ROYAL NEWS: DECEMBER 2009

Last updated: January 3rd, 2010.

December 1st
Crown Princess Mary of Denmark returned home this morning after a two-day visit to the Danish troops in Afghanistan, and learnt about their situation in the country. She said to be very proud of the people who represent Denmark in Afghanistan.

Princess Aiko of Japan celebrated her 8th birthday today, and in the afternoon visited her grandparents Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko of Japan. She is attending the second year at the Gakushuin Primary School, where she takes care of the goldfish in her class. She likes going on field trips with her class. Furthermore she enjoyes playing the piano and violin, baseball, jumping rope, calligraphy, composing poems and practicing writing kanji characters.
  • Birthday pictures


  • Treasures of the Russian Imperial family sold for £7 million, more than seven times the pre-sale estimate, at Sotheby's in London yesterday. On sale were cigarette cases, Snuff boxes and cufflinks, once belonging to Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna of Russia.
  • Auction results


  • Princess Ferial of Egypt's funeral took place at the Al Rifa'i Mosque in Cair, Egypt this evening, after her coffin was flown in from Switzerland, where she died on Sunday. Her brother former King Fouad II and his children attended the ceremony. After the funeral prayers her coffin was placed in the burial chamber of the mosque.

    December 3rd
    The Duchess of York and her daughters Beatrice and Eugenie attended the premiere of the film "The Young Victoria" in Los Angeles. The film was co-produced by the Duchess. The film tells about the first years on the throne of Queen Victoria. It will be in the cinemas from 18 December.

    December 4th
    Prince Alexander of Belgium was buried today in a side chapel next to the royal crypte in Laken, after a funeral service at the Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekerk in Laken. The funeral was attended by Princess Lea of Belgium and her two children and son-in-law, Salvador Moncada and Princess Esmeralda of Belgium with their two children, King Albert II and Queen Paola, Queen Fabiola, Prince Philippe and Princess Mathilde, and Prince Laurent and Princess Claire of Belgium. The funeral was also attended by Grand Duke Henri of Luxemburg, Princess Margaretha of Liechtenstein, Archduke Carl-Christian and Archduchess Marie-Astrid of Austria, Archduke Rudolf of Austria, Archduchess Yolande of Austria and Princess Maria Gabriella of Savoy.
  • Royal Portraits: Pictures


  • The Norwegian royal court has introduced a children's section of the royal website. This way they want to inform children, especially about the age of 10-11, about the monarchy. King Harald V and Princess Ingrid Alexandra are shown in the opening video. Children are welcomed by Ronja, one of the dogs of the King. Apart from information the website also contains drawings by children and videos. The royal website was recently also extended with a version in Sami language.
  • Children's pages
  • Opening video


  • Princess Mabel of Orange-Nassau has started twittering about her public activities.
  • Mabel van Oranje


  • December 5th
    King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand addressed the Thai people on the occasion of his 82nd birthday. He thanked the Thai for their support during his hospitalisation and urged his people to work for the good of the country. He said: "My happiness and goodness will be preserved if our nation has prosperity and security with calm." He left the Siriraj Hospital in a wheelchair today for a one-hour trip to the Grand Palace for a ceremony and the address. He was accompanied by his wife Queen Sirikit. The King is in hospital since September 19 and the Thai people are very worried about his health. According to the Royal Household Agency he is receiving physical therapy after having suffered of pneumonia, fatigue and fever.

    December 6th
    Via her lawyers Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain has issued a warning to newspapers not to publish paparazzi pictures of her and her family. Paddy Harverson, spokesman of the Prince of Wales, said that the royal family has a right to privacy during everyday private activities.

    December 8th
    The Swedish royal court today disclosed the new mirror mongram of Crown Princess Victoria and her fiancé Daniel Westling. The monogram was designed by Vladimir A. Sagerlund, the heraldic artist of the state archives. Yesterday the court announced that the public service broadcaster Sveriges television will host the television, radio and internet broadcast of the wedding.
  • The Monogram


  • It is expected Crown Prince Sultan of Saudi Arabia will return to the country soon, after having spent more than a year in the USA and Morocco for treatment and recovery.

    December 9th
    Crown Princess Masako of Japan celebrated her 46th birthday today. In a written statement she says: "I would like to continue my efforts to recover, with the help of people around me. Under the guidance of my doctor, I have been doing my best, step by step, to regain my health, mentally and physically." She said to be very happy with the support of her husband, parents-in-law, and other people. The Crown Princess is suffering from a stress-related illness already since about 2003.
  • Birthday pictures


  • Today the executive board of the IOC has nominated six new members for election at the IOC general assembly in Vancouver, Canada in February. The list includes Prince Faisal bin Hussein of Jordan, brother of King Abdullah II of Jordan. His half-sister Princess Haya is already member of the IOC.

    December 10th
    US-President Barack Obama received the Nobel Peace Prize Award today at the City Hall of Oslo, Norway. He was accompanied by his wife Michelle. He received the award for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples. Of special importance was his vision and work for a world without nuclear weapons. The festivities were as usual also attended by King Harald V, Queen Sonja, Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway.
  • Nobel Lecture of Barack Obama


  • Monseigneur Yves Le Saux, Bishop of Le Mans, today opened the cause of beatification of Empress Zita of Austria, who died in 1989. Her son Archduke Rudolf was present. Three of the Empress's sisters were nuns at Solesmes, in the diocese of Le Mans. She herself was also allowed by the Pope to spend three months a year within the nuns enclosure.

    December 11th
    Yesterday King Carl XVI Gustaf, Queen Silvia, Crown Princess Victoria, Prince Carl Philip and Princess Madeleine of Sweden attended the presentation of the Nobel Prizes in Stockholm today. Also Jonas Bergström, the fiancé of Princess Madeleine was present. Today the King and Queen hosted a dinner for the Nobel Prize winners at the royal palace in Stockholm.
  • Nobel Prize Presentation
  • Nobel Dinner


  • Prince William of Wales has completed his 12 month Advanced Rotary training course at RAF Shawbury. He says to be "looking forward" to begin the next stage of his training, which will help to convert his flying skills to focus on those needed to become a Search and Rescue Pilot early next year.

    Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdul Aziz of Saudi Arabia returned home today after having spent more than year in the USA and Morocco for medical treatment and recuperation. Upon his return he said: "I feel happy and exulted and am delighted as I meet the King and the loyal Saudi people." Hundreds of well-wishers, including King Abdullah of Saud Arabia, were at the airport of Riyadh to welcome the Crown Prince.

    December 13th
    Buckingham Palace has denied claims of the Mail on Sunday newspaper that Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain will passing on a substantial part of her duties to her grandson Prince William of Wales, due to her age. The palace says the news is "total and utter fabrication". Although Prince William is gradually taking on more engagements, the palace says his focus remains at first on his military career.

    Today an Islamic court in Malaysia has ordered Indonesian Manohara Odelio Pinot to return to her husband Tengku Temenggong Mohammad Fakhry, Prince of Kelantan, and solve their marriage problems within 14 days of an oath which the prince will take on 3 January 2010. She also has to repay a debt of more than $ 325.000 within 30 days of the oath. The prince hopes his wife will return to him. If Manohara doesn't return she can be declared "disloyal", which means that the prince is not obliged to pay her maintenance.

    December 14th
    The first official three-day trip of Prince William of Wales to New Zealand from 17 to 19 January 2010 will be a chance for him "to learn the ropes", a royal official told the BBC. The prince will represent his grandmother Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain and open the new supreme court building in Wellington. The tour that will be rather relaxed, and will be charted on the Prince's social networking sites Bebo and Facebook. Afterwards he will make an unofficial trip to Australia from 19 to 21 January, and carry out several engagements in Sydney and Melbourne.

    December 15th
    The Prince of Wales attends the United Nations Copenhagen Climate Change Conference in Denmark. Today he held a speech about his vision on climate change and environmental issues. He told the people at the conference: "The eyes of the world are upon you and it is no understatement to say that, with your signatures, you can write our future." He also warned that the planet is at a point of crisis.
  • Speech of the Prince of Wales


  • December 16th
    Tengku Muhammad Fakhry Petra, Tengku Temenggong of Kelantan (Malaysia) is challenging his eldest brother's decision to remove his membership in the Kelantan Council of Succession in September. The council is responsible for confirming the succession to the Throne and Sovereignty of Kelantan and for determining whether there is a vacancy in the throne by reason of the prolonged absence from the state of the reigning Sovereign. Tengku Muhammad Fakhry Petra is the third son of the Sultan of kelantan. His brother is regent since May, as the Sultan has been in hospital in Singapore since then. Tengku Muhammad Fakhry Petra's lead counsel said on today that the decision is inconsistent with the constitution of Kelantan. He says that as the regent was appointed by the council, he didn't have the power to make the decision. The health of the Sultan is getting better now, and it was said today that the state government will bring him back home for further treatment in a local hospital.

    December 18th
    The Spanish royal household issued the yearly Christmas cards of the family.
  • Felicitaciones de Navidad


  • Yesterday the Norwegian royal family gathered in front of a gingerbread-house in the royal palace in Oslo for the yearly Christmas photo session. While the men all wore suits, Queen Sonja and Crown Princess Mette-Marit wore costumes.
  • Christmas photos at the palace


  • The Danish royal family attended several events on the occasion of the United Nations Copenhagen Climate Change Conference that was held from 7 to 18 December. Especially the crown princely couple was present at events, and hosted a reception at the Christian VIII's Palace on 14 December. Crown Prince Frederik used a Fisker Automotive hybrid car to travel to an event on 15 December. On 16 December Queen Margrethe II and Prince Henrik hosted a gala performance at the royal theatre, and on 17 December they hosted a state dinner at Christiansborg Palace. Also Prince Joachim and Princess Marie were present, as well as Princess Benedikte. Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden also spent a few days at the conference last weekend.

    On Friday evening both Princess Máxima of the Netherlands and Prince Laurent of Belgium kicked off annual Christmas actions of radio stations. Princess Máxima locked up three radio DJs in a glaze house on the market square of Groningen. She paid to hear two of her favourite songs: "Woman" of the Dutch rock singer Anouk, and "7 Seconds" by Youssou N'Dour and Neneh Cherry. In Belgium Prince Laurent attended the start of Music for Life by the radio station Studio Brussel. He wished to hear "Viva la Vida" by Coldplay. The proceeds of both actions will go to the support programmes of the Red Cross to fight malaria.

    King Albert II of the Belgians has announced that he opens up two appartments near the castle of Ciergnon for two homeless families. The announcement follows a political discussion about the lack of available places for homeless people and asylum seekers in Belgium.

    The Bulgarian National Assembly has imposed a moratorium on transactions involving the agriculture land and forests of the former Bulgarian royal family, either returned to the family or given as compensation. The moratorium will remain in force until the adoption of a special law which is to regulate the status of the property. Former King Simeon of Bulgaria in a statement condemns the moratorium as illegal and unconstitutional. He said that the action "showed a disregard for the rule of law and was a flagrant violation of the Constitution of Bulgaria."

    December 19th
    The Duke of York has made a surprise visit to the British troops in Afghanistan. He arrived in Camp Bastion, Helmand province, on Thursday evening. On Friday he also visited Lashkar Gah and Kandahar. The Duke said to be "hugely impressed" by the work of the British troops in Afghanistan.

    Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko of Japan, their three children, children-in-law and three grandchildren spent the day in Kodomonokuni, Children's Land, in Yokohama to mark their golden wedding anniversary. The park was opened in 1959 in commemoration of the imperial couple's marriage. Granddaughter Princess Aiko couldn't participate due to a cold.

    December 20th
    Zara Phillips, granddaughter of Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain, has helped design, develop and test a collection of equestrian clothing for sports outfitter Musto. The collections includes jackets and fleeces and will be presented in 2010. It is due to go on sale in August 2010. The collection will carry Zara's British eventing number, 176, as logo. Zara Phillips will receive a designer royalty for her work. She is a brand ambassador of the company and appeared in some of their advertising.

    According to the Arabian Business journal of the United Arab Emirates Prince Alwaleed bin Talal bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud of Saudi Arabia is the wealthiest Arab of 2009. His fortune is estimated $ 18 billion. The magazine says the figures have been confirmed by the Prince's private office.

    December 21st
    The Information Commissioner has ordered the Department for Culture, Media and Sport to release more than 100 letters and memos written by members of parliament and members of the Royal Household about public subsidies paid for the upkeep of the palaces of Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain. The decision follows a ruling under Freedom of Information laws. The Commissioner said that disclosure of the documents would 'increase transparency and accountability' in the awarding of grants to the Royal Household. Politicians and press have criticised the lack of transparency over the public money given to the British royals.

    The website of the Belgian Monarchy got a new design and is available in four languages: Dutch, French, German and English. Information can be found about the monarchy today, the royal family, its history, and about palace and heritage. Also some frequently asked questions are being answered. The website also includes a short genealogy of the family.
  • The Belgian Monarchy


  • The Royal Household Bureau said that King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand has fully recovered from his illness, but will remain in hospital for a while for added recuperation. The King was admitted to the Sriraj Hospital in Bangkok on 19 September.

    40-year-old Sheikh Issa bin Zayed Al-Nayhan of Abu Dhabi, an half-brother of the president of the United Arab Emirates, has gone on trial on torture charges. The torture of an Afghan man five years ago was videotaped and surfaced last year in a lawsuit in the USA by the Sheikh's former business associate. The trial started in October, and the Sheikh pleaded not guilty. The defense of the Sheikh says that a combination of drugs, including medicines for heart and back condition, left the Sheikh disoriented and impaired. A drug expert testified on the issue today. A verdict is expected on 10 January 2010.

    The urn of Prince Dedo of Saxony, who died on 6 December, was interred at the family vault of the Hohenzollern family in the Kloserkirche Hedingen in Sigmaringen. His urn was placed next to his brother Gero, who died in 2003. Several members of the Saxony and Hohenzollern families attended the service.

    December 22nd
    Prince William of Wales spent a night on the street near Blackfriars Bridge in London last week together with Seyi Obakin, chief executive of Centrepoint. Prince William has been the patron of the homeless charity since 2005. He said: "I hope that by deepening my understanding of the issue, I can help do my bit to help the most vulnerable on our streets."

    On 11 December Prince Josef Emanuel of Liechtenstein, son of Prince Nikolaus and Princess Margaretha, took part in the sovereign's parade at the Royal Military Academy of Sandhurst in Great Britain. He passed out as an overseas cadet.

    December 23rd
    In a statement issued by the Imperial Household Agency on the occasion of his 76th birthday, Emperor Akihito of Japan says: "My health is now better than it was last December, and I would like to spend the coming year as I did this year (with a lighter schedule and fewer functions), and I will try not to give people cause for concern." The Emperor expressed his concern for people affected by the financial crisis and the outbreak of swine flu.

    December 24th
    In his Christmas speech King Juan Carlos of Spain called for the unity of all Spanish people to "overcome tensions and differences" following the values of the Constitution "to strenghten the internal cohesion and the international image of the country" and "to make economy grow up again to create jobs as soon as possible". He also remembered the victims of terrorism and their families.

    December 25th
    In her Christmas speech Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain said that 2009 has been "a difficult year for many, in particular those facing the continuing effects of the economic downturn." She also expressed her sadness at the casualties suffered by the British troops fighting in Afghanistan. The biggest part of the speech however dealt with the 60th anniversary of the Commonwealth, which according to the Queen is "an organisation without a mission".

    Queen Beatrix pleaded for charity, compassion and concern in her yearly Christmas speech. She warns for the individualisation of the community and said that modern ways of communication seem to connect people closer, but behind the scenes there is a safe distance. She says that nowadays even neighbours are unknown, and people communicate via quick short messages, instead of conversation.

    King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden in his Christmas speech expressed optimism for 2010. He said: "Hopefully everyone who is unemployed today will soon have a safe work place to go to." He also referred to the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall and the United Nations' Child convention, as well as to the recent climate summit in Copenhagen. Of course he told to be excited about the engagements of his daughters Victoria and Madeleine, and thanked the Swedish people for their encouragement and support of the royal family.

    December 28th
    The office of former King Constantine of Greece announced the engagement of Prince Nikolaos of Greece and his longtime girlfriend Tatiana Blatnik. No further details were announced yet.

    December 30th
    Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands has expressed her appreciation to Jasper Schuringa, who helped overpowering a Nigerian man who tried to blow up an airplane travelling from Amsterdam to Detroit on 25 December.

    December 31st
    The Duchess of Cornwall became a grandmother again. Her daughter Laura, married to Harry Lopes, gave birth to twin sons on 30 December 2009. Louis and Gus were born in a London hospital. Clarence House announced today: "The whole family are thrilled and the Duchess is absolutely delighted by the news. Mother and sons are doing well." Laura already had a daughter, Eliza, who is 23 months old. Laura's brother Tom has a two-year-old daughter, Lola.

    Professor Salvador Moncada, husband of Princess Esmeralda of Belgium, received a "knights bachelor" honour according to Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain's New Year Honours List of this year. He was honoured because of his services to science. He is listed as director of the Wolfson Institute of Biomedical Research of the University of London.

    In his New Year's speech King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand stressed the importance of working for the common good. He said that people should dedicate themselves to carrying out the tasks they have before them to the best of their ability. He also thinks they should perform the tasks with full concentration and awareness of what they are doing and should think carefully and conduct themselves properly in all endeavours. The King says that the Thai people must recognise that to serve the public interest is a goal everyone should work to achieve. The King thanked the people for their concern for his health.


    Royal News: November 2009. Last updated: December 8th, 2009.