Monday 31 October 2016

Christmas 2016 - Main Page

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. 
    2016 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.) 

    Christmas Eve Speeches
    Christmas Day Speeches 
    New Years Eve Speeches

    Monday 3 October 2016

    Nobel Prize - Main Page (2016)

    The Annual Nobel Prize Ceremonies, Banquets, & Concerts, in December, are the highlight of the Sweden & Norway Royal Calendar each year.

    The Nobel Peace Prize is awarded in Oslo, Norway each year by the Chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee in the presence of King Harald V of Norway, and Royal Family.

    While the other Nobel Prizes are awarded in Stockholm, Sweden by King Carl XVI Gustaf, in the presence of the Royal Family.

    Schedule: (All times are local Stockhom/Oslo GMT+1)
    • 10th
      • Norway 
        • Nobel Peace Prize Ceremony/ Nobel Peace Prize Lecture (1:00- 2:40 PM)
        • Nobel Peace Prize Banquet (7:30 PM)
          • No Live Stream
      • Sweden 
        • Nobel Prize Ceremony (4:30 - 6:00 PM)
        • Nobel Prize Banquet (7:00 PM)
    • 11th 
      • Norway 
        • Nobel Peace Prize Concert
      • Sweden 
        • King's Banquet for the Nobel Laureates at Palace

    The 6 Awards & their 2016 Laureates are:

    Physiology or Medicine

    Awarded to Yoshinori Ohsumi of Japan for "his discoveries of mechanisms for autophagy."
    The Prize is awarded by the Nobel Assembly at Karolinska Institute.

    Awarded to David Thouless (1/2 share), Duncan Haldane (1/4), Michael Kosterlitz (1/4) of UK (Currently working in the USA) for "theoretical discoveries of topological phase transitions and topological phases of matter,”
    The Prize is awarded by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.


    Awarded to Jean-Pierre Sauvage of France (1/3 share), Sir Fraser Stoddart of UK (working in USA) (1/3) and Bernard Feringa of the Netherlands (1/3) for "the design and synthesis of molecular machines."
     The Prize is awarded by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.

    Economic Sciences

    Awarded to Oliver Hart of UK (1/2 share) (working in USA) and Bengt Holmström of Finland  (1/2)(working in USA) for "their contributions to contract theory"

    The Prize is awarded by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.


    Awarded to Bob Dylan of USA for "having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition”.

     The Prize is awarded by the Swedish Institute.


    Awarded to President Juan Manuel Santos of Colombia for "his resolute efforts to bring the country's more than 50-year-long civil war to an end."
    The Prize is awarded by the Norwegian Nobel Committee.

    Saturday 1 October 2016

    October Q&A (2016)

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

    Question 1: Do you expect the Cambridges to attend the Colombia State Banquet, next month?

    Short answer: 
    Who knows. They don't have to, but they can. There are reasons why the Cambridges might attend and why they might not.

    I do however expect we will see the Cambridges participate in some part of the visit.

    Long answer:
    Do they have to attend?
    No. There is no reason the Cambridges have to attend this banquet. They could skip it. The Royal don't attend every banquet (except for the Queen, obviously since she is the hostess). Although most royals do attend at least 1 of the 2 banquets each year. (This year's 1st State Visit & Banquet was canceled due to Spain's election crisis, so there will only be one in 2016. But that doesn't change anything).

    Can they attend?
    Yes, there is no rule saying the Cambridges can't attend banquets. (In fact they attended their 1st last year.) The question is will/should they attend this State Banquet.

    Reasons to attend:
    The Cambridges have to attend the occasional Banquet. It is part of being a British royal. They have already attended their 1st, so why not their 2nd.

    The Cambridges are the future King and Queen. Part of preparing for the role, is learning the rope of events like this, mingling with foreign dignitaries, etc.

    Another part is perception. The public wants to see their future King and Queen are ready to handle the role. The Cambridges attending events like this help build the public's confidence in them.

    In terms of Cambridges overshadowing the event, it doesn't matter anyways. Since Charles and Camilla will be attending, the Cambridges are going to be seated off to the side, so we won't get any pictures of them anyways (except in the car arriving). For the most part the only photos we get from state banquets are Queen and Head of State's speeches, the toast and group pic of Queen, Philip, Head of State & Spouse. (There usually is some video, so we will catch a glimpse of the Cambridges.)( At China State Banquet last year, Charles and Camilla did not attend. So Catherine, as the most senior female royal and was seated next to the President of China, which is why we got pictures of her.)

    Reasons not to attend:

    One of the problems the royals are all too aware of is Catherine & the media's love for her. Catherine wearing a Tiara is going to dominate the headlines and stories. While every banquet is extremely important, the Colombian Government just signed this amazing historical Peace Agreement with FARC (a Guerrilla group) that ended a 50 year war in the county. This visit is going to be largely about celebrating that, and UK roles in helping Colombia reach that agreement. And you don't want to pull focus from a amazing historical Peace Agreement that ended a 50 year war.

    There is also a good chance we won't see Charles & Camilla and William & Catherine attend the same banquets. I think they will try to alternate like they do a number of annual events. This lets them both have a turn being the senior couple at the event and prevents the Charles & Camilla vs. William & Catherine problems where C&C are the more senior royals, but W&C are more popular. Charles and Camilla are definitely attending the Colombia State Banquet. They visited Colombia a few years ago on a Royal Tour & Charles has meet with the President at Clarence House a number of times over the years. Charles has also played a bit of a part in the UK's part in the Colombian peace agreement.

    Prince Harry's first banquet appearance?! While there is no reason Harry and the Cambridges couldn't both attend, Harry attending sort of makes up for the Cambridges not being there. The Cambridges & Harry could totally start alternating banquets, so neither has to attend all of them, but you still are guaranteed a cool royal at each.

    Question 2a: Will the Duchess of Cambridge receive the Royal Family Order this year? 

    Answer: That's up to the Queen, she will give Catherine the order when the time is right. This will be a private occasion, so we won't know Catherine has received it till she wears it at a formal event. The Royal Family Order is a personal honor which the Queen gives out to female members of the Royal Family.

    This is something special. You don't just hand it out. It means something special and you give it out when the time is right. Neither Sarah, Duchess of York or Princess Michael of Kent ever received the order. None of the Queen's Granddaughters have received it either as far as we know, but they don't attend formal events where you would wear it.

    I think Catherine will definitely get one from the Queen. The Royal Family Orders are worn even after the monarch has dead, so it would just be awkward if in 20 years everyone else is wearing both Charles and Elizabeth's order, and Catherine just has Charles.

    Question 2a: I don't think it would be awkward if years from now everyone else is wearing both QEII and Charles' RFO and Catherine only has Charles. I think Harry's wife probably won't ever receive a RFO from QEII (just given the timeline), so if it's awkward for Catherine not to have QEII's then why wouldn't it be awkward for Harry's wife not to have it? I don't think it would be awkward for either of them not to have it. It's just how things go.

    Answer: With Harry's wife everyone is going to understand why she didn't get the Queen's RFO. She wasn't a member of the Royal Family yet, so there was no possible way she could have gotten one.

    In the next Generation, I think it will be harder for people to look back and understand why Catherine never got it. She was married to William at the time, so there were 5 1/2+  years where the Queen could have given it her, but choose not to. For some reason Queen Elizabeth never felt like Catherine (who someday will be Queen and have Charles, William, possibly George's RFO) was never worthy of this Royal Family honor. I think people will see it's as a little insulting.

    Right now, people understand why Catherine hasn't gotten it yet. They understand it has to be earned, but there is a big difference between hasn't earned it yet, and never earned it.

    Question 3a: I'm waiting for a response from Denmark 1,5 month. Is it a normal time? I lost hope that I will get a letter. Is there still a chance for a response? 

    Answer: Don't worry. 1-2 months is the average response time for a royal reply, & some times it can take a lot longer. So 1.5 months is nothing to worry about. In fact, the Denmark Royals often send their replies economy, which is really slow. It has taken 1.5 months before for the reply to get to me after they mailed it. So depending on how long economy letters take to get from Denmark to where you live, 1.5 months might even be too early to expect a reply, even if they had send the reply immediately when they got your letter.

    We have a list here of average response times.

    Question 4: Do you think that if I send a letter to Princess Elisabeth of Belgium for her birthday, I will receive a response and maybe they will send a Picture? And how long should I wait? 

    Answer: I've never written for any of the Belgium children's birthdays, so I don't know if they usually send responses for that. But seeing as how I've always gotten response from the Belgiums I think it's likely.

    Almost every response I've gotten from Belgium has had a picture so I think it's likely they will send you one.

    As for how long to wait: my shortest wait time from Belgium was 2.5 weeks and the longest 3.5 Months. So I would expect somewhere in that range.

    Question 5: When did you first write to a Royal and who was it? Can you post the letter or tell us a little about it? 

    Answer: The first time I wrote to the Royals was for Prince George's 1st Birthday in 2014.  The reply was the typical photo with typed message one normally sees from the Cambridges. I have a picture of it on the post for George's 2nd birthday reply.

    Question 6a:  I wrote to Queen Letizia on 1 September on the occasion of Her birthday. I didn't get the reply yet. Do you think that I will get a reply? Do you know if Spanish court usually respond on the occasion of Queen Letizia Birthday?

    Answer: I also wrote for Queen Letizia's birthday last month. I haven't gotten a reply yet. This was the 2nd time I have written to the Spanish Royals. The first time I wrote was for Christmas, and  I didn't get a reply, So I don't know a whole lot about them responding to letters. But I have heard from some other people that the Spanish royal are usually pretty good about sending replies.

    1-2 months is the average response time for royals in general. So we are still in that normal 1-2 months range. I would think also that the election drama that is going on in Spain right now, might also make them a bit slower to respond. So be patient and we will see what happens.

    Question 6b: I am really courious what is happening on the Spanish court, cause I have received 4 letter from them, they all have come under 3 weeks, the responses were very long, always with photos. And I once received a signed letter from Queen Letizia! So in all they are my Favourite monarchy when it comes to royal responses. I think something is happening so they are responding really slow. 

    Answer: 1-2 months is a normal response time, and we haven't hit 2 months yet. So I wouldn't call this particularly slow. It could be you were just lucky and got your responses fast. But there are a lot of things happening in Spain right now.

    The big thing is the election drama. They have a deadline of October 30th to form a coalition  government and pick the new prime minister. If they don't by the deadline they will have another election at the end of the year. This will be their 3rd election since this began. So they are very busy with that.

    This also caused a bit of drama, because they celebrated their first national day without a elected government.

    You also have Catalonia in north/east Spain which is trying to secession from Spain and form it's own country.

    Then there is Princess (Infanta) Cristina of Spain's tax fraud verdict which will be announced this week.

    Question 7:  I sent a letter to Queen Mathilde of Belgium on 28 June. Do you think its possible, that I will get a response or should I lose hope? 

    Answer: Is it too late? No. My longest wait time for the Belgium royals is 3.5 months, which is what you are at right now. So although you've waited a long time, it has not been too long. They have sent replies this late before.

    The question is are they going to send a reply? I have always gotten a reply from them, so that is a good sign. Although I've mostly written for Birthdays, Christmas, and stuff where they have a pre-made reply. I've never written for something where they don't have a pre-made reply, so I don't know how they handle that. Some royal families reply to every letter they get, others don't.

    3.5 months is definitely long and a little worrying. But things are often very slow over the summer, & combined that with the extra time it takes to send out a personal reply, because they don't have a pre-made one, it's understandable that things could take a bit longer.

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    Questions - Main Page