ROYAL NEWS: DECEMBER 2000

Last updated: January 3rd, 2001.

December 1st
Crown Prince Haakon of Norway and Mette-Marit Tjessem Høiby are finally engaged. This morning King Harald V announced the engagement. At a press conference in the afternoon Crown Prince Haakon said that he and Mette-Marit are together since about one year and one week and that they love each other so much that they want to spend the rest of their lives together. Haakon gave Mette-Marit the engagement ring his grandfather King Olav V gave to his Märtha, and his father King Harald V to his Sonja. The couple said that Mette-Marit will continue studying social anthropology at the University of Oslo. They want to live at Skaugum. The wedding will take place on August 25th, 2001, in the Domchurch of Oslo.

In Brussels Princess Mathilde of Belgium finally introduced the Princess Mathilde Foundation. Each year a prize of about $ 10.000 will go to a project that helps vulnerable people.

December 2nd
The Danish royal family has announced that they will celebrate Christmas 2000 at the Amalienborg Palace in Copenhagen. The plan was to celebrate Christmas at Grasten Castle like in 1999, but after the death of Queen Ingrid the family decided not to do that.

With a weddingdinner in the Bagatelle restaurant in Oslo, Benedikte Ferner, daughter of Princess Astrid of Norway, celebrated her marriage to Mons Einar Stange that took place earlier today. The whole Norwegian royal family, including Mette-Marit Tjessem Høiby, was present. After a long party at an hotel in Oslo the groom was arrested for trouble a woman. He spent his wedding night in a police station. After paying some money he was able to leave the next morning. He said he had been drunk and didn't know anymore what he had done that night.

December 3rd
In a BBC programm Frances Shand Kydd, the mother of Diana Princess of Wales, has spoken of her long journey through grief following her daughter's death. She told she was able to come to terms with the tragedy because of her strong faith (she converted to Catholicism six years ago). She said her daughter's funeral had been difficult to deal with because it was such a public event.

Photo and copyright: Norwegian royal court

At Gut Skaugum the Norwegian royal family and the family of Mette-Marit Tjessem Høiby came together in the afternoon. The official engagement photos of Crown Prince Haakon and Mette-Marit Tjessem Høiby were taken.

December 4th
A huge political row looms after the Oxford College has been asked to accept Prince Azim, a son of the Sultan of Brunei. The approach was made by the British government even though the Sunday Express says the boy is insufficiently qualified.

December 6th
Hereditary Prince Alois of Liechtenstein and his wife Sophie became the proud parents of a son, Nikolaus Sebastian Alexander Maria, who was born in the Spital in Grabs, Switzerland, early in the afternoon.

At 22:50 this evening Infanta Cristina of Spain gave birth to her second son in the Clínica Teknon in Barcelona. Her husband Iñaki Urdangarín cut the umbilical cord. The little Pablo Nicolás weighs 3800 grammes and is 54,5 centimeters tall.

A plan to close down bars for workers at Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle is being considered. The bars offer out-price drinks to staff. Keeper of the Privy Purse, Sir Michael Peat, has put forward plans to shut the bars down and save money, The Sun reports. A Buckingham Palace spokesman said staff were being consulted, but no decision has been made yet.

Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain delivered her annual speech - written by the government - to the House of Lords outlining government plans for policy making in the coming months at the state opening of parliament.

December 8th
The Prince of Wales played a starring role in tonight's 40th anniversary episode of the most popular and oldest British soap Coronation Street. Footage of him meeting cast members featured as a news bulletin in a storyline about attempts to save the street's famous cobbles. The Prince agreed to the idea after visiting the soap's Manchester set today. Before the show he said: "I will make sure I watch the programme tonight and make sure I get the video as well."

Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands opened the exhibition "De Voorstelling" in the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. She was invited to arranged the whole exhibition herself, which she has done very well. She came to the opening together with her husband Prince Claus, her three sons, nephew Floris and Princess Annette.

December 9th
Infanta Cristina of Spain and her newborn son Pablo Nicolás left hospital and the first photos of the baby were taken. The godparents of the little baby will be Princess Alexia of Greece and Prince Kubrat of Bulgaria. A date for the christening hasn't been mentioned yet.

December 12th
In Rome, Italy, Queen Silvia of Sweden and Princess Astrid of Belgium received a prize for their dedication to the vulnerable people in the world. The prize was given to them by the Foundation Together for Peace, a humanitarian organisation.

December 15th
The West African Emperor Abukari II, who reigned the powerful Mali-empire in the 14th century, reached America two centuries before Christopher Columbus did. Malinese scientist Diawara says this. In 1311 Abukari II should have renounced his rights to the throne and he should have made a voyage of discovery sailing off the coast of the present country of Gambia with 2.000 boats. Diawara says he reached the present country of Brazil in 1312. Diawara bases his theory on Egyptian writings about the voyage of Abukari, announcements of Columbus himself about black merchants he met in America and the analysis of golden spearheads Columbus collected.

December 16th
This morning the official engagement of Constantijn Prince of the Netherlands , the third son of Queen Beatrix, and Laurentien Brinkhorst (born Leiden 25 May 1966) was announced. The couple knows each other already for a long time and has a relationship for 5 years. Laurentien's father, Laurens Jan Brinkhorst - who is the present Minister of Agriculture of the Netherlands - has been a good friend of the Queen since college days. The same counts for her mother, Jantien Heringa. Laurentien works in Brussels, Belgium, for the pr-office Adamson BSMG as the vice president strategic corporate communications. She started the job in February, before she worked in Brussels for another company since 1992. During the half-hour-presentation at Huis ten Bosch, the residence of the Queen in The Hague, in the afternoon the couple answered some questions. Prince Constantijn asked his Laurentien to marry him a few weeks ago. She was asked to come home with a little lie and there she found the house full of flowers. He asked her to marry him and after a crying-fit she said yes. Constantijn told Laurentien is the perfect woman for him; she is intelligent, strong and has a very warm heart. Laurentien started blushing after he said this. The wedding will take place in the middle of 2001. Now the prince will first concentrate on getting his diploma at the INSEAD in Fontainebleau next week.

December 17th
Prince William is the most popular member of the British royal family a poll for News of the World found today. It also says that the Countess of Wessex is the most useless. Close behind her were her husband, the Earl of Wessex, the Duchess of York and the Duke of Edinburgh. Prince William won the poll just before the Queen Mother and the Princess Royal. Queen Elizabeth II came in fourth place.

December 18th
With the signing of a grand-ducal decree at 16:00 in the Grand-Ducal Palace in Luxembourg City by Grand Duke Henri Prince Guillaume officially became the Hereditary Grand Duke of Luxembourg. The ceremony was attended by members of the family and the Luxembourg government. In his speech Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume said he wants to utilize his college days to prepare himself for the responsibilities that wait for him. He thanked his parents and grandparents for their confidence in him and said they are a great example for him how to serve the country. Finally he confirmed that he is going to serve the country in the interest of the country and the people to guarantee them justice, solidarity and welfare. One hour after the ceremony there was a thanksgiving service in the Cathedral of Our Lady and when the new Hereditary Grand Duke arrived with his parents people applauded for him. At 18:00 a reception was held at the Grand-Ducal Palace. Guillaume will become a member of the Council of State and join economic missions abroad - the first next April to Korea. Tomorrow he will be officially named President of the Kraizberg Foundation.

December 19th
Australian monarchists are disappointed because the Australian government has decided to issue bank-notes without the portrait of Queen Elizabeth II on it.

A gambler from Wales, convinced Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain will abdicate by the end of 2001, has placed the largest royal bet ever taken, a leading British bookmaker said. The gambler stands out to win $106.100 if the Queen steps down by December 31, 2001, having placed a $3650 bet at odds. The bookmaker said betting on the Queen's abdication is fairly common, though no one has ever dared to stake so much. It usually doesn't attract more than $15 or $30.

December 21st
Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain is starting to sound more like some of her trend-setting young subjects. An Australian researcher analysed the Queen's Christmasspeeches from the 1950s through the 1980s. He found that Royal vowels are drifting towards the standard southern British accent exemplified by female BBC Broadcasters. Writing in Nature Magazine he adds that the cockney accent is also an influence.

The state of health of Prince Guillaume of Luxembourg is still developing positively. He is making such a big improvement that he will be able to celebrate Christmas at home with his family (The photo was issued on December 22nd).

Queen Rania posed together with her three children. It is the first official photo - if we don't count the photos taken after her birth - with Princess Salma on it, who was born in September.

December 22nd
Zara Phillips, the daughter of the Princess Royal, had an accident while driving her Land Rover on an unclassified country road between Bourton-on-the-Water and Ford, Gloucestershire, shortly before 7am. The car clipped a wall and landed upside down. Zara, who was driving alone, suffered minor facial injuries, but did not need hospital treatment.

Queen Elizabeth II will go online on Christmas Day, as her seasonal message is seen for the first time on Royal Insight, the official royal news site. From 3pm the site will have video, audio and text and will carry the message from the moment it is available to television channels. The message will then remain online, with other Royal seasonal greetings.

Prince William of Great Britain arrived home after a 10-week stay in Patagonia, Chile, as a member of the Operation Raleigh expedition. He helped rebuild a village, teached children English in a local school, acted as a radio DJ and even cleaned toilets. After having to camp out with 14 other volunteers on a cold schoolroom floor, William said: "The first thing I'm going to do is soak in my bath for a couple of hours and then have a sleep - I'll probably sleep for a couple of years."

Yesterday Prince Constantijn of the Netherlands finished his studies as Master of Business Administration at the INSEAD in Fontainebleau, France. Queen Beatrix and Laurentien Brinkhorst attended the presentation of the diploma.

December 25th
Early in the evening Princess Märtha Louise of Norway read the fairytale "Manndattera og Kjerringdattera" in a children's programme on the Norwegian television.

Queen Beatrix held her first Christmas speech on television from Palace Huis ten Bosch. The broadcasting attracted 1,6 million viewers. The Queen for all talked about hope, love and faith. She also mentioned the engagement of her son Constantijn recently.

December 28th
Rached and Hamdane, sons of Sheikh Mohammad ben Rached al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Minister of Defence, are going to enter the Military Academy of Sandhurst in Great Britain in 2001.

A man has been arrested after paragliding on the forecourt of Buckingham Palace. No members of the Royal Family were in the building at the time of the incident which happened about 1pm. Police says he had been tracked by a police helicopter during his descent. It is said the man is 36-year-old Australian Brett De La Mare, an author who is hoping to publicize his unpublished novel. He has been involved in similar stunts elsewhere.

December 29th
Yesterday a small tumour has been removed from the left side of the chest of Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands at the University Medical Centre Utrecht. Doctors say the operation went well. The tumour will be examined further. Prince Bernhard returned home to Palace Soestdijk this morning. The Prince had discovered the tumour himself two weeks ago and before Christmas he was examined.

December 30th
Among the people who receive an honour from Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain were two former members of staff. Tiggy Legge-Bourke, former nanny to the Princes William and Harry, has been honoured becoming a member of the Royal Victorian Order. The Prince of Wales's former press secretary, Sandy Henney, became a Lieutenant of the Royal Victorian Order.

The more than 200 policemen of the Guardia Civil who have been brought into action to protect King Juan Carlos I of Spain and his family during their holiday in the winter-sports resort Baqueira in the Spanish Pyrenees, are protesting against their bad work-circumstances. They have to sleep with 20 men in one room in old apartments. Further they have to take care of their own food. They get money for food, but they don't receive enough as the village is very expensive.


Royal News: December 2000. Last updated: December 1st, 2000.