Friday, 15 September 2017

Writing a Letter of Condolence

A letter of condolence is a very sad thing to write. You write to the family, to send them your sympathies after the loss of a loved one.

I won't repeat the basics of writing to a Royal, as it is pretty much the same for all letters. You can find a lot of helpful info on that here. I will just go into the specifics of Letters of Condolences.

Who to write to?

Most of the time this is obvious. Usually, you send a letter of condolence to the closest living family member.

But sometimes it this can be difficult, you're not sure who the closest family member is, or aren't that familiar with the close family, they aren't a part of the immediate royal family, etc.

To figure out who to write to, ask yourself the following questions:
  • How is the media describing the person who has passed away? (Usually, the media, will say which royal they are related to. The headlines will say something like [Royal Name]'s Uncle/Brother/Cousin, [Person], passed away.
  • Who released a statement about the person's passing?
  • Who was mentioned in the obituary?
  • Who attended the funeral?
  • Who do you have an address for?
  • Who is a working Royal?
  • Who responds to letters?
  • etc.
Who you send your letters to, and where you send it, may affect if you get a reply and what you will get.

I usually send my letter of condolence to one person, and write at in beginning "I'm sending my condolences to you and your family".

If you are really stumped on who to send your letter of condolence to, you can always address your letter to "The Family of [person who passed away]."

When to write?

Don't feel like you need to write the minute you hear the news. Give yourself a few days to reflect, see what information is being released by the Palace, family, media, what people are saying, etc.

I think anytime within 2 weeks after the passing or shortly after the funeral is acceptable.

What to say?

Letters of condolences are best-kept brief, anywhere from a few lines to a page.

Things you might include in your letter:
  • Your condolences to the person you are writing to (and their family, friends, etc). 
  • How you felt when you hear the news
  • Your feeling towards that person who has passed away
    • Were they your favorite? Why?
    • What did you admire about them?
  • Share a favorite memory
    • How will you remember the person who has passed?
    • What were their best strengths or characteristics?
  • Let the family know they will be in your thoughts/prayers 
Handwrite vs. Typed?

There is this archaic rule that letters of condolences must be handwritten. This stemming from a time when people learned beautiful penmanship and typewriters were a new invention. If you have nice handwriting, I would strongly encourage you to handwrite your note. It makes it more beautiful and personal.

But if you don't have nice handwriting and a typed letter is actually going to look nicer and be easier to read, then feel free to type it.

I've sent both handwritten and typed letters of condolence in the past.

Back to Writing to the Royals

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Sweden State Opening of Parliament Speech - English Translation (2017)

Embed from Getty Images

Speech given by King Carl Gustaf, 12th September 2017

Mr Speaker,
Honorary members of the Swedish Parliament.

"Public power must be exercised with respect for the equal value of all people and for the freedom and dignity of the individual." [Quoting Sweden's Consitution, 2010 revision]

So it is in the form of government; the basis describing how Sweden should be governed.

Our country has over ten million inhabitants; with varying backgrounds and experiences, and different dreams of the future. About one fifths are children and adolescents under 18 years of age. Almost as many have been born in another country and immigrated here, as children or as adults.

All of these individuals together form Sweden. It is them who you represent in the Riksdag's chamber [Parliment]. You are the foremost representatives of the people

It is a big task with a lot of responsibity. It requires courage and integrity. And it requires a good will to find constructive ways forward.

Mr Speaker, honorable Members of Parliament. Every era has its critical issues.

A hundred years ago, 1917, Europe was at war. Our country escaped the war, yet suffered a severe shortage of food and supplies. The following year, Spanish Flu [1918 influenza pandemic] came to Sweden. Thousands of Swedes, mostly young adults, were killed. Fifty years ago, at the end of the 1960s, the cold war was in full swing.

Today, we face new challenges - new threats to peace, security, welfare, health and the environment.

For example, a lot of us are concerned about the recent escalation of geopolitical tensions. Sweden's seat in the UN Security Council is an important opportunity for our country to contribute to peaceful solutions to world conflicts.

The challenges of our time are significant. There is no doubt about this. But it may be worth recalling that history gives reason for some optimism:

Peace has been exchanged.

Epidemics have been cured.

Prosperity has grown.

Human rights have been strengthened.

And as developments go forward, we are also approaching solutions to several of our crucial issues. Not least in the area of the environment. The question is no longer whether we can achieve a more sustainable development. But how we should go forward. How quickly, with the technology and at what cost. Against this background, there is every reason to view the future with confidence!

I began by quoting from our consitution. A keyword in that quote is "respect". It is also a good starting point for public discussion. Treating each other with respect, even when we think differently.

With these words I wish you all - elected representative of the Swedish people - power, courage and wisdom. This is because you will bring our nation forward to a development that is beneficial to everyone in Sweden.

Yes, to help everyone realize their various dreams.

I declare the 2017/2018 session of Parliament open.

Back to State Opening of Parliment - Main Page

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Prince William - Official Engagements (2018)

Embed from Getty Images
Prince William's current count is 0 engagements for 2018. 

(Unconfirmed) - Not officially Confirmed/ Announced, yet, but expected
(Possible) -  Not Confirmed or 100% Expected, but Possible due to past appearances or reports of their attendance.

  • Tour of Sweden & Norway


    Saturday 17th - (Unconfirmed)
    • Attend Irish Guard's St. Patricks Day Parade
    (Paternity Leave)

    16th - 20th (Unconfirmed)
    • Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting
    (Paternity Leave)

    (Paternity Leave)

    Friday 8th  - (Unconfirmed)
    • Attend the Senior Colonels’ Conference and Dinner at Buckingham Palace.
    Saturday 9th
    • Attend Trooping the Colours - Queen's Official Birthday 
      • 1st. Battalion Coldstream Guards will be trooping
    Monday 18th - (Unconfirmed)
    • Attend Order of Garter Service 
    12th - 28th - (Days he will attend not confirmed) 
    • Attend 2018 International Business Festival 
      19th-23rd - (Possible)
      • Attend Royal Ascot 
      (Wednesday 21st: 36th Birthday)
      (Paternity Leave)

      2nd -15th - (Unconfirmed)
      • Attend the Championships, Wimbledon at All England Club
      ?? - (Unconfirmed)
      • Attend Order of Thistle Service


      • Tusk Trust Conservation Award (Unconfirmed) 

      Saturday  10th - (Unconfirmed) 
      • Festival of Remembrance 
      Sunday  11th - (Unconfirmed) 
      • Remembrance Sunday at Cenotaph in Whitehall, London.
      Dates Not Yet Announced 
      • Royal Variety Performance  (Possible) 
      • Attend Diplomatic Reception at Buckingham Palace (Unconfirmed) 
      • Annual Christmas Carol Service for Henry Van Straubenzee Memorial Fund (Unconfirmed) 

              Duchess Kate - Official Engagements (2018)

              Embed from Getty Images
              Catherine's current count of engagements for 2018:  0

              A bit unsure how March-July will look as Kate will be on maternity leave 

              (Unconfirmed) - Not Officially Confirmed/ Announced, Yet, but Expected
              (Possible) -  Not Confirmed or 100% Expected, but Possible due to past appearances or reports of their attendance

              (9th: Catherine's 36th birthday)

              • Tour of Sweden & Norway

                      Monday 12th - (Possible)
                      • Attend Commonwealth Day Service 
                      Saturday 17th - (Possible)
                      • Attend Irish Guard's St. Patricks Day Parade
                      (Maternity Leave)
                        (Maternity Leave)
                          Monday 22nd - (Possible)
                          • Attend RHS Chelsea Flower Show
                            • With Royal Family
                          (Maternity Leave)
                          ???  - (Possible)
                          • Attend Queen's Garden Party at Buckingham Palace
                            Saturday 9th
                            • Attend Trooping the Colours - Queen's Official Birthday 
                              • 1st. Battalion Coldstream Guards will be trooping
                              19th - 23rd - (Possible)
                              (Maternity Leave)
                                2nd - 15th (Unconfirmed) 
                                (Maternity Leave)

                                    • Attend the Charities Forum's Bi-Annual Meeting  (Unconfirmed) 
                                    • Attended the Autumn Dinner of the Royal Foundation (Unconfirmed) 

                                    Saturday 10th (Unconfirmed) 
                                    • Attend Festival of Remembrance at Royal Albert Hall 
                                    Sunday 11th (Unconfirmed) 
                                    • Attend Remembrance Sunday at Cenotaph in Whitehall, London
                                    Date Not Yet Announced
                                    • Royal Variety Performance (Possible) 
                                    • Attend Diplomatic Reception at Buckingham Palace (Unconfirmed) 

                                    Monday, 4 September 2017

                                    The Cambridges (Possible) Birth Plan

                                    **A lot of this is based on Kate's Previous Pregnancies and has not yet been confirmed for Royal Baby 3** 

                                    Due Date: Mid/Late April???? 

                                    Sex: ??? (The couple likes to wait to find out)

                                    Name: The baby will be called "His or Her Royal Highness Prince/ss (name) of Cambridge." The Baby's name will be announced a few days after birth. Per tradition, they will likely not have a name picked out when the baby is born. But they will have a short list. 

                                    Hospital: St. Mary's Hospital, Lindo Wing in Paddington, London

                                    The Cambridges will be staying in London ahead of the birth. But will have contingency plans if Kate happens to be at Anmer Hall or else where when she goes into labour. 

                                    William will be present at the birth.

                                    Media: There will be an Official Press Pen, for Accredited Media Only, outside the Hospital. It will not be open to Accredited Media until Kate goes into Labor and is admitted to the Hospital. Kensington Palace will issue a press release when this happens. Accredited Media will have assigned spots inside the pen and will not be allowed to set up equipment ahead of time.

                                    Obviously, we will see the Media making stops by Lindo Wing to do some Great Kate Wait reporting. But they will not be allowed in the pens, or stick around for a long time.

                                    Starting shortly before the due date to 72hrs after Kate leaves the hospital, news permits will not be needed for Green Park (Canada Gate), St. James’s Park and Kensington Gardens to allow media access to cover the Royal birth.

                                    Media pens will also be set up at Buckingham Palace for when the framed Birth Announcement is being displayed on an easel in the forecourt.

                                    Media Pens will also be set up outside Kensington Palace, the Cambridge's London Residence. Media will not be allowed to position here until the announcement that the Cambridges are leaving the hospital with the New Baby. This Media Pen will be opened for 72 hours after that Announcement.

                                    These will be walk up positions: meaning the media isn't allowed to stay there, their length of stay will be determined by the Press officer at each place. This is to help manage demand.

                                    Announcement: There will be 2 announcements, first that Kate has gone into labour and has been admitted into the hospital and second that Kate has given birth. 

                                    These announcements will be made via Press Release and then over Social Media. The Queen will be the first to be told of the birth followed by members of the Royal and Cambridge extended family. The announcement of the Birth will include the Sex, Weight and Time of Birth. The Name will be released later. 

                                    If the Baby is born after 1o PM (London Time), the announcement will be delayed until the next morning at 8 AM. 

                                    A formal announcement of the Birth will be displayed on an easel outside Buckingham Palace. 

                                    Prince George & Princess Charlotte: The Children may visit their little brother or sister at the hospital. This will depend on when the baby is born, how long they will stay in the hospital and how the kids and parents are feeling. 

                                    Returning Home: The family will return to Kensington Palace for a few days, before returning to Anmer Hall. 

                                    Back to Royal Baby 3 - Main Page

                                    Congratulating the Cambridges on their 3rd Child

                                    If you would like to congratulate the Cambridges on the birth of their 3rd child, you can write to them at:

                                    TRH Duke & Duchess of Cambridge
                                    Clarence House 
                                    London SW1A 1BA
                                    UNITED KINGDOM

                                    Why Clarence House, not Kensington Palace?

                                    For more info on Writing to the Royals check out our helpful guide. It has everything you need to know. 

                                    They should reply with their usually postcard sized photo with typed message on the back. Expect longer response times, as they will be getting a lot more mail than usual!

                                    Their response from 2nd pregnancy announcement!

                                    Back to Royal Baby 3 - Main Page

                                    Royal Baby 3 Q&A

                                    Embed from Getty Images
                                    This Special Q&A is to answer all your Royal Baby questions. The Q&A will close after the baby's christening. We will be updating the questions as more information is released.

                                    For your non-Royal Baby questions, check out our September Q&A

                                    Question 1: When is Kate Due?

                                    Answer: The Palace has announced Kate is due in April. We will likely be told early/mid/late April closer to the due date. 

                                    Question 2: I read that Kate is going to have a home birth. Is that true?

                                    Answer: The Palace hasn't released any information about the birthing plans, so this is just wild speculation. We saw a whole bunch of fake stories about Kate's birth plans with her previous pregnancies as well. 

                                    First off, I think it is too early for Kate & the Palace to have any definite birth plans yet. 

                                    Second, I don't think Kate will give birth at home. You wouldn't want the media and public camped outside Kensington Palace during the wait. The Cambridge wouldn't be able to relax. Plus you would have all this medical staff at the Palace prepping, and a bunch of equipment as they would want to be prepared for any complication. I think it is good you have Lindo Wing, which has a great, state of the art facility, that is very luxurious. There is also this public place on the street at Lindo Wing where people can wait and when it's time the Cambridges can show off their family.  And then you can keep the home private.  

                                    Third, you can have a non-medical, at home-feel birth with a midwife at the hospital. And at a hospital you have staff there ready should there be any complications. So should Kate want a more relaxed at home feel, no reason it needs to be at home. Plus we do know that Kate has had midwives assist on her two previous pregnancies. 

                                    Question 3: Is Kate pregnant with Identical Twins?

                                    Answer: No! #FakeNews

                                    Question 2: I read that Kate is going to have a home birth. Is that true?

                                    Answer: Th

                                    Back to Royal Baby 3 (Main Page)

                                    Friday, 1 September 2017

                                    September/October Q&A (2017)

                                    As always, post your Royal Questions & I will get to them as soon as possible.

                                    Please post your Cambridge Royal Baby 3 question on our Special Q&A.

                                    Question 1: Which Royal do you think will announce a Royal Baby next?

                                    Answer: It's hard to say, it could be anyone. But I'm hoping Prince Guillaume & Princess St├ęphanie of Luxembourg!

                                    Question 2: Have you hear anything new about Kate's sickness? & do you know when she will have her next engagement?

                                    Answer: We haven't heard anything new about Kate (as of Sept 12th). She's still at home dealing with HG. Symptoms of HG tend to last till about the 20th week. So it could still be another month or two till we see Kate doing engagements. She seems pretty unwell, if she was so sick she had to miss Prince George's 1st day of school.

                                    Right now given the uncertainty about how Kate is going to be feeling on a given day, it is likely that the Palace won't announce Kate's engagement ahead of time. That way it's not a big deal when Kate has to cancel the day of. But of course, this means, we really don't know when we will see Kate again till it happens.

                                    We usually see Kate at the Remembrance Sunday event at the Cenotaph on November 11th and the Festival of Remembrance performance on 10th. I could see her skipping the Festival of Remembrance. But I think it is very unlikely that Kate will miss Remembrance Sunday, unless she's feeling pretty awful.

                                    The Palace announced a few weeks ago, before Kate's baby news, William & Kate are going on tour in November. So, assuming Kate doesn't have to back out of that. We should see quite a bit of her sometime in November.

                                    Question 3: Where should I mail my letter to Duchess Sarah? Also, does she (her office) always reply? 

                                    Answer: You should mail your letter to the Duke of York's office at Buckingham Palace, they will forward it to "Sarah's office." In my experience the York's almost always reply. I've written to Sarah the last 3 years for her birthday and have always gotten a reply. You can see the past replies here.

                                    Question 4: Does Princess Catharina-Amalia use both her names? 

                                    Answer: Princess Catharina-Amalia of the Netherlands usually goes by Catharina-Amalia. Occasionally, we see the Palace just Amalia. I don't think I've ever seen them refer to her as just Catharina.

                                    Question 5: Have you ever written to Princess Beatrix of the Netherlands? If so, did you get a reply?

                                    Answer: I have written to Princess Beatrix a few times, but never got a reply.

                                    Question 6: Do you send one or two letters to Monaco in December? One for both Christmas and the twins' birthday or one for each?

                                    Answer: For the Twins birth, 1st birthday and 2nd birthday I wrote one letter mentioning both the twins' birthday and Christmas and received two replies.

                                    Question 7: Do you think the Cambridges will use the same photo for their Christmas card this year as they did last year and for the third baby announcement? The kids are so much bigger now! 

                                    Answer: I really hope not! They are in the habit of repeating photos, but two christmases with the same photo with growing kids just seems very wrong. I agree the kids have grown so much since then, and we need a recent photo.

                                    There hasn't been a lot of photos of the 4 Cambridges this year to choose from. Here are their Christmas Reply options:
                                    • GQ Interview 
                                    • Germany & Poland Tour 
                                    • Trooping the Colors
                                    • New photo 
                                    • Just Will & Kate at some engagement
                                    I'm sure we are all hoping for a Christmas photo. But even if it's a really lovely Christmas photo, no guarantee they will use it for their reply. If you look back at their Christmas replies and children's birthdays, less than half have used the photo they released for that occasion. 

                                    Normally, I would say the tour is the most likely bet, but George was so grumpy most of the time. 

                                    Question 8: Am I too early if I mail my anniversary letter to the Queen the same time as I mail Prince Charles's birthday card (around the 2nd of November)?

                                    Answer: My general rule is about 2 weeks before, or anytime that month. So early November is perfect!