duke Hans the Younger, a younger son of King Christian III, but had only a very remote rights of succession to the throne. However, by the semi-Salic law of that time, his wife, née Princess Louise of Hesse-Cassel, was in line to the throne after her mother, a sister of Christian VIII, and elder brother, who both renounced their rights in favour of Louise, who transferred them to her husband, who was the Russian candidate to the Danish throne and won the approval of the other great powers at a conference in London in 1852.
There will be no special celebrations of the 150th anniversary of the royal house, but today has been chosen as the date for the unveiling of a new group portrait of Queen Margrethe II and Prince Consort Henrik with their sons, daughters-in-law and grandchildren by Thomas Kluge, who has earlier done portraits of Queen Margrethe, Prince Consort Henrik and Crown Prince Frederik.

Thursday, 14 November 2013

On this date: Prince Charles is 65

The Prince of Wales, Prince Charles of Britain, celebrates his 65th birthday today - and, as many have pointed out, the heir to the British throne thus reaches what is the normal age of retirement in Britain.
However, as being a member of a royal family is no job, Prince Charles is far from retiring. Today he and his wife Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, are concluding their official visit to India and travelling on to Sri Lanka, where Prince Charles will represent his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, at the biannual meeting of the heads of government of the Commonwealth countries.
This is the first time in many years that Queen Elizabeth, who is head of the Commonwealth, is not herself present at this summit. As such it is a prime example of how her heir has gradually began to take on more of the aging monarch’s duties.
Prince Charles is the oldest heir apparent in British history and also the one who has held the position as first in line to the throne for the longest time (61 years and nine months so far), but he is not the oldest person ever to be first in line to the throne, a distinction which belongs to the Dowager Electress Sophia of Hanover, who was heiress presumptive to Queen Anne from the latter’s accession in 1702 until the former’s death at the age of 83 in 1714, less than two months before Queen Anne.
The last time the heir apparent to a European throne reached his country’s age of retirement must have been the then Crown Prince Gustaf Adolf of Sweden on 11 November 1947. He succeeded his 92-year-old father, King Gustaf V, on 29 October 1950, two weeks before his 68th birthday.
When Crown Prince Gustaf Adolf turned 65 in November 1947 the succession to the Swedish throne had been complicated by the death of his eldest son, Prince Gustaf Adolf, in an airplane accident in January of the same year, leaving his then nine-month-old son, Prince Carl Gustaf (now King Carl XVI Gustaf), as next in line to the throne after his grandfather, thereby creating a 64-year-old-gap in the succession. Luckily no such troubles worry Prince Charles, who saw the succession to the throne secured for yet another generation with the birth of his grandson, Prince George, on 22 July this year. The common denominator between Gustaf VI Adolf and Prince Charles, his great-nephew by marriage, would be that they both have had enough interests and commitment to do something meaningful with their long apprenticeships.

Monday, 11 November 2013

The division of Princess Lilian’s estate

The Swedish newspaper Expressen on Saturday published details about the last will of Princess Lilian, who died in March at the age of 97. Such things are public in Sweden, and the Princess’s will and the inventory of her property drawn up after her death show that, as expected, nothing has been left for her nearest blood relatives, the half-sisters Janice Rees and Sonia Roberts, with whom she had no contact. Instead, the main beneficiaries of her will are the three children of the King of Sweden, the Queen of Sweden, Princess Lilian’s first cousin Jean Beaumond and the latter’s daughter Christine Robinson.
The Princess left assets worth 55,556,182 SEK, which does not include her home, Villa Solbacken at Djurgården in Stockholm, which was the property of her late husband, Prince Bertil, and in his will was left to Prince Carl Philip, but with his widow retaining the right to live there for the rest of her life. Prince Carl Philip also inherits everything in the villa which has not been specifically left to someone else.
The Princess’s second home, an apartment in 101 Chesterfield Gardens in Mayfair in London valued at 15,392,000 SEK is left to Christine Robinson, who has already lived there for fifteen years. All real and personal estate in England not specifically willed to someone else is to be shared equally between Jean Beaumond and Christine Robinson.
Princess Lilian’s collection of jewellery and silver, estimated to be worth 5,311,200 SEK, is divided between several relatives. As announced already in Princess Lilian’s memoirs, published in 2000, Crown Princess Victoria inherits the delicate laurel leaf tiara which was a wedding present to Prince Bertil’s mother, Crown Princess Margareta, in 1905 and which Crown Princess Victoria wore at Princess Madeleine’s wedding earlier this year.
The Crown Princess also inherits what is described as a ‘diadem of steel, white gold and diamonds’, but it is not quite clear to me what diadem this is. Expressen illustrates it with a photo of Princess Lilian wearing the sunray tiara, but this is obviously not the one as this was left to one of the family foundations by Queen Victoria. Crown Princess Victoria has recently worn twice a previously unseen diadem of cut steel, but this does not fit the description and was also worn once before Princess Lilian’s death.
Queen Silvia inherits a rather unusual necklace of five row of pearls adorned with large rubies, emeralds and sapphires as centre stones, also an inheritance from Crown Princess Margareta, as well as a modern necklace with a tennis player, a fur coat and 5,000,000 SEK. Princess Madeleine is left an aquamarine heart and a ring with an aquamarine.
Jean Beaumond, who also receives £ 500,000, is bequeathed a gold necklace with three medallions of rubies and diamonds, while her daughter receives a ring with diamonds and pearls, two boxes of bijouterie and £ 5,000.
Further, there is a watch of gold and diamonds for Princess Désirée’s daughter Hélène Silfverschiöld, who was Princess Lilian’s goddaughter, and a seat of earrings of diamonds and aquamarines as well as 50,000 SEK for another goddaughter, Eva Lilian Nilsson Wrede. A gold watch and 100,000 SEK was left to Baroness Elisabeth Palmstierna, Prince Bertil’s and Princess Lilian’s loyal Marshal of the Court, who served the royal family for six decades, retired at the age of 95 and died 27 days after Princess Lilian.
Other members of the staff are also remembered. The sisters Dagmar and Maj-Christin Nilsson, long-serving housekeepers, each receive 50,000 SEK, while the chauffeur, Stig Jurlander, inherits the Mercedes Benz car.
King Carl Gustaf inherits several artworks, including a portrait of his grandmother, Crown Princess Margareta, which hung at Villa Solbacken. A water colour portrait of Princess Lilian, also from Villa Solbacken, is however left to Jean Beaumond, while a portrait of the Princess’s great friend, the actress Kay Kendall, is left to Kendall’s sister, Rolla Campbell.
100,000 SEK are left to SOS Barnbyar in Sweden, while £ 1,000 goes to Anita, an poor child in India Princess Lilian ‘adopted’. The Anglican Church in Stockholm receives 10,000 SEK.
484,828 SEK go towards covering the costs of Princess Lilian’s funeral.

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Memorial service held for Prince Friso

On Saturday a memorial service was held in the Old Church in Delft for Prince Friso of Orange-Nassau (by birth Prince of the Netherlands), who died on 12 August after a year and a half in coma following a skiing accident.
The mourners at the memorial service, held in the church where he married in 2004, were led by his widow, Princess Mabel, their daughters, countess Luana and Zaria of Orange-Nassau, and his mother, Princess (former Queen) Beatrix of the Netherlands. Prince Friso’s brothers, King Willem-Alexander and Prince Constantijn, attended with their wives, Queen Máxima and Princess Laurentien, but without their children.
The only foreign royals present seem to have been the Crown Prince of Norway, the Crown Prince of Bahrain, Princess Märtha Louise of Norway and her husband Ari Behn, and Prince Hassan and Princess Sarvath of Jordan.
The extended Dutch royal family was out in force, including Princess Margriet of the Netherland and Pieter van Vollenhoven, Prince Maurits and Princess Marilène of Orange-Nassau van Vollenhoven, Prince Pieter-Christiaan and Princess Anita of Orange-Nassau van Vollenhoven, Prince Floris and Princess Aimée of Orange-Nassau van Vollenhoven, Princess Irene of the Netherlands, Duke Carlos of Parma, Prince Jaime and Princess Viktoria of Bourbon-Parma, Princess Margarita of Bourbon-Parma and Tjalling ten Cate, Princess Maria Carolina of Bourbon-Parma and Albert Brenninkmeijer, Princess Christina of the Netherlands, Bernardo Guillermo and Juliana Guillermo.
Among the mourners were also Prince (Fürst) Wittekind of Waldeck and Pyrmont, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, former Prime Minister of Norway Gro Harlem Brundtland and the singer Bono of U2.