ROYAL NEWS: NOVEMBER 2003

Last updated: December 7th, 2003.

November 1st
Completely unexpected the Spanish royal court announced the engagement of the Prince of Asturias to Letizia Ortiz Rocasolano.

Princess Maria Carolina of Bourbon-Two Sicilies, daughter of the Duke and Duchess of Calabria, was christened today at the chapel of the Royal Palace in Caserta, Italy. 500 people were invited to attend the christening that was led by Cardinal Mario Francesco Pompedda. Among her godparents were Prince Laurent of Belgium, Prince and Duke Pierre d'Arenberg, Annamaria Pisanu and Ines Sastre. The 600 guests included Prince Kardam and Princess Miriam of Bulgaria, the Prince of Venice, the Duke of Aosta, Archduchess Catharina of Austria and the Duke of Bragança. After the christening a gala dinner was held.

November 2nd
Prince Pieter-Christiaan van Oranje-Nassau, Van Vollenhoven has run 180 kilometres around Lake Geneva (Lac Léman) over the past three days, covering 60 kilometres a day. The Lac Léman Challenge started on Friday at 8:00am in front of the Olympic Museum in Lausanne. The prince was joined by 30 classmates of the MBA Class of 2003 of the IMD business school of Lausanne who ran the distance in a relay. With the help of sponsors they wanted to raise funds to be able to rebuild a sports facility for the Elementary school 'Skender Kulenovic' in the former Olympic quarter Dobrinja in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. This massive undertaking has its roots in a part of the IMD MBA program during which participants spend a week in Bosnia and Herzegovina, learning from top-level political and business leaders about the challenges of doing business in the country. The class was struck by the lack of hope felt by young local leaders. In an interview with the Dutch GPD on Sunday evening after he had finished the 180 kilometres Prince Pieter-Christiaan says he ran the marathon of Amsterdam two weeks ago as a training for the Lac Léman Challenge, but that he hadn't had much time to train a lot before the challenge. He didn't tell his parents beforehand what he was up to exactly, as he thought that would be better. Prince Pieter-Christiaan told that on Friday he 'arrived like a dead body' and it rained all day, but it was no option to give up. He and his class have raised 16.700 Euros so far.

Queen Margrethe II of Denmark has designed the 100th Christmas poststamp (Julemaerket 2003). The Christmas poststamps of 2003 are in the token of hearts. The Queen was inspired by Christmas markets and exhibitions she visited as a child and later on. The stamps bear the Queen's signature 'M'.

November 3rd
Princess Märtha Louise of Norway appears on the cover of Henne Magazine this week together with her daughter Maud Angelica. The photos were made by Morten Krogvold. She also gave an interview about being a mother and about the role of a father. The Princess appears to be a modern mother who manages to have more roles at the same time. The Princess was one of 40 known women who were photographed for the magazine together with their children especially for UNICEF.

A High Court battle is starting on Wednesday about up to 20 secret videos from the early 1990s of the late Diana Princess of Wales showing her talking about her troubled marriage. The videos are said to have been made by the Princess's voice coach Peter Settelen and are currently held by Scotland Yard after being seized in January 2001 raid on the house of former royal butler Paul Burrell. Mr Settelen claims now the tapes are his property, but the princess's family, headed by Earl Spencer, say the tapes are theirs. In order to establish ownership of copyright, the videos, amounting to some 21 hours of footage, could be shown during a court hearing. The content of the videos was regarded as so sensitive that the prosecution agreed not to use them in Paul Burrell's trial which collapsed last year. If Mr Settelen wins, he could make millions by selling them to a broadcaster. A Scotland Yard spokesman said: "Negotiations are continuing to establish the ownership of a number of items in our possession."

November 5th
Yesterday the Council of Ministers of Austria has decided that the request for restitution of the Habsburg family is 'inadmissible'. In May the family had asked for restitution of among others 200.000 ha of wood and Laxenburg Castle, all private property before 1919 according to the family. Now the case has been handed over to the court of arbitration that has to decide about the request.

Duke Philipp von Württemberg has been appointed the new general director of Sotheby's France it was announced yesterday. He will lead the auction house in France together with Princess Laure de Beauvau Craon. The Duke will also remain leader of Sotheby's Germany, a post he already holds since July 1998.

November 6th
An injunction banning the newspaper the Guardian from naming former royal servant Michael Fawcett has been lifted by agreement at the High Court in London. The move comes after the newspaper said it has no intention of repeating allegations about him. The agreement means the Guardian can only publish Mr Fawcett's name in relation to him obtaining an injunction against the Mail on Sunday. Desmond Browne QC, for the former royal aide, told Mr Justice Tugendhat, sitting in the High Court in London: "The claimant's concern ever since he learnt of the utterly false allegations the Mail on Sunday intended to publish has been to preserve his reputation and protect his family. No other consideration motivated his action against the Guardian."

The Prince of Wales has intervened in a media censorship row naming himself as the senior British Royal accused of involvement in an allegedly compromising incident witnessed by a servant. A statement from Clarence House said: "In recent days, there have been media reports concerning an allegation that a former Royal Household employee witnessed an incident some years ago involving a senior member of the Royal Family. The speculation needs to be brought to an end. The allegation was that the Prince of Wales was involved in the incident. This allegation is untrue. The incident which the former employee claims to have witnessed did not take place. There is a particular sadness about this allegation because it was made by a former Royal Household employee who, unfortunately, has suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and has previously suffered from alcoholism following active service in the Falklands. He has, in the past, made other unrelated allegations, which the police have fully investigated, and found to be unsubstantiated. The newspaper group that sought to publish this allegation knew this and has described the former employee as 'hardly a reliable witness'. This was why the newspaper concerned agreed to the injunction on Saturday afternoon. The Prince of Wales has always tried to avoid becoming involved in disputes with the media, which he appreciates fulfils an important role. It is important, however, to state clearly that the allegation is entirely untrue."

Princess Christa von Thurn und Taxis was chosen as new president of the Bavarian Red Cross. Until now she was their vice-president. She is the first woman to take this position in Bavaria. She already led the organisation in the past five months after president Heinz Köhler unexpectedly stepped back because of health problems. The new president said that she hopes to go on with the course of reforms. Princess Christa is married to Prince Max Emanuel von Thurn und Taxis.

November 7th
The Government Information Service announced that the Dutch Cabinet has decided that also in case the first child of the Prince of Orange and Princess Máxima of the Netherlands will be a girl she will be greeted with 101 salutes. Traditionally 51 salutes were fired when a princess was born. On the date of birth of the little prince or princess the Dutch flag is allowed to be hoisted with orange banner attached. If the baby is born on a Sunday or a feastday the flag will be hoisted the first working day after the birth. Also the bells will be ringing.

The Swedish Royal Family is going to sue the German gossip magazines 'Woche der Frau', 'Das Neue Blatt' and 'Welt der Frau' who claimed that Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden was either pregnant or had an abortion. They made the decision after several front page stories in German magazines about the Crown Princess, royal court lawyer Bengt Ljungqvist said. He said neither accusation was true. "One must put one’s foot down, so there is an end to all this," he said. "I don’t think they should treat even very famous people in this way." The royal family wants the magazines to publish front page corrections and issue a public apology. They are also expect to be reimbursed for its legal fees and is considering damages. Court proceedings are scheduled to start in Germany on Tuesday.

Princess Caroline of Monaco has taken her fight to protect her private life to the European Court of human rights in Strasbourg, France. She hopes to overturn a court ruling in the late 1990s which allowed German magazines to publish unauthorised photos of her and her family as the courts felt the princess was an 'undeniable figure of our time'. Her attorney argued in court that the princess and her four children "suffer night and day" with the fear that "someone they cannot see is observing them". He added saying that the German laws had violated the human rights convention which state that personal privacy should be respected "except when public safety, national security or protection of health" is in peril. However the defence for the German government maintained that the photos were "inoffensive" and that they were allowed as the princess was a newsworthy figure. A decision of the court is expected in a few months time.

Today Le Figaro announced the death of Princess Nadine von und zu Liechtenstein on November 5 in Boulogne (Hauts-de-Seine), France. She was born Nadine Ansay in Lille on September 8, 1916. In 1968 she married, as his fourth wife, Prince Ferdinand von und zu Liechtenstein, who died in 1981. She is survived by her children from her earlier marriages, their children and grandchildren. The funeral service will take place at the Church of Saint-Pierre de Blagnac (Haute-Garonne) tomorrow at 10:15 am. Since 1963 Princess Nadine, herself olympic vice-champion in bridge in 1962, organised the Festival mondial de bridge in Deauville. She was an officer in the national order of the mérite, and also received the war cross for her activities in the French resistance in World War II.

November 8th
Today the Süddeutsche Zeitung (newspaper) announced the death of Princess Anna Luise von Anhalt on November 1, 2003. The funeral service will be held at November 29 at 11:00am in the Castle Church of Ballenstedt, whereafter her ashes will be intered in private. Princess Anna Luise was born in Ballenstedt on March 26, 1933, as the second daughter of Duke Joachim Ernst von Anhalt and Edda Marwitz. In 1966 she married Thomas Beverly Birch, but they divorced in 1970. She is survived by her son James.

November 9th
Yesterday evening at 11:32 the Countess of Wessex has given birth to a baby girl by emergency Caesarian section at Frimley Park Hospital, Frimley, Surrey. The girl weighs 4lb 9oz (2070 grammes). She was born premature. The Countess was rushed to hospital by ambulance from Bagshot Park about one hour before giving birth. The yet unnamed baby is eight in line to the British throne and is Queen Elizabeth II's seventh grandchild. Both mother and daughter were this morning described as "stable", but as a precaution the baby has been moved to the neo-natal unit of St George's Hospital in Tooting, London. The Countess of Wessex will remain in hospital "for the foreseeable future", Buckingham Palace said. The pregnancy had been progressing well and royal gynaecologist Marcus Setchell had expected to deliver the child early in December. However Mr Setchell was present at the hospital for the emergency operation, which was carried out by surgeon Sukhpal Singh with gynaecologist Anne Deans and midwife Adrienne Price. Buckingham Palace says Queen Elizabeth II is being kept regularly informed on the progress of both mother and baby and also said that "The Queen is pleased to hear that they are doing well." The Earl of Wessex was not present at birth. He was on an official visit to Mauritius, but flew home immediately after hearing that his wife had been admitted to hospital. He is expected to arrive later today. The Prince of Wales, attending a Remembrance ceremony in Oman, told reporters he was "delighted" at the news of the birth of his niece. The Countess's parents Christopher and Mary Rhys-Jones visited their daughter at hospital today and her father said afterwards that the countess was "absolutely fine", heavily sedated and rather sleepy. The Countess of Wessex made her last public appearance only three days ago when opening new offices for the ChildLine charity in London and was due to travel to London for today's Rememberance Day service and parade at the Cenotaph with other members of the royal family. When the Earl and Countess married in 1999, it was decided, with the Queen's agreement, that any children they had would not be called His or Her Royal Highness. Instead, the couple's baby girl will take the title of Lady ... Mountbatten-Windsor. However the Letters Patent of 1917 by which the children of sons of the monarch enjoy the titular dignity of prince(ss) of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland with the qualification of Royal Highness has not been changed. Neither has there been a Royal Warrent formalizing the announcement of June 1999.

November 10th
The Countess of Wessex and her newborn daughter are still being cared for in different hospitals. The Countess is expected to stay at Frimley Park Hospital for the next five days. The Earl of Wessex arrived in Great Britain yesterday evening. He spent one hour with his wife before visiting their daughter. He said: "First of all I am rather shocked and delighted at the news, obviously very sorry that I was not able to be part of it. I have seen Sophie, she is doing well - she has also had a bit of a fraught time of it." He said his wife was "inevitably" upset not to be with her daughter and added "We are hoping one or the other gets well soon enough so they can be together." After seeing his wife the Earl travelled to London and spent one hour and 15 minutes with his daughter. He said she was doing very well. The couple were waiting until they had both seen their daughter before deciding on a name.

In the Evening Standard newspaper former British royal valet Simon Solari has stated allegations that the Prince of Wales was seen in a compromising incident with one of his servants cannot be true. He said the ex-servant who made the claims would not have had the opportunity to witness the alleged events. "The Royal Household operates a very strict system on military lines, with specific servants having specific roles," he said.

Last Friday Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende said during his weekly press conference that the Dutch royal family was too often the butt of derision. He said to be unhapy with TV programmes that poke fun at the royal family. He said that such programmes could damage the Royal House because the royal family can't defend itself against satire. He said the Cabinet wouldn't take legal steps against such satire, but that they wish prompt discussion about what is and isn't possible in a TV programme. Justice Minister Piet Hein Donner backed Balkenende on Sunday and warned that vulgar satires threaten the functioning of the monarchy. He also criticised serious media for its role in the recent Mabel Wisse Smit affair. He said: "Freedom of the press or opinion demands responsibility, otherwise it will come to lawlessness and end with deterioration." Several politicians, among them members of the Cabinet, in the meantime have said criticism against satirical portrayals of the royal family satire is misplaced. The chairman of the Society of Editors-in-chief, Pieter Broertjes, has said he wants to meet with Mr Donner and make it clear to him that it is a "mission impossible" to moderate the tone of reporting around the royal family.

According to US Deputy Secretary of State, Richard Armitage, Al-Qaeda is actively trying to bring down the ruling royal family of Saudi Arabia. Mr Armitage spoke to al-Arabiya television after holding talks with Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia after a suicide bombing in Riyadh on Saturday. The target of the bombing was a foreign workers' residential area close to the homes of several members of the royal family of Saudi Arabia. Al-Qaeda has already been a critic of the Saudi government for a long time, regarding it as too pro-American. Mr Armitage also warned of fresh terror attacks to come in the kingdom.

November 12th
The christening of Countess Ingrid von Pfeil und Klein-Ellguth, daughter of Count Jefferson-Friedrich von Pfeil und Klein-Ellguth and Princess Alexandra zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg, will take place in the chapel of Berleburg Castle on December 13 at 12:00 and will be led by The Rev. Martin Vemmelund from Svendborg. The little countess was born in Copenhagen on August 16. The full names of the countess and the names of her godparents will only be made public shortly before the christening, which is considered a private family event and press will not be allowed to attend.

A police inspector from Surrey has been temporarily moved to desk duties following an error in getting an ambulance to take the Countess of Wessex to hospital on Saturday evening. An investigation will be held and the police apologised for the mistake. The inspector only despatched officers to Bagshot Park but no ambulance as he mistakenly believed an ambulance had already been called. Once the error was realised, paramedics were at the house within three minutes and 45 seconds. Surrey Police apologised for causing the countess any distress and said it regretted "getting it wrong". Meanwhile a spokeswoman for the Countess of Wessex has said that both the Countess and her daughter are making good progress and are expected to be reunited late this week. The palace said the baby was expected to stay in hospital for two to three weeks. The Earl of Wessex visited his wife again today at lunchtime spending just over an hour at Frimley Park Hospital. Afterwards at a reception of Brainwave at Buckingham Palace, replacing his wife, the Earl told today: "My wife really changed a few days ago and my life is now not run by one woman but two women."

The Swedish Royal House has won a lawsuit against the German press. According to the Swedish royal family a total of 10 weekly magazines have printed incorrect information about the crown princess over the past years. Today the case was settled in court and it was agreed that the magazines had to apologize to the crown princess. The royal family's lawyer Matthias Prinz met with lawyers from the magazines Woche der Frau and Die Neue Frau yesterday. Both magazines will print an apology to the crown princess on their frontpage. Also four other German magazines have apologized. However the German weekly magazines stand by their story and claim their articles weren't fabricated although they admit they weren't correct.

November 13th
Komtesse Feodora af Rosenborg, youngest daughter of Count Christian (cousin of Queen Margrethe II of Denmark) and Countess Anne Dorthe af Rosenborg, has become engaged to 27-year-old Frenchman Eric Patte, son of Philippe and Monique Patte. The couple will get married at Holmens Kirke in Copenhagen on July 31, 2004, and will be led by The Rev. Claus Harms, who also christened Komtesse Feodora in the same church in 1975. Feodora and Eric met five years ago when he studied at The Copenhagen Business School.

A reunion of the Countess of Wessex and her newborn daughter has been delayed. They are still receiving care in hospitals 35 miles apart. It had been hoped that the Countess might have been well enough to leave Frimley Park Hospital as early as today, but a Buckingham Palace spokeswoman confirmed no change is thought to be imminent. It remained unclear whether the baby will be taken back to Frimley Park or stay in London. But Buckingham Palace confirmed that the baby is expected to spend up to three weeks in hospital.

November 14th
The Countess of Wessex has been reunited with her newborn daughter at Frimley Park Hospital. Earlier today a spokesperson said that the countess will remain in hospital "for the time being". The baby was returned to Frimley Park Hospital, where she was born, in an escorted ambulance. The Earl of Wessex walked into the Countess's room at alongside the incubator at around midday. A visitor to the maternity ward said: "He was smiling down on his daughter as she was wheeled along in an incubator. The baby looked pink but well and sleeping peacefully. It was a lovely moment to see." Afterwards the Earl thanked the hospital teams that are caring for his wife and child. He described the reunion as "quite an emotional moment".

November 18th
Marie Gabrielle Countess von Oppersdorff Solms-Braunfels née Princess zu Solms-Braunfels, died in the evening of November 13 in her villa in Bad Homburg vor der Höhe at the age of 85. She was the second and youngest daughter of the last princely couple of Solms-Braunfels and was born at Braunfels Castle on August 23, 1918. In 1950 she married Count Hans Georg von Oppersdorff, who died in January of this year. The couple had two children, Marie-Victoria and Johannes, and three grandchildren who all survive her. On Sunday and Monday people could say goodbye to the princess and sign the condolence book. This afternoon, after a funeral service in the Castle church that was attended by around 200 people, Countess Marie Gabrielle was buried at St Georgen Cemetery in Braunfels. Because of the death of the owner of the castle Braunfels Castle will be closed for public until November 30.

November 19th
The Countess of Wessex has left hospital today after having spent there 11 days. Her newborn still unnamed daughter will stay in hospital for treatment. The Countess of Wessex said about her daughter "She is wonderful. She is doing very well." and added "I can't thank staff and the medical team and nurses at Frimley Park enough for all they have done for me and our beautiful daughter who will be joining us at home to complete our family very soon. I am thrilled to be going home." She said to be feeling fine herself and was presented with flowers by hospital staff before being driven away.

On the day the state visit of President George Bush of the USA started, it was revealed that Ryan Parry, undercover reporter of the Daily Mirror newspaper, has served as a footman at Buckingham palace for two months. His investigation covers 15 pages in today's edition of the Daily Mirror and raises questions over royal security. The story includes pictures of rooms inside the palace, including private rooms. Parry wrote "Had I been a terrorist intent on assassinating the Queen or American president George Bush, I could have done so with absolute ease. Indeed, this morning I would have been serving breakfast to key members of his government, including National Security Adviser Condoleeza Rice and US Secretary of State Colin Powell. Such is the shocking incompetence at the heart of the biggest security operation ever in Britain." The White House press office and Buckingham Palace have so far refused to comment. In August, Parry responded to a job advertisement on a recruitment page of the Buckingham Palace official website. On his CV, he excluded details of his journalistic career and included one fake reference and a real one, the newspaper claimed. Parry claimed no rigorous security checks were done on his background. Despite this he was given a full all-areas security pass on his first day. Parry left the Palace yesterday at midnight after the arrival of President Bush and his wife. A Buckingham Palace spokeswoman said: "We are conducting a full investigation into how the Mirror reporter came to be employed at Buckingham Palace." Newspaper editor Piers Morgan told BBC: "I think we have done the country a service. I think that the breach is one of the most scandalous things that I have been involved with and I think that although we will get the usual outcry about intrusive journalism and so on the public will make their own minds up when they read this. We have effectively had the run of the palace for two months."

The Home Secretary David Blunkett said today: "We are satisfied that both the security and the criminal records checks were done robustly and correctly and that there was no risk from this individual." However he added: "I think there are wider issues and I'm considering this morning those wider issues. Not just whether the Queen and President were at risk, because clearly from the checks we did on security and criminal records they were not. But whether there are further lessons to be learned in terms of the detail of checks of this sort which the Palace themselves have been engaged in. While it is a matter of great concern to us, this person did not represent a risk to the President or the Queen."

Buckingham Palace says it is not ruling out legal action against the Daily Mirror and its reporter who breached royal security. Acting on legal advice, royal officials have written to the Daily Mirror and Mr Parry warning them that the palace is ready to take possible legal action for a breach of confidentiality. When Mr Parry was recruited he signed an undertaking of confidentiality as a condition of employment. A Palace spokeswoman said: "As a result of the recent employment of a newspaper reporter, apparently recruited under a false reference, the Royal Household have put in place additional measures to its current recruitment procedures. Current Royal Household recruitment procedures were thoroughly followed, including verbal checking of all written references, and additional online checking of a corporate reference." It was added that: "All referees verified the good character of Ryan Parry, both verbally and in writing on either an official Royal Household form or their own company letterhead. We had no reason to question the honesty of three separate corporate and character references, having checked them verbally and in writing." No disciplinary action would be taken against Palace recruitment staff as current procedures were followed, said the spokeswoman.

Südwestrundfunk editor Dieter N. has denounced Prince Ernst August of Hannover at court in Hannover because of inflicting bodily harm and insulting. The event is said to have taken place on October 5 in Grünau, Austria, during a VIP party. The journalist was making a short interview with the prince and when a potato-dish was served the reporter asked if Prince Ernst August as 'Prussian' could begin something with the name of this south-German course. Then it seems the Hannoverian Prince seems to have become very angry and told the journalist to 'Fuck off' and called him a 'Shit journalist'. Afterwards it is said bodyguards were called to turn the journalist out, but they did it so rough that the journalist injured his knee quite badly and had to be operated.

November 20th
In another story today in the Daily Mirror Ryan Parry claims that security at Windsor Castle is even worse than at Buckingham Palace. Mr Parry spent four days at Windsor Castle last October. He said to have gained his closest access to Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain, carrying food to her apartments, serving her gin and Dubonnet and delivering newspapers and private mail to her room. He also reveals the Queen's taste in television viewing, including EastEnders, The Bill and videoed re-runs of the racing. Today British Prime Minister Tony Blair ordered a full-scale review of royal security after it emerged the journalist had got a job as a Buckingham Palace footman ahead of US President George Bush's historic state visit. Police, an independent commission and royal officials are investigating the security breach.

Today the British Royal Household said they are going to take legal action against the Daily Mirror and its reporter Ryan Parry for breach of confidence. A Buckingham Palace spokesman said it will ask the High Court to "restrain the newspaper and Mr Parry from further publication of information in breach of the duty of confidence he owes to his former employer." An application is due to take place in the Chancery Division of the High Court. Already later today Queen Elizabeth II won a temporary High Court injunction preventing the Daily Mirror from publishing further revelations. The injunction, which applies to all the media, was granted until 4.30pm on Monday to give Mirror lawyers a chance to prepare their case for a full hearing. Mr Justice Lewison held that the Queen's lawyers had a "real prospect" of succeeding in her claim over breach of the confidentiality terms of Mr Parry's employment contract. The judge said the Queen was likely to establish at a full hearing that further publication should not be allowed. He rejected the newspaper's argument that the material it was publishing was already in the public domain through books written by people such as former royal butler Paul Burrell. Piers Morgan, editor of the Daily Mirror, said: "The fact is that the Daily Mirror, by common consent, has exposed the most serious security breach ever involving the Royal Family. We have acted at all times in the public interest and have been completely open about the subterfuge we deployed, and why we deployed it. Terrorists are not renowned for their honesty in filling in application forms for jobs like this. I hope that over time the Royal Household will realise that Ryan Parry has done them a massive favour in highlighting this devastating lapse in their security system."

Letizia Ortiz Rocasolano, fiancée of the Prince of Asturias, has ended her contract with broadcaster RTVE by mutual accord with effect from November 19, the tv-station has announced.

November 21st
The Spanish royal court announced the wedding of the Prince of Asturias and Letizia Ortiz Rocasolano will take place in the Santa Maria Real de La Almudena Cathedral in Madrid at noon on Saturday, May 22, 2004.

Today 35-year-old Ragnhild Lorentzen, daughter of Erling Lorentzen and Princess Ragnhild Mrs Lorentzen, married 37-year-old Aaron Matthew Long at the São Pedro de Alcántara Church in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The bride drove to church with her father in a red Mercedes from 1972. Erling Lorentzen walked his daughter down the aisle on 'Land of Hope and Glory'. The bride's witness was Norwegian Bitten Giæver-Krogh. The bride's mother, Princess Ragnhild, was the first to arrive at church more than two hours before the wedding took place. The Norwegian royal family was represented by Princess Astrid Mrs Ferner and her husband Johan Martin Ferner. Some 190 guests attended the wedding. The wedding party was held at the private yacht club of Rio.

November 22nd
Princess Laurentien of the Netherlands received the ABC-trophy this afternoon during her visit to the national participantsday alphabetizing at the province house in 's-Hertogenbosch. She received the trophy for her dedication for the fight against the (functional) illiteracy in The Netherlands.

November 23rd
At 11:15am the Earl and Countess of Wessex's baby left hospital today with her parents. The Earl of Wessex carried his daughter in his arms. Before leaving, the Countess said: "It is the best day ever." She also told: "She looks like him," and pointed to her husband when asked who their daughter looked more like. When asked if he would be changing the baby's nappies, Edward just quipped: "Not now." Asked what their plans were, she said: "Just to be a family." The couple declined to answer reporters' questions about what the baby would be called. However the earl and countess are thought to have chosen the baby's name, but it must be approved by the Queen before being made public. As they left, the couple thanked hospital staff, while patients looked on. The proud parents were cheered by staff and patients as they walked through the hospital foyer and out into the rain. The Earl of Wessex strapped his daughter into a carry cot in the back of the couple's dark blue Rover 75, and they drove off to their nearby Bagshot Park home. Earlier on Sunday a Buckingham Palace spokeswoman said the couple were looking forward to being a family together at last. "They are just very, very excited about bringing her home. They can hardly wait," she said. "They are both completely besotted. No baby was wanted more than this." It was "absolutely wonderful" and "touching to see them with her", the spokeswoman said, adding the little girl was "going to be a very doted-upon baby". Edward was already a very hands-on father "getting stuck in with everything," she said.

November 24th
The Government Information Service announced today that Prince Bernhard and Princess Annette van Oranje-Nassau, Van Vollenhoven expect their second child in the beginning of June 2004. They already have a daughter, Isabella, who was born on May 14, 2002.

The legal row between Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain and the Daily Mirror has been settled in the High Court. The Daily Mirror will not be allowed to publish further material obtained by journalist Ryan Parry while working as a footman for the royal family. They have to hand over all unpublished photographs and documents, destroy and draft unpublished stories and are not allowed to keep on publishing and distributing any material already published, including pictures of the rooms of the Duke of York and the Earl and Countess of Wessex. The Daily Mirror is to contribute £25,000 towards the Queen's legal costs. A spokesman for the Daily Mirror said the newspaper had agreed to a permanent injunction to avoid "a long drawn-out court battle with Her Majesty".

November 25th
King Harald V of Norway was admitted to the Rikshospitalet in the afternoon with hematuria (blood in the urine). The condition can be a symptom of many disorders, from a simple infection to cancer. The king will be examined further and will stay in hospital tonight. He will be on sick leave for the rest of the week and in the meantime Crown Prince Haakon will act as a regent. In the evening the king was visited by Queen Sonja, Crown Prince Haakon, Crown Princess Mette-Marit and Princess Märtha Louise.

On December 4th, the day of the 4th wedding anniversary of Prince Philippe and Princess Mathilde of Belgium, four Belgian tv-channels - VTM, VRT, RTL TV1 and RTBF - will broadcast a documentary about the couple. With permission of the royal court the prince and princess were followed over the past year by the tv-channels both in public and private life. The documentary shows among others the preparations for the birthday party of the couple's daughter Princess Elisabeth, the family's Christmas celebration, a helicopter flight of Prince Philippe as well as Princess Mathilde taking private piano-lessons.

In the French newspaper Le Figaro the death of Prince Georges Hagondokoff was announced. He died on November 21 in Paris at the age of 95. He was the son of General Konstantin Hagondokoff, and godson of both Tsar Nikolai II of Russia and Queen Olga of Greece.

November 26th
The daughter of the Earl and Countess of Wessex was named Louise Alice Elizabeth Mary it was announced today by Buckingham Palace. The couple called their daughter Louise after the Earl's great-grandmother and daughter of Queen Victoria. Alice is the name of the Earl's paternal grandmother, the Duke of Edinburgh's mother Princess Alice of Greece. Elizabeth was chosen in memory of the Earl's maternal grandmother, the Queen Mother. Mary is the name of the Countess's mother. According to Buckingham Palace at the time of the couple's wedding it was decided, with the couple's agreement, that any children they have should not be given the style His or Her Royal Highness, but would have courtesy titles as sons or daughters of an earl. Accordingly, their daughter is to be known as The Lady Louise Windsor. Although her full surname is Mountbatten-Windsor, she will only use Windsor.

King Harald V of Norway left hospital at 12:45pm today. The king was admitted to hospital on Tuesday with hematuria, blood in the urine, and underwent tests in the surgical wing. His condition was reportedly unchanged when he was released on Wednesday. The hospital informed the palace that the final results of the test will first be available at the beginning of next week.

Princess Adélaïde d'Orléans and her husband Pierre-Louis Dailly have become the parents of a son, Diego Marie Michel Alexis. Diego was born in Paris on November 20 and weighs 3500 grammes. Both mother and son are doing fine.

UNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura has decided to appoint Princess Caroline of Hannover (Monaco) a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador 'in recognition of her personal commitment to the protection of children and the family, and of her contribution to the promotion of UNESCO’s programmes for the education of girls and women.' The appointment ceremony will take place at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris on Tuesday, December 2 at 6.30 p.m. Following her appointment, the Princess plans to concentrate mainly on a UNESCO project aiming to improve the lives of young girls and women by providing them with non-formal education, vocational training and microcredits. The project, which will be implemented over a two-year period, will involve community training centres in several countries in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.

November 28th
Today Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende informed the media about the outcome of the additional investigation on Mabel Wisse Smit, fiancée of Prince Johan Friso of the Netherlands, by the AIVD (General Intelligence- and Security Service). According to Mr Balkenende there was nothing found that could stop the marriage to take place on April 24, 2004. Mabel Wisse Smit is not considered a threat for the security of the Royal Family. The Prime Minister personally informed the Prince and his fiancée about the results.

Three photographers who took pictures of Diana Princess of Wales and Dodi Al-Fayed after their fatal car crash in Paris on August 31, 1997 have been cleared of invading the couple's privacy. Their photos were confiscated and not published. They were among a group who either pursued the car across Paris or took photos after the crash. Jacques Langevin, with Sygma/Corbis at the time, Christian Martinez of the Angeli agency, and freelancer Fabrice Chassery risked a maximum of a year in prison and £31,000 fines. The Paris prosecutor had asked for suspended prison sentences.

The valuable collection of the Princely House of Fürstenberg stays in Baden-Württemberg, Germany. Businessman and Artcollector Reinhold Würth has bought the collection. Already in 2004 the works of art will be shown at the Kunsthalle Würth in Schwäbisch Hall. The collection exists of more than 70 works of art of the early German and Swiss painting from the 15th and the 16th century, among them works of Lucas Cranach Sr and Jr.

November 30th
Countess Diana Bernadotte and her husband Bernd Grawe expect their first child in the Spring of 2004.


Royal News: October 2003. Last updated: November 2nd, 2003.