Royal News 2004

News Royal News

Last modified: 31 December 2004

Archived royal news from my old website for the year 2004.

January 1st

King Albert II and Queen Paola of Belgium celebrated the New Year in Borovetz, Bulgaria, together with former King, now Prime Minister, Simeon of Bulgaria and his wife Margarita.

January 2nd

Prince Rainier III of Monaco was again admitted to hospital, now because he is in ‘a state of general fatigue’ it was announced. He returned to the Centre Cardio Thoracique de Monaco he left on December 21 so he can be kept under constant medical surveillance for several days.

Again the Princess Royal was the most active member of the British royal family in 2003. She undertook 624 appearances both in Great Britain and abroad. The Prince of Wales beat the whole family by undertaking 494 engagements in Great Britain, overall he undertook 604. Despite of her pregnancy, the Countess of Wessex undertook 179 official engagements, while the Earl of Wessex attended 412 events. The Duke of Edinburgh undertook 456 outings, while Queen Elizabeth II appeared 478 times.

Papers released to the National Archives in Great Britain show that Princess Margaret of Great Britain was promised she would be allowed to keep her royal title even if she had married her great love, Captain Peter Townsend, and could have continued carrying out public duties. The papers show that Prime Minister Sir Anthony Eden was even prepared to scrap the 18th-century law requiring members of the Royal Family to seek the consent of the monarch to marry. She would have been given a categorical assurance and would have continued to receive her £6,000-a-year Civil List allowance, as well as she would have gotten the extra £9,000-a-year she was entitled to on her marriage. There was even a suggestion that after “some years” Mr Townsend also could have received a title and an official allowance. Princess Margaret announced on October 31, 1955, that she wouldn’t marry divorced Mr Townsend, after the disclosure of their affair caused a public sensation. It was mainly the fact that she wanted to marry a divorcee which created the storm of controversy, not Mr Townsend’s origins.

January 3rd

King Harald V of Norway was admitted to the Rikshospital again today at 13:25. He has a urinary tract infection and did already have a fever for several days and didn’t feel very good. He will have to stay in hospital for a few days and will be treated with antibiotics. Queen Sonja accompanied the king to hospital. Palace spokeswoman Wenche Rasch says the king is in “fine form” and that urinary tract infections aren’t unusual after the kind of surgery the king underwent last December.

It was announced that Sheikh Dalmouk bin Juma Al Maktoum of Dubai passed away earlier today. A week-long official mourning in Dubai was announced. Flags will fly at half-mast and local departments will remain closed for two days.

January 5th

Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands and her family will celebrate Queen’s Day 2004 in Warffum and Groningen, in the northeast of the Netherlands. The small village of Warffum will be visited in the morning, the city of Groningen in the afternoon, provincial governor Hans Alders announced this afternoon at the new year’s reception of the province of Groningen. It is the second time during her reign the Queen celebrates April 30 in the province of Groningen. In 1990 they visited Haren and Loppersum.

Princess Clotilde of Savoy and her newborn babydaughter Vittoria, who was 50 centimetres tall and weighed 3520 grammes at birth, left the Clinique Générale-Beaulieu in Geneva on Saturday.

January 6th

The Danish royal court announced that the wedding of Crown Prince Frederik and Mary Donaldson on May 14 at the Dom Church (Vor Frue Kirke) in Copenhagen will take place at 16:00. The wedding party will be held at Fredensborg Palace, where also the wedding banquets of Queen Margrethe and Prince Henrik as well as Prince Joachim and Princess Alexandra too place. On Monday January 12th there will be a press conference during which more details about the wedding will be released.

The senior member of the British Royal family about whom Diana Princess of Wales wrote 10 months before her death that he was plotting to kill her in a car crash has been revealed by the Daily Mirror today: The Prince of Wales. The Princess’s letter was published in the book ‘A Royal Duty’ of former butler Paul Burrell lately, but the book as well as the Daily Mirror blanked out the name at that time. The passage reads: “** ******* is planning ‘an accident’ in my car, brake failure and serious head injury…” The blank space should read ‘my husband’. The Daily Mirror now says it has “decided to publish the blanked out name because it will inevitably appear in the public domain”. The newspaper said Mr Burrell is prepared to hand over the letter to Royal coroner Michael Burgess, who is opening inquests into the deaths of Diana and Dodi Fayed today. Mr Burrell’s agent today said: “Today’s publication was solely a decision taken by the newspaper without Mr Burrell’s knowledge or consent. He was only informed late on Monday evening and he does not support or endorse its publication.” A spokesman for the Prince of Wales declined to comment.

More than six years after Diana Princess of Wales died in a car crash in Paris, Royal Coroner Michael Burgess formally opened the inquest into her death at the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre in London. The inquests are the first official public hearings in Great Britain into the deaths of Diana Princess of Wales and Dodi Al Fayed. “I am aware that there is speculation that (her death was) not the result of a sad but relatively straightforward road traffic accident in Paris,” Burgess told the inquest. “I have asked the metropolitan police commissioner [Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir John Stevens] to make inquiries.” The inquest will be adjourned for 12 to 15 months, which means that no evidence will be heard for at least another year. “I have to separate fact from fiction and speculation,” Mr Burgess said in a half-hour-long speech. “Speculation and speculative reports are not themselves evidence, however frequently and authoritatively they may be published, broadcast or repeated.” Mr Burgess went on: “The police in England will be asked to see and interview on my behalf those who are identified as possible witnesses to find out the extent of their evidence and whether it is relevant to the English inquest. Only once that process has been completed can I consider who can help the inquest process by attending as witnesses.” It is hoped the inquests can shed light on what really happened in Paris on August 31, 1997.

Later today Surrey Coroner Michael Burgess opened the inquest into the death of 42-year-old Ehmad “Dodi” Al Fayed at Wray Park, Reigate where Mr Al Fayed lived and is buried. The hearing was adjourned within half an hour. After the opening of the inquest Dodi Al Fayed’s father Mohamed Al Fayed said he was “hoping that the truth will come out”.

Two more royal weddings will take place in Spain in 2004, King Juan Carlos of Spain said during the celebration of the Pascua Militar. Crown Prince Felipe’s cousins Beltrán and Fernando Gómez Acebo will respectively marry Laura Ponte and Mónica Fernán Luque. The wedding of Beltrán Gómez Acebo and Laura Ponte is said to take place in September 2004. During the same event the Prince of Asturias said that 1200 to 1400 people will be invited for his wedding. Both he and Letizia Ortiz Rocasolano will attend the weddings of Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark and Mary Donaldson on May 14, as well as the official wedding celebration of Crown Prince Hamzah of Jordan and Princess Noor on May 27 (or 29).

January 7th

King Harald V of Norway was released from the Rikshospitalet at 10:00 this morning. Doctors say he has been recovered from the treatment for a urinary tract infection. He will have regular check ups at the Rikshospitalet for some time.

The former Royal Coroner Dr John Burton says Diana Princess of Wales was not pregnant at the time of her death. Dr Burton, who attended the Princess’s post-mortem examination, said he could tell she was not expecting a baby when he looked at her womb. “I was actually present when she was examined. She wasn’t pregnant. I know she wasn’t pregnant,” he told The Times newspaper.

A set of official photos to mark the birth of Lady Louise Windsor, daughter of the Earl and Countess of Wessex, will be released this weekend. The first one will be published on January 10, a further three on January 11. The family photographs were taken by the Duke of York at Sandringham over the Christmas holiday. All profits made from the sale of the other photographs will go to The Earl and Countess of Wessex Charitable Trust which primary aim it is to assist other registered charities and charitable causes, in particular those with which The Earl and Countess have personal connections or interests.

Queen Rania of Jordan paid a visit to the town of Bam, Iran, where tenthousands of people died in an earthquake on December 26. During her visit she met 97-year-old survivor Shahrbanou Mazandarani who was pulled from the ruins of her home on Sunday and also chatted with other victims at a Jordanian field hospital in the city. Queen Rania also visited the destroyed ancient ruins of the citadel of Bam. Together with Queen Rania 20 tonnes of medical supplies, tents, blankets and heaters arrived by plane from Jordan. Queen Rania said: “We try to help our brothers in Iran as much as we can. This human crisis does not recognise politics or boundaries. There has been great devastation, and when I talk to people I hear of how they have lost a great number of their relatives.”

It seems the engagement of Don Luis Alfonso de Borbón y Martínez-Bordiú (Duke of Anjou) and María Margarita de Vargas y Santaella isn’t official yet. It is said now that Luis Alfonso postponed his engagement to María Margarita de Vargas y Santaella, as well that the engagement was announced by her family before Luis Alfonso informed his family about his engagement.

January 8th

Accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain officially launched the largest cruise liner built the Queen Mary 2. She blessed the cruise ship and then smashed a bottle of champagne on the side of the ship. A firework display followed the ship’s official launch. The public were not allowed on to the dock area during the ceremony, but could follow the ceremony live on a giant screen nearby.

More than 450 guests attended the traditional New Year reception at Vaduz Castle in Liechtenstein. They were greeted by Prince Hans Adam II, Princess Marie, Hereditary Prince Alois and Hereditary Princess Sophie. Among the guests were representants of political life, diplomats, the Landtag and the church (like Archbishop Wolfgang Haas), as well as known Liechtenstein people.

The lawyers of Princess Margarita de Bourbon de Parme and her husband Edwin de Roy van Zuydewijn are still only representing the princess in their legal battle against the Dutch royal family and the Dutch state. Lawyers Britta Bohler and Victor Koppe submitted important witness summons in a court in The Hague today and refused to reveal why they are only representing the princess and not her husband also. Based on the testimonies, the couple will decide whether they will proceed with a legal case against the royal family and the Dutch State. The government prosecutor says that both Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands and the secret service officials can make use of their exemption rights and therefore don’t need to give testimony. Furthermore, he said journalist Maartje van Weegen did not need to reveal her sources. The court will hand down its ruling on February 5th.

John Dalgleish Donaldson, father of the fiancée of the Danish Crown Prince Mary Donaldson, has been hired as a guest professor by the University of Århus, Denmark, for several months starting in May. He will help creating a new class in mathematical modelling and will teach twice in May and in November. The deal with Mr Donaldson was already made in late 2002 when Mary’s father and stepmother visited the University of Århus already.

January 9th

The largest private collection of Fabergé Imperial Easter Eggs – they own nine of the 50 existing eggs in the world – is to go under the hammer on April 20 and 21 in New York. A presale public exhibition opens on April 12. The auction will also include 180 other Fabergé pieces from the Forbes family collection. One piece, The Coronation Egg, presented by Tsar Nicholas II to his wife at Easter 1897, would be the most expensive piece of decorative art to be sold at auction if it realizes the upper end of its estimated sales range of $18 million to $24 million. The pieces all come from the Forbes Collection, owned by the Forbes family. The Forbes collection of Fabergé Eggs was started by Malcolm S. Forbes, who died 14 years ago. The family has now decided it is time to sell the eggs to other collectors so they may have the thrill of owning a rare and exquisite work of Fabergé.

The photos of the interior of Villa Eikenhorst that were published in the Dutch weekly Privé in April 2003 were made by a building-worker, Privé admitted at the Court of Justice in Amsterdam. However they don’t want to reveal his name. After the publication The Prince of Orange and Princess Máxima of the Netherlands, who moved into the villa some time after the photos were published, went to court because they felt that their privacy had been affected by the publication of the photos. According to Privé they didn’t break the peace and the photos just show a building-site. However they are willing to destroy the photos, which offer was declined by the couple. The couple’s lawyer also said “I see no reason to believe Privé just like that. It could have been everyone. The pictures could also have been made by a reporter, by a burglar or by someone of the royal household.” The lawsuit is set to take place at the Court of Justice in Amsterdam on February 25.

January 10th

Already on January 9, a few hours early (the embargo was January 10 at 00:01 GMT), press agency Reuters published one of photos of the Earl and Countess of Wessex with their daughter Louise. The photograph was taken by the Duke of York as the family gathered for Christmas at the Sandringham Estate.

Crown Princess Masako of Japan said in a statement released by the Imperial Household Agency yesterday that the pressure of living in the world’s oldest royal dynasty might have led to her recent poor health. She confessed that she had not been well since spring last year, and said: “Since my marriage more than 10 years ago, I have tried to do my best in an unfamiliar environment and under a lot of pressure, but I have a feeling that the bout of shingles resulted from the accumulation of the fatigue of mind and body during this time.” She added that “mental and physical weariness” had been accumulated, particularly after the birth of her daughter Princess Aiko. She said she had tried her best to perform her official duties since Aiko’s birth: “But my condition has deteriorated to a point where I could not fully perform my official duties recently.” Crown Princess Masako added that she took it upon herself to rest up mentally and physically with the aim of returning to her official duties in top condition “as soon as possible”.

Prince Uluvalu Tu’ipelehake of Tonga, in an unprecedented move for a member of the Tongan Royal family, has called on Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer to use his influence to pressure the Tongan government to further democratise its Constitutional Monarchy. The Prince is a parliamentarian and a nephew of King Taufa’ahau Tupou IV of Tonga (being the eldest son of the King’s later brother). In a letter to Downer the prince said he was certain that with encouragement from Australia and governments in the Commonwealth the Tongan government could be persuaded to implement necessary political reforms. Prince Tu’ipelehake said he wanted to see a balanced representation in the Tongan parliament. At the moment the Tongan Parliament is composed of 12 Cabinet Ministers who are appointed by the King, nine Noble’s Representatives who are elected by the 33 hereditary noble title holders, and nine people’s representatives who are elected by the rest of the population of about 100,000. The prince is the Nobles no 1 representative for Ha’apai to the legislature and chairman of the Whole House Committee. Prince Tu’ipelehake is sure his frustration over the ignoring of an urgent need for a political reform is shared by many Tongans. “There has been absolutely no move to implement, let along investigate, what and how these political reforms would eventuate,” he said while stressing that he would like to see Tonga seek its own form of democracy within the current system. Prince Tu’ipelehake said that the issues that he raised should have been dealt with by the Tongan Parliament, but parliament was ineffective because of the imbalance in representation.

January 11th

According to a survey among 2093 people by YouGov published in The Mail on Sunday still one in three people in Great Britain believe Diana Princess of Wales was the victim of a murder plot. However six out of ten people questioned in the poll didn’t believe the Prince of Wales would deliberately harm his former wife, despite of the fact that one in six questioned said he was capable of causing her death. 15% believe the British secret services planned her assassination.

Scotland Yard is to investigate evidence that a letter produced by former royal butler Paul Burrell suggesting that the Prince of Wales wanted to kill his ex-wife was not written at the time that the former royal butler has claimed. The alleged dating of the letter, which is to be studied as part of a police review of inquest evidence into the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, has been used to support conspiracy theories that she was murdered. Mr Burrell says the princess wrote the letter in October 1996. However the Sunday Telegraph discovered evidence indicating that the letter was written much earlier than Mr Burrell has claimed. The late Princess’s closest friends say that in October 1996 the Princess had resolved many of her conflicts with the Prince of Wales. They are convinced that the letter was written years earlier, also because the Princess is said to have written ‘my husband’ and to leaving the path clear for him to ‘marry’, although they were already divorced in October 1996. The letter is also not dated, which was very unusual for the Princess.

Inspector Jean-Claude Mules, a senior French police officer, has denied that the wrong blood sample was used in a French inquiry which concluded that Diana, Princess of Wales, was killed by a drunk driver. British reports said that there was a mix-up over specimens taken from the chauffeur, Henri Paul. “There was no error over the blood,” said Mr Mules who was present when the two samples were taken from Mr Paul’s body. “We are very serious people and no errors are allowed.” Yesterday, Scotland Yard refused to comment on a story in a national newspaper that senior British police officers have doubts over the authenticity of Mr Paul’s blood sample. It is understood there are “high-level concerns” over the specimen and that French police have not carried out a DNA test which would prove the blood came from Mr Paul. Doubts over the validity of the blood sample would threaten the credibility of the French inquiry, which concluded Mr Paul, high on a cocktail of drink and drugs, lost control of the Mercedes car while speeding in the Pont de l’Alma tunnel in Paris.

A butler of Haifa al-Faisal, one of King Fahd of Saudi Arabia’s daughters, and his four accomplices have been arrested on Thursday morning in the Paris region on suspicion of stealing millions of dollars of goods from the princess’ home at Neuilly-sur-Seine near Paris. The men went to court on Friday and were remanded in custody. The butler, Omar, who had been in the Princess’s service for 15 years, told two accomplices when to act and what objects to steal. The goods – worth more than one million euros, were stolen in the last three months. They included jewellery, silverware and paintings, were then sold on by two other men sometimes with false certificates.

January 12th

The programme for the wedding of Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark and Mary Donaldson was made known today. On Tuesday, May 11, a dinner takes place at the Christiansborg Palace in Copenhagen and on Wednesday, May 12, a reception is being held at the Town Hall of Copenhagen. On Thursday, May 13, there is a meeting at the Danish Parliament, while a festive performance will take place at the Royal Theatre in the evening. The wedding will take place at the Dom Church of Copenhagen at 16:00 on May 14. After the wedding the couple will ride back to Amalienborg in a carriage, whereafter a balcony scene at Christian VII’s Palace will follow. In the evening the wedding banquet takes place at Fredensborg Palace. In the second half of June 2004 the newly wed couple with Queen Margrethe II and Prince Henrik will pay a visit to Greenland. In the Summer the couple will sail around Denmark with the Royal Yacht Dannebrog and will visit several places on their way. Furthermore the Danish Royal Court has appointed journalist Lis M. Frederiksen as press- and information manager. The wedding secretariat will be led by Pui Ling Lau. Annelise Wern will be responsible for protocolair questions.

Prince Georg Friedrich of Prussia today announced the death of his aunt, Princess Kira of Prussia. She died on Saturday, January 10th, 2004, in Berlin at the age of 60 after a long and serious illness (cancer). Princess Kira was born at Cadinen on June 27, 1943, as the fourth child of Prince Louis Ferdinand of Prussia (1907-1994) and Grand Duchess Kira of Russia (1909-1967). In 1973 she married Thomas Liepsner, with whom she had one daughter Kira-Marina (1977), but the couple divorced in 1984. Princess Kira studied languages at the universities of Berlin and Erlangen and was occupied as an elocutionist. Princess Kira was very much involved in the Prinzessin-Kira-von-Preussen Foundation that was started by her mother. Each year in the Summer she invited poor children from St. Petersburg, but also from Berlin and Brandenburg, at the Burg Hohenzollern. After the death of her father she also took over his seat at the board of governors of the music festival ‘Kissinger Sommer’ in Bad Kissingen. Shortly before her death Princess Kira founded the Kira Prinzessin von Preussen Musik- und Kulturstiftung. The funeral service will be held on January 21 at 11:00 at the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedächtniskirche in Berlin. A private burial will take place on January 24 at Burg Hohenzollern.

The rights of the fascinating Danish documentary series ‘A Royal Family’, a Nordisk Film production, has been bought by Discovery Channel Europe. ‘A Royal Family’ will be broadcasted in over 100 countries in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The series provide an insight into European history by following King Christian IX and Queen Louise of Denmark, whose children married partners from the dominant European monarchies at the of the 19th century. King Christian IX was referred to as “Europe’s Father in Law”, and his blood line can be traced throughout Europe today. The documentary contains unique interviews with 29 members of royal families from all over Europe, who share and portray their family’s incredible history through letters, diaries, stories, photos and film recordings – many of which have not been shown in public before. ‘A Royal Family’ is also the first documentary where so many members of the European monarchy participate to depict a formerly private side of royal life.

King Mswati III of Swaziland has asked the government to build a palace for each of his 11 wives. He asked for $15m, which is almost as much as Swazilands 2002 health budget. He reportedly wants the money to redecorate his three existing palaces and build eight new ones.

January 13th

Prince Uluvalu Tu’ipelehake of Tonga says his letter to the Australian Foreign Affairs minister Alexander Downer, asking him to use his influence to bring more democracy to Tonga’s political system, has been passed on to the Ministry of Justice of Tonga. He said: “They had a special cabinet meeting and they decided to hand my letter to the Ministry of Justice for them to sight and I could possibly be charged with treason and slander. So I guess that’s the government’s reaction.” Prince Tu’ipelehake denies he has committed treason or that his letter was slanderous.

Today the monogram of Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark and Mary Donaldson was presented. The monogram is designed by Queen Margrethe II of Denmark.

Princess Märtha Louise of Norway, her husband Ari Behn and daughter Maud Angelica moved into a new house at the Burudveien 63 in suburban Baerum on Monday. The couple lived in a flat in Oslo. Their new home is a rural estate encompassing a large two-story main house, a guest house and even a children’s playhouse. The couple paid NOK 8.8 million for the property last fall but had intended to move to New York for a few years. They postponed those plans when it became known that the princess’ brother, Crown Prince Haakon, and his wife were expecting the new royal heir in January. Then Princess Martha Louise’s father, King Harald, was diagnosed with cancer, so the move to New York remains postponed indefinitely.

January 14th

Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark and his fiancée Mary Donaldson this morning at 9:30 (local time) arrived in Hobart on a commercial flight. Details of the trip were kept secret and only a small contingent of Danish and Australian media awaited their arrival at Hobart Airport, although they didn’t see much as the couple left directly from the tarmac in a waiting car. Mary Donaldson ventured out for her sister’s hen party at Lenah Valley this night, after having slept off her jetlag most of the day. Mary Donaldson’s sister Patricia will marry for the second time this weekend. Her marriage to Scott Bailey is believed to take place in a private garden at Sandy Bay on Saturday. They couple already has a daughter, Molly Kay, who was born in September 2002. Patricia has two children from her previous marriage to Ken Woods.

The 2004 Summertour of Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark and his then wife Mary on board of the Royal Yacht Dannebrog will pass the following cities: Århus (July 26), Aalborg (July 27), Odense (July 28) and Sønderborg (July 29).

Princess Alexandra of Denmark arrived in Washington DC on January 12 for a visit. She will also visit New York and leave again on January 21. She among others attended a performance of the Royal Danish Ballet in Washington DC yesterday. Earlier that day she already visited the National Gallery of Art. Today she will have luncheon alongside Alma Powell and Joyce Rumsfeld – the wives of Secretary of State Colin Powell and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld – as well as tea at the White House with First Lady Laura Bush.

Archduchess Katharina of Austria, wife of Archduke Ferdinand, has given birth to a daughter in Berlin today. The baby is 52 centimetres tall and weighs 3200 grammes. The couple already had a son, Jakob Maximilian, who was born on January 22, 2002, also in Berlin. As Tita von Hardenberg the Archduchess is a moderator of the ARD (German television) programme Polylux.

Staff at Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain’s Royal Sandringham estate apologised yesterday after children and the headteacher of St George’s Middle School in Dersingham, Norfolk, had complained after a group was seen shooting birds in the field next to the school’s playing field on Friday. More than 200 children, some as young as eight, watched the birds being killed during morning break. Staff said many were distressed and the school had written to officials at the Queen’s Sandringham estate to complain. A spokesman for the estate apologised and said shooting would not take place on land near the school during break times again. “Shooting is a rural sport and has been going on on this estate for over 100 years,” said the estate spokesman. “And shooting has been taking place on the land near the school ever since George VI gave the land for the school to be built in the 1930s. I have been in touch with the headmistress to find out what happened, and the estate is sorry if any of the children were distressed. We have agreed to accede to the request of the headmistress to avoid shooting during school break times.” It is not known whether any members of the Royal Family were in the shooting party.

January 15th

In his account so far only known to French investigators who interviewed him repeatedly, but today published in the Daily Mail newspapers, Mohamed Medjahdi who was driving his car (accompanied by his girlfriend) immediately in front of the car of Diana Princess of Wales and is the only direct witness to the crash of the car on August 31, 1997, in Paris, seeing the accident through the mirror of his car, said: “I heard the terrible noise of screeching brakes and screaming tyres and saw a big car slewing, out of control, across the carriageway behind me and hurtling towards my car.” He had to accelerate to avoid being hit by the Mercedes. Seconds later he heard a huge explosion and the limousine bounced between a concrete pillar and the tunnel wall. “It was a dreadful sound, like a bomb exploding, magnified and echoing around the underpass,” he said. “Even today, six years later, I can’t get the sight and sound out of my head. I can still hear the screeching of those brakes.” Mr Medjahdi says he didn’t see any other person or vehicle involved in the crash: “Any conspiracy would have had to be carried out by invisible men.” He also said not to have seen any paparazzi photographers in sight.

January 18th

Shah in exile Reza Pahlavi and his wife Yasmine have become parents for the third time yesterday. The baby girl has received the name Farah. Empress Farah Pahlavi said: “We are overjoyed.”

January 19th

Tatjana von Lattorff, daughter of Prince Hans Adam II of Liechtenstein, and her husband Philipp von Lattorff had their third child and second daughter, called Marie. She was born in Grabs, Switzerland, on Sunday, January 18. She will be christened Marie Teresa. Godmother will be Princess Marie of Liechtenstein, who is married to Tatjana’s brother Prince Constantin.

Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands and the Prince of Orange arrived in Bangkok, Thailand, today for a five-day state visit. They were welcomed at the royal air force base Don Muang by King Bhumipol Adulyadej. After being received by the Governor of Bangkok, and a private talk to the King and Queen Sirikit, they visited the Temple of the Emerald Buddha. In the evening a state banquet took place in the Chakri throne-room at the Royal Palace.

The Danish royal court made details known about the royal trip to Greenland this summer on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of Grønlands Hjemmestyres on June 21. Queen Margrethe II and Prince Henrik of Denmark will arrive in Narsarsuaq by plane on June 19 and will board the royal yacht Dannebrog there. They are expected to arrive in Greenland’s capital Nuuk (Godthåb) on June 21 to take part in the celebrations. Crown Prince Frederik and his then wife Mary will arrive in Nuuk by plane on June 22 and board the Dannebrog which will sail to Maniitsoq (Sukkertoppen) where they will arrive on June 23. On June 24 a visit to Itilleq and to Sisimiut (Holsteinsborg) is planned. The next day the royals will visit Aasiaat (Egedesminde). Qeqertarsuaq (Godhavn) will be visited on June 26. On June 27, after attending a service at church in Qeqertarsuaq, they will sail to Uummannaq, which will be visited on June 29. Qaarsut will be reached on June 30, from where the trip will be continued by plane as the royals will stay a night at Thule Air Base (Pituffik). On July 1 Queen Margrethe II and Prince Henrik will take the helicopter to Siorapaluk and later to Qaanaaq. The crown princely couple will fly to Qaanaaq immediately. Another night will be spend at Thule Air Base. On July 2 they will fly via Mestervig to Daneborg where the sleigh patrol Sirius will be visited. The Zackenberg research station will be visited on July 3. Via Mestervig they will fly to Constable Pynt and will stay two nights at the Søværnets inspektionsskibe. The last place to be visited, on July 4, is Illoqqortoormiut (Scoresbysund). On July 5 Queen Margrethe II, Prince Henrik, Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary will return to Denmark by plane via Iceland.

In his account to French investigators, published in the Daily Mail newspapers last week, Mohamed Medjadhi stated he didn’t see any other car around. His then partner Souad Mouffakir, who was in his car also, came out and said she kept silent for all those years about what she saw because she was afraid she would be killed. She now says she saw a white Fiat Uno driving very fast up to her husband’s car through the back window, but then it slowed down until their car and the Fiat Uno were side by side. She got frightened as the car was very close to theirs. She also described the driver of the car. She and Mohamed Medjadhi speeded away and just a moment later the crash happened. A few friends of Mrs Mouffakir confirmed she had told them about it after it had happened.

January 20th

The funeral service for Princess Kira of Prussia, who died on January 10 after a long illness, took place at the Kaiser-Wilhelm Gedächtniskirche in Berlin today. During the service the urn of the princess stood on the altar surrounded by flowers, mainly white and pink roses. The Rev Sylvia von Kekulé said in her speech at church: “She was like a candle, that is placed in a dark hall and who with her light warms the hearts of the people and offers a place to hide”. After the service Prince Georg Friedrich of Prussia, head of the royal house, held a reception in the commemoration hall of the church. Among the about 200 guests were the daughter of the deceased, Kira-Marina Liepsner, Duchess Marie-Cecile of Oldenburg, Prince Michael of Prussia, Prince Andrew of Prussia, Prince Rupert of Prussia, the Marchioness of Douro (née Princess Antonia of Prussia), Princess Magdalene of Prussia, Prince Johann Georg of Hohenzollern, Prince Ferfried of Hohenzollern and Count Andreas von Bismarck. The private interment will take place at Hohenzollern Castle in Hechingen on January 24.

The Danish government today announced they will suggest to raise the yearly royal allowance of Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark from the current 4.2 million Danish crowns ($ 700.000) to 14.4 million Danish crowns ($ 2.4 million) after his wedding. The increase is needed because the crown prince and his fiancée Mary Donaldson – who will become Her Royal Highness Crown Princess Mary of Denmark – will have their own household after their marriage. The increase was based on the couple’s expected expenses. The money will be spend to cover staff wages, household expenses and personal representation costs. A majority in parliament is expected to support the government’s proposal.

During the state visit to Thailand Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands told journalists that she is not worried at all about satirical imitations of the royal family. She said she had more trouble with the media. She also said that her mother Princess Juliana was not improving and that she is also not very approachable, although her physical health is good. Queen Beatrix also said that she doesn’t think her 25th reigning jubilee is a very important event, but she fears other people think it is, and she thinks she has to live with that. Prince of Orange said that his daughter, Princess Amalia, will be christened somewhere after the marriage of his brother Prince Johan Friso and Mabel Wisse Smit, which will take place on April 24.

January 21st

At 9:13 this morning Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway gave birth to a baby girl at the maternity ward of Rikshospitalet in Oslo. Mother and daughter are doing fine. The girl is the first child together of Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit and is second in line of succession to the Norwegian throne after her father. The Crown Princess already has a son from a previous relationship – Marius turned 7 on January 13. Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit arrived at hospital by car just before 4:00 this morning. After the birth Crown Prince Haakon notified the couple’s families, the president of the Norwegian Parliament, Prime Minister Kjell Magne Bondevik and others, before the news of the birth of the baby became public. At noon today salutes were being shot from the Akershus fortress. Flags were hoisted all over the country. At a press conference at Rikshospitalet Crown Prince Haakon of Norway this afternoon told the press that the baby’s name will be announced on Thursday. He says that his wife and the newborn baby girl are healthy and that his daughter is “the finest, most beautiful little girl in the world” and later said he thought that she looked a bit like both her mother and father. He called the birth ‘a powerful and wonderful experience’ and said it was fantastic to be present at birth. The baby weighs 3686 grammes and is 51 centimetres tall. The Crown Prince thanked the staff of Rikshospitalet for their help and support during the pregnancy and delivery. Crown Prince Haakon said that he would be dedicating much of his time to his family in the next weeks. While Crown Prince Haakon was holding his press conference, Crown Princess Mette-Marit and her newborn daughter left hospital via a back entrance around 14:00. They are now at home at Gut Skaugum.

Norwegian Prime Minister Kjell Magne Bondevik called the birth a historic event. “We congratulate King Harald and Queen Sonja with a new grandchild and the Norwegian people with a new heir to the throne. The birth is a historic event since it is the first time a daughter of Norway’s crown prince couple is born in the line of succession.” Paragraph six of the Norwegian Constitution was changed in 1990 to give both males and females equal rights to the throne of Norway.

An extraordinary state council will take place tomorrow, January 22, at 11:00 at the Royal Palace in Oslo. The name of the baby will then be announced by Crown Prince Haakon of Norway. Popular names in polls are Ingeborg, Margrethe, Ragnhild, Ingrid, Astrid, Märtha and Sonja, as well as Louise, Sofie and Josephine.

The official engagement (petición de mano) of Beltrán Gómez-Acebo, son of Infanta Pilar of Spain Duchess of Badajoz, and Laura Ponte y Martínez (born Vigo, June 9, 1973) will take place on May 1, 2004 in a private ceremony. The wedding will take place at the Palacio Real de la Granja de San Ildefonso in Segovia on September 18, 2004.

The Domain of Argenteuil in Waterloo – where Princess Lilian, second wife of King Leopold III of the Belgians, died on June 7, 2002 – exceptionally will open its gates on February 15 for one day. Most likely the domain will be shown for the last time before it is sold. Only the park will open for the public from 10:00 to 16:00. The castle itself remains closed.

The British Channel 4 is to make a drama about the life of Princess Margaret of Great Britain. The drama will include her love affair with Captain Peter Townsend, the story of her marriage to Anthony Armstrong-Jones and her affair with Roddy Llewellyn. Filming will begin in the spring and the drama will be shown later this year.

January 22nd

After an extraordinary Cabinet meeting this morning during which Crown Prince Haakon of Norway announced the names of his newborn daughter to the politicians present Norwegian Prime Minister Kjell Magne Bondevik made the names of the newborn daughter of Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit public standing outside the Royal Palace. The baby will be called Ingrid Alexandra he told: “Ingrid is a well-known Norwegian girl’s name, at the same time it is a Norse name and a royal name in the Bernadotte family, from among others, Queen Ingrid, mother of Denmark’s Queen Margrethe, originally a Swedish princess. Ingrid is also used in the crown princess’ family, and is therefore a fine combination of the two families.” Crown Princess Mette-Marit’s paternal grandmother was born Ingrid Andrea Tvedt and she died in 1978. She was married to Bjarne Høiby. Alexandra is a well-known royal name in Europe and Alexander was the original name of the late King Olav V, grandfather of Crown Prince Haakon. In the meantime flowers and gifts stream in for little Ingrid Alexandra. Lots of people lined up in the biting cold in front of the palace to write something in the palace ledger and to hand over a gift. Crown Princess Mette-Marit and the little princess Ingrid Alexandra were visited today around noon by Mette-Marit’s brother Espen Høiby and her sister Kristin Høiby Bjørnøy. Her mother Marit Tjessem already arrived on Wednesday by plane from Kristiansand. This evening the first pictures of Princess Ingrid Alexandra of Norway were released by the Royal Palace. They were all taken by Crown Prince Haakon himself.

Prince Rainier III of Monaco has left hospital today, the palace announced. He was in hospital since January 2.

Prince Harry of Wales is to spend the next eight weeks of his gap year in Africa. He will visit a number of locations and community projects and will help with building projects, and see first-hand how aid and support is provided to people in difficult circumstances. “The Africa trip reflects Harry’s personal interest in helping people with severe health difficulties, as well as mothers and children who lack social support and educational opportunities”, a Clarence House spokesman said. For security reasons, the exact locations are not being disclosed yet.

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir John Stevens who is investigating the death of Diana Princess of Wales said at the BBC that he may question members of the British Royal Family as a part of the investigation if necessary. He also said that “As a police officer, you don’t start off with any theories, you go where the evidence takes you. You have my word we will look at this and by the time this inquiry has been finished and we’ve looked at every single part of these allegations, we will know what the truth of the matter is and then we will disclose that to the coroner.”

Princess Mathilde of Belgium’s mobile telephone was robbed on Saturday. The princess was shopping in Brussels and after parking the car she forgot to lock it. Someone passing the car then stole the phone. However he quickly was caught by a bodyguard of the princess who was nearby.

On the day marking the 211th anniversary of the guillotining of King Louis XVI of France, a scarf of 160 centimetres by 76 centimetres worn by the King at the Temple during his imprisonment – and given to a fellow prisoner on the day he died – before he was guillotined during the French Revolution was bought at auction at the town hall of Loches, France, yesterday by a large French-American family attached to the royal family. The family wants to recall to the French and Americans the decisive part played by Louis XVI in the United States’ independence. They paid 70.000 Euros for the plain white triangular linen cloth, yellowed by time and perspiration, known at the time as a cravate.

January 23rd

Adans Lopez Peres, husband of Princess Stéphanie of Monaco, and his brother Ivan will performe for three months in the Wintergarten-Varieté in Berlin from February 6. The Peres Brothers will present their hand-in-hand acrobatics in the new programme Capriccio.

January 25th

On January 17 it was announced in Luxemburg that Prince Guillaume of Luxemburg and his wife Princess Sibilla expect their fourth child in the beginning of July. They already have three children: Paul-Louis (1998), Léopold and Charlotte(2000).

January 26th

The Jordanian royal court officially announced that the official wedding ceremony of Crown Prince Hamzah of Jordan and Princess Noor Hamzah will take place in Amman on May 27, 2004. The couple got engaged in a private ceremony at al Baraka Palace in Amman on August 29, 2003.

According to the newspaper Daily Mail Prince William of Wales is to hire a PR expert when he finishes his four-year degree course at St Andrew’s University. The communications secretary will be paid for by the Prince of Wales and will operate from Clarence House. Prince William already has a personal assistant. A royal aide told the newspaper: “In principle, William will have someone in-situ towards the end of next year. He or she will be dedicated to looking after him and Prince Harry.”

January 27th

In an interview with the BBC the Prince of Wales defended King George III of Great Britain. He said: “For many years I have been fascinated by my ancestor. George III led Britain through 60 years of enormous social upheaval, industrial revolution and terrible hardships inflicted by war with Napoleon. Yet history remembered him above all as the ‘mad king’ or the ‘king who lost America’. This is a travesty.” The Prince pointed out that a trans-Atlantic royal visit would not have been possible in 1776, so there were limits to what George could do to quell revolutionary sentiments in his colonies. The Prince says King George III was one of Britain’s wisest, kindest and most misunderstood rulers, also saying: “He used to walk around the countryside at Windsor and Kew alone, talking to neighbours and farm workers. He had a genuine interest in the well-being of every single estate worker.”

Bertel Haarder, the Danish Minister of Refugee, Immigration and Integration Affairs, has prepared a bill which will grant Mary Donaldson, fiancée of Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark, Danish citizenship. The bill will be presented to the Danish Parliament. The first of three debates is to take place on February 6. It is thought most members of Parliament will vote in favour. Mary Donaldson’s Danish citizenship will take effect on the day of the wedding, May 14. She has applied to be released from her citizenship of Australia and Great Britain.

Yesterday Fluturak Germenji, spokesman for Leka Zogu, heir to the Albanian throne, presented Leka’s conclusions on Albanian politics and the way in which the state is being managed at a news conference. He called on intellectuals to take control of steering politics and made some concerned remarks about developments in the country. Germenji said that very soon there would be a more detailed platform on objectives and a political platform from the heir to the throne. The Albanian nation has the intelligence to initiate a social movement including the entire political spectrum and of Albanian society for fundamental changes for the sake of the country’s major interests. Through this movement, we aspire to combine progressive and rational thinking with the will and vision to offer transparency and cooperation between the moderate right and the moderate left. Albanians must show citizenship and governing abilities. We cannot wait in front of the locked door of the future by consuming ourselves and waiting for a prolonged transition that exhausts the vital forces that strengthen the nation. The declaration also criticized the way the Albanian state has built its relations with Pristina and Skopje. Leka himself didn’t attend as he has suffered a broken leg after an acident at home.

January 29th

Norwegian singer Morten Abel asked his friend Ari Behn, the husband of Princess Märtha Louise of Norway to sing a duet with him during his concert on radio channel 3 yesterday evening. They sang ‘The Power of Love’ (hit of Jennifer Rush) together. Morten Abel said he thinks Ari Behn has a good voice.

January 30th

The Norwegian royal court issued lots of photos of the crown princely couple with their newborn daughter Ingrid Alexandra and the Crown Princess’s son Marius. The photos were taken by Guri Dahl at Gut Skaugum, the house of the couple, earlier today.

Former King Simeon of Bulgaria, now Prime Minister of Bulgaria, said today that legal claims on his hereditary property send wrong signals to foreign investors, whom Bulgaria needs badly: “If such a thing gets known abroad … this will be a very bad signal about treatment of private property in Bulgaria. We are not used to embezzle property in my family.” At court a couple in Sofia, Todorka and Tsvetan Hadzhibonevi, is claiming his palace in Vranya, saying he illegally inherited it. They say Simeon’s grandfather Ferdinand bought the land on which the Vranya Palace was built from their ancestors, but that the palace and other pieces of real estate the former king regained didn’t belong to his family but to the royal supply service and were state property. Their attorney says that the documents of ownership of the former king look suspicious. Now the opposition wants a parliamentary inquiry on the restitution of royal property – two small palaces, two mansions, a hunting lodge and a country house – to former King Simeon in 2001, that was based on a Constitutional court ruling that abolished the nationalizing law of the Communists from 1947.

February 1st

Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway presented their daughter Ingrid Alexandra to the press today at Gut Skaugum, after already having issued a few photos of the family yesterday. Also the Crown Princess’s son Marius was present. Little Princess Ingrid Alexandra stayed quiet and didn’t mind all the cameras around her. Crown Prince Haakon told that both names of his daughter will be used officially. He himself calls his daughter Ingrid Alexandra, while Crown Princess Mette-Marit calls her Ingrid only. The baby had a tummy ache the past few days, but is doing fine. No date for the christening has been set yet. Crown Prince Haakon said that at Skaugum Ingrid Alexandra will be able to grow up in a “relatively sheltered” environment. The crown princely couple want their children to have as normal lives as possible. “We want to be parents for our own children,” said Crown Princess Mette-Marit.

A Japanese House of Representatives panel on constitutional amendment is considering opening the way for female members of the Imperial Family of Japan to accede to the Chrysanthemum throne. According to sources the chamber’s Research Commission on the Constitution is poised to incorporate the proposal in a final report on constitutional amendments it will issue in about one year. The proposal is aimed at laying the groundwork for revising the Imperial House Law that allows only male members of the Imperial Family to ascend to the throne.

More than 500 people attended the funeral of Prince Phiwokwakhe of Swaziland the past night. The Prince was the second son of the late King Sobhuza II of Swaziland and the late Princess Manoni. He passed away on January 12. He was buried at the caves of the area of Lugongolweni near the eastern royal residence. 15 Pastors from different dominations held a sermon, each sermon was followed by music of a gospel choir. Next to members of the royal family also dignitaries from KwaZulu and South Africa attended the funeral.

February 2nd

At a press conference today some information was made known about the three-hour-long rock concert “Rock ‘n’ Royal” that will be held at Parken in Copenhagen on May 7 in presence of Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark and his fiancée Mary Donaldson. 40.000 tickets are for sale from tomorrow. Head of the crown princely court Per Thornit said that it was Crown Prince Frederik who came up with the idea for the concert: “The idea was to have a different concept than the official events in the following week.” The programme will include Danish and foreign artists, some from Australia. The concert will be broadcasted live on TV2. The proceeds will go to the organisation Save the Children, which is under the patronage of Crown Prince Frederik. Earlier this week it was already revealed that the gift of the Danish people to the Crown Prince and his fiancée will be a big Flora Danica dinner-service, as well as a special popsong composed and recorded by Erann Drori. The proceeds of the sale of the song will go to charity.

On May 15 Countess Michaela von Schönburg-Glauchau (born 1975), daughter of Count Georg von Schönburg-Glauchau and Countess Madeleine von Spee, and Alexander Ritter von Miller zu Aichholz will get married at the church in Wechselburg. The wedding party will be held at Waldenburg Castle. The groom was born in 1966 as the eldest son of Oscar Ritter von Miller zu Aichholz and Countess Amélie zu Castell-Castell. Countess Amélie is a daughter of Count Luitpold zu Castell-Castell and Princess Alexandrine-Louise of Denmark (1914- 1962).

February 3rd

The coffee shop De Vliegende Hollander in Groningen has invited Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands to visit the establishment on Queen’s Day, when the Queen will visit Groningen. The owner said: “The Queen is a modern woman of the world open to new experiences. I fear that like most Dutch people she does not have a good picture of our industry and the products that we sell. We can explain to her how the weed works, what sort of people come here and how regulated the sale of cannabis is in the Netherlands.” He also said the coffee shop visit was an appropriate addition to the type of Queen’s Day celebrations promised by Groningen Mayor Jacques Wallage: “It is something different from clog dancing and (games of biting) the cake.” He has not yet received a response to his official invitation to the Queen.

February 4th

The Prince of Orange and Princess Máxima of the Netherlands together with their almost 2-month-old daughter Catharina-Amalia appeared on Dutch television this evening to thank the nation for all the presents, letters and best wishes they received following the birth of their daughter on December 7, 2003. They were filmed at their estate in Wassneaar and at Palace Noordeinde. Princess Máxima told about her daughter: “She is perfectly healthy. She doesn’t cry much, only if she is hungry. If she eats, she eats a lot. She is increasingly alert and looks with huge curious eyes at the world.” She also said: “We are now 100 percent responsible for someone’s life, but it is a very happy period.” She also admitted her husband is more practical than herself, joking that she is “little bit Latin” in that respect. The Prince and Princess showed the cradle Amalia sleeps in and revealed that also was in use for Queen Juliana, Queen Beatrix and Prince Willem-Alexander himself. Queen Wilhelmina received the cradle in 1909 for the birth of her daughter Juliana. In a letter of thanks, published on the official website of the royal family the Prince of Orange and Princess Máxima write as though Amalia herself is speaking, telling about the day she came into the world and the period afterwards. The website also shows several new photos of the couple with Princess Amalia.

Yesterday Prince Hans Moritz von und zu Liechtenstein died in hospital in Tulln, Lower Austria. He was born on August 6, 1914 as second child of Prince Alfred and Princess Theresia née Princess zu Oettingen-Oettingen und Oettingen-Wallerstein. In 1944 he married Princess Clotilde von Thurn und Taxis. The couple has seven children and eight grandchildren. Prince Hans Moritz will be interred at the Family Vault in Vaduz.

Russian energy tycoon Victor Vekselberg has bought the Forbes family’s Fabergé Imperial Easter Eggs collection, which was to be auctioned at Sotheby’s in New York on April 20th and 21st. No price has been disclosed for the private sale. Pre-auction estimates were that the eggs and the rest of the Forbes Fabergé collection would realize in the range of $80 million to $120 million. Mr Vekselberg will return the eggs to Russia. He says that the collection “represents perhaps the most significant example of our cultural heritage outside Russia. This is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to give back to my country one of its most revered treasures.” In a statement the Forbes family said that “the family is delighted that the advent of a new era in Russia has made possible the return of these extraordinary objects. This is an amazing and exciting ending to our Faberge story.” Prior to returning to Russia, highlights from the Collection, including the fabled nine Imperial Easter Eggs, will be on public exhibition at Sotheby’s in New York, at a date to be announced shortly.

Former king Mohammed Zaher Shah of Afghanistan, 89 year old, was flown to New Delhi, India, yesterday evening for treatment after falling ill. He stays in a clinic now. Spokesman Hamid Helmi said: “He had some illness, some kind of cold. It’s not very serious.”

The PR person who will manage the image of Prince William and Prince Harry of Wales started his work this week. Paddy Harverson will be in charge of handling press for the princes and their father, the Prince of Wales. “I am very excited by the prospect of working for the Prince of Wales,” he said when his appointment was announced, adding: “I am looking forward hugely to my new job and the challenges ahead.”

On March 11, three days after International Women’s Day, Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain will host a girls-only luncheon at Buckingham Palace to celebrate the excellence of women in British society. It will be the first ever female-only event at the Palace. Among the about 200 women invited are JK Rowling, Cherie Blair, Heather Mills McCartney and Twiggy. Also the Princess Royal, the Duchess of Gloucester and the Countess of Wessex will be present. A palace spokesman said: “The Queen has been a working mother most of her adult life and thought this would be an appropriate way to celebrate women and recognise their achievements and contribution to British society. It will be a day to pay tribute to women across a broad range who have achieved in all sorts of areas, many of whom have triumphed, often in the face of adversity.”

French chauffeur Marin Roman has taken legal action against defence minister Prince Sultan bin Abdul Aziz of Saudi Arabia, claiming he and several other drivers were paid under-the- table for the Prince’s frequent trips to France. He said he was hired without a contract in July 2001 to manage the payroll of the prince’s domestic help in France. In September 2001, after discovering that most of the drivers were paid “in cash and off the books” he demanded a signed contract for his position but received one dated from that moment. Following a long battle to have that date changed, Mr Roman said he received a letter from the Saudi embassy in June the following year firing him. He filed a lawsuit for unfair dismissal and another for illegal employment practices, his lawyer, Antoine Gillot, told the press.

February 5th

Archaeologists have unearthed the spectacularly rich tomb of a Dark Age Anglo-Saxon king – the most important discovery since the Sutton Hoo ship burial in 1939 – in Prittlewell, Southend-on-Sea. Excavations revealed the intact tomb of an early seventh century Saxon monarch – almost certainly either Saeberht or Sigeberht, both kings of Essex. The 12-feet-wide, five-feet-high wood-lined chamber, in almost perfect condition, was crammed with gold coins and ornaments. The spectacular grave goods were found still hanging from iron pegs which had been hammered into the walls of the tomb. They include a 75cm diameter copper cauldron, a 35cm hanging bowl from northern England or Ireland and an exquisite 25cm diameter copper bowl, probably from Italy. There is also a 30cm high flagon, almost certainly from the Byzantine Empire, two gold foil crosses, an iron-framed folding stool, a sort of mobile throne, a gold reliquary which would probably have contained a bone fragment from a saint, four glass vessels, two drinking horns, the king’s sword and the remains of his shield, two gold coins from Merovingian France, the remains of a lyre, and several iron-clad barrels and buckets, presumably for alcoholic drink. The king’s skeleton has not survived due to the acidic nature of the soil. The excavations have been carried out by the Museum of London Archaeological Service and the objects will be on display at the Museum till 17 February and then from 21 February at Southend-on-Sea’s Museum.

Recently Count Ignaz zu Toerring-Jettenbach became engaged to Robinia Mentasti-Granelli. Her parents are Bruno and Floriana Mentasti-Granelli. The family of the bride lives in Milan, Italy. The wedding might take place this summer, but date and location are yet to be determined.

The court in The Hague today ruled that Princess Margarita de Bourbon de Parme and her husband Edwin de Roy van Zuydewijn’s summoned witnesses, among others Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands, The Duke of Parma and Prince Carlos de Bourbon de Parme, don’t have to give testimony under oath in their case against the Dutch state. According to the court in The Hague it is not clear that those testimonies from members of the royal family will unveil relevant facts to prove the claim of Princess Margarita and her husband: “The expression of several allegations against the state, without further basis, is insufficient reason to allow temporary witness testimony.” Britta Bohler, lawyer of the couple, said she was very disappointed with the court verdict, but that the legal challenge against the state will go ahead. They yet have to decide if they will appeal the ruling.

February 6th

Princess Claire of Belgium gave birth to a daughter at 22:34 at the Cliniques universitaires Saint-Luc in Woluwé-Saint-Lambert near Brussels. She is named Louise Sophie Mary. Louise weighs 3420 grammes and is 54 cm tall. Mother and daughter are doing well. Princess Louise is eleventh in line of succession to the Belgian throne. Princess Claire was admitted to hospital this afternoon, and Prince Laurent arrived at the hospital in the late afternoon. Tonight mother and daughter were visited by King Albert II and Queen Paola of the Belgians, as well as Nicholas Coombs and Nicole Coombs-Mertens.

The Spanish royal court announced that Letizia Ortiz Rocasolano, fiancée of the Prince of Asturias, has personally chosen fashion designer Manuel Pertegaz, 86-years-old and based in Barcelona, as the designer of her wedding dress. Mr Pertegaz has dressed some of the world’s best-known fashion icons – Audrey Hepburn, Jacqueline Onassis as well as Queen Sofia of Spain. Letizia spent two hours at Mr Pertegaz workship this week. Afterwards he commented: “She was very pleasant and she has a wonderful figure.” He added: “I don’t think I would advise her to wear a gown that is too avant garde.” In an interview to El Mundo two months ago Mr Pertegaz said that Letizia “should freely choose what she likes – there are no boundaries in fashion”. However he also said that she should be a bride that “breaks any moulds”, pointing out that royal protocol would have to be the main consideration.

This morning the majority of party spokesmen in the Danish Parliament said yes in a vote on the first draft of the bill to give Mary Donaldson, fiancée of Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark, the right to Danish citizenship. The bill will go to a second and third hearing and will come into force when Mary has said yes to Frederik on May 14th. She will renounce her dual British and Australian citizenship. Yesterday already the Parliament had its first debate about the increase of the Crown Prince’s apanage. Several members of Parliament thought it to be oldfashioned and discriminating that Mary Donaldson will only get 10% of her husband’s apanage instead of her own apanage. Prime Minister Anders Fogh then revealed that Queen Margrethe II and the royal family prefer the oldfashioned tradition.

Royal Coroner Michael Burgess and senior Scotland Yard detectives travelled to France yesterday to visit the Paris crash scene of Diana Princess of Wales. They are also expected to walk the route she took from the Ritz hotel to the Alma underpass where the fatal accident took place. They will also meet French officers involved in the French investigation. It is the first major step in the British investigation into the circumstances that led to the death of the Princess and Dodi Al-Fayed. Somewhere in the coming weeks Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir John Stevens will also pay a visit to France.

Last week Paul Lambrino, also known as Prince Paul of Romania (grandson of King Carol II of Romania), announced he will legally challenge former King Michael of Romania’s attempts to get $ 35 million as a compensation for the nationalized Sinaia estate (included the Peles, Pelisor and Foisor castles). “It was the wish of the Romanian Royal Family, my ancestors, that Peles Castle be kept as a museum for our fellow countrymen, the fine people of Romania. It is my duty as a Prince of Romania to protect and honestly point out, that Peles Castle cannot and will not be stolen from the people of Romania. I will work in coordination with designated members of the Government to insure that the treasures and furniture of Peles will not be diced up like mincemeat, sold off and taken out of Romania by the highest bidder,” Paul Lambrino declared: “I have a duty to use my contacts and influence, internationally, to help protect the patrimony of the Romanian people.” He also said: “My uncle was very badly advised. Shame on his entourage for placing him in such an undignified and illegal position.” Paul Lambrino said that he would appeal to European courts if necessary. Mr Lambrino recently was acknowledged by a local Romanian court as the legitimate grandson of King Carol II, but the decision is currently being contested in Romania’s Supreme Court by former King Michael. Two Romanian law firms and one of the leading law firms of Washington have agreed to work together on this with the Government after studying the true and uncontestable evidence that Paul Lambrino claims to possess.

February 7th

An open letter from Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands was published in the Dutch newspaper De Volkskrant. In the letter the Prince reacts to the many, often mean and unfounded imputations in publications and the media. He sharply critizised the publishers who according to him tell insulting untruths about himself and his family. He dislikes the insinuations about him having two illegitimate sons in London by Lady Ann Orr Lewis saying she has never been pregnant in those years. He also says about his war-past that he wasn’t involved in the treachery of the Battle of Arnhem and the so-called Stadtholder-letter (letter he allegedly has written to Adolf Hitler in 1942 to offer him to become governor of the Netherlands). He also critizises accusations to the address of his mother. He says his mother didn’t live a dissolute life when she was young and also didn’t support the national socialism. Furthermore he says his parents had a good marriage and that his mother never had a relationship with Colonel Alexis Pantchoulidzew. Prince Bernhard says to act out of sense of honour and considers it his duty to rectify the reputation of his parents. In the letter Prince Bernhard also says he still enjoys life, even at the age of 92, and that he is mostly satisfied by his family and his work in the area of nature. Recently an inquiry was done in his name to collect evidence to proof his own statements in the cases mentioned in the letter. Documents can be seen here.

At a press conference Prince Laurent of Belgium told about the birth of his daughter Louise yesterday evening. The delivery took about 40 minutes and went very well. Princess Claire delivered the baby in a natural way with epidural anaesthesia. Prince Laurent was present at birth. He had to wake up this night already several times and has also changed the baby’s diapers once. Princess Claire will leave hospital in 3 or 4 days time. At the press conference Prince Laurent described his daughter as ’round, pink and with bright hair’. He told the press that he had always wanted to share the birth with all people who know sorrows. According to Prince Laurent the little princess could bring them a bit of joy. Asked for his impressions at birth, the prince said he felt a huge responsibility, but that he also was very happy that his dream of having a girl as his first child was fulfilled. He said that now his daughter has been born ‘I even understand less how people can hurt the smallest among us, humans or animals’. He said: ‘Princess Louise will be raised like other children. How closer you are to your child, how closer the ties are. If you leave it to others, you will receive less gratitude later on’. The godfather of Louise will be a muslim friend of the prince, Prince Laurent told. According to the Catholic laws the godparents of a child to be baptized has to be a Catholic, but a person specialised in this said that one can ask Cardinal Danneels for dispensation. This afternoon Prince Philippe and Princess Mathilde visited Princess Claire and little Louise in hospital.

King Abdullah II, Queen Rania and other members of the Jordanian royal family have visited the late King Hussein’s tomb on the 5th anniversary of his death. Verses from the Holy Koran were recited and wreaths were laid on the grave. Later today King Abdullah II headed for Germany. Tomorrow he will deliver a speech called “Where does the Middle East go to?” before the participants in the 40th Forum of Munich for security police. He will clarify the Arab viewpoint regarding the region’s issues, particularly the situation in Iraq and Palestine, and will also emphasize the image of Islam and the Islamic values that respect pluralism, call for tolerance and denounce terrorism.

February 8th

The Prince of Wales paid a surprisingly nearly 6-hour visit to the British troops stationed in Basra, Iraq. He landed at Basra International Airport from Kuwait at 13:05 local time in an airplane equiped to deflict any surface-to-air missiles. He then took a helicopter to the Al-Sarraji Palace. The Prince of Wales told the troops: “You are a remarkable bunch of people and I can only salute you. You have a great way of conducting that all-important hearts and minds campaign.” He also said that the troops were owed a great debt of gratitude and said that the people in Great Britain often don’t see the full picture of the good work the forces are doing. The Prince of Wales also met Paul Bremer, the USA’s top administrator in Iraq who said: “This is a very important demonstration of the British Government’s commitment to what we have started here.” A spokesman for the Prince said: “We don’t normally take the prince to places as dangerous as this. The troops need cheering up.” It was a rare visit by a British royal to Iraq that won independence from Britain in 1932.

Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende of the Netherlands knew about the letter written by Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands, but refused to comment about the contents. However he said that the Prince had the right in the last phase of his life to tell his side of the story. Also Queen Beatrix was aware of the letter and expressed understanding for her father’s actions. The authors who attacked Prince Bernhard in the past were less happy. Thomas Ross said he had evidence and sources to substantiate his allegations and that the Prince’s letter had come too late. “If the Prince has objections about publications, he could have take action earlier by going to a judge.” Jan Kikkert also remained firm in his assertions and was unconvinced by the Prince’s denials.

The NOS will broadcast the wedding of Prince Johan Friso of the Netherlands and Mabel Wisse Smit on April 24 live on television. The editor of the NOS, Lars Andersson, said on the radio the event is of national importance.

February 9th

In the documentary “Princess in Exile” that was broadcasted by the Norwegian channel TV2 Princess Ragnhild Mrs Lorentzen, eldest sister of King Harald V of Norway, gave some comment on the Norwegian royal family. She has been living in Brazil for the past 50 years and says in 1953 she was nearly forced to leave the country when she married a commoner: “I’m not really sure, but I think it was such that if we moved (to Brazil) we’d be allowed to marry.” Although it was difficult to move to another country she said it was a relief to be able to live as a normal person. Asked about the future of the monarchy she said: “I’m not worried for myself, but for Norway, yes. I hope I die before that happens. I really hope so.” She said not to admire Crown Prince Haakon and Princess Märtha Louise and thinks they’ve had poor advisers and she doesn’t approve their choice of partners. She is certain they are not good for the monarchy. She said: “If my father had lived a bit longer, everything would have been very different.” She also said to be very sorry for Marius, Crown Princess Mette-Marit’s son saying that once the couple has a new child who’s a royal heir “poor Marius is nothing. He is six (now seven) years old, but will understand that there’s a difference. And that will give them (Haakon and Mette-Marit) problems. I hope they have thought about that.” Princess Ragnhild’s husband Erling Lorentzen this weekend tried to get TV2 to edit his wife’s remarks as he said the documentary was meant to be broadcasted in connection with the state visit of King Harald V and Queen Sonja to Brazil last fall and now can be taken out of context, but also says that Princess Ragnhild stands by her comments. The palace declined to comment on Princess Ragnhild’s criticism.

After his visit to the British troops in Basra, Iraq, the Prince of Wales travelled to Bam in Iran and witnessed the devastation left behind by the earthquake which struck the city on December 24, 2003. He met aid workers. The Prince asked an interpreter: “Would you tell them that my people in Britain are very concerned and they’re praying for the Iranian people.” After the visit to Bam the Prince travelled to Saudi Arabia. The visit is intended to offer solidarity to the kingdom after it suffered numerous fatal bombings over the past year. The last time a British royal made an official visit to Iran was in 1975 when the Queen Mother came to the country.

The son of the late Shah of Iran, Reza Pahlavi, could be the godfather to the newborn Princess Louise of Belgium, Belgian newspapers speculated today. A palace source said that the speculation was “plausible,” although Laurent’s official spokesman declined comment.

February 10th

The first photos of Princess Louise of Belgium were released today. For the first time in Belgium the first photos were shot by the father himself. Also today the royal court issued a statement saying that the parents haven’t chosen Louise’s godfather yet: “Prince Laurent is indeed considering the possibility of choosing a Muslim godparent for his daughter but as the date of the baptism has not even been set yet he has made no firm choice. The Prince regrets that rumours on this subject have appeared in the media.” This morning Belgian Foreign Minister Louis Michel however said Reza Pahlavi would be an “uncomfortable” choice for the country and that diplomatic relations between Teheran and Brussels could suffer. Reza Pahlavi is actively campaigning to overthrow the regime in Iran. Mr Michel said: “I am making no judgement about that person’s personal qualities, but if a member of our royal family, and therefore a member of a Belgian institution, chooses the Shah of Iran’s son to be the godfather of his child, it’s a bit like an official Belgian authority recognising the old regime when there is a new regime in place today that we have contacts with.”

From hopefully 2006 Berg Castle can be visited by interested citizens and tourists in the months of July and August it became known. The initiative came from the Palace itself and a plan is worked out at the moment. The grand ducal residence – Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa live at the castle – might become a very popular touristic place, a spokesman for the Office National du Tourisme said. It is planned that the reception rooms, as well as the park will be open to the public, as well as some grand ducal collections and probably the library.

King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden has been highly critisized in Sweden for an interview on the Swedish public radio during last week’s state visit to Brunei. He said that Brunei was “a country which is much more open than one may imagine”. He said that every Sunday after his visit to the mosque Sultan Hassan Bolkiah holds an open audience where anyone who wants can come and present his wishes, and presumably his complaints also. The King also said that the Sultan visits every village in Brunei each year “where there is every possibility of direct communication with all his subjects”. King Carl XVI Gustaf today apologized for praising the Sultan’s openness: “It was perhaps a little thoughtless but it was not my intention to step into the debate on Brunei’s form of government,” the king admitted, according to a spokeswoman for the royal palace, Elisabeth Tarras-Wahlberg. Swedish Liberal deputy Birgitta Ohlsson and other parliamentarians callef for the visit to Bruneai to be the subject of a constitutional standing commission. Mrs Ohlsson said: “The king cannot express a political position.” She thinks it is irresponsible to send the King to a dictatorship without a minister who can present political criticism. The constitutional standing commission should also examine whether the King’s comments could be regarded as a breach of the Swedish constitution.

Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain is to lose direct control of Westminster Abbey and five other royal chapels under radical reforms announced yesterday. The recommendations were put forward by the Lord Chancellor and were based on a report published in March 2001 on the organisation and accountability of the Royal Peculiars. The reforms have been approved by the Queen and will distance her from her historical role as the sole authority over the chapels. The changes were introduced to prevent the Queen becoming embroiled in disputes. The plans are to appoint an assessor – who could act as a moderator – to each of the Royal Peculiars of Westminster Abbey, St George’s Chapel and the Chapels Royal at St James’s Palace, Hampton Court and the Tower of London. In addition, a body made up of up to three privy counsellors would be able to rule in cases where the assessor failed to bring about a successful mediation. The deans and chapters will continue to be in charge of the day-to-day running of Royal Peculiars but must produce a budget and audited accounts.

February 11th

Prince Paul “Pauly” Romanovsky-Ilyinsky died in his sleep early on Tuesday at the age of 76. He was born in London on January 27, 1928, as the only son of Grand Duke Dimitry of Russia (1891-1942) and Audrey Emery (1904-1971). Paul Ilyinsky served Palm Beach, Florida, for more than two decades as town councilman and mayor. When he was a child he travelled with his parents between their homes in England and France going to school at Sunningdale School in Kent. He first visited Palm Beach with his parents at the age of 6. His parents divorced in 1937. In 1939 his father put Paul on a ship to the USA to escape war. He himself stayed in Europe and died in Davos, Switzerland, in 1942. Paul Ilyinsky graduated from Woodberry Forest School in Virginia in 1946 and enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps, where he attended combat photography school. He then entered the University of Virginia, but was recalled soon to active duty in Korea. In 1953 he graduated from university. In 1949 he had married Mary Evelyn Prince, but the couple already divorced in 1952. In 1953 he remarried Angelica Kaufmann, with whom he got two sons and two daughters. The couple settled in Palm Beach in 1953, but moved to Cincinnati in 1963. However they returned to Palm Beach in 1979 where Paul Ilyinsky opened a photography studio. He was first elected to Town Council in 1981, was re-elected in 1983 and then named council president. Although being defeated in 1987, in 1993 he became the mayor of Palm Beach after all. He retired in 1999 because of health problems: he had heart trouble and emphysema. He was a member of the Preservation Foundation of Palm Beach, the Community Foundation, the Palm Beach Fellowship of Christians and Jews, and the Coconuts. He loved sailing and collected military miniatures and model railroads. The schedule for Mr. Ilyinsky’s funeral services is pending. Quattlebaum Funeral Home is in charge of local arrangements. Mayor Lesly Smith yesterday began the Town Council meeting by rising and calling for a moment of silence. She said: “I’m very sad to tell you that Mayor Ilyinsky died this morning. His two great loves were his family and the town of Palm Beach.” Flags around town were lowered to half-staff in his honor.

Around 12:45 Princess Claire of Belgium and her newborn daughter Louise, accompanied by Prince Laurent, left hospital. They thanked the staff of the hospital. Outside tens of people were waiting to have a glimpse of the baby and her parents. The couple took their time to talk with the people before leaving for their villa in Tervuren near Brussels. Princess Claire and Prince Laurent confirmed that their daughter looks a lot like Prince Laurent when he was born.

On April 30, 2005, it will be 25 years ago that Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands came on the Dutch throne. To be able to pay attention to the Silver Jubilee in a correct way the Cabinet has founded the National Committee Silver Reigning Jubilee Queen Beatrix. The Committee will make a programme. The Queen’s wish is that the programme is connected to activities and engagements that already will take place in the Netherlands in 2005. The committee exists of 21 members and will have its first meeting on February 21.

Prince Johan Friso of the Netherlands will become director at TNO Spaces in Delft starting on March 1. He will become a director with his own working area next to another director. TNO Space unites the marketing efforts of five TNO-institutes in the area of aerospace engineering. Prince Friso studied aerospace engineering at the Technical University of Delft from 1988 to 1994.

February 12th

Prince Hans Adam II of Liechtenstein made his very last speech during the opening of Liechtenstein’s Landtag. Next year it will be the turn of his son hereditary prince Alois, who will become the deputy-prince on August 15. In his personal speech he looked back at his time as a reigning prince and said that for him it was especially important to assure the sovereignty and the right of self-determination of the people of Liechtenstein. He also said that the country is very small and has been happy to survive over the years, and that he is afraid that a membership of the European Union will mean less self-determination for the people of Liechtenstein. In foreign politics for all the good relations with both neighbours were important.

February 13th

Princess Ingrid Alexandra of Norway will be christened on Saturday, April 17, at the chapel of the Royal Palace in Oslo. Bishop Gunnar Stålsett will officiate in the ceremony. The godparents will not be announced until the day of the baptism.

Prince Hans Moritz of Liechtenstein, who died on February 3, was interred in the Princely familyvault next to the St Florin Cathedral in Vaduz, Liechtenstein. The mass at the cathedral was led by priest Markus Kellenberger and was attended by members of the princely family, family of the deceased as well as representants of the government and others. The coffin, covered with a yellow-red flag (the colours of the princely house) – was carried out to the familyvault nearby by policemen, while the national anthem was played. Only close members of the family entered the vault.

Prince Harry of Wales has arrived in Lesotho. He will spend the next eight weeks in Lesotho helping young mothers and disadvantaged children. He will visit a number of locations and community schemes and will help with building projects. He will be able to see first-hand how international agencies and charitable organisations provide aid and support to people. For security reasons, exact locations are not being disclosed.

Tapes secretly recorded by Diana Princess of Wales detailing the breakdown of her marriage to the Prince of Wales are to be shown for the first time on television. The Princess speaks of Charles’s affair with Camilla Parker Bowles, her struggle with bulimia, suicide attempts, and her relationships with other members of the Royal family, said US television network NBC. NBC says it bought the right to the audio and video tapes, which show the princess “laughing and interacting” with Princes William and Harry, and that the video footage was taken by a ‘professional’ associate of the Princess between September 1992 and December 1993. There are also interviews with some closest friends. The hour of video and about seven hours of audio tapes were the main source for Andrew Morton’s 1992 best seller, ‘Diana: Her True Story’ and are understood to have been secretly recorded at Kensington Palace. The two-part special will air at NBC in the United States on March 4 and 11.

During the Rally Sweden last weekend Prince Carl Philip of Sweden has confirmed at Swedish television that he is going to compete in motor sport in the future (this summer?). He took a racing licence this summer and got his competing licence from the Swedish motorsport association last weekend.

The opposition Socialist Party of former Communists said Friday it would submit to Parliament a draft law to impose a moratorium on property the state has restored to Prime Minister Simeon Saxe-Coburg Gotha. The law would bar him from selling, donating, renting and making any other deals with two small palaces, two mansions a hunting lodge and a country house he has inherited from his ancestors. The former king was restored to the property in 2001.

February 14th

Prince Laurent of Belgium will register his daughter at the townhall of Woluwé-Saint-Lambert on Friday, February 20th, at 11:00. He will be accompanied by three witnesses: Viscount Etienne Davignon, Jacques Donnez and Georges Vanlerberghe.

February 15th

The first “official’ biography of Diana, Princess of Wales will be published this year with the support of her family. The book, Diana, The Portrait, has been commissioned by, and will raise money for, the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund, the charity set up after her death. The fund says that the book’s purpose is to “redress the balance” following a series of books concentrating on scandals in the Princess’s private life. The book will highlight Diana’s charity work and “It is the first and only book about the Princess that has the full approval of Diana’s estate.” Lady Sarah McCorquodale, sister of the late Princess, who is an executor of the estate, will have overall control of the book. It is understood also the late Princess’s mother Frances Shand-Kydd, her brother Earl Spencer and her other sister Lady Jane Fellowes support the project. The foreword was written by Nelson Mandela. The book is also said to contain some unpublished photographs. The book might have to compete with a new book by Andrew Morton, called ‘Diana, In Search of Love’, which is to be published in June.

February 16th

On Friday Countess Diana Bernadotte has given birth to a daughter: Paulina Maria. The baby is 50 cm tall and weighs 2850 grammes. Countess Diana married Bernd Grawe at Mainau last September. Paulina Maria is the first grandchild of Diana’s mother, Countess Sonja, and already the 13th of Diana’s father, Count Lennart Bernadotte.

In the future King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden will be escorted by a cabinet minister on state visits to make sure he doesn’t repeat political statements like he did in Brunei. Under the Swedish Constitution, the king is prohibited from engaging in politics. The foreign minister normally accompanies the king on official visits, but Laila Freivalds couldn’t fit the Brunei trip into her schedule. He does not take part in the deliberations of the government and is not required to sign any government decisions.

February 17th

More than 700 people attended the Russian Orthodox funeral service of Prince Paul Romanovsky-Ilyinsky at the The Episcopal Church of Bethesda-by-the Sea, Palm Beach, Florida, yesterday afternoon. The service was co-celebrated by the Very Rev. Kirrill V. Gvosdev and the Rev. Ralph R. Warren. The service, sung in both Russian and English, followed the Russian Orthodox tradition with an open coffin and a paper band on the Prince’s forehead signifying a crown of victory. Among the 27 pallbearers was Prince Michel de Bourbon de Parme. Eulogists were among others the deceased’s sons Dimitri and Michael, his daughters Paula and Anne as well as his grandson Alex Comisar. Son Michael Ilyinsky finished his speech with a brief tribute to his mother. Alex Comisar remembered his grandfather as “the man in whose presence I learned the true meaning of being a gentleman. All of us here today have lost a friend, but I’ve lost my very best friend.” The Rev. Gvosdev reminded the assembled of the historical significance of the occasion: “An era in Russia is over. The life of a Romanov has been extinguished. A chapter in Russian history is closed.” Prince Paul Romanovsky-Ilyinsky will be cremated.

Mabel Wisse Smit, fiancée of Prince Johan Friso of the Netherlands, visited her former school, the Gemeentelijk Gymnasium in Hilversum, to give a masterclass about charity during a special art- and scienceday at the school. She told about working for an organisation involved in human rights and about the meaning of non-governmental aid organisations. Apart from the masterclass she was asked how difficult it is now to appear in public and she said: “At my old school that is nice. The past half year hasn’t always been easy. Especially if you can’t defend yourself. If so many lies and untruth is written about you. I have buried myself in my job and I have spent as much time as possible with family and friends I care for.” About the news that Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende will attend the wedding of her and Prince Johan Friso on April 24 she said: “Yes, nice isn’t it?”

February 18th

Hon. Ma’atu Fatafehi ‘Alaivahamama’o Tuku’aho of Tonga collapsed and died at the Vaiola Hospital on Tuesday morning following a heart attack. He was born at the Royal Palace, Nuku’alofa, on December 17, 1954, the third child and second son of King Taufa’ahau Tupou IV and Queen Mata’aho of Tonga. In 1980 the Prince fell in love with a commoner, Heimataura Anderson, daughter of a Hawaiian millionaire, and married her in Hawaii without his father’s permission. In Tonga the king officially annulled the marriage and stripped his son and his heirs of any royal rights. After the death of cancer of his wife, only five years after the wedding, the former prince returned to Tonga and in 1989 married Alaileula Jungblut, a granddaughter of Samoa’s head of state Malietoa Tanumafili II. He is survived by her and their four children, one girl and three boys: Hon. Sitiveni ‘Alaivahamama’o Polu Le’ulingana Tanusia Ma’a Tonga Tuku’aho (13), Hon. Salote Haimhadessah Tuku’aho (12); Hon Fatafehi Sione Ikamafana Tuita (10) and Hon. ‘Etani Ha’amea Tupoulahi Tuku’aho (9). He then retained his noble title and in the late 1990s took one of the noble seats in the Legislative Assembly. A traditional royal funeral ceremony will be announced later and a burial site is being prepared at Mala’ekula the Royal Tombs.

Princess Mathilde of Belgium has travelled to Niger on Sunday to evaluate at first hand her country’s charity efforts in the region. The visit is initiated by UNICEF. Princess Mathilde will explore a number of locations where Belgian aid projects are underway. She is accompanied by Minister for Cooperation Development, Marc Verwilghen. On Sunday she attended a gala event in Niamey.

During a 5-hour long debate in the Danish Parliament yesterday it was decided to go on to change the Danish succession laws. Only one party was against it. A group of 17 members of Parliament will prepare a bill later this year and make it similar to the Swedish law. This means that if the bill becomes a law, the first child of Crown Prince Frederik and Mary Donaldson will be the heir no matter if it is a girl or a boy.

Research by Dr Maria Hayward, from the Textile Conservation Centre at Winchester School of Art, in the archives at the University of Southampton reveals more about what was worn in royal circles at the time of King Henry VIII of England. It was already known that the king enjoyed tennis, riding and jousting, but the research revealed that the king also owned a pair of football ‘shoes’. Dr Hayward said: “Football in Tudor times was a very vicious game with no teams and no rules. According to contemporary writer Sir Thomas Elyot it was a game of ‘beastly fury and extreme violence’, so it was not a game for gentlemen. This makes it all the more surprising that Henry had a special pair of shoes for playing football in. The game was apparently especially popular on Shrove Tuesday.” Dr Hayward is gathering material for publication about King Henry VIII’s first Queen, Catherine of Aragon and an in-depth study of dress at Henry VIII’s court. Detailed records exist of Henry’s wardrobe for nine years out of the King’s 37 year reign, although no clothes or shoes have survived.

February 19th

Former King Mohammed Zahir Shah of Afghanistan has been discharged from hospital in Delhi, India, where he was admitted after complaining of an intestinal problem. His grandson, Nadir Naeem, has said they will remain in Delhi for the next few days and that the former king is still under medical observation.

Countess Dorothea von Quadt zu Wykradt und Isny née Kuntze was cremated in München, Germany, today. She was born in Mährisch-Ostrau on July 1, 1921, as the daughter of Karl Kuntze and Luise Neumann. In 1940 she married Günther Latter, by whom she had a daughter, Monika, but the couple already divorced in 1942. In 1943 she married Count Karl von Quadt zu Wykradt und Isny (1916-1975). They had four children: Karl-Franz, Ruth, Peter and Isabelle.

February 20th

Prince Amedeo of Belgium Archduke of Austria-Este, who will celebrate his 18th birthday tomorrow, already received the press today. His birthday was celebrated in family circle with his parents, grandparents, brother and sisters at Villa Schonenberg, where the family lives. After a piece of strawberry-cake and champagne, familypictures were taken. Afterwards the party continued in private.

This morning Prince Laurent of Belgium registered his daughter Louise at the town hall of Woluwe-Saint-Lambert. The Prince received the pen with which he signed the birth certificate and a silver cup with Louise’s name engraved in it. The Prince told the mayor that Louise is doing fine, but that he is very tired because he has to get up at night to give her her bottle. He didn’t want to comment on the baby’s godfather.

Princess Ingrid Alexandra of Norway will appear on a Norwegian postal stamp that will mark her christening on April 17. 2 million copies will be issued. She will become the youngest person ever to appear on a Norwegian postal stamp. Press chief Brigitte Lund Nakken of Posten said: “For the first time we have had a female heir to the throne born in the country. This is a major occasion which of course we wish to applaud. This will be Posten’s christening gift to Princess Ingrid Alexandra.”

Communications Secretary Paddy Harverson quickly replied to an article in the Daily Express called ‘Spoiled And Lazy Harry Is One Of A Kind’. The article was very critical about the agenda of Prince Harry of Wales’s gap year. Mr Harverson wrote: “I am afraid that these comments make it entirely clear that Ms Sarler has little or no understanding of Harry as a person, and no knowledge of how he has so far spent his current gap year.” He further defended Prince Harry’s approach to his African trip. “He has insisted it be spent working… rather than on making VIP-style visits where he simply hears of local people’s problems.” He ended his letter with: “Like any other 19-year-old fortunate to be travelling and working abroad. Harry should be allowed to enjoy and benefit from his experiences.”

The Queen’s Day visit to Groningen of Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands most likely will mainly take place at the Big Market (Grote Markt) and the Fish Market (Vismarkt). That could be concluded from the fact that market-vendors were offered to replace the Friday market to the Wednesday. For more news: here.

February 22nd

King Harald V of Norway, who celebrated his 67th birthday sailing in Florida this weekend, told reporters in Miami Beach he is enjoying the warmth of Florida and that he is feeling good. However he also said it was ‘so boring’ to be on sick leave and is looking forward to sail in a regatta off Florida this week. He hopes to be back at work after Easter. King Harald said he hopes he and his sister Princess Ragnhild are still friends, after being asked about their relationship after his sister’s comments earlier this month. He added: “It would be sad if this affected our family relations.” He said to be very pleased with the job his son Crown Prince Haakon is doing as a regent: “I’ve told him that ‘I’m here if there’s anything you need to ask about. But there’s been very little he’s asked about.”

Princess Lena von und zu Liechtenstein née Johansson, wife of Prince Andreas von und zu Liechtenstein, gave birth to a son, Viktor, in Stockholm on February 13.

February 23rd

Crown Prince Naruhito of Japan gave an interview to the press club at the Imperial Household Agency prior to his 44th birthday. He said: “The situation in Iraq has been in disarray. I am praying from the bottom of my heart peace will prevail as soon as possible.” Asked about his wife, Crown Princess Masako, the crown prince said she has become tired due to hard official work and child rearing, as well as from “major pressure” to give birth to a second child, a boy.

Yesterday Prince Rainier III of Monaco has been hospitalized for the third time in two months. He is suffering from ‘acute heart problems’ the palace said. A medical statement today said: “Biological exams confirmed this diagnosis corresponded with a new coronary lesion situated just below the heart bypass operation carried out in November 1994.” It added that the lesion was “immediately brought under control” and that the prince would remain in hospital “in principle for several days”.

The Danish royal website was completely redesigned.

Princess Kritika of Nepal went through the rice feeding ceremony ‘pasani’ today at the Narayanhiti Royal Palace. Her mother, Crown Princess Himani fed her ‘fish’ during the traditional ceremony.

During building work on a metro-station Italian archeologists have found a 30-centimetres high marble head of Roman Emperor Nero (37-68 AD) in the centre of Napels, Italy. Already months ago parts of an imperial palace had been discovered at the same spot. The head was a part of a statue of the young Nero and most likely had its place at the palace. Leader of the excavations, Daniela Gianpaolo, says that it certainly won’t stay the only sensation as Napels is one undiscovered finding place.

February 24th

The Prince of Orange has opened the Hermitage in Amsterdam this evening. A large spectacle outside formed a main part of the opening. The Prince of Orange arrived by boat and then enlighted the facades of the museum after which a special fireworks started, a reconstruction of the fireworks for Tsar Peter the Great during his visit to Amsterdam in 1697. The museum in Amsterdam is the third branch of the Hermitage museum in St Petersburg, Russia, abroad after London and Las Vegas. No Dutch paintings will be exhibited in Amsterdam as ‘We will bring only the items Holland does not have – we are Russian cultural embassy’ a spokesman for the Hermitage in St Petersburg said. The first exhibition is about Greek Gold. Later this year there will be an exhibition about Tsar Nikolaj II and Tsarina Alexandra.

February 25th

This week’s Point de Vue announces the upcoming wedding of Archduke Martin of Austria-Este and Princess Katharina von Isenburg. The wedding will take place at Birstein Castle on May 7. Archduke Martin was born on December 19, 1959 as the fourth child and youngest son of Archduke Robert of Austria-Este (1915-1996) and Princess Margherita of Savoy-Aosta (* 1930). Princess Katharina von Isenburg was born on October 21, 1971, as the second child and eldest daughter of Franz Alexander 8th Prince von Isenburg (* 1943) and Countess Christine von Saurma Freiin von und zu der Jeltsch (* 1941).

The Royal Palace in Monaco has said that Prince Rainier III’s condition has improved since he entered hospital over the weekend. He remains under permanent medical surveillance. His improvement is completely reassuring. Later this week his doctors will decide when the Prince can return home.

The Prince of Orange and Princess Máxima of the Netherlands have won their legal battle at court in Amsterdam against the gossip magazine Privé. The court ruled that the magazine’s publications in 2003 containing photos of the interior of Villa De Eikenhorst, where the couple is living now, were unlawful and that the magazine may not longer use the photos. Any breach of the ruling carries a risk of being fined 25.000 Euros per photo. The magazine was also ordered to destroy all photos, published or not, within five days. The court also ruled that despite the photos “exposed little” and were “reasonably innocent”, their publication in combination with the attached text breached the royal couple’s right to privacy.

King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand has been honored with the Habitat Scroll of Honor Award for his work in reducing pollution in the canals of Bangkok and other environment projects. The award is the highest award conferred by the United Nations to individuals, projects or institutions in recognition of significant contributions to improving human settlements. It was formally presented to the king today at his palace in Hua Hin by Anna Tibaijuka, an undersecretary general of the United Nations. The Habitat Scroll of Honor will be accompanied with a special citation recognizing the king’s “outstanding contribution to improving water resource management in Thailand.” “The comprehensive and integrated nature of His Majesty’s royal development projects is a lesson to all of us eager to protect our natural environment,” Mrs Tibaijuka said.

February 29th

Yesterday afternoon King Mohammed VI of Morocco started a visit to the northeastern part of Morocco to comfort survivors of Tuesday’s earthquake that killed more than 500 people. Hundreds of people applauded as the king arrived at the hospital in Al Hoceima, about 20 minutes after landing at the local airport, and talked to victims of the earthquake. Today he visited an hospital in the town of Imzouren, where numerous homes and buildings collapsed. The King’s spokesman said the King hoped the visit would “help facilitate and accelerate relief operations.” On Monday, King Mohammed VI plans to go to Ait Kamara, the worst-hit town at the quake’s epicenter. It was said that a series of aftershocks following the original quake prevented the King from coming earlier to the area and officials said they were wary of sending the king to the area amid fears for his safety. On Thursday and Friday people protested as relief supplies appeared to have penetrated almost all the region affected, while many villages said they didn’t receive anything as local authorities failed to distribute the supplies.

March 1st

Documents released by the National Archives show that Prime Minister Harold Wilson of Great Britain acted as a secret mentor to King Constantine of Greece when a junta seized control of Greece. The Prime Minister, unlike some diplomats at the Foreign Office, did want to help. Lord Mountbatten set up several meetings between Mr Wilson and the King while keeping Queen Elizabeth II fully informed. However at a crucial moment Mr Wilson decided it was diplomatically too dangerous for the King to fly to Great Britain for clandestine talks at Broadlands, the house of Lord Mountbatten. In November 1967, seven months after the coup, Lord Mountbatten wrote to the King to explain the decision and added that Mr Wilson “went so far as to say that you were the one hope of preserving democracy between the dangers of dictatorship and communism”. The King and Mr Wilson met in May 1968. Mr Wilson recorded that he found the king “a very lonely young man, totally bereft of any reliable advice – and therefore potentially exposed to unreliable advisers. It seemed to me to be in our interest to keep in close touch with the king and indeed to give him support.”

Crown Prince Haakon of Norway wants to close an agreement with the Norwegian media in order to establish guidelines to protect the private life of his family. However not everyone is thrilled by the suggestion. Ellen Arnstad, editor of the magazine Henne, says that such an agreement would breach the principle of a free and independent press, and that she doesn’t think that the royal house will get a written agreement with the Norwegian pess. Bernt Olufsen, editor of the newspaper VG, is also not very comfortable with the suggestion. A meeting is to take place next month.

The Countess of Wessex returned to Great Britain on crutches after pulling a muscle in her right leg last Friday during a skiing holiday in St Moritz, Switzerland. A spokeswoman says: “She was checked out by a doctor and discharged after 20 minutes. Fortunately nothing was broken.” The Countess has been skiing together with her husband the Earl of Wessex.

Prince Rainier III of Monaco is expected to leave hospital this week, the palace said. The doctors are very satisfied with his condition.

March 2nd

There has been a small fire at Christian VII’s Palace – one of Amalienborg’s four palaces – just before midnight on Monday. Immediately the whole area around Amalienborg was blocked. The fire was caused by an electrical short circuit, but was rapidly put out by the fire-brigade. Smoke from the fire caused very little damage to the building and paintings and other decorations are left intact. Christian VII’s Palace is used to lodge guests. Queen Margrethe II and Prince Henrik of Denmark both were abroad, while Crown Prince Frederik was at home in Christian VIII’s Palace.

The Danish Defence Command has announced a special programme for the May 5th celebrations (Liberation Day) this year. The programme will honour Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark. The parade will take place at the Langelinie in Copenhagen. Furthermore several activities and tour take place on the quay. Crown Prince Frederik and his fiancée Mary Donaldson are expected to join other members of the Danish Royal Family at the parade which will take place in the morning. The military tribute will be modelled after festivities in 1967 when the present Queen Margrethe II married Prince Henrik. The couple will also recieve their official wedding gift from the Danish defence.

Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini ka-Bhekuzulu is negotiating with the family of 20-year-old Zola Zelusiwe Mafu, daughter of Agrippa Mafu and his wife Rose, who is set to become the King’s sixth wife. She is from Swaziland. The king’s five wives are Queen Sibongile (nee Dlamini), Queen Buhle (nee Mathe), Queen Mantfombi (nee Dlamini), Queen Thendekile (nee Ndlovu) and Queen Nompumelelo (nee Mchiza). Queen Mantfombi is a daughter of the late King Sobhuza II of Swaziland. It is said that “The king states that in accordance with the Swazi custom, Queen Mantfombi took the initiative to look for a possible young bride for her husband. The daughter of Mr Mafu was brought to the KwaKhangelamakengane Palace where Queen Mantfombi resides with the consent and permission of her mother and father.”

March 3rd

Prince Harry of Wales was pictured helping with building work at an orphanage in Lesotho. In the newly released photos the young royal is seen helping erect a fence and planting trees at the Mants’ase Children’s Home. He arrived in Lesotho on February 13th and has also helped lay foundations for a new hospital and dug trenches for crops. A Clarence House spokesman said: “Prince Harry and his friend George Hill have been travelling the country getting to know Lesotho and its people and working on projects to help local communities. This orphanage needs fencing to keep the animals out… He is not here on an official royal visit. Like any normal 19-year-old he wanted to come and experience it for himself, contribute and learn a bit of the country.”

Today and yesterday Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands paid a visit to Germany. Yesterday she was invited for a lunch at Bellevue Castle by German President Johannes Rau. In her table speech Queen Beatrix said to hope that Mr Rau will stay a friend of the Netherlands after the end of his presidency later this year. She also praised the development of Berlin into a fascinating capital with an impressive modern architecture as symbol of courage and action. After the reception Queen Beatrix opened the new Dutch Embassy in Berlin, that was designed by Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas. Today Queen Beatrix spoke with German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder and together with German President Johannes Rau she later visited Oranienbaum Palace near Dessau and the Bauhaus in Dessau. In Oranienbaum more than 1000 people had gathered at the market square. Oranienbaum Palace was build for Countess Henriette Catharina of Nassau (1637-1708), daughter of Frederik Hendrik Prince of Orange. She was married to Prince Johann Georg II of Anhalt-Dessau.

Letters from Diana Princess of Wales written to her reflexologist Chryssie Fitzgerald have been sold for £19,400 at auction in Swindon. The letters were written during the period of her marriage breakdown and the first two years of her separation from the Prince of Wales. One of the letters, from October 1994 – sold for £3,300 – tells of her reaction to former Army Major James Hewitt’s public revelation of their affair. She wrote: “Last week was the (underlined) toughest yet that I have had to face & I did everything I could to keep myself above water. When I came for my appointment I was in a total state of shock & very distressed about Hewitt’s so called revelations – I never expected to hear on top all that about someone else’s hatred for me & what accompanies those feelings. It hurt so (double underlined) much to hear from you, Chryssie, that Sarah found me a problem & that with everything else that was going on. Please remember something you said to me just last week ‘Babs, you’re on your own’. Today, I really feel that.”

Prince Rainier III of Monaco has left hospital this afternoon.

March 4th

In the tv-programme Zembla writer F Bieckmann revealed this evening that Prince Claus of the Netherlands and his son Johan Friso had dinner with Cuban leader Fidel Castro when they visited Cuba in 1998. According to Prince Claus’s private reports, Bieckmann – who is writing a book about Prince Claus – was able to read, during the conversation Fidel Castro said that he felt much like Prince William of Orange.

March 5th

Millions of people have watched the programme on the American tv-channel NBC today that showed parts of audio tapes on which the late Diana Princess of Wales told about her marriage. The tapes are understood to be recorded at Kensington Palace between September 1992 and December 1993, in response to written questions submitted by writer Andrew Morton. Quotes were used for his book “Diana: Her True Story” that was published afterwards. About her childhood Princess Diana says: “It was a very unhappy childhood, parents were busy sorting themselves out. I remember seeing my father slap my mother across the face and I was crying on the floor… Mummy was crying an awful lot.” About the proposal she told: “He said “Will you marry me?” And I laughed. I remember thinking this is a joke. So I said, “yes, OK.” I laughed. And he was deadly serious. He said, “You do mean, you do realize that one day you’ll be Queen?” And a voice said to me inside, “You won’t be Queen, but you’ll have a tough role.” So I thought to myself, “OK,” so I said, “Yes.”” On the tapes she blames the Prince of Wales’s affair with Camilla Parker Bowles – of which she knew through overhearing telephone conversations between the couple – for worsening her bulimia: “Bulimia started the week after we got engaged. Charles said you’re getting a bit chubby, and that triggered something off. The first time I made myself sick I was so thrilled. It relieved me of tension. I ate everything I could find and I was as sick as a parrot… it was an indication of what was going on (between Charles and Camilla).” The bulimia worsened during the honeymoon. The Prince of Wales had brought eight novels with him to read. About her marriage Princess Diana says: “I thought the whole thing was hysterical, getting married. I was very, very deathly calm. I felt as though I was a lamb going to the slaughter.” She said: “As I walked up the aisle I was looking for her. I spotted Camilla.” Princess Diana told: “I was trying to cut my wrists with razor blades… we were trying to hide that from everybody… I was just so desperate.” And while she was pregnant with her eldest son William in 1982 she felt very inadequate: “… I threw myself down the stairs, bearing in mind I was carrying a child. The Queen came out and saw me and was horrified.” On February 14, 1984, it was announced she was pregnant with Harry. The six week period before Harry was born was when they were at their closest, she said. But then: “Harry was born – it just was bang. Our marriage down the drain. And Charles, all he wanted was a girl. First comment was, ‘Oh God it’s a boy’, second comment, ‘Oh no, he’s even got red hair!'” Princess Diana claimed. “I had a very bad time with the press – they literally haunted and hunted me,” the princess said. She coninued saying: “My husband made me feel so inadequate in every possible way. The public… they wanted a fairy princess to come and touch them, and everything will turn into gold and all their worries would be forgotten. Little did they realise that the individual was crucifying herself inside because she didn’t think she was good enough.” Former royal press secretary Dickie Arbiter commented on the radio that although the content of the tapes was already known, it was “scary” to hear her voice and “the drama of it all” was more evident. “It became very apparent that she was unhappy, she was bitter and she was ill. They were her own words.” Further tapes will be shown on NBC on March 11th at 2200 Eastern Time, 0300 GMT.

The Government Information Service has denied a report in De Volkskrant (newspaper) of this morning. Although a royal decree is prepared about the title of Prince Johan Friso of the Netherlands after his marriage to Mabel Wisse Smit, it isn’t finished yet and has not been discussed yet either. The newspaper had written that after his marriage Prince Johan Friso will loose his princely title and becomes a count, like his eventual children. They also said that there was a royal decree that would be discussed by the ministerial council next week.

Princess Amalia of the Netherlands will be baptised at the Grote or St. Jacobskerk (Church) in The Hague on Saturday June 12th. The ceremony will conducted by The Rev Carel ter Linden, who also married the Prince of Orange and Princess Máxima in February 2002. The Prince of Orange was baptised in the same church in September 1967.

Per Egil Hegge, editor of the newspaper Aftenposten will write a biography of King Harald V of Norway, which will be published in connection with the 70th birthday of the King in 2007. The biography gets the support of the Royal Palace.

Prince Laurent of Belgium slammed a VTM television cameraman for filming a visit by motorcycle to a house in Brussels yesterday. The cameraman recorded the prince complaining: “They will only talk about this motorcycle, how much it costs, and where the money came from to pay for it … that gives a bad picture of journalism”. He called the VTM programme ‘Royalty’ “sensationalist” and “too negative. I have had enough”. VTM showed the incident in their news programme. Today the Prince told the daily newspaper De Nieuwe Gazet: “Too often scandal and demagoguery is far more important than concrete projects like charity work. I just have to say something … and it is right away wrongly interpreted. That is very frustrating.” The director of information of VTM, Klaus van Isacker, said to De Nieuwe Gazet that the criticism of the prince is unfounded: “His behaviour is childish, unmannered and stupid.” he told De Nieuwe Gazet. VTM has filed a complaint with the Royal Palace over the prince’s behaviour.

March 6th

Queen Margrethe II of Denmark will receive one of the three “The Fairytale of My Life” awards from the Hans Christian Andersen Committee this year. The honorary prizes are awarded to individuals or institutions that communicate, construe and convey information about the Hans Christian Andersen and his works. Queen Margrethe II is awarded because of her creative work in relation to the fairytale world of Hans Christian Andersen. The committee especially mentioned her costume design for the theatre ‘The Shepherdess and the Chimneysweep’, the decoupages for the tv-film and book ‘The Snow Queen’, and the staging for the ballet pantomime ‘Love in the Dustbin’. The other two awards go to the Italian librarian and translator Bruno Berni and the Brazilian professor Dr. Ana Maria da Costa Santos Menin. The awards will be presented at Odense Theatre on April 2nd.

March 7th

Yesterday the Oslo chapter of the Norwegian Labour Party voted to take away the Norwegian royal family’s privileges. They want a republic. However national leaders of the Labour Party don’t seem to share the enthusiasm and even so-called republicans don’t want to initiate a national debate about the end of the Norwegian monarchy. The Oslo chapter also voted to form a commission charged with finding a model for a republican government that would be a good alternative for the existing monarchy.

March 8th

Princess Marie Antoinette of Prussia née Countess Lingen, Countess Hoyos, Baroness zu Stichsenstein, died on March 1st at the age of 83. She was buried today in München, Germany. In 1944 she married Prince Wilhelm Victor of Prussia (1919-1989), grandson of German Emperor Wilhelm II. The couple had one son, Adalbert, and a daughter, Marie Louise, four grandsons and one granddaughter.

Princess Märtha Louise of Norway and her husband Ari Behn have renewed plans to move to New York. They now want to go this fall. Plans they made in 2003 were postponed when it became known that Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit were expecting their first child together, and later King Harald V was diagnosed with cancer.

According to a survey by TNS Gallup for the Norwegian tv-channel TV2 one of ten Norwegians belief that the interview with Princess Ragnhild recently has a negative effect on the belief in the Norwegian monarchy. 83% of the people said that Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway would become a good king and queen. Another poll, conducted by Infact for Norwegian newspaper VG indicates that 42,4% of the people questioned said they had little or no understanding for the statements of Princess Ragnhild, while 40,4% had some, rather much and great understanding for her opinions. Men were much more positive about the statements than the women.

The Countess of Wessex has been asked to become a patron of WellBeing, which raises funds for research into premature labour. The Countess will support fundraising and publicity events for the organisation. It is not known yet if she will accept the patronage.

James Hewitt, the former lover of Diana Princess of Wales, was arrested on suspicion of assaulting a photographer outside his home in South Kensington, London. After being questioned at a central London police station he was released on bail. Further inquiries will be held some time next month. The photographer allegedly suffered a minor head injury.

Yesterday Princess Lalla Amina of Morocco, an aunt of King Mohammed VI, received a special prize from the International Olympic Committee during their conference on ‘women and sports, new strategies and new commitments’. The Princess, who is chairwoman of the Moroccan Royal Federation of Equestrian Sports, said to consider the prize as “a tribute to the efforts made by Morocco for the advancement of sport, under the guidance of His Majesty King Mohammed VI, and thanks to his active support for all athletes, especially women.” and said that “Morocco has become a key player in various international athletics events, thanks to many champions, especially in women’s competitions, where Moroccan women have performed outstandingly. I feel particularly proud that Moroccan women managed to come out of the shackles of exclusion and marginalization.”

March 9th

In an interview to Radio Liechtenstein yesterday Hereditary Prince Alois von und zu Liechtenstein said he didn’t want to interfere in daily politics after taking over the duties of his father Prince Hans Adam II on August 15, but he will continue the politics of his father and grandfather. He will go the same way as before in the co-operation with international institutes. More conflict themes can’t be ruled out. He said that the opening of the Liechtenstein Museum in Vienna later this month will be an image profit for Liechtenstein.

A more than two-hour DVD and a video called “Mary, Frederik and the Monarchy” ($44) have been released today. A portrait of Mary Donaldson is given by interviews with her, Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark, family, friends and colleagues. It also gives a view inside the royal palace. The DVD/video is issued by CMC Entertainment.

March 10th

Yesterday afternoon squatters broke into Beverweerd Castle in Werkhoven, The Netherlands. Early yesterday evening the police summoned them to leave. Six squatters who refused to leave, were arrested.

Yesterday Princess Alexandra of Denmark visited a primary school in Sarajevo, Bosnia Hercegovina, as part of her three-day visit to the country as a guest of Unicef. She also visited the University of Sarajevo, the Gynaecological-Obstetrical Clinic and an immunisation centre.

Prince Daniel of Saxony will take part in the next elections on June 13. He will be a candidate for the CDU in the area Meißen. If he is chosen he wants to focus on building and culture.

Sven Høiby, the father of Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway, has been invited for the christening of his granddaughter Ingrid Alexandra on April 17. The christening will be shown live at NRK.

March 11th

Several bombs exploded in local trains during the morning rush hour today killing more than 190 people and injured more than 1200 people in Madrid. The main attack was at one of Madrid’s major stations, Atocha, in the city centre. The Spanish governement attributes the attacks to the Basque separatist group ETA. A political group close to ETA has denied that it carried out the attacks. However also seven tapes – one of them containing verses of the Koran in Arabic – have been found with detonators in a stolen van in Alcala de Henares where three of the four bombed trains originated. The other train passed through the town. Three days of national mourning have been declared. Hours after the terrible attacks Queen Sofia of Spain, the Prince of Asturias and his fiancée Letizia Ortiz Rocasolano paid a 45-minute visit to victims and their families at the Gregorio Marañon Hospital to offer their support and solidarity. In a speech Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar has said that those who carried out the Madrid train bombings will be punished. In a very rare televised address (the last one was in 1981) King Juan Carlos described the bombing as as “madness which has no possible justification” and said “Terrorist barbarity has today plunged Spain into the deepest grief in the face of which we must stand united and strong.” He said: “A nightmare has struck showing terrorism’s cruel face. Your king is suffering alongside you, is sharing your anger and is confident that the rule of law will prevail so that these cowardly assassins will answer for their crimes”.

The Dutch Royal House has asked an explanation from the American publisher of three poststamps for Guyana of Princess Amalia of the Netherlands. According to the Government Information Service no permission was asked for the use of the photos. The Royal House owns the rights of one photo that was made by the Prince of Orange shortly after the birth of his daughter. Permission is needed. The other two photos are from press agencies.

The Duchess of York announced yesterday that she will be the celebrity spokesperson for SOS Children’s Villages-USA, an organization providing homes to 52.000 abandoned and abused children in 131 countries. Christopher Zappia, executive director of the organization said: “I am very excited about The Duchess gracing our work with her support. SOS Children’s Villages has been around for 50 years and the average American does not know how we help abandoned and abused children. The Duchess will help us get the word out.”

Lady Tamara Grosvenor, 24, eldest daughter of the Duke and Duchess of Westminister became engaged to Edward van Cutsem, 30, son of Hugh van Cutsem and jonkvrouwe Emilie Quarles van Ufford. The couple will marry at the bride’s house at Eaton, Cheshire, in November. Edward van Cutsem was one of the bridal children at the wedding of the Prince of Wales and Lady Diana Spencer in 1981.

Prince Rainier III of Monaco made his first public appearance yesterday by attending the Champions League match of AS Monaco.

March 12th

Up to 11 million people draped in Spanish flags or wearing black crosses, chanting ‘cowards’ and ‘killers’ and holding banners marched for peace through the streets of Spain this evening, often in the pouring rain. More than two million people crowded the streets people of Madrid lead by the Prince of Asturias, Infanta Elena and Infanta Cristina (breaking Spanish royal tradition) together with Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar. European leaders joined them to show their solidarity. Next to the ETA also al-Qaida remains under suspicion. Meanwhile there are 199 deaths and more than 1400 injured people.

In the second part of NBC’s documentary on Diana Princess of Wales the Princess said to be terrified of Camilla Parker Bowles. She approached Camilla at a party and said: “I know what is going on between you and Charles and I just want you to know that.” According to Princess Diana Camilla Parker Bowles answered: “You’ve got what you wanted. You’ve got all the men in the world falling in love with you and you’ve got two beautiful children, what more do you want?” To which Princess Diana replied: “I want my husband.”

Yesterday Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain held her very first women-only event. She had lunch with famous females from Great Britain, among them Margaret Thatcher, Shirley Bassey, Jemima Khan, Cherie Blair, Charlotte Church, Jennifer Saunders, JK Rowling, Heather Mills McCartney, Twiggy and Vivienne Westwood. Also attending were the Princess Royal and the Countess of Wessex. They had a buffet lunch of seafood casserole, sauteed lamb, mushroom and courgette risotto and vegetable tagliatelle.

Comtesse Bettina Bernadotte af Wisborg celebrated her 30th birthday today. After the laws of the family she now is entitled to use the title of Countess instead of Comtesse. Within the next three years she will take over the business at Mainau Island from her mother, Countess Sonja. She is preparing since early 2002. At the moment Countess Bettina, who is living in nearby Konstanz, works as her mother’s assistent. Early May her birthday will be celebrated together with the 60th birthday of her mother and the 95th her father Count Lennart. Also the Swedish royal couple is expected to attend.

Norwegian police is critizising the magazine Se og Hør that in a five-page long report presented a very detailed look at Skaugum, the new home of Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway. “It is inappropriate to reveal details of the royal couple’s residence. We don’t want people to know what it looks like there. If this information is now available to the public we must consider this and assess new security measures,” said police captain Johnny Asp of the Royal Police Escort. However editor Trond Stensaasen of Se og Hør said: “Skaugum is a well protected property inside a fenced park that is stringently monitored. Potential intruders would be stopped longer before they reached the main building.”

Today the highest court in Norway rejected an appeal from Espen Høiby, brother of Crown Princess Mette-Marit. That means he has to serve a 60-day jail term for beating his former girlfriend. He has admitted pushing his former girlfriend after a party in Soegne in Vest-Agder on September 1, 2002, but denies charges that he also beat and kicked her.

March 13th

On May 1st Princess Stephanie von Hohenzollern, daughter of Prince Ferfried von Hohenzollern and his first wife Angela von Morgen, will marry Michael Staudinger. Both were married before. Princess Stephanie in 1996 married Count Hieronymus (Ronnie) Wolff-Metternich zur Gracht, but they divorced in 1999. Michael Staudinger has two daughters from his previous marriage. The place where the wedding will take place is not set yet.

Yesterday at court in Edinburgh, Scotland, Judge Lord Drummond-Young ruled that the Scottish Executive earlier acted lawfully in refusing an inquiry into the deaths of Diana Princess of Wales and Dodi Al Fayed. Mohamed Al Fayed had claimed that Diana Princess of Wales and Dodi Al Fayed had been killed by the British security services. Richard Keen QC, Mr Al Fayed’s senior counsel, told the court that his client had a “reasonable belief that the life of his son Dodi may have been taken by force”. The Judge however dismissed the notion as “speculative” and “irrelevant” and said: “I am of the opinion that the petition and the accompanying documentation do not disclose an arguable case for the inference that the UK security services were implicated in any way in the death or the surrounding events.” He said only facts based on “concrete evidence” that showed security service involvement would be acceptable to the court. Mr Al Fayed said he would take the decision to appeal and said he would be continuing his “quest for the truth”.

March 14th

The Spanish national anthem, the ‘Marcha Real’, has been played at a revised changing of the guard ceremony at 11:30 today in front of Buckingham Palace in tribute to the victims of the Madrid bombings of last Thursday. Spanish ambassador in London, the Marques de Tamaron, and the Duke of Gloucester led a one-minute silence. Afterwards they were presented the sword of honour. The decision to play the Spanish national anthem was made by the Palace with the approval of the Queen. An official said it was “in recognition of the tragedy which the Spanish people have suffered and to show solidarity.”

Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway took their daughter Ingrid Alexandra out to see the ski jumping competition at Holmenkollen near Oslo today.

In his new book ‘Diana in Search of Love’ which will be released this summer author Andrew Morton tells about famous public figures who were also secret lovers of Diana Princess of Wales. Two actors and a multi-millionaire businessman are among the names in the book Diana In Search Of Love. One of the actors mentioned is reported to be now 64-year-old Terence Stamp. ‘The others were a married film star and a captain of industry who is a household name’, Morton claims in his book according to a report in the Daily Mail.

March 15th

The Swedish Royal House is going to sue a website that has published manipulated porn pictures of Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden as well as Princess Madeleine of Sweden on the Internet. The website also contains manipulated porn photos of Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway. The Swedish Royal Court said that the publication ‘is unacceptable’ and that they will pursue the case in court. The Norwegian Royal House had no knowledge of the pictures and has therefore not decided on any action.

Tomorrow Pieter van Vollenhoven, husband of Princess Margriet of the Netherlands, will undergo surgery for a hernia at the Universitary Medical Centre in Utrecht. Already since the end of December 2003 he has had pain in his lower back. It is expected he will have to stay in hospital for a couple of days.

Espen Høiby, brother of Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway said today he was stepping down from his position as head of SAS’ pilots in Norway after his conviction for violence. He’ll be allowed to continue to fly, and may take on other jobs within the airline.

March 16th

The Swedish P3 radio programme ‘Hej domstol’ reported today that King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden had died. The announcement was repeated twice and mourning music was played before the moderators revealed that it was all just a joke. The Swedish royal family is not amused and might take legal action.

The Imperial Household Agency said yesterday that Emperor Akihito of Japan will no longer attend to six official functions in which he and Empress Michiko grant an audience at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo to persons who have served with distinction in various fields. Since last December the agency has been reviewing the Emperor’s public duties with the idea to ease his workload.

On Saturday Melusi Moyo, a Gauteng businessman, will pay lobola for 25-year-old Zulu Princess Nomkhosi. Celebrations will start at the crack of dawn in the palace of the Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini. He will pay no less than 114 cows for the King’s daughter by Queen Mantfombi. A spokesman for the King said: “All the preparations for the big event are well under way and we are expecting many people to come and celebrate with His Majesty.” The Moyo family will visit the palace for the second time. “They came here to propose last year and they were told what was expected of them before Moyo could marry the princess. They are now coming to pay lobola and they will be warmly welcomed at the Enyokeni palace and they will be taken to KwaKhangela Palace.” The wedding date will be set on Saturday.

March 17th

On March 9th Princess Stephanie of Baden, wife of Hereditary Prince Bernhard von Baden, has given birth to her second child, a son, at the St Elisabeth Hospital in Ravensburg. The couple’s first son, Leopold, was born almost two years ago at the same hospital. The name of the baby, according to family tradition, will only become known at the christening. Prince Bernhard said: “With my whole family I am very happy and thankful that the birth went well.”

Zara Phillips, daughter of the Princess Royal, is included on the shortlist of 14 horse-riders for the Olympic Games in Athens this year. Only five of the 14 horse-riders will be going, and Zara hopes to be on the final list. Attending the opening day of the National Hunt Festival Zara said yesterday: “My grandmother [Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain] was thrilled when I was chosen for the long list. She’ll be watching if I get to go.”

The Imperial Household Agency has unofficially decided to employ Hidemi Oshiro, a 46-year-old doctor, as the Emperor’s chief physician from April 1, making him the youngest ever to assume the post, informed sources said yesterday. He would become the chief court physician and oversee health and medical services for Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko. Oshiro has been one of the court physicians since April last year.

Clarence House confirmed that Prince Harry of Wales will take a second gap year before he starts his military training at the Royal Military Academy of Sandhurst. He will enjoy an extra 12 months of character-forming activities. Communications secretary Paddy Harveson said: “There are plans for Harry to extend his gap period into next year. That means that when he enters Sandhurst he will be of a more similar age to the rest of the intake.” It remains to be seen what Prince Harry will do during the extra year, but it has been suggested he might spend some time in Argentina.

March 19th

In a Royal Decree that was issued today it says that after his marriage to Mabel Wisse Smit on April 24 Prince Johan Friso will keep the title of Prince van Oranje-Nassau as a personal title with the personal title of Royal Highness. The hereditary title Count and the family name ‘Van Oranje-Nassau van Amsberg’ will be confered upon him. Because of his marriage he will no longer be a member of the Royal House. According to the Law Membership Royal House from 2002 his family name and eventual titles must be decided at the latest within three months after the wedding has taken place. At the moment he marries he will become: ‘His Royal Highness Prince Johan Friso Bernhard Christiaan David van Oranje-Nassau, Count van Oranje-Nassau, jonkheer van Amsberg’ with the family name ‘Van Oranje-Nassau van Amsberg’. Children from his marriage can be Count(ess) van Oranje-Nassau, jonkheer (jonkvrouw) van Amsberg, with the family name ‘Van Oranje-Nassau van Amsberg’. By her marriage Mabel Wisse Smit will not become noble, but she use the title of her husband.

At a press conference at the town hall Mayor Van Oorschot of Delft said that about 1000 invited people will attend the religious wedding of Prince Johan Friso of the Netherlands and Mabel Wisse Smit at the Old Church in Delft on April 24. The civil wedding will be attended by 100 people. A small part of the city will be closed. He expects that there are no more than about 10.000 people who will come and watch.

Fürst Kraft zu Hohenlohe-Langenburg died Tuesday afternoon at the age of 68 at the Diakonie Hospital in Schwäbisch Hall after a long and difficult illness. He is survived by his second wife Irma. In 1965 he firstly married Princess Charlotte de Croy, whom he divorced in 1990. He is survived by his children from this marriage: Cécile, Philipp and Xenia. The funeral will take place in private on March 20, as wished by the deceased. A public commemoration service will take place on Saturday, March 27, at 14:00 at the Stadtkirche in Langenburg.

After having spent some weeks sailing in the USA and a short vacation with his wife at the Bahamas, King Harald V of Norway returned home yesterday. During a visit to Sogn og Fjordane today Queen Sonja told the press: “The trip to the USA has been good for the king, and he seems to be doing very well.” She said that it was not up to her to decide when he would be back at work.

Prince William of Wales has been chosen to represent Scotland in the national universities water polo squad. He is the captain of the water polo team of St Andrews University, where he studies. He was chosen from among 32 hopefuls trying out at a council-run pool in Dunfermline. Scottish Universities Sports Federation representative Matt McGeehan said: “He is just a good player and we just treat him as one of the guys.” He delivered an impressive performance to earn his place on the 13-man squad. He will compete against Welsh and Irish teams at the Celtic nations tournament in Cardiff next month.

Yesterday morning Johanna Vanbelleghem, also known as Jeanne Boydens, from Raversijde, Belgium, died. She was the widow of Georges Boydens. Especially after 1976 she supported Prince Charles of Belgium, who was her neighbour. They visited each other about every day until the prince died in 1983.

March 20th

At 9:15 this morning the Government Information Service announced that Princess Juliana of the Netherlands has died in her sleep this morning at 5:50 at Palace Soestdijk. She was 94 years old and died of the result of pneumonia combined with general weakening. She wsa surrounded by her husband Prince Bernhard, her three eldest daughters Queen Beatrix, Princess Irene and Princess Margriet, and several grandchildren. Princess Christina was in the USA but arrived in the Netherlands at 8:00. The Prince of Orange and Princess Máxima, who are on skiing vacation in Austria, are preparing to return to the Netherlands tomorrow. Princess Juliana’s personal standard is waving on top of Palace Soestdijk together with a black mourning ribbon. De Telegraaf early this morning already announced that the Princess was seriously ill and that members of the family visited her yesterday. Princess Juliana was Queen of the Netherlands from 1948 to 1980.

This evening it was announced that the funeral of Princess Juliana of the Netherlands will take place on Tuesday March 30 at 12:30 at the New Church in Delft. She will lie in state at Soestdijk Palace until March 24. There the immeditiate family will be able to say goodbye. On March 24 the coffin, accompanied by her four daughters, will be transfered to Palace Noordeinde in The Hague. There a number of deputations, including Dutch dignitaries, members of the Diplomatic Corps in The Hague and heads of international organisations will be able to pay their respect to the former queen. The public will be able to pay their respect from March 25 to March 28. Court mourning will be observed until the funeral. Until April 11 no member of the royal family will undertake public engagements. According to the wishes of the late Princess the court mourning is short. The wedding of Prince Johan Friso of the Netherlands and Mabel Wisse Smit, as well as Queen’s Day will go ahead as planned.

Fürst (Prince) Kraft zu Hohenlohe-Langenburg was cremated and his ashes were buried privately in at the family mausoleum at the cemetery in Langenburg this morning. A small family gathering followed at Langenburg Castle. Among the people attending were the Prince’s widow, his son and daughters, as well as his daughter-in-law and son-in-law, and his nephew Prince Ludwig zu Hohenlohe-Langenburg, the Prince zu Hohenlohe-Oehringen and the Prince zu Hohenlohe-Waldenburg. The memorial service on March 27 is followed by a reception at Langenburg Castle and is expected to be attended by many members of the Gotha.

March 21st

Princess Laurentien of the Netherlands gave birth to a baby boy this morning at 00:37 at the Bronovo Hospital in The Hague. The baby’s full name will be Claus-Casimir Bernhard Marius Max Count van Oranje-Nassau, Jonkheer van Amsberg. Claus-Casimir weighs 3970 grammes and is 52 cm tall. According to the proud father, Prince Constantijn, he ‘is a strong and healthy baby’. The couple has gone through the past days with mixed feelings, but they are at the same time very happy with the birth of their son. Last night Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, Prince Johan Friso of the Netherlands, his fiancée Mabel Wisse Smit, as well as Princess Laurentien’s parents visited the newborn baby. Claus-Casimir is the third grandchild and first grandson of Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands. The baby at the moment is sixth in line of succession to the Dutch throne. Around noon Princess Laurentien and Prince Constantijn left hospital with their newborn son. Princess Laurentien and Prince Constantijn will stay at Palace Huis ten Bosch. At the end of April the couple will move to Brussels. It was also announced that since March 1 Prince Constantijn works four days a week for RAND Europe in Brussels. One day a week he will stay active as advisor Europe Communication for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Yesterday evening the traditional Rose Ball took place at the Sporting Club in Monte Carlo. This year’s theme was imperial China. Prince Albert of Monaco was accompanied by his sister Princess Caroline of Monaco and her husband Prince Ernst August of Hannover. Prince Rainier III recently had health problems and as a precaution he preferred not to attend the Ball. Also Princess Stephanie didn’t attend, and was abroad with husband and children.

March 22nd

At 14:00 the Grand Master of the House of Her Majesty the Queen, Mr P.W. Waldeck, had the death of Princess Juliana officially registered in Baarn.

Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands announced the death of her mother in a special edition of the ‘Staatscourant’ (Gazette of the Netherlands). She says: “With great sadness I give notice that my beloved mother died peacefully this morning. My family and I feel strengthened by the thought that many share this great loss with us. Beatrix.”

Around 11:00am on Wednesday March 24 Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands and her sisters Princess Irene, Princess Margriet and Princess Christina will accompany their mother’s mortal remains from Palace Soestdijk to Palace Noordeinde, where the cortège is expected to arrive around 12:15. After 14:00 official representants will have the opportunity to pay their respect to the former Queen Juliana of the Netherlands. The public can pay their respect from Thursday 25 March to Sunday 28 March from 9:00 to 22:00 via the entrance at the backside of Palace Noordeinde. In the Princess’s garden people can sign the condolence register in a special tent. The States General commemorates the former Queen at 12:45 on Wednesday 24 March in a special United Meeting.

The Government Information Service said that Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands is physically unwell and it is uncertain if he will attend the funeral of his wife. He is ‘extremely affected’ by the death of his wife. The coming days will indicate if the prince’s health will allow him to attend the funeral. If not, he might try to attend the interment itself only. His health is not directly related to the death of his wife.

The Prince of Asturias personally requested that the city of Madrid should cancel the celebrations planned for May 17, including a huge fireworks as a wedding gift for him and his fiancée Letizia Ortiz Rocasolano, as well as some other festivities. They want that the money is used instead for the construction of the memorial monument for the victims of the bombings in Madrid on March 11.

In May the Prince of Wales is expanding his range of organic products with a haircare line. The line seems to be tested by celebrity hair stylist Daniel Galvin. The Prince’s Brand Duchy Originals until now concentrated on food items, but marks a new departure with shampoo and conditioner. Duchy Originals recently also branched into garden furniture that will go on display in April.

March 23rd

The funeral hearse for Princess Juliana of the Netherlands will be the same one as was used at the funeral of Prince Claus of the Netherlands in October 2002. The carriage will be decked in the colours purple and white. According to the Princess’s wishes women must wear subdued colours with an accent of white and men must wear a dark suit with a dark tie at the funeral.

The Rev. Welmet Hudig-Semeijns de Vries van Doesburgh will conduct the funeral service of Princess Juliana of the Netherlands. It was the outspoken wish of the late Princess to chose for a kindred spirit female clergywoman. Since 1977 she was a Dutch Reformed clergywoman in Kralingen and a Pastor at the Free Youth Church. Afterwards she was among others a spiritual supporter at a Children’s Hospital and a clergywomen at a Remonstrant Brotherhood. She now works as an oncological therapist at two institutes offering psychological help to people with cancer. During several years the Rev. Welmet Hudig-Semeijns de Vries van Doesburgh was conversating with Princess Juliana about theological and spiritual matters.

According to the wish of the late Princess Juliana to have a short period of mourning the wedding of Prince Johan Friso of the Netherlands and Mabel Wisse Smit on April 24 will take place as planned. Out of respect for the Princess however – who also was Prince Johan Friso’s godmother – the couple has decided to cancel or change the festive activities around their intended marriage. A reception and a dance performance will be postponed. No wedding ball will take place the evening before the wedding. Instead of the ball a diner will be held for the invited people. The civil wedding will take place at 10:30 at the Council Hall of the Town Hall in Delft. The religious wedding will take place in the Old Church in Delft at 11:30.

Leftwing political parties want a discussion in the presidium of the Second Chamber about the length of the mourning period after the death of a member of the Royal House. Because of the death of Princess Juliana of the Netherlands the Chamber has decided to stop all public activities until after the funeral. Members of leftwing political parties think that is too long. “You can also show respect while you are working.”

At 16:15 Prince Constantijn of the Netherlands officially gave notice of the birth of his son Count Claus-Casimir Bernhard Marius Max van Oranje-Nassau, Jonkheer van Amsberg at the former Town Hall in The Hague. His father-in-law Minister of Economical Affairs Laurens Jan Brinkhorst and Minister of State Wim Kok acted as witnesses. Prince Constantijn said: “He now is called Claus-Casimir. If he develops more as Claus, he will become Claus. If he develops more as Casimir, he will become Casimir.” He says mother and child are doing fine: “He keeps us awake in a proper way, that is the way it is.” For photos: Royal Portraits.

Pieter van Vollenhoven, husband of Princess Margriet of the Netherlands, has left hospital. He had been at the Universitary Medical Centre in Utrecht since March 16 because of surgery for a hernia. According to the Government Information Service the surgery was harder than expected. Pieter van Vollenhoven hopes to be able to attend the funeral of his mother-in-law Princess Juliana.

Former King Constantine and Queen Anne-Marie of Greece announced on Greek television this evening that Crown Prince Pavlos and Crown Princess Marie-Chantal expect their fourth child in September.

With 102 to 2 votes the Danish Parliament today decided to grant Mary Donaldson, fiancée of Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark, the Danish nationality from the day of the wedding. Only two members of a leftwing republican party argued that Mary Donaldson shouldn’t be treated different from other immigrants and should have to wait for several years to receive the citizenship. She will give up both her British and her Australian citizenship.

18-year-old Princess Tsuguko, the eldest daughter of the late Prince Takamado, is to study in Great Britain for 14 months starting April 2004, the Imperial Household Agency announced. She will study English while participating in homestay programs in Edinburgh and Oxford. She will take a humanities course at the University of Edinburgh from October 2004 to June 2005.

March 24th

This morning the body of Princess Juliana of the Netherlands was taken from Soestdijk Palace, where she lived for 67 years, to Noordeinde Palace in The Hague, where she was born in 1909. The Princess’s three youngest daughters Irene, Margriet and Christina, Pieter van Vollenhoven as well as several grandchildren kept a night vigil over the body of the Princess on Tuesday. Shortly before 11:00 this morning the car with the coffin inside showed up in front of Soestdijk Palace. The coffin had been placed in the car at the back of the Palace where family and staff could say goodbye to Princess Juliana. The four daughters walked down the stairs and stepped into a following car to accompany their mother. A cavalcade of 16 motorbikes of the Military Police as well as cars accompanied the car also. On the steps from the left to the right were saying goodbye: the Prince of Orange, Princess Máxima, Prince Jaime de Bourbon de Parme, Prince Floris, Pieter van Vollenhoven, Mabel Wisse Smit, Prince Carlos de Bourbon de Parme, Prince Johan Friso, Prince Constantijn, Prince Bernhard jr, Princess Carolina de Bourbon de Parme, Princess Annette, Prince Maurits with son Lucas and Princess Marilène with daughter Anna. They all stayed at Palace Soestdijk to keep Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands, who didn’t appear on the steps, company. Hundreds of people lined the streets around Palace Soestdijk. Around 12:30 the car with the coffin, driven by the chauffeur of the Princess accompanied by her gardener, arrived at Palace Noordeinde where thousands of people were waiting. Eight carriers of the Royal Air Force (base Soesterberg) carried the coffin inside the palace. In the early afternoon the Lower and Upper Houses of Parliament commemorated the late Princess Juliana. Also ministers and state secretaries were present. Later the politicians departed for Palace Noordeinde to pay their last respects to the former Queen.

Tens of royals attended the state funeral for victims of the Spanish March 11 attacks at the Almudena Cathedral in Madrid. King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia of Spain, the Prince of Asturias and his fiancée Letizia Ortiz Rocasolano and other members of the Spanish royal family attended. From abroad came next to several high politicians, Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg, the Prince of Wales, Prince Philippe of Belgium, Prince Albert of Monaco, Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark, Crown Prince Haakon of Norway, Prince Moulay Rachid of Morocco, Prince Faisal and Princess Alia Al Faisal of Jordan.

March 25th

Prince Pieter-Christiaan van Oranje-Nassau, Van Vollenhoven will take part in the guard of honour of the Military Police at the bier of his grandmother Princess Juliana of the Netherlands. He served in the Military Police in the past. Next to the bier of Princess Juliana there is a wreath of Prince Bernhard, her four daughers and Pieter van Vollenhoven. There are also flowers of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. On the cushions in the chapelle ardente are the Grand Cross of the Order of the Lion of the Netherlands, the Grand Cross of the Order of the House of Orange, the Cross of Merit of the Netherlands Red Cross, as well as the decorations relating to the Four Freedoms Award which she received in 1982.

Prince Friedrich Wilhelm of Prussia married Sibylle Kretschmer at the Registrar’s Office in Berlin-Charlottenburg on March 23 only attended by two witnesses. Afterwards the couple had a small dinner at Villa Monbijou in Halensee. It is the groom’s third marriage. Only a few weeks ago the Prince divorced his second wife Princess Ehrengard. Sibylle Kretschmer is a 53 years old painter and teaches at Art School.

Elisabeth de Balkany, daughter of Princess Maria Gabriela of Savoy, and her husband Olivier Janssens became the proud parents of a baby girl who was born in Bangkok, Thailand, on March 7. She has been named Gabriella Luisa Maria Asia. She weighed 4000 grammes at birth.

March 26th

According to the newspaper De Telegraaf Princess Margarita de Bourbon de Parme will attend the funeral of her grandmother Princess Juliana of the Netherlands. She is said to have visited Palace Soestdijk earlier this week to pay her last respects to her grandmother, without her husband Edwin de Roy van Zuydewijn. The Government Information Service will not confirm that she will attend the funeral.

More than 10.000 people paid their respects to Princess Juliana of the Netherlands at Palace Noordeinde today. Yesterday already 6500 people said goodbye to the former Queen.

Today’s British Court Circular says that “The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester are delighted to announce the engagement of their daughter, The Lady Davina Windsor, to be married to Mr Gary Lewis, son of Mr Larry Lewis and Mrs Vikki Carr.” Gary Lewis is a 33-year-old renovator, currently living in New Zealand. The couple met 3 1/2 year ago in Bali. The wedding is to take place at the Chapel at Kensington Palace on July 31. After the wedding the couple will live in Great Britain.

March 27th

At the Stadtkirche in Langenburg a memorial service was held for Fürst Kraft zu Hohenlohe-Langenburg who died earlier this month. Among the 600 guests was the Duke of Edinburgh, uncle of the late Fürst, members of the Hohenlohe family, as well as among others of the families Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, Hannover, Baden, Bavaria, , Hohenzollern, Schleswig- Holstein, Württemberg, Schaumburg-Lippe, Wied, Waldeck-Pyrmont, Leiningen, Törring-Jettenbach, Löwenstein-Wertheim-Rosenberg, Sayn-Wittgenstein-Sayn, Sayn-Wittgenstein- Berleburg, Öttingen-Spielberg, Öttingen-Wallerstein, Solms-Laubach, Castell-Castell, and Croy.

March 29th

In the afternoon almost the whole Dutch royal family, except for Pieter van Vollenhoven, Princess Margarita de Bourbon de Parme, Princess Laurentien of the Netherlands, Mabel Wisse Smit, Princess Marilène and Princess Annette van Oranje-Nassau, Van Vollenhoven, paid a two-hour visit to the New Church in Delft, which is being prepared for the funeral of Princess Juliana tomorrow.

March 30th

Princess Juliana of the Netherlands was buried at the family vault in the New Church in Delft. About 60.000 people lined the route of the procession from The Hague to Delft and the Market Square of Delft. The funeral was attended by Prince Bernhard, husband of the late Princess, their four daughters and 14 grandchildren with partners. As the coffin was taken into the crypt almost at the end of a moving ceremony Princess Juliana regained her official title as queen, a title she relinquished when she abdicated in favour of her daughter Beatrix in 1980. After the funeral 300 people, including the royal guests, were invited for a dejeuner at Palace Noordeinde.

Alexander Hohenzollern, grandson of King Carol II of Romania and a ski pro in the chidren’s division at the Buttermilk Ski and Snowboard School in Aspen (currently residing in a second-floor apartment in Twining Flats), was involved in a serious accident on Saturday night. He was hit by a SUV driven by a colleague while crossing Highway 82 during a snowstorm. He was airlifted to St. Mary’s Hospital in Grand Junction on Sunday morning. It is said Alexander Hohenzollern will need at least two surgeries to repair his injuries, including two severely broken legs, a cracked pelvis and, possibly, a severed urethra. He might face at least three to four months in a wheelchair once he is discharged from the hospital.

March 31st

A thank you letter was issued by the Dutch royal family today. It says: “The Hague, March 2004; We are all deeply moved by the many warm expressions of sympathy and esteem we have received on the death of my wife, our mother and grandmother. She led a wonderful, but difficult life in turbulent times. The many memories of her reflect the many facets of her personality. From her convictions and love of others, and with determination, warmth,a keen sense of humour and a great love of nature, she fulfilled her destiny as Queen and Mother. Her commitment to people and her sincere interest in everything affecting society have left a lasting impression on all of us. We wish to thank you all most sincerely for your sympathy, and for the many ways in which you have shown it. Signed: Bernhard, Beatrix, Irene, Margriet, Pieter, Christina”.

Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark is to race his fiancée Mary Donaldson in the harbour of Copenhagen on May 9. Crown Prince Frederik will sail together with Danish Olympic and former world champion Jesper Bank, while Mary Donaldson’s skipper will be Australian yachtsman John Bertrand.

April 1st

The Sun Newspaper today shows photos of Prince William of Wales skiing at Klosters, Switzerland, earlier this week with a girl called Kate Middleton. They say Kate Middleton, the daughter of an English businessman, is the first serious girlfriend of Prince William. The Sun reports that the couple met when starting studying together at St Andrews University almost three years ago, but only became an item over the past four months. The Sun says both the Prince of Wales and his companion Camilla Parker Bowles approve the relationship. She is said to have visited Highgrove, the house of the Prince of Wales, on three occasions and she and Prince William are also said to have made use of a cottage at Balmoral estate. The Prince of Wales’s communications director Paddy Harveson said: “It is not our policy to discuss the nature of Prince William’s relationships with his friends. It wouldn’t be fair on him or them.”

The funeral service of Queen Juliana of the Netherlands was viewed by 3.246.000 Dutch people. Already at 9:00am one million people watched the tv-programme about the funeral and as many people watched the summary on television in the evening. The first part of the procession was watched by 1.887.000 people, the second part by 2.607.000 people.

A BBC documentary about King Leopold II of the Belgians is much discussed in Belgium. ‘Blanke koning, rood rubber, zwarte dood’ (White king, red rubber, black death) will be broadcasted today and next week by VRT/Canvas. British filmproducer Peter Bate has searched the archives for over one year, talked to experts and visited the inland of Congo. The documentary shows the reign of terror King Leopold II pursued in the Belgian colony Congo at the end of the 19th century. From 1885 to 1904 the colony was private possession of the King an he is said to have undertaken huge forays there. According to the documentary the king drove innumerable Congolese people into death. The Belgian Minister of Foreign Affairs Louis Michel has protested against the broadcasting and calls the documentary ‘biased and unnuanced’. Also the Belgian royal house has told the VRT that they are ‘concerned’, words usually used in the past to stop programmes from being broadcasted. The VRT wants to know more about this ‘concern’ of the court before it will react officially.

The royal palace confirmed yesterday that Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark has moved out of Amalienborg Palace last week and into the newly restored Chancellery House of Fredensborg Castle. His fiancée Mary Donaldson officially only will move into the Chancellery House after the wedding on May 14. At the moment she lives in an apartment in Copenhagen. “The flag on the Christian VIII Palace where he used to live has been taken down, a sign that he no longer is there,” palace spokeswoman Lis M. Frederiksen said.

Prince Albert of Monaco, who himself participated in several Olympic Winter Games, has participated in the Olympic torch relay yesterday. He carried the olympic flame on the island of Aegina near Athens during its six-day journey around Greece. On June 4 the flame will begin a global treck on six continents and 27 countries coviering a total of about 78.000 kilometres, after which it will return to Athens for the Olympic Games that will be held in August. Prince Albert said he was privileged to participate and told: “The Olympic torch has such an incredible meaning and unites people in a way that probably no other symbol does right now. That’s a tremendous feeling and a wonderful ceremony to be a part of.”

Shaikh Abdul Rahman bin Saqr Al Khalifa of Bahrain died at the age of 57. He was the Governor of the Central Governorate.

April 2nd

Clarence House has banned The Sun from official photocalls for Prince William and Prince Harry of Wales today. Yesterday the newspaper devoted five pages to photographs of Prince William with his alleged girlfriend Kate Middleton. The photographs were bought from a freelance photographer. The Prince of Wales and Prince William believe the publication break the agreement between the media and Clarence House allowing William and Harry privacy in exchange for regular official photo-opportunities. On Sunday there had been an official photocall with the Prince of Wales and Prince William and they had hoped that the photocall would allow them to enjoy the rest of the week’s break in peace. The Prince of Wales’s communications director Paddy Harveson said: “We are very unhappy with the breach of the agreement and the use of the paparazzi pictures.” It is understood that Clarence House has ruled out any legal action or any approach to the Press Complaints Commission because the photographs were taken in a public area, and it would be difficult to argue intrusion or harassment. The Sun in the meantime claims that their story about William and Kate is 100% true and that therefore there is a strong public interest in publishing these delightful photographs.

Queen Margrethe II of Denmark has received an Hans Christian Andersen award during a ceremony in Odense marking Andersen’s 199th birth anniversary. She received the ninth annual Hans Christian Andersen Honorary Award for her work in illustrating dozens of Andersen’s fairy tales since 1984. “It feels like a very big honour,” the 64-year-old monarch said after receiving a diploma and a small bronze statue of an open book. Thanking the award committee, she jokingly called it “an insane idea” to pick her, prompting laughter from the audience of 500 inside the Odense Theatre.

After a long fight Prince Friedrich Wilhelm of Prussia can have hope again at the inheritance of the House of Hohenzollern. The Bundesverfassungsgericht (High Council) in Karlsruhe has rejected several decisions by other courts and has ordered the court in Hechingen to have a look at the case again. According to the family laws the prince lost his rights of succession because he didn’t marry to a protestant wife of equal birth. The prince says this is against the Constitution according to which he has the freedom to marry everybody he wants.

April 3rd

In the past two days about 60.000 people visited the New Church in Delft to have a look at the flower decoration for the funeral of Queen Juliana of the Netherlands.

The highest Church court, the Court of Arches, has reserved judgement today about permission to exhume the body of Henry Locock from the family vault in a graveyard in Sevenoaks, Kent. An official decision is expected within six months. Nicholas Locock, a grandson of Henry Locock, who was born in December 1867 and died in 1907, wants to allow a DNA test which he hopes will settle a family legend that his grandfather was the illegitimate son of Princess Louise. The legend tells that Henry Locock was adopted by the son of Sir CHarles Locock, Victoria’s gynaecologist, to cover up a scandal. An apply to exhume the body two years ago was rejected by the Rochester consistory court, after which Nicholas Locock appealed to the Court of Arches, which will hold a rare public hearing in St Mary-le-Bow Church, London, today. If permitted Mr Locock plans to take a bone sample for mitochondrial DNA testing. His aim is to compare Henry Locock’s DNA with that of the Tsarina Alexandra, whose body was discovered in Russia in 1991, and who if the story is true would have been Henry Locock’s first cousin. Nicholas Locock said that if the link was proved, no money, lands or titles would be claimed by the Lococks. After judgement Nicholas Locock said that it was an “important private family matter” to him, and also of potentially significant historical importance. “I would be delighted if I got a positive response from the court and if I could establish the truth. “An enormous amount of people are interested in their own family background.” He said the royal family has been informed of the application to exhume and had made no objection.

April 4th

The HNB today reports that the Belgian royal palace is willing to discuss with VTM the behaviour of Prince Laurent of Belgium. During Batibouw the prince told a team of the VTM- programme ‘Royalty’: ‘You must be of VTM. I can see it on your mug.’ The management of VTM thereafter sent an angry letter to the palace.

Several royals attended the first Formula One event to be held in the Middle East today. The Formula One races were held in Dubai. Among the royals attending were King Juan Carlos of Spain, King Abdullah of Jordan, King Mohammed VI of Morocco, Prince Hans Adam of Liechtenstein, Prince Albert of Monaco, Prince Ali of Jordan and the Duke of York, as well as several Dubai and Bahraini royals.

Gary Lewis, the man who is going to marry the Lady Davina Windsor on July 31st at Kensington Palace, is of Maori origine. The couple met at Bali three years ago. He was born in Gisborne as the eldest son and second child of Larry Lewis and Viki Smiler (now divorced) and has two brothers, Ian and Hore, and a sister, Donelle. He was brought up on a farm in the Matokitoki Valley largely raised by his maternal grandmother as is customary among Maori extended families, went to school at Te Wharau, Ilminster Intermediate and Lytton High School. He is a keen surfer and left Gisborne, New Zealand, when he was 26. Afterwards he settled in Auckland where he is working as a renovator. Gary and Davina have lived together in Auckland for 15 months before Davina left some weeks ago to prepare for the wedding. After the wedding the couple is going to live in Great Britain. His father Larry Lewis was a leading shearer in his district, and also Gary has worked as a shearer before moving to Auckland. His uncle is Witi Ihimaera-Smiler, author of the book Whale Rider. According to Marlene Eilers Koenig Gary Christie Lewis was born at Gisborne on August 15, 1970 and from a short relationship he has an 11-year-old son, Ari, who lives with his mother in Australia.

The Sultan of Brunei Darussalam and his wife last night attended the ‘Majlis Pernikahan’ (wedding) of Princess Hjh Taiyibah Qalbul Bolqiah, the eldest daughter of His Royal Highness Prince Mohamed Bolkiah and Her Royal Highness Pengiran Anak Isteri Pengiran Anak Hjh Zariah to Pengiran Haji Mohammad Hakimuddin bin Pengiran Haji Hashim at the Balai Penghadapan Hijau Baiduri, Bukit Kayangan in Jalan Tutong. Also other members of the royal family attended the wedding. The ceremony started with the taking of the marriage vow or ‘akad nikah’ which was officiated by the Syariah Court Judge, which was later proceeded with the ‘junjung ziarah’ ceremony to the Sultan as well as other members of the royal family. The groom later performed the ‘membatal air sembahyang’ ceremony with the bride before proceeding for another ‘junjung ziarah’ to the wife of the Sultan.

April 5th

Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain and the Duke of Edinburgh have started an official three-day visit to France today in honour of the 100th anniversary of the Entente Cordiale. They arrived in Paris by train. They were greeted by French President Jacques Chirac at the Place de la Concorde where the Queen reviewed French soldiers. Afterwards they laid a wreath at the tomb of the unknown soldier at the Arc de Triomphe During her visit, the Queen will meet Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin, speak briefly in the Senate and go to European plane-maker Airbus in the southwestern city of Toulouse. Britain and France cooperate in the Airbus project.

It is said no member of the Danish royal family will attend the christening of Princss Ingrid Alexandra of Norway on April 17. Crown Prince Frederik and his fiancée Mary Donaldson were invited but will not attend due to personal reasons. Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden is coming and it is likely she will be one of the godparents.

April 6th

Crown Princess Masako of Japan will extend her stay at a vacation villa in Nagano Prefecture where she has been resting since March 25th for health reasons, the Grand Master of the Crown Prince’s Household said yesterday. She had intended to return to Tokyo today. No decision has been made as to when her stay will end. She is staying at the villa together with her daughter and mother.

Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands is doing well. He has taken rest after the funeral of his wife one week ago. He didn’t get a set-back of his health after the emotional events of the past weeks.

April 7th

So far 16.500 people have signed the condolence register for Queen Juliana of the Netherlands on the Internet. The register will at least be open until Monday. Afterwards the register will be handed over to the royal family.

April 8th

The christening of Lady Louise Windsor, daughter of the Earl and Countess of Wessex, will take place at the private chapel at Windsor Castle on Saturday April 24. Her godparents will be Lady Sarah Chatto, Lord Ivar Mountbatten, Lady Alexandra Etherington, Mrs Francesca Schwarzenbach and Mr Rupert Elliott. The christening will be a private event and one official photograph taken by Patrick Lichfield will be released afterwards. The christening robe that will be used is the one made in 1841 for the christening of Victoria Princess Royal, the eldest daughter of Queen Victoria. It is made of fine Honiton lace lined with white satin.

A member of the Military Police guarding Palace Noordeinde has been suspended because while he was on duty he called the reportrooom to say that there was a bomb in the garden of the palace. The incident occured in the evening of March 28, the last evening people could say goodbye to Princess Juliana of the Netherlands at the palace. It soon became clear that it was an internal call and not long afterwards the military policeman told that it had been him. He said it had just been a joke. He might get disciplinary punishment.

April 10th

Today in a special ceremony at Beit Al Barkat Palace in Amman Princess Haya Bent Al Hussein of Jordan married the Heir Apparent of Dubai, General Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum. The ceremony, during which the marriage contract was signed, was attended by the Princess’s brother Ali, halfbrothers King Abdullah II and the Princes Faisal, Hamza and Hashim, Queen Rania, as well as Princess Haya’s maternal uncles Doctors Alaa and Abdullah Touqan. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum was born in 1949 as the third son of Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum, who died in 1990. After finishing secondary school in Dubai in 1965 he started studying at the Bell School of Languages in Cambridge, Great Britain. In 1968 Dubai became part of the United Arab Emirates and in the same year the Sheikh enrolled the Mons Officer Cadet School in Aldershot, Great Britain. At the end of 1968 he became Head of the Dubai Police & Public Security. In 1971 he became the youngest Minister of Defence in the world. Since 1986 he is President of the Council of Ministers. He has been Chairman of the Department of Tourism & Commerce Marketing. At the moment he is Commander of the Umm Al Quwain National Guard, Chairman of the Department of Economic Development, since 2001 Chairman of the Public Corp for Ports, Customs & Free Zones, Chairman of the Dubai Executive Council and the Dubai Media Corporation. He is also Chairman of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Charity. Since 1995 the Sheikh is Crown Prince of Dubai. In 1979 he married Sheikha Hind bint Maktoum bint Juma Al Maktoum, to whom he – as far as I know – is still married. The Sheikh already has 16 children: the Sheikhs Rashid, Hamdan, Maktoum, Ahmad, Saeed, Majid as well as another son, and the Sheikhas Manal, Shamsa (* 1981), Maitha, Hissa (or Hassa), Latifa, Sheikha, Mariam, Fatima and Salamah. The Sheikh especially loves sports (endurance horse riding) and poetry.

Prince Georg zur Lippe-Weissenfeld and his wife Alexandra expect their first child in June. They are delighted about it. The Prince hopes to be able to attend the birth of their first baby. The couple got married in 1995.

April 11th

The British press today reports that Lady Louise Windsor, daughter of the Earl and Countess of Wessex has a rare condition called exotropia, that could leave the baby blind in one eye unless the defect can be corrected in an operation. She is to undergo rigorous tests before specialists can perform the risky procedure. Lady Louise is said to have developed a pronounced squint soon after her birth. Exotropia causes one eye to deviate from its normal position and look outwards, affecting the sufferer’s ability to focus. In some cases it leads to blindness. The British royal court hasn’t confirmed.

After hundreds of years Italian scientists want to open the graves in Florence of in total 49 members of the Medici family. It is their goal to find out the exact causes of death, deceases and eating-habits of the members of the once ruling family. The ‘Operation Medici’ is set to start at the end of April. At first several tombs in the Medici Chapel and the San Lorenzo Church will be opened.

April 12th

The Norwegian royal court announced that Princess Ingrid Alexandra’s godparents will be: King Harald V of Norway, Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark, Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden, The Prince of Asturias, Princess Märtha Louise of Norway and Marit Tjessem. The christening takes place on April 17.

April 13th

Today the official programme for the wedding day of Prince Friso of the Netherlands and Mabel Wisse Smit (April 24) was issued. The couple will leave Palace Noordeinde in The Hague by car at 10:00. From 10:30 to 11:00 the civil wedding takes place at the Town Hall where the wedding will be solemnized by the Mayor of Delft, Mr H.M.C.H. van Oorschot. The ceremony will be attended by close family, friends of the couple and authorities (about 50 guests). The couple will travel to the Old Church by car. From 11:30 to 13:00 the religious wedding will take place in the Old Church. The Minister is Ds. Carel A. ter Linden, retired clergyman of the Kloosterkerk in The Hague. Among the invited guests are, next to family and friends, royal guests and authorities (about 1400 guests). After the religious wedding the bridal couple will travel back to Palace Noordeinde by car. There a déjeuner takes place. Today also beautiful new pictures of the couple were issued.

On the occasion of the christening of Princess Ingrid Alexandra of Norway the Norway Post issues a postage stamp showing a nice photo of the little princess taken by Guri Dahl. The stamp is designed by Enzo Finger. It is presented as a miniature sheet and decorated in gold and silver with the crown of the heir to the throne. “This is Norway Post’s christening present to Princess Ingrid Alexandra”, said Birgitte Lund Nakken from Norway Post. The face value will be NOK 6 and the stamp will be issued in 1.8 million copies and will be on sale all over Norway. Princess Ingrid Alexandra is the youngest member of the Royal Family to ever have been depicted on a Norwegian stamp.

King Harald V of Norway has returned to his job today. Wenche Rasch from the Royal Court said: “The King has been reported off the sick list, and will resume his duties and his programme as head of state.” It seems King Harald V has fully recovered after his illness (cancer in the bladder) and he is looking forward to resume his duties.

Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn of Thailand was rushed to Siriraj Hospital yesterday evening late. Since Sunday he had suffered from stomach pain, vomiting and high fever. Last night the Crown Prince underwent an emergency appendicitis operation. “HRH Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn is recovering with no complications, and will be in hospital for three days,” the Royal Court said today.

April 14th

At a press conference at the Province House in Groningen Hans Alders, provincial governor Hans Alders said that the first Queen’s Day after the death of Queen Juliana of the Netherlands will be celebrated ‘in her spirit as an homage and in full size’. A spokesman for the Government Information Service let know that the Royal Family is looking forward to the day very much after the moving weeks recently. Queen Beatrix will be accompanied by the Prince of Orange, Princess Máxima, Prince Constantijn, Princess Laurentien, Princess Margriet, Pieter van Vollenhoven, Prince Maurits, Princess Marilène, Prince Bernhard, Prince Pieter-Christiaan and Prince Floris. Princess Annette is staying home as she is expecting her second child in the beginning of June. The royal family will arrive in the village of Warffum in helicopters at 10:00. They will be welcomed by shots from four rebuilt historical cannons. According to mayor Gerard Renkema ‘it will be a non-pretentious party in a historical environment with the small streets’. The programme will show culture, dance, landscape, harbour activities and art. From Warffum the royal family will take the royal train to Groningen. In the programme of Groningen traditional and modern elements will be united. The royal family will first be taken to the Der Aa-kerk (church) in carriages. After a children’s circus, they will among others see art, knowledge and sports. The visit will end at the steps of the town hall. From there the royal family will leave Groningen by royal bus. However the party in Warffum and Groningen will not be over then.

April 15th

The full guestlist for the christening of Princess Ingrid Alexandra of Norway was published today. A part of the guests is also invited for lunch at the Royal Palace after the christening. The complete Norwegian royal family will attend the christening, as well as godmother Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden. The other foreign godparents the Prince of Asturias and Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark will not attend the christening because they have other engagements. Among the guests Crown Princess Mette-Marit’s parents, brothers and sister as well as their children, cousins of Crown Prince Haakon, as well as Countess Ruth af Rosenborg, members of the Norwegian government and parliament, Norwegian public budies, Norwegian palace staff, and of course friends of the crown princely couple.

Norwegian royal accounts were aired today. It is part of an effort to modernize palace operations and meet public disclosure desires. It stops short of revealing what the royals spend on such things as clothes, however. The palace’s budges shows a deficit of 2.200.000 Norwegian crowns, while the royal budges it in total more than 100.000.000 Norwegian crowns. It would have been worse if some travel and ceremonial events hadn’t been cancelled because of Crown Princess Mette-Marit’s pregnancy and King Harald V’s illness which forced them to cancell several trips and events. Palace officials claim to be cost-conscious, but despite of that royal expenses, including repairs to an ill-fated duck-pond on the palace grounds, exceeded the overall budget. The report doesn’t say how the royals themselves use their money. Palace staff said the crown couple had used much of their personal budget to remodel their new residence at Skaugum, west of Oslo. It was said today that the costs of the christening of Princess Ingrid Alexandra on Saturday will not be included in the royal family’s own budget, because it s considered a national event.

The wedding of Princess Stephanie of Hohenzollern and Michael Staudinger, which was set to take place on May 1st, has been cancelled. It is not known what happened exactly, but the invited guests received a message by SMS saying: “wedding doesn’t take place”.

April 16th

Queen Margrethe II of Denmark celebrated her 64th birthday today. Thousands of people cheered her as she appeared at the balcony of Amalienborg Palace in Copenhagen. She was flanked by Prince Henrik, Crown Prince Frederik, his fiancée Mary Donaldson, Prince Joachim, Princess Alexandra, Prince Nikolai and Prince Felix. In a letter that was mailed to the Danish Embassy in Paris Queen Margrethe II also received a birthday wish of French film star and animal rights activist Brigitte Bardot who asked her to end whaling in the Faeroe Islands. Brigitte Bardot said she seized the opportunity ‘to share my profound sadness, my revolt about a barbaric tradition’. At the bottom of the letter it said: ‘My best wishes for a wonderful birthday’. A copy of the letter was faxed to the Associated Press. Palace spokeswoman Lis M. Frederiksen said: ‘I am sure that Her Majesty will be happy about the birthday greetings, but the remaining part of the letter is a political matter. The Queen does not deal with political matters.’

By royal decree of April 14, issued today, Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark has been promoted to Senior Commander (Kommandørkaptajn) of the Navy and Lieutenant Colonel (Oberstløjtnant) of the Army and the Airforce.

Yesterday around 2,000 celebrities and diplomats attended the annual spring garden party hosted by Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko of Japan at the Akasaka Palace in Tokyo.

Today Princess Irene of the Netherlands presented her newest book in the crematory of Dieren. Last year she was asked to write a book about dying and saying goodbye, a subject that with the death of her mother Queen Juliana came suddenly very close. She said: ‘I hope that I can bring comfort to someone or let him come to new insight.’ ‘There is no end, the essence goes on. It is important to live with realizing death.’ The Princess has dedicated the book to her ‘dear mother’.

April 17th

Today Princess Ingrid Alexandra of Norway was baptised in the chapel at the Royal Palace in Oslo, decorated with the baby princess’ own small pink rose, along with pussy willows and other spring flowers. She wore the same christening gown her late great-grandfather, King Olav V, wore in 1903. The gown was made of nearly transparant cotton with lace and narrow silk ribbons. Its cap was new and designed after the style of the time. Ingrid Alexandra was carried into the chapel by her mother, Crown Princess Mette-Marit. It was King Harald V who held his second granddaughter at the font while she was baptized. Ingrid Alexandra cried almost all the time during the one hour ceremony. Marius, halfbrother of Ingrid Alexandra, had the task to carry a candle into the chapel, that was lit by the bishop after the baby was officially baptised. Bishop Gunnar Stålsett of Oslo used his christening sermon for Ingrid Alexandra to urge respect and the need for a private life for Norway’s next royal heir saying that she “must be allowed” to experience a childhood and youth “which explores and celebrates the transition to adult life” as others do. “Only with being able to be who she is, can she one day experience that it’s a gift to take on the duties that await.” More than 200 of the christening guests, who included Norway’s government ministers and a host of other dignitaries as well as family and friends, were invited to a luncheon at the palace immediately following the ceremony. During his welcoming speech at the luncheon King Harald V also said to desire that his granddaughter would be allowed to grow up as normally as possible, even though she “landed in a special family.” He said it’s wrong to assume her life is already mapped out for her, adding that she’ll need to “find her place.” He said he hopes the public will be a source of strength for the young princess in the years to come, not a hindrance, while repeatedly noting that her birth is historic in that she’s Norway’s first female heir to the throne.

New Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, leader of the Socialist Party, took the oath of office in a ceremony at the Zarzuela Palace presided over by King Juan Carlos of Spain today. Also Queen Sofia attended the ceremony. Yesterday he had already been chosen Prime Minister of Spain by the Spanish parliament. In his first parliamentary speech yesterday he promised to make equality between sexes an “emblematic task”. He wants to amend the constitution to give women equal right of succession to the throne. Once the constitution is amended, however, the succession will follow chronologically, regardless of gender, instead of through the male line. The changement wouldn’t affect the Prince of Asturias, but is to be applied to his children.

Prince Johan Friso of the Netherlands and Mabel Wisse Smit will ask their wedding guests to give money for a good cause. At the end of the wedding ceremony there will be a collection for the World Foundation for the fight against aids, tuberculosis and malaria.

The Government Information Service wants to come to an agreement with the media about the protection of the privacy of the youngest members of the Royal House to prevent that they will be trouble them, especially Princess Amalia. The Government Information Service has asked the editors of the Dutch newspapers to ask if it would be possible to talk about such an agreement. In exchange there will be official photomoments for the press.

Prince William of Wales today played for the Scottish national universities squad in the Celtic Nations cup in Cardiff. Unfortunately his water polo team lost in the tri- nations competition over Ireland with 14-7. Prince William, appearing on the team sheet as William Wales, didn’t play in the first quarter of the game, but played in the second quarter. He was called on a total of three times during the game, and suffered his share of duckings. The Irish team played Wales in the final of the contest this evening.

April 18th

At Princess Sayako of Japan’s 35th birthday today a statement to the press was issued. She said to have been relieved to hear the news of the release of some Japanese captured in Iraq in the past days. She thinks “It is most regrettable that events in the world of the past year that come to mind are colored by images of war. It is sad that we have become accustomed to the word ‘terrorism’ in daily life, and to have reached a stage in which almost every day the day’s tally of victims is released by the press. It is my sincerest hope that peace may be achieved in those countries.” Over the past year she was also very impressed by the recent exploration of Mars by the Pathfinder. Princess Sayako said that she is happy her father is in a good condition again. She said also to be deeply concerned about the period of recuperation of her sister-in-law Crown Princess Masako. She is hoping she is making good progress towards recovery. She said also her parents are very concerned about the health of their daughter-in-law and have tried to do anything to help. She said that ‘The current situation in which women are having fewer children and delaying marriage brings forth various problems, but in a sense it is a natural progression in today’s society, where women’s lives are increasingly diverse.’

April 19th

The Sultan of Brunei Darussalam and his wife, as well as the Crown Prince, yesterday consented to attend the ‘Bersanding’ ceremony of YAM Pg Anak Hj Abdul Wadood Bolkiah, son of Princess Hajah Masna and YAM Pg Lela Cheteria Sahibun Najabah Pg Anak Hj Abdul Aziz, with Dk Seti Aminah bte Pg Othman. Also other members of the family attended the wedding ceremony. The ceremony began at Darun Noor in Kg Telanai in Jln Tutong where a ‘junjung ziarah’ was held between the groom and other members of the royal family, before they proceeded to the bride’s residence in Kg Kiarong for the Bersanding ceremony.

April 20th

A huge party on Monday to mark the 36th birthday of King Mswati III of Swaziland has been criticised as a big waste of money. 10.000 guests gathered in the national football stadium for the event. The costs for the event are estimated $600.000, which can hardly be payed by the poor country. The day was a public holiday and the event was shown live on national television.

April 23rd

Today the marriage contract (Nikah) of Prince Ali bin Hussein of Jordan and Rym Brahimi was signed in Paris. The ceremony was attended by King Abdullah of Jordan as well as the bride’s father, Lakhdar Brahimi, UN special envoy to Iraq. The public wedding will take place on September 7. The bride is about 35 years old and is of Algerian and Croatian heritage. Since 1998 she worked for CNN’s London and Baghdad bureaus and has resigned on Friday. For CNN she has covered major events including the Iraqi war in 2003, the Kosovo war and the Hajj pilgrimage. Before CNN she worked among others for BBC French Service, UPI, Dubai TV and Bloomberg TV. In 2001 a group of CNN journalists, among others Rhym Brahimi, won a Headliners Award for Investigative Journalism for her part in covering the Saudi response to the September 11, 2001, attacks. She is fluent in English, French, Italian and Arabic. She has a master’s degree in English literature and a diploma of advanced studies in political science from the University of Paris. She also earned a journalism degree from Columbia University in New York.

After the broadcast of the photos of the late Diana Princess of Wales lying injured in the car crash in which she died in 1997 on the US Network CBS a spokesman for the Prince of Wales was quoted in the British newspaper The Sun saying: “We don’t think anything is to be gained by going over the tragic events of 1997.” There was no official comment on behalf of the couple’s sons. Earl Spencer, the Princess’s brother, earlier said he was ‘shocked and sickened’ by the programme. Prime Minister Tony Blair called the show ‘distasteful’ and said it could cause ‘great distress to her family’.

The Castle of Mey in Caithness opens its doors and gardens again from 18 May to 29 July and from 11 August to 30 September. For the first time a bedroom of the late Queen Mother is shown, as well as the late Princess Margaret’s sleeping quarters. Ashe Windham, Chairman of the Queen Elizabeth Castle of Mey Trust, said: “It will give our visitors a better idea of how life was at the castle when Her Majesty was in residence. We took the decision to open the Queen Mother’s private apartments with some reluctance but in the event agreed that visitors should not be denied the experience.” Tourist further can tour the hall, drawing room, library, dining room, butler’s pantry, kitchen, courtyard and gardens.

April 24th

Prince Johan Friso of the Netherlands today married Mabel Wisse Smit in Delft.

The Lady Louise Windsor was christened at the private chapel at Windsor Castle today by the Dean of Windsor Bishop David Conner. The baby’s godparents are Lady Sarah Chatto, Lord Ivor Mountbatten, Lady Alexandra Etherington, Francesca Schwarzenbach and Rupert Elliott. The ceremony was attended by Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain, the Duke of Edinburgh, other members of the British royal family, Christopher and Mary Rhys-Jones. The baby wore a 163-year-old royal christening robe of fine Honiton lace and white satin in which the Queen, her children and all her grandchildren have been christened. The official photographs were taken by Lord Patrick Lichfield.

April 26th

Yesterday Buckingham Palace said that plans for Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain to perform the official opening of the memorial fountain to Diana Princess of Wales in Hyde Park in July are ‘under active consideration’. The opening is also expected to be attended by the Prince of Wales, Prince William and Prince Harry, Earl Spencer and Lady Sarah McCorquodale.

Crown Princess Masako of Japan has returned to Togu Palace in Tokyo on Monday after spending a month at her parents’ resort home in the wooded mountain town of Karuizawa – together with her mother and daughter Aiko – to recover from poor health, Yasuo Moriyama, spokesman for the Imperial Household Agency, said. She still hasn’t fully recovered and will need more rest before resuming her official duties. It is unclear when the princess will return to a normal schedule. The spokesman refused to discuss the nature of the Crown Princess’s illness.

April 29th

Pieter van Vollenhoven, husband of Princess Margriet of the Netherlands, who will celebrate his 65th birthday tomorrow, already celebrated it this evening at the Circustheater in Scheveningen. The festive evening was organised by the Foundation Circle of Life in name of five foundations Pieter van Vollenhoven is the president of. The evening was amongst others attended by Queen Beatrix, the Prince of Orange, Princess Máxima, Prince Constantijn, Princess Laurentien, Prince Maurits, Princess Marilène, Prince Bernhard, Princess Annette, Prince Pieter-Christiaan with girlfriend, Prince Floris with girlfriend Aimée, Princess Irene, Princess Carolina de Bourbon de Parme and Princess Christina. The Circle of Life is a melody from the musical The Lion King that was performed this evening. On the occasion of his birthday Queen Beatrix has appointed her brother-in-law Chevalier Grand Cross in the Order of the Dutch Lion, the highest civil distinction in the Netherlands. The decorations were handed over to Pieter van Vollenhoven by Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende tonight. In his speech the Prime Minister called Pieter van Vollenhoven a ‘self-made man in the very best sense of that word’. He said Pieter van Vollenhoven already for years fights for everything vulnerable in our society, in which probably tenacity is his most marking quality. Because of Pieter van Vollenhoven safety has become more important and he especially fought for an independent inquiry in the area of safety.

It was announced yesterday that ten years after it closed to the public, Kew Palace is to re-open in 2006 following a £6.6 million refurbishment. The palace was closed in 1996. The body disclosed an ambitious plan to bring the palace back to life with exhibitions of its past and its restoration.

April 30th

Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands and her family celebrated Queen’s Day in Warffum and Groningen, in the north of the Netherlands. Almost the whole family was present. Only highly pregnant Princess Annette and Prince Friso and Princess Mabel, who were on honeymoon, cancelled. As usually the family was cheered in Warffum by thousands of people. The family watched games and dancing and heard music. The Prince of Orange and Princess Máxima were touched by the world premiere of the Princess Amalia March. At the end of the Warffum visit the family took the royal train to Groningen. They took open carriages from the railway station to the centre of the city. Again lots of music and dancing, as well as theatre, here. At the end of the visit the family appeared on the steps of the town hall. Queen Beatrix held a speech and said it was a very special Queen’s Day, as 24 years ago it was hard to understand for the family how it really would be to celebrate Queen’s Day without Queen Juliana being alive. She said to be happy that they can keep on thinking about her in this wonderful festive way.

An inquiry among 1000 Dutch people by TNS NIPO in order of the NOS says that 58% of the Dutch people wouldn’t have problems when Queen Beatrix would ignore politics and puts in her own ideas. However only 10% says the Queen should have more power. 58% is satisfied with the present power partition between Queen and politics. 25% has the opinion that the head of state is not allowed to have political power. 86% of the Dutch say the Netherlands should stay a monarchy. 71% says yes to the question if there is still a place for monarchs in the Europe of the future. 91% finds Princess Máxima the most sympathic member of the royal family. The Prince of Orange takes the second place, followed by his mother Queen Beatrix. On the seventh place is Princess Catharina-Amalia. 48% is against hereditary succession. Least popular are Prince Johan Friso and Mabel Wisse Smit. Although 67% finds Prince Friso nicer after his wedding, they also find him more dull (66%). 75% also found him distantive. Mabel received 49% of the votes for sympathy. 95% of the people questioned know about the Mabel- Affair. 73% finds Mabel guilty of the affair, 13% names journalist Peter R. de Vries and 4% Charlie da Silva (Klaas Bruinsma’s former bodyguard).

In 2005 a new Euro coin will be issued on the occasion of the Luxemburg presidency of the European Union. Special about it is that it will depict two monarchs from two different countries: Grand Duke Henri of Luxemburg and King Albert II of the Belgians, to celebrate the political cooperation between the two countries. The coin is meant to be used in everyday transactions.

King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden celebrated his 58th birthday today. As usual the king appeared on the balcony of the Royal Palace in Stockholm together with Queen Silvia, Crown Princess Victoria, Prince Carl Philip, Princess Madeleine and Princess Lilian. Outside the palace the King received birthday wishes and flowers.

May 4th

The Danish parliament announced that Crown Prince Frederik’s state-paid salary will be more than tripled after his wedding on May 14. His previous annual income of €565,000 will be raised to €1.9 million.

May 5th

Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark and Mary Donaldson enjoyed the Day of the Danish Defence (day of the Liberation of Denmark in 1945). The Danish Defence paid tribute to the couple by means of a parade and an exhibition at the Langeliniekajen. The Danish Defence wished to celebrate the forthcoming wedding, especially because of the Crown Prince’s close connection with the Defence. At 10:45 in the morning the couple arrived and went to the Royal Yacht Dannebrog by barge. In the meantime a 21-gun salute was fired from the Sixtus Battery. The parade by the Army, Navy, the Air Force and the Home Guard took place on land, at sea and in the air. The tribute assembled the event that took place in 1967, when Queen Margrethe II married Prince Henrik. The event was also attended by other members of the Danish royal family. Today the couple also received the gift that was presented to them by the Danish Defence and its personnel.

Today Prince Bernhard again took off the marchpast of 4200 military men, including many veterans of World War II, in Wageningen on the occasion of the 59th anniversary of the German capitulation at Hotel De Wereld. It was the 29th time the marchpast took place near the hotel. It is estimated some 80.000 people gathered in Wageningen to watch the marchpast. Among the military men in the marchpast was also Prince Pieter-Christiaan, reserve of the Koninklijke Marechaussee (royal military police), who had also almost unnoticed attended the commemoration service in church. Also Pieter van Vollenhoven attended the commemoration service as well as the marchpast. Prince Bernhard didn’t attend the commemoration service in church. However before the marchpast he laid a wreath at the liberation monument. Via the organisation of the commemoration of the German capitulation in Wageningen Prince Bernhard let know that he will stop taking off the yearly marchpast on May 5th in Wageningen. Chairman J. Maas said that Prince Bernhard’s last marchpast in 2005 will become ‘Deo volente a huge farewell’. For the first time in 2005 a veteran’s day will be held on Prince Bernhard’s birthday on June 29.

The Prince of Orange, Princess Máxima of the Netherlands and daughter Catharina-Amalia have arrived in Argentina for their first visit to Princess Máxima’s native country since the birth of Amalia. Later this week they will attend the wedding of Máxima’s friend, and witness at her own wedding, Samantha Deane, who will marry Dutch noble Frederik van Welderen Baron Rengers.

At a Sothebys auction in Amsterdam Palace Het Loo bought 13 rare royal plates from a dinner-service that once belonged to King Willem I of the Netherlands. They paid Euro 31.070. The porcelain dates from 1829 and is seen as the most important of that material ever made in Brussels. The maker is Frédéric Faber. King Willem I bought the dinner-service, but after the Belgian separation it landed in Brussels where it came into the possession of King Leopold I of the Belgians. The biggest part of the dinner-service can be found at the Royal Palace in Brussels.

The Countess of Wessex has performed her first official engagement today since the birth of her daughter Louise in November. She opened the new emergency department of the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford.

May 6th

Brigadier Jeffery Cook has been appointed security director by Buckingham Palace. He started work earlie this week ahead of Wednesday’s publication of a high-level report recommending tighter royal security. The Security Commission report called for wider checks on job applicants, guests, visitors and contractors with access to royal residences. Weaknesses exploited by the Press could be equally exploited by terrorists, the report warned. The Palace has already adopted the commissions recommendations, including the appointment by the Queen of a director for security liaison, who will co-ordinate an annual security plan and oversee wider checks on new staff. He will work with the police, Home Office and security services. Buckingham Palace said: “The Royal Household accepts that there are lessons to be learnt from this case and has already tightened internal vetting procedures for all new recruits and has reviewed security measures more generally.”

May 7th

Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, the Prince of Orange, Princess Máxima, Prince Constantijn and Princess Laurentien will all attend the wedding of Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark and Mary Donaldson on May 14, as well as the wedding of The Prince of Asturias and Letizia Ortiz Rocasolano on May 22. Among the guests confirmed so far are the Duke and Duchess of Bragança, who will attend both weddings, and the same counts for Crown Prince Naruhito of Japan. Crown Prince Alexander of Yugoslavia and his wife Katherine will attend the wedding in Denmark, while the Crown Prince’s youngest son Philip will represent them at the wedding in Spain. Queen Margrethe II and Prince Henrik of Denmark will attend the wedding in Spain, as well as Crown Princess Victoria, Prince Carl Philip and Princess Madeleine of Sweden. The last three will be joined by King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia of Sweden at the Danish wedding. The Earl and Countess of Wessex will represent Great Britain at the Danish wedding, while the Prince of Wales will attend the Spanish wedding. The whole royal family of Norway is set to attend both weddings. Most likely that also counts for the royal family of Greece, on both weddings. The Spanish royal court only wished to confirm that more than 40 royal houses will attend the wedding. Among them the whole Belgian royal family. Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa are also said to travel to Spain with their eldest son Guillaume. Also King Abdullah and Queen Rania as well as Queen Noor of Jordan are expected to come. The Bulgarian royal family might be represented by Crown Prince Kardam.

This evening a huge rock concert was held at Parken in Copenhagen on the occasion of the forthcoming wedding of Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark and Mary Donaldson. Some 40.000 people attended. The concert, Rock’n’Royal, was an initiative of the Crown Prince himself. Several bands and a number of soloists performed. The humanitarian organisation ‘Save the Children’organised the concert and all the proceeds of the event went to the organisation of which Danish branche Crown Prince Frederik is the patron. The Rock’n’Royal event was a gift to the couple presented by eight private sponsors.

Zara Phillips dream is over. Yesterday it was announced that she and two other riders ‘are not required for selection’. The three were among 14 riders named last December as the World Class Performance squad from whom the five to compete for Great Britain at the Olympic Games in Athens would be chosen. Yogi Breisner, the World Class Performance manager, said: “It was a very difficult decision to make, but with other riders going so well last weekend [at Badminton] it is only fair to make the riders aware they stand no chance of selection. We also decided it was in the best interests of the horse’s future to take Toytown and Zara off the list to give them time to prepare for their autumn campaign.” Breisner added that Phillips took the decision “very philosophically” and still being very young time is on her side.

May 8th

Archduke Martin of Austria-Este married Princess Katharina von Isenburg today at the Catholic Church Mariä Heimsuchung in Birstein. As the church could only lodge part of the 300 invited guests, many guests only attended the reception afterwards. Among the guests were Princess Astrid of Belgium and her husband Lorenz (brother of the groom), Prince Philippe and Princess Mathilde of Belgium, Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume of Luxemburg, Prince Guillaume of Luxemburg, Prince Hans Adam II and Princess Marie of Liechtenstein, the Duke and Duchess of Aosta, the Margrave and Margravinne of Baden, the Duke of Vendôme, Fürst Moritz and Fürstin Lioba zu Oettingen-Oettingen und Oettingen-Wallerstein, Fürst Wolfgang Ernst zu Ysenburg und Büdingen, Duke Friedrich and Duchess Marie von Württemberg, Hereditary Count Karl-Eugen and Hereditary Countess Andrea zu Neipperg, Archduke Carl Ludwig and Archduchess Yolande of Austria, Archduke Felix of Austria, Archduke Rudolph and Archduchess Anna Gabriele of Austria, Archduke Carl Christian and Archduchess Marie-Astrid of Austria, Fürstin Benita zu Schaumburg-Lippe and many other royals and nobles. Despite of the rain more than 100 people waited outside the church to catch a glimpse of the bridal couple and their guests. The mass was led by (weih)Bishop Johannes Kapp. Witnesses of the bride were her sister Princess Sophie von Isenburg, Marie Charlotte Countess von Meran and Princess Pilar d’Orléans. Witneses for the groom were Count Massimo Arlotta-Tarino di Gropello, Count Alexander von Trauttmansdorff-Weinsberg and Vinciane Countess Westphalen. Because of the rain the just married couple had to travel to Castle Birstein in a closed Rolls Royce and the reception had to take place in the Castle instead of in the garden.

Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark and Mary Donaldson, together with their families attended a dinner for 52 guests hosted by the Governor-General of Australia, Mr Michael Jeffery, at Fredensborg Store Kro Inn Hotel. The Governor-General presented the couple with a plaque to go with nine Tasmanian trees which Australia has given the couple as a wedding present. He wished the couple a ‘long and fruitful marriage’. The diner existed of a five course degustation menu prepared by Sydney chef Luke Mangan, all ingredients and wine came from Australia. Among the guests were also Governor of Tasmania Mr Richard Butler and Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen.

May 9th

A three-day party, starting on Friday, took place at the Island of Mainau to celebrate the 95th birthday of Count Lennart Bernadotte af Wisborg yesterday, the 60th birthday of Countess Sonja on Friday and as stated in the German press the 30th birthday of the couple’s eldest daughter together, Bettina, who had her birthday already on March 12. They have asked their guests to donate money to the charity ‘Gardening for All’. Among the guests were King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden, Queen Silvia of Sweden, Crown Princess Victoria and Prince Carl Philip of Sweden, Count Carl Johan and Countess Gunilla Bernadotte af Wisborg, Count Bertil and Countess Jill Bernadotte af Wisborg and a lot of other family members, also from the Romanov family. On Friday the guests went by boat to the Island of Reichenau. In the evening a black-tie dinner took place at Mainau Castle. Yesterday morning the guests went for a walk in the park followed by lunch. Count Lennart received flowers from 95 chimney-sweepers. Queen Silvia and Countess Sonja planted a tree in the park. In the early evening there was a religious service at the castle-chapel, followed by a dinner. Today the guests took the boat to Lindau for the inauguration of Count Lennart Bernadotte Street. Next week Count Lennart and Countess Sonja will travel to Sweden. On May 19 the count’s photo exhibition “Optiska Drömmar” will be opened at Grönsöo Slott near Enköping. Being asked what was his recipe for a long life he said: “You simply have to avoid to die.”

The Danish newspaper Politiken today carried a five-page interview with Mary Donaldson, fiancée of Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark, illustrated with several nice pictures by Tine Harden. The article was the result of a 25-hour interview conducted during seven sittings since December with Ninka, aka Anne Wolden-Raethinge. In the interview for the first time Mary’s story is told in her own words. Mary says she is overwhelmingly happy, in love and looking forward to her life as a wife, mother and role model for her adopted country. She told about her conviction that her remarkable fate was destined, that she was meant to meet Frederik and embark on her fairytale journey. “I have always known that I would only marry if I met the one and only love,” she says. “I have known that the most important thing had to be totally unconditional love — unreserved — and that you recognise it, when it hits you, and that love and happiness go together.” About her first meeting with Crown Prince Frederik she says: “Frederik and I started to talk and we simply didn’t stop talking. And that was that! A very long talk, which went on for a year or actually 14 months. He and his brother went to Melbourne the next day. But about a week later I met with him and his friends for dinner.” Another meeting was cut short because of the death of Queen Mother Ingrid of Denmark in November 2000. Frederik returned to Australia in 2001. Mary told: “It wasn’t like it went ‘bang!’ that first evening, that I knew I had met the man in my life. That point in time is hard to pinpoint. Also because there was this enormous distance between us and long spells between our meetings. “With this distance, both geographically and in terms of the family environment, you just can’t tell that this is the right person. But we were constantly in contact with each other.” The couple exchanged phone calls, letters and CDs of their favourite music. When in November 2001 their relationship became public “The time had come where we both felt it couldn’t go on long distance. We decided to take the chance and see if we were meant for each other. That’s when I left Australia.” Mary started living in Paris and spent her weekends in the next five months at Amalienborg. About the first meeting with Queen Margrethe II she says: “Had the meeting been negative I have no idea what would have happened. But I don’t think I would ever have asked Frederik to abdicate. He knows his role in life. He feels obligated to it and I think — no, I know — it would demand too much of him to give it up.” Mary says about Frederik: “His vast energy — spiritually and physically … his attitude towards life — he is a very interesting person with a complex personality. He fights many battles with himself, like many of us. He has a warm, warm heart, he is loyal and honest, almost to the point of being beyond reproach. He is funny. I believe Frederik touches people’s hearts. He doesn’t want me to say this but he is also a lonely person, like we all are.” About divorce Mary said: “For us, divorce is impossible to imagine. It has always been my view that in love there is only one time — and that is it. People today give up too easily and just say ‘OK, we have grown apart’. I believe you can experience two or three ‘great loves’ in your life, but also that we really hope to find just one that will last.” About her first appearance at the balcony at Amalienborg she said: “When we stood in front of the doors, I tried to relax and take a few deep breaths. I had a feeling I couldn’t go out there . . . it was just so overwhelming. People cheered the Queen, Prince Henrik and Frederik and then also me, because he has chosen me and we have chosen each other.” She also spoke about the loss of her mother and grandmother, and how their deaths transformed her spiritual beliefs and approach to life. Mary Donaldson says to dream of using her position to help the mentally ill.

Today the Royal Match Race took place in the harbour of Copenhagen. A match race took place between Danish sailor Jesper Bank and Australian sailor John Bartrand in the morning. There also were some boatshows and a water polo match. In the afternoon the Royal Match took place in which Mary Donaldson and John Bertrand raced against Crown Prince Prince Frederik of Denmark and Jesper Bank. The race was won by the Australian team.

A poll by Rambøll Management for Jyllands-Posten says that 82% of the Danes is in favour of the monarchy, while only 11% wishes a republic. 78% is in favour of equal succession to the throne for men and women. 97% believes Queen Margrethe II is doing a (very) good job, 91% thinks the same about Crown Prince Frederik, 93% about Princess Alexandra and Prince Joachim, while only 41% thinks Prince Henrik is.

May 10th

13-year-old Princess Alexandra of Luxemburg received the holy sacrament of the confirmation yesterday at the parish church of Colmar-Berg. The confirmationmass was led by Archbishop Fernand Franck, assisted by court almoner Georges Vuillermoz and Priest of Colmar-Berg Romain Gillen. In church the churchchoir of Colmar-Berg sang as well as Patrick and Eileen Byrne with guitar and song. Princess Alexandra had arranged the programme together with her parents, Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa of Luxemburg. Among the guests were the four brothers of Princess Alexandra, several maternal and paternal uncles and aunts and cousins, as well as Grand Duke Jean.

In a press conference before his departure to Europe Crown Prince Naruhito of Japan said his wife is “greatly distressed” that she cannot accompany him. He said that she was “anguished that she was hardly allowed to visit foreign countries although she left her job as a diplomat to join the imperial family and believed it was an important role for imperial family members to promote international friendship.” He said that “Masako seems worn out in her efforts to adjust herself to life as a royal over the past 10 years… There was something that amounted to a denial of Masako’s former career and personality.” He said to hope that she will be able to join him in the future. He furthermore said that the pressures to conceive a son had been too much to bear. The Crown Prince said life in Togu Palace was “isolated” and “less stimulating” than the public parks where he wished he could play with his daughter, Aiko. He also told that his wife is gradualy rebuilding her confidence, but that it may take “longer than initially expected” for her to return to her official duties.

May 11th

The Prince of Orange and Princess Máxima of the Netherlands have invited a delegation of children from all over the country to attend the christening of their daughter Catharina- Amalia on June 12. Fifteen children aged 12-13 from the 12 provinces and the four biggest cities will give a youthful accent to the ceremony.

May 13th

Recently a digital camera of Princess Máxima was stolen in Argentina. On the camera are many private pictures of the princess and her family. Now the pictures have been offered for sale, the Government Information Service warned that selling these pictures is a crime according to the Penal Code and that publishing the pictures is illegal because the pictures violate the privacy of the pictured people.

May 14th

Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark married Mary Donaldson in Copenhagen today.

Count Moritz von Goëss and his wife Fleur née Duchess von Württemberg expect their first child in October.

The Imperial Household Agency of Japan has been rocked by the claims of the Crown Prince on May 10th at the press conference before his departure to Europe. At a regular press conference of the Cabinet Secretary three days ago Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiroyuki Hosoda said: “I would like to refrain from commenting on this matter. I believe the Imperial Household Agency will properly deal with it including the physical condition of the Crown Princess.” Later in the morning Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi said about the Crown Princess’s condition: “I would like her to recover soon.” Two days ago Mr Hideki Hayashida, Grand Master of the Crown Prince’s Household held a press conference at the Imperial Household Agency on the matter. He said that the detail of ‘development that denied The Crown Princess’s career and personality’ was unknown to him, but supposed that it might be the issue ‘in past’ rather than ‘in progress.’ He said that the Imperial Household Agency should have dealt with The Crown Princess’s physical condition earlier and more properly. He will improve the contents of the official duties. Mr Toshio Yuasa, Grand Steward of the Imperial Household, stated, at the regular press conference on 13th May, that he seriously received The Crown Prince’s claims, and would ask him what he has really in mind in order to improve the Crown Prince’s Household. He intends to meet The Crown Prince as soon as possible. Mr Yuasa said that The Crown Prince and Crown Princess sometimes mentioned their anguish on the matter of overseas visits even in the previous conferences. He admitted that he could not have a good grasp of the Crown Princess’s physical condition due to the privacy matter. Today Mr Hayashida told that the Crown Prince has said that “This did not happen in the days of Mr Yuasa, the present Grand Steward.” Mr Yuasa was appointed in April 2001.

May 15th

Today Countess Michaela von Schönburg-Glauchau married Alexander Ritter von Miller zu Aichholz (grandson of Princess Alexandrine-Louise of Denmark) at the Basilica of the Benedictine Monastry at the Wechselburg, Germany. The service was led by Father Rupert Sarach Some 250 guests attended the wedding, among them Count Alexander von Schönburg-Glauchau, Duke Konstantin von Oldenburg, Princess Elisabeth zu Löwenstein-Wertheim-Freudenberg and Alexander Prinz von Sachsen. The bride wore a champagne-coloured satin dress and a bouquet of red, yellow and orange roses. The veil was more than 100 years old and originally from the Danish Royal Family. After the wedding the couple drove to the reception in an open Horch- Cabrio. The couple is going to live in Vienna, Austria.

About 480 guests travelled to Cavenago d’Adda, Italy, to attend the religious wedding of Hereditary Count Ignaz zu Toerring-Jettenbach and Robinia Mentasti-Granelli. Among the guests were Princess Gloria von Thurn und Taxis with her children Elisabeth and Albert, Prince Leopold and Princess Ursula of Bavaria, Prince Philipp and Princess Saskia zu Hohenlohe-Langenburg, Prince Ferdinand and Princess Elisabeth von Bismarck, Archduke Ferdinand and Archduchess Katharina of Austria, Prince Donatus and Princess Floria von Hessen, Hereditary Prince Heinrich zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Sayn, Prince Hugo and Princess Sophie zu Windisch-Graetz with their son Maximilian, and Princess Alessandra Borghese. The wedding was supposed to start at 17:30, but the bride arrived 50 minutes late at the St. Pedro Church. The reception and dinner took place at the estate of the bride’s parents. Yesterday the civil wedding took place in Milan. In the evening the civil wedding was followed by a party at the palace of the Marquess di Sforza.

Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary of Denmark left for their holiday this morning. They took an airplane from Kastrup Airport at 3:30am. It is said by the media the couple flew to Dar Es Salaam in Tanzania. It is not known how long the honeymoon will last.

May 16th

30-year-old Crown Prince Pengiran Muda Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah ibni Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izaddin Waddaulah of Brunei Darussalam is to marry 17-year-old Dayangku Sarah binte Pengiran Haji Salleh Abdul Rahaman it was announced yesterday in the newscast on Radio Television Brunei. The ceremonies for the royal wedding will commence on August 26 with the opening of the ‘Istiadat Gendang Jaga-Jaga’. The wedding itself – the “Istiadat Bersanding Diraja’ will take place on September 8. A Higher Committee for teh royal wedding has been formed. They met today and have appointed several working committees to assist in conducting the preparation for the wedding.

2,6 Million Danes watched the wedding of Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark and Mary Donaldson on teelvision, which is more than half of the Danish people.

Princess Elisabeth of Yugoslavia has announced she will run for the Serbian presidency in the elections on June 13. She will need 10.000 signatures to validate her candidacy. She is known in Serbia for her work with Serbian refugees from the Balkan wars of the 1990s.

May 17th

For the first time Princess Ingrid Alexandra of Norway appeared on the balcony of the Royal Palace in Oslo during National Day. She was accompanied by her parents Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit, and her grandparents King Harald V and Queen Sonja. From the balcony they watched the children’s parade.

May 18th

This morning the lawyer of the Prince of Orange and Princess Máxima of the Netherlands sent a summons letter to the management of SBS Broadcasting B.V. The TV-channel SBS6 on May 13 used stolen images from the couple in one of their broadcasts. In the letter the lawyer points out that SBS6 knew the images were taken from Princess Máxima’s stolen camera and that they beforehand had received the press announcement of the Government Information Service that informed juridical steps would be taken against media using the images. SBS6 got three days time to avoid a juridical procedure. No steps will be taken if the tv-channel pays 5000 Euros to the Foundation Dutch Friends of SOS Childrens Villages in Amsterdam.

Two people gained illegal access to Windsor Castle mid-afternoon Monday, a man and a woman. They were arrested inside a public area of the castle. No royals were present at the time. A Buckingham Palace spokeswoman said: “The man was believed to have posed as a plainclothed police officer to gain access to the public areas” of the castle. It is understood the man walked through a checkpoint with his friend after convincing security that he was a police officer. The man has been charged with impersonating a police officer and obtaining services by deception. It is not clear the woman has been charged. The Home Office said it was too early to know if the incident constituted a security lapse: “At this stage there is nothing to indicate any breach of the secure area of the castle and it is important to continue to allow the police to investigate before jumping to any conclusions.” Metropolitan Police force said: “At this stage it is not believed that security was breached”.

May 19th

Farah Daghestani, daughter of Princess Basma of Jordan and her first husband Taimour Daghestani, became engaged to Saud Abdul Aziz Suleiman from Saudi Arabia. Present were next to the parents of the engaged couple, Princess Basma’s second husband Walid Kurdi as well as King Abdullah of Jordan.

A communique of the Luxemburg Grand Ducal Court said that a medical examination Grand Duchess Joséphine-Charlotte underwent recently doctors have decided to repeat the treatment the Grand Duchess had last year. Her condition has improved.

May 20th

Since today the wedding dress of Crown Princess Mary of Denmark is on display at the museum at Amalienborg together with the wedding dresses of Queen Margrethe II, Queen Ingrid and Queen Alexandrine. They will be there until September. On the first day about 800 visitors visit the exhibition.

May 21st

The Danish magazine Billed-Bladet today reported that the wedding bouquet Crown Princess Mary of Denmark threw to her guests was fetched by her great-aunt Margaret Cunningham. She gave the bouquet to Mary’s maternal aunt Catherine who left for Scotland on Saturday morning and placed the bouquet on the grave of Mary’s mother, Henrietta. Mary’s mother was cremated and part of her ashes were buried at her parent’s grave in Scotland in 1997.

Mohammed Zaher Shah, former King of Afghanistan, has been hospitalized in the United Arab Emirates for treatment of a troublesome intestinal complaint, a presidential spokesman said. He was accompanied by family members. The spokesman said: “It’s the stomach sickness again. I’m not sure about the seriousness.”

May 22nd

The Prince of Asturias and Letizia Ortiz Rocasolano married in Madrid today.

May 23rd

The Prince and Princess of Asturias have won 12.000 Euros in a lotery it was said today. The lottery ticket was given to them as a wedding present by a retired employee of state television from Barcelona.

May 24th

Crown Prince Naruhito of Japan returned to Japan today after visiting the royal weddings in Denmark and Spain. Before his trip he had drawn attention to his wife’s troubles suggesting that unidentified palace forces contributed to her illness. After he left palace officials said they would ask the crown prince to explain himself more fully upon his return. In a statement issued upon his return, the Crown Prince lamented his wife’s absence during his travels and thanked others for their support. “It is truly unfortunate the crown princess was unable to accompany me. I am grateful for the encouragement I received from the people I met from various countries and for their inquiries into how Masako was doing. I would be happy if the two of us could make the trip together some day.”

At a press conference at Fredensborg Castle in connection to his forthcoming 70th birthday Prince Henrik of Denmark said: “I feel like 70 years old in my body, not in my mind.” He feels a kind of shared destiny with his new daughter-in-law Crown Princess Mary because she comes from outside too, but has no intention to advise her. “She sense it all by herself; she is clever, and she is open. One should be carefull about giving advises, and I don’t think it’s my role to do so – I also believe it is easier for a woman than for a man to come to a new country. The people will be kinder to her.” He also told that “My wife and I both think that Frederik has made the absolutely rigth choice – they are a harmonic couple. We never were in doubt that Frederik would take his time in finding a wife, who is suitable for him and his country too – he had no need to rush and he’s a smart guy.” He told: “My wish for the future is to have a happy family surrounding me and be a good grandfather to my grandchildren. Unfortunately the two grandchildren we do have, Nikolai and Felix, live on the countryside, and therefore we don’t see them as often as we would like. But I certainly hope the Crown Prince Couple quickly will have children too. Having their home in Kancellihuset here at Fredensborg, they will just have a few hundred meters over to us.” On May 27 the Prince’s book about Château de Caïx will be published. The evening before his birthday, June 10, there will be a musical celebration at Tivoli Concert Hall.

The Prince and Princess of Asturias started their honeymoon in Cuenca, east of Madrid. The couple will also visit other Spanish cities of historical importance. The honeymoon will shortly be interrupted as the couple is to attend the wedding of Crown Prince Hamzah of Jordan and Princess Noor in Amman.

Instead of attending the wedding of the Prince of Asturias and Letizia Ortiz Rocasolano Queen Beatrix on Saturday attended the wedding of her goddaughter Fiona Shakerley, daughter of Sir Geoffrey Shakerley and Lady Elizabeth Anson of the Earls of Lichfield, to Brocas Burrows at Lichfield Cathedral. Lady Elizabeth Anson’s mother was Lady Anne Ferelith Bowes-Lyon, who married secondly Prince George of Denmark.

The Iranian Minister of Foreign Affairs Kamal Jarrazi has cancelled a planned meeting today with his Spanish colleague as a protest against the presence of former Empress Farah of Iran and her son Reza at the wedding of the Prince of Asturias and Letizia Ortiz Rocasolano last Saturday. A spokesman said: “These individuals have no place not only among our people, but among other people around the world and the Spaniards will realize later that the individuals invited are not used as delegates in any such ceremonies.

Yesterday Archduke Otto of Austria was received by Muhidin Hamamdzic, mayor of Sarajevo, during his visit to Sarajevo on the occasion of marking 90 years since the assassination of Crown Prince Franz Ferdinand of Austria and his wife Sophie on June 28, 1914. The mayor told that the memorial monument for the couple will be re-laid at its location. Today the archduke will attend the projection of the film ’90 years later’. Remembering his earlier visits to Sarajevo, including the wartime entrances, the archduke emphasized that Sarajevo has proved to be brave in a difficult situation.

May 25th

This morning at 11:45 Princess Annette van Oranje-Nassau, Van Vollenhoven gave birth to her second child via caesarian section at the Onze Lieve Vrouwe Gasthuis in Amsterdam. The boy weighed 3460 grammes at birth. “He looks wonderful”, the baby’s father Prince Bernhard said. The baby’s full names are Samuel Bernhard Louis van Vollenhoven, but he will be called ‘Sam’. He already has an elder sister, Isabella, who was born on May 14, 2002.

The wedding of the Prince of Asturias and Letizia Ortiz Rocasolano was watched by about 25 million Spaniards, an absolute record. It was also revealed that from the 1.500.000 flowers (roses, tulips, geraniums) that were especially planted in Madrid for the wedding, surely 300.000 were stolen, including lots of flowers outside Atocha Church. Also wedding flags and clocks were stolen. It also turned out that the 20.000 policemen couldn’t guarantee full safety. A pensioned army colonel, Amadeo Martínez Inglés told a radio channel that he managed to get into the Almudena Cathedral without an invitation. He passed six policecontrols by saluting them in uniform, even wearing a gun. Only 40 minutes before the wedding started he was asked to leave church. He said he had laid a bet and wanted to keep his former employer alert.

May 26th

Countess Sonja Bernadotte née Robbert, second wife of Count Sigvard Bernadotte (1907-2002),, died on May 21. She was born in Copenhagen, Denmark, on October 12, 1909. She will be buried in Järna/Saltå, Sweden at 14:00 on May 29. She is survived by her son Michael, daughter-in-law Christine and her granddaughter Kajsa.

Princess Marie-Christine of Kent shocked visitors of the Da Silvano restaurant at Sixth Avenue and Houston Street in New York on Monday night. The Princess was seated next to a group of regular visitors of the restaurant. One of the five diners on that table, fashion TV correspondent and p.r. consultant Nicole Young, said “We were loud, laughing and carrying on. But it’s Da Silvano – it’s a boisterous place.” Ten minutes after arrival the Princess suddenly “reached over and just slammed her open palm down on our table – the glasses moved, the table shook,” Young recounted. “She said, ‘Enough already! You need to quiet down!'” After a few minutes of stunned silence the group ignored the royal and continued their lively dinner – while the princess demanded a new table. But as she left the princess pumped her fist and said, “You need to go back to the colonies!” The five diners believe the rude remarks referred to the heyday of British colonial rule and its efforts to “civilize the natives” in Africa and Asia. Mrs Young went to the princess’s tabel and asked, “What did you mean by that, ‘back to the colonies?'” The princess answered: “I did not say ‘back to the colonies. I said ‘you should remember the colonies.’ Back in the days of the colonies, there were rules that were very good. You think about it. Just think about it.” Afterwards things calmed down, but the five diners are still shocked.

On June 20 Princess Takamado of Japan will visit Prince Edward Island. She is to be honoured by UPEI during a special convocation and will be awarded an Honorary Doctor of Laws Degree. She will also be installed as the International Patron of the L.M. Montgomery Institute.

The Duchess of York became angry during an appearance on Channel 4’s Richard And Judy Show. Host Richard Madely after a while turned to the topic of the British royal family, beginning “A couple of quick questions about the Windsors…” the Duchess curtly replied: “I suppose you have to, don’t you?”. A follow-up query as to whether she is still on speaking terms with the Duke of Edinburgh was answered with a blunt, “Yes”. At the question whether she would get back together with her ex-husband, the Duke of York, she replied: “I really thought I was going to come on to this show and you were really honestly going to take Sarah Ferguson as Sarah Ferguson – a single working mother with two girls. I’m very serious about what I do, ok? And don’t make a mockery of it, all right?” Mr Madely insisted that his questions had been purely affectionate. His wife and co-presenter Judy Finnigan aded that it was ‘normal journalistic curiosity’.

May 27th

Crown Prince Hamzah of Jordan married Princess Noor bint Asem of Jordan today at Amman. Yesterday most of the guests flew in, and around 4000 guests were invited for a mansaf (Jordan’s most popular meal). Today, in the evening, bride and groom set off in a motorcade from the Raghadan court complex to the Zahran Palace. The groom wore his military uniform, his head covered in a traditional red-white chequered keffieh. Princess Noor wore a white lace dress and a white lace mantilla covered her head. They drove in a cream-coloured open- topped 1961 Lincoln Continental preceeded by motorcyles and two dozen of red Jeeps. Hundreds of well-wishers lined the route. They were welcomed at the palace by King Abdullah II and Queen Rania of Jordan, and Queen Noor of Jordan. After receiving many congratulations from the guests the couple crossed a wooden platform that was built atop an arabesque water fountain at the palace and walked under an arch of swords formed by 14 army officers. On a simple round table covered in white satin a three-tier white wedding cake, surrounded by a green wreath, stood. The couple cut the cake with a silver sword. About 2500 guests attended the reception at the Rose Garden. Guests were served mansaf, a popular local dish of rice and lamb eaten with the right hand, followed by the traditional kanafeh desert. The Jordan Armed Forces orchestra offered a colourful repertoire which complemented the bountiful garlands of roses hanging from garden pillars and rose petals floating in a pond. Lebanese singer Majda Roumi sang a special song for the couple during the ceremony. Among the guests were many members of the Jordan royal family, the Sultan of Brunei, the Duke of York, Queen Fabiola of Belgium, Prince Philippe and Princess Mathilde of Belgium, Grand Duchess Maria Teresa of Luxemburg, Queen Sofia of Spain, the Prince and Princess of Asturias, Infanta Cristina of Spain, Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway, Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden, Crown Prince Pavlos of Greece, Prince Nikolaos of Greece, the Crown Prince of Bahrain, Princess Irene of Greece, former Empress Farah Pahlavi of Iran.

Archduke Sigismund and Archduchess Elyssa of Austria-Tuscany had their third child today at 14:57 in Livingston, Scotland. The boy is named Maximilian Stefano Sigismund William Bruce Erik Leopold and weighed 3330 grammes. Baby and mother are doing well, but will stay in the hospital for another few days.

May 28th

Former butler Paul Burrell has written a new chapter of his book ‘A Royal Duty’ that will appear in a paperback version next week. In it he writes that Diana Princess of Wales “was convinced Charles had a roving eye and that while Camilla was his principal mistress, she was not the only one. He could not help wandering.” In a letter entrusted to Paul Burrell Princess Diana writes in 1997: “Camilla is nothing but a decoy – so we are all being used by one man in every sense of the word.” In his book Mr Burrell also says that Diana claimed Charles made a secret pact with the Duke of Edinburgh to be allowed to ditch her after five years’ marriage. Mr Burrell , who does not believe Camilla will ever be Queen, is revealing fresh information about Diana’s thoughts on her rival to “correct the balance”. In the meantime it became known that Paul Burrell will share a ‘night of memories’ with a live theatre audience at the Theatre Royal, London – a one-man stage tribute to the Princess of Wales – on June 20. The event is called ‘Paul Burrell: In His Own Words’. He will afterwards peform the show for three nights on Broadway, New York. Mr Burrell says: “I’m looking forward to sharing my experiences so the public can hear my own words and then make up its own mind. The stage show is for all those people out there who still adore the princess and remember her as vividly as I do.”

In an interview with The Times Mark Bolland, former media adviser of the Prince of Wales, asked if the Prince of Wales would ever marry Camilla Parker-Bowles, said: “I think there was a window within a year or so after the Queen Mother died… when all the indications of opinion were in the right place. I don’t think it is like that now. He is cloaked in controversy.” He fears the fallout over the Paul Burrell trial has ruined their marital prospects.

The Prince of Orange and Princess Máxima of the Netherlands have asked the weekly Privé to reveal who offered them the pictures from the Princess’s stolen camera they published last week without permission. Privé’s Chief-editor is confident about an eventual lawsuit. He says they got the photos from a photo-agency in Buenos Aires and paid for them. To them it is not clear that the pictures are originally from the stolen camera.

Early this morning Prince Bernhard van Oranje-Nassau, Van Vollenhoven gave notice of the birth of his son Sam at the registrar’s office Amsterdam Oud-Zuid in Amsterdam. The first photos of the baby together with his father were published two days ago.

Prince Friso van Oranje-Nassau and his wife Princess Mabel are back from honeymoon. Yesterday afternoon they had a reception at Noordeinde Palace in The Hague for for royal staff- members who had been working on their wedding-day in April. Also Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands and Mrs Florence Wisse Smit were present.

Today King Abdullah II and Queen Rania of Jordan hosted a banquet at the Royal Palace in Aqaba on the occasion of the wedding of Prince Hamzah and Princess Noor. Several royals were among the 200 invited guests, including King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia of Sweden, as well as Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah of Brunei Darussalam. After the banquet a ball took place. Tomorrow the foreign guests will tour Wadi Rum and Petra.

Emperor Karl I of Austria will be beatified at the Vatican on October 3rd.

May 29th

During a chat with the press while walking on Duchy Land in Gloucestershire together with his father, the Prince of Wales, Prince William said being asked about his career plans: “I haven’t really ruled anything out but a career in the armed forces would be the best thing at the moment because it would be lovely to recognise all the hard work that the armed forces are doing”. He said he would be happy to follow in his father’s and grandfather’s footsteps by joining the military. It had been reported recently that the prince was pondering working in the agricultural industry after university.

This week it was revealed that Prince Vittorio Emanuele of Savoy and the Duke of Aosta, two pretenders to the Italian throne, ended up in a punch-up on the steps of the palace while leaving the dinner given by the Spanish royal family at El Pardo Palace in the evening of May 21. It was said the Duke of Aosta was twice punched in the mouth and would have fallen to the ground had he not been caught by Queen Anne-Marie of Greece. Afterwards the Duke was helped back inside the palace where his bruised lips were being nursed. The Duke of Aosta said to the Italian newspaper La Stampa that it was ‘an unpleasant business that does not deserve further comment’.

May 30th

Princess Vittoria of Savoy was christened today by Monseigneur Giovanni Chelia at the Basilica di San Francesco in Assisi. Her godparents were Ottavio Mazzola and Roberta Fabbri. The baby wore a christening gown, which was already worn by Vittorio Emanuele (III) at his christening on May 31, 1869. Among the guests were Prince Albert of Monaco, Princess Marie Beatrice de Savoy, Prince Serge of Yugoslavia and Princess Mafalda von Hessen. The parents selected Assisi in light of its symbolism of peace. “With this choice they wish a future world without war for their own daughter and all the children of the world,” said a spokesperson.

A spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Iran said that Iran had demanded an explanation from Jordan why former Empress Farah of Iran was invited for the wedding of Crown Prince Hamzah and Princess Noor of Jordan last week. Iran has summoned the Jordanian charge d’affairs to Teheran on Saturday evening and lodged an official complaint. “Jordan must not act like this with the individuals who have no base in Iran. We consider this measure as unacceptable since it has negative effects (on the two countries’ ties)”, the spokesman added.

Former MI6 officer Richard Tomlinson is to be questioned by Scotland Yard detectives conducting an inquiry into the death of Diana, Princess of Wales. In August 1998 Mr Tomlinson claimed to French judge Hervé Stephan that Henri Paul, the driver of the car in which Princess Diana died, had been a paid informant of M16, Great Britain’s external intelligence service. He also said to have seen files showing an ‘assassination’ method which showed similarities to the circumstances of Diana’s death. “I have always maintained that investigators need to get hold of Henri Paul’s personal file from MI6,” Tomlinson said last night. “It would not rule out murder, but if this incident was not an accident, that would be in the file.” He said he is not suggesting that there was a conspiracy, merely that the MI6 information should be examined by investigators.

May 31st

Lady Gabriella Windsor today graduated from Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island. Her parents attended the graduation ceremony.

June 2nd

Former royal butler Paul Burrell has said that he will not attend the unveiling of the Princess Diana Memorial at Hyde Park, London, on July 6. He fears that attention given to him coming face to face with the late princess’s sons Princes William and Harry of Wales would mar the solemn occasion. He said last night: “It hurts not to go because no one wants to be there more than me. But, in the wider interest of respecting the day’s importance, it would be inappropriate to attend. I don’t want to upset anyone. I can’t allow the day to be dominated by the ‘Windsors, Spencers and me’. It would be an irrelevant sideshow. The day is not about me. It’s about the princess. My decision is based on respecting her memory. I hope the Spencers realise it’s not about them either.” In the Mirror today he says: “It is becoming uncomfortably clear that the day could focus on how William and Harry react to me. So after much soul-searching and with a heavy heart I have reluctantly decided to withdraw in their interests.” As a member of the Princess of Wales Memorial Committee Mr Burrell had an official invite to the opening. The Royal Family approved the invite as they accepted he enjoyed a special closeness to Diana as her trusted butler. The event is expected to be attended by The Prince of Wales and his sons, and probably also Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain.

In The Times George Carey, former Archbishop of Canterbury, has said that it would be “the natural thing” for the Prince of Wales and Camilla Parker Bowles to marry. He and his wife met Camilla at their son’s house after her relationship with the Prince of Wales went public. He adds that they met several times but that he had ‘no idea’ if Camilla wished to marry the Prince of Wales. He says: “He is the heir to the throne and he loves her. The natural thing is that they should get married. The Christian faith is all about forgiveness. We all make mistakes. Failure is part of the human condition and there is no doubt that there has been a strong loving relationship, probably since they were very young, that has endured over the years.” He calls Camilla a very nice person, very bright, able, astute, tough and very pleasant company.

Jean-Marie Delwart from the Walloon holding Floridienne, active in the chemical and foodindustry, yesterday said in a meeting that the company would seize Argenteuil Castle in the coming days. The procedure has something to do with an old juridicial case of Floridienne against the Belgian state. For years the holding was controlled by the Special Tax Inspection. Two years ago after a lawsuit the Belgian state was summoned to pay 4.000.000 Euros for making mistakes in the case. Until now the Belgian state hasn’t paid anything. Most likely the Belgian state will protest. The state is looking for a new destiny for the domain, former residence of the late King Leopold III of the Belgians and Princess Lilian.

June 3rd

Frances Shand Kydd, the mother of the late Princess Diana of Wales, has died at the age of 68 after a long illness at her home in Scotland, her family announced. Canon Donald MacKay, a Roman Catholic Priest, was among those with her when she died. A spokesman for her son, Earl Spencer, said: “Earl Spencer’s mother passed away peacefully this morning after suffering from a long illness. Now this is a private time for the family to grieve.” Mrs Shand Kydd lived on the remote island of Seil near Oban in Scotland and her health had been failing in recent months. Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain has sent a private message of condolence to Lord Spencer, said a Buckingham Palace spokeswoman. A spokesperson for the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund said their thoughts were with the family of Mrs Shand Kydd, and that her contribution would be “much missed”. Mrs Shand Kydd was born Frances Ruth Burke Roche, daughter of the 4th Baron Fermoy. She married in 1954 Earl Spencer. In 1967 she fell in love with Peter Shand Kydd, whom she married in 1969. From the first marriage she had five children. She is survived by her daughters Lady Jane Fellowes and Lady Sarah McQuorquodale and her son the present Earl Spencer. Another son died only hours after his birth and Diana Princess of Wales died in 1997 in a car accident.

In an interview to the newspaper Luxemburger Wort the president of the parliamentarian constitutional comittee, Paul-Henri Meyers, answered on the question that a modern constitution also means that the succession to the throne should be arranged in the way of equality of sexes: “I emphasise this opinion – not only because Luxemburg ratified the UN-convention against discrimination of sexes. Therefore I hold a discussion about the possible revision of article 3 of the Constitution for opportune.”

June 4th

According to friends Prince Harry of Wales intends to spend several months of his second gap year in Argentina, where he would have the opportunity to play polo with some of the best polo players in the world. He might combine playing polo with other work, possibly on an Argentinian ranch. Robert ffrench Blake, the Prince of Wales’s polo manager, confirmed yesterday that Prince Harry was considering a spell in Argentina. “I am aware that visiting Argentina is an option. Any young player who wants to improve his game can do no better than go to Argentina to improve his riding and his skills, and spend six hours a day in the saddle playing with the best players in the world. Harry’s game is coming on well. He is naturally very talented, well co-ordinated and he’s a natural sportsman.” Prince Harry intends to return from Australia before Christmas.

In an announcement in The Times the announcement is announced between the Hon. Orlando Montagu (* 1971), younger son of the Earl and Countess of Sandwich, and Lady Honor Wellesley (* 1979), eldest daughter of the Marquess and Marchioness of Douro. The Marchioness of Douro was born Princess Antonia of Prussia. It will be the Hon. Orlando Montagu’s second marriage. His first marriage (1996) to Laura Ann Raundell ended in divorce in 2002.

June 5th

Yesterday a senior government official of Japan said that Crown Prince Naruhito of Japan will issue a statement early next week about his recent remarks about the condition of his wife Crown Princess Masako.

Clarence House yesterday announced that Prince William and Prince Harry of Wales are very upset about the death of their grandmother Frances Shand Kydd, who died on June 3rd of a brain disease. They will attend her funeral next Thursday at St Columba’s Cathedral in Oban, Argyll. Thereafter she will be buried at Pennyfuir cemetery, two miles from Oban. Yesterday Father William Maclean dedicated a mass to Mrs Shand Kydd at a packed St Columba’s. He said: “She wanted to be seen as one of us in Oban, I don’t think she wanted any fanfare.”

Hereditary Prince Kraft zu Hohenlohe-Oehringen married Carolin von Wendorff today at the Evangelische Stadtkirche in Preetz, Germany. The bride wore a white silk dress with a 2,8 metres long veil. Among the guests were Princess Benedikte of Denmark with her husband Prince Richard zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg and their children Gustav and Nathalie, Prince Alexander zu Schaumburg-Lippe with girlfriend Jette Joop, Prince Karl-Emich zu Leiningen with daughter Cecilia, Duke Friedrich von Württemberg, Count Moritz and Countess Fleur von Goëss, the Prince and Princess zu Löwenstein-Wertheim-Rosenberg, Hereditary Prince Carl Friedrich and Hereditary Princess Stephanie zu Löwenstein-Wertheim-Rosenberg. After the wedding the couple drove to the Wilhelminenhof, the stud-farm of the bride’s parents, for a reception. A huge party took place at Nehmten Castle.

June 6th

Several royals attended the D-Day rememberance ceremonies in Normandy. The biggest ceremony at Arromanches was attended by among others Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain and the Duke of Edinburgh, Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, King Harald V of Norway, King Albert II and Queen Paola of the Belgians, Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa of Luxemburg and Grand Duke Jean of Luxemburg.

June 7th

The reburial of Empress Maria Feodorovna of Russia – born Princess Dagmar of Denmark – has been postponed until September 2006. Russia is not ready yet.

The Norwegian Parliament voted in favour of the monarchy today. The Socialistisk Venstreparti had presented a proposal that Norway should become a republic. The proposal received the voted of the Socialistisk Venstreparti and three members of the Labour Party.

June 8th

Today the Imperial Household Agency released a statement from Crown Prince Naruhito of Japan concerning his remarks during a press conference in May. About his earlier remark on the moves to deny the career his wife had developed he said: “I don’t think it would be beneficial to specify who was behind such moves and so I want to refrain from elaborating on details here.” The Crown Prince says: “As for the words that I used during the press conference, I had no intention of criticizing any action in particular. They were intended to help you to understand our present conditions. It grieves me, however, that these words created anxiety for the Emperor, Empress and others.” He told: “What I wanted to speak about during the press conference was the conditions we have faced and our future. I feel that since the press conference, excessive attention has been placed on the conditions preventing us from visiting foreign countries and the so-called heir issue. But of course it was not just this; (Princess Masako) also had to make considerable efforts when she tried to adapt herself to the environment of the Imperial Household, including its traditions, customs and the response to the press.” He says that his wife hopes that she will return to her official duties after having recovered and the Crown Prince said to hope that from now on his wife will be able to carry out her duties “with her normal confidence and vivid energy, fully utilizing her career and reflecting a new area.” He said: “I think a variety of means and measures are needed to help Masako to return to her duties and I want to talk carefully with the Imperial Household Agency about those things and how we should perform our official duties.” Head of the Imperial Household Agency Toshio Yuasa said: “We take the statement seriously. I think we should improve things that should be improved.”

A crystal urn containing the heart of King Louis XVII of France, son of King Louis XVI and Queen Marie Antoinette, was reburied today at the royal crypt at the Cathedral of Saint-Denis near Paris next to the remains of his parents. The burial took place exactly 209 years after the boy king died in prison in 1795. The heart, encased in a glass egg, was on display already on Monday in the church of Saint-Germain l’Auxerrois, the former parish church of French kings. The ceremony comes four years after DNA tests confirmed that the boy king perished in prison of tuberculosis at the age of 10 (Louis XVII et l’ADN: La Verité). Therefore the French Culture Ministry approved the burial this year. A hearse brimming with lilies delivered the crystal urn containing the heart to the Saint-Denis Basilica. The urn draped in a purple cloth was brought in to a chorus of trumpets by Prince Amaury de Bourbon de Parme. He placed the urn next to a crown on a column draped in the royal fleur-de-lis pattern. In his sermon Cardinal Jean Honore said: “The conscience of a child is sacred. A child is not a toy,” said the cardinal. “In the treatment that he was subjected to, there was certainly the desire to eliminate a child who represented something greater than himself.” After the ceremony the inhumation of the heart in the royal crypt took place. Luis Alfonso de Bourbon said: “Finally, he will be able to rest in peace with his parents.” Prince Charles-Emmanuel de Bourbon-Parme, who has overseen the burial ceremonies, said before the ceremony: “This will not be a royalist celebration, but a symbol of the reconciliation of the French with their history, regardless of their political affiliations.” The ceremony was among others attended by Archduke Karl of Austria, Prince Michel de Bourbon de Parme and the Duchess of Anjou and Segovia.

Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain will open the Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain on July 6 in Hyde Park, London, the Government announced. She will be joined by the Duke of Edinburgh, the Prince of Wales, Prince William and Prince Harry of Wales. The event will also be attended by Earl Spencer and other representatives of the Spencer family.

June 9th

According to some Dutch newspapers this morning, quoting sources around the Dutch royal court, Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden will be one of the godparents of Princess Catharina-Amalia of the Netherlands, who will be christened on Saturday at the Grote of Sint Jacobskerk in The Hague. The Swedish royal website confirms the Crown Princess will attend the christening. Several other smaller newspapers had already published the news on Saturday. Also representatives of the Belgian royal family and the Grandducal family of Luxemburg will attend according to De Telegraaf. About 1000 people are invited to attend the christening, among them family, friends and Dutch dignitaries, as well as 240 youngsters aged 12-13 years old from all over the Netherlands. The christening will be performed by Reverend Carel ter Linden.

On the occasion of his 70th birthday on Friday Prince Henrik of Denmark yesterday received his very own island from Jonathan Motzfeld, president of the Greenlandic Parliament. The ‘Ile de France’ has been renamed into Qeqertag Prins Henrik (Prince Henrik Island).

A survey conducted for The Times by Populus among 1004 people over the last weekend shows that about a third of the people would support a remarriage of the Prince of Wales, while 29% would be against it and 38% doesn’t care whether he marries Camilla Parker Bowles or not. There are stark contrasts in opinion between men and women, different age groups and voters. 37% of the woman disapprove a marriage between the couple, while 32% is in favour, while only 21% of the men would object, while 31% would approve. Conservatives are the most in favour (38%) although only 24% of Liberal Democrat voters would actually disapprove while 41% don’t care. Labour supporters are evenly split on yes or no at 32% each and 35% don’t care. Fans of a marriage are more likely to be among the younger generations with 42% of 18-24 year-olds asked in favour. Disinterest is strongest among the 25-34 (47%) and 35-44 (45%) age groups while 41% of the 55-64 year-olds would be against a wedding as would 39% of those aged over 65.

The Prince of Wales will attend the funeral of former US president Ronald Reagan in Washington on Friday.

The case on restitution of the Vrana Residence to the former King Simeon II of Bulgaria and his sister Princess Marie Louise was closed by the Sofia City Court. The magistrates find the complaint of the heirs of Hadji Bone Petrov irrelevant. They said that the order of Sofian Mayor Stefan Sofiansky from 2001 regulates an internal issue and cannot be challenged in Court. The heirs of Hadji Bone Petrov will appeal the decision. It became known that Vrana Park will be opened for visitors starting this autumn. There will be special routes for visitors in the park. King Ferdinand planted exotic trees and shrubs from all over the world in the park.Simeon II has kept the Vrana Palace with a yard for himself.

Qatar has issued its first written constitution which will come into force in 2005, the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, said. The Emir keeps his ultimate power, but the constitution provides for a two-thirds elected advisory body. The constitution also guarantees freedom of expression, assembly, and religion. Parliamentary elections are expected next year. The parliament will have 45 seats, of which one third will be appointed by the emir.

June 10th

The Government Information Service announced that the godparents of Princess Catharina-Amalia of the Netherlands will be Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden, Samantha van Welderen Baroness Rengers née Deane, Prince Constantijn of the Netherlands, Martín Zorreguieta, Mr Herman D. Tjeenk Willink (vice-president of the State Council) and Drs B.M. (Marc) ter Haar. Among the about 1000 guests will be Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa of Luxemburg as well as Prince Philippe and Princess Mathilde of Belgium. Also Princess Máxima’s parents will attend the christening. The baby will wear the christening gown that was made for the christening of Queen Wilhelmina in 1880. It was also used by the christenings of Queen Juliana, Queen Beatrix, Princess Christina and Prince Willem-Alexander. The gown is 180 centimeters long and is made of Brussels lace. The font that will be used is a silver fond from 1682 which will be borrowed from the Waalse Parish in The Hague. It was also used for the christenings of the later King Willem I of the Netherlands, the children of Princess Margriet and Countess Eloise. The Prince of Orange and Princess Máxima announced today that they will donate possible gifts on the occasion of the christening of their daughter to projects of the Oranje Fonds at the Dutch Antilles and Aruba. The projects are the Foundation Rose Pelletier at Curaçao and the Children’s Home Imeldahof at Aruba. A special account was opened for the occasion by the Oranje Fonds.

From June 15 the christening gown of Princess Catharina-Amalia of the Netherlands will be shown at the exhibition ‘Oranje in de Wieg’ (Orange in the cradle) at Palace Het Loo in Apeldoorn. Also shown is the cushion the little princess is carried on, the christening veil and the christening bonnet.

Prince William and Prince Harry of Wales attended the funeral of their maternal grandmother Frances Shand Kydd, who died last week after a long illness. Also her three surviving children, Earl Spencer, Lady Sarah McCorquodale and Lady Jane Fellowes attended the funeral. A requiem mass was held at Oban’s St Columba’s Cathedral. Earl Spencer said in his speech: “My mother was an open book – a woman who was afraid of nothing and of nobody, somebody not interested in convention but in truth and fun. She believed in equality and decency and had no time for self pity.” He further said, refering to his late sister Diana Princess of Wales: “The true love Diana had for her mother was evident in her will. She left my mother executor and principal guardian of her sons. Any tensions they may have had were typical tensions between a mother and a daughter.” Prince William of Wales read a passage from Romans chapter eight. After the simple ceremony Mrs Shand Kydd’s coffin was carried out of the cathedral by four pallbearers and laid to rest at Pennyfuir Cemetary outside Oban.

The New York Times today reported that an American Muslim called Abdurahman Alamoudi, offered detailed accounts about a plot by Libyan Intelligence to assassinate Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia to FBI officials and federal prosecutors. He told how he met with Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi twice last year to discuss the killing, the Washington Post writes today. Seperately Libyan Mohammed Ismael gave Saudi officials another account of the assassination plan. He added that his orders to be operational commander of the plot came from two Libyan intelligence chiefs who reported directly to Gaddafi. Libyan Foreign Minister Mohammed Abdel-Rahman Shalgam stated today: “What was written in the story of that newspaper are mere lies that remind of old attempts to undermine the image of Libya which proved later to be fabricated and false.” Later today an international inquiry, in which the American, British and Saudi governments are involved, was opened into the allegiations.

By Royal Decree Queen Rania Al Abdullah of Jordan received the rank of honorary colonel in the Jordan Armed Forces as of yesterday. She was also entrusted to chair the Higher Commission of the Queen Rania Al Abdullah Society for the care of military personnel and their families.

June 11th

Prince Egon von Fürstenberg died today at the Spallanzani Hospital in Rome. He was born on June 29, 1946, in Lausanne, Switzerland, as second child and eldest son of Prince Tassilo von Fürstenberg (1903-1989) and his first wife Clara Agnelli (born 1920). He finished the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York and in 1972 he started working for Macy’s. In 1975 he launched his first collection, and in 1977 he founded Egon Von Fürstenberg Ltd in the USA, but moved to Italy in 1983. In 1969 Prince Egon von Fürstenberg married Diane Halfin, but they divorced later on. A second marriage in 1983 to Lynn Marshall also didn’t last. He is survived by his children, Alexandre and Tatiana, as well as his grandchildren Talita, Tassilo and Antonia. He also was survived by his partner Tomassini. The funeral will take place in Strobl, Austria, on Monday, June 14, at 15:00, where he will be buried next to his father.

Today Prince Henrik of Denmark celebrated his 70th birthday. Yesterday a special concert took place at the concert hall at Tivoli, Copenhagen. Today the prince celebrated his birthday with family and friends at Fredensborg. In the morning he woke up with music and singing outside. A dinner was held in the evening. Among the guests were many royals, apart from family, among them: King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia of Sweden, Prince Leopold of Bavaria, Prince Pierre and Princess Silvia of Arenberg, Prince Michel and Princess Maria Pia de Bourbon de Parme, Princess Marie Gabrielle of Savoy, the Duke and Duchess of Calabria, the Duke and Duchess of Schleswig-Holstein, Prince Robin and Princess Marie-Christine zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg, Duchess Diane of Württemberg, Prince Dimitri and Princess Dorrit Romanoff, Prince Wilhelm and Princess Ilona zu Schaumburg-Lippe. Speeches were held by Queen Margrethe II and Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen. One of the gifts Prince Henrik received at his birthday was a small island at the north-east coast of Greenland that was renamed Prince Henrik Island.

The National Children’s Choir and the National Youth Choir will sing at the christening of Princess Catharina-Amalia tomorrow. Felicia van den End will play the flute, and Remy van Kesteren will play the harp. Organist is Ben van Oosten, of the Grote en Sint Jacobskerk. Also the Residentie Bach Ensemble co-operates. Catharina-Amalia will be christened with water from the river the Jordan, which was taken to the Netherlands by three friends of the Prince of Orange, coming from Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian Territory. The font was first used by the christening of Prince Willem-Alexander in 1967. It was designed by sculptor Niek van der Schaft and is from 1962. Above the aisle in the church hang thousands of children’s drawings, result of a drawing competition of the Haagsche Courant. Nine students of the Royal Academy of Plastic Arts in The Hague designed a presentation, at request of the Prince of Orange and Princess Máxima. The drawings together form a moving train of a paper christening gown. For the flower decoration of the church 25 kinds of peonies are used – among them the white with rose Festiva Maxima, the pink Queen Wilhelmina and Mother’s Choice (creme white/rose) – roses and lathyrus. At the choir there are orange trees.

Yesterday the Prince of Wales unveiled a plaque at the Dragon School in Oxford in memory of his godson The Hon Nicholas Knatchbull – pupil of the Dragon School – who was one of four people who died when Lord Mountbatten’s boat was blown up off the coast of County Sligo, Ireland, in August 1979. The Prince of Wales said: “As I think again, I was almost struck dumb, absolutely devastated, when I heard about this terrible disaster 25 years ago. It is hard to believe it is 25 years ago.” About Nicholas twinbrother Timothy, who survived together with his parents, he said: “They were so close that Tim has had such a difficult time over the last 25 years, being the one left behind. But it has given us great pleasure, particularly as his godfather, to see him find his other half in that of Isabella.” A large number of the Mountbatten family including Lady India Hicks and a number former pupils and staff at the school who attended with the twins, were also present.

Today it was announced that Zara Phillips talks about life as a royal in her first television interview with channel Five, which was recorded at the Windsor International Three Day Eventing horse trials. She talks about her relationship with her cousins Princes William and Harry of Wales, Gordonstoun School and living in the public eye. She also talks about her disappointment at not making this year’s Olympic riding team, and the input her parents have had in her career.

June 12th

Princess Catharina-Amalia of the Netherlands was christened at the Grote of Sint Jacobskerk in The Hague. The christening was attended by around 1200 guests, among them Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, Prince Friso and Princess Mabel, Prince Constantijn and Princess Laurentien, Princess Margriet and Pieter van Vollenhoven, Prince Maurits and Princess Marilène, Prince Bernhard and Princess Annette, Prince Pieter-Christiaan with his girlfriend Anita van Eijk, Prince Floris with his girlfriend Aimée Söhngen, Princess Irene, the Duke of Parma, Prince Carlos de Bourbon de Parme and Princess Christina. Also the parents of Princess Máxima, Jorge Zorreguieta and Maria del Carmen Cerrutti de Zorreguieta were present, as well as her brother Martín (godfather) and his wife Mariana. While the service took place in the church Princess Catharina-Amalia stayed at the chapel next to the entrance, together with Countess Eloise and Count Claus-Casimir (children of Prince Constantijn), Anna and Lucas van Lippe-Biesterfeld van Vollenhoven (children of Prince Maurits) and Isabella van Vollenhoven (daughter of Prince Bernhard). Princess Laurentien had the honour to bring in the little Princess and take her to her mother. Eloise, Anna, Lucas and Isabella entered also with two nannies. Princess Catharina-Amalia looked around with astonishing eyes, but didn’t make a sound during the rest of the ceremony. It was Isabella van Vollenhoven who finally made most of the noise.

The annual Trooping the Colour marked Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain’s official 78th birthday today. Her actual birthday was already on April 21st. Thousands of people lined central London’s streets to watch the ceremony. Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh travelled along The Mall in a carriage. Princess Princess Royal, on horseback, followed the Queen’s carriage down the Mall, from Buckingham Palace. The Countess of Wessex, the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, the Duke and Duchess of Kent and Princess Alexandra were carried on the first two carriages of the procession. Upon arrival Queen Elizabeth II took the salute and inspecting the troops of the Household Division at Horse Guards Parade. After the ceremony the royal family returned to Buckingham Palace. From the balcony they greeted the crowds and watched the RAF fly past.

Princess Claire of Belgium has been summoned to sit and to check the passports of the citizens of Tervuren at the elections for European Parliament and the Flemish Council tomorrow. Police surveillance will be provided on request of the court.

The second son of Hereditary Prince Bernhard von Baden and his wife Stephanie née Kaul, was christened today in the ‘Beetsaal’ at Salem Castle by Bishop Dr Ulrich Fischer and the dean of Salem, Mrs Doris Fuchs. He received the names Friedrich Bernhard Leopold Christian Berthold Christoph. His godparents were among others Prince Leopold von Baden and Christian Kaul. 200 guests attended the ceremony that started at 17:00. Among them were Princess Caroline and Prince Ernst August von Hannover with their daughter Alexandra, Duchess Marie von Württemberg with her son Duke Wilhelm, Prince Andreas and Princess Alexandra of Leiningen, Prince Heinrich and Princess Milana zu Fürstenberg, Countess Bettina Bernadotte af Wisborg, Princess Elisabeth of Bavaria with Daniel Terberger, Princess Aglae of Baden, Princess Margarita of Baden and Countess Stephanie von Waldburg-Zeil-Hohenems. After the christening a reception took place in the Emperor’s Hall in the Castle.

Today’s Le Figaro announces the engagement of Princess Marie zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg, daughter of Prince Robin zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg and his wife née Marie- Christine Heftler-Louiche, and Olivier Le Maire, son of the late Mr Maurice Le Maire and his wife née Viviane Fradin de Belabre.

Thanks to the American Friends of Versailles, who have been fundraising for the past years, the three mammoth fountains at Le Bosquet des Trois Fontaines (the Three Fountains Grove), one of King Louis XIV of France’s favourite gardens at Versailles, came back to life today after a silence of nearly 200 years. The last fundraiser took place today at a ball at Versailles, that among others was attended by Prince and Princess Michael of Kent. French foreign minister Michel Barnier said: “We owe this superb restoration to the determination of the curators of Versailles, the labor and skills of the architects and craftspeople who worked on this project and the generosity of the patrons. This tremendous undertaking would never have been possible without the generosity and support of the American Friends of Versailles.” He also thanked the French Societe des Amis de Versailles. Studies began seven years ago to revive the garden, known in English as the Three Fountains Grove; actual work began in 2002.

June 13th

Ex-royal valet George Smith who claimed he saw an incident involving Prince Charles has denied withdrawing the allegation. He was paid £60,000 by the Mail on Sunday for the story, which has been denied by the prince, last year. Now the Sunday Telegraph says Mr Smith has agreed to withdraw the allegation for the same sum. Mr Smith however told the PA news agency he admits he was tempted by the cash offer to say that he had told lies because he was deeply in debt. But, he says, he could not accept the money because “if I had said that it would not be true”. He added: “I stick by what I have always said. I told The Mail on Sunday what I witnessed and that is the truth.” The Sunday Telegraph, however, reports that Mr Smith was “very interested” in signing an affidavit swearing that the allegation was untrue in exchange for a hypothetical £60,000. According to the newspaper, the new version of the story would see Mr Smith saying he did not see the incident originally alleged. The reason that he had made the claim originally, he is alleged to have said, is because he was angry with another royal servant, who he claims raped him. An earlier police investigation into Mr Smith’s rape claim found no evidence and no proceedings were brought. The Sunday Telegraph says the comments were recorded in “extensive” video and audio-taped conversations with reports made of the past 10 days. Mr Smith says the newspaper “bought him drinks”, made the recordings covertly and denies agreeing to an interview or signing any form of affidavit. The Mail on Sunday newspaper has denounced the Sunday Telegraph story.

June 14th

Clarence House said that Prince Harry of Wales is planning to take entry exams for Sandhurst Royal Military Acadamy in July and if he is successfull, join cadets there in January 2005. No decision has yet been taken as to which regiment Harry might join. Before that he will undertake voluntary work for the Rugby Football Union (RFU) the English rugby’s governing body has said. The Prince will help to coach young people and promote the game.

At the presidential elections in Serbia that were held yesterday no candidate emerged from the first round. There will be a runoff vote on June 27. The two candidates who got most votes will compete in the runoff. There were 15 candidates, among them Princess Elisabeth of Yugoslavia. After having counted 98% of the votes she won a modest 2,03% of the votes, with which she ended as 6th of the 15 candidates.

June 15th

Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko of Japan have expressed the wish that the Imperial Household Agency should keep silent for now about the individual media reports on the imperial family that have apparently been prompted by remarks Crown Prince Naruhito made last month, an agency official said yesterday. They believe it is not in the country’s interest to comment each time these reports come out.

June 16th

The fight between Prince Alexander zu Schaumburg-Lippe and the owner of the Internet address finally ended the juridical fight about http://www.schaumburg-lippe.de, the Prince announced yesterday. The Prince bought the address, while the former owner will get permission to search the house archive of the Prince and the Internet address http://www.region-schaumburg-lippe.de.

Last week Princess Alexandra zur Lippe-Weissenfeld née Gerlach gave birth to her first child, a son called Georg Moritz. The baby was born in Dresden. Mother and son are doing fine.

June 17th

Love letters, other letters, evening dresses and two bottles of 1811 cognac, once belonging to the Duke and Duchess of Windsor were sold today at Christie’s in Rome. Also a photo of the couple during a vacation in Kitzbühel, Austria, in 1935 was sold. Letters the then Prince of Wales wrote to Wallis Simpson during their relationship before they married in 1937 were sold for $ 18.000. The bottles of cognac were sold for $ 10.500. The sold items fetched less than expected. The 187 lots were expected to fetch up to 400.000 Euros. The couple left the items to their head butler and his Italian wife. The butler’s nephew put them up for sale. A spokeswoman for Christie’s said: “We’ve had a lot of international interest, mainly from American collectors and a lot of English collectors, too”.

Yesterday the town of Gera announced that the Princely House Reuß and the town of Gera have ended their fight about valuable art and cultural objects. The town of Gera buys 84 paintings, plastics, precious metal, arms and furniture from the princely family. The town didn’t announce how much they paid for it. The princely family gets back the rest of the objects. Seven years ago the family received 700 items from their former possessions back, while the rest was for Gera. The princely house sold the items in 1998. A new fight started when the princely house discovered that the new town museum wouldn’t have an exhibition about the old principality of Reuß. At the moment the family is still trying to receive back real estate, among others the theatre of Gera and Osterstein Castle.

Author Count Péter Esterházy has won the Peace Prize of the German Bookshops, the most important literary prize of Germany. He can pick up the prize, 15.000 Euros, at the bookfair in Frankfurt am Main later this year. According to the jury his work is an accusation against the destroying of the people through terror and violence and an ‘arising of humanity through mourning and irony’.

June 18th

Last week Princess Victoria Margaritta Sieglinde Johanna Isabella Maria von Hohenzollern was christened at the parish church in Fergitz. She is the third child and first daughter of Prince Ferdinand von Hohenzollern and his wife Ilona. She has two elder brothers: Aloys and Fidelis. The family lives in Fergitz since about two years. After the christening guests and people from the village enjoyed cake and drinks.

June 19th

On Friday the Imperial Household Agency said that several local and international reports alleging that Crown Princess Masako is in a state of depression or suffering from obsessive-compulsive disorder “are speculative and are not true.”

June 21st

A royal source said today that King Mswati III of Swaziland married his 11th wife last Wednesday at the Ludzidzini residence outside Mbabane. His bride is 20-year-old Zena Mahlangu. “The occasion started in the wee hours of the morning on Wednesday and it dragged on until afternoon,” the royal source said. The bride’s mother, Lindiwe Dlamini, had tried to prevent the king from marrying her daughter after claiming that she had been abducted by two royal emissaries on October 18, 2002. However it was later said that Zena Mahlangu was happy living in the royal household.

Princess Takamado of Japan started a visit to Canada in Vancouver some ten days ago. Today, at the end of her tour, she received an honorary doctorate of laws degree at UPEI and was also named the International Patron of the L.M. Montgomery Institute in a special morning convocation at the W.A. Murphy Student Centre at Prince Edward Island. She among others was presented a copy of a book written in Japanese on the history of Anne of Green Gables on Prince Edward Island. The Princess was honoured with the doctorate not only because she is a member of the Imperial Household of Japan, but also because of the longstanding friendship between Japan and Canada. Princess Takamado said that it was a great honour for her to receive the doctorate. She visited Canada six times before with her late husband, who had studied at university in Kingston, Ontario, and had always remembered his time in Canada and regarded the country his second homeland.

June 22nd

Fabrice Chassery, Jacques Langevin and Christian Martinez, the three photographers who were part of the press that chased Diana, Princess of Wales, the night of her fatal car accident in Paris are back at a French court today. They were acquitted last November, but both the prosecutor’s office and Mohamed Al-Fayed, the father of Diana’s boyfriend Dodi, appealed. Following the appeal court hearing of today a verdict is expected on September 14.

The Duke of Kent was in Dresden, Germany, today where a British-made gilded orb and cross – a replica of the ones that topped the church until February 13-14, 1945 – was placed on top of the Frauenkirche, a landmark step in the restoration of the 18th century church that was destroyed by Allied firebombing in 1945. The $158 million renovation of the church began in 1994 and is being financed largely by private donors. About 60.000 people watched as a crane raised the 29-ton cross and cupola to the top of the 250-foot dome of the Church of Our Lady. Speaking in German at the ceremony, Britain’s Duke of Kent called the event “a project that joins people who were once enemies in a strong and lasting friendship.” The church’s “destruction in that inferno that afflicted Dresden in February 1945 was a tragedy,” he said. “Its reconstruction is a great achievement, and it fills me with pride to be able to give a little help.” The orb and cross were commissioned by the Dresden Trust, a British group of which the Duke of Kent is the president. The replica was officially unveiled in December 1998 and toured English cities damaged by German attacks during World War II before being sent to Dresden, where the Duke presented it to the city in 2000, on the 55th anniversary of the raid.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiroyuki Hosoda said today that he thinks that the Imperial Household Agency will consider easing the imperial family’s duties in view of a recent dispute over Crown Princess Masako’s condition.

Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary of Denmark arrived in Greenland today for a two-week visit. Yesterday Queen Margrethe II and Prince Henrik of Denmark already were in Nuuk to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Greenland’s Home Rule Government. Until July 5th the royal couples will visit several places at Greenland. After arriving in Nuuk the crownprincely couple changed clothes and wore Greenlandish costumes. Crown Princess Mary received hers upon arrival in Nuuk as a wedding gift.

The State Administration of Cultural Heritage will invest $ 2.000.000 to renovate the Eastern Qing Tombs in Zunhua, Hebei, North China. Experts say that the move will help better to introduce the biggest and most intact imperial graveyard known. Covering 2,500 square kilometres, the grave group took about 150 years to construct, and was finished in 1908. Five emperors of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) together with 15 empresses were buried there.

June 23rd

Today Luxemburg celebrated its National Day. Already on Monday a music party took place with classical music to Latin music. One of the highlights was the fireworks above the Petrusse-valley on Tuesday evening. Before the Grand Ducal couple with Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume, Prince Felix, Princess Alexandra and Prince Sébastien had arrived to watch the march-past of a military band and an honorary division of the army, lots of unions, as well as the torch-light procession. This morning at 9:30 Grand Duke Henri of Luxemburg arrived for the ‘Prise d´armes’ with afterwards a march-past. At 11:00 the Grand Ducal family attended the Te Deum in the Cathedral of Luxemburg.

Former royal butler Paul Burrell has cancelled three of his planned four performances at the Town Hall Theatre in Manhattan, New York, because of poor ticket sales. He was to perform his one-man show ‘In His Own Words’. It is said fewer than 100 tickets were sold for the four shows together. The show opened at the Theater Royal Drury Lane, London, last Sunday. About 300 people attended and Mr Burrell was heckled by the crowd. His London critics were very bad.

June 24th

In a public hearing today the European Court of Human Rights delivered a judgement in the case of Princess Caroline of Hannover against Germany. Princess Caroline has been campaining to prevent photographs about her private life being published in the press. On several occasions she has unsuccessfully applied to the German courts for publication of photographs of her private life. Having regard to all the factors, and despite the margin of appreciation afforded to the State in this area, the Court considered that the German courts had not struck a fair balance between the competing interests. Accordingly, it held that there had been a violation of Article 8 of the Convention (right to respect for private life) and that it was not necessary to rule on the applicant’s complaint relating to her right to respect for her family life.

June 25th

Queen Sonja of Norway underwent a minor correcting operation on her leg at the Hospital Sophies Minde in Oslo.

Author Andrew Morton in his new book ‘Diana: In Pursuit of Love’ claims that British or US intelligence forced Diana Princess of Wales to change plans to stay with American billionaire Teddy Forstmann at his house in the Hamptons in the Summer of 1997, saying it was too dangerous to take her sons there. The block on her plans meant that instead she took a summer break with Mohamed El-Fayed, which ultimately led to her going to Paris with his son Dodi, where they died in a car crash. Morton writes: “Diana was looking forward to a week’s holiday with the two young men who had never let her down and whom she loved unconditionally, William and Harry.” Scotland Yard detectives carrying out an inquiry into the princess’s death are planning to interview Morton over the new claims. Morton also claims that Princess Diana leaked the Duchess of York’s divorce plans in an attempt to stop bad press about herself.

June 26th

Prince Alexander zu Waldeck und Pyrmont married Tanja Rippetoe in the Fürstenkapelle at Kloster Lichtenthal in Baden-Baden at 14:00. After the wedding ceremony a reception was being held in the garden of the monastery.

Yesterday Prince Amedeo of Belgium Archduke of Austria-Este finished his studies at Sevenoaks Boardingschool in Kent, Great Britain, obtaining an international baccalaureate. In September he will start at the Royal Military School in Brussels, probably for one year.

Yesterday Hideki Hayashida, grand master of the Crown Prince’s Household, made a request to the media to hold back in reporting on Crown Princess Masako during private trips outside the palace as she tries to recover, in a statement issued to fifteen newspapers, news agencies and television networks that regularly cover the imperial family. In a news conference a spokesman for the Imperial Household Agency said: “One factor that led to a worsening of the physical condition of the princess is resistance toward having even private movements covered and reported.” He also said that having to face many cameras could also upset the couple’s daughter Aiko. The request was based on an assessment by doctors, who feel it is essential for the Crown Princess to take such trips and to ensure that she is in peaceful surroundings. “Doctors think that…securing a quiet environment that is as stress-free as possible is vital for her physical condition to recover.”

June 28th

Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway paid a three-day official visit to Iceland starting on Sunday. They brought their little daughter Ingrid Alexandra with them. They were greeted on Sunday by President Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson and his wife Dorrit Mousaieff. The president said: “This is the first time Iceland has been visited by a Norwegian crown prince together with a Norwegian crown princess and Norway’s royal heir. Your visit has therefore already become an important event in the long relations between Iceland and Norway’s kings.” Crown Prince Haakon said he was looking forward to see both “the historic and the modern Iceland.” The couple visited historic sites outside Reykjavik on Monday, including Tingvellir, along with the local plant for Norwegian firm Elkem.

June 29th

Yesterday the Duke and Duchess of Noto had their third son, Pablo. He was born in Madrid at 15:00. He has two elder brothers: Jaime and Juan.

The three-year-long relationship between Fürst Alexander zu Schaumburg-Lippe and fashion designer Jette Joop has come to an end, despite of media rumours that they were about to get married. Fürst Alexander said that Jette Joop called him from the USA only 16 minutes before she informed the press and that he was completely surprised. A spokeswoman of the Jette Joop Europe GmbH said however that the end of the relationship was discussed in a long phonecall.

June 30th

Emperor Akihito will undergo anticancer hormone therapy from July to combat signs of tumors following surgery in January 2003 for prostate cancer, his chief doctor Ichiro Kanazawa said on Tuesday. The emperor will receive injections of a drug to reduce male hormones every four weeks, as these hormones can stimulate the growth of prostate cancer.

July 1st

The engagement was announced between Arthur Wellesley Earl of Mornington (born 1978), son of the Marquess and Marchioness of Douro (née Princess Antonia of Prussia), and Jemma Madeline Kidd (born 1974), daughter of John and Wendy Kidd.

Prince Carl Philip of Sweden was one of the 128 runners who carried the Olympic flame through Stockholm today.

July 2nd

It became known that Princess Diane d’Orléans, daughter of the Duke and Duchess d’Orléana has become engaged to Alexis Viscount de Noailles, son of Philippe Duke de Mouchy Prince and Duke de Poix and his first wife Diane de Castellane. He was born on September 5, 1952. The marriage is said to take place in September

July 3rd

The marriage took place at St Mary’s Church in Stratfield Saye between the Hon Orlando Montagu, younger son of the 11th Earl of Sandwich and the Countess of Sandwich, and Lady Honor Wellesley, daughter of the Marquess of Douro and the Marchioness of Douro née Princess Antonia of Prussia.

July 5th

Princess Astrid of Belgium is in the Saint-Pierre Hospital in Brussels since Saturday for a non-serious chirurgical operation that already has taken place. She was visited by her parents King Albert II and Queen Paola. She will leave the hospital within the next few days.

King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia of Sweden have given their names to the Swedish perfumer Oriflame. In September Oriflame will bring a new perfume called Soliden eau de toilette on the market worldwide with the support of the royal couple. The names of the royal couple will be on the bottle. Elisabeth Tarras-Wahlberg, spokeswoman of the royal court, said that it is possible because a part of the proceeds go to a good cause: the Queen’s World Childhood Foundation.

The Diary editor of the Mail on Sunday newspaper was sacked for allegedly being the intermediary who benefited from a mysterious transaction. The address book of the late Diana Princess of Wales, is embossed with her personal crest and contains the numbers of hundreds of her acquaintances, including Dodi Al-Fayed, Elton John and Lady Thatcher. It is believed to have been compiled by the princess shortly before her death in 1997. According to the newspaper the diary editor, Adam Helliker, obtained the book from a friend who had been given it when she once worked with the Diana Princess Of Wales Memorial Fund. He sold it for £25,000 to Alicia Carroll, a California dealer in royal memorabilia. Recently it was purchased for £40,000 by a Japanese collector. The newspaper alleged Mr Helliker had forged a letter in his friend’s name authenticating the diary.

Another round starts in the long-time fight between the Land Sachsen-Anhalt and Ernst August Prince von Hannover. On August 20 the Verwaltungsgericht Magdeburg, on request of the Prince, will decide if the case again comes in court. The prince wants to get back former family possessions in the East of Germany worth more than hundred million Euros. The family lost the possessions after World War II when they were expropriated. Among the possessions were the Grand and Small Castle Blankenburg with furniture and pieces of art, Monastery Michaelstein and about 10.000 hectares of land.

A memorial service took place for the late Countess of Paris at the Royal Chapel St Louis in Dreux. Several members of the family were present.

Princess Adélaïde d’Orléans and her husband Pierre-Louis Dailly expect their second child.

A white marble bath belonging to the late Queen Marie-Antoinette of France, together with a moon-shaped footstool, was sold at auction at Cheffins, Cambridge, for £ 3000, which was six times the expected price. The bath was in use by the queen at the Palace of St Cloud. The buyer was a private collector from St Cloud. The auction house said the price had been set so low because of damage caused to the bath during the French Revolution when rampaging peasants stormed the Palace. A corner of the bath is missing and careful restoration work will have to be done to bring it back to its former glory.

July 6th

The memorial fountain for Diana Princess of Wales at Hyde Park, London, was opened by Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain in presence of the Prince of Wales, Prince William and Princess Harry of Wales, Earl Spencer, Lady Sarah McCorquodale and Lady Jane Fellowes. It was the first time both families were seen together in public since the funeral of the late Princess Diana. In her speech the Queen said: “I cannot forget – and nor can those of us here today who knew her much more personally, as sister, wife, mother, or daughter-in- law – the Diana who made such an impact on our lives. Of course there were difficult times, but memories mellow with the passing of the years. I remember especially the happiness she gave to my two grandsons.” She received a warm applause from the 1000 people strong crowd. After the ceremony the princess’s goddaughter Domenica – daughter of Rosa Monckton – was the first child to play in the water of the fountain. See here for the full speech by Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain.

The American website everythingroyal.com has made £4000 from selling a card sent by Francs Shand Kydd, the late mother of Diana Princess of Wales, only weeks after she died. Mrs Shand Kydd sent the card to a couple in the USA after they wrote to comfort her over Diana’s death. She wrote on it: ‘Thank you so much for your caring.’ The card was sold by Los Angeles dealer Alicia Carroll, who hopes to make enough money from the website to open a ‘Dianaland’ museum in Las Vegas.

Christina, daughter Baron Niclas Silfverschiöld and his wife née Princess Désirée of Sweden, and her husband Hans de Geer af Finspång expect their third child in September.

The Court of Justice in Berlin today decided that Princess Gloria von Thurn und Taxis has to delete several pieces of text from her recently published autobiography. In the text she states a top manager had wanted to take money from the fortune of the Princely House. The manager’s heirs had demanded that the texts should be removed. They already received justice in June, but now the Random House Publishers House withdrew its appeal against the June decision. The decision said that the pieces of texts are not allowed to be spread again to protect the late manager’s personality.

July 7th

According to ABC the Petición de Mano (official engagement) of Don Luis Alfonso de Bórbon y Martínez-Bordiú Duke of Anjou and María Margarita de Vargas y Santaella will take place at the Pazo de Meirás in August. The wedding is said to take place in Miami in November. After the wedding the couple will live in Caracas, Venezuela, where the groom will work for his father-in-law.

King Norodom Sihanouk of Cambodia said on his website on Tuesday that he will abdicate in the ‘near future’ and that he won’t get involved in politics again, reiterating an offer he has made several times before. “I will abdicate as King of Cambodia when the crown council, with its complete members, will be able to receive my official letter … offering my formal resignation of my functions,” the King said in a statement titled ‘My decision to abdicate in the near future’. The king said he would ask his successor for a retirement pension and he promised to stay out of politics. The King has made similar offers in recent years when he has felt that the monarchy wasn’t being treated with respect. In January the King went to Beijing, China for medical treatment. In March he decided to extend his stay in China after politicians at home criticised him for making comments about politics. In April he said he wouldn’t return to Phnom Penh until politicians formed a new government following inconclusive elections last July. He is currently staying at his home in Pyongyang in North Korea.

July 8th

A secret crypt of the Medici family was discovered by scientists yesterday under a stone floor behind the main altar of the Medici chapels in the church of San Lorenzo in Florence. Seven steps led down to the entrance. The crypt is between 2,1 metres and 2,4 metres high and six metres by at least four metres wide. Since last month a team of paleopathologists from American and Italian universities have been digging up the bodies of 49 members of the Medici family buried in the church. They aim to carry out tests to build a picture of the lives – and deaths – of the family that held power in Florence and much of Tuscany for more than three centuries. On Tuesday researchers opened the tomb of the last of the dynasty, the grand duke Gian Gastone de’ Medici, who died in 1737 – and were astonished to find it empty. Trying to locate his final resting place the secret crypt was found only metres away from the empty tomb. It was known that some of the Medici family’s remains were moved from their original burial places in 1857. And, according to the early 20th-century British historian GF Young, the coffins of Gian Gastone and his grandfather had been moved to a secret crypt accessible only down hidden stairs. Until yesterday’s discovery, his account had been dismissed as baseless rumour. Inside the crypt, there were another eight bodies, one of an adult and the remaining seven of children. Most of the remains were in an advanced state of decomposition. But one of the children had been expertly embalmed and vestiges of clothing remained on the body. The researchers are already convinced that the family was not, as previously believed, afflicted with gout, but with a severe form of arthritis. Historians hope the project will help clear up some of the puzzles about the Medicis, including the death in 1589 of Prince Francesco I, who was said to have died of malaria but is long suspected to have been poisoned.

The Prince of Wales told a conference in June that he knew a woman who had beaten cancer after going on the Gerson diet. This diet involves eating large amounts of vegetables and fruit and having coffee enemas on a daily basis. He said: “I know of one patient who turned to Gerson therapy having been told that she was suffering from terminal cancer, and would not survive another course of chemotherapy. Happily, seven years later she is alive and well.” In an open letter to the Prince in the British Medical Journal Professor Michael Baum of University College London now has criticised the Prince for embracing ‘unproven therapies’ and says there is no evidence that the diet works. He urged the prince against promoting alternative treatments that have not been proven. A spokesman for the Prince of Wales denied that he had been promoting alternative medicines over orthodox treatments: “He is simply reflecting the wishes of 80% of cancer patients who wish to use alternative treatments alongside conventional treatments. He wants to see more of these treatments available on the NHS and more research into alternative therapies. The Prince of Wales is passionate about an integrated approach to healthcare.”

Only one day after the opening the Princess Diana of Wales Memorial Fountain it was affected by winds and torrential rain. The oval stone waterway flooded and strong gusts apparently caused leaves and debris to clog filtering grates and sent water cascading over the sides of the fountain. The water created a puddle in the picnic area around. One of the designers who created the fountain said: “When something like this opens up to the public there are bound to be teething problems. Of course, we are here to solve these teething problems.”

July 9th

During a short photosession Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, the Prince of Orange and Princess Máxima of the Netherlands posed together with Princess Amalia for a few photographers and camerateams at their vacation house in Tavarnelle, Tuscany, Italy. Before the present press had to promiss not to disturb the family anymore during the rest of their vacation.

Early today it was reported that the Diana Princess of Wales museum at Althorp is to close due to falling visitor numbers. Later today Earl Spencer, the Princess’s brother denied the reports. In a statement a family spokeswoman said: “There are no plans to close the Diana exhibition at Althorp.”

92-year-old Princess Takamatsu of Japan was hospitalized at St Luke’s International Hospital in Tokyo on Thursday for a mild respiratory problem. Her condition is not serious. The Imperial Household Agency said she was taken to hospital after phlegm stuck in her throat, according to agency officials.

July 10th

Several royals attended the funeral of Austrian president Thomas Klestil at the Stephansdom in Vienna: Prince Hans Adam II of Liechtenstein, Grand Duke Henri of Luxemburg, King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia of Sweden, the Prince and Princess of Asturias, the Prince of Orange, Crown Prince Haakon of Norway, Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark, Prince Philippe of Belgium Duke of Brabant, the Princess Royal and her husband Commodore Timothy Laurence.

Prince William of Wales today joined a one mile charity sprint in London. Prince Harry was also due to run, but had to pull due to injuring his left knee after slipping down some stairs while training with the military. However he supported his brother. The royals surprisingly showed up some 20 minutes before the race began. Prince William, running for Sport Relief, completed the run in six minutes ten seconds. He was joined by around a dozen Clarence House team members including several bodyguards. The team hoped to raise a substantial sum for the charity with the Prince of Wales among those donating money. Prince William after the race said: “I am pleased about that time. It was very sad that Harry did not run. If he had been here then he would have done it faster.” Prince Harry then came over, shook his brother by the hand, and said: “Well done, I’m very proud of you.”

Crown Princess Masako of Japan played tennis and joined Crown Prince Naruhito at a lecture during the past week, the Imperial Household Agency said yesterday. However it was said that the princess “has not shown any signs of a positive change in her condition, and playing tennis and attending the lecture are part of her treatment.”

Prince Philipp zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg, son of Prince Christian-Peter and his first wife Princess Felicitas Reuss, married Stephanie Drohner at the evangelic-lutheran St. Johanniskirche in Hamburg-Eppendorf at 14:30. The groom is a project manager of an Internet company. The bride, who is 31 years old and was born in Augsburg, is moderator at Classic Radio.

King Norodom Sihanouk of Cambodia today said tht he will not abdicate on request of the supreme patriarch monk of the Mahanikaya sect Tep Vong. He received a letter from the supreme patriarch monk on Friday asking him not to abdicate for the sake of the peace, development and prosperity of the country. “I never dare to breach the will of our supreme patriarch monk and all monks in our country,” the King said: “So I have not abdicated as I would like to do.”

Princess Ntandoyeziswe, second daughter of Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini (her mother is the King’s third wife Queen Mantfombi), married Mutshi Moiloa, a Tswana Prince of the Bahurutse tribe, in a glittering ceremony at Pongola, KwaZulu-Natal, today. The public ceremony took place at Pongola Rugby Stadium from 10am on Saturday, followed by a photo session. Afterwards lunch was served, which was followed by the private reception. Already yesterday the first official gatherings of the wedding guests took place. Tomorrow celebrations will continue at the Zulu royal palace. The second stage of the wedding celebrations will be held next Saturday in Zeerust for groom’s family.

July 11th

The Prince of Wales today hosted the yearly outdoor benefit concert for The Prince’s Trust charity in Hyde Park entertaining stars including Lenny Kravitz, Avril Lavigne, Jamelia, Alanis Morisette, Nelly Furtado, The Corrs and Lionel Richie. The prince himself watched the show from a royal box and chatted with performers. London’s Metropolitan police said about 85,000 people were in the park for the concert.

July 12th

Takashi Yoshino today became the fifth chamberlain to Princess Aiko, the daughter of Crown Prince Naruhito and Crown Princess Masako of Japan, the Imperial Household Agency said. He will mainly be in charge of Princess Aiko’s education, including her kindergarten education.

July 14th

Princess Sibilla of Luxemburg gave birth to her fourth child at the Maternité Grande-Duchesse Charlotte in Luxembourg on July 13 at 14:00. The little Prince of Nassau received the names: Jean André Guillaume Marie Gabriel Marc D’Aviano. He weighs 3380 grammes and is 51 centimeters tall. Mother and child are doing well.

As each year Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden celebrated her birthday at Solliden. As usual she appeared in front of Solliden in the early afternoon to receive congratulations from thousands of people. At the concert on the occasion of her birthday later today among others Lionel Richie, Ronan Keating and Stevie Wonder performed.

On Tuesday the Princess Diana Memorial Fountain ran dry after the water was turned off for routine cleaning. The blockage was thought to be caused by leaves which got into the pump before filters were fitted. Theo Moore, spokesman for the Royal Parks which maintains the fountain, said some sections of the water feature ran dry while work was carried out. “It only took about two hours. We solved the problem and we don’t anticipate it happening again.” In future the fountain will be switched off on either a weekly or fortnightly basis while early morning cleaning work is carried out, Mr Moore said.

July 16th

Prince Friedrich Ernst von Sachsen-Meiningen died on July 13 after a long and serious illness. A memorial service will take place on July 22nd. He was born in Meiningen on January 21, 1935, as the second and youngest child of Duke Bernhard von Sachsen-Meiningen (1901-1984) and his first wife Margot Grössler (1911-1998). Prince “Friedel” married first Ehrengard von Massow. In 1977 he married Princess Beatrice von Sachsen-Coburg und Goth, with whom he had two children Marie-Alix and Constantin.

July 17th

Queen Susan of the Albanians died at her home on the outskirts of Tirana, Albania, today from a heart condition. She was born Susan Barbara Cullen-Ward in Waverly, Sydney, Australia, on January 28, 1941. In 1975 she married pretender to the Albanian throne, King Leka I. They have one son, Leka. The family returned to Albania in 2002.

July 21st

The Belgian royal family attended festivities on the occasion of the national feastday. King Albert and Queen Paola in the morning attended the Te Deum at the Cathedral in Brussels. Prince Philippe and Princess Mathilde attended the service at the Cathedral of Mons. In the afternoon the whole family watched the parade in front of the royal palace in Brussels.

Queen Susan of the Albanians was buried in Tirana. Hundreds of people attended the funeral. The coffin had been placed at the hall of the Dajti Hotel in Tirana where people could say goodbye to her.

The pink granite statue of Pharaoh Ramses II of Egypt outside Cairo central railway station will be removed to a less polluted site outside the city in February: the Great Egyptian Museum that is to be built near the pyramids of Giza on the southern outskirts of Cairo. The short journey is expected to last three days and nights. The statue will be transported in a metal casing on military tank-transporters. The statue is more than 11 metres tall and weighs 80 tons. The statue was discovered near Memphis in 1883 and moved to Cairo in 1954.

July 22nd

58-year-old Prince Tomohito of Mikasa of Japan was hospitalized at the Keio University Hospital in Tokyo due to irregular heartbeat. He is now in stable condition and is expected to stay at hospital for a few more days. Last August the prince underwent a successful operation for throat cancer.

The water to the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain in Hyde Park, London, has been switched off at 3pm after three visitors were hurt when they slipped over on the same stone steps on the east side of the source pool, the Royal Parks said. The fountain will be switched off until an investigation had been carried out. A spokesman for the Royal Parks, said: “We are obviously very concerned about their welfare and hope they recover swiftly. We immediately switched off the flow of water and will not be turning it back on until we are satisfied it is safe to do so. A full and thorough investigation has already started.”

James Hewitt, former lover of Diana Princess of Wales, was arrested on suspicion of possessing cocaine on Wednesday at the Cactus Blue bar in Chelsea, London. He was arrested along with Alison Bell, a former girlfriend of the Earl of Wessex, who is accused of supplying the drug to Mr Hewitt. Sources said that Mr Hewitt was very drunk when he was arrested. Mr Hewitt spent the night at Notting Hill police station. Today he was being questioned in connection with the affair. He was bailed until September. He left the police station in the afternoon.

Representatives of the Russian Orthodox Church, the church abroad and public organisations left for Jerusalem today to convey earthly remains of Grandduchess Elisabeth of Russia to Russia. Her remains are being kept at the Russian Orthodox Maria Magdalena Cathedral in Jerusalem. They want to bring the remains to the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Moscow. She died at a mine near Alapayevsk. She was canonized by the Russian Orthodox Church in 1992. A spokesman said that the ceremony would be a meaningful event in Russia’s history.

July 25th

Geoffrey Bignell, who handled the Prince of Wales’s financial affairs for more than a decade until 1996 revealed in the Daily Telegraph that the Prince of Wales was forced to sell his entire investment portfolio as part of the divorce settlement with his wife Diana. Mr Bignell said: “Princess Diana took every penny he had. I was told to liquidate everything, all his investments, so that he could give her the cash. He was very unhappy about that. That’s when I stopped being his personal financial adviser because he had no personal wealth left. She took him to the cleaners.” It is understood that the Queen lent her son several million pounds for the divorce settlement and that he is still repaying her.

Thousands of people watched when the shrine with the relics of Grand Duchess arrived at the Christ the Saviour Cathedral in Moscow today in the latest sign of unity between the Russian Orthodox Church and its foreign branch. Hierarchs of the Russian Orthodox Church and the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia, and nuns from the St. Mary Magdalene’s Convent in Jerusalem, where the relics had been since 1921, took part in the festive service. The relics – part of the Grand Duchess’s right hand it was said – were transported in a golden ark to the cathedral and will stay in Moscow until August 5. They will be carried from the Savior Cathedral to the St. Daniil Monastery with a stopover at the Cloister of St. Mary and Martha. After that the relics will be carried from one place to another in Russia, CIS member countries and Baltic republics for six months. The return is only temporarily.

July 28th

Yesterday afternoon during their discussions at the palace Grand Duke Henri of Luxemburg and formator of the new government Jean-Claude Juncker also talked about the Luxemburg succession laws. According to those laws only men can succeed to the Luxemburg throne. It is possible that in the near future also firstborn women can ascend the throne in Luxemburg. The family pact or the constitution should be changed to achieve that.

Confidential papers with detailed arrangements for Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain’s State funeral have been recovered following their theft from a Buckingham Palace press secretary’s car. The Palace said: “A briefcase belonging to a Buckingham Palace employee was recovered yesterday morning with its paper contents intact.”

July 29th

Today Archduke Georg and Archduchess Eilika of Austria presented their third child and first son, Charles-Constantin, at their home in Telki near Budapest today. He was born on July 20, weighs 3100 grammes and was 52 centimetres tall at birth.

July 30th

Zara Phillips was taken to Dorchester hospital after a fall from her horse while competing in horse trials at Lulworth, Dorset. She was not seriously injured in the incident, but it was decided she should go to hospital as a precaution nonetheless. After being examined by doctors and given the OK, she was driven home by her mother, the Princess Royal.

The Imperial Household Agency has announced that Crown Princess Masako of Japan has been diagnosed as suffering from “adjustment disorder”. They confirmed she is undergoing treatment for the illness, characterised by an abnormal and excessive reaction to stress. The Crown Princess has received therapy and medication, but is still showing signs of anxiety and “depressive feelings”, said a representative. Her stress is caused by “her special status as crown princess, problems relating to her pregnancy and miscarriage, and her busy life, in which she has difficulties drawing a line between the public and the private,” said the Agency.

The 5th anniversary of Throne Day marking the enthronement of King Mohammed VI was celebrated in Morocco today. The day was celebrated with ceremonial pomp, fanfare and a royal pledge of “strengthened democracy”.

Prince Abdul Rahman ibn Saud of Saudi Arabia died of a heart attack in a specialised hospital in Riyadh yesterday at the age of 63. He was president of the Al-Nasr sports club. He was one of the pioneers of the sporting world in Saudi Arabia.

July 31st

Countess Feodora af Rosenborg married Eric Patte at Holmens Kirke in Copenhagen, Denmark. The bride arrived at church accompanied by her father Count Christian af Rosenborg and three bridal children, including her niece and nephew Anastasia and Ludwig af Rosenborg. She wore a strapless dress with gold embroidery and a short train designed by Karim, as well as a pretty short veil. She wore the brilliant diademe her mother had received from her parents-in-law when she married Prince Christian of Denmark, who became Count Christian af Rosenborg upon marriage. The service was led by retired Father Claus Harms, who had christened the bride in the same church in 1975. After the ceremony the guests took the canal boat to the reception at Trekroner Island. In the evening a dinner and party took place in tents in the gardens of the annexe of Sorgenfri Castle in Kongens Lyngby. About 150 guests were invited, including Princess Elisabeth of Denmark, Count Ingolf and Countess Sussie af Rosenborg, several members of the Rosenborg family, Thyra Moes née Countess zu Castell- Castell and her children and granddaughter.

Lady Davina Windsor, eldest daughter of the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester married 33-year-old Gary Lewis from New Zealand this afternoon at 5pm at the Chapel Royal at Kensington Palace. The ceremony was only attended by immediate family and close friends. The bride was given away by her father. Lady Davina wore a cream satin bustier dress with a lace over- blouse, with covered buttons down the back. Her sister Lady Rose Windsor was one of the bridesmaids. The groom’s best man was an old friend from New Zealand, Nick Harvey. The ceremony was conducted by the Reverend Prebendary Willie Booth. The groom’s 12-year-old son from a previous relationship, Ari, read a Gaelic prayer at the wedding ceremony. No members of the royal family were present for the service, except for the parents and siblings of the bride. The 120 guests included Larry Lewis and Viki Carr, parents of the groom, and Captain Mark Phillips, former husband of the Princess Royal, who is a godfather to the bride. After the wedding the bride and groom were to see the bride’s 101-year-old grandmother Princess Alice who lives in apartments at the royal palace and could not attend the service as she is too frail. After the wedding the guests enjoyed a reception in a State apartment at the palace. Lady Davina, who is 20th in line to the throne, met Gary Lewis while on holiday in Bali four years ago. The couple is expected to settle in Britain.

Today King Albert II of the Belgians visited the site of a pipeline explosion at Ghislenghien, Belgium, that killed 16 and injured 120 people on Friday. The King, who especially returned from his vacation, was shown around shortly and spoke to relatives and rescue workers. The King said: “I can’t smile today.” Prince Laurent of Belgium already visited Ghislenghien on Friday.

August 1st

Cabinet minister Tessa Jowell says litter and paddling dogs are blighting the newly unveiled memorial fountain to the late Princess Diana of Wales and are partly to blame for its closure two weeks after it opened. “Irresponsible” people who throw garbage into the water, including diapers, are not paying the tribute the respect it deserves.” In the Sunday Telegraph Mrs Jowell says: “We accept there are problems that the Royal Parks have got to sort out. Once they are sorted, people have got to be responsible in the way they let their children play in the fountain. The critical issue is that this is a memorial. I don’t think any responsible person would want to see people allowing their dogs in it.” The late Princess’s brother Charles Spencer told BBC on Sunday there needed to be a balance between making the fountain accessible to the public and ensuring it gets the respect it deserves: “I am not an expert on plumbing and fountains and how they work, but the general point that it is a memorial is definitely true.”

August 2nd

The number of people allowed to visit the Diana, Princess of Wales, Memorial Fountain may be restricted. The fountain has remained closed since 22 July. After an inquiry the Royal Parks published recommendations including reducing visitors, increasing attendants and introducing “clear rules of behaviour”. Other options include roughening of certain areas of the fountain and replacing grass around the edge of the memorial with some form of hard standing to avoid slipping. The report will be discussed in detail with the Department of Culture, Media, and Sport and other stakeholders.

August 4th

Countess Bettina Bernadotte surprisingly married her longtime 31-year-old boyfriend Philipp Haug in Mariefred near Gripsholm Castle, Sweden, on August 2. Bettina is the eldest daughter of Count Lennart and Countess Sonja Bernadotte.

August 6th

Princess Kikuko, aunt of Emperor Akihito of Japan, was taken to St Luke’s International Hospital in Tokyo with breathing problems today. A spokesman of the Imperial Household Agency said she was in stable condition.

Count Johannes Kinsky von Wchinitz und Tettau died yesterday evening after a short but serious illness at the age of 67. He was born in Prague on March 22, 1937. Since 1964 he was married to Countess Eleonore von und zu Trauttmansdorff, who survives him, as do their four children and nine grandchildren. Count Johannes was an elder brother of Princess Marie von und zu Liechtenstein.

August 8th

Jean André Guillaume Marie-Gabriel Marc d’Aviano, the fourth child of Prince Guillaume and Princess Sibilla of Luxemburg who was born on July 13, was christened yesterday at the church of Contern, Luxemburg. The ceremony was led by Archbishop Fernand Franck together with court chaplain Georges Vuillermoz and Priest Claude Bache. The organist was Philippe Dehoux. The baby’s godparents were André Correa do Lago and Countess Marie Gabriele von Waldburg zu Zeil und Trauchburg. Among the guests were tens of familymembers of both parents, including Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa, Grand Duke Jean and Grand Duchess Joséphine-Charlotte.

August 10th

Archduke Ferdinand of Austria died last Friday at hospital in Ulm, Germany. He was recovering from hip replacement surgery. During the convalescence he suffered an embolism and death came to him within two hours. He will be buried in private at the Toerring-Jettenbach family crypt on Saturday. Archduke Ferdinand was the eldest of the two sons of Archduke Maximilian – younger brother of Emperor Karl of Austria – and Princess Franziska zu Hohenlohe-Waldenburg-Schillingsfürst. In 1956 he married Countess Helene zu Toerring- Jettenbach. The couple had three children: Elisabeth (who died in 1983), Sophie and Maximilian. Archduchess Sophie and her husband Prince Mariano Hugo zu Windisch-Graetz have two sons and one daughter.

Princess Haya bint Al-Hussein will not take part in the horse-jumping event for Jordan at the Olympic Games in Athens. Her horse is injured. Princess Haya said to be very unhappy that she can’t compete, but she is happy that Jordan is competing without her also. Her place will be taken by Hani Bisharat.

A £1 million diamond necklace worn by the late Diana, Princess of Wales at one of her final official engagements has gone on sale in the United States. The owner put the necklace up for sale at Hollis Reh and Shariff near New York. The late princess wore the necklace, which contains 50 carats of diamonds, for a performance of Swan Lake at the Royal Albert Hall in June 1997. It was crafted by the royal jewellers Garrard.

August 11th

Luis Alfonso de Borbón y Martínez-Bordiú and Maria Margarita Vargas de Santaella became officially engaged some days ago. They celebrated it with a family dinner in El Pazo de Meirás near La Coruña. Among the about 60 guests were family members and friends. The marriage is said to take place in Palm Beach, Florida, early November.

August 12th

Belgian newspapers report that Princess Louise of Belgium, daughter of Prince Laurent and Princess Claire, will be christened in a private ceremony in September by Father Guy Gilbert. The godmother of the baby might be her mother’s sister Joanna Coombs-Grant. It is reported Prince Reza Pahlavi will be the godfather, but as he is a Muslim, the catholic church will not recognise him officially as godfather.

The Diana Princess of Wales memorial fountain flows again three weeks after it was turned off because of safety reasons. It reopens to the public on August 20th. New safety guidelines are drawn up to manage the number of visitors. Running will be banned although people can still paddle and sit on the side. Fences have been put up to help manage the numbers of people using the fountain and six staff trained in crowd control and first aid will supervise the site in the summer.

Empress Elisabeth of Austria gets a statue in the Dutch seaside place Zandvoort. It will be unveiled on August 28. Zandvoort exists 700 years this year and among others celebrates with a Sisi-event. The Empress will look out over the beach and the sea from her place at the Boulevard de Favauge. The statue was made by Austrian sculptor Hans Annerl, is 180 cm high and shows the Empress at the age of 46. 120 years ago the Empress and 15 people of her staff spent three weeks at Hotel Kaufmann in Zandvoort, one year later she spent four weeks at Villa Paula. Both times she was in the Netherlands for physiotherapy by Dr Mezger in Amsterdam. She liked to walk and ride horse along the beach. Also at August 28 two exhibitions about Empress Elisabeth will start in Zandvoort.

August 13th

The opening of the Olympic Games in Athens was attended by several royals among them the whole Greek royal family, Queen Sofia of Spain, Infantas Elena and Cristina of Spain with their husbands, King Albert II of Belgium, Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa of Luxemburg with several of their children, the Prince of Orange, Crown Prince Haakon of Norway, Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary of Denmark, the Princess Royal, Prince Albert of Monaco, Crown Prince Alexander and Crown Princess Katherine of Yugoslavia, Prince Faisal and Princess Alia of Jordan, as well as former King Simeon of Bulgaria and his wife Margarita.

Last week a bag with personal and very private information about the Dutch royal family was stolen from the car of Princess Margarita de Bourbon de Parme which was parked in Amsterdam. The bag contained the private notebook of the Princess with private contactinformation of members of the royal family among others Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands. It is also said to contain some private correspondence between the Princess and her husband Edwin de Roy van Zuydewijn. In the meantime the bag has been offered for sale to several Dutch magazines for 12.000 Euros. The thiefs say that their children found the bag in the bushes. This evening Mr G.J. Kemper, lawyer of Princess Margarita, confirmed in a statement that Princess Margarita is taking steps to come to an end of her wedding to Edwin de Roy van Zuydewijn and that next to that her financial situation is worrying. The statement also says that the Princess regrets having violated the intimate character of her family life recently. She now hopes to get the rest to build up a new existence. Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands let know this evening via the Government Information Service that she hopes that Margarita ‘Receives the rest to build up a new existence’.

Jewellery which once belonged to Queen Marie Antoinette of France was stolen from a house in Notting Hill, London in the night on June 14. The owner says the jewellery is priceless and has been in the family for more than 200 years. The crystal and enamel locket encrusted with diamonds was taken from the house, as well as a pair of earrings and a laptop. Police said a male youth has been charged in connection with the theft, but they are still looking for more information.

August 14th

The bag of Princess Margarita de Bourbon de Parme was found in a house in Amsterdam last night. The police arrested a man and a woman and searched two houses in the city. Only the princess’s passport and her mobile phone are still missing. The princess will receive her bag back as soon as possible. Furthermore reports in the newspapers reveal that the lawsuit of the Princess against the Dutch state has not come to an end.

Sotheby’s in Amsterdam will auction items of the Saxe-Coburg-Gotha family on September 7th and 8th. Items are being offered for sale that have been in the possession of the family for centuries. Among the items are family portraits, 19th century paintings and historical postcards. The items are at lowest valued between 1.000 and 80.000 Euros. See the items on sale.

August 15th

This morning Prince Hans Adam II of Liechtenstein has handed over his political power to his eldest son Hereditary Prince Alois. However he says he has no intention of abdicating for at least another 20 years and he will formally remain the head of state. After the traditional mass on the occasion of the national feastday the head of the Prime Minister as well as for the first time Hereditary Prince Alois held a speech. In his speech the hereditary prince said: “A large responsibility has come to me today. But I have the luxury that my father has included me in many important decisions and so I am well prepared.” About Liechtenstein he said: “The crisis in the financial centre as well as the crisis in many European states show us how dangerous it can be if necessary, but perhaps unpleasant, reforms are not tackled promptly.” Afterwards people were invited for a drink and something to eat in the castle gardens of Vaduz Castle. This year national feastday was attended by Prince Hans Adam II, Princess Marie, Hereditary Prince Alois with his wife Sophie and their four children, Prince Maximilian and Princess Angela with their son Alfons, Princess Tatiana with her husband Philipp von Lattorff and their two eldest children, as well as Prince Constantin and his wife Marie with their son Moritz.

August 16th

Lawyer Gabriël Meyers in name of his client Edwin de Roy van Zuydewijn today confirmed that it is also his client’s intention to end his marriage to Princess Margarita de Bourbon de Parme, and that his client also hopes that both of them will be able to continue their lives in peace. The divorce however will not stop him from pursuing a claim against the Dutch state for invasion of privacy and damaging his business interests.

Princess Märtha Louise of Nroway and her husband Ari Behn have confirmed they will move to New York City in October. They had originally planned to move there already last October, but the birth of Princess Ingrid Alexandra and King Harald V’s illness postponed the move.

August 17th

The first medal at the Olympic Games ever won by the United Arab Emirates was won by 40-year-old Sheikh Ahmed Al-Maktoum, member of the ruling family of Dubai, who won the gold medal today at the men’s double trap shooting event. He won with a score of 189pts. The Sheikh was delighted and said: “I can’t even explain, I’ve worked so hard for four years. I’ve been practicing day and evening seven days a week, so yes I’m very happy.” The Sheikh only took up the sport six years ago towards the end of a 15-year reign as the Gulf region’s top squash player.

Yesterday the Imperial Household Agency of Japan said that a foreign trip is being considered for Crown Princess Masako to help her cope with a mental disorder brought on by rigid palace life. Crown Prince Naruhito of Japan recently was invited for the wedding of the Crown Prince of Brunei on September 9. The Crown Princess’s “attendance is now under consideration,” a spokesman for the agency said.

The Serbian parliament has approved a new national emblem and anthem. The coat-of-arms that was last used in the 19th century and dates back to the Middle Ages and features a crown on top of a double-headed white eagle. The new flag adds this crest to the upper left corner of the red, blue and white tricolour. The new anthem ‘Boze Pravde'(God of Justice), was sung by pro-democracy protesters who helped oust former President Slobodan Milosevic in 2000 and socialists describe the new anthem as ‘monarchist’. Lawmakers in Belgrade voted 183-0 to change the national symbols. Delegates from the Socialist Party boycotted the vote.

August 18th

So far there are about 20 candidates that are interested in buying the former royal domain of Argenteuil, Belgium. It will be auctioned at the end of September. The candidates are private persons as well as companies. They are not only Belgian but also from foreign countries as the United Arab Emirates.

The Duke and Duchess of Calabria expect their second child in December. They already have a daughter.

August 19th

On his website King Norodom Sihanouk of Cambodia yesterday announced that he and his wife have decided to return home from Beijing, China, late September before the Pchum Ben Festival without any condition.

August 20th

The Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain has reopened to the public today. Extra staff will be on hand and the numbers of people visiting the memorial will be controlled. In addition the public will only be allowed to put their hands and feet in the water.

In several interviews he gave to the press during the past days former King Constantine of Greece says that he and his family are looking for a place to live in Greece, “because being back in Greece, the Greek smell of the sea, seeing the mountains, and being with Greek people again is paramount. I don’t care if I’m the head of state, if I’m the king of the country or just a simple citizen – [it] is just being with Greek people and be in my own country that counts most of all.” he said in an interview to the MSNBC.

Prince Armin zur Lippe celebrated his 80th birthday last Wednesday. On his birthday a private reception for members of the family was being held. On Friday evening there was a reception for friends and other people who wanted to congratulate him. Due to the good weather the biggest part of the reception could be held outside in the garden. See report of the reception on Friday.

August 21st

A perfect copy of the BBC-website on Friday evening reported the murder on King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden during the Olympic Games while he was on his way to his hotel in Athens after the quarter final of a Swedish table-tennis player. Elisabeth Tarras-Wahlberg, spokeswoman for the Swedish royal house says that the joke “passes all bounds.”

Yesterday the Imperial Household Agency reported that Crown Princess Masako of Japan’s condition is not good enough to travel. She thus will not attend the wedding of the Crown Prince of Brunei Darussalam next month. Crown Prince Naruhito will attend the wedding alone. “The couple came to this decision based on advice from doctors that (the Crown Princess) should still refrain from making overseas trips,” it was said.

August 23rd

Only one day after the reopening of the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain, another accident happened, when a tourist slipped in the mud on Saturday. Heavy rain at the weekend had turned the fountain site into a mudbath. A Royal Parks spokesman said: “The heavy rain saturated the ground. The fountain did not overflow. A remote-control system, which reduces water levels if there is a heavy downpour, prevents the fountain from flooding. We really do believe that the incident at the weekend, when a woman slipped over, was simply an unfortunate accident and a one-off.”

August 24th

An intruder managed to come within 20 yards of the Earl of Wessex. The prince was out riding when the man managed to pass the art detection systems surrounding Balmoral. He was spotted only when he walked into a riverbank garden less than 300 yards from the castle. The man was arrested by the police but it turned out that he was only a hillwalker who had accidentally taken a wrong turn. At the time of the incident Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain, the Countess of Wessex and her daughter Louise were inside the castle.

A former member of the staff of the Prince of Wales is accusing his household of sex discrimination it was said by the Prince’s office: “The former employee has filed a complaint alleging unfair dismissal, sex discrimination and victimisation on the grounds of sex.” The Prince’s office intends to contest the complaint vigorously. The former member of the staff is said to be Elaine Day, who worked as a personal assistant in the prince’s staff for five years before leaving earlier this year.

August 25th

Yesterday the Sultan of Brunei Darussalam attended the Istiadat Bersuruh Pengantin Diraja ceremony at the Baitur Rahmah of Istana Nurul Iman for the royal wedding between Crown Prince Pg Muda Hj Al-Muhtadee Billah and Yang Mulia DayangKu Sarah binti Pengiran Salleh Ab Rahaman. The ceremony was also attended by some other Bruneian princes. During the ceremony the Sultan instructed a high court official to lead the delegation for the Bersuruh Diraja ceremony to the residence of the bride-to-be and to convey his wish to ask for her hand in marriage with the Crown Prince. Then the delegation left for the Darusha’adah at Kampong Beribi, the residence of the bride. There the bride’s father, Yang Mulia Pengiran Salleh Ab Rahaman, conferred with the leader of the delegation to make known the acceptance of the marriage proposal on his daughter’s behalf. After that the delegation went back to Istana Nurul Iman to make the outcome of the marriage proposal known. The ceremony precedes the custom of the ‘Gendang Jaga-Jaga’ opening, which denotes the beginning of a period of royal ceremonies. In the next two weeks several ceremonial ceremonies will be held. Other ceremonies will follow such as the Istiadat Menghantar Tanda Pengantin Diraja (where the groom’s delegation will bring articles to the bride’s house) Istiadat Pertunangan Diraja, Istiadat Akad Nikah (solemnisation), Istiadat Berbedak Diraja (application of powder paste to the hand), Istiadat Berinai (application of henna paste) and Istiadat Bersanding (the climax of the whole wedding ceremony, which will see both the bride and groom seated on a special dais.). Then comes the ‘Istiadat Pengantin Diraja Muleh Tiga Hari,’ which is performed three days after the ‘bersanding’ ceremony. The intention is to allow the groom to visit his parents. And lastly, there is the ‘Istiadat Membaca Doa Selamat’ and ‘Menutup Gendang Jaga-Jaga’ or thanksgiving and closing ceremony. The ceremonies, customs and rules of the royal wedding have been inherited from generations, becoming the basis of a Brunei-Malay wedding.

Emir Sheikh Jaber Al Ahmed Al Sabah of Kuwait travelled to New York City today for routine medical tests.

August 26th

Four new sporters were chosen to represent sporters at the International Olympic Committee. Princess Haya of Jordan received 888 votes, which meant she ended up in eight place and wasn’t chosen.

August 27th

Yesterday the opening of the ‘Gendang Jaga-Jaga’ – performance of the royal court musicians – at the Lapau ceremonial hall officially marked the beginning of the two-week long ceremonial period of the wedding of the crown prince of Brunei Darussalam. The ceremony was attended by Prince Mohamed Bolkiah. During the ceremony a 21 gunsalute rang out outside the Lapau. After the ceremony the Sultan of Brunei Darussalam was informed that the ‘Gendang Jaga-Jaga’ had been completed. On August 31 the Istiadat Menghantar and Menerima Tanda Diraja – where the groom’s delegation brings articles to hand over to the bride’s delegation – will be held. The Istiadat Menghantar and Menerima Pertunangan Diraja – held to formally certify the betrothal of the groom to the bride – will be on September 1 and the Istiadat Akad Nikah Pengantin Diraja – solemnisation – will be on September 4. On September 5 the Istiadat Berbedak Pengantin Diraja – applying powder paste – will be held, followed by the Istiadat Berinai Pengantin Diraja – applying henna leaves paste – on September 8 and the Istiadat Bersanding Pengantin Diraja – which is the climax of the Royal Wedding – and parade on September 9. It will be followed by the Istiadat Persantapan Diraja – Royal Banquet – on September 10, the Istiadat Pengantin Diraja Muleh Tiga Hari on September 12 and finally the Istiadat Membaca Doa Selamat and Menutup Gendang Jaga-Jaga – thanksgiving and closing ceremony – on September 13.

August 28th

The Istiadat Berjaga-Jaga or nightly vigil at the Istana Nurul Iman began last night. The ceremony was highlighted with a dikir presentation. A similar nightly vigil for women was held on the other part of Istana Nurul Iman in presence of several princesses from the family. At the ceremony, a dikir presentation was performed by several dikir bodies from various women associations in the country. The ceremony also highlighted various traditional indoor games such as congkak and pasang.

August 29th

Last Friday The Daily Mirror named King Mswati III of Swaziland as one of the world’s 10 worst dictators in a report made in collaboration with rights groups. Today in the Times of Swaziland Prince Masitsela, palace advisor and elder brother of the King, said: “It is a typical example of a monkey who thinks it knows how domesticated animals such as goats live. We have had enough of bad reporting, it really destroys our image as a nation and that of our king.”

August 30th

The Jordanian royal court today announced that Queen Rania of Jordan is expecting her fourth child. The birth is expected during the winter.

Princess Elisabeth of Belgium, who will celebrate her 3rd birthday in October, will start school on September 1. Her parents registered her at the Sint-Jan Berchmanscollege, a Flemish catholic school in Brussels that has both a Kindergarten, primary and secondary school.

Gilles Dormion and Jean-Yves Verd’hurt, two French amateur archaeologists, claim to have located the secret burial chamber of the Pyramid of Cheops near Cairo, Egypt. Researchers are already investigating the site for decades, but the secret chamber has never been found. However the French researchers are being denied access to the pyramid to test their theory that the secret chamber lies underneath the pyramids so-called Queen’s chamber. They suggest there is a corridor leading to a further chamber in the belly of the pyramid, which could be the elusive sepulchral room.

August 31st

From October 1st the Swedish royal court will have a new department – HRH Crown Princess Victoria’s Household – which will be responsible for the coordination and implementation of the work of Crown Princess Victoria, Prince Carl Philip and Princess Madeleine. Elisabeth Tarras-Wahlberg will lead the department.

Prince Ali of Jordan and his bride Rym Al-Brahimi have expressed their wish not to hold a reception on the occasion of their marriage. Instead King Abdullah II has ordered that food and livelihood provisions have to be distributed to 1000 poor Jordanian families over the next six months. Distribution has started today in the governorates and Palestinian refugee camps. The wedding will be held at King Abdullah II’s residence ‘Bayt Al-Urdon’ in presence of the King, members of the royal family, Mr Al-Akhdar Al-Brahimi and other family members on September 7. On September 5th a lunch banquet for tribal leaders, refugee camp representatives, senior Jordanian officials and members of the diplomatic corps on the occasion of the wedding will be hosted by King Abdullah II on the grounds of Bani Hashem. The couple celebrated their engagement last April at the Parisian home of the bride’s father.

September 1st

Princess Märtha Louise of Norway has written a children’s book about a little crown prince that, like her grandfather, takes the name Olav and becomes king. “Hvorfor de kongelige ikke har krone på hodet” – Why the royals don’t wear a crown – will appear in late November. The book was illustrated by Sven Nyhus. According to publishers Cappelen, the book tells the story of a little prince that sails across the sea from Denmark and takes the name Olav because his real name – Alexander Edward Christian Frederik – is too long and Danish for a future king of Norway. The little prince ventures out into the winter landscape with his nanny and court to find out what they do in Norway, and learns that it isn’t easy to make snowmen, sled or ski jump with a crown on your head.

The Menghantar Tanda Diraja – the traditional gift-giving rites – was held last night at the Istana Nurul Iman on the occasion of the Bruneian crown princely wedding. Attending the event was Prince Hj Sufri Bolkiah who instructed YAM Pg lndera Sahibul Karib to lead a delegation to the bride’s side with several gifts consisting of a set of dress, a pair of bangles, a pair of earrings and two rings. Each of these gifts was placed on a “gangsa” and taken to the bride’s side. Carried by “awang-awang” together with “berdian 16” (16 Royal Ceremonial Candles) also carried by 16 “awangawang”, the delegation moved to Baitur Rahmah located within the Istana Nurul Iman. There the bride’s side welcomed the groom’s delegation. They were presented the gifts meant for the royal bride. At the same time the gifts were accepted a 19-gun salute was fired outside the Istana Nurul Iman to welcome the groom’s delegation. Shortly after, the group of “awang-awang” carrying the “Tanda Diraja” moved to Balai Singgahsana Indera Kenchana where the women guests were waiting. There the gifts were transferred to a different “gangsa” by 16 “dayan dayang” who moved into the hall to replace the “awang-awang”. With the gifts now in the hands of the bride’s side, the awang- awang moved back into Baitur Rahmah. A doa selamat was then read. The groom’s delegation then returned to the Balai Persantapan Diraja to announce to the other guests that the ceremony had been completed.

September 4th

Princess Louise of Belgium was christened by French priest Guy Gilbert in the open air at the private domain of the Solvay family in La Hulpe near Brussels on Saturday afternoon between 16:00 and 17:00. Prince Laurent revealed that the godmothers of his daughter are Princess Margaretha of Liechtenstein and Mrs Marie-Claude Solvay. The identity of the godfather remains a mystery. It has been suggested in the past months that Prince Reza Pahlavi is the godfather, but he didn’t attend the christening. Members of the Belgian royal family and the Coombs family were present.

Crown Princess Masako of Japan has made her first outing in four months when visiting her parents-in-law at the Imperial Palace together with her husband. They visited the Emperor and Empress to thank them for visiting their home to check on the princess’ condition. The Imperial Household Agency said that the visit was a private one and not particularly a sign that Crown Princess Masako is ready to resume her official duties.

John Elkann, Fiat heir, married Donna Lavinia Borromeo dei Principi di Angera at the Cappella Bianca on the Isola Madre today at 18:30. The bride wore a dress designed by Valentino. The wedding was among others attended by Prince Serge of Yugoslavia and his fiancée Eleonore Rajneri who are soon getting married themselves, as well as Serge’s mother Princess Maria Pia of Savoy.

On September 23 and 24 the Auctionhouse Nagel in Stuttgart, Germany, will auction among others paintings of old and new masters especially from the 18th century and furniture from the 17th to the 19th century.

September 5th

Today King Abdullah II of Jordan hosted a lunch banquet on the grounds of Bani Hashem on the occasion of the wedding of his halfbrother Prince Ali of Jordan and Rym Al-Brahimi, which will take place on September 7. The banquet was attended by Jordanian dignitaries, tribal leaders, refugee camp representatives, members of the diplomatic corps, senior Jordanian officials and representatives of youth and sports organizations. Among the guests were the bride’s father Al-Akhdar Al-Brahimi and Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashed Al-Maktoum of Dubai (husband of Princess Haya of Jordan). In his welcoming statement King Abdullah II said: “I’m extremely happy to be with you on this good day and to meet these good faces, who have come from all parts of the our dear Kingdom to share us our joy of Prince Ali’s wedding.”

King Mswati of Swaziland has chosen a 16-year old beauty queen as his 13th wife following the yearly Reed Dance on August 30 in which 20.000 bare-breasted maidens dance in the king’s honour. The girl was a finalist of the Miss Teenage Swaziland elections. She is now in seclusion. The king already has 11 official wives and one fiancee chosen in 2002 who is awaiting a traditional marriage ceremony.

Prince Harry of Wales has made a documentary film about the Aids problems in Lesotho. He spent eight weeks in the country as part of his gap year and the film was shot during that time. Some of the footage for ‘The Forgotten Kingdom: Prince Harry in Lesotho’ was shot by the teenage royal using his own hand-held video camera. He is also shown working at projects in Lesotho. ITV will broadcast the hour-long film later this month. It is said the film was the prince’s own idea. A Clarence House spokesman said: “Harry wanted to go to Lesotho to learn more about the problems faced in a country affected by Aids and to do what he could to help. He was really affected by his experience there and the people he met. He hopes that his visit and now the film will help to raise awareness and money to help tackle the problems faced by the people of Lesotho.”

Yesterday Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah of Brunei Darussalam and other members of the family attended the Istiadat Akad Nikah Diraja or solemnisation of the marriage of his son Crown Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah and Yang Mulia Dayangku Sarah binti Pengiran Salleh Ab Rahaman at the Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque in Bandar. Also the crown prince himself attended and was accompanied by 40 spearmen and awang-awang. Pehin Dato Awang Haji Abdul Salim lead the ceremony with the Surah Al-Fatihah. He performed the akad nikah ritual which included the Crown Prince affirming his acceptance of the akad nikah or marriage solemnisation. Outside the mosque, cannons were fired 19 times to mark the conclusion of the ritual. At the end the doa selamat was read. After the crown prince greeted his father and future father-in-law the solemnisation of marriage was officially concluded.

September 6th

Today an official said that palace doctors believe that Crown Princess Masako of Japan will not likely resume her royal duties until sometime next year. It was said: “It is the opinion of the royal doctors that it would be difficult for her to return to her duties this year”.

In a book about Queen Elizabeth II’s 56 years of marriage the 58-year-old Duchess of Abercorn has revealed her close friendship with the Duke of Edinburgh: “Our friendship was very close. The heart came into it in a big way. There’s a hugely potent chemical reaction in him. We understood one another. He felt he could trust me and I felt I could trust him. It was a passionate friendship, but the passion was in the ideas. It was certainly not a full relationship. I did not go to bed with him. It probably looked like that to the world.” They became friends in the 1960s but are no longer in touch. The writer’s book, Gyles Brandreth says his research showed the Duke of Edinburgh had never been unfaithful to the Queen.

September 7th

Prince Ali bin Al Hussein of Jordan and Rym Al-Brahimi got married at the Bait Al Barakah Palace today in presence of King Abdullah II of Jordan and Al-Akhdar Al-Brahimi, as well as some other members of the Jordanian royal family, the Al-Brahimi and the Tuqan family. After the wedding ceremony the couple, together with King Abdullah II, Queen Rania and Princess Haya of Jordan, visited the late Baha’ Eddine Tuqan home where they accepted the congratulations of Mrs Hanan Tuqan, Prince Ali’s maternal grandmother.

Prince Friso of Orange-Nassau has become a member of the board of the Belgian telecom company Telenet, the company confirmed today. The prince has become an independent member of the board, which means he doesn’t have shares. He was invited because of his experience. A spokesman for the company said: “The Prince was chosen because of what he is, not because who he is.” It is not known how much time the Prince will spend on his new job, apart from attending board meetings.

The auction today of pieces of art and furniture from the House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha at Sotheby’s in Amsterdam fetched 800.592 Euros, which is 2,5 times more than was valued.

September 8th

Guests for the crown princely wedding started to arrive in Brunei. Around 60 regional leaders, Seri Paduka Baginda Yang Di-Pertuan Agong of Malaysia, the Sultans of Kelantan, Kedah, Pahang, Johor, Perak, Terengganu and Selangor, Crown Prince Naruhito of Japan, Prince Saud bin Abdul Mohsen and Prince Bandar ibn Sultan ibn Abdulaziz of Saudi Arabia and King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa of Bahrain. Great Britain is represented by the Duke of Gloucester. The ‘bersanding’ ceremony of the royal wedding will take place tomorrow followed by a royal procession in Bandar Seri Begawan, while on Friday a royal banquet takes place, followed by huge fireworks.

Doctors have advised Crown Princess Masako of Japan not to accompany her husband to the Bruneian royal wedding. Hideki Hayashida, grand master of the Crown Prince’s Household said: “The doctors have decided it would put too big a burden on the princess to right away go on a trip abroad and attend a major event at a time when they are trying to gradually increase her outings.” Crown Prince Naruhito arrived in Brunei this afternoon.

September 9th

At 9:00am the ‘Bersanding’ ceremony for the royal wedding of 30-year-old Crown Prince Pg Muda Hj Al-Muhtadee Billah of Brunei and 17-year-old Pg Anak Isteri Pg Anak Sarah binti Pengiran Salleh Ab Rahaman was held in the cavernous throne chamber at the Istana Nurul Iman. 2000 guests attended. Following the rituals symbolising nobility, honour and royalty, the ceremony began with the consent of the Sultan of Brunei after he was informed that the ‘Bersanding’ was ready to begin. The bride was the first to enter the Balai Singgahsana Indera Buana followed by royal regalia. Then the Crown Prince entered also accompanied by royal regalia. Both bride and groom wore traditional attire adorned with traditional ornaments and jewellery. The Sultan awaited the groom near the royal dais and later led led the crown prince’s right hand to the head of the bride as the ‘selawat’ for Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) was called by the State Mufti. The ‘Bersanding’ ceremony signalled the official marriage of the couple. At the same time, 19 gunshots were fired. An official announcement was read loudly in which the Sultan consented to award a royal title to the bride, who from now on will be known as Her Royal Highness Pengiran Anak Isteri Pengiran Anak Sarah. The State Mufti then read the ‘doa selamat’. The newlyweds were then led from the royal dais to pay their respects to the Sultan and his wife. Afterwards they left for a procession through the capital city in a gold, open-topped Rolls-Royce. Thousands lined the streets to watch the car which was followed by over 100 limousines.

September 10th

A huge banquet was held at the Istana Nurul Iman to celebrate the Bruneian Crown Princely wedding. 5000 guests – royals and dignitaries – were invited for the banquet. Bride and groom, as well as the Sultan of Brunei and his wife, attended the banquet together with other members of the royal family of Brunei. Also the parents of the bride were present. A thanksgiving prayer was read by the State Mufti to commence the royal banquet. On the menu were tomato and creamy lobster bouillion, marinated beef stew with herbs, venison fried in coconut oil, baked lobster with percik sauce and sweet sour chilli fish, as well as vegetable dalcha, curried butter prawns, chicken kunna with basil, beef liver sambal and assorted vegetables, with bavaroise orange with candied ginger on raspberry and mango coulis for dessert.

September 12th

Yesterday the remains of Archduchess Alexandra of Austria née Grand Duchess Alexandra of Russia (1783-1801) – daughter of Czar Paul I and first wife of Archduke Palatine Joseph of Austria – were reburied in her original tomb at a chapel in the village of Urom, Hungary. The event was among others attended by Archduke Joseph Arpád of Austria. Today Hungary’s Russian Orthodox community was finally able to hold its first church service in the newly renovated chapel in Urom. Hundreds of people attended the chapel’s opening. According to her own wishes the Archduchess was buried in a sepulchral chapel in Urom, at a Habsburg estate. After the chapel was destroyed in 1981, the archduchess’s damaged body was transferred to the royal sepulcher at Buda Castle.

September 14th

The British government has promised an urgent security review after a campaigner dressed as Batman managed to hold a five-hour protest at Buckingham Palace. Fathers’ rights campaigner Jason Hatch used a ladder in broad daylight yesterday to to scale the perimeter fence, then dashed across a parade ground and climbed 10 metres up the front wall to a ledge. Although the royal family is on holiday in Scotland, the incident outraged outraged security experts.

Mohamed Al-Fayed lost his appeal against three photographers at a French appeals court. The court has acquitted the photographers of charges they broke privacy laws by photographing the late Diana Princess of Wales the night she died.

The Swedish parliament was opened in presence of King Carl XVI, Queen Silvia, Crown Princess Victoria, Prince Carl Philip and Princess Lilian. In the early afternoon they attended the church service at the Storkyrkan. At 14:00 the opening of the parliament followed during which the King and the Prime Minister held a speech. In the evening a festive performance of “Tosca” followed in the royal theatre in presence of the royal family and members of the government.

Yesterday after two and a half week the ceremonial events for the wedding of the Crown Prince of Brunei and his wife were officially closed at the Istana Nurul Iman. A salvo of 21 cannon shots marked the closing. Also the royal regalia were taken down. On Sunday night the newlyweds had appeared for the last time at the post-wedding Majlis Istiadat Pengantin Diraja Muleh Tiga Hari at the Istana Nurul Iman.

The beatification ceremony of Emperor Karl I of Austria on October 3 in Rome will be attended by a large delegation of familymembers. Also the Austrian government will send an official representative in the person of health minister Maria Rauch-Kallat.

Most likely on September 4 Count Carl-Eduard von Bismarck got married for the third time only a few days after his second divorce, his office confirmed. He and Nathalie Bariman got married in California, USA. The bride is said originally to be from Canada.

September 15th

Today the red silk velour canopy from the 19th-century throne of Queen Charlotte was unveiled again at Georgian Antiques in Leith. The canopy had disappeared in 1910 and only recently antiques dealer John Dixon discovered the canopy in a cardboard box during a routine buying trip in Scotland and bought it, not knowing immediately what it was. The owners, who are remaining anonymous said they had been told it might have originally come from Holyrood. Earlier this year he happened to show the 20 feet canopy to Ian Gow, a curator for the National Trust for Scotland including photographs of the original throne. Mr Gow immediately said: “That’s from Queen Charlotte’s throne and it should be reunited with the Royal Collection.” The great mystery remains where the canopy has been for about the past 94 years. The canopy had hung on display in 1818 above Queen Charlotte’s throne at Buckingham House, the forerunner to Buckingham Palace. In 1822, it was taken north to the Palace of Holyroodhouse and was used during George IV’s Edinburgh visit. But it vanished in 1910 during a palace refurbishment. Mr Dixon says he hopes the canopy will be reunited with the throne.

James Hewitt, former lover of the late Diana Princess of Wales, was cautioned by the police for possession of a Class A drug. Police said the decision to caution Mr Hewitt was made following consultation with the Crown Prosecution Service.

September 16th

The Danish royal court today announced in a press conference that Prince Joachim and Princess Alexandra of Denmark have decided to apply for a separation order and will subsequently seek a divorce. Queen Margrethe II and Prince Henrik of Denmark have accepted the decision with the deepest regret and wish to extend their full supprt to the couple during the difficult times ahead of them. They want to do their utmost to contribute to ensuring a dignified solution for their son and daughter in law and a harmonious upbringing for the children, Prince Nikolai and Prince Felix. Prince Joachim and Princess Alexandra are in agreement on the terms of the separation order. Prince Joachim will continue to reside at Schackenborg Castle. Princess Alexandra will for the time being reside at Amalienborg Palace together with their sons Prince Nikolai and Prince Felix. During the separation period Her Royal Highness Princess Alexandra retains her present title and will be addressed as Her Highness Princess Alexandra after the divorce. Prince Joachim and Princess Alexandra state: “After long and difficult considerations we have mutually decided to apply for a separation order and will subsequently seek a divorce. We are in agreement on the conditions and will undertake joint custody of our children. We wish as far as possible to maintain our official functions and continue to work with the many organisations with which we are related. Throughout the years we have experienced much kindness and friendliness and we hope that the difficult decision we have made will be met with understanding”.

September 17th

On her own 36th birthday Crown Princess Marie-Chantal of Greece gave birth to her fourth child and third son. He was born at 13:15 at the Portland Hospital in London, Great Britain. Mother and son are doing fine. The baby hasn’t been named yet.

In an interview to be screened on Sunday as a part of the documentary “The Forgotten Kingdom – Prince Harry in Lesotho” Prince Harry of Wales says he wants to continue his late mother’s charity work: “I don’t want to take over from her because I never will. I don’t think anyone can, but I want to try and carry on to make her proud. I believe I’ve got a lot of my mother in me, basically, and I just think she’d want us to do this – me and my brother.” Newspapers today also him saying about stories written after his mother’s death: “The stuff that has come out has been bad … It’s just a shame, it’s a shame that, after all the good she’s done, even this far on, people can’t bring out the good in her. All they want to bring out is the bad stuff. I mean, bad news sells.” Harry said his involvement in AIDS work was a tribute to his mother. “I always wanted to go to an AIDS country to carry on my mother’s legacy as much as I can.”

During the opening of an exhibition at the Amalienborg Museum Prince Henrik of Denmark said about the divorce of his son Prince Joachim: “It’s sad – especially because it’s my son, but that’s life.”

Yesterday it was announced that a final and definitive agreement has been reached on the reburial of Empress-Dowager Maria Feodorovna of Russia née Princess Dagmar of Denmark. She will be buried alongside her husband Tsar Alexander III of Russia on September 26, 2006, in the St Peter and St Paul Cathedral in Sint Petersburg. The date marks the 140th anniversary of her arrival in Russia where she converted to Orthodoxy and married Alexander in the church of St Petersburg’s Winter Palace. After her death in exile in 1928 the Empress-Dowager was buried at Roskilde Cathedral in Denmark.

September 18th

Beltrán Gómez-Acebo y de Borbón, son of the late Don Luís Gómez-Acebo y Duque de Estrada, Viscount de la Torre and Infanta Doña Pilar of Spain Duchess of Badajoz, married former Spanish model Laura Ponte y Martínez at the Colegiata del Palacio Real de La Granja in Segovia at 18:00 today. The bride arrived in a Rolls Royce together with her father José Manuel Ponte Mittelbrunn. The dress was designed by Miguel Palacio and the bride wore a mantilla from Brussels lace. The ceremony was led by Father Marco Álvarez de Toledo together with Priest Isidoro Mardomingo and Father Matías. The complete Spanish royal family attended. Among the about 500 guests were also Crown Prince Haakon of Norway, Crown Prince Kardam of Bulgaria and his wife Miriam, Prince Konstantin of Bulgaria with his wife Maria, Countess Caroline von Waldburg zu Wolfegg und Waldsee, Princess Anne of Bourbon Sicilies, Princess Marie-Gabrielle of Savoy, Countess of Evreux with her daughter Adélaïde. The reception took place in Cavanillas.

Prince Serge of Yugoslavia and his long-time Italian girlfriend Eleonora Rajneri got married in Monte Carlo today in a civil ceremony. Among the guests were the Prince and Princess of Venice and other family members. Prince Serge was married before to Sophie de Toledo from 1985 to 1986, but as the marriage was never annuled no religious wedding took place this time.

The Prince of Orange and Princess Máxima of the Netherlands are investigating whether legal action can be taken against gossip magazines in the Netherlands and Germany. In the past weeks the magazines published articles suggesting the royal couple was having marital problems. The couple are reportedly very angry about the stories and are said to be investigating what legal action can be taken against a few of the magazines. A spokesman of the Government Information Service said that the couple doesn’t have marital problems and also haven’t had a fight in a restaurant during their vacation in Argentina.

September 19th

Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands and the Prince of Wales attended the commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the Battle of Arnhem. The Queen and the Prince laid wreaths at the Arnhem Oosterbeek War Cemetery under the eyes of veterans. Local children laid flowers on the more than 1000 graves of men who died during the Battle and whispered the names of those who died 60 years ago. Afterwards, the Last Post sounded, followed by a minute’s silence. The two hour-ceremony was attended by about 15.000 people. The Prince of Wales also attended a reception of the fourth Para Regiment in Oosterbeek. In his speech at the former Hartenstein Hotel the Prince said: “As we stand here this evening we can only imagine the ferocity of the fighting around this building and the surrounding area during the nine-day battle of Arnhem. We must never forget the intensely human story of the lessons, warnings and inspirations that story holds for us today.” He added: “Tragically many paid a most dreadful price for their unstinting compassion and loyalty but, during a time of unimaginable hardship, great friendships were forged between the local community and the Allied troops, some lasting to the present day. This occasion presents us with the opportunity to recall the suffering of the Dutch people and the appalling horrors they endured with the deliberate looting and destruction of their homes in the Arnhem area.”

September 20th

Princess Märtha Louise of Norway and her husband Ari Behn expect their second child in the middle of April 2005. The birth will take place at the Rikshospitalet University Hospital in Oslo. The Princess is in good health and a normal pregnancy is expected. The pregnancy will not affect affect the couple’s plans to move to the USA in October.

Princess Diane d’Orléans married Viscount Alexis de Noailles in a civil ceremony at 10:00 at the Townhall of the 7th arrondissement in Paris on September 6. The religious wedding took place the same day at the Notre-Dame de la Compassion Chapel (Chapelle Royale Saint-Ferdinand) at the 17th arrondissement in Paris. Both ceremonies were private ones which were only attended by a score of family members and close friends. The bride wore a fuchsia dress designed by Jean-Louis Scherrer. A reception was held afterwards at the house of Mr Patrick Rambaud, witness of the groom. In the evening Mrs Clémentine Gustin, another witness of the groom, received the couple and some friends. The couple spent their honeymoon in Turkey.

September 21st

Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands read the annual speech from the throne at the Ridderzaal in The Hague to reveal the government plans for the coming year. For the Queen it was her 25th speech from the throne since she acceeded the throne in 1980. Together with the Prince of Orange and Princess Máxima the Queen drove from Noordeinde Palace to the Ridderzaal in the Golden Coach. Prince Constantijn, Princess Laurentien, Princess Margriet and Mr Pieter van Vollenhoven followed in other carriages. After the speech from the throne the family returned to Palace Noordeinde and as usual appeared on the balcony. A tv-reporter said that the Prince of Orange and Princess Máxima of the Netherlands have decided not to take further action against magazines who publishes stories about supposed marital problems.

At the opening of a wetlands environmental preservation project today Prince Joachim of Denmark said: “It is a very difficult period that my family and I are going through. It has a great significance for me that I can continue my official duties and tasks.”

Sir Angus Ogilvy, husband of Princess Alexandra of Kent, is being treated in hospital. He is suffering from acute pneumonia and is believed to be in intensive care. Princess Alexandra recently postponed official engagements to be by her husband’s side.

Baroness Zdenko von Hoenning-O’Carroll née Princess Adelgunde of Bavaria, died yesterday. She was born at Nymphenburg Castle on June 9, 1917, as the third child of Prince Franz and Prince Isabelle of of Bavaria. In 1948 she married Baron Zdenko von Hoenning-O’Carroll as his second wife. He died in 1996. She is survived by her five children and a granddaughter.

September 22nd

A ball was held tonight at Nymphenburg Castle in München, Germany, on the occasion of the wedding of Duchess Elisabeth in Bavaria and Daniel Terberger. The ball was attended by 300 guests among them parents of bride and groom, Duke Franz of Bavaria, Prince Alois and Princess Sophie of Liechtenstein, Prince Luitpold and Princess Beatrix of Bavaria, Prince Leopold and Princess Ursula of Bavaria, Prince Guillaume and Princess Sibilla of Luxemburg and Princess Benita zu Schaumburg-Lippe. The marriage will take place at Tegernsee on Saturday.

Crown Princess Marie-Chantal and her newborn son left the Portland Hospital today.

September 23rd

In Jordan the wedding was celebrated of Farah Daghestani, eldest child of Princess Basma of Jordan and her first husband Timoor al-Daghestani, and Saud Abdul Aziz Suleiman from Saudi Arabia. The wedding ceremony was among others attended by King Abdullah II of Jordan, Queen Rania, as well as other members of the royal family and the family of the groom.

Two days ago Princess Badiya of Jordan, youngest daughter of Prince El-Hassan of Jordan and his wife Princess Sarvath, became engaged to Khalid Blair. The ceremony was attended by Queen Rania, other members of the royal family and members of the family of Khalid Blair. Today, after returning from a visit abroad, King Abdullah II received the couple to congratulate them with their engagement.

Baron Hans and Baroness Tina de Geer af Finspång had their third child, a boy, on September 16 at Danderyds Hospital. The baby hasn’t been named yet. They couple already had a daughter and a son. Tina is the eldest daughter of Baron Niclas Silfverschiöld and his wife Princess Désirée Baroness Silfverschiöld née Princess Désirée of Sweden.

King Norodom Sihanouk of Cambodia has delayed his return from China to his country until next month for medical reasons. According to his website Chinese doctors have found new stomach ailments during a medical exam. “The disease has not developed into cancer yet, but it is a worrisome disease,” the king said on his website, adding the doctors feared a recurrence of colon cancer which he has suffered from for years. The king and his wife now intend to return to Cambodia prior to the Pchum Benn festival on October 13, and plan to head back to Beijing next January to undergo further medical checks.

The Danish court’s head of press Lis M. Frederiksen said that Prince Joachim and Princess Alexandra of Denmark will continue to appear side by side at traditional events like the opening of the Danish Parliament until the official divorce. She is however uncertain whether the couple also will appear together at the New Year’s Levee next year. “We’ll handle one event at a time,” she says.

The tomb of Agnès Sorel, maitrêsse of King Charles VII of France, has been opened at Loches, France. Her remains will be examined to determine the cause of her death. After the examination the tomb will be transported to the collégiale Saint-Ours according to her last wishes.

September 24th

Prince Amedeo of Belgium Archduke of Austria-Este has passed an intensive military initiation in Elsenborn with flying colours. On October 7 he will be one of the newly promoted that will make their entrance in a ceremony at the Esplanade Square in the Jubelpark in Brussels with which the new academical year of the Royal Military School will be opened. The prince’s family will attend the ceremony. The prince will study social and military sciences at the Royal Military School for one year. Thereafter he will start a normal universitary education.

The Argenteuil domain at Waterloo, once the residence of King Leopold III of the Belgians and his second wife Princess Lilian, has been sold for Euro 7.800.000 yesterday. Today it became known that the buyer is Mr Jean-Marie Delwart, who intends to set up a center for ethological studies.

Police is hunting an intruder who entered a private area of the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh, Scotland, yesterday around noon. The palace is the Queen’s official Scottish residence. The man escaped after being challenged by security staff inside the palace. He is said to have been posing as a workman and came within yards of the royal apartments. “Detectives are keen to determine who the man is and why he entered the private area of the palace,” a force spokeswoman said.

Prince Harry of Wales has passed his Sandhurst Royal Military Academy exams and will join the army in early 2005. The four-day test included obstacle courses, medicals and planning exercise. Prince Harry said: “The last four days have been very challenging, both mentally and physically, but it’s also been an enjoyable experience. I have set my sights on joining the Army and I am really looking forward to going to Sandhurst next year.”

Lady Sarah Chatto has been named the new vice-president of the Royal Ballet. She follows in the footsteps of her late mother Princess Margaret, who was the Ballet’s first president. Monica Mason, the Royal Ballet’s director, said the appointment was made “in recognition of her own interest and as a compliment and acknowledgement of the much valued support of HRH The Princess Margaret. As a child, Lady Sarah was brought to many performances at the Royal Opera House by her mother, the late Princess Margaret, and has inherited her mother’s great love and enthusiasm for ballet. We look forward very much to her continuing involvement with the whole organisation.” The role also encompasses the Royal Ballet School and the Birmingham Royal Ballet. The Prince of Wales is the Royal Ballet’s president.

The Japanese Imperial Household has released private home video footage and photos of little Princess Aiko with her parents at the royal palace to stop rumours that the princess is a late developer. The video was shot by Crown Prince Naruhito last July and last month and the intimate recording shows a laughing Aiko reciting popular children’s rhymes, examining a picture book and playing with her mother as the two happily dance to harp music. Palace officials say that the crown princely couple decided to release the home video due to strong media and public interest. The video was shown on all major networks in Japan.

Crown Princess Masako of Japan today arrived in the resort of Nasu, together with Crown Prince Naruhito and Princess Aiko. The trip by the crown princess is “part of her medical treatment” and this is “a very critical period for her recovery,” said Hideki Hayashida, the grand master of the Crown Prince’s Household. He also requested the media to refrain from taking photographs of Masako when she leaves the palace on private outings. “It will only distress her and she has already suffered enough”.

September 25th

Duchess Elizabeth in Bavaria married Daniel Terberger – son of Hans-Hermann and Inge-Margit Terberger – at the former Klosterkirche in Tegernsee. The bride arrived at the church with her father. She wore an ivory-coloured Duchess satin dress and a 200-year-old veil of Brusssels lace, also worn by her two elder sisters. Among the more than 500 guests were of course the families of both bride and groom, Duke Franz of Bavaria, Prince Luitpold and Princess Beatrix of Bavaria, Prince Leopold and Princess Ursula of Bavaria, Prince Manuel of Bavaria and his fiancée Princess Anna zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg, Princess Pilar of Bavaria, Princess Felipa of Bavaria, Prince Konstantin of Bavaria, Prince Guillaume and Princess Sibilla of Luxemburg, Prince Hans Adam II and Princess Marie of Liechtenstein, Prince Philipp and Princess Isabelle of Liechtenstein, the Duke and Duchess of Bragança, Prince Georg Friedrich of Prussia, Archduke Martin and Archduchess Katharina of Austria-Este, Archduchess Walburga of Austria with her husband Count Archibald Douglas and their son Mauritz, Margrave Max and Margravinne Valerie of Baden, Hereditary Prince Bernhard and Hereditary Princess Stephanie of Baden, Prince Ludwig and Princess Marianne of Baden, Hereditary Duke Friedrich and Hereditary Duchess Marie von Württemberg, Princess Yvonne von Hessen, Prince Georg and Princess Marie Gabriele von Waldburg zu Zeil und Trauchburg, Count Erich and Countess Mathilde von Waldburg zu Zeil und Trauchburg, Prince Albrecht and Princess Angela zu Oettingen-Spielberg, Prince Moritz and Princess Lioba zu Oettingen-Wallerstein, Prince Hubertus and Princess Alexandra Fugger von Babenhausen. Hundreds of people watched outside the church in the pouring rain. The menu afterwards contained lobster ravioli, cream of spinach with poached quails’ eggs, boeuf bourguignon and Count Pückler ice bombe with chocolate sauce. The couple had met early 2000 in a caféhouse in Vienna, Austria.

The police confirmed yesterday that the intruder who entered a private area of the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh, Scotland, two days ago, was a journalist of the Sunday Times. The journalist bought a ticket at the visitor centre before sneaking through a door used by workmen wearing a hard hat. He managed to gain access to the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh and get within yards of the Royal Apartments. He stood unchallenged in the State Rooms adjacent to the Queen’s bedroom for 20 minutes. After being discovered with no pass by a workman, the journalist was told to report to security but he left the grounds instead. Les Snowdon, the Sunday Times Scotland editor, said he hoped this would be “a wake up call” for the Royal Family’s security staff. Mr Snowdon said: “It is alarming that someone can get access to these areas by simply donning a hard hat and carrying a clipboard. Our investigation raises serious issues of security as that area of Edinburgh is home to two of Scotland’s most important buildings.” The police is angry that it took six hours before the newspaper revealed it was behind the breach. A police source said they were “seriously” considering charging the journalist.

Sources in Kuwait say that the country is to name Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmed al-Sabah as the new Crown Prince. The health of the present Crown Prince, Sheikh Saad al- Abdullah al-Salem al-Sabah, is pretty bad. Younger members of the family might be promoted. The changes are expected to be announced following a meeting of the ruling family scheduled for early next week after the emir, Sheikh Jaber al-Ahmed al-Sabah, returns from medical tests in New York and a period of rest in Geneva. A member of the family, Sheikh Salem al- Ali al-Sabah, who ranks fourth in the family hierarchy, told Al-Qabas newspaper: “The change will serve Kuwait’s interests and stability, and will further strengthen the strong bonds between the ruling family and the people.”

Princess Sirindhorn of Thailand has broken her right arm it was announced yesterday by the Royal Household office. She slid and fell down earlier this week. She will continue her Royal activities.

September 26th

Peter Phillips, son of the Princess Royal, escaped injury after being involved in a car crash on its way to the Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai. He was one of the four Williams Formula 1 team employers in a van which was hit by a car. A Williams spokeswoman said two of his colleagues were taken to hospital for further checks but neither were seriously hurt.

September 27th

Prince Alexander and Princess Astrid von und zu Liechtenstein expect their first child late this year.

September 28th

Prince Harry of Wales started working as a volunteer Assistant Rugby Development Officer with the Rugby Football Union. He is spending six weeks helping the union unit which provides coaching to schools, clubs and communities. Director Terry Burwell said that the prince would help to promote the game: “He has passed the relevant training, including a Level 1 course in coaching tag and contact rugby. He is working with children of all ages in schools, clubs and communities to help them improve their understanding of the game.”

September 29th

During a press meeting during the visit of Prince Joachim of Denmark to Toronto he unexpectedly answered some questions concerning his divorce. He said: “It’s a difficult situation having to tell your children that you’re breaking up.” He also said that both he and Princess Alexandra have had the wellbeing of their children as first priority and that they support each other. “It’s important not to throw it to their faces like brick stones. You have to be gentle.” This is also the reason why they have looked closely at Prince Nikolai’s first week in his new school, Krebs’ school. And Nikolai is doing very well, the Prince pointed out. “He’s keen on experiencing things. It’s obvious to us that he needs stimulation so it was a good thing we did.”

The newspaper Jyllands-Posten wrote today that the government proposes to give Princess Alexandra between 1.5 and 2 million kroner in yearly revenue. Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen (the Liberals) meets with representatives from the Danish parties to discuss the matter on Friday. According to the newspaper, the proposal states that Prince Joachim has his 2.6 million cut to about 2 million kroner per year. A political majority is prepared to accept the extra expense. Only the Socialist People’s Party and the Socialist Unity Party believe that Prince Joachim ought to support the Princess himself.

September 30th

Crown Prince Haakon of Norway will take part in a three-week long course to update his knowledge on planning and leading of military operations in war and in peacekeeping settings, the Army announced. The course, which will start mid-October, will take place at the Military Academy’s premises in Linderud, Oslo.

In June Princess Alexandra of Denmark has bought a house in the Svanemølle-part of Østerbro, Copenhagen. The villa is 296 m2 and before was the Embassy of Slovenia. The house will be renovated from the inside and outside before the princess and her two sons will move in.

October 2nd

In an interview with the newspaper De Telegraaf two police officers say that the Prince of Orange and Princess Máxima of the Netherlands have just escaped an attack on their wedding day. On February 2, 2002, a man was arrested who carried a fake bomb in his rugsack. He stood along the route of the carriage ride. One of the police officers says that the prevention of the attack was one of his biggest successes: “He carried a rugsack in which we discovered a fake bomb. It looked uncannily real, with threads and an accu. Imagine what could have happened if that thing had been thrown in front of the carriage.”

October 3rd

Pope John Paul II today beatified among others Emperor Karl I of Austria. In an open-air ceremony at Saint Peter’s Square in Rome which was attended by 30.000 people the Pope praised the Emperor as “a friend of peace. In his eyes, the war was something abominable” and hailed him as a model of “political responsibility”. One of the prelates helping the Pope celebrating the beatification was Cardinal Christoph Schönborn from Vienna. The audience included some 700 descendants of the Habsburg dynasty. Among the royal guests were Archduke Otto and Archduchess Regina of Austria, Archduke Karl and Archduchess Francesca of Austria with their three children, Archduke Georg and Archduchess Eilika of Austria, Archduke Lorenz of Austria-Este and his wife Princess Astrid of Belgium with their four eldest children, Archduke Carl-Christian and Archduchess Marie-Astrid of Austria with their children, Queen Fabiola of Belgium, Prince Hans Adam II and Princess Marie of Liechtenstein, Prince Nikolaus and Princess Margaretha of Liechtenstein, Prince Guillaume and Princess Sibilla of Luxemburg with their youngest son Jean, the Duke of Parma with his children Prince Carlos and Princess Carolina, Prince Vittorio Emanuele and Princess Marina of Savoy, the Duke and Duchess of Bragança, Duke Friedrich of Württemberg, Prince Kubrat and Princess Carla of Bulgaria, the Duke in Bavaria, Prince Georg Friedrich of Prussia, Prince Michael of Baden and many more. Emperor Karl’s anniversary will be celebrated on October 21.

October 4th

Royal documents, containing some of the clothing secrets of European kings and queens, have been found after it was thought they had been lost forever. Ten missing pages from an order book from the Pryce Jones firm, understood to have supplied Queen Victoria with underwear, have been discovered in a crate full of loose paperwork by Powys council’s archives’ unit which has been cataloguing the business records. The ten pages don’t say anything about Queen Victoria’s underwear, but give details from other European royal families as well as records from the royal palace, Sandringham.

October 6th

Jorge Zorreguieta, father of Princess Máxima of the Netherlands, has been summoned to appear as a witness before an Argentinean federal court in connection with a kidnapping and disappearance in the period he was serving as a state secretary during the military regime of Videla. It is presumed he can suply information about the kidnapping. Marta Sierra, employee of the National Institute for Agriculture Technology that fell under Zorreguieta’s jurisdiction, disappeared in 1976. Her family has never received answers from the authorities about what happened to her and Sierra’s sons have re-opened the case with a judge involved in investigating human rights abuses committed during the Videla regime. They now want Zorreguieta and other officials to give evidence in court about their role in the disappearance.

The Federal Court has awarded 76.000 Euro smart-money to Princess Alexandra of Hannover for the publishing of paparazzi-pictures. In name of their 5-year-old daughter of Prince Ernst August and Princess Caroline had lodged a complaint against the many published photos in 1999 and 2000 in the German magazines ‘Die Aktuelle’ and ‘Die Zwei’.

Archaeologists who have unearthed the site of the palace of Genghis Khan believe that the long-sought tomb of the 13th century Mongolian warrior is nearby. A Japanese and Mongolian research team found the palace complex on a steppe in Mongolia. The group is not aiming specifically to find the grave, but finding it would help uncover the secrets of Genghis Khan’s power it was said.

October 7th

The Danish Prime Minister proposed a bill today regarding the future apanage of Princess Alexandra of Denmark and an adjustment of Prince Joachim of Denmark’s apanage. Princess Alexandra will receive 1.526.000 crowns a year and will enjoy tax and VAT exemption as long as she doesn’t remarry, but if she wants to live abroad, she can only keep the appanage with special permission from the Parliament. If she remarries, she will cease being a member of the Royal House. Prince Joachim’s apanage will be reduced to 1.612.000 crowns. It is mentioned that the separation of the prince and princess was granted on 22 September 2004.

The autobiography of Princess Marie-Christine of Belgium will be published next Tuesday. It is called ‘La Brisure’ (The Break). It is said that in the book the princess is very negative about her mother, Princess Lilian. She says she has been living in a hell. She also describes that she was raped by a cousin when she was 18, but when she told her mother, her mother chose the side of the cousin and even punished Marie-Christine. During several years Marie-Christine received money from her half-brother King Baudouin of the Belgians.

Princess Märtha Louise of Norway, her husband Ari Behn and their daughter Maud Angelica moved to New York City today. A meeting with the press is to take place on Monday in Central Park. The family will spend Christmas in Norway and will also come home to Oslo in good time for the arrival of their second child, which is due in mid-April.

King Norodom Sihanouk of Cambodia has announced his abdication due to poor health and old age in a letter read to the National Assembly by one of his sons, Prince Norodom Ranariddh who is chairman of the assembly. The statement asked the country to form a nine-member throne council – as set in Cambodian law – to consider the next monarch, as Cambodia is not a hereditary monarchy. Prince Norodom Ranariddh said: “I hope this is not a permanent abdication.” Another statement issued later today by Prince Norodom Ranariddh and Prime Minister Hun Sen proposed Prince Norodom Sihamoni to be the new monarch. Sihamoni is Cambodia’s representative to the UNESCO. Senate President Chea Sim has been chosen as interim head of state.

October 8th

The Government Information Service has invited the four Dutch gossip-magazines to make appointments about respecting the privacy of the members of the Royal House, especially Princess Catharina-Amalia. The magazines are positive about the meeting, that is to take place next month.

Lord Frederick Windsor, son of Prince and Princess Michael of Kent, has quit his law studies, as they don’t interest him as much anymore as before. He’d like to do something in film financing after having worked for a film production company last Summer.

The Aga Khan and his wife Begum Inaara have filed for divorce. The couple maried in 1998 and have a four-year-old son. They have been separated for over a year. A spokesman for the Begum said: “The Begum considers the separation and divorce proceedings to be private matters and will be making no comment.”

October 10th

Count Claus-Casimir Bernhard Marius Max van Oranje-Nassau, Jonkheer van Amsberg was christened this morning at the chapel at Palace Het Loo in Apeldoorn. Prince Constantijn and Princess Laurentien arrived around 10:30 with their two children. Among the guests were Queen Beatrix, the Prince of Orange and Princess Máxima with Princess Catharina-Amalia, Prince Friso and Princess Mabel van Oranje-Nassau, Princess Irene of the Netherlands, Prince Maurits and Princess Marilène with their children, Prince Bernhard and Princess Annette with their children, Prince Pieter-Christiaan and Prince Floris with their girlfriends, Prince Guillaume and Princess Sibilla of Luxemburg with their youngest son Jean. The service was led by Ds C.A. ter Linden. Godparents of the baby were the Prince of Orange, Prince Maurits van Oranje-Nassau, van Vollenhoven, Mr Ed P. Spanjaard and Countess Tatjana Razumovsky von Wigstein. Lectures were read by Prince Friso and Marius Brinkhorst. The introduction to the christening was read by Princess Máxima. After the christening a reception took place at Palace Het Loo.

King Norodom Sihanouk of Cambodia has confirmed he is determined to abdicate and in a letter posted on his website he says he is too ill to continue. His son Prince Ranariddh has travelled to Beijing, where the king is receiving medical treatment, to ask him to reconsider. Prime Minister Hun Sen says that the deadline for picking a new monarch is 14 October. On Friday, Cambodia approved a law on how to choose a new monarch which the senate and constitutional council still have to pass and which allows a nine-member Throne Council to elect Sihanouk’s heir. According to the new law, the council must meet within seven days to elect a successor if the king “dies, retires or abdicates”. “The hope that the king will retake his post as the king appears to be lost,” Hun Sen said. King Norodom Sihanouk however insists that he will not return until his successor is named.

Last night the Aga Khan confirmed that he has filed for divorce in France already four months ago. A statement released by his secretariat in Gouvieux, France, said the couple separated more than 18 months ago and currently live apart.

October 11th

The Danish royal court announced that Crown Princess Mary of Denmark underwent a gall-stone operation yesterday at Gentofte Amtssygehus. The operation was planned after a gall- stone attack. Crown Prince Frederik was at the hospital during the operation. The Crown Princess is back home again and will be on sick-leave for one or two weeks.

Clarence House has rejected claims that Prince Harry of Wales has cheated at his A-level exams. They say: “These are unfounded allegations by a disaffected teacher in the context of her dispute with the school. A full investigation into these allegations was held by the relevant exam board which found no evidence to support the claims.” Sarah Forsyth, a former teacher at Eton College, has claimed that the prince cheated in his AS level coursework and that she was asked by a senior master to help the prince compile the coursework. She is facing an industrial tribune this week over her claims she was unfairly dismissed from Eton. A spokesman for Eton College said: “We believe these allegations to be absurd.”

Last weekend Prince Amedeo of Belgium Archduke of Austria-Este celebrated his 18th birthday with a big party. His real birthday was already in February, but he postponed his party. On Friday evening there was a dinner at the Astoria Hotel in Brussels. On Saturday he and his guests went to the Ardennes for a sportive day and in the evening there was a dance at the royal domain of Stuyvenberg. On Sunday a brunch was held at Stuyvenberg. Among the guests were Princess Beatrice of York and Pierre Casiraghi.

Princess Prerana of Nepal, daughter of King Gyanendra, has given birth to her first child, a son, at the Military Hospital Birendra at Chhauni near Kathmandu on Sunday. The baby is yet to be named. The baby’s father is Kumar Raj Bahadur Singh, who married the Princess in January 2003. Also the king’s son Prince Paras and Princess Himani expect another child this year.

October 12th

The Princess Diana of Wales Memorial fountain is being closed again, this time because the surrounding grass hsa been turned into a swamp by water-splashing visitors. The fountain will shut for an unspecified period in the next few weeks so the turf can be replanted. The fountain’s architect, Kathryn Gustafson now has acknowledged the fountain has design flaws. She hadn’t expected so many people to flock to the memorial. She said: “I feel we made a mistake letting people walk in the water. I apologize for that. I thought people would picnic near the memorial, walk by and run their hands through the water, think about their lives, think about Diana.” Gustafson says she hopes criticism of the fountain will subside and the fence will eventually be removed. “We just need time to solve the problems,” she said.

During a meeting with the press at Central Park in New York City Princess Märtha Louise of Norway and her husband Ari Behn said to look forward to life in the city and hope to be left pretty much alone during their stay. “It will be so nice to just be us three alone for awhile,” said the princess. “It’s important for us to have some peace. I’m pregnant and Ari will write.” Ari Behn says he’s always wanted to live in New York. It’s not easy to get residence and working permission in the US, but royalty falls in under diplomatic privilege. They will return to Norway in March, because Princess Martha Louise wants to give birth to their second child back in Oslo. They’ll decide over the summer whether they’ll return for another year in New York. “We’ll take it as it comes, but we’ve always thought of New York as a two-year project,” said Ari Behn. The couple has rented an apartment on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. “The apartment is fine, Maud Angelica has her bedroom, we have ours and there’s also a living room, kitchen and bathroom,” Ari Behn said.

October 13th

Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands is suffering from shortness of breath and is regularly visiting the hospital for observation, the Government Information Service confirmed today. They however say there is no reason to worry as it is not extraordinary that a 93-year-old is suffering from shortness of breath.

October 14th

51-year-old Prince Norodom Sihamoni of Cambodia has been elected the new monarch of Cambodia the throne council said today in a statement issued after an historical meeting at the Royal Palace. Sihamoni is a former classical ballet dancer, choreographer and cinematographer who was most recently Cambodia’s ambassador to UNESCO. He has lived abroad for most of his life. At the moment he is in Beijing with his parents. Former King Norodom Sihanouk and the new King Norodom Sihamoni are expected to return to Cambodia on October 20 and a coronation is being planned for October 29.

Doubts have been risen about King Olav V of Norway’s biological father after the publication of the second volume of the history of King Haakon and Queen Maud by Tor Bomann-Larsen. The book indicates that King Haakon’s royal physician Sir Francis Laking could be King Olav’s real father. The book says that the then Prince Carl of Denmark (who became King Haakon of Norway in 1905) was on a two-month tour of Denmark around the time of the conception and that Princess Maud had a secret hospital stay in the care of doctor Sir Francis Laking roughly nine months before King Olav was born. The book contains a photograph of Laking’s son Guy Francis Laking who bears a striking resemblance to the adult King Olav. Bomann-Larsen also raises the possibility that Laking’s son was a possible sperm donor for Queen Maud, and that Olav was the result of artificial insemination. However the author does not draw any final conclusions. In a statement King Harald V of Norway says he has no information to indicate that King Olav wasn’t King Haakon’s son. The press release says also: “Each author is fully entitled to present his interpretation of history. This also applies, of course, to Tor Bomann-Larsen’s biography of King Haakon and Queen Maud.”

At an employment tribunal Miss Sarah Forsyth, who claims that Prince Harry of Wales cheated towards his A-level, said today she has prove she has been asked to work on the prince’s project at Eton. She taped the Prince allegedly saying of the AS-level piece: “..tiny, tiny bit…I did about a sentence of it”. Eton says the tape is inaudible in parts and the whole issue is irrelevant to the unfair dismissal case. The college’s own transcript of the tape is different to Miss Forsyth’s and the Royal Family say it has been edited and it is difficult to make out what the prince is talking about. The tribunal continues.

Princess Máxima of the Netherlands is among the 10 well-known Dutch that are nominated as ‘Dom Bontje’ by the Bont voor Dieren (Fur for animals). The nominated persons wear fur or have said stupid things about it. The winner will become known in December.

October 15th

Today a bailiff placed an advertisement in the newspaper Trouw on behalf of Princess Margarita de Bourbon de Parme requesting a divorce from her husband Edwin de Roy van Zuydewijn, “of unknown address or residence in or outside of the Netherlands”. He was given until 21 January to react to the filing. Such an advertisement is legally required if the other party has no fixed address or an unknown address. However Edwin de Roy van Zuydewijn’s lawyer says the princess had phoned her husband earlier this week and that she knows his postal address.

The new King Norodom Sihamoni of Cambodia said today that he has accepted the throne with trepidation. He used his first (written) message to his people to apologise for the lack of experience he brings to the job. “I am afraid that I cannot fulfil this great duty well because of my lack of experience.” He added that he would have the benefit of advice from his father. “I solemnly promise that I am neutral to all politicians, political parties and will follow the great policy of my father, the father of independence, national unity and conciliation,” King Sihamoni said. “My parents said they will show me how best to respect, love and serve our religion and people.” King Sihamoni said he was open to ideas from all Cambodians: “Please, give me ideas so that I can improve my work every day, month and year to serve the interests of our nation, people and monks.”

The Duchess of York is to appear nude but for some Cartier jewels and a pair of Jimmy Choo shoes for charity. She is among several famous faces who will be appearing in the pages of Four Inches – a book being produced by the exclusive jewellery and shoe designers in aid of the Elton John Aids Foundation. Her spokeswoman said: “The Duchess is absolutely taking part in this case. It is a fundraiser for the Elton John Aids Foundation.” The photos will be taken by fashion photographer Pamela Hanson. Publisher Scriptum Editions said the book is still being shot. The book is not expected until the spring.

Countess Camilla af Rosenborg and her husband Mikael Rosanes expect their third child in April/May.

October 16th

Edwin de Roy van Zuydewijn said ysterday by phone in the tv-programme Barend & Van Dorp that he will come back to the Netherlands next week to talk to his wife about their divorce. He says to be at home in France. Before he left for France one week ago Princess Margarita de Bourbon de Parme asked him to sign divorce papers, but he wanted to wait a while with it because he had to go to France. He also says to consider writing a book in which he tells about his fight with the dutch royal family.

October 19th

Princess Takamatsu, an aunt of Emperor Akihito of Japan, underwent surgery at St Luke’s International Hospital in Tokyo on Monday night to prepare for dialysis. She is in stable condition the Imperial Household Agency said.

October 20th

Princess Máxima of the Netherlands was appointed as a member of the Council of State, the Dutch government’s most important advisory body. Today she was officially welcomed into the council in a special meeting. She arrived at the Binnenhof in The Hague together with Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands. In her word of welcome the Queen said: “You hae learnd to know the Netherlands – and the Netherlands also you. You have worked hard and developed a good feeling for what happens and lives in the Kingdom.” The Queen also said: “So you can get insight in the questions of this time, deepen your knowledge and get valuable experience. I expect that you will also experience it like this and therefore I am very happy to have granted you a seat in the Council of State.” Vice-president Herman Tjeenk Willink presented Princess Máxima with a copy of the Dutch Constitution. In her own speech Princess Máxima said that she finds it a privilege to get a seat and she thinks that her place in the Council is important for a good fulfilment of her task as wife of the future king and mother of Princess Catharina-Amalia. Princess Máxima will be able to attend meetings and participate in council discussions, but she doesn’t hold voting rights.

King Norodom Sihamoni of Cambodia and his father the former King Norodom Sihanouk arrived in Cambodia today. They were met at the airport by political leaders. Thousands of flag- waving school children lined the streets from the airport to the palace. In order to honour the departing monarch, the Cambodian government has declared that from now on King Norodom Sihanouk will be known as His Royal Majesty Norodom Sihanouk, Greatest Hero King, the Great Royal Father of National Independence, Territorial Integrity and Unity.

In a statement issued on the occasion of her 70th birthday Empress Michiko of Japan says about her daughter-in-law Crown Princess Masako: “When a member of a family is suffering, it is a source of sadness for everyone in the family. It’s not only I, but all the members of our family who wish for the crown princess’ recovery and want to be of help to her.” She also said: “I sincerely hope that the two Princesses, Masako and Kiko, will spend long years as members of the Imperial Family, and will be able to see not only the things that I have done, but also the many things that I have not been able to do, so that they will continue to add more to the Imperial Family, fulfilling what I have been unable to accomplish.” She also said: “During all the years since [she married Emperor Akihito], the sense of heavy responsibility has stayed with me all the time that I should not disgrace the Imperial Family, with its long history, who accepted me, an ordinary citizen, as crown princess.”

October 21st

The government of Romania is to offer former King Michael of Romania 30.000.000 Euros in compensation for historic property seized by the communist regime in 1948 it was announced today. They will also offer the former King to use Peles Castle for special occasions. A smaller building on the grounds known as “The Knights’ House” will be returned to his ownership. The settlement is aimed to bring to an end a long-running dispute between the government and the former monarch. This is the best possible solution,” said Adrian Vasiliu, the lawyer for the Royal House of Romania. “If this law is approved by parliament, Peles Castle will finally belong to the state legally.” But he also added: “This compensation amounts to far less than the actual value of the property confiscated by the communists.”

Prince Harry of Wales was hit in the face with a camera in a scuffle outside Nightclub Pangaea in London early today. Clarence House said: “Prince Harry was hit in the face by a camera as photographers crowded around him as he was getting into a car. In pushing the camera away, it’s understood that a photographer’s lip was cut.” Paparazzi photographer Chris Uncle says however: “Prince Harry looked like he was inside the car and we were all still taking pictures. Then suddenly he burst out the car and lunged towards me as I was still taking pictures. He lashed out and then deliberately pushed my camera into my face.” The photographer claimed that royal bodyguards dragged the prince away.

46-year-old Countess Maya von Schönburg-Glauchau gave birth to a daughter on Wednesday morning at 8:30. The baby is called Maria Carlotta Beatrice and weighs 3,5 kilogrammes. The delivery went well and both mother and daughter are doing fine. The father of the baby is Stefan Hipp. However the parents are not married.

October 22nd

The remains of Empress Maria Fyodorovna will be buried in St. Peter and Paul’s Cathedral in St. Petersburg on September 26, 2006, in keeping with an ordinance issued by President Vladimir Putin, the Kremlin press service reported on Friday. The ordinance also approved a list of members of the working group for organizing the transfer of her remains from Denmark. Culture and Mass Media Minister Alexander Sokolov was appointed head of the group.

Crown Prince Dasho Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck of Bhutan officially assumed the title of Chhoetse Penlop yesterday. The Crown Prince received the Dhar and Seal of the Chhoetse Penlop from His Majesty the Druk Gyalpo in the Throne Room of the Tashichhodzong in a ceremony attended by the royal family in the morning. This was followed by the traditional Tendrel ceremony in the kuenrey of the Tashichhodzong which was performed by His Holiness the Je Khenpo and attended by members of the royal family, the council of ministers, senior government officials, dignitaries and members of the international community. The Zhugdrel Phuensum Tshogpa ceremony was performed in the altar room of the palace. Yesterday afternoon and today thousands of people came to the palace to pay their respect to the Chhoetse Penlop. The traditional ceremonies and celebrations of the Chhoetse Penlop will continue in Trongsa on October 31 and November 1. The traditional investiture ceremony will be conducted in the Zimchung Nang (inner sanctum) of the Trongsa Dzong where the first and second Kings resided, on October 31 and the celebrations will be held the following day. As Chhoetse Penlop the Crown Prince is formally installed as the heir to the Golden Throne. The event is of great significance not only in the life of the Crown Prince but also to the people of Bhutan as the continuity of the Monarchy, the strength and the unifying force of the Bhutanese people, is assured.

October 23rd

Countess Marie Gabrielle von Waldburg-Zeil und Trauchburg married Count Bernard de Monseignat at the Parish Church of Zeil Castle today. The wedding was led by Bishop Gebhard Fürst. After the wedding a reception took place in a tent in the castle park. The couple will live in Monaco, where the groom resides.

In the tv-programme Barend & Van Dorp the lawyer of Princess Margarita de Bourbon de Parme said yesterday that the Princess will end her fight against the Dutch state.

October 24th

Princess Caroline of Monaco, accompanied by her husband Prince Ernst August of Hannover, arrives in Manila, Philippines, today for a three-day working visit to 12 shelters for street children in Makati City under the auspices of the Virlanie Foundation. The foundation is part of Amade, which was established by the late Princess Grace of Monaco in 1963. Princess Caroline is president of Amade. The visit also included a courtesy call to President Arroyo. The couple will also attend a fundraising gala at the Makati Shangri-La Hotel.

October 26th

Prince Rainier III of Monaco was admitted to hospital today with a lung infection. He is expected to stay a few days in hospital.

The Duke of Edinburgh commemorated the 150th anniversary of the Charge of the Light Brigade at Balaclava in the Ukraine yesterday. He wore sunglasses to conceal a heavy bruising. A palace spokesman explained: “He slipped in the bath and caught the side of his eye with his thumb which caused some discolouration.” The accident happened at the suite of the Oreanda Hotel in Yalta where he was staying.

October 27th

The Government Information Service today announced that Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands is short of breath since his return from Porto Ercole in the beginning of September. A check-up at the Academical Hospital of the Universitair Medisch Centrum in Utrecht showed fluid in the chest-cavity. Today the prince was visited by his doctors at Palace Soestdijk who gave him the results of medical tests and told what could be done. The prince will soon undergo a policlinical treatment for it. The coming time the prince will somwhat restrict his engagements.

October 29th

In name of Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands the Government Information Service announced today that the Queen is very pleased to announce that Princess Mabel is pregnant. The first child of Princess Mabel and Prince Friso van Oranje-Nassau is expected at the end of April 2005. The child will carry the title Count(ess) van Oranje-Nassau, jonkheer/Miss van Amsberg with the family name ‘Van Oranje-Nassau van Amsberg’.

King Norodom Sihamoni of Cambodia took over the throne today from his father after the coronation rituals had started already yesterday. Early today he paid respects to past kings and divine spirits guarding the throne. Then he underwent a ritual bathing ceremony in which monks and his parents poured water from the Kulen mountains on their son to wash away his impurities, and increase his prestige and power. Later today he was sworn in in an elaborate two-hour ceremony. Shaded by a large parasol, Sihamoni was carried through the royal palace’s gardens into the Throne Hall on a golden chair accompanied by palace guards and musicians. He was dressed in a white blazer, red sash and deep blue sarong pants. Fifty-two Buddhist monks – one for each year of the new king’s life according to the traditional Cambodian zodiac – chanted blessings for about 40 minutes. “I swear to follow the constitution and all the laws of the kingdom of Cambodia and to carry out my duties for the prosperity of the nation and the people,” he read from a scroll, in front of an audience of hundreds of top government officials, religious leaders, monks, royalty and diplomats. The new king repeated his oath to serve the country and its people three times while bowing before the golden-hued throne. He received his regalia as priests blew conch shells. “I am extremely touched to have the opportunity to devote my physical and mental strength and intelligence to serve the nation and the people, and to continue the tradition and glorious achievements of my father,” King Sihamoni later told a few hundred dignitaries in the throne room. The ceremony was attended by the King’s brother Prince Ranariddh, however not by his father King Norodom Sihanouk. King Norodom Sihamoni called today “the most auspicious day in the history of Cambodia and history of my life” and said he had “greatly been honored as king succeeding our heroic father, who is the father of the nation.” The day was closed with fireworks. The coronation rituals will conclude tomorrow morning.

Countess Bettina Bernadotte and Philipp Haug married religiously at the castle church at Mainau today. The bride wore a pink silk-jacket and a long white skirt stitched with pearls. When they came outside four chimney-sweepers congratulated them as is the tradition at Mainau. 190 Family members and friends were invited. The civil wedding already took place in Sweden in August.

October 30th

Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester, died quietly in her sleep at Kensington Palace late on Friday night surrounded by her immediate family. The Princess was 102 years old and thus was the oldest British royal in history. She was born as Lady Alice Christabel Montagu-Douglas-Scott, daughter of the 7th Earl of Buccleauch and 9th Duke of Queensberry and Lady Margaret Bridgeman, in London on December 25, 1901. She spent her childhood between the family’s houses: Boughton and Bowhill as well as Drumlanrig. As an adult she spent several months in Kenya and also spent time in India. She made a brief and illegal excursion to Afghanistan disguised in an Afghan coat and cap. In the spring of 1935, summoned home because of her father’s failing health, she met again Prince Henry Duke of Gloucester, third son of King George V of Great Britain. On November 6, 1935 she married him. Among the bridesmaids were the later Queen Elizabeth II and her sister Princess Margaret. During the Second World War Princess Alice worked with the Red Cross and the Order of St John. She was a trained member of the Voluntary Aid Detachment, was deputy to the Queen as Commandant in Chief of the Nursing Corps and Divisions of the St John Ambulance Brigade, and was closely involved in the Women’s Voluntary Service for Civil Defence. She was commissioned in the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force in 1940, becoming its head in 1943. She held the rank of Air Chief Marshal in the WRAF. She held honorary appointments and ranks in the armed services, including Colonel-in-Chief of The Royal Hussars, the King’s Own Scottish Borderers and the Royal Corps of Transport. After two miscarriages the couple had two sons: William (1941-1972) and Richard (1944). The Duke of Gloucester died in 1974. Since 1995 the princess, who had lived at Branwell Manor since 1938, moved to Kensington Palace to be with her son Richard, his wife and three children. In the past ten years she hardly appeared in public anymore. Her body is to remain in a private chapel at Kensington Palace while funeral arragements are being made.

The Imperial Household Agency said today that Crown Prince Masako has expressed displeasure over a recent wave of media reports saying she had apparently received a rebuke from her mother-in-law, Empress Michiko. Newspapers reported that the Empress’s message issued on the occasion of her 70th birthday was meant as a rebuke to Crown Princess Masako.

At the imperial family’s annual autumn garden party on Thursday Emperor Akihito of Japan has said to school board member Kunio Yonegawa that no one should be forced to face the Japanese flag and sing the national anthem. Mr Yonegawa had told the emperor that he was trying to make all Japanese students raise the flag and sing the anthem, on which the Emperor replied: “It is desirable that it not be compulsory.” The conversation was aired on Japanese television. Since 1945 tacit taboos have prevented outward displays of patriotism and stifled debate. Last year, however, the Tokyo metropolitan government ordered teachers and students to sing the anthem at graduation. Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiroyuki Hosoda on Friday said that Akihito’s comments were consistent with government policy and that palace officials had argued he was merely stating the obvious rather than voicing an opinion about policy. “We think this explanation poses no particular problem,” Hosoda said. “We think the emperor made his remark with full understanding of his position as a symbol and this does not violate our constitution, which stipulates the emperor has not any power over affairs of the state.”

October 30th

Crown Princess Mary of Denmark will appear in the December issue of Vogue Australia. Last month the magazine made a fashion shoot with her and also with Crown Prince Frederik at Amalienborg in Copenhagen. She wears clothes by several fashion designers among them Hugo Boss and Danish Malene Birger.

November 2nd

Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands has been treated in the Academical Hospital in Utrecht last weekend for liquid in the chest-cavity. According to the Government Information Service the operation went well. After the policlinical treatment the Prince could return back to Palace Soestdijk. The prince already had breathing problems for some weeks. Doctors placed a small drain in his chest that was removed already today. The long-term effect has to be awaited.

Shaikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, president and founder of the United Arab Emirates, has died this evening after many years of poor health. He was in his early 90s. In August 2000 the Shaikh had a kidney transplant.

Prince Rainier III of Monaco is back home, a week after he was admitted to hospital with a chest infection. Palace press officer Armand Deus said: “He is in good health.”

Count Moritz von Goëss and his wife Fleur, née Duchess von Württemberg had their first child on October 30. The boy was named Zeno.

November 3rd

The Prince of Wales and Camilla Parker Bowles won’t attend the wedding of the prince’s godson Edward van Cutsem and Lady Tamara Grosvenor this weekend. The explanation from the prince’s office is that he was passing up the wedding to meet with families of the Black Watch Regiment, which was recently redeployed nearer Baghdad, Iraq. “He’s very keen to meet the families and Saturday was the earliest opportunity to do so,” a spokesman said yesterday. However newspapers report that the Prince pulled out because his long time companion Camilla Parker Bowles had been assigned a seat in Chester Cathedral several rows behind him. Queen Elizabeth II and Prince William of Wales are reported to attend the wedding.

This evening Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan was laid to rest at the Zayed Grand Mosque in a simple ceremony that took just half an hour. The last rights were performed by his sons led by Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan. The Shaikh’s body, draped in the flag of the United Arab Emirates was brought to the Batin Mosque for the funeral prayers. Afterwards it was taken to the Grand Mosque for the burial. Thousands of people lined the route to have a glimpse of the motorcade. Among the people who were present at the funeral were King Abdullah II of Jordan, Prince Faisal of Jordan, Prince Ghazi of Jordan, the King of Bahrain, the Sultan of Oman, the hereditary prince of Qatar, the crown prince of Saudi Arabia and Prince Moulay Rachid of Morocco.

Shaikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan was elected as the new President of the United Arab Emirates on November 3, to succeed his late father Shaikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. Sheikh Khalifa who was born in 1948 has been Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, one of the states of the UAE, since 1969. His key objectives as the new president of the United Arab Emirates, he says, will be to continue on the path laid down by his father. He will continue with the ‘open door’ policy and with the practice of holding regular consultations with the country’s citizens, so that he may become aware of, and follow up on, their needs and concerns.

The website of the Danish royal house says that the name of the youngest son of Crown Prince Pavlos of Greece and his wife Marie-Chantal is Odysseas Kimon. The baby was born in London on September 17.

November 4th

In a documentary broadcasted by the Swedish tv-channel TV4 yesterday evening Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden said: “It’s not easy to be together with me, but the situation is the same for anyone who’s in the spotlight.” However she said she has never considered giving up her right to the throne: “There is no alternative as far as I’m concerned.” She added that she would carry on as long as Swedes wanted her to. She said that the monarchy is a “wonderful and important tradition” that should be protected. She said to regret that there is so much unfair stuff written in the press about her boyfriend Daniel Westling.

Politicologe Paul van der Steen this evening revealed in the tv-programme NOVA on Dutch television that the father of Pieter van Vollenhoven, husband of Princess Margriet of the Netherlands, has been a member of the National-Socialistical Movement (NSB, who were supporting Adolf Hitler during WW II) until 1936. The Government Information Service has confirmed this but said that Pieter van Vollenhoven senior has fought on the right side during WW II. They issued a statement of Pieter van Vollenhoven in which he says that he only heard about his father’s membership of the NSB shortly before his engagement to Princess Margriet. If the news had become known in 1966 it might have caused trouble in the Netherlands.

The Duchess of York said today in Lorraine Kelly’s Today Show on ITV1 that her her contribution to a book of nude photos had been modestly done. She said: “I wouldn’t want to put everyone off their breakfast.” Her body has been covered up by a sheet of black material. “Do you think that, honestly, after 15 years of the press I have had, I would dare do that,” the Duchess said about rumours that she had been posing nude: “I`m completely covered from here to my knees….I`m covered with a long black sheet. You can`t see anything except the bottom of my legs and my arms.” It was unclear whether the Duchess was actually naked underneath the sheet. She is wearing Cartier jewels and a pair of Jimmy Choo shoes for the book, Four Inches, in aid of the Elton John Aids Foundation.

November 5th

Princess Alice Duchess of Gloucester was buried toay. The private funeral ceremony was conducted at 11:00 am by the Dean of Windsor at St George’s Chapel, Windsor. The Dean paid tribute to her “capacity to override suffering”, her “sense of fun and her love of people, particularly the young”. Hymns The Lord’s My Shepherd, Love Divine and O Love That Wilt Not Let Me Go, were sung. The National Anthem was played at the end of the service and buglers sounded the Last Post and Reveille. The coffin was draped in a royal standard and decorated with a floral display of cream roses and ivy laid by her immediate family. It was borne from the chapel by members of the King’s Own Scottish Borderers, the regiment of which Princess Alice was Colonel-in-Chief. Apart from the descendants of Princess Alice the funeral was attended by among others Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain, the Duke of Edinburgh, the Prince of Wales, the Duke of York, the Earl and Countess of Wessex, the Princess Royal, Prince and Princess Michael of Kent and Princess Alexandra of Kent. Following the funeral ceremony Princess Alice was buried privately at Frogmore in Windsor’s Home Park next to her husband Henry Duke of Gloucester and her elder son Prince William. A memorial service will be held at a later date.

November 6th

Don Luis Alfonso de Borbón y Martínez Bordiu married María Margarita Vargas Santaella from Venezuela today at the Iglesia de San Estanislao de Cracovia in Los Altos de Chavón, Dominican Republic. The groom wore the uniform of Head of the Grand Cross of the Malteser Order. The bride wore a dress designed by the Spanish designer Vittorio y Lucchino. 1500 people were invited, among them Prince Franz Josef von Auersperg-Trautson and his wife Archduchess Constanza of Austria. There were no representants from the Spanish royal family.

Edward van Cutsem and Lady Tamara Grosvenor married today at Chester Cathedral. The wedding was attended by 650 guests among them Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain, the Duke of Edinburgh and the Princes William and Harry of Wales, who were ushers at the service. Lady Tamara arrived at the cathedral wearing a dress designed by Bruce Oldfield made of ivory silk georgette embroidered with rows of tiny antique silk velvet rosebuds, with a two metre train. She wore a tiara designed by Carl Faberge in the style of a laurel wreath set with cushion shaped diamonds and shoes made by Jimmy Choo couture. A reception was being held after the wedding at Eaton Hall. Lady Tamara will assume her husband’s name but retains her title, so her married name will be Lady Tamara van Cutsem. The couple is to live in London. The Duke and Duchess of Westminster, parents of the bride, said in a statement: “This is a very special day for us all. Both families are proud and delighted and we wish Tamara and Edward every possible happiness together.”

November 8th

Princess Máxima of the Netherlands has at the invitation of the United Nations taken a seat at the Advisory Board for the international year of Microcredit 2005. On November 17th and 18th she will attend the official start of the year at the headquarter of the UN and the first meeting of the board. She was asked because of her bank experience. Also Crown Princess Mathilde of Belgium recently accepted an invitation to be an Emissary for the Year of Microcredit 2005 and will also participate in the official start of the year.

Prince Pieter Christiaan van Oranje-Nassau, van Vollenhoven ran the marathon of New York today. He ended up in 2360th place with a time of 3:28:43. On his t-shirt was a text about the importance of sports for astma patients. According to the prince many patients don’t sport because they fear feeling oppressed. The result is a bad condition. It is unnecessary while active sport is possible for many astma patients.

An attempt of Mr Nicholas Locock to dig up the remains of his grandfather Henry Locock, who according to family legends was the illegitimate son of Princess Louise of Great Britain – daughter of Queen Victoria, has failed. Mr Locock wanted to exhume the body to prove he has royal connections. The Arches Court of Canterbury said Mr Locock had failed to show a real likelihood of a connection.

November 9th

Bruno Gómez-Acebo, son of Infanta Pilar of Spain, and his wife Barbara became the proud parents of a son called Alejandro Juan. The baby was born at the Fundación Jiménez Díaz in Madrid on November 5.

November 10th

A lawsuit against the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund by a US souvenir firm has been dropped after the two sides settled out of court. Franklin Mint had sought £14m in a malicious prosecution lawsuit. While the agreement will remain confidential, the fund hopes to release money to charitable causes associated with the princess. The Diana fund froze its charitable donations in July 2003 due to the costly legal battle. Organisers of the fund said on Wednesday that they will immediately resume awarding grants to good causes following the settlement. The fund and Franklin Mint agreed that the “energy and resources” needed for a court battle would be better spent on a “mutually agreed international programme of humanitarian work” in honour of the princess.

Prince Maximilian von Ysenburg und Büdingen and his wife Sophie née De Bois, annnounced the birth of their first child, a daughter. Madeleine was born on November 3.

November 11th

Princess Máxima of the Netherlands attended the EU-top at the Martiniplaza in Groningen today and yesterday. At the top the European ministers talked about co-operation of the EU-states in the area of integration.

A Royal Air Force plane carrying the Princess Royal to engagements in Scotland has been involved in a near-miss with another RAF aircraft. It is understood the airplane on which Princess Anne was travelling, was flying at a level height on a cleared flight path when a RAF Eurofighter Typhoon, flying under military control, came within 3.3 miles of it.

November 12th

Two days ago Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende told the Second Chamber that Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands expressed her sympathy with the people who were touched by the murder on filmmaker Theo van Gogh some days ago by a Moroccan extremist and the events that followed afterwards. He told that the Queen like everyone is worried about what happened. Today Queen Beatrix visited the multicultural youth center Argan in Amsterdam to meet with young Moroccans. She listened and also took part in the discussion between about 50 youths. She also talked to some of the youths afterwards.

Prince Harry of Wales arrived in Argentina today for a five-week working holiday. Buckingham Palace said the prince landed in the country but would not reveal the name or location of the farm. It said Harry would return to England for Christmas with his family and will start his education at Sandhurst on January 9, 2005. Yesterday Clarence House said that Prince Harry will not be playing polo. Doctors have ordered the Prince not to ride while he recovers from a knee injury. Prince Harry is spending the rest of November on a polo farm in the South American country, but will be working on the polo complex rather than perfecting his sports skills. He will help with the buying and selling of ponies on the polo farm and do manual labour work including grooming the animals and helping with the upkeep of stables. Prince Harry injured his knee several months ago while running upstairs with the army as he strove to improve his fitness ahead of his Sandhurst test. A Clarence House spokesman said: “His recent rugby training has aggravated the injury. It’s fine but doctors have said he should not ride.”

The Senate of Swaziland voted its overwhelming support for a palace-authored constitution palace-authored constitution that permanently ensures monarchial power over the legislature, other arms of government and the security forces. King Mswati III decreed the constitutional process in 1996, in a response to international pressure to bring democratic reform to the country. King Mswati III is expected to sign the constitution into law this month.

November 14th

In London Remembrance Day, the traditional memorial ceremony to the British war deads, was led by Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain who laid a wreath at the Cenotaph, followed by the Duke of Edinburgh, the Prince of Wales, the Duke of York and the Princess Royal. Only royals who hold a rank in the armed services take part in the parade. Therefore Prince William of Wales who today for the first time attended the ceremonies watched them from the balcony of the Foreign Office together with the Countess of Wessex.

It is reported that Princess Sayako, the only daughter of Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko of Japan, will announce her intentions to marry 39-year-old commoner Yoshiki Kuroda, a city government official in the coming weeks. The Imperial Household Agency said the couple were initially to be engaged earlier this month. But they delayed the announcement out of respect for victims of last month’s powerful earthquake in northern Japan and typhoons across the country earlier this year. Another agency official said no formal announcement is likely to be made until at least late December. According to tv-channels the couple has already received the blessings of the Princess’s parents. The couple has known each other already for ages. Yoshiki Kuroda was one of the classmates of Princess Akishino, brother of the Princess, at Gakushuin University, Tokyo. Under the Imperial Household Law Princess Sayako will become a commoner once she is married. The wedding is set for early 2005.

November 15th

Prince Joachim of Denmark is being accused of reckless driving. A cameraman spotted the prince speeding between 160 and 170 kilometres per hour near Copenhagen Saturday late afternoon, forcing several cars to make way. A police spokesman said: “We have received the complaint, are entering it into the system and it will end up in the justice ministry.” The video footage made by the camera man from Local Eyes shows three passengers in the car. The police have questioned the photographer and seen the video, but Prince Joachim risks neither losing his license nor being fined. Danish political parties think he should suffer the consequences, but diverge on their view of the best penalty for him. The center-left Radical Liberals support an amendment to the Danish constitution, allowing members of the Royal Family to be prosecuted. The pro-royal Danish People’s Party supports leaving Prince Joachim to the disciplinary devices of his mother, Queen Margrethe, and says the spate of bad press following Saturday’s speeding incident is punishment enough.

November 16th

Prince William ‘the Silent’ of Orange (1533-1584) ended in second place in the elections of the Greatest Dutchman of all times. Murdered politician Pim Fortuyn, according to many people unjust, won the competition. Actually William of Orange should have become the greatest Dutchman. Due to slowness of counting computer votes the votes that came in after the broadcast on television were not included in the results anymore. The organising tv-company today said that William of Orange would have won if those votes had counted.

According to the newspaper Dagavisen Norwegian Law experts and politicians want to change the Norwegian constitution making royals liable according to the law like everybody else. “The law should apply to everyone,” said Kåre Willoch, former Norwegian prime minister. Republican Trond Nordby, professor in political science, said: “The King is today instituted as a symbol, but we have seen the royals walk around with a frozen pizza, carrying a café latte. As they lose their elevated distinction, I see no reason why they should keep their immunity.” Royalty expert Carl-Erik Grimstad also stated that the time has come for a constitutional amendment. “I have for a long time thought that the immunity law is outdated and not adequate. It was originally a constitutional protection between the governmental powers and not a protection against ordinary offences that anybody can get themselves into.” The Norwegian Socialist Party has issued a proposal to change the law recently. However, since a constitutional amendment is required, it will at the earliest be viewed when the next Parliament is in place after the election next year.

Beltrán Gómez-Acebo y Borbón and his wife Laura Ponte, who married last September, expect their first child in June 2005.

November 17th

The Government Information Service today announced that through the examination of the liquid in the chest-cavity of Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands cells were discovered which could show the spreading of a tumour. Later the Government Information Service added that the situation was “serious,” and that doctors said an operation would be useless. It was also announced that the prince will undertake less activities because he feels that he has less strength.

November 18th

The Government Information Service today said that the condition of Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands hasn’t gotten worse. He is not in bed, receives guests at Palace Soestdijk and phones friends. Family is visiting him from time to time. This morning Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende visited the prince. After the visit he told the press: “The situation is not good, but we await further reports.” He told also to have had an interesting conversation with the prince about life and death.

November 19th

Prince William of Wales gave his first ever extended interview for television on BBC News 24, speaking from St Andrews University. He is in his final year of studies for an MA in geography at St Andrews University. “I really don’t know what I am going to do (after I graduate),” William said. “Possibly the armed forces. Definitely I would like to go to Sandhurst.” He added: “But the last thing I want to do is be mollycoddled or wrapped up in cotton wool, because if I was to join the army I’d want to go where my men went and I’d want to do what they did. I would not want to be kept back for being precious, or whatever, that’s the last thing I’d want.” About his appearance at Remembrance Day he said: “That was amazing. It was an incredible service and it makes you very proud to be British and see such an amazing ceremony. It’s obviously a very serious day to remember and it’s done in such a way that it’s very poignant. Obviously even more so with the Iraq conflict. It should never be forgotten what the war veterans sacrificed for all of us.” About charity work he said: “Obviously I’m very interested in Africa and helping with Aids and things like that.” He added that he was particularly keen on helping the homeless, a good cause to which his mother introduced both him and his brother, with visits to homeless hostels. Since then, William said: “I’ve done a bit … privately and publicly over the last few years and that’s one particular area I’m passionate about. My mother introduced that sort of area to me a long time ago. It was a real eye-opener and I’m very glad she did.”

Prince Rainier III of Monaco missed the national day celebrations in Monaco today because of illness. Prince Albert was joined by his sisters Princess Caroline and Princess Stéphanie as well as Prince Ernst August of Hannover. In a statement Prince Rainier said: “I know the importance of this holiday for our community unified around my family. They are precious moments in our national life which, this year, I will share with you through my thoughts.”

November 20th

Prince Harry of Wales currently is staying at the El Remanso ranch believed to be owned by a former right-hand man to the Sultan of Brunei. His host is Major Christopher Hanbury, polo patron, racehorse owner and the Sultan’s aide for much of the last two decades. Prince Harry is expected to return to Britain shortly before Christmas, in time to start at Sandhurst in January.

The late Frances Shand Kydd, mother of Diana Princess of Wales, left £2.8 million, which is expected to be divided between her children, and Prince William and Prince Harry. Under the terms of her will, her executors will hold her estate, including £1.9 million in stocks and shares, in trust for two years. During that period, they can choose to make payments to her beneficiaries. When the two years have passed, any money remaining has to be divided equally. The beneficiaries are identified as her children, and any person who “is or was a spouse of any of those issue”, which would include the Prince of Wales. The will also states that, in the event of any of her children dying before her, their share will pass to their children. That stipulation means that in two years time, any money that would have gone to Diana, Princess of Wales will go instead to her sons.

The household of the Prince of Wales yesterday accused a former employee of concocting a “wild conspiracy theory” following claims she was hounded out of her job. Former secretary Elaine Day told an employment tribunal the “powers that be” were “setting her up to fail” after she complained of sexual harassment by assistant private secretary, Paul Kefford. Lawyers for Clarence House told Ms Day, who is claiming sex discrimination and unfair dismissal, she did not have “the slightest scrap of evidence” to support her allegations. Ms Day said about that: “I have the evidence of my experience.”

Archduke Károly Konstantin Mihály István Mária of Austria, son of Archduke Georg and Archduchess Eilika, was christened at the St Matthias Church in Budapest, Hungary, today. The ceremony was led by Cardinal Péter Erdö, Archbishop of Esztergom-Budapest. The godparents were Archduke Karl of Austria, Duke Konstantin of Oldenburg, Archduke Michael of Austria, Count István Wenckheim and Anja Mootz. The christening dress was made in the 1950s by an Hungarian woman on the occasion of the baptism of Archduchess Andrea. The christening coat once belonged to Empress Maria Teresa. Archduke Károly Konstantin was born on July 20 in Budapest, the first male Habsburg born in Hungary in more than 50 years.

November 22nd

Education Secretary Charles Clarke said last week the Prince of Wales should think carefully before intervening in the debate over education, and should not discourage ambitious children. He also called the prince old-fashioned and out of touch in his views on ordinary people’s aspirations. He was reacting to comments made by the prince in a memo read out as evidence in an employment tribunal after one of his personal assistants suggested she and people like her should be trained for more senior positions in his household. He wrote in the memo last year: “What is wrong with everyone nowadays? Why do they all seem to think they are qualified to do things far beyond their capabilities? People think they can all be pop stars, high court judges, brilliant TV personalities … without ever putting in the necessary work or having natural ability.” Today the Prince of Wales used a private address to Church of England bishops at Lambeth Palace to seek to end the damaging row over his views on people “rising above their station”. He said it was a “travesty of the truth” to think he did not believe people should better themselves. He said he had never “used any such words”. The Prince said: “Ambition is a good thing and should never be constrained by a person’s starting point in life.”

Prince Mashhour ibn Saud of Saudi Arabia died yesterday following a heart attack, at the age of 51. Funeral prayers were held at the Grand Mosque in Makkah after Fajr prayers today.

November 23rd

The Swedish royal family plans new legal action against several German gossip magazines owned by the publishing house Klambt over allegedly inaccurate and slanderous reports, the palace said today. They have hired German media lawyer Matthias Prinz to review the reports, a court statement said. The Hamburg-based lawyer has represented various members of European royal and aristocratic families in similar cases in the past.

This morning Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain held her annual speech during the formal opening of the Parliament at the House of Lords. She wore a white loose-sleeved coat, edged with fur.

A Fathers 4 Justice campaigner dressed as Father Christmas scaled the central gate at Buckingham Palace and chained himself to a pillar. The activist shouted slogans as a crowd gathered below. Police closed all palace gates and external doors during the alert.

In the jungle of “I’m a Celebrity’ former royal butler Paul Burrell told fellow-celebrity comic Joe Pasquale about Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain: “I caught her once in her sitting room wearing the imperial crown. She was practising wearing it for the Opening of Parliament … she was sat with her crown on and her pink, fluffy slippers.”

The mummy of Pharaoh Tutankhamum will not be removed from its tomb in the southern city of Luxor for examination and restoration due to local opposition, Egypt’s chief archaeologist Zahi Hawass has told parliament. He has decided against the examination “out of respect for the sentiments of the people of Luxor.” Antiquities officials planned to X-ray the 3300-year- old mummy to assess the need for restoration and also to attempt to discover the cause of the early death of Tutankhamum.

November 24th

Tonight a belated reception and dance performance on the occasion of the wedding of Prince Friso and Princess Mabel van Oranje-Nassau took place at the Lucent Danstheater in The Hague. The event was postponed earlier this year because of the death of Queen Juliana. Princess Mabel wore a salmon coloured dress with a bow and striking red shoes all designed by Viktor & Rolf, who also designed her wedding dress. Also present were Queen Beatrix, the Prince of Orange, Princess Máxima, Prince Constantijn, Princess Laurentien, Prince Carlos de Bourbon de Parme accompanied by Baroness Sophie von der Recke, Princess Carolina de Bourbon de Parme, Princess Margriet of the Netherlands, Pieter van Vollenhoven, Prince Floris with girlfriend Aimée Söhngen. Also the mother of Princess Mabel, Mrs Florence Wisse Smit, and her two sisters Nicoline and Eveline with partners were present.

November 25th

A judge has refused a bid by the late Princess Diana of Wales’s former lover James Hewitt to have his gun licence returned. The judge said that Mr Hewitt had “flagrantly abused the privilege” which came with being allowed to possess shotguns and rifles. Outside court, Hewitt’s solicitor George Kepper said: “We are taking legal advice and this matter is still under consideration. There are appeal procedures.”

November 26th

Prince Harry of Wales returned to Great Britain last night after having stayed two weeks at a ranch complex in Lobos, Argentina. They say he had originally planned to spend four to six weeks in Argentina but this had been shortened because he had been advised that he could not ride with his injury and deny that the Prince has returned earlier than planned from Argentina due to a security threat. Although they said they could not discuss specific security issues they did dismiss media reports of a kidnap plot as “irresponsible”. A Clarence House spokesman has also denied “any suggestion of inappropriate behaviour” on the prince’s part. Argentinean newspapers reported that there had been plots to kidnap the Prince, as well as that the prince had been seen in night clubs unattended and got drunk in pubs.

Tapes of the late Diana Princess of Wales will be aired on the US TV station NBC next week. The recordings taped in 1992 and 1993 are interviews with voice coach Peter Settelen that were partly already aired some time ago. She reveals her suspicion that her bodyguard Barry Mannakee was murdered in 1987. One of the most moving extracts is when Diana talks of her meeting with the Queen in 1986 after discovering Charles was seeing Camilla again. She says: “I went to the Top Lady and I’m sobbing. And I said, ‘What do I do?’ She said, ‘I don’t know. Charles is hopeless.'” Speaking of her sex life with Charles, Diana says: “There was never a requirement for it from him. Once every three weeks about, and I kept thinking – it followed a pattern. He used to see his lady every three weeks before we married.” Diana also says that she and Prince Charles met just 13 times before they were married. She says: “He’d ring me up every day for a week and then he wouldn’t speak to me for three weeks. Very odd. I thought ‘Fine. Well, he knows where I am if he wants me’. And the thrill when he used to ring up was so immense and intense.”

Via his lawyer Prince Ernst August von Hannover yesterday apologised to a German court for two of his assaults. He didn’t show up at the appeal hearing himself. His lawyer, Jochen Heidemeier, told the court that the heir to the former Hanoverian kings admitted he had kicked a woman photographer in the behind with his patent leather shoe in the Austrian city of Salzburg. He also admitted he had slapped a neighbour – a nightclub owner, Josef Brunlehner – on a holiday island in Kenya, and “could not rule out” that there had been “some undefined object” in his hand while doing the hitting. “He regrets the incident,” said Heidemeier. “Alcohol and his great personal excitement led to a state where he lost control.” He could face jail if judges decide that his earlier eight-month suspended sentence was not enough or that he has not mended his ways. But prosecutors, who appealed against those sentences, have yet to tell the court what punishment they think is appropriate. Presiding judge Klaus-Ulrich Krueger said he was convinced the prince punched a neighbour in a plush Kenyan beach resort with a brass knuckles at least five times while in a drunken and befuddled rage. “If he forgets again what he’s doing, the issue would be whether to have him tested and put in a drying-out centre,” the judge said. The prince was fined EUR 445.000. Both sides said they were satisfied with the verdict. Once the deadline for appeal expires, the prince will have a criminal record.

According to a report on the website of the German magazine Bunte, Princess Stéphanie of Monaco on Wednesday officially divorced her second husband Adans Peres-Lopez in Genève, Switzerland. The whole divorce procedure took only 17 minutes.

Princess Laurentien of the Netherlands was officially appointed patroness of the project HC Andersen 2005 in the Netherlands by Princess Benedikte of Denmark at Ammersoyen Castle.

November 27th

Fernando Gómez-Acebo y Borbón, youngest son of Infanta Pilar of Spain, married Mónica Martín Luque at the Real Monasterio de la Encarnación in Madrid. The bride arrived at the monastry with her father Ramón Martín Luque. The whole Spanish royal family was present. Among the guests were also Princess Beatrice of Orléans, Crown Princess Miriam of Bulgaria with her son Beltrán, Prince Konstantin and Princess Maria of Bulgaria.

Prince Maurits and Princess Marilène van Oranje-Nassau, van Vollenhoven expect their third child at the beginning of June 2005. The couple already has two children Anna and Lucas.

The 17th century Apollo gallery reopens at the Louvre in Paris today after a three-year £3.5 million facelift that included improvements to a security system. The gallery is home to the French crown jewels.

November 28th

In an emotional televised message King Abdullah II of Jordan told his half brother Prince Hamzah that he has stripped him of his title as crown prince. He told Hamzah: “And because the country needs the efforts of each and every one of us to work with utmost energy and capability especially during these difficult circumstances which the region and our beloved Jordan are going through, I have decided to free you from the constraints of the position of Crown Prince in order to give you the freedom to work and undertake any mission or responsibility I entrust you with, along side with all our brothers, the sons of Al Hussein, and other members of the Hashemite Family. I trust that you will be a great help and support to me and to your brothers in the service of our beloved country and our one big Jordanian Family.” A senior government official said that King Abdullah and his brothers had “reached mutual consent on the need for change.” King Abdullah II didn’t name a successor on Sunday, but in line with the constitution Prince Hussein, son of the king, or the king’s eldest brother Prince Faisal would be logical choices. Hamzah had become crown prince after the death of his father in February 1999.

The Mail on Sunday reported today that Prince Harry of Wales is in love with a blond 19-year-old student from South Africa. Chelsy Davy has accompanied Prince Harry during his recent trip to Argentina and stayed in the same guest house. Chelsy Davy is a former pupil of an elite girl’s school not far from the Highgrove estate of the Prince of Wales. She told a reporter in Cape Town: “I have known Harry since I was at school. I have heard people linking us together.” The newspaper claims that the pair have been an item for eight months.

The Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain in Hyde Park, London, is to close again for safety work after it emerged that at least one person a month has needed hospital treatment after being injured at the fountain sinds its opening last summer. Grass around the memorial will be replaced. Steel bars will be installed below bridges on the fountain to prevent children getting trapped.

Last night Prince Ernst August von hannover was accused of calling an airport security worker “an arsehole” and giving him a Nazi salute, just hours before he was fined EUR 445.000 for violence. He is said to have made the salute, which is illegal in Germany, during a row over baggage. Police spokesman Lars Beringer said: “We are investigating the incident.”

November 29th

The Government Information Service today announced that the condition of Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands is getting worse step by step. The complaints about breathing problems have returned. It was also said a tumour of the intestine was discovered and also causes serious problems. Apart from members of the family he hardly receives visitors. Princess Margriet cancelled a visit to Nairobi, Kenya. She was to leave for a 5-day visit today.

Clarence House said yesterday that Prince Harry of Wales doesn’t need knee surgery and doesn’t have to delay his entrance to the Royal Military Academy of Sandhurst. Prince Harry injured his knee several months ago. Clarence House said: “Doctors have had a look at his knee and he is going to be absolutely fine. He just needs to be careful with it leading up to the end of the year.”

The new book “The Real Diana” by Lady Colin Campbell claims that the late Diana Princess of Wales had an abortion while having an affair before she and the Prince of Wales were divorced. It says the princess panicked when she learned she was pregnant in 1994. At the time the princess was having an affair with art dealer Oliver Hoare. Princess Diana wanted to keep the baby, but distraught as she was, she knew what she had to do.

Today Prince Hamzah of Jordan sent a reply letter to King Abdullah II of Jordan. He wrote: “Having dedicated myself, as our great late father taught us, to standing by you as a faithful soldier and a devoted supporter, I obey the command of my elder brother out of my loyalty, love and obedience. I promise you that I shall always be up to your expectations, and confidence in me as a Hashemite Muslim. I shall, God willing, remain faithful to the message of our fathers and grandfathers from Al Al-Bayet and to the precious Jordan and its dear people.”

November 30th

The engagement was announced between Baron Baudouin Gillès de Pélichy, son of Baron Didier Gillès de Pélichy and Noëlla de Biolley, and Princess Elisabeth de Ligne, daughter of Prince Wauthier de Ligne (son of Prince Antoine de Ligne and Princess Alix of Luxemburg) and Countess Régine de Renesse.

Prince Harry of Wales has delayed his entry to the Royal Military Academy of Sandhurst until May 2005. Prince Harry hurt one of his knees falling down the stairs last summer and aggravated the injury in October while working as a children’s rugby coach. Today a royal statemtent said: “An MRI scan on his left knee last week revealed that the bruising that had been troubling Harry for the past few months has completely cleared up. However to allow time for the knee to regain full strength and to make sure that he is in the right physical shape for Sandhurst, Harry has decided – with the support of his medical advisers and his father – to delay starting his military career for four months until next May.” In a personal statement Prince Harry said he was ‘disappointed’ at the delay. “However I want to make sure I am 100 percent physically prepared for Sandhurst, so I have decided to wait until May just to be sure,” he said.

Prince Akishino of Japan celebrated his 39th birthday today with a private dinner at his residence in Tokyo’s Moto-Akasaka. The dinner was attended by Emperor Akihito, Empress Michiko, Crown Prince Naruhito and Princess Sayako. During a news conference with the Imperial Household Agency Prince Akishino earlier said that he was surprised by his brother’s remarks about the causes of the stress of Crown Princess Masako earlier this year. He said he had “heard the emperor himself was also surprised.” “I think he should have at least spoken first to the emperor about what he planned to say,” Prince Akishino said.

December 1st

Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands died at the Universitair Medisch Centrum in Utrecht at 18:50 this evening. He was taken to hospital in the late afternoon after his situation got worse. After discussing it with Prince Bernhard no further measures were taken to keep him alive. The wish of the prince was respected. Among the family members who were at his side when he died were Queen Beatrix, Princess Irene, Princess Margriet and Pieter van Vollenhoven. Later this evening Prince Bernhard’s body was taken back to Palace Soestdijk. People started already to bring flowers to the palace and to light candles. Prince Bernhard was born in Jena on June 29, 1911, as the eldest son of Prince Bernhard zur Lippe and Baroness Armgard von Sierstorpff-Cramm. In 1937 he married Princess Juliana of the Netherlands, who died earlier this year. Earlier today Queen Beatrix, her sons and daughters-in-law had attended the Prince Claus Prize ceremony at the Palace at the Dam Square in Amsterdam.

King Letsie III of Lesotho and his wife had their second daughter on November 20. The yet unnamed daughter was born at 11:00 at the Maseru Private Hospital. The couple already has a four-year-old daughter, Princess Senate. King Letsie III was thrown water at as he arrived the hospital, an age-old tradition telling the new father that the new-born is a girl. It was said the birth of the Princess may spark a new discussion over the Kingdom’s order of succession, which currently only allows male heirs to the throne. The King’s younger brother Prince Seeiso Seeiso – who has a one and a half year old son – remains next in line to the Basotho throne.

The engagement of Princess Sayako of Japan and Yoshiki Kuroda is to be announced officially on December 18 the Imperial Household Agency said yesterday. The announcement will be made by Toshio Yuasa, the agency’s head, followed by a news conference by the couple the same day. The time and other details of the announcement will be decided on later.

Princess Aiko of Japan celebrated her 3rd birthday today. She was taken to the Imperial Palace to spend 40 minutes with her grandparents, Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko, along with her father Crown Prince Naruhito. Crown Princess Masako didn’t accompany as she is in mourning for her grandmother who died November 19. After returning home Princess Aiko received a birthday celebration from Imperial Household Agency officials. According to the Agency the little princess has grown to 96 cm and loves to climb trees. She can now brush her own teeth and change clothes by herself. She also enjoys origami, singing and twice-weekly play sessions with other children at the palace.

The Japanese newspaper Mainichi Shimbun said today that the Japanese government has launched discussion on revision of the Imperial House Law to allow female members of the Imperial Family to ascend to the Chrysanthemum Throne. The government is also considering whether to make changes to laws to allow female members of the Imperial family to retain their Imperial status even after they marry commoners. The Cabinet’s secretariat, the Cabinet Legislation Bureau and the Imperial Household Agency plan to produce a preliminary report together on the issue and submit a bill to the Diet for approval within the next few yars following discussion with experts. The report did not cite sources. Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiroyuki Hosoda, the government’s top spokesman said he was unaware of such movements. “I think we have to continue to look at public opinion and see how the situation develops. But I don’t think it’s the appropriate moment yet.”

The Prince of Wales has commissioned a piece of classical music to commemorate his late grandmother, the Queen Mother. The piece, by British composer Sir Richard Rodney Bennett, is a 27-minute work for cello and orchestra called Reflections On a Scottish Folk song. It will be premiered by cellist Paul Watkins and the Philharmonia Orchestra, of which Prince Charles is patron. Sir Richard and his publisher, Gill Graham, visited Highgrove, the prince’s home in Gloucestershire, to discuss the work and the Queen Mother. The composer said: “We talked about his grandmother a lot. I wanted to know whether she had any favourite Scottish folk songs. There weren’t any in particular, but it turned out that she loved Edwardian music hall songs. She used to sing them to her grandchildren as she tucked them up in bed at night.” The final work is based on the folk song Ca’ the Yowes (Call the Ewes), the words to which exist in several versions by Robert Burns. Reflections On a Scottish Folksong will be premiered in early 2006, but the prince will get a preview next year at Clarence House, his London home, with Watkins playing the cello, and the composer filling in the orchestral parts at the piano.

Leanne Wood has become the first to be ordered out of the Welsh assembly chamber after calling Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain “Mrs Windsor”. She said: “We are more at risk now than we have ever, ever been before and the measures outlined in Mrs Windsor’s speech will not address this risk.” She refused to withdraw the remark, made during a debate on the British government’s proposals for Wales from the Queen’s Speech. Presiding Office Lord Elis-Thomas then told her to “withdraw” for the rest of the day, and she left, accompanied by some other members of the assembly. Later she said she was treated unfairly and the expulsion was unnecessary and that “I called her that because that’s her name.”

December 2nd

The funeral of Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands will take place on December 11 at the New Church in Delft. He will wear a uniform of the Royal Air Force. The mortal remains will be brought from The Hague to Delft on a gun-carriage. The Rev. Carel ter Linden will lead the funeral service. On his request the Prince will not be embalmed. The royal family will have court mourning until the day of the funeral. Until Christmas there will be family mourning.

In an extra edition of the Staatscourant the death of Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands is announced by Queen Beatrix: “With lots of sadness I give notice that my beloved father has died. He died peacefully yesterday. My family and I feel strenghtened by the thoughts that many share this huge sadness with us. Beatrix.”

Yesterday Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands had wanted to thank the Dutch for the many tokens of sympathy he received during his illness. Because of the fact that his condition quickly worsened he wasn’t able to do it anymore.

In an interview with the magazine Story on his recent trip to China Crown Prince Philippe of Belgium has accused Flanders’ far right political party the Vlaams Belang (formerly Vlaams Blok) of “trying to destroy our country.” He said: “In our country there are people, parties such as the Vlaams Belang, which are against Belgium, and want to destroy. I can assure you that they will have to deal with me.” His remarks were followed by a rebuke from Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt, who reminded the prince that his constitutional role was not to get involved in the country’s politics. “Even if I can imagine the prince is against certain parties that want to split the country, that does not correspond to the current and above all future constitutional role of the prince in our country,” the Prime Minister said in a statement. “This role requires a certain reserve in comments, particularly about political parties, even if these parties do not want good for the future of our country.” The newspapers La Derniere Heure and Het Laatste Nieuws report today that 80% of the Belgians think that the royal family is entitled to freedom of speech. 45% agreed with Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt that the prince as a member of the royal family shouldn’t criticise political parties, but another 46% said he had every right to comment on individual parties. Some 55% of those polled supported the prince’s views, compared to 30% who disagreed with him.

December 3rd

Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi said yesterday that he reiterated his belief that the public would support a woman succeeding to the Chrysanthemum throne, amid signs that the government may begin paving the way for this possibility. “Reigning empresses existed in Japan in the past. I think the public will welcome (a reigning) empress in the present day. I don’t think there will be many objections,” Koizumi told reporters at his official residence.

December 5th

At noon the mortal remains of Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands were transferred from Palace Soestdijk to Palace Noordeinde in The Hague. He was accompanied by Queen Beatrix, Princess Irene, Princess Margriet and Pieter van Vollenhoven and Princess Christina. At noon the coffin was placed in a motor-hearse at the back of the castle. At the front of the palace the family – almost all grandchildren with partners and several great-grandchildren – stood on the steps to say goodbye and some of them cried when the car left. In front of the steps members of the staff of the palace paid their last respect to the prince. A group of eight horn-blowers blew the signal ‘End of the Hunt’. In the garden honorary guards were formed by veteran soldiers and scouts. Outside the palace grounds hundreds of people waited to say goodbye. On the way to The Hague hundreds of people watched the procession. At 13:40 the procession arrived at Palace Noordeinde in The Hague. Also there hundreds of people stood outside. The coffin with the prince was wrapped in a Dutch flag and on top was a single white carnation. Tomorrow dignitaries will have the opportunity to pay their respect to the Prince. In the afternoon Pieter van Vollenhoven, the Prince of Orange, Prince Maurits and Prince Pieter-Christiaan van Oranje-Nassau, van Vollenhoven held the first vigil of half an hour at the chapelle ardente at Palace Noordeinde, wearing their uniforms. 14 of the prince’s orders are placed on three cushions in front of the coffin. Left of the coffin is a wreath of the grandchildren, on the right one of the great-grandchildren. In front is a wreath of the prince’s four daughters and his son-in-law. From Tuesday to Thursday the public can pay their respect at Palace Noordeinde.

Prince Harry of Wales’s girlfriend Chelsy Davey has talked to the magazine The Newsoftheworld. About their recent trip to Argentina she said: “I sort of got seen at the beginning of the trip when I arrived there, but we weren’t seen again after that. Harry was pretty pleased about that.” The couple is preparing for a holiday together with some close friends on an island off the coast of Mozambique. “I hope we’ll be able to give everyone the slip. But I doubt we’ll be able to pull it off.” Afterwards Chelsy and Harry hope to spend private time together before Christmas. Chelsy also said to the magazine: “It’s very difficult for him to have any kind of normal relationship with anyone.”

December 6th

A grey Rolls-Royce – a 40/50 horsepower Phantom II Sedanca de Ville built in 1929-30 – used by the late Earl Mountbatten of Burma was sold at auction at auction house Bonhams today for £69,700. The telephone bidder remained anonymous. The car will be taken to a European museum. Earl Mountbatten used the car to be transported from his home, Broadlands, in Romsey, Hampshire, to London.

Prince Sultan bin Abdullah bin Abdulrahman Al Saud of Saudi Arabia died yesterday at the age of 52 following a long illness. Funeral payers were performed today after Noon prayers at Iman Turki bin Abdullah Mosque in Riyadh.

December 7th

Today about 11.000 people said goodbye to Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands at Palace Noordeinde in The Hague. The last people left the palace around midnight.

In a news conference yesterday Shingo Haketa, vice grand steward of the Imperial Household said about Prince Akishino’s recent comments in his birthday interview: “He did not speak with any special intention; he was talking about the attitudes of members of the Imperial Family, offering constructive thoughts.” Mr Haketa rejected the view that was spread in the Japanese and foreign media last week that there were spats and criticism within the Imperial Household Agency. He described the reports as “wanting something to be there even if it wasn’t, and even making something up if there was nothing.”

December 8th

More than 17.000 people paid their respect to Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands at Palace Noordeinde today. Like yesterday the last people passed the coffin around midnight. Sometimes the waiting time was more than 2 1/2 hour.

A Bill to allow the eldest child of a future British Sovereign to succeed to the throne, regardless of the child’s gender, was introduced in the Lords today. The bill was launched by former Labour minister Lord Dubs. The bill would also repeal the historic bar on the heir to the throne marrying a Roman Catholic.

Former royal butler Paul Burrell is ready to bury his image as Princess Diana’s “rock”. He is ready to reinvent himself after appearing on I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here!. Mr Burrell told the Mirror that he was now able to move on from being seen only as the Princess’ “dutiful butler. I can’t erase the magical memories of life with the princess but I feel I can move on and let go now. I discovered the real me in the jungle, lost the butler and dealt with some demons. Viewers saw the real Paul Burrell.” But he added that it would not be until after the British inquest into Diana’s death next year that he would be able to close the door finally.

On Monday NBC TV in the USA showed a second extract from tapes made by the late Diana Princess of Wales with her voice coach Peter Settelen during the period when she was separating from the Prince of Wales. She spoke about being in love with her former police bodyguard Barry Mannakee, who was removed from royal duties two years before he was killed while riding pillion on a motorcycle. She didn’t mention his name, but she spoke of falling “deeply in love with someone who worked in this environment” and added that she considered moving away from the Prince of Wales to live with him. She said she suspected that he had been “bumped off”. “I was quite happy to give all this up … I just, you know, wore my heart on my sleeve. I was only happy when he was around.” Princess Diana told that the Prince of Wales had told her of his death – “the biggest blow of my life” – just before they arrived for an engagement at the Cannes film festival. The BBC reported that Sir John Stevens, the commissioner of the Metropolitan police, who is reinvestigating the circumstances of the princess’s death in the Paris car crash in 1997 before an inquest is held next year, will now also re-examine Mr Mannakee’s death 10 years earlier. A Scotland Yard spokesman said: “All relevant evidence is being carefully considered by the commissioner.” On the tapes Princess Diana said she was devastated when her mother left her father. She also told how she pushed her ‘ghastly’ stepmother Raine Spencer – dubbed Acid Raine – down a flight of stairs in a fit of temper at her brother’s wedding in 1989. Diana says: “My father and stepmother refused to even say hello to my mother. And it got me so angry, the behaviour of these grown-ups, that I ploughed in and screamed at my stepmother and my father. I said it was very bad manners. They were just indulging themselves and this was Charles’s day and Victoria’s. Do we have to live in the past every time mummy walks in the house? My stepmother and I ended up having this row. And I pushed her down the stairs. Which gave me enormous satisfaction. My father didn’t speak to me for six months. I had to go back and say, you know… I love you daddy, etc, etc. I was so angry. I wanted to throttle that stepmother of mine because she brought such grief.”

Prince Ernst August of Hannover is mounting an appeal against his conviction last month for assault, his lawyer announced today. Since the deadline for an appeal has passed already on December 2nd, the prince is seeking special leave to go to the next highest court. On November 25 the prince was fined EUR 455,000 by a state court for causing grievous bodily harm.

The memoirs of Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte of France and a draft copy of his unpublished were sold in Paris yesterday. The 84-page memoir recounts his early military campaigns that brought much of Europe under French rule. The Emperor wrote his memoirs between 1817 and 1820 on St Helena. The memoirs were sold to an unidentified Swiss buyer for EUR 250.000. The will was sold for EUR 110,000 to a French collector, the auction house said. The will was only recently discovered, and is believed to have never been published. The memoirs are said to contain remarkable day-to-day detail written in a vivacious style as well as numerous corrections and spelling mistakes. They were published in 1823, two years after his death.

December 9th

Infanta Cristina of Spain and her husband Iñaki Urdangarín expect their fourth child in late Spring. The couple already has three sons.

In a ceremony at the crypt of the Église de la Compassion in Paris Prince Charles-Philippe d’Orléans yesterday evening received the title of Duke of Anjou from his uncle the Count of Paris. The ceremony among others was attended by the Count and Countess of Paris, the Count and Countess of Evreux and Princess Adélaïde d’Orléans.

In a statement issued on the occassion of her 41st birthday Crown Princess Masako of Japan has talked about her illness. She said: “Over the last year there have been some rough periods, but thanks to the warm support from the Crown Prince and many other people, I feel my health is gradually improving. It will probably be some time before I can resume my official duties, but I will make every effort to recover as soon as a possible.” Late 2003 the Imperial Household Agency said the Crown Princess is suffering from an ‘adjustment disorder’. Doctors say she has now recovered enough strength to do simple things, although she still tires easily and has trouble sleeping.

December 10th

The Nobel prizes were handed over in Oslo and in Stockholm. The royal family of Norway attended the ceremony in Oslo without Crown Princess Mette-Marit who was ill. The Swedish royal family attended the ceremony in Sweden without Princess Madeleine who suffered from influenza.

Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko of Japan plan to visit Norway and Ireland in May 2005 it was announced today. They’ll visite Ireland from May 7 to May 10, and Norway from May 10 to May 14.

Prince Hans Adam II of Liechtenstein has paid £19.045.250 for a cabinet at an auction at Christie’s in London yesterday, which makes it the most expensive non-pictorial work of art ever sold at auction. The 12ft high Badminton Cabinet was made by Florentine craftsmen for the Duke of Beaufort in 1726. The cabinet will go on public display at the Liechtenstein Museum in Vienna.

Prince Dimitry Romanov plans to accompany the remains of Tsarina Maria Feodorovna of Russia from Copenhagen to St. Petersburg in 2006. “I think someone from our family should accompany the remains of our relative,” Romanov said Wednesday at a news conference. “I was the Romanov who escorted the remains of the last tsar’s family from Yekaterinburg in 1997.” Ivan Artsishevsky, head of the State Protocol Department in St. Petersburg, said the remains of the Empress may return to Russia on a navy vessel. “Princess Dagmar came to Russia on a Danish warship, and we want a reminder of that fact,” he said. “Since the Danish part of the [handing over] ceremony will be performed by Danish authorities, the delivery of the remains may take place in international waters.” Artsishevsky said preparations for the reburial have begun. “We work with reverence, having a clear understanding that we are touching the history of a great person, who left her country as a princess and went back as a great empress.”

December 11th

At 9:40 the funeral procession of Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands left Palace Noordeinde. The gun-carriage with the coffin was followed by a carriage with Prince Friso van Oranje-Nassau, Prince Jaime de Bourbon de Parme, Prince Bernhard van Oranje-Nassau, van Vollenhoven and Bernardo Guillermo. Queen Beatrix, Princess Irene, Princess Margriet, Pieter van Vollenhoven and Princess Christina joined the procession in a carriage halfway the route. At the town hall the Prince of Orange, Princess Máxima, Pieter van Vollenhoven, Prince Maurits and Princess Marilène received family members, Dutch authorities and foreign royal guests. They all crossed the market square on foot around noon. The funeral procession arrived at the market square in Delft around 12:15. Just before the coffin was carried into the church three F-16 fighters and a Spitfire performed a Missing Man Formation above the Grand Market in Delft. At the door all grandchildren of the prince waited. The funeral service started at 12.30 and ended around 14:00. The ceremony was led by the Rev. Carel ter Linden. After the coffin was carried into the church grandchildren lit candles. By special request of the late Prince Bernhard his daughter Princess Christina sang the Mexican song ‘La Golondrina’. While ‘The Last Post’ was being played the coffin was carried into the family vault followed by the prince’s four daughters and his son-in-law. The funeral service ended with the 6th verse of the National Anthem. In the afternoon the royal family held a reception for royal guests and other invited people at Palace Noordeinde. Among the funeral guests were King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia of Sweden, King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia of Spain, Prince Henrik of Denmark, the Duke of Edinburgh, King Harald V and Queen Sonja of Norway, Grand Duke Henri of Luxemburg, King Albert II of the Belgians, Prince Hans Adam II of Liechtenstein, King Constantine II of Greece, Prince El Hassan bin Talal and Princess Sarvath of Jordan, Prince Moulay Abdullah of Morocco, Prince Kardam and Princess Miriam of Bulgaria, the Aga Khan, Duke Franz of Bavaria, Duke Max and Duchess Elizabeth in Bavaria, Landgrave Moritz von Hessen, the Duke of Parma, Prince Armin and Princess Traute as well as Prince Stephan zur Lippe, Stephan and Stephanie as well as Thilo von Watzdorf, Count Marcus and Countess Annabelle von Oeynhausen. Also Anita van Eijk and Aimée Söhngen, girlfriends of Prince Pieter-Christiaan and Prince Floris were present.

December 12th

According to the police 15.000 people lined the streets in The Hague, 14.000 people stood along the route from Palace Noordeinde to Delft, and 20.000 people were present in Delft to see the funeral of Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands. 3.606.000 people watched the funeral on television.

At least 17.500 people visited the New Church in Delft today to have a look at the decoration of the church for the funeral of Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands that took place yesterday. Special is that the family vault hasn’t been closed yet, although a curtain hides the vault itself for the people. The queues were long and sometimes people had to wait almost four hours to get inside.

December 13th

King Mswati of Swaziland has bought a luxury $500,000 Maybach 62 car with a television, DVD player, 21-speaker surround-sound system, fridge, cordless telephone and sterling silver champagne flutes. “We feel great that the king of Swaziland has chosen our product, this shows that our product has arrived. This kind of car is the super high end of the luxury segment,” DaimlerChrysler South Africa’s spokesperson Fanyana Shiburi told the Times of Swaziland. “Our customers are exclusive people, the super-rich, the kings and queens, oil-rich countries, North Africans and massive lottery winners.” Pro-democracy organisations in Swaziland have called on the international community to apply small sanctions against the royal family. They say it is unacceptable for the monarch of a country with 70% of the population living below the poverty line to spend so much money on a vehicle.

December 14th

The Dutch newspaper De Volkskrant today published a series of interviews with the late Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands conducted between 2001 and 2004. The interview was only to be published after the death of the prince. In the interview the prince admits that he had two out-of-wedlock daughters: Alexia from France and Alicia from the USA. He said that his wife Queen Juliana met this two daughters and found them ‘terribly sweet’. In the interview he also talks about the Greet Hofmans affair and the Lockheed affair. Questioned about his love for Queen Juliana, the prince said there was a definite percentage of love and a definite percentage of attraction. “It was a challenge to make something of it,” he said.

Prince Carl Philip of Sweden was appointed lieutenant today at Karlbergs Palace.

December 15th

Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende today said that the interview with the late Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands in de Volkskrant yesterday came as a complete surprise, also for Queen Beatrix. In a debat this afternoon the Prime Minister rejected calls of members of parliament to ease the restrictions on members of the Dutch royal family making public statements. He said that the royal family already has enough room within the existing rules governing ministerial responsibility to issue statements outlining their private opinions. He asserted further that this responsibility was not a “straight jacket”. Balkenende said he would not comment on the interviews further because he did not have the authority to discuss the contents of the interviews. According to a poll by View/Ture 78% of the Dutch think it was a good decision of Prince Bernhard to tell so openly about his life with the journalists of De Volkskrant. About 10% of the people find it wrong and painful for the royal family. 86% of the people say the press shouldn’t search for more illegitimate children of Prince Bernhard. About 50% of the people think that the prince hasn’t told everything yet. 57% says that they value the prince still the same, 32% even says that they value him more now.

New evidence suggesting Queen Victoria did have a love affair with her Highland servant John Brown is published today. A letter written by Victoria to Viscount Cranbrook on March 30, 1883, after Brown’s death likens the Queen’s feelings to becoming a widow for the second time. Victoria wrote of “her present unbounded grief for the loss of the best, most devoted of servants and truest and dearest friends”. She further wrote: “Perhaps never in history was there so strong and true an attachment, so warm and loving a friendship between the sovereign and servant as existed between her and her dear faithful Brown. Strength of character, as well as power of frame – the most fearful uprightness, kindness … combined with a tender warm heart … made him one of the most remarkable men who could be known …” The letter adds: “And the Queen feels that life for the second time is become (correct) most trying and sad to bear deprived of all she so needs.”

Prince Franz Wilhelm of Prussia, a great-grandson of Emperor Wilhelm II of Germany, has won approval to buy back the Royal Porcelain Manufacture KPM in Berlin. The company was acquired by King Friedrich the Great of Prussia in 1763 and has been a state property since the Emperor abdicated in 1918. It has been put up for sale by the city as part of a bid to reduce the German’s capital’s crushing debt of over EUR 50 billion. Also KPM is in big financial trouble. The tabloid Bild says the Prince plans to build a hotel on the KPM site and transform the manufacture of fine porcelain into a tourist attraction.

December 16th

Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark will once again take part in an Arctic dog sled expedition in northern Greenland. In March 2005 he will join the last two weeks of a seven- week expedition that will re-enact a similar expedition nearly a century ago. The trek is being organized by the Danish Broadcasting Corp., which is making a documentary about the event. The expedition will follow the 900-kilometre trail that the Denmark Expedition left when it crossed northern Greenland in 1906-07. The 28-member party used dogs sleds as they mapped the region and three people were killed. “Our mission is not to solve the mystery about the three men’s death,” producer Søren Lindbjerg said. The documentary, to be aired in 2006, is “to tell the story of the Denmark Expedition.”

December 17th

Former royal butler Paul Burrell says he is ‘gutted’ after hearing his dad sold letters from Princess Diana and Prince Charles on internet auction site eBay for up to £1,000. The notes from the Prince and Princess were written to the Burrell family in 1995 after the death of Paul’s mother, Beryl. His father sold the letters on the net as he ‘did not want them hanging around the house any more’. Yesterday, Paul Burrell told The Chronicle: ‘It saddens me enormously that my father has, without even consulting me, placed for sale items which I thought were precious to him and of sentimental worth, not just in terms of the Princess but in terms of my late mother.’ Burrell’s spokesman Steve Dennis said: ‘Paul is not backing his dad at all. We understand these letters were sold before he went to the jungle. The first Paul knew of this came only on Wednesday after a reporter from a national newspaper contacted him.’

The Duke of Gloucester was clocked on the A47 doing more than the 60mph limit in his Ford car on August 11 at Thorney near Peterborough. He was due to appear before Ely magistrates on Thursday but could not attend court because he had a prior arrangement to attend a memorial to his mother, Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester. The case will now be heard on Thursday, December 23.

December 18th

Princess Takamatsu died of blood poisoning today at 4:24am at St. Luke’s International Hospital in Chuo Ward, Tokyo, at the age of 92, after having been in and out of hospital since February. She was born on December 26, 1911 in Tokyo as Kikuko Tokugawa, daughter of Prince Yoshihisa Tokugawa and a princess Arisugawa. She was a granddaughter of Yoshinobu Tokugawa, the last shogun of Japan. She married in 1928 Prince Takamatsu, a younger brother of Emperor Hirohito. The couple didn’t have children. A vehicle carrying the late Princess Takamatsu’s body left hospital in the morning escorted by police cars. She was taken to her home in Minato Ward. All members of the Imperial family – Emperor Akihito, Empress Michiko, Crown Prince Naruhito, Crown Princess Masako, Prince Akishino, Princess Kiko and Princess Nori – later visited the home. The Emperor and other Imperial family members will be in mourning for five days. A funeral will be held Dec. 26 at the Toshimagaoka cemetery in Bunkyo Ward.

Princess Sayako of Japan who was set to announce her engagement today postponed the announcement until a later date due to the death of her great-aunt Princess Takamatsu, the Imperial Household Agency said.

A slice of the 1981 wedding cake of the Prince of Wales and Princess Diana as well as a rare Cuvee Dom Perignon 1961 magnum of champagne from the same event, were sold at auction. The champagne bottle fetched 1,050 pounds, while the slice of royal cake only managed 234 pounds. The cake was snapped up by a collector of Princess Diana items. The champagne bottle was bought by a collector of royal memorabilia.

December 20th

The Prince of Orange and Princess Máxima of the Netherlands cancelled a meeting with Dutch royalty journalists after reports about a new pregnancy of the princess in the newspaper De Telegraaf yesterday. The couple is angry at the newspaper and doesn’t want to answer questions about the subject.

December 21st

Count Lennart Bernadotte af Wisborg, Lord of the flower-island Mainau in Lake Constance, died peacefully today at Mainau Castle surrounded by his family. Count Lennart was 95 years old. He was born at the Royal Palace in Stockholm on May 8, 1909, as the only child of Prince Wilhelm of Sweden and Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna of Russia. A spokesman said: “The family is deeply moved and at the same time thankful that they have been able to have their patriarch around for so long. A fulfilled life full of success has come to an end.” He is survived by his second wife Sonja, eight children, 13 grandchildren and ten great-grandchildren.

December 23rd

The newspaper Trouw today reveals that Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands wrote two letters to Adolf Hitler days before his wedding to Princess Juliana of the Netherlands. In the letters he denied rumours about him being a traitor of his country Germany. He also asked to give back passports to German wedding guests so that they could attend the wedding.

The Duke of Gloucester has been banned from driving for six months for speeding. He also was fined £60 and ordered to pay £35 costs. He admitted doing 70mph in a 60mph zone in August on the A47 at Thorney, Cambridgeshire. The court clerk told magistrates that the offence was the Duke’s fourth in three years. She said three points had been added to his licence for speeding in November 2001, three for speeding in December 2002 and three for speeding in January 2003.

Emperor Akihito of Japan has used his traditional birthday address to speak about the illness of his daughter-in-law Crown Princess Masako. About the Crown Prince’s remarks earlier this year he said: “It was the first time for me also to hear it. The crown prince’s words sparked speculation not based on facts and there were often days when I was downcast.” He said: “It is regrettable if our respect for the independence of the crown prince and crown princess, who maintain their own independent household, has proved to be the cause of our failure to notice these various problems.” He added: “I sincerely hope that in frankly conveying the hopes that they now have, the crown prince and crown princess will be able to move towards the realisation of these hopes and that this will bring them stability and brightness in their life together.” Some 14.000 people had gathered in the Chowa Pavillion to hear the emperor’s speech.

December 24th

Thirty-seven years after he was forced to flee Greece, former King Constantine II of Greece was received yesterday at the Irodou Atticou St. presidential palace in Athens that for some six decades served as the royal palace. The visit was only confirmed in the afternoon by President Costis Stephanopoulos’s press office. “President Stephanopoulos accepted a plea by former King Constantine to visit the presidential palace, accompanied by his wife and family members,” a statement said. “During the visit, the president met the former king.” Presidential sources said Stephanopoulos had agreed on ‘humanitarian’ grounds, and that no formalities had been observed.

December 26th

The Right Hon Sir Angus Ogilvy, husband of Princess Alexandra of Kent, died today at Kingston Hospital, south west London after a long illness. He had been battled with cancer and recently suffered pneumonia. He was born on September 14, 1928 in London, as a son of the 12th Earl of Airlie and Lady Bridget Coke. In 1963 he married Princess Alexandra of Kent. The couple has two children: James and Marina. They also have two granddaughters and two grandsons. Buckingham Palace said that Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain expressed “great sorrow” when she learned of his death on Boxing Day morning. The Rev Jonathan Riviere, rector of Sandringham, said prayers for him during a service attended by the royal family at St Mary Magdalen Church on the royal Norfolk estate near Kings Lynn. No further details of his death or funeral arrangements are expected until Monday.

Princess Takamatsu was buried today at the Toshimagaoka Cemetery in Tokyo’s Bunkyo Ward. Some 560 people attended, including Crown Prince Naruhito and Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi. A hearse carrying the casket with the body of the princess left her home in Tokyo’s Minato Ward shortly after 9 a.m., and passed the Imperial Palace before arriving at the cemetery.

December 27th

Bhumi Jensen, the only son of Princess Ubolratana of Thailand and Peter Jensen – the eldest daughter of King Bhumibol and Queen Sirikit of Thailand – died in the tsunami disaster yesterday morning. His body was found this afternoon beneath a part of ruined walls of a hotel in Phuket where he was staying. He was reportedly swept by a huge tide of tsunami to the part of the hotel building, where the walls collapsed. Princess Ubolratana herself and her youngest daughter Sirikitiya were reportedly safe. A royal private plane was flown to Phuket this afternoon by Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn to take the body of 21-year-old Bhumi Jensen back to Bangkok. The body was taken to the Grand Palace. His Majesty the King has presented a Royal coffin to his late grandson, and has accepted his grandson’s funeral service under his Royal patronage for seven days.

Count Lennart Bernadotte af Wisborg was buried in the family vault at the Schlosskirche St. Marien at Mainau during the Christmas days. The funeral was private and only attended by close family members. On January 21st the count will be remembered by the town of Konstanz with a festive ceremony at the city theater. Mainau plans a commemoration concert in Spring.

December 28th

On behalf of her parents the Prince of Orange and Princess Máxima of the Netherlands, Princess Catharina-Amalia of the Netherlands announced today: “I am very happy that now I can say to you all that in the middle of July 2005 I hope to welcome a little brother or sister. My parents are very grateful for it and happy about it. I wanted to take this opportunity also to thank for all cards and presents I received from many people from the country for my first birthday. I had a great day!”

December 29th

In an interview at Borombhimarn Hall in the Grand Palace Princess Ubolratana of Thailand told that she had never thought she was about to lose her son Bhumi Jensen as she saw him running in front of her as the waves struck. She said she was inside the Flora Hotel in Phangnga and was told to flee because of the giant waves. She ran out of the hotel along with her daughter Sirikitiya and some members of her entourage. After the waves disappeared she was asked to go to safety in Phuket. As both police escorts of her son were safe she assumed at the time that her son was allright. After hearing her son was missing she returned to Phangnga where she was joined by her brother Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn. Rescuers found her son’s body finally on Monday morning. The funeral rite is being held at the Sahathai Samakom Pavilion in the Grand Palace. With tears in her eyes, Princess Ubolratana said she clipped off a lock of her son’s hair to remember him by during the bathing rite. Princess Ubolratana said she felt a tragic loss. She told she had made Christmas special for her son this year by giving him one gift each day, starting on December 22. On Christmas Day he sent an SMS to her mobile phone saying he was so glad to have received a Nintendo game as a gift from his mother. The princess said that she still had one more gift left for her son and had intended to give it to him on Dec 26, the day the giant waves took his life. She said her son had been her constant companion recently. Now he was no longer by her side she would devote herself more to work. Many members of the general public turned up at Sahathai Samakom Pavilion yesterday to pay their last respects to Bhumi Jensen. Condolence books were open for signing on week days.

The Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial will fully reopen on May 1, 2005, ten months after it was first officially opened, The Royal Parks has announced. It will be preceded by a four-month project – due to begin on January 10 – which will include improving wheelchair access to the fountain’s three bridges. Other alterations consist of replacing the existing 12mm turf around the memorial with a more robust, 35mm, wear-resistant rye grass turf. Drainage at the Hyde Park site will be also enhanced, with the installation of “rootzone slits” to enable the area to cope with extreme wet weather, and metal bars will be placed underneath the bridges to prevent anything getting trapped.

December 30th

The Imperial Household Agency today formally announced the engagement of Princess Sayako of Japan and Yoshiki Kuroda. The marriage is likely to take place after the summer of 2005. A news conference was being held after approval was given by Emperor Akihito of Japan. Imperial Household Grand Steward Toshio Yuasa said that the relationship between the Princess and Mr Kuroda had deepened since they met again in January 2003 at Prince Akishino’s. However they already know each other from a young age. Following the announcement the engaged couple held a press conference. When asked about his proposal to Princess Sayako, Kuroda said he asked her to marry him this year. Princess Sayako said that her parents were happy about it when she told them: “They smiled and expressed their happiness, saying, ‘Congratulations'” She also said that she and her fiance shared many values: “In terms of hobbies and interests, we are both different and don’t have too many things in common, but in terms of what we value, there are many things for which we share sympathy. I think this is also one of the reasons we can feel at ease when we are together.” The couple said that they want a ‘quiet home’ that allows them to feel at ease at as they respected each other’s thoughts. After the wedding Princess Sayako is to leave the Imperial Family and become a commoner in accordance with the Imperial House Law. Commenting on the engagement Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko of Japan said: “We feel very confident about the decision of these two young people to share their lives togethre after two years of courtship.”

Richard Abel Smith, son of Sir Henry Abel Smith and Lady May Cambridge (only daughter of the 1st Earl of Athlone and Princess Alice of Albany) died after a stroke on December 23 at the age of 71. He is survived by his wife Marcia, daughter Katherine and his grandchildren Amelia, George, Richard and Michael. The funeral service will take place at Southwell Minster, Nottinghamshire on January 18, 2005.

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