Sunday, 31 December 2017

King Harald of Norway New Years Address - English Translation (2017)

"Det går ein stor vilje gjennom verden/There is a great will through the world," wrote Åse-Marie Nesse in one of her poems. (Åse-Marie Nesse is a famous Norwegein Poet)

This will get all living to stretch toward the light. It means that we will preferably help when we see someone needing it. It makes most of us wake up to a new day no matter what will meet us.

We live in a time when good will is not always the most visible. We get the impression that the world is marked by conflict, turmoil and contradictions. There are many stories of human cruelty and the suffering it causes to others. It may be easier to feel cold and fear than the warmth and strength.

But precisely becuase of that we need to remind ourselves and each other in the great power that going through the world, living in every human being.

For we encounter it everywhere. We meet this power in the form of people who make an effort for others. We meet it in every single story of a person who ask for help in a difficult situation - and all those who come and helped. We meet it in the personal strength among those who manage to rise and begin a new life. And we meet it in the volunteer spirit on which our country is founded.

Every little community in Norway consists of waffle makers, coffee makers, football coaches, visiting friends, willing hands and big hearts that we could not do without. An elderly lady from Vegårshei I met, put it this way: "Volunteering gives a good feeling - It is one you can not measure."

The core of volunteering is that we do something because we think it is right and important, not for personal or financial gain. With community spirit we have for generations created the foundation we stand on together today. And our strength lies precisely in that we have created it together - with our own hands, we have given of our time, shared our knowledge and commitment.

In Norway, we are fortunate to have a relatively stable economy, solid governance and a society based on a high level of trust. Nevertheless - at this time last year was highly uncertain. The decline in oil industry meant that many were unemployed. For the individual who still lack a job to go to, the situation is still difficult. But as a nation we are seeing a renewed optimism. (Oil is a big export of Norway. In fact, Norway is the 10th biggest Oil Exporter in the world. King Harald touch breifly on the job loss in the oil industry in last years speech.)

It stems from the fact that we were forced to think again.

We have done countless times before in Norway. We have an adaptability that we enjoy in difficult times. Over the past year, I have once again seen great determination and the impressive power of individuals and communities to create new jobs.

I am both happy and optimistic by what I see. It is a useful reminder that in the long term there may also be some good results from the difficult periods.

Of all the resources this country has, people are the greatest wealth. In particular, our children and young people are precious to us. We have great youth - with both knowledge, social responsibility and resilience - who are fully capable of bringing our country into a new era.

At the same time it makes me sad to hear about all the young people who are struggling mentally - and that someone eventually can not bear to live any longer.

The summer, when the Queen and I attended garden party in Maihaugen, a young woman who was working on youth mental health issues. She said, among other things: "I wish for a society where we dare to look each other in the eye and say: Here I am, and I care about you."

I could not agree more. In this simple way, we can actually save lives. Our single most important skill as human beings is the ability to understand how another human being has it.

I've talked a lot about bullying over the years, and I'm not going to give up. Think what it could mean if we just decided that in Norway we will not bully each other!

Everyone has something good in themselves. Even those who bully and harass others - whether through word or deed. The strong will that carries us can also be used for this: deciding to stop bullying. To behave properly with each other. In the same way as those who are bullied choose to stand up to face every a new day - in spite of is to come.

Our country is from ancient times built on strong will for survival and independence. I think nature and history have shaped us as a people. We have had to live with the forces of nature and create life and livelihoods in spite. For several periods we have experienced being under foreign rule - and have had to fight for our freedom. Among other things, it has taught us to protect equality and human rights - at home and abroad. (For more on the several periods of foriegn rule, see note at bottom of page)

We must not forget our story-otherwise we can throw away the freedoms and progress we have meticulously worked for. And we can forget about solidarity with others who are still in the midst of the struggle for fundamental rights.

This also applies to the struggle for equality and for the best interests of the future. This work has been driven by the individual's strong will and perserverance. Eventually, the whole community has supported this work and follows -  so together we have come a step further as a nation. But society is constantly changing. And our work is not done. We must be alert so no groups fall behind or is left out. We need both boys and girls, women and men with all backgrounds, experience and personality with us to create a good society where everyone can contribute.

In the poem of Åse-Marie Ness, the great will that goes through the world continues:

"Den lokkar fram vindruer i lavastein
Den let tørstande palmar bere frukt
Den sår solsikkefrø mellom tistlar"

"It lures the grapes in lava stone   (Various Wines are produced in Volcanic soil)
The light thirsty hand makes fruit
It sows sunflower seed between thistles" 

Creation is full of life that we humans have been given to manage. Knowledge is the key to acting wisely. For the will is there!

The will, among other things, turns into a green technology explosion that is currently under way. Almost no one creates anything anymore without thinking about environmental impact. This is a big advance from a few years back.

We must protect what we hold high in Norwegian society. We must be wary of backlash in areas where men and women have worked for generations to get us where we are today - whether in the struggle for human rights, women's freedom or child safety. Or in terms of the protection of nature or the unity of virtue.

Every human being sees the world and the society we are part of from his own point of view. When we discuss what is to be "Norwegian", it opens for over 5 million different interperetations about who we are. Therefore, it is not surprising that the stories are different and that we emphasize different values.

When you live abroad, your eyesight in Norway becomes extra clear. I will especially greet all those who are in service in other countries this evening.

One of the most important things about Norwegian society may be that for us it is so natural that we almost take it for granted:

That we have peace and freedom,
That everyone has the opportunity,
That we can get another chance when we fail.

It is a hallmark of a society that we are allowed to try and mistake. That we may fall - but still be given new chances by people who want everyone to suceed.

Therefore, on this last day of this year, I will remind all of us that: "Det går ein stor vilje gjennom verden/ There is a great will through the world"

It gives us the courage to fight for what we hold dear.
It means that we stand up again and again.
It gives us strength and wisdom to give each other a chance.

Happy New Year!

Note: The "serveral periods of foreign rule" King Harald was talking about are 

Kalmar Union (1397-1523)
  • which combined Denmark, Sweden, & Norway under one monarch, which often favored Denmarks intrests over Sweden & Norway
Denmark–Norway Kingdom (1523-1814)
  • After Sweden left the Kalmar Union, Norway was ruled by Denmark
United Kingdoms of Sweden and Norway (1814-1905)
  • Following Napoleonic Wars & the Swedish–Norwegian War, Norway was ceded to the King of Sweden
German Occupation (1940-1945)
  • After a period of indpendance Norway was occupied by German Forces during WWII.)
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Saturday, 30 December 2017

Hereditary P & P of Liechtenstein and Princess Anne & Tim Laurence's Christmas Reply (2017)

Two more reply's came this week, my 2nd & 3rd Christmas reply of the season.

Hereditary Prince Alois & Sophie of Liechtenstein

This is the 2nd year I've written to the Liechtenstein Royals for Christmas. Their reply is the same as last years. A premade card with an embossed coat of arms on top. The "Dear Miss Daly," and "Sincerely," have been written in by a secretary and the card is signed Sophie Liechtenstein & Alois Liechtenstein.

The message is in German, Liechtenstein's official language. It translates to, "Blessed Christmas and all the best in the New Year." 

There has been some question about wheather it's a real signature or if the Liechtenstein Royals use an Auto-pen. It is quiet clear now that they do use Autopen for at least some of their replies. The signatures on this reply & last Christmas reply are identical. But it is possible the Liechtenstein Royals hand-sign some of the replies, as I have gotten different signatures on other replies.

Princess Anne & Sir Tim Laurence

The 2nd reply is from Princess Anne and her husband, Sir Tim. I wrote to them for christmas and their 25th Wedding Anniversary earlier this month.

The letter is the typical reply from Princess Anne's office. It was written by Isabella Ward, Anne's Office Secretary. At the top of the page is Princess Anne's Coat of Arms.

We will have all of Christmas replies linked here, when they arrive.

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Tuesday, 26 December 2017

King Carl Gustaf Christmas Speech - English Translation (2017)

**Added notes are in Bold**

Dear Swedes, at home and abroad, & everyone in Sweden!

"Ett barn är fött på denna dag/ A child is born on this day." So begins one of our most well-known Christmas carols, with lyrics by reformer Martin Luther.

("Ett barn är fött på denna dag" is a Swedish Christmas song partly based on Luther's "Vom Himmel hoch" hymn.)

Christmas is a Christian feast. We celebrate it in memory of Jesus' birth. But the message of Christmas - of peace, joy and community - it is universal and can be embraced by all, no matter where you come from or what you believe in.

It also applies to the invitation that the Bible directs to us: carry each other's burdens! Do not weary in doing good.

I know there are many in our country who devote a lot of time and effort to this: to bear the burdens of others, to help the best you can.

We see it again and again in various crises in our society. After the terrorist attack on Drottninggatan There were many who showed what it means to be a human being. They acted with courage, consideration and action.

(The "Drottninggatan" or "Stockholm terror attack" took place in April on Drottninggatan shopping street in Stockholm. A truck was rammed into shoppers and crashed into the Åhlens department store. 5 were killed, 15 injured.) 

This desire to help is also in everyday life. The hand that is stretched out to support, knocking on the door of a sick neighbor, inviting the lonely to join your community; The helping hand carries a tremendous power, far stronger than hatred, violence and mistrust.

The year 2017 will inevitably be associated with the terrorist attack in Stockholm in April. Five people lost their lives. To their families and close relatives, my family and I want to send our deepest sympathy this difficult first Christmas.

This year has also meant the beginning of an important conversation between us all. How do we treat each other with respect? How do we view each other? How do we strengthen accountability and civil courage? These are issues that have always been important. But that became particularly relevant after the autumn's many testimony of unacceptable violations.

How we answer these questions will shape the society in which our children and young people grow up. Therefore, I hope this is something we continue to talk about now and in the future

When I look back the year gone, there are some events that I will remember in particular:

In September, Aurora, the largest defense exercises in our country since the early 1990s, conducted more than 20,000 participants from eight countries and about 40 civilian authorities.

I had the privilege of going with Prince Carl Philip to visit both Gotland and Sörmland to see the exercises on site. In the field, in the air, and at sea I met defense workers and volunteers. Men and women with different backgrounds prepared to defend Sweden, our freedom and our democracy. For their dedication, I feel respect and gratitude.

The Bonn Climate Change Conference (in Bonn, Germany) in November was a confirmation about how important the 2015 Paris Agreement is. Rising global emissions are a big concern. But there are constructive forces that are prepared to take responsibility for the future.

Sweden is a relatively small country, but has large forests. For a long time, we have built up valuable knowledge on how the forest can be managed in a long-term sustainable manner. I am convinced that, with the help of these skills, we can make important contributions to meet the world's climate challenges.

In the evening of December 6th, Finnish Independence Day, blue & white lights were lit in many windows in our neighboring eastern country. A tradition that was given extra significance as Finland celebrated one hundred years as an independent nation.

In June, I participated with the other Nordic Heads of State in a nice ceremony at Hanaholmen Cultural Center, outside of Helsinki, to celebrate this 100th Anniversary. Many Swedes have their roots in Finland. Others are connected through personal ties. The Nordic community is strong, not just historically. We are neighbors and colleagues. We collaborate and share values of democracy and equality for all people. In business and sports, we are sometimes competitors. But above all, we are family and friends.

Sweden's relations with the Nordic countries are important. Like the relations with other countries in our world. We shall continue to care for these relationships.

2017 has been an eventful year. Even in my family: Crown Princess Victoria celebrated her 40th birthday with a joyful celebration in both Stockholm and in Öland.

The Crown Princess has also launched a series of hikes that will go through all of Sweden's landscape. To me, who always had a strong commitment to nature and the environment, it is gratifying to share this interest with my children. It is my hope that the scenic hikes will help more people become aware of the amazing nature that we all in Sweden have access to.

During the year, our family gained a new member: Prince Gabriel (Prince Carl Philip & Princess Sofia's 2nd Son). He was baptized just a few weeks ago in the winter adorned Royal Chapel at Drottningholm, with baptism water from our own source in Oland. And now we are looking forward to welcoming another baby next spring. (Princess Madeliene & Chris O'Neill's 3rd Child, due in March.)

I would like to thank you for all the good wishes that we have received during the year and for the warm reception that we get on our travels and visits to various places. My family and I greatly appreciate the thoughtfulness.

I began the Christmas greetings talking about carrying each other's burdens. We, humans, are reluctant to intrude. We do not want to burden others. It may require courage, both to offer help and to receive it. My wish for the coming year is that we will all find this courage. Being not only people but also human beings.

With this, my family and I wish everyone in our country a Merry Christmas with peace, joy and fellowship - and a happy New Year in 2018.

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Monday, 25 December 2017

King Willem-Alexander Christmas Speech - English Translation (2017)

Turning fifty and being able to celebrate with many people together is a fantastic gift. I am grateful that I have been able to experience this, this year.

Like most people, at the end of the year, I look back on the many beautiful moments. And at times moments of sadness and loss. And there were certainly moments like that for my wife and me too.

I also think back to the upheaval that I saw on Sint Maarten, Saba and St. Eustatius, where a hurricane literally thwarted the lives of tens of thousands of inhabitants of our Kingdom. And to the courageous beginnings of reconstruction.

These images and stories will not leave me.

The small and personal touches with the big and the common at Christmas. These are days in which we seek shelter, at home or with family and friends, for the moment out of the uncertain world. Nothing else in our mind than Silent Night or the Top 2000. (Top 2000 is an annual marathon radio program, that plays the 2000 most popular songs of all time, from Christmas through New Year's Eve.)

But no matter how much we retreat comfortably in our own circle, the outside world stirs itself behind the windows. The big world behind the curtains is always audible and tangible and imposes itself on us, sometimes frightening, sometimes inviting.

"I proclaim to you great joy that will come to all the people," says the angel to the shepherds. A proclamation to 'all the people' ... Christmas unites us strongly together.

That encourages us to think about our role in life. Is it: every man for himself and God for us all? Or do we ourselves have an active role in a larger whole? And if so, which one?

It is not always easy to keep believing in the community that we form together, not in a country with so much diversity as ours. A country of free people in which the answer to the question 'who am I?' never completely coincides with the answer to the question 'who are we?'

How can we live with those differences without indifference? Not attractive is a society in which more and more people retreat to their homes, with no sense of that community we share together.

It seems increasingly difficult to meet each other in daily life. The places where very different people have traditionally encountered each other - church, office, café, sports club, school - lose that connecting function more and more. Perhaps only the hospital is still a place where you come into contact with people with a different background and lifestyle.

Our communication via internet offers fantastic possibilities but does not automatically offer an open window to the world. It is often difficult to distinguish facts and fabrications from each other.

Nuance and empathy seem to suffer as well, and Twitter sometimes makes the debate bitter. More and more people keep their digital door close and take look for ideas that confirm their group feeling and opinion.

With all this, something essential is lost.

Three months ago my wife and I attended a dance performance by one of the greatest artists of our country: Hans van Manen. He turned 85 years old this year. He said 'curiosity is extremely important to mankind'.

Curiosity about the outside world. It is something I also hear a lot in conversations with people who are active in volunteering. They see their world grow when they contact with strangers. Often they find they have a lot in common.

Perhaps this is the beginning of an answer. Not looking for a wider Me, but to a greater We.

That search for a bigger one has always been a driving force in the history of our country and our democracy. It is not simple. It often comes in spurts and it requires diehards who continue against all odds.

A hundred years ago, in 1917, there was a breakthrough in a battle that had kept our country divided for a long time. Special education was given an equal position and the right to vote was extended to all men.

Women had to wait another two years before they could vote, thanks inpart thanks to Aletta Jacobs. She had been fighting for more than 35 years - half a human life. She celebrated the victory with conciliatory words.

"Just won by persuasion, we are inching ground, until finally, the fear of the new has to surrender."

Inch by Inch. This is how improvements are made. This way a larger one can arise. Not only in the world and in our country, but also very close in our own neighborhood.

The old Christmas song leaves no doubt that we belong together and are connected to each other.

Er is een kindeke geboren op aard
(A little child is born on earth)

't Kwam op de aarde voor ons allemaal.
(It came to the earth for us all.)

At Christmas, something very big appears to us as something very small. A Child is born. A child, without words, without guilt, without anger and without distrust. It offers us a new beginning. Our own lives are included in a larger context of hope and peace, in which we ourselves have a role - however small - to play.

I wish you all - wherever you are and how your personal circumstances are - a blessed Christmas.

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Sunday, 24 December 2017

King Philippe of Belgium - Christmas Eve Speech (2017)

Ladies and gentlemen,

Earlier this month, a group of children visited me the palace with me. They were curious to discover and understand what a is the job of the King. When we talked about writing my Christmas speech, one of the children said, "How lucky we are to live in a country as beautiful as Belgium." Despite the personal difficulties we face, despite the insecurity in the world and the threat to global equilibrium,  we must dare to look at things differently. With a look that sees more than what is missing, then what is not there. With wonder.

How we look at things determines our actions.  If you marvel at nature, you will treat it more respectfully. And what is true for nature applies even more to the people around us. Behind each of our weaknesses and faults lives in each of us a rich inner beauty that deserves to be cultivated. Recently I visited a nursing home in Holsbeek. The care team there helps the residents to rediscover all the beautiful things that lie within them, beyond what old age or disease has taken away from them. As a result, they have succeeded in coming up with new ways to forge even closer ties with the neighborhood. We met happy people there. Such a look at old age brings hope. Marveling at the beauty of life gives us a thousand opportunities to live it better and to help others to live it well.

Wonder stimulates our creativity. I was very impressed by a project in Namur that stimulates ingenuity by bringing together technicians, entrepreneurs and artists.   They learn together to wonder again about simple objects of our everyday life, tools or technologies that they believed to understand. This inspires their own ingenuity and awakens innovative ideas. It is also how we must grasp the great challenges of our time, such as the future of our planet.  Only with the help of our creativity will we find solutions.

Finally, let us once again marvel at everything that we have built together, our common good, the result of a long history of connectedness, anchored in solidarity and compromises. From this we can draw strength, not to yield to sterile cynicism and indifference. The future of our democracies depends first and foremost on the way we look at them.  It begins with connection to each other. I am thinking very concretely of a beautiful project in St. Gilles, which was set up by young people, who call themselves 'the factory of connectedness'.  A visit to them is a real asset. And then there are those young people with a migrant background, whom the Queen and I recently met in Vilvoorde. They work together on social integration projects that build on finding self-respect. The beauty in her eyes spoke volumes.

Ladies and gentlemen,

There is a lot of unrest in our world. Tensions and trouble spots are multiplying. We need more than ever wonder. We need it for our children and their future. Let's make this choice together.

The Queen and I, as well as our whole family, wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

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Thursday, 21 December 2017

Prince Andrew's Christmas Reply (2017)

My first Christmas reply of the season arrived today! It is from the UK.

I had written to Prince Andrew, Duke of York earlier this month to wish him and his family a very merry Christmas. Like usual, Prince Andrew's office replied with a letter, written by Andrew's Private Secretary, Amanda Thirsk.

In my Christmas letter, I had mentioned Prince Andrew taking over the position of Colonel of the Grenadier Guards from his father, Prince Philip. It is always very heartwarming to get a reply that references what I wrote about. It makes it very personal and you know someone took the time to read your letter. Of the 4 Christmases I've written to Prince Andrew, this reply is definitely the most personal of the 3 replies, given the little reference to something specific from my letter. (Sadly no reply to my 2015 Christmas letter to Prince Andrew.)  

My letter this year to Prince Andrew was one of the last Christmas letters I sent, and as I said the 1st reply. It came about 2.5 weeks after I wrote, which is a great response time for the British Royals. 

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Prince Harry & Meghan Markle's Official Engagement Photos

The photos were taken earlier this week by Alexi Lubomirski at Frogmore House, Windsor.

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Sunday, 10 December 2017

Queen Sofia of Spain - Telegram!!!! Birthday Reply (2017)

As you may know, the Spain Royals aren't really good about replying. They always don't reply. And when they do, they often only reply to about half the people who wrote. I have only gotten one other reply from Spain Christmas 2016 from King Juan Carlos & Queen Sofia, despite numerous letters over the years.

So, when I wrote for Queen Sofia's 79th birthday last month, I wasn't expecting a reply.

Then this came in the mail. From the outside, it kind of looks like a piece of junk mail. But when you take a closer look it will sort of blow your mind, and make you feel like you've gone through a time portal.

It's a TELEGRAM!!!! A real-life sent, this century, telegram! I didn't even think telegrams still existed, but here one is. (This is the 1st Royal Telegram Reply I've seen from this century. And my first piece of Royal Mail mailed from the USA.)

With this kind of telegram, the Spanish Palace sent the note electronically to the telegram company. The telegram company sent it to their Orlando, Flordia office, who printed it out and mailed it to me. (I guess this is a cheaper process than just mailing an international letter.)

Translated the message reads:

"[Numbers I assume are related to their Telegram Account]
Palace of Zarzuela

Mrs. Gertrude Alexandra Daly 
[My Address]

As Chief of Protocol of the House of His Majesty the King & Her Majesty the Queen, Queen Sofia asks me to thank you for your kind words addressed to her on the occasion of her birthday. Warmest Regards, Alfredo Martinez Serrano"

So bizarre to be getting a telegram. It lacks the polish of other Royal Replies, but this will definitely be one of my favourites because of its uniqueness.

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Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Offical Christmas Photos (2017)

Released Dec 18th: Offical Christmas Card of Prince Charles & Duchess Camilla. The photo is from Duchess Camilla's 70th Birthday party.

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Released Dec 18th: Offical Christmas photo of the Cambridges taken earlier this year.

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Released Dec 3rd: Video of Crown Prince Family decorating Christmas tree at Frederik VIII´s Palace, the Family's home.

Dec 20th: Royal Family attends the annual Christmas Concert at the Palace

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Released Dec 13th: Portrait of Crown Prince Jacques & Princess Gabrielle from the Family's Christmas photoshoot.

Released Dec 19th: Official Christmas Photoshoot at Palace.
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Released Dec 11th: King Felipe & Queen Letizia's Offical Christmas card with daughters Princess Leonor & Sofia. The photo is from Spain's National Day celebrations earlier this year.
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Released Dec 18th: Christmas Video of Crown Princess Victoria, Prince Daniel, Princess Estelle & Prince Oscar at their home Haga Palac

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Nobel Prize Banquet - Detailed Schedule (2017)

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Detailed Schedule for 2017 Nobel Prize Banquet in the Blue Hall at Stockholm City Hall. All times are Local Stockholm.

(7 PM Stockholm = 6 PM London, 1 PM New York, 10 AM Los Angeles, 5 AM Thurs Sydney)

6:30 PM
  • Guests begin to arrive at the Banquet and take their seats
7:00 PM
  • Guests at the Table of Honor process in
    • These are the Laureates, Royals, Nobel Prize Officials, etc. 
  • King Carl Gustaf give his speech
  • 1st Entertainment performance
  • 1st Course is served
8:20 PM 
  • 2nd Entertainment performance
  • Main course is served
9:20 PM
  • Dessert Wine is served
  • 3rd & 4th Entertainment performance
  • Desert is served with coffee and liqueur
10:20 PM
  • Student of Sweden parade their University Flags
  • Speeches from Nobel Laureates
    • 1 speech from each category
  • Banquet Ends and Table of Honor processes out
  • After Party Begins

King Michael of Romania's funeral

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Guest List at bottom of the Page
Schedule of Events (All Times: Romania/London)

Dec 5th 
  • King Michael of Romania passes away at age 96 (1 PM 11AM)
  • Crown Princess Margareta is declared the new head of the Romanian Royal Family
  • Prayer Service at King Michael's Private residence in Switzerland 
    • (Will happen every night until Dec 10th)
Dec 6th 
  • Book of Condolence is available for the public to sign at Pelesh Castle, the Royal Palace of Budapest, and Elisabeta Palace until January 15th
  • 40 Days of Heavy Mourning Begins
  • 3 Months of Mourning Begins
Wednesday, Dec 13th
  • King Michael in Coffin will arrive in Romania, being flown in from Switzerland. 
  • King Michael will Lie in State in the Hall of Honors at Pelesh Castle
    • Members of the Romanian Government, Official Romania, Diplomatic Corps, Romanian Church, etc will pay their respects. 
Dec 13th-15th 
  • King Michael will Lie in State in the Royal Throne Room at the Royal Palace of Bucharest
    • Members of the public will be able to pay their respects. 
Saturday, Dec 16th (All Times: Romania/London)
  • 10:25 AM / 8:25 AM
    • Short religious service will be held in the Throne Hall of the Royal Palace 
  • 11:00 AM 9:00 AM
    • Military and religious ceremony will be held in Royal Palace Square, in front of the Palace 
  • 11:30 AM to 12:45 / 9:30 AM to 10:45 AM
    • Funeral Procession: Royal Palace Square – Calea Victoriei – Unirii Square –Patriarchal Cathedral.
  • 12:50 to 2:00 PM / 10:50 AM - 12:00
    • Funeral Mass at Patriarchal Cathedral in Bucharest
  • 2:00 to 2:40 PM / 12:00 - 12:40
    • Funeral Procession throughout the capital: Unirii Square – University Square – Romana Square – Charles de Gaulle Square – The Triumphant Arch – Kiseleff Av. – Bucureşti – Ploieşti Av. -  Băneasa Royal Railway Station
  • 2:40 - 5:30 PM / 12:40 - 3:30 PM
    • Train Ride from Băneasa Royal Railway Station in Bucharest to Curtea de Argeş Railway Station
    • Romanian Royal Family will join the Train Ride
  • 5:30 - 5:50 PM / 3:30 - 3:50 PM
    • Arrive at Curtea de Argeş Railway Station. Funeral Procession to New Royal and Episcopal Cathedral
  • 6:20 - 6:40 PM / 4:20-4:40 PM
    • Burial service at the New Royal and Episcopal Cathedral in Curtea de Argeș. 
      • Attended by just Romanian Royal Family and Foreign Royals
Royals attending:
Current Monarchies:
  • Sheikh Rashid bin Khalifa al Khalifa of Bahrein
  • Princess Astrid & Prince Lorenz of Belgium
  • Princess Muna & Princess Rym of Jordan
  • Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg
  • King Juan Carlos & Queen Sofia of Spain
  • King Carl Gustaf & Queen Silvia of Sweden 
  • Prince Charles of United Kingdom
For those current European monarchies not attending, I would expect they sent a representative (i.e. Ambassador) to the funeral. 

Former Monarchies:
  • Romanian Royal Family
    • Nicholas Medforth-Mills with Fiancee, Alina Maria Binder
  • Prince Leka & Princess Elia Albania
  • Austria (Habsburg)
    • Archduke Karl
    • Archduke Dominic & Archduchess Emmanuella 
    • Archduchess Maria Magdalena 
    • Archduke Georg
    • Archduke Martin & Archduchess Katharina 
  • Grand Duke & Grand Duchess of Baden
  • King Simeon of Bulgaria
  • Prince Jean of France, Duke de Vendome
  • Charles de Fabribeckers
  • Princess Chantal of France
  • Queen Anne-Marie & Prince Nikolaos of Greece
  • Princess Irina of Greece
  • Baron Hanns & Baroness Alexander von Holzhausen
  • Princess Anne de Ligne
  • Duke of Braganza (Portugal)
  • Prince Georg of Prussia
  • Princess Tatiana Radzivill & Dr John Fruchaud
  • Great Duchess of Russia
  • Prince Emmanuel Philibert de Savoia
  • Crown Prince Alexander & Crown Princess Katherine of Serbia
  • Baron Francois-Xavier of Sambucy de Sorgue
  • Prince Eberhard of Wurttemberg

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Life of King Michael of Romania (1921-2017)

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HM King Michael, the former King of Romania passed away today at age 96. He had been in poor health for a long time, having been diagnosed with chronic leukaemia last year.

  • Micheal's parents Crown Prince Carol of Romania and Princess Helen of Greece and Denmark are married in Romania. 
    • Crown Prince Carol had previously been married to Zizi Lambrino. They had eloped in secret in Ukraine in 1918. Carol's parents, the King and Queen were furious and the marriage was annulled shortly after in 1919. After the annulment, the couple continued to live together for a while and had a son in 1920. 
  • Micheal is born on 25 October in Romania, during his grandfather, King Ferdinand I's reign.
  • Micheal's father, Crown Prince Carol, runs off with his new mistress Magda Lupescu and renounces his rights to the throne. 
    • Carol is exiled from Romania, and Micheal is made the new Crown Prince.  
  • King Ferdinand passes away. Micheal became King just before his 6th Birthday, and the country is ruled by regents.
  • Micheal's parents finally divorce after being separated for many years. 
  • Micheal's father, Carol returns to Romania and is proclaimed King by parliament. 
    • Micheal once again becomes Crown Prince, at age 8.
  • World War II begins.
  • King Carol is forced to abdicate and is once again forced into exile. Micheal becomes King for the 2nd time, a month before his 19th Birthday. 
  • World War II ends.
  • King Micheal meets his would-be-wife, Princess Anne of Bourbon-Parma, in London. They get engaged.
  • King Micheal is forced to abdicate at age 26 and is exiled from Romania.
    • The government tries to used King Micheal engagement as an explanation of why he abdicated.
  • King Carol finally marries his mistress Magda Lupesc. 
  • King Micheal marries Princess Anne of Bourbon-Parma in Athens, Greece at the Royal Palace. 
    • Greece was still a monarchy at this time. King Micheal's uncle Paul, is King of Greece.
    • King Carol is not invited to his son's wedding. 
  • King Micheal & Queen Anne's 1st child is born, Princess Margareta is born in Switzerland. She is the first of four daughters. 
  • King Carol dies in exile.
    • King Micheal does not attend his funeral, having refused to meet with his father since Carol's exile in 1940. 
  • King Micheal's mother dies and is buried in Switzerland.

  • King Micheal and his family return to Romania for the 1st time. They land in the country, but on their way to Curtea de Argeș Cathedral are stopped by the police and taken back to the airport. 
  • The Romanian government allows King Micheal & Royal Family to return to Romania for the Easter celebrations. 
    • This was Queen Anne's 1st ever visit to Romania. 
    • Later, King Micheal is banned from the country again and is turned away in 1994 and 1995 during his attempt to return. 
  • King Micheal's Romanian citizenship is restored. And assists and property that had belonged to the royal family are returned to them. 
    • The Royal Family is allowed to use Elisabeta Palace.
  •  King Micheal's designated his eldest daughter Princess Margareta as his Heir, instead of his grandson Prince Nicholas. And allows women in the line of succession. 
    • When Romania was a monarchy, the succession was limited to males only. Prince Nicholas was the 1st male in the succession. 
  • Micheal is diagnosed with Leukemia and retires from public life.
  • Micheal's wife, Queen Anne passes away at age 92. She is buried in Romania. 
  • Micheal passes away at age 96. 

Monday, 4 December 2017

Queen + Philip's Anniversary & Princess Sophie Birthday Reply (2017)

Two replies came today, both for milestone events. 

Queen & Prince Philip 

The 1st reply is from the Queen & Prince Philip. I had written to them last month for their 70th Wedding Anniversary. 

Nothing special about the envelope, it is the usual from the British Royals. But inside is a very special tri-fold card. (The Queen's 90th Birthday card was similar, but had two panels instead of three.)

The front of the card features the Queen's Cypher, the distinctive EIIR. It stands for the Latin  Elizabeth II Regina (Queen Elizabeth II). The front also features their years of marriage and a joint monogram. We don't often see joint monograms from the British Royals, so this is a real treat. (The Queen and Philip also have a joint monogram with their letters intertwined.)

The inside features two photos and a message from Queen on behalf of Prince Philip. (You will notice the Queen refers to him as Prince Philip, not his title Duke of Edinburgh.) 

The photo on the left is from their wedding in 1947. Per royal tradition, it was taken in the throne room at Buckingham Palace.  

The photo on the right was taken by Julian Calder at Buckingham Palace in Early 2011The photo is part of a special set of official photographs by Royal Images, the official library of official photos of the Queen & Duke of Duke of Edinburgh. 

The organization manages the set of official photos that are available for Royal's charities, government organizations, etc to use for official things.

I would have loved to see them use one of the official photographs released for their anniversary in the card. But those were taken in early November, and there likely wasn't enough time. 

Princess Sophie of Liechtenstein 

I had written in October for Hereditary Princess Sophie's 50th birthday. Hereditary Prince/ss means the same thing as Crown Prince/ss; different countries use the different titles. Some countries use a special title for the heir instead (e.g. Prince of Wales, Princess of Asturias, etc.).

The envelope has a simple front, with a postmark and actual stamps. 

This letter marks the 1 year anniversary of me writing to the Liechtenstein Royals. This is my 5th reply from them. All the previous replies featured the same Butterfly stamp from 2009.

Butterfly Stamp from previous replies
So, it is really great to see a new 2017 stamp being used & it's even more wonderful that it is Winter Themed. The stamp is called "Winterwald/Winter Forest" and was released on November 13th as part of their 2017 Christmas collection.

On the back of the envelope is the royal's address.

The card is their standard pre-made thank you card, with "Many thanks for your kind wishes" pre-printed on it. They then added the mention of her birthday, before Princess Sophie signed it.

I really like how they have this basic card they can use for anything, that they were then able to personalize for the event. I really love the rough edges and the embossed coat of arms. (You see a lot of embossed coat of arms on royal mail, but Liechtenstein has the nicest. The paper is really nice and thick, so the coat of armed is raised quite a bit.)

Princess Sophie signed her name, "Sophie Liechtenstein."

This is the same reply I got last year, except last year's had "Dear Miss Daly," handwritten as well.

It is a very lovely reply, made extra special by the signature. I would have loved a mention that it was her 50th Birthday. I think it is important to denote the milestones. 


Tuesday is our recommended Send By Date for Christmas Cards/Letters to the Royals. If you haven't gotten yours out yet, don't worry. It's not a big deal. It just means your card/letter may not arrive by Christmas. (Depending on your Country, some of you living closer to the Royals, have some extra time to send out your cards.) But I would get them ours as soon as possible. 

Thursday, 30 November 2017

Possible Dukedoms for Prince Harry & Meghan Markle

This list includes previous Royal Dukedoms, Non-royal dukedoms, things people suggested, etc. The Dukedoms in each section are alphabetized. This isn't a complete list of options, but I think it has all the likely titles. If you have anything you want to suggest, see a mistake, want to voice your preference, etc. leave a comment below.

Of the "Possible Titles," the two sections are both pretty equal in terms of likelihood. I just wanted to give a little commentary about my thoughts and preference. Harry & Meghan's title could very likely be from the list of "Possible Titles -  I don't like."

In addition to a Dukedom, Prince Harry will likely be made an Earl and Baron. This list just covers possible dukedoms.

Dukedoms that would be created for the 1st time are marked with a *

Possible Titles - I don't have a problem with
  • Duke of Ancaster and Kesteven
  • Duke of Kendal
  • Duke of Leeds
  • Duke of Newcastle
  • Duke of Ross
    • There is currently an Earl of Rosse, it a different title, but obviously very similar. 
  • Create a new Dukedom*
  • Elevate an open Earldom*
Possible Titles - I don't like
  • Duke of Buckingham
    • Easily confused with Buckingham Palace, which is both the name of a Royal Residence and Queen's Household
  • Duke of Clarence/ Duke of Clarence and St Andrews/ Duke of Clarence and Avondale
    • Easily confused with Clarence House, which is both the name of a Royal Residence and Charles & Camilla's office.
    • The Dukedom of Albany has a subsidiary title, Earl of Clarence. The title Duke of Albany was suspended during WWI when the family sided with Germany, but could be reclaimed by the descendants.
  • Duke of Cleveland
    • There is a famous USA city called Cleveland, in Ohio. As well as less famous Clevelands in 21 other USA States. I don't think a title with a strong association to the USA would be good.
  • Duke of London*
    • Never created, it was proposed for Winston Churchill
  • Duke of Montagu
    • Spain has it's own Duke of Montagu.
    • Too similar to the Montague family in Romeo and Juliet, who were Italian.
  • Duke of Sussex
    • A press favourite, but too similar to Wessex, easily confused.
  • Duke of Windsor
    • Was created for King Edward VIII (Queen's Uncle), after he abdicated.
    • The Royal Family is already called Windsor.
Not Possible/ Not likely
  • Duke of Albany
    • Suspended during WWI, when the family sided with Germany but could be reclaimed by the descendants 
  • Duke of Albemarle/ Aumale
    • Named after an area of Normandy, France, which was once controlled by the British
    • There is already an Earl of Albemarle
  •  Duke of Bolton
    • There is currently a Baron Bolton
  • Duke of Connaught/ Duke of Connaught and Strathearn
    • Connaught is part of the Republic of Ireland 
    • Prince William is the Earl of Strathearn
  • Duke of Cumberland and Teviotdal
    • Suspended during WWI, when the family sided with Germany but could be reclaimed by the descendants 
  • Duke of Exeter
    • There is already an Earl of Exeter
  • Duke of Hereford
    • There is already an Earl of Hereford
  • Duke of Inverness
    • Prince Andrew is the Earl of Inverness
  • Duke of Ireland
    • This title is from a time when Ireland was under English rule, before the Kingdom of Ireland, and before the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland split.
  • Duke of Kensington*
    • Never created. There is a Baron of Kensington.
    • Easily confused with Kensington Palace, which is the name of a Royal Residence (Cambs, Harry, Queen's cousins, etc), Cambs+Harry+Meghan's office, a Royal Museum, etc.
      • Plus Harry & Meghan may not always live or have their office at Kensington Palace.
  • Duke of Kintyre and Lorne
    • There is already a Marquess of Kintyre and Lorne
  • Duke of Lancaster
    • Informally used by the Queen, who owns the Duchy of Lancaster
  • Duke of Monmouth
    • The 1st & only Duke of Monmouth was an illegitimate son of Charles II and tried to overthrow the King James II
  • Duke of Mountbatten*
    • Mountbatten was Prince Philip's family name from his mother's side. The name is the English translation of Battenburg in Germany. 
    • There is already an Earl Mountbatten of Burma (extended family on Prince Philip's side)
  • Duke of Normandy
    • Britain gave up its claim to Normandy, but the title is still informally used on the British Channel Islands, which were formerly apart of the Duchy of Normandy
  • Duke of Portland
    • There is currently an Earl of Portland
  • Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha*
    • Never a British title, although the British Royal Family is related to the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
    • Saxe-Coburg and Gotha was a Dutchy in Germany
  • Duke of St. Andrew*
    •  The Duke of Kent is the Earl of St. Andrews 
    • *Never a solo Dukedom, previously Duke of Clarence and St Andrews
  • Duke of Strathearn*
    • Prince William is the Earl of Strathearn
    • *Never a solo Dukedom, previously: 
      • Duke of Cumberland and Strathearn
      • Duke of Kent and Strathearn
      • Duke of Connaught and Strathearn
  • Duke of Surrey
    • There is already an Earl of Surrey
Dukedoms Currently Taken
  • Duke of Abercorn
  • Duke of Atholl
  • Duke of Beaufort
  • Duke of Bedford
  • Duke of Brandon
  • Duke of Buccleuch and Queensberry
  • Duke of Cambridge
  • Duke of Cornwall
    • Title belongs to the heir to the throne
  • Duke of Devonshire
  • Duke of Edinburgh
    • Is expected to be passed down to Prince Edward upon Prince Philip's passing
  • Duke of Fife
  • Duke of Gloucester
  • Duke of Grafton
  • Duke of Hamilton
  • Duke of Kent
  • Duke of Leinster
  • Duke of Lennox
  • Duke of Manchester
  • Duke of Marlborough
  • Duke of Montrose
  • Duke of Norfolk
  • Duke of Northumberland
  • Duke of Richmond
  • Duke of Rothesay 
    • Title belongs to the heir to the throne
  • Duke of Roxburghe
  • Duke of Rutland
  • Duke of Somerset
  • Duke of St Albans
  • Duke of Sutherland
  • Duke of Wellington
  • Duke of Westminster
  • Duke of York
    • The title is reserved to the 2nd son of the Monarch. (Although could be given to 2nd child in the future, because of the succession change, if they start giving women Dukedoms.)
    • Only one Duke of York allowed at a time and the title doesn't go away when the monarchy passes and you are no longer the 2nd son. It is not automatic. So even if Andrew passed away during Charles's reign, the title would likely be kept for William's kids.  
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Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Prince Charles & Princess Elisabeth of Belgium's Birthday reply (2017)

Two lovely replies came today!

Prince Charles

The first reply is from Prince Charles for the letter I sent for his Birthday earlier this month. The reply is the usual we see from Clarence House, postcard-sized photo, with typed message on back

The photo was taken by Mario Testino at Clarence House earlier this year. Mario has photographed practically everyone in the royal family, as well as numerous foreign royals. He took William & Kate's official engagements photos and Princess Charlotte's christening photos.

Clarence House had previously released a photo from this session for Duchess Camilla's 70th Birthday.
The message on the back is similar to past year, but they've changed up the wording.

With the card came a letter from Claudia Spens, Head of the Correspondence Section at Clarence House.

Princess Elisabeth of Belgium

The second reply is from Belgium. I had written to Princess Elisabeth for her 16th birthday earlier this month. I don't normally write for children's birthdays (except if they are one of my favorite like Prince George or Princess Charlotte). But this was sort of a milestone birthday, being her Sweet 16, and I was getting all emotional thinking about how she's almost an adult. It is hard to believe in 2 short years she will be 18 years old.

The reply is the typical thing you see from the Belgium Royals, a pre-made card and photo (although, they don't always send a photo). 

The message is in French. Translated the message reads:

"Royal Palace of Brussels

The wishes that you were kind enough to send to Her Royal Highness Princess Elisabeth on the occasion of her 16th birthday, have given her great pleasure.

Their Majesties the King and the Queen thank you with all their heart for this beautiful gesture."

The photo is part of a set released for Princess Elisabeth's birthday. No details on the photo. But given the green glass door and plants, I assume this was taken at the Royal Greenhouses in Laeken.

The Royal Greenhouses in Laeken, is a favorite location for the Belgium Royal Family. The Greenhouses are located in the Royal Park at the Castle of Laeken, which is the Royal Family's home. (The Royal Palace of Brussels is just a working palace.) 

And of course, this photo is reminiscent of 16 years ago, when her parents announced they were expecting their 1st child. 

Embed from Getty Images

Just a reminder: One Week!! till our recommended send by date for your Christmas letters and cards to the Royals!

Also, you may have noticed a little change to our blog this week! We've added Meghan! Our Prince Harry tab has been expanded to include Meghan. It is now Harry & Meghan! (After the wedding it will switch to The (title)s). We have listed there Meghan's official engagements for 2017 & 2018 and will have her patronages when she gets some. 

As we're updating everything over the next few months, if you see something Meghan should be added to, just let us know. 

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