Tuesday 31 December 2019

King Harald of Norway - New Years Eve Address 2019 (English Translation)

Comments by Gert's Royals are in [Brackets].
New Year's Eve is an evening filled with hope and expectation.
We think about what has happened - and look ahead.
All over our country tonight, five million unique people sit. Some meet the new year with joy and optimism, others with want and turmoil. Several of us are entering the new year with sadness in our hearts. But, hope belongs to all of us.
My wish tonight is that all of us must carry hope into the new year.
We [The Royal Family] are greatly affected by Ari Behn's death this Christmas. It has been quite touching to see people's compassion and lit candles in the Palace Square. There is comfort in all the good memories and beautiful words that have been expressed about the father of three of our dear grandchildren.
[Ari Behn was Princess Märtha Louise's ex-husband. He committed suicide on Christmas Day.] 
Sometimes life is not to endure. For some, it gets so dark that nothing helps. Not even the love of their loved ones. Some see no other way than to leave life. Those who remain must live on. Poorer - without the one they loved.
We know so little about what is to come. The uncertainty makes us all vulnerable. The best thing we can do is be there for each other, see each other, remember to give each other encouragement. And carry each other if needed.
My thoughts are tonight especially to all those who end this year mourning for a lost loved one. 
Then we enter a new year. A year when we as a nation have the opportunity to commemorate our recent history - and become more aware of who we are, and our common values.
Norwegian society is built on trust. We have created a social order in which everyone contributes according to their ability to a community that will serve the country and welfare of the people. Where we share both the burdens and benefits. Where we support each other through different phases of life.
Together we make sure children get to go to school. That we get help when we get sick. That the elderly are taken care of.
But a society built on trust goes deeper than it used to be:
It's about trusting that we want well for each other. That we do not suspect each other. We must protect this trust. Because it is built on a foundation of costly experience for our country and people.
Above all, we needed confidence - and the ability to cooperate - to rebuild Norway as a free country after World War II. The five dark years of the war had created distrust and suspicion among us.
In October, I was in Kirkenes to mark the liberation of Eastern Finnmark [a region of Norway], which meant the beginning of the end of the war. In 2020, we must remember that it is 75 years since peace came.
So which Norway have we seen emerge during these 75 years?
We have followed the country through prosperity. It is built on natural resources, research and creativity. It is built on wise leadership. On the recognition that people must have schooling, work, food, and homes in order to contribute to society and grow as human beings.
It is built by people with strong fists and great endurance. With courage, drive, and creativity. A people shaped by the rugged nature and plentiful weather. And it is built on our need to feel a sense of belonging, to be part of something bigger than ourselves.
We see today a country that culturally has changed a lot over the years. Where our own ancient stories and traditions, the arts and religion are woven together with other cultures that new Norwegians carry. And as more and more travelers have made Norway this home. 
We see a country that, despite its small size, contributes to the global arena and has a voice that is listened to.
We have seen a strong and wonderful young generation grow - wanting to use their knowledge and dedication to influence social development and our common future.
We have become less like each other.
Fortunately, over the years we have recognized that each one of us is really a little different. As a population, we now come from all corners of the world and will live together across age, gender, culture, religion and orientation. Across town and village, political views and various social statuses.
Above all, I would like to highlight what most touches us [The Royal Family] on our many trips around Norway:
We meet people who care about their fellow human beings. Who volunteer. Who are fighting for their small communities - and for others to feel good.
We hear touching stories that show us who we Norwegians are and what we are made of. Because here we see the strength that lives in individuals when they learn to express ourselves.
We will do everything we can to see this power in each other and to bring it forward. For the sum of the strengths of individuals is the strengths of our society.
So my generation has been on this remarkable journey through the 75 years that have passed since the end of the war.
I think we can agree on this: We have been lucky. And we've worked hard.
We still need to work hard to strengthen our country and each other on our way forward.
We stand today on a foundation of all that we have built together - and that we must protect. For peace is fragile. Confidence is fragile. And life is fragile. We are constantly reminded of that.
With development also comes opportunities - which can be used wisely or unwise. Technology is ahead of us and is facing dilemmas we may not be ready to face. Searching for short-term gains can stand in the way of good choices that serve the best of individuals, society and the planet.
And the research shows us with increasing clarity that we have long used the world's rich resources harder than it can withstand.
We need sincerity in the face of all the new opportunities that are being given to us.
We need peace of mind for good conversations on important issues in a time of rapid change, tough debate climate, and global unrest.
At the same time, we need to be challenged by the impatience of the youth.
We need all this in order not to lose ourselves and each other. Not to lose all the good we have created together.
The question becomes: What best serves us humans and our common future?
This touches and occupies us all. We have different answers and can disagree deeply. But we just have to keep searching together for the big questions. Around the kitchen tables. In the lunchrooms. During school hours. In politics. In international arenas. Only together can we solve them.
We have to live with the fact that we are different.
We must endure unpleasant knowledge.
We must be able to see beyond our own little plot.
We must dare to realize that our worldview may not be the only right one.
And we must find ourselves challenged - yes, even hurt.
This is how to live together - both in small and large communities.
A society with the freedom to be different must build on the equal value of all people.
As a grim echo of the war, we know what happens when society is built on an ideology that people are not equal. 
Is there one thing we should bring with us as lessons as we celebrate the peace that finally came, is this:
That everyone is equally worth.
It may seem obvious.
But if we really start living after that, transformation can happen.
Then we can gather in the hope of a good life for all.
I would like to wish everyone here at home and Norwegians abroad a Happy New Year!

Wednesday 25 December 2019

King Carl Gustaf of Sweden - 2019 Christmas Speech (English Translation)

[Notes by Gert's Royals are in italics]

Dear people of Sweden, both at home and abroad, and everyone in Sweden!

The day before yesterday, the day before Christmas Eve, I had the joy of gathering my children and grandchildren at Drottningholm Palace to celebrate the Queen's birthday. This is how Christmas begins in our family.

For most people in our country, Christmas is a special holiday, surrounded by traditions. No matter what your Christmas weekend looks like or where you spend it, I hope it gives you time for reflection.

In just a few days, the bells ring in for a new year and a new decade. 2020 is still a blank slate.

We know that we will face challenges. Both here in Sweden, in our region and globally.

We see how crimes of various kinds create insecurity in our society. Explosions and shootings cause public concern - a concern shared by me and my family.

In our world, the security situation is changing rapidly. In the coming year, Total Defense Exercise 2020  [Totalförsvarsövning 2020] will be implemented - the largest exercise in 30 years of Sweden's civil and military preparedness.

The climate continues to change, which presents us with completely new situations. The past decade seems to be the hottest since we started measuring.

Here in Sweden, dry and warm weather has favored the spruce bark drill; a small beetle, which has done great damage to our spruce forests. In a changing climate, the risk of attack will increase.

Heat waves and floods that previously occurred perhaps once per century, are now beginning to occur regularly, with serious consequences for food and water supply, among others. This applies particularly to the poorer parts of the world.

So it is for example in India, where the Queen and I recently completed a state visit. The country is severely exposed to drought and air pollution. During the visit, we learned how they are working to find new solutions - including in collaboration with Sweden and Swedish companies.

Something that I personally enjoyed was that parts of the India trip followed the footsteps of my ancestors: During the 1910s and 1920s, both my grandfather Gustaf Adolf and his brother Prince Vilhelm made long trips in this fascinating country.

Perhaps it is inevitable that news reports are characterized by what is negative and dramatic. At the same time, there are strong reasons to feel hope and faith in the future. I would like to take this opportunity to highlight some of these reasons.

During the past year, my family and I have met with police, customs officials and other representatives of the judiciary. I also had the privilege of visiting the Swedish UN force in Mali. There are people who work hard for the safety and security of others. Sometimes under very demanding conditions. Their sense of duty is an invaluable asset to our country.

Another positive force is research, which drives development forward. This may apply to new treatment methods for severe diseases. New ways to reduce the impact on the environment and climate. Or effective poverty reduction - which, incidentally, was the topic of this year's economic prize in memory of Alfred Nobel. [King Carl Gustaf presents the Nobel Prizes each year, with the exception of the Peace Prize.]

Every day, new discoveries are made, which give us the keys to a healthier and more sustainable future.

Let me also say something about Swedish children and young people and all who work with them. I am convinced that every human being needs to be seen. If you don't, you might do what you can to be seen instead.

It is as Hjalmar Söderberg put it in Dr. Glass:
"One wants to be loved, in lack thereof admired, in lack thereof feared, in lack thereof loathed and despised. One wants to instill some sort of emotion in people. The soul trembles before emptiness and desires contact at any price." 
[Hjalmar Söderberg is a Swedish Writer, and Dr. Glass is one of his most famous works.]

That is why it is so important that there are those who work to bridge the "void". I think of all of the teachers and leaders that help children and young people to find their place in life - to believe in themselves and their ability. Your efforts are crucial to Sweden's future.

Finally, I would also like to send a special greeting to all of you who work today and during the weekends. You are in hospitals and police stations. In the armed forces, elderly care, and public transport - and in many other workplaces. You make sure that our society works even when others are not working. To you, I want to say: thank you!

Earlier this year I made a decision to define what is called the royal house. [The King is referring to the announcement that Prince Carl Philip & Princess Madeleine's children are no longer HRH or members of the Royal House.] The decision was to make clear who within the royal family will act as official representatives of Sweden in the future. For me, this is a way of clarifying what expectations are.

It will hopefully be helpful when my grandchildren eventually carve out their own future. But, to that day, it is far away.

Now the Queen and I are looking forward to spending time with the family. We now have seven small grandchildren between one and seven years. It is not always so peaceful and quiet, but very funny!

With this, I wish everyone in our country a continued Merry Christmas, a Happy New Year - and strong faith in the future!

Back to 2019 Christmas/New Years Speeches - Main Page

Tuesday 24 December 2019

King Philippe of Belgium's Christmas Eve Speech (2019) - English Translation

Ladies and gentlemen,

For many of us, Christmas and the New Year are a time of joy and reunion. The Queen and I are delighted for those who can share these moments of true happiness with their loved ones. But our thoughts also go out to all those who are suffering or who are lonely and who feel this particularly strongly during these holidays. And we thank those who give their time and their hearts to support and encourage them.

We live in a time of change. Our social and economic model and our dealings with the environment are questioned.  A time when many have lost their bearings. That is why we cannot just stand back and watch. We must get more involved. This is not the time to give up.

We know only too well the challenges we face for our society and our planet. We keep saying how urgently we have to address them. For the most part, we also know what the solutions are. But, how can we put this into practice?

It's all about attitude.

To change things, you must first be convinced, and act accordingly. We are responsible for our actions. Our actions have consequences for others. We must be more aware of this. Let's not focus on short-term solutions. Let's think long term by investing in solutions, the results of which we will not necessarily see for ourselves. But which will benefit the generations to come.

It is also about seeing and hearing. We cannot remain indifferent to injustice, poverty, and exclusion. Not even against the violence that is around us in many forms: hidden in the home, creeping in the abuse of alcohol and drugs, especially among young people, insidious in gossip and suspicion, but also clearly visible in the language that judges and the gesture that destroys.

Let us also be aware of our collective strength. The power of all those who are committed because they don't want to put up with things as they are. It is also the quiet power, the discreet and powerful action of so many of our fellow citizens who are committed to a more humane society.

After all, we need a basic constructive attitude to steer all the energy and creativity in our country in the right direction and to unite around common projects.

Now is the urgent time for us to form a fully functioning federal government as quickly as possible that can make balanced decisions that are carried out in a consistent and determined manner. This is what we are all counting on, without further delay.

Ladies and gentlemen,

We have a future in which to believe in.

For her eighteenth birthday, our daughter Elisabeth was surrounded by young people of her generation. They have all expressed their faith in the future. We have seen a clear-sighted youth who is ready to get fully involved.

With them, I believe in the enormous potential of our country, in our shared ability to meet the challenges. Provided that we join forces and strive for unity in diversity, with respect for everyone's beliefs.

The Queen and I wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Back to Christmas & New Years Speeches 2019 - Main Page

Sunday 22 December 2019

Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) - Main Page

Prime Minister's Office (GODL-India) [GODL-India], via Wikimedia Commons

The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) is held every 2 years and is attended by the heads of the Commonwealth Countries.

Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting 2020 & Commonwealth Forums (June 21st-27th)

The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) is held every 2 years and is attended by the heads of the Commonwealth Countries. Prince Charles will be attending in place of the Queen. (List of Past Royal Attendance). Before the CHOGM, there will be 4 Commonwealth Forums.

There will be 5 areas of focus during the CHOGM and the Commonwealth Forums:
  • Governance and the Rule of Law
  • Information & Communications Technology and Innovation
  • Trade
  • Environment
  • Youth
Sunday 21st
  • Youth Forum
    • Day 1
Monday 22nd
  • Youth Forum
    • Day 2
  • Women’s Forum
    • Day 1
  • People’s Forum
    • Day 1
Tuesday 23rd
  • Youth Forum
    • Day 3
  • Women’s Forum
    • Day 2
  • People’s Forum
    • Day 2
  • Business forum
    • Day 1
Wednesday 24th 
  • CHOGM 
    • Ministerial Meetings
  • People’s Forum
    • Day 3
  • Business forum
    • Day 2
Thursday 25th 
  • CHOGM 
    • Ministerial Meetings
  • Business forum
    • Day 3
Friday 26th 
  • CHOGM 
    • Opening Ceremony
      • Prince Charles (Duchess Camilla expected, but not confirmed)
    • Ministerial Meetings
Saturday 27th 
  • CHOGM 
    • Heads of Government Retreat
      • Prince Charles
    • Ministerial Meetings

Saturday 21 December 2019

Prince Harry - Official Engagements (2020)

As the Sussexes are stepping down from being senior royals, we are going to have to reassess how we handle things, and if we will even continue with this list (especially if things are not announced in advance or reported on the Court Circular). 

Things on the Court Circular will be marked (CC) 

Harry's current count is 2 Official Engagements for 2020.

Tuesday 7th
  • Visit Hubb Community Kitchen
  • Visit Canada House in London 
    • With Meghan
(Wednesday 8th: Announcement about stepping down from being Senior Royals.)

Thursday 16th 
  • Host the Rugby League World Cup 2021 draws for the men’s, women’s and wheelchair tournaments at Buckingham Palace. (CC)
  • Meet with German Defence Minister at Buckingham Palace to discuss the 2022 Invictus Games in Düsseldorf
Friday 17th
  • Attend Meeting for Sentebale
Monday 20th 
  • Attend UK-Africa Investment Summit and meet with:
    • Prime Minister Boris Johnson of UK
    • Prime Minister Saad Eddine El Othman of Morocco
    • President Arthur Peter Mutharika of Malawi
    • President Filipe Nyusi of Mozambique
Wednesday 26th 
  • Attend Travalyst  Summit in Scotland
Friday 28th 
  • Attend a recording session of Jon Bon Jovi's song "Unbroken" with the Invictus Games Choir for Invictus Games NL 2020
Thursday 5th 
  • Attend the annual Endeavour Fund Awards
    • With Meghan
Friday 6th
  • Officially open the Silverstone Heritage Experience
Saturday 7th 
  • Attend the Mountbatten Festival of Music at Royal Albert Hall
    • With Meghan
Monday 9th (CC) 

      Wednesday 18 December 2019

      Royals Attending 75th Anniversary of Liberation of Auschwitz Concentration Camp (January 27th, 2020)

      Monday, January 27th will be the 75th Anniversary of Liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp in Poland.

      3:30 PM- Main Commemoration in front of "The Gate of Death" of the Gromer Auschwitz-Birkenau Camp
      • Welcome Address - Andrzej Duda, President of the Republic of Poland
      • Main Addresses – Auschwitz Survivors
      • Address – Ronald S. Lauder, Representative of “The Pillars of Remembrance”
      • Words of Thanks - Dr. Piotr M. A. Cywiński, Director of the Auschwitz Memorial 
      • Prayers
      5:00 PM – Pay Tribute to the Victims at the Monument in Birkenau

      • King Philippe & Queen Mathilde
      • Grand Duke Henri
      • King Willem-Alexander & Queen Máxima
      • Crown Prince Haakon
      • King Felipe & Queen Letizia
      • Crown Princess Victoria
      • Duchess Camilla
      Not to be confused with the 5th World Holocaust Forum in Israel. 

      Monday 9 December 2019

      Detailed Schedule of Nobel Prize Banquet (2019)

      Detailed schedule for 2019 Nobel Prize Banquet in the Blue Hall at Stockholm City Hall.

      All times are Local Stockholm.
      Note: They often run behind schedule.

      (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
      7:03 PM
      • Guests at the Table of Honor process in
        • These are the Laureates, Royals, Nobel Prize Officials, etc. 
      • King Carl Gustaf gives a toast
      (Photos are taken at the Table of Honor.)
      • First entertainment performance
      • First course is served
      (Photo are taken at the Table of Honor.)
      8:20 PM 
      • 2nd Entertainment performance
      • Main course is served
      9:24 PM
      • Dessert Wine is served
      • 3rd & 4th Entertainment performance
      • Desert is served with coffee and liqueur
      10:27 PM
      • Student of Sweden parade their University Flags
              • Banquet Ends and Table of Honor processes out
              • After Party Begins