ROYAL NEWS: FEBRUARY 2005

Last updated: March 8th, 2005.

February 1st
Queen Sonja, Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway attended the opening of the exhibition 'Style and Splendour: Queen Maud of Norway's Wardrobe 1896-1938' at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. The exhibition marks the centennial anniversary of Norway in 2005. It displays a unique collection of early 20th century fashion designs from the wardrobe of Queen Maud of Norway, showing 50 of the most magnificent gowns worn by the Queen for coronations, royal events, and evening occasions, throughout her lifetime.

February 3th
Princess Madeleine of Sweden has driven her Lexus into a taxi on Thursday afternoon in Stockholm, sending an 85-year-old woman head first into the windshield. According to palace information chief Ann-Christine Jernberg, Princess Madeleine had stopped her car behind the taxi. "The princess thought she saw the taxi roll forward. She "bumped" slowly into the taxi. There was no major impact," Mrs Jernberg said. "She just misjudged the situation." "The princess was so nervous she was trembling," the collision victim told the Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet. The collision was hard enough to send the elderly passenger, sitting in the front seat, forward so that her head struck the windshield. She then struck her head on the neck support behind her. The woman has complained of neck pains after the accident. Princess Madeleine said she was extremely sorry about the incident.

February 4th
For the second time in two months, Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt has told Prince Philippe of Belgium to stay out of politics and mind his own business. Prince Philippe this time signed a statement issued by the Belgian industries federation FEB calling for a re-orientation of the EU's Lisbon strategy. It called for a greater liberalization of the economy as well as new socio-economic reforms. A spokesman for the FEB told La Derniere Heure newspaper that the prince is often an official witness, but the prime minister disagreed. "I'm counting on this never happening again the future," he said in a speech before the national Parliament.

February 5th
Tonight King Harald, Queen Sonja, Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway attended a huge 100-minute show with 100 actors at the theatre in Drammen celebrate the start of the centrenary celebrations in Norway. 100 years ago Norway became an independent country.
  • Photo slide-show
  • Hundreårsmarkeringen
  • Norwegian centennial anniversary 1905-2005


  • February 7th
    The Greek royal family announced that Princess Alexia of Greece and her husband Carlos Morales Quintana expect their third child in August 2005.

    In a 12-page legal opinion prepared for Oslo's conservation agency Professor Carl August Fleischer, a Norwegian legal expert, says that Princess Märtha Louise of Norway never should have been granted special permission to expand her new house in suburban Oslo. The project clearly violates local zoning laws, and the princess' building permit is thus invalid, he says. He claims that local public authorities had no right to infringe on that border when they went along with Princess Martha Louise's request to do so. The Princess and her husband paid NOK 8.8 million for the property in Lommedalen in the fall of 2003. They last year applied for a building permit to expand the 253-square-meter main house by another 180 square meters, even though there's a complete ban on construction in the area. Mr Fleischer says that the local authorities either have to take up the case again or that state officials are to step in and revoke the princess' building permit. Local officials have openly admitted they were granting the princess royal privilege.

    February 8th
    Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands today was presented with her first honorary doctorate at the Pieterskerk in Leiden. The Prince of Orange, Princess Máxima, Prince Constantijn, Princess Laurentien, Prince Friso and Princess Mabel, as well as Princess Margriet and Pieter van Vollenhoven attended the presentation. She received it from the University of Leiden as an acknowledgement for the manner in which she has drawn attention to the importance of freedom. In her speech Queen Beatrix said about the degree: "It is a token of honour which I consider to be a special privilege. I value it even more because this university was founded by William of Orange and my family is already connected with it for many centuries." She talked about her years as a student at the same university and about the excellent teachers from that time who laid the foundation of the knowledge of law and society that was necessary in her later life. She talked about what it means to be a Queen and what inspires her. In regard to Prince Claus she said: "Space for a personal life is however essential to be able to fulfill the public tasks long and with dedication. My husband has seen this always sharp and has guarded."

    The Master of the Royal Household, Rolf Trolle Andersen, has in a letter to the Ministry requested an additional NOK 6.3 million to be spent on increased security for the Royal Family in 2005. According to Dagbladet two years ago a secret committee concluded that the present security measures at the residences of both the King and the Crown Prince are insufficient.

    February 10th

    Copyright: British Royal Court

    The marriage was announced today of the Prince of Wales and Mrs Camilla Parker Bowles. The civil wedding will take place on Friday 8th April 2005 at Windsor Castle and will be a largely private occasion for family and friends. After the civil wedding there will be a service of prayer and dedication in St George's Chapel at which the Archbishop of Canterbury will preside. The Prince of Wales said: "Mrs Parker Bowles and I are absolutely delighted. It will be a very special day for us and our families." Camilla Parker Bowles will use the title HRH The Duchess of Cornwall after marriage. It is intended that Mrs Parker Bowles should use the title HRH The Princess Consort when the Prince of Wales accedes to the British throne. In a statement that was issued on behalf of Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain it says: "The Duke of Edinburgh and I are very happy that The Prince of Wales and Mrs Parker Bowles are to marry. We have given them our warmest good wishes for their future together." The princes William and Harry said they are 'very happy' and wish the couple 'all the luck in the future'. British Prime Minister Tony Blair said he was "delighted" for the couple and offered his congratulations, as did Conservative leader Michael Howard and Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy. The Archbishop of Canterbury said: "I am pleased that Prince Charles and Mrs Camilla Parker Bowles have decided to take this important step. I hope and pray that it will prove a source of comfort and strength to them and to those who are closest to them." About the wedding arrangements he said: "These arrangements have my strong support and are consistent with Church of England guidelines concerning remarriage which the Prince of Wales fully accepts as a committed Anglican and as prospective Supreme Governor of the Church of England." Mrs Camilla Parker Bowles was born Camilla Rosemary Shand at London on 17 July 1947 as daughter of Bruce and Rosalind Shand. She grew up in Sussex and was educated at the Queens Gate School in South Kensington, before finishing school in Switzerland and France. She and the Prince of Wales first met at a Windsor polo match in 1970, a year before the prince joined the Royal Navy. They became friends but there was no marriage offer and Camilla married cavalry officer Andrew Parker Bowles instead in 1973. The marriage ended in a divorce in 1995. She has two children: Tom born in 1974 and Laura born in 1979.

    The Prince of Wales and Mrs Camilla Parker Bowles made their first public appearance together as an engaged couple during a charity dinner at Windsor Castle tonight. Camilla Parker Bowles showed her diamond engagement ring. "Thank you very much," Camilla Parker Bowles said as she was congratulated. Asked how she was doing, she said: "All right, I'm just coming down to earth." Quizzed about the proposal and whether he got down on one knee she said with a wide grin: "Of course. What else?" The Prince of Wales said: "I'm very happy."

    During a visit to Tromsø King Harald V of Norway has defended Princess Märtha Louise's controversial building plans. He said: "Perhaps I should clarify from her viewpoint what has happened. She has applied in a completely normal way (for the building permit) and received an answer from the township. That was appealed to the county level, and she received the same answer. Then she began to build. It's just that simple from her viewpoint."

    February 11th
    Just 90 minutes after the marriage of the Prince of Wales and Mrs Camilla Parker Bowles was announced the National Archives put out a press release titled 'Prince Charles dies of a broken heart'. It is about a "royal scandal" that involved "Prince Charles falling in love with an unsuitable older woman". However, the prince in question was a 17th-century Prince Charles of Brandenburg, not the Prince of Wales. A National Archive spokeswoman said the press release was intended to coincide with Valentine's Day next week and that no insult to Charles or Mrs Parker Bowles was intended. "All I can do is apologise - it was never intentional," she said.

    Edwin the Roy van Zuydewijn is demanding 'paternal access' to his dog Paco, who is currently living with his estranged wife Princess Margarita de Bourbon de Parme. He has lodged legal action against. The case will be heard at court in Amsterdam on 17 February.

    February 12th
    Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, the Prince of Orange, Princess Máxima and Princess Amalia today posed for the press during their wintersport vacation in Lech, Austria. They rode up a hill in a horse drawn carriage to meet the press for a brief and chaotic photo session in the rain. Earlier this week Princess Amalia had the chicken-pox, but she was well enough to join today. After the photo session the Prince of Orange shortly talked to the press. About his wife's pregnancy he said that everything goes as planned. He said that it had been difficult to come back in Lech for the first time since the death of Queen Juliana, as when they heard about it they were in Lech. The Prince of Orange said about being a father: "I must admit that I had to get used to it first. Everybody has to know it of course himself, but you'd better start with children at a somewhat older age. The birth of my daughter was the best that ever happened to me. Every day she again looks radiant." At the end he said to hope not to see them again later this week. The agreement with the press is that they will leave the royal family alone the rest of the vacation.

    February 14th
    Dutch television broadcasted the first big tv-interview of Princess Máxima of the Netherlands alone on the occasion of the end of her introduction programme. In the past 3 1/2 years the princess travelled through the country and visited about 110 companies and institutions. About integration she said: "So much goes wrong as regards ignorance and misunderstandings. Simply, we must want to see the richness of integration." But she also said that immigrants should not remain on the sidelines and instead accept their responsibility. Princess Máxima said she understands the situation faced by immigrants. "I myself am an immigrant. But ultimately it is all about your own energy, your own will and power. You must not continue to live in your own circle." She said to have taken her chances and tries to take part in the Dutch life. She said that her special position means she can achieve many things. "I am apolitical, so I can help to bring the parties together." She is interested in social cohesion and would like to help improving integration, asserting that the monarchy is a symbol of unity. She wants to continue working on the issue of integration. She told that she visited the Netherlands for the first time in August 1999 and remembers the neatness and the amount of flowers, while a woman on a bike, with two children and groceries also made an immediate impression.

    February 15th
    Mom Srirasmi Mahidol na Ayudhya, consort of Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn of Thailand, is expecting a child, the Royal Household Bureau announced yesterday. She is expected to give birth in May, the bureau said.

    February 16th
    Metropolitan police officers were using high-tech equipment last night to search for new clues in the Paris tunnel where Diana, Princess of Wales, died in a car crash in 1997. Photographers and surveyors were using specialist laser equipment to scan the Pont d’Alma Tunnel, Scotland Yard said. The images will then be turned into a 3-dimensional computer model of the scene to be used in the inquests into the deaths in the accident of Diana and her partner Dodi al Fayed. The model, which will use new technology not available at the time, will "enhance understanding of the factors which may have contributed to the collision", a police spokesman said. The police spokesman could not say how many officers are in Paris tonight.

    Svenska Dagbladet on February 13 announced the engagement of Baron Carl Silfverschiöld, son of Baron Niclas Silfverschiöld and Princess Désirée of Sweden, to Maria Fredrikson at Måkläppen on January 2, 2005. In the magazine Svensk Damtidning of this week Princess Désirée told that the family is delighted and that they like Maria very much. Maria Fredrikson comes from Stockholm and is already a mother of two. No wedding date has been set yet.

    February 17th
    Former Queen Nariman of Egypt died yesterday in Dar al-Fouad hospital, on the outskirts of Cairo, after suffering a brain hemorrhage, at the age of 70. She had been admitted to an intensive care unit at the hospital on Sunday after an operation to remove a blood clot from her brain. She had suffered a string of health problems in recent years, including a stroke and a brain tumor. Nariman Sadeq was born on October 31, 1934. She married King Farouk of Egypt on May 6, 1951, and gave birth to their only child, Ahmed Fouad on January 16, 1952. After a military coup in July 1952 the family fled to Italy. After Farouk and Nariman divorced, Nariman returned to Egypt early 1954. She married in 1954 Dr. Adham Al-Naquib and had another son with him, Akram. After her second divorce, she married thirdly in 1967 Dr. Ismail Fahmi. She lived in a small apartment in Cairo's upscale Heliopolis neighbourhood since then.

    Further details have been released on the wedding of the Prince of Wales and Camilla Parker Bowles. The civil ceremony will be held at the Guildhall, Windsor prior to the Service of Prayer and Dedication in St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle. The venue will enable the public to see the couple arrive and depart from the Guildhall and include the town of Windsor in the day’s events. The Service of Prayer and Dedication will be presided over by the Archbishop of Canterbury and attended by around 700 guests. Following the Service, Her Majesty The Queen will give a reception in the State Apartments at Windsor Castle. Afterwards, The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall will leave Windsor for Scotland. Camilla Parker Bowles has chosen Robinson Valentine to design her outfit and Philip Treacy to design her hat. Camilla Parker Bowles’s hairdresser will be Hugh Green of Hugh and Stephen. The designers and the hairdresser are based in London. In keeping with royal tradition, the gold for the wedding rings of the couple has come from the Clogau St David’s mine in Bontddu, North Wales. The rings are being made to a traditional design by Wartski.

    In an interview with the German newspaper Welt am Sonntag Princess Michael of Kent talked about religion, politics and fox-hunting. She said that the English cared more for their dogs' breeding habits than their children's. "God forbid that the wrong drop of blood should get into their Labrador, but their children marry however they wish. Perhaps [traditional royal] arranged marriages were not the worst option." She also said to feel sorry for Prince Harry, who was criticised for dressing up as a Nazi. "If Harry had worn a hammer and sickle, nobody would have got excited, even though the hammer and sickle stands for Stalin, gulag, pogrom and devastation." She said that all members of the royal family have a gift with dialects. The Queen, she confirmed, is particularly good with cockney and Norfolk accents. "Queen Elizabeth is reserved when she meets strangers - but with friends and family she can be very witty." About religion she said: "I don't know whether or not it's good that we embrace all religions. We are no longer Christians - nevertheless a knowledge of God should still be important for Europeans." The princess also said she couldn't understand why fox-hunting was being banned, accusing the government of being more interested in "class-war" than taking proper action.

    During an apply for a rule nisi at court in Amsterdam Edwin de Roy van Zuydewijn let know that he wants to see his dog Paco two weeks a month. According to his lawyer Edwin de Roy van Zuydewijn isn't allowed to see the dog anymore already since one year. The dog is staying with Edwin de Roy van Zuydewijn's wife Princess Margarita de Bourbon de Parme. The couple has separated.

    February 18th
    King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia of Sweden are paying a four-day visit to the tsunami disaster-affected areas in Thailand. They arrived yesterday morning to show their gratitude for the hospitality shown to Swedes caught in the disaster. Yesterday evening the king and queen met with King Bhumibol Adulyadej and Queen Sirikit of Thailand to personally thank them for the help, support and hospitality extended to Swedish nationals since the tragedy. Their visit also included a visit the Swedish embassy to meet staff and volunteers who have helped holidaymakers hit by the destruction in Phuket and Khao Lak. King Carl XVI Gustaf also presented a donation of $40,000 from the Swedish scout movenements to the Thai scouts. Today they toured the area of Phuket and attended a ceremony of mourning for victims. Afterwards they visited Bangkok's Phuket hospital where they met and sympathized with some of the Swedish survivors who are still recovering from their injuries in the Thai hospital. Later, they also spoke with doctors and nurses expressing their gratitude for their indefatigable efforts during the crisis.

    February 20th
    Last Friday an anonymous person called the Office of the Luxembourg Grand-Ducal court to threaten Grand Duke Henri and his family. The police has been able to find out where the phone call came from. Evidence against a person has been found. This person has been brought up for an inquiry and was heared. He was not arrested as several things have to be examined first. The person denies.

    February 21st
    A government source said today that Princess Aiko of Japan is next in line to the Imperial Throne after Crown Princess Naruhito, indicating a woman may ascend the throne if the relevant law is revised. An advisory panel to Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi on the imperial succession issues is discussing a proposal to revise the Imperial House Law, which limits accession to the throne to males, given the fact that no male heir has been born since 1965. The remark by the source is believed to show the panel's discussions are moving toward such a consensus. The panel held its first meeting in January and a second last week. The government source said the focus of discussions at the panel will be on whether Princess Aiko's future children, be they male or female, should be allowed to ascend the throne, as it would mean a departure from the tradition of allowing only heirs who have emperors on their father's side to succeed to the throne.

    The royal court in Swaziland has issued a press ban on photographs of the cars of King Mswati III of Swaziland following negative publicity after the King had bought a Maybach 62, the world's most expensive automobile.

    February 22nd
    Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain will not attend the civil marriage ceremony of the Prince of Wales and Camilla Parker Bowles on April 8, says Buckingham Palace. They say the Queen will attend the church blessing afterwards and is happy to host the reception. They say "this is not a snub" and add it was because "the prince and Mrs Parker Bowles wanted to keep the occasion low key. The Queen and the rest of the Royal Family will, of course, be going to the service of dedication at St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle. She is very pleased to be giving the wedding reception at the Castle." The Palace declined to comment on speculation that police had warned the Queen to stay away on security grounds.

    The Prince of Wales will not have a best man when he marries Camilla Parker Bowles. Heirs to the throne usually have two "supporters", or best men, at the ceremony, but Clarence House says "it's not that sort of wedding". On Monday, law experts said royals could not have English civil marriages and would have to wed in Scotland. But the lord chancellor insists the marriage is legal. It was speculated that Princes William and Harry would perform the best men role for their father. But a Clarence House spokesman said: "The two boys will have a role throughout the wedding in so much as being by their father's side."

    February 23rd
    At a news conference on the occasion of his 45th birthday on Monday Crown Prince Naruhito of Japan has offered an apology for his controversial remarks last May that there were moves to deny Crown Princess Masako's personality and her career, which drew reactions from Emperor Akihito and Prince Akishino. He said: "My comments last year were made because I wanted people to know about Masako's situation. Nevertheless, I feel sorry that I caused trouble for the Emperor and Empress over the remarks. I also caused concern among the people." He added: "Ways of thinking differ from person to person, and in the same way, I think there exist differences in the ways of thinking between generations in any household. However, I believe that by continuing to talk about these differences understanding will naturally deepen." The Crown Prince stressed today that his thoughts were in line with those of the Emperor and Prince Akishino when it came to thinking about what could be done for the people of Japan. About his wife Crown Princess Masako, he said: "Masako is now on the way to recovery, trying to build up her "physical and mental energy." But he added the princess still had ups and downs. On the succession issue he said: "I would like to withhold any comments."

    February 25th
    In the Netherlands a double royal engagement was announced. Prince Pieter-Christiaan van Oranje-Nassau, van Vollenhoven will marry Anita van Eijk in the last week of August. Prince Floris van Oranje-Nassau, van Vollenhoven will marry Aimée Söhngen in October. Both Pieter-Christiaan and Floris are sons of Princess Margriet of the Netherlands and Pieter van Vollenhoven. The two princes presented their fiancées at the Queen Wilhelmina Hall at Palace Het Loo in Apeldoorn this afternoon. They both don't ask the government permission to get married. That means that they will loose their succession rights. The government has said to respect the wish of the princes. Prince Pieter-Christiaan and Anita van Eijk met at a party in London and it was love at first sight. Anita told: "We were in Apeldoorn and Pieter-Christiaan has lured me to the roof of Palace Het Loo with a dodge, and there he asked me to marry him. It was a very emotional and beautiful moment." About her fiancée she said that he is a "good person, enthusiast and someone with a super lot of humour". Prince Floris told that he knew immediately that Aimée was the one when he met her at a student party in Leiden. "When I saw her for the first time, that was clear." He asked her to marry him a few weeks ago in the Austrian mountains during a snowstorm. The couple already lives together in Amsterdam. Pieter van Vollenhoven joked after seeing his last two sons getting engaged: "We are sold out." Anita Theodora van Eijk was born on 27 October 1969 at Neuchâtel, Switzerland, as daughter of Mr L.A. van Eijk and Mrs J.C.M. van Eijk-Steens. She has an elder sister, Caroline. Her younger brother died when she was 16. She was raised in Switzerland, France, Singapore and the Netherlands. She finished her propaedeutics in English language and literature at the University of Leiden and thereafter studied communication science at the University of Amsterdam. She graduated in 1996. She has worked for Bloomberg in Amsterdam, Christie's in London as well as JPMorgan. She now lives in Amsterdam and wants to start her own business. Aimée Leonie Allegonde Marie Söhngen was born on 18 October 1977 in Amsterdam as daughter of Mr J.H.M. Söhngen and Mrs E.L.F.M. Söhngen-Stammeijer. She has a younger brother, Hans, and a younger sister Magali. She was raised in Bussum and Naarden. She graduated in 2002 in business law at the University of Leiden. Since she works at the Fortis Bank.
  • Pictures of both couples and their parents


  • Princess Máxima of the Netherlands paid a visit to Uganda and Kenia this week in her capacity as a member of the Group of Advisers on the UN International Year of Microcredit. She talked with directors of banks, and talked to customers who talked to her about their loan experience in the micro loan scheme. She also met President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda. Today there was a press conference at the Dutch embassy in Nairobi at the end of the visit. Princess Máxima admitted that the trip had been exhausting as she has less energy now she is pregnant, but that she would surely do it again. She said it was worth it. She said it is her task to show how important microcredit is for the development and the fight against poverty. She thinks she can do more in her position that most economists as she is well-known. Early this week also Crown Princess Mathilde of Belgium was in Africa. She visited Mali. Late January Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway also headed for Africa. She visited Malawi and especially was interested in the huge problems around HIV/AIDS in the country. Female Zulu head Kachindomoto even proclaimed her Princess of Malawi during the visit.

    February 26th
    Crown Princess Masako of Japan has cancelled a trip to Nagano Prefecture to attend the Special Olympics on Saturday after her doctors voiced concern about her health. She was scheduled to accompany her husband as her first official duty outside Tokyo in nearly 15 months. Attending the event after a long railway trip would be a heavy burden, doctors reportedly said when they recommended the Crown Princess to cancel the trip.

    Magali Söhngen, sister of the fiancée of Prince Floris van Oranje-Nassau, van Vollenhoven, said in the local newspaper that the wedding is to take place in Naarden. Magali described her sister as a 'sweet, sociable, relaxed type'. She said: "If he hadn't been a prince, she wouldn't have mind at all." According to Magali they both mix with eachother in a nice, 'teasing' way. She says to have gotten used to it that her sister is in the gossip press sometimes.

    February 28th
    The court of justice in Amsterdam has convicted 33-year-old K. van de K. to 46 days in prison for receiving a stolen bag of Princess Margarita de Bourbon de Parme last August. The judge said that he could have known the bag was stolen. A female accomplice has to pay a 500 Euro fine. The lawyer of Van de K. is going to appeal. According to him his client is not guilty and only wanted to give back the bag to the princess.

    Vagrius publishing house has issued a 5000 copies of "Empress Maria Fedorovna's Diaries, yrs. 1914-1923". The presentation of the more than 700-pages thick book took place in the State Hermitage yesterday. Translators have made an extensive commentary and a preface that would bring a reader into the context of the given epoch. The publication is illustrated with photos. It took almost four years to put the book together. The diaries of Empress Maria Feodorovna of Russia were written in Danish and depicts World War I, the downfall of the Russian Empire, the Russian Revolution and the Civil War as well as the execution of the Empress's son Tsar Nikolai II and his family. Editor-in-chief of the publishing house Alexey Kostanyan said: "There is a lot of historical, everyday-life and private material which gives us an authentic view of what was going on inside the elite strata of authority and reflects the unique coloring of a czar's family life."

    The Prince of Wales paid a visit to the eastern district of Batticaloa at Sri Lanka, that was hit badly by the tsunami on December 26. He met Tamil fisherman and volunteers. After the visit he returned to Colombo to meet President Chandrika Kumaratunga before flying on to Australia.


    Royal News: January 2005. Last updated: January 31st, 2005.