Every year with Christmas there is a small list of royals – up to 15 – who receive a Christmas card from me. Because I like them, find them interesting and they send a card back. I wouldn’t send cards to royals I have never heard of, just because they send something. The royal families of the Netherlands, Belgium, Great Britain and Monaco always send the loveliest cards back, often with a family photo. Only the Dutch send Unicef cards. I am not a huge fan of boring Christmas letters. I have tried sending cards to Spain several times in the past, but never received anything back, so I stopped sending. I heard from others they sometimes receive something back, and sometimes they don’t, so they probably only have a limited amount of cards available.
As usual the Lippe family was the first to reply to my cards, hardly a week after I had sent them. The present head of the family Prince Stephan, his wife Maria and the children always send a nice family photo. Princess Traute, in her 90s now, still replies too, sending a photo with her faithfull dog. I have met both the princely couple and Princess Traute and her late husband, Prince Armin, over the years, and they’re lovely people. I once got the chance even to thank the latter couple personally for sending these cards.
Belgium was rather early this year and arrived before Christmas too. A lovely, pretty relaxed family photo taken in July I think. Sent on 19 December, but the card of the Duke and Duchess of Aosta only arrived on 3 January 2019 from Italy. A nice photo of the ducal couple this time, which seems to be taken on the 75th birthday of the Duke in September 2018. I finally almost finished the biography of his grandmother Princess Hélène (The Wandering Princess) by Edward Hanson.
To my joy on 15 January 2019 the christmas card of the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall arrived with a lovely photo taken on the 70th birthday party of the Prince in November.
And all of the sudden it goes quite quickly. Thank you Royal Mail! Another card from the UK arrived on 16 January 2019, the one of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge with a lovely family picture from the christening of their youngest child Prince Louis.
17 January 2019, three days royal mail in a row. King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima sent their yearly Unicef-card. Again a lovely motive, although I might have received the same one in previous years. Time for new cards some Dutch royalty-watchers on Facebook wondered? Maybe the new Palace Huis ten Bosch, although that would mean no card anymore supporting a good cause.
An Archduke and Archduchess of Austria – I prefer not to name them – sent a card with this picture on the front, which arrived on 22 January 2019. The back of the card shows a photo of the couple, while inside there is a picture of their children. I’ve sent them cards over the past few years and always get a nice one back. Early February I received a mysterious package, and when I opened it, it turned out to be from one of my royalty friends who had read here that I had stopped sending the Spanish royals cards, because I never received something in return. And now I am suddenly not only the owner of the wonderful Christmas card 2018 of the Spanish King and Queen, but also of a few cards of the past few years. It turned out she had them all double. Thanks again!
On 12 February the Christmas card of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex finally arrived here. A great and funny photo of Meghan holding an umbrella above Harry while he is giving a speech. The letter from the Queen (and Duke of Edinburgh) just managed to arrive on the very last day of February.
Now I have to wait for more cards … some won’t turn up until February, or even later in the year, but I am very patient. I am only quite surprised Monaco hasn’t arrived yet, as they are usually rather early.