ROYAL NEWS: OCTOBER 2002

Last updated: November 2nd, 2002.

October 1st
Prince Claus of the Netherlands is still very fragile and there is no indication that he will be able to go home soon. He is still staying at intensive care.

The Belgian mail will issue three poststamps with photos of Princess Elisabeth of Belgium showing her alone and with her parents. The stamps were presented today at the Museum of the Dynasty at the Royal Palace of Brussels. They will be on sale on November 7 and are issued on the occasion of her 1st birthday on October 25th.

The Consulta del Regno, founded by King Umberto II with the senators of the Italian Kingdom, have withdrawn their support for the Italian throne pretender Prince Vittorio Emanuele last Monday, because of his morganatic marriage and the fact that he swore fidelity to the Italian republic. The majority of Italian royalists agreed with the decision. They declared Prince Amedeo of Savoy, Duke of Aosta as head of the dynasty and pretender to the throne. The Duke has already said he accepts the nomination. In two weeks Vittorio Emanuele will return to his country after 56 years of exile.

October 2nd
Prince Claus of the Netherlands won the lawsuit against the weekly magazine Privé today. The Court of Justice in Amsterdam ruled out that the magazine's publication was not only incorrect and misleading, it also made an unlawful infringement in the Prince's private life and that the prince has right on conpensation. The amount wasn't decided yet. The prince will negotiate with the magazine about the hight and the money will be donated for a good cause. In May the magazine stated wrongly that the Prince had enough of Palace Huis ten Bosch and that he had 'escaped' to Germany, to die there in a clinic for terminally ill patients. Although the magazine offered excuses in their magazine later on, the prince was not satisfied with it. For the Prince it was not only about the downright lies but mainly about the unlawfullness of the encroachments on his private life and about suggestions, speculations and qualifications.

October 3rd
Princess Märtha Louise of Norway is being accused of mixing business and royal roles by having her title in her firm name. "This is a recurring debate since I began working with cultural dissemination, so it is only natural that it come up again," the princess told on Norwegian television. Researchers do not agree that a simple name change can help much in what everyone agrees is a complicated affair. Princess Märtha Louise has become a popular and sought after performer after a stint reading classical Norwegian fairy tales for children's TV, and is now due to appear and sing with Oslo's Gospel Choir in their Christmas concerts. "It is not obvious to most people how her two roles differ, even if the princess herself says she can distinguish between them," said a researcher.

October 4th
The baby son of Prince Joachim and Princess Alexandra of Denmark was baptised today at Møgeltønder Church. Prince Nikolai arrived first accompanied by Crown Prince Frederik and sat between his uncle and grandfather Richard Manley in church. Prince Joachim and Princess Alexandra together with their son arrived at church at 14:00. After a speech of the court's clergyman the Rev. Christian Todberg the little prince was finally given its names. Alexandra told at the font, surrounded by Prince Joachim with Prince Nikolai and the godparents, that the baby's names will be Felix Henrik Valdemar Christian. The godparents were Martina Bent (sister of Princess Alexandra), Count Christian Ahlefeldt-Laurvig (friend), Annick Boel (lady-in-waiting of Princess Alexandra), Oscar Davidsen Siesbye (friend of Prince Joachim and Damian Sibley. Among the 200 invited guests were Count Ingolf and Countess Sussie af Rosenborg, Count Valdemar and Countess Charlotte af Rosenborg and Countess Marina af Rosenborg as well as actor Roger Moore with his wife. After the christening there was a reception at Schackenborg Castle. See for video and more information: Prinsedåb and Kongelig Barnedåb.

The Belgian royal court announced that Princess Astrid and Prince Lorenz Archduke of Austria-Este expect their fifth child in May 2003. They already have four children: Amedeo (1986), Maria Laura (1988), Joachim (1991) and Luisa Maria (1995). Further it was said that the princess might restrict her engagements a bit in the coming months.

October 5th
Bruno Gómez-Acebo, a son of Infanta Doña Pilar of Spain, married Bárbara Cano at the Monasterio de la Encarnación in Madrid in presence of the whole royal family of Spain. Also present were Prince Kubrat and Princess Carla of Bulgaria, the Duke and Duchess of Calabria, Princess Beatriz de Orleans and her daughter Adelaida. The bride was given away by her father Antonio Cano. After the ceremony, that was officiated by Father Jesús Higuera Esteban, a reception took place at the Club Puerta de Hierro.

October 6th
Prince Claus of the Netherlands died at the Academisch Medisch Centrum in Amsterdam at 19:00.

October 7th
Princess Märtha Louise of Norway and Ari Behn have released their first book together 'Fra Hjerte til hjerte', that mainly deals with the short pilgrimage the couple made days before their wedding in May last year. They didn't shop up for the launching of the book and their publisher showed a video of the couple discussing the book. The book contains several photos from the wedding, but there are no "behind the scenes" stories.

During her visit to Canada on the occasion of her Golden Jubilee Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain has defended herself against calls for the abolition of the monarchy in Canada. She delivered a powerful speech in Vancouver and said: "I treasure my place in the life of Canada and my bond with Canadians everywhere. During these last 50 years I have been with you as this country has evolved and grown - celebrating success, surmounting challenges, resolving difficulties." She praised Canada as a much respected global player, major economic force, valued Commonwealth leader and great country. "It is therefore with special pride that I take this opportunity during my Jubilee year to pay tribute to Canadians everywhere and to thank you for the support and affection you have given to me over these past 50 years," she said. "It is a privilege to serve you as Queen of Canada to the best of my ability, to play my part in the Canadian identity, to uphold Canadian traditions and heritage, to recognise Canadian excellence and achievement, and to seek to give a sense of continuity in these exciting, ever-changing times in which we are fortunate enough to live."

October 9th
The christening of Eloise Countess van Oranje-Nassau Jonkvrouwe van Amsberg has been postponed until further notice. It was supposed to take place at the end of the month.

Lady Helen Taylor and her husband Timothy Taylor expect their third child in six months. They already have two sons: Columbus and Cassius.

October 14th
Princess Eugenie of York is recovering in hospital after a successful operation on her back. Buckingham Palace said the "minor" surgery on the 12-year-old had been "elective and corrective". It is understood that the surgical procedure was to correct curvature of the spine and had been planned at London's private Portland Hospital to coincide with the Princess's half-term school holiday. "The Princess is making very good progress," said the Palace. "The Duke and Duchess would like to thank the nurses and consultants for their excellent care." The Palace would not confirm the nature of the surgery, which took place earlier today, or where the operation was carried out. Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain, who is touring Canada, has been informed of Eugenie's condition. The Palace revealed the Princess would be undergoing the 'minor' operation nearly two weeks ago. 'The surgery is… not serious, and has been planned for the past year,' announced a spokesperson at the time.

Paul Burrell, former butler of Diana Princess of Wales, has pleaded not guilty to stealing items from the late princess after her death. He also denied theft of items from the Prince of Wales and Prince William when he appeared at the Old Bailey. After his plea, Mrs Justice Rafferty began swearing in a jury for the trial expected to last up to six weeks. The trial was opened by inviting the jury to consider the potential value of items found at Burrell's house in Farndon, Cheshire in January 2001. Paul Burrell is accused of stealing 310 items: 284 from Diana, 22 from William and four from Charles, including personal memorabilia, photographs, letters, clothes, CDs and jewellery, all allegedly taken from Kensington Palace between January 1 1997 and June 30 1998.

October 15th
Prince Claus of the Netherlands was buried in Delft today.

Today the Old Bailey has heard that Paul Burrell gave a variety of explanations for having items belonging to Princess Diana in his possession years after her death. He was asked about hundreds of items found at his Cheshire home by police in January last year. It was also said that Burrell drove to Kensington Palace in the middle of the night after Diana, Princess of Wales's death and loaded his car with her possessions. A policeman who challenged the former royal confidante at 3.30am was assured he was acting on the instructions of her family to destroy some sensitive items. The court heard that Diana's sister Lady Sarah McCorquodale later insisted no-one had been authorised to remove property.

October 16th
King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia of Sweden were guests of honour during a Sachsen-Coburg-Gotha family meeting at Friedenstein Castle in Gotha, Germany. The King's mother, Sibylla, was a Princess von Sachsen-Coburg-Gotha. Among the family members that were present for the meeting were Prince Leopold and Princess Ursula von Bayern, Dukes Alexander, Ferdinand Eugen and Eugen Eberhard von Württemberg, Archduke Michael and Archduchess Eva of Austria, Prince Michael von Sachsen-Weimar-Eisenach, Prince Hubertus zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg and Prince Wittekind zu Waldeck und Pyrmont. The meeting was hosted by Prince Andreas von Sachsen-Coburg-Gotha.

The Old Bailey trial of Paul Burrell has been halted and the jury discharged for legal reasons. The trial had opened on Monday and the first witness was in the middle of giving evidence yesterday. But today Judge Mrs Justice Rafferty discharged the entire jury. A new jury is due to be sworn and the trial expected to re-start on Thursday.

October 17th
Former Queen Geraldine of the Albanians has been hospitalized at Tirana's military hospital with grave pulmonary problems yesterday evening, a royal family spokesman said today. She was treated in the intensive care unit. She was already treated in a French hospital in August for lung problems physicians say are related to her recent move from the high plains in South Africa to Tirana, Albania.

The trial of Paul Burrell has started again. A new jury has been sworn in after the first one was dismissed for legal reasons on the third day of a hearing which is expected to last up to six weeks. The new panel, of seven men and five women, listened as William Boyce QC embarked, for the second time on the prosecution's opening. Mr Boyce said: "You may have wondered how it is that Mr Burrell would be in a position to steal these items belonging to Prince Charles, the estate of Diana, Princess of Wales, and Prince William. And the answer to that is because he was in royal service." He recounted how the butler had gone on to work at the Diana, Princess of Wales, Memorial Fund and continued living in his married quarters at the Old Barracks in Kensington Palace. The judge today ruled that evidence in the trial of royal butler Paul Burrell can be suppressed to protect Princes William and Harry. She was responding to complaints from journalists covering the Old Bailey case that certain information was being kept for the jury's eyes only, with the public being prevented from hearing or seeing it.

October 18th
Prince Alexander and Princess Esmeralda of Belgium have ceded the Argenteuil domain in Waterloo and will hand it over to the Belgian state, it was declared at court in Nivelles during a summary judgement. They will leave the domain and the furniture should move to the royal palace of Laeken. This was quite surprising as the reason for the summary judgement was that Prince Alexander and Princess Esmeralada asked to be able to stay at Argenteuil and resisted against moving the furniture of the castle. The Belgian State wanted the domain back, because it was due to the State by right since the death of Princess Lilian last July as was arranged in an agreement between the state and the late King Baudouin in the 1970s.

Prince William of Wales is to be the first member of the Royal Family to have stamps issued to celebrate his 21st birthday. Agreement has been reached with Buckingham Palace for the commemorative stamps to go on sale in time for the Prince's 21st birthday, on June 21, 2003. Royal Mail say they anticipate enormous interest in the stamps from both the public and stamp collectors. Details of the 27p first-class stamps have yet to be finalised in conjunction with the Palace. They will have final approval from the Queen, as all royal commemorative stamps are.

Paul Burrell was not as close to Princess Diana as he claims, the Old Bailey has heard. He felt a degree of insecurity and his job was not necessarily a long-term prospect, it was said at court today. He complained about his low salary and boasted he could earn more working in America. Mr Boyce, the prosecutor, told the jury: "There was a closeness, but it may not have been entirely as Mr Burrell has described." It was also said in court that Burrell took a black evening dress to Paris after the Princess of Wales was killed, hoping she would be buried in it. Burrell said when he was in Paris a priest gave him a biblical text to read during the all-night vigil to help him keep awake. It also emerged women who buy second-hand clothes could be wearing Diana's dresses without realising it. She secretly sold some of her designer dresses and other things to second-hand shops for a fraction of their true worth. She used the money she earned as petty cash for buying magazines or going to the cinema. Burrell delivered the clothing and returned to collect the money. He told police he went to second-hand shops about twice a year and would take up to 20 outfits a time.

October 20th
The mother of the newly chosen 10th bride of King Mswati III of Swaziland has accused the king of kidnapping her daughter, 18-year-old Zena Zoraya Mahlangu.

October 21st
The Royal Palace in Oslo, Norway, announced Monday afternoon that Princess Martha Louise and her husband Ari Behn expect their first child around April/May 2003. Princess Märtha Louise will give birth at the Rikshospitalet in Gaustad, Oslo. She is 'in fine form' the palace said and expects a normal pregnancy. However it can't be ruled out that some changes in the princess's official program may be necessary in the months to come.

October 22nd
Prince Floris van Oranje-Nassau van Vollenhoven was operated today at the VU-hospital in Amsterdam. He had abscess of the skin. He will be able to return home in a few days time.

October 23rd
Former Queen Geraldine of the Albanians died yesterday evening at the Military Hospital in Tirana, Albania, at the age of 87, after suffering a few heart attacks earlier in the day. Born as Countess Geraldine Apponyi de Nagy-Appony in Budapest, Hungary, on August 6, 1915, she married King Zog I of the Albanians (+ 1961) in 1938 and had one son, Leka, in 1939. The family was forced to leave the country in April 1939 and they only returned to Albania on June 28th 2002.

Lindiwe Dlamini, a Swazi woman fighting to prevent the king from marrying her daughter, won a small victory yesterday when a court allowed her to name her daughter's unnamed captors as defendants in the case. The high court ruled that since she did not know who in the royal family was holding her daughter, she did not have to name them in her lawsuit trying to free the woman. The unnamed defendants were ordered to appear in court tomorrow. Zena Zoraya Mahlangu, 18, and two other women were picked up by King Mswati III's aides last month and taken to secret locations. This happened soon after they had participated in the reed dance, where tens of thousands of girls present themselves before the king so he can choose a new bride. The father of the second abducted woman said he would have sued as well but he did not have enough money. A fourth girl the king wishes to marry is said to be on the run and is reported to have been smuggled out of the country by her relatives.

October 24th
Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands underwent a minor surgery on his right eye at hospital in Utrecht because of cataract. He didn't need to stay there.

The Princess of Wales died without healing a rift in which she had not spoken to her mother for four months, it was said during the trial of Paul Burrell where her mother Mrs Frances Shand Kydd made an appearance in the witness box for nearly two hours. The Princess had returned her mother's letters unopened in the period before she was killed in a Paris car crash in August 1997. Details of what caused the rift were not disclosed. Mrs Shand Kydd challenged Burrell's famous claim to have been Diana's "rock", saying the Princess used the term for many people including herself. She said that Princess Diana was "very, very careful with all things Royal, never did they pass through her hands. I can promise you she gave away nothing other than gifts." She also recalled her daughter giving away clothing to members of her family at informal events at Kensington Palace which Mrs Shand Kydd termed "upmarket car boot sales".

October 25th
Princess Elisabeth of Belgium celebrated her 1st birthday at the recently renovated 'chalet des princes' at the royal park in Laken - once constructed for the three children of King Leopold III - together with her parents, grandparents and aunt Countess Hélène d'Udekem d'Acoz. At her entrance Elisabeth was not really impressed by the many cameras of the press, who had been invited for a photo session. Click here for more photos.

Thieves stole the jewellery collection of Frances Shand Kydd, mother of Diana, Princess of Wales, while she gave evidence at court yesterday in the trial of Paul Burrell. Mrs Shand Kydd said all her jewellery was stolen but nothing relating to Diana was taken. She did not know how many items were stolen or their value, but much of the jewellery had priceless sentimental value. "It included items of value and, more importantly, sentimental value, pieces which belonged to my grandparents and a ring given to me by my father.", she said: "The house is a tip. The wires of the phone were cut, and the security system." She had left her home on the Isle of Seil, near Oban, Argyll, earlier this week to travel to London. Her housekeeper discovered the break-in yesterday morning, while the theft most likely took place on Wednesday night.

Princess Märtha Louise of Norway is on sick leave until further notice. It was said she is exhausted and needs some rest. The pregnancy goes well.

October 26th
Princess Kalina of Bulgaria married Kitín Muñoz in Tsarska Bistritsa near Borovets, Bulgaria, today.

Princess Marilène van Oranje-Nassau van Vollenhoven gave birth to a son, Lucas Maurits Pieter Henri van Lippe-Biesterfeld van Vollenhoven, at 12:31 this afternoon at home in Amsterdam. Lucas weighs 4760 grammes.

Former Queen Geraldine of Albania was buried at the public cemetery of Sharra, in the suburbs of Tirana, today. Before the funeral the coffin had been placed in the hall of the Central House of the Army in Tirana where among others the vice prime minister and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Albania paid their last respect to her. The service was led by the archbishop of Albania at the catholic Cathedral of Shen Pjetri (St Peter). "We pray to you God that her sanctity Geraldine enter in the preselected for eternity", Archbishop Rrok Mirdita said. The funeral was attended by several politicians and members of the diplomatic corps. Hundreds of people gathered outside the cathedral. A spokesman for the royal family said they were displeased about the government's low profile on the issue of her burial, as the government didn't give any answer about the place where the former queen could be buried. "It was her will to come, die and be buried in Albania", the spokesman of the royal family said.

October 27th
Prince Maurits van Oranje-Nassau van Vollenhoven posed for some pictures together with his newborn son Lucas and his daughter Anna, who was born in April 2001.

Zena Zoraya Mahlangu has a boyfriend for already more than a year, her mother, Lindiwe Dlamini, has revealed. She said: "I don't want the king to be my daughter's husband. She has other plans for her life. I will fight this case until the day I die."

October 28th
The Greek royal family announced that Princess Alexia of Greece and her husband Carlos Morales Quintana expect their second child in May 2003. Their daughter Arrietta was born last February. They reside in Barcelona, Spain. King Constantine and Queen Anne-Marie of Greece said: "We are overjoyed at the thought of a fifth grandchild."

Yesterday Princess Kamilah, daughter of Prince Haji Sufri Bolkiah of Brunei Darussalam, married Awangku Hashim binti Pengiran Haji Mohammad at the Royal Berkshire in Jerudong Park. The wedding was among others attended by Queen Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Hajah Saleha and other members of the royal family.

President Ciampi of Italy signed a decree that allows the return to Italy of Prince Vittorio Emanuele of Savoy and his son Prince Emanuele Filiberto on November 10 after an exile of 56 years.

October 29th
The Paul Burrell trial has been halted this morning without any explanation. The jury was told to go home and phone later to find out whether they would be required tomorrow. The judge, Mrs Justice Rafferty, gave no reason for the move but simply told the seven men and five women the court would not be sitting today and possibly not tomorrow either.

In an exclusive interview to a German news agency Zena Zoraya Mahlangu said she is ready to marry King Mswati III of Swaziland. She said that nothing could make her change her mind and that she has settled in to her new life. "Not even the lawsuit my mother is currently pursuing will make me change my mind about getting married to the king," she said, repeatedly referring to Mswati as "my husband". Zena's mother, Lindiwe Dlamini, said she still regarded the information as hearsay and would wait to be informed in court. The Swaziland High Court case into the alleged abduction of 18-year-old Zena Mahlangu had again been postponed earlier. Two court-appointed lawyers told a full bench of judges that they had been unable to interview Zena, who is allegedly being held at the Manzana Royal guest house. The Attorney General, indicated that they had not been able to get access to Zena because the royal household was mourning one of the widows of the late King Sobhuza II.

October 30th
Prince Maurits van Oranje-Nassau van Vollenhoven officially gave notice of the birth of his son Lucas in Amsterdam. He told journalists that he had read in newspapers that Lucas was an anagram for Claus and thought it was a nice idea, and a nice reference to a very special man, but that they didn't pick up the name for that reason. "We just like the name and a common name in the bible like Anna.", Prince Maurits said.


Royal News: September 2002. Last updated: October 4th, 2002.