Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Prince William's Tour of Finland (2017)

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Prince William will go on a solo tour of Finland, November 29th-30th.

Wednesday, November 29th 
  • (Arrive in Finland)
  • Meet with President Sauli Niinistö at the Presidential Palace
  • Visit an ice rink in Helsinki and learn about Icehearts, a team sports program for children who require long-term and professional support in their development.
  • Attend a reception hosted by Sarah Price, British Ambassador to Finland.
  • Attend banquet held by President Niinistö and the First Lady at their official residence in Mäntyniemi.
Thursday, November 30th 
  • Visit the Slush startup and technology event and meet with Finnish and British companies
  • Visit a primary school in Helsinki to learn about their innovative learning environments and methods and the KiVa Koulu anti-bullying programme
  • Visit Helsinki Christmas Market in Esplanadi Park
  • Visit City Hall for a luncheon offered by the City of Helsinki
  • Presentation of the Finnish Air Force at Helsinki-Vantaa Airport
  • (Depart for UK)

Monday, 6 November 2017

Prince Guillaume and Princess Stephanie of Luxembourg - 5th Wedding Anniversary Reply (2017)

A lovely reply from Luxembourg arrived over the weekend!

I had written to Prince Guillaume and Princess Stéphanie, the Hereditary Grand Duke & Grand Duchess, last month for their 5th wedding anniversary. This reply came just under a month.

The envelope is the usual we see from Luxembourg. It is interesting to see the address placed so far over to the right.

More than half of my envelopes from Luxembourg have used this same car stamp from 2009. I assume they just have a huge stock of them. It is a shame, being one of the few royal families to use real stamps, that they don't show off more recent ones.

The postmark is for "Journee Mondiale du Diabète/World Diabetes Day" on November 14th.  The postmark runs from October 25th - November 20th this year. This same postmark has been used in past years to mark World Diabetes Day.

The back of the envelope features the blue Luxembourg Crown.

This reply is formatted a little different from the others I have received. The Luxembourg Royals don't have a consistent layout they use. The placement of the crown and the date changes. The color, font, size, alignment, and style of the message also changes.

(Retired Grand Duke Jean's replies are more consistent, but his mail is handled by a different office.)

It looks like the message got a bit mixed up in translation. They made a few mistakes:
  • "Their Royal Highness" should be plural, "Their Royal Highnesses"
  • It should be "wedding anniversary," not "wedding birthday"
    • In French, the word for birthday and anniversary is the same, "Anniversaire." So, an understandable translation error. 
  • There shouldn't be an "s" on "sincerely thanks you" 
I would think part of this mistake come from not having a standard layout of the message. It seems like whoever made this reply was a little rushed. 

If we look back at Henri & Maria Teresa's 35th Wedding Anniversary Reply from last year, you will see they didn't make the same mistakes. (The "s" on "thanks" is appropriate in this sentence.)

If you haven't already, check out our guide for Christmas 2017! I will probably start sending out my Christmas letters late next week. We recommend people have their Christmas letters and cards mailed out by December 5th. 

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Thursday, 2 November 2017

Duchess Sarah - Birthday Reply (2017)

A reply from the UK came today! I had written to Sarah, Duchess of York last month for her 58th Birthday.

The reply is the usual you see from her. The back of the envelope features Sarah's green Monogram.

Inside is a simple letter, thanking me for remembering the Duchess's Birthday.

The letter is signed by someone. Like usual no printed name or position. But the signature does look similar to the letters I've received from Sarah's office in the past, so likely the same person.

This reply had about the same response time as other years for Sarah's birthday.

Sarah has changed up the quote at the bottom of her letter. This year, she features J. M. Barrie, a Scottish Author, best known for his Peter Pan novels.

The quote reads: "Those who bring sunshine to the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves." - James M. Barrie (1860-1937)

There is quite a bit of Royal - Peter Pan connections:
  • The Royal Family actually knew the author, James M. Barrie. He used to tell stories to the Queen & Princess Margret when they were young girls. 
  • Barrie donated the copyrights for Peter Pan to the Great Ormond St Hospital. So, the royalties from the works and adaptions go to the hospital. There have been a number of royals connected to the Great Ormond St Hospital.
    • Queen Victoria was Patron (1852-?)
    • Princess Mary, the Princess Royal was Vice Patron and President (?-?)
    • Princess Diana was President (1989-1997)
    • Queen is Patron (1965- Present)
  • One of Barrie's novels is called Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens. And today there is a statue of Peter Pan in the public part of Kensington Palace Garden. (See map below)
  • Duchess Sarah gave a commentary on The Legacy of Pan for a featurette for the DVD of Universal's 2003 live-action Peter Pan.
    • The film was dedicated to Dodi Fayed, Princess Diana boyfriend. His father helped financed the movie.

Our guide for Christmas 2017 is now up!

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Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Christmas 2017 - Main Page

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Christmas is one of my favorite times of the year! And of course, it is a very exciting time for Royal Watchers. There is plenty going on with Speeches, Concerts, Holiday Events, Christmas Cards, Official Photos, etc. 

Writing to the Royals for Christmas
2017 Official Christmas Photo
  • None yet, obviously! 
2017 Christmas Replies
  • None yet, obviously! 
    2017 Christmas/New Years Speeches
    Most of European Monarchs give a speech sometime during the holiday season. We will link them here when they get posted, with English Translations, if they are not in English or subtitled. 

    (All times are Local/London. Times in Blue are speculations, based on last year

      Christmas Eve Speeches
      • King Philippe of Belgium (Pre-recorded 1PM/ Noon) 
      • Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg  (7:00 PM/6:00PM)
      • King Felipe VI of Spain (Live?:10:00PM/ 9:00PM) Recap of Year starts 40 minutes earlier
      Christmas Day Speeches 
      • King Willem-Alexander of Netherlands (Pre-recorded 1 PM/ Noon)
      • Queen Elizabeth II of United Kingdom (Pre-recorded 3 PM)
      • King Carl Gustaf of Sweden (Pre-recorded 7:45 PM/ 6:45 PM)
      New Years Eve Speeches
      • Queen Margrethe of Denmark (Live 6 PM/ 5 PM)
      • King Harald of Norway  (Pre-recorded 7:30 PM/ 6:30 PM)
      • Prince Albert of Monaco (?)

      Writing to the Royal for Christmas (2017)

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      The Royals absolutely love to get letters and cards from the public, and Christmas is no different!

      Writing for the 1st time?

      If you are writing to the Royals for the 1st time (or want a refresher on the basics) check out our page on "Writing to the Royals." This post will only cover the specifics for Christmas 2017. 

      Send by Date?

      It is always hard to choose a "Send by Date" to recommend to you all. When you should send your letters varies from country to country, and depending on where you are sending it to, the type of mail (economy, standard, first class, priority, etc.), if it is a standard size envelope, etc.

      Our general recommended Send by Date: Tuesday, December 5th! 

      To find the exact "send by date" for you, check out your national postal service's website. Some of you may need to send your letter earlier, while others will have more time.

      Remember during the Christmas season, it often takes longer for mail to arrive. 

      What if I miss the Dec 5th send by date?

      That is okay. Feel free to continue sending your letters/cards after this date, it just may not arrive by Christmas. If you are sending your letter after Christmas, I would re-focus it a little and wish them a Happy New Year and 2018.  

      Note:  A lot of Monarchies outside Europe are not Christian and don't celebrate Christmas. If you wanted to write to them, I would figure out what it is they are celebrating this time of year, or just send them good wishes for the season/new years.  

      What if I don't celebrate Christmas?

      Don't worry! You can still send the Royals a Holiday/ Winter Season/ New Years letter or card, whatever it is you are celebrating this season. Be aware, however, most royals send out pre-made cards, that aren't personalize for each person, so their reply may thank you for your Christmas wishes.

      What to write?
      I very often get asked this question. The answer is, write whatever you feel like writing about. There is no one right answer. As long as you are being respectful and thoughtful, it is hard to go wrong.

      For Christmas you could mention things like: 
      • Some event in 2017 that was particularly meaningful to you 
        • or a cause, royal visit or tour, etc. 
        • 2017 Calendar can be found here.
      • What you are most excited for in 2018 
      • How this royal has inspired you 
      • What you admire about the royal family 

      Royal Birthdays in December & January:

      3rd Dec   Prince Sverre Magnus of Norway (12)
      6th            Princess Sofia of Sweden (33)
      7th            Princess Catharina-Amalia of Netherlands (13)
      10th          Princess Gabriella of Monaco (3)
      10th          Crown Prince Jacques of Monaco (3)
      18th          James, Viscount Severn (10)
      23rd         Queen Silvia of Sweden (74)
      25th          Princess Alexandra of Kent (81)

      5th  Jan   Grand Duke Jean of Luxembourg (97)
      5th             Juan Carlos I of Spain (80)
      8th            Prince Vincent of Denmark (7)
      8th             Princess Josephine of Denmark (7)
      9th             Duchess Kate of Cambridge (36)
      15th           Princess Michael of Kent (73)
      19th           Princess Margriet of the Netherlands (75)
      20th          Queen Mathilde of Belgium (45)
      20th          Countess Sophie of Wessex (53)
      21st            Princess Ingrid Alexandra of Norway (14)
      23rd          Princess Caroline of Monaco (& Hanover) (61)
      25th           Princess Charlene of Monaco (40)
      30th          King Felipe VI of Spain (50)
      30th          King Abdullah II of Jordan (56)
      31st           Princess Beatrix of Netherlands (80)

      Some of the Big Events in late 2017/early 2018:

      • Queen Elizabeth & Prince Philip's 70th Wedding Anniversary  (November)
      • Princess Anne & Vice Admiral Timothy Laurence's 25th Wedding Anniversary  (December)
      • Prince Gabriel of Sweden's Christening (December)
      • Princess Madeleine of Sweden & Chris O'Neill's 3rd child due (March)
      • 5th Anniversary of King Willem-Alexander's Accession (April)
      • Prince William & Duchess Kate's 3rd child due  (April)
      Full 2018 Calendar can be found here.

      What to expect?

      Royals get thousands of Christmas cards and letters each year, full of well-wishes and hopes for the coming year. Unfortunately, most are unable to send out personal responses. Responses vary greatly across the different royals. Most respond with a pre-made thank you, and the response will usually be sent sometime in January, or February. There are some royals who sadly don't send replies.

      You can check out our replies from 2016 & 2015.

      A few past replies from 2014-2016
      Back to Christmas 2017 - Main Page